Theo, Hospital Corpsman USN, Washington D.C.

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Theo, in his own words: “I did have to formally come out due to the fact that I was still a licensed minister in the Church of the Nazarene. I tortured myself for over 25 years trying to believe I was not gay and I spent the majority of that time trying to convince people.

When I realized I was gay and there was no changing it, I was working as an associate Pastor at a prominent church in Colorado Springs, CO. Dr. James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, was actually one of the churches members and attended sporadically in between his busy schedule.

After I quietly resigned the church I first told my Sister and Brother in law. They were extremely upset and read scripture to me and told me they still loved me, but they would never be able accept this reality about my life.

A few weeks later I told my Father and without surprise he was livid. He screamed and condemned me and assured me I would burn in hell for eternity. The one thing he said that will always remain in my mind was, “I always knew you were I was just hoping you would avoid it.” 

I was not having any luck finding work in the winter of 2009, so I joined the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. When I entered the Navy Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or DADT was still in place and I knew if I acknowledged I was gay or admitted it to anyone I could be separated from service.

Still struggling with my identity I had asked an old friend to be my girlfriend. Her and I wrote letters and exchanged our desire to see each other soon. Shortly after leaving recruit training and entering my training to be a Hospital Corpsman I decided our relationship was a false hope. I quickly ended our relationship and later left for my first duty station in Sigonella, Sicily.

In my first month there I emailed my mother over Facebook and told her I was gay. She was sweet and told me that I would always just be her son and that she loved me. It was in Sicily that I was able to explore my newfound freedom away from my family and from religious persecution.

In the fall of 2011 DADT was repealed and for the first time in my life I openly lived my life as a gay man. I have never felt being gay hindered my job or my work environment and I do not understand why it would. The people I have met in the military have all been very accepting and open minded people. They have always been willing to adapt to an ever-changing diversity. 

Since returning to the states and settling into a new duty station in Washington, D.C., I have begun to explore my faith again. I started attending a Church that was just getting its start in the H Street corridor. The people there have all been very accepting and understanding of my background in church and we find a lot of common ground.

I have found D.C. to be a very open minded city, but conservative in so many other ways. The majority of people here are obsessed with their work and they let their jobs define who they are. The social scene here can become very repetitive and it bores me.

The few people that I have invested my time in are very carefully selected individuals. I will be turning 30 soon and I have little time for disingenuous people in my life.

A quote from favorite author will better explain how I feel. “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.” ~Andre Gide

3 comments

  1. Rhonda Pankow

    Though I always had a crush on you, I knew, and accepted it. I’m glad you were able to find peace with who you are and have respect for you being able to come out in both the military and the church as those are the most difficult.

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