Happy Coming Out Day

img_3280-1Eight years ago, after an amicable divorce, I came out quietly to a few close friends and family members. I was starting over and like Groundhog Day, had returned to my secretarial roots. I wasn’t sure what my life would look like, but the words stenciled above my bed in the basement bedroom of my daughter’s house reminded me every day I had made the right choice and finally faced a truth that I’d buried my entire life.

My daughter tucked me under her wing until I felt financially ready to get my own place. In the meantime, a therapist helped me navigate the changes in my life. During therapy one day, we talked a lot about coming out and she said because it’s a big deal, why shouldn’t people should have a party to celebrate, like a bat mitzvah or a quinceañera. So with my daughter and a few friends, I threw myself a coming out party on October 11, 2011. I wasn’t ready to announce it to the world, but it felt good to be seen for who I was.

Pride

A lot has changed in eight years. I’m fortunate to have been able to come out at a time when it’s socially acceptable and safe for me, unlike the Stonewall equality warriors of 50 years ago that generated a movement. With marriage equality, I now have the 1,138 rights and protections I enjoyed when I was married to a man. But we can’t take those rights for granted. We must remain vigilant and continue the fight for equality that began at that New York inn.

In the words of Barack Obama, “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

From the Training Trail: Progress and Protests

Marriage equality passed on June 26, 2015. In the days that followed, Facebook lit up with rainbows in celebration and American flags in protest.

The following week, I thought about the progress and the protests during my 11 mile training run and wrote this:

With all the Facebook hoopla over profile rainbows & flags, I’d just like to say this:

I’m proud of all my Marine & other military brothers and sisters who defend our great nation & who at some point wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam for an amount up to and including our Lives.

I’m proud of all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who long faced hate & discrimination on the path to marriage equality…and now no longer feel like second class citizens.

I’m proud of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists & nonbelievers who look past doctrine & dogma and see the sacred beauty in each and every one of us…there is more that unites us than separates us.

In the four years since that training run, those words have never been more true.