Ron, in his own words: “Being able to be who I am with complete honesty is freedom. Being able to love someone because I simply love that person is the greatest joy I have ever experienced. The journey mostly has been a good one. Since I have been quite attracted to both men and women, I’ve lived an interesting life and been in love with both men and women.
However, nothing ever quite was like meeting Ben. Before Ben I had fallen deeply in love with a woman, and I was married to her for almost 17 years, most of those years were happy. The greatest joy was having two beautiful, talented and creative sons, Nick and Nate who both have good and satisfying lives living and working in New York City. Thus I also have two beautiful grandchildren! Sadly, the marriage ended when my wife’s mental illness could not be accepted by her.
I dated some other wonderful and beautiful women for a few years. Then while working in Washington, DC I happened upon this younger man who wanted to go to dinner. His kindness, caring got to me and we dated for six months. Sadly it ended but we both ended up happy later. He said when he departed, “Ron, you will meet someone soon, he will be good to you and you to him.” Not long after, I was at Northeastern University in Boston in the dining room. There I noticed a beautiful and quite stunning Asian man glancing toward me. After we both glanced, we had lunch together, then he asked for a date. I returned to Boston where he and many members of his family were there. We went together! They all liked me. That was in July of 1997.
Sixteen years later, from Portland, Maine to Orlando FL, to our beautiful heaven in Vancouver, British Columbia , Ben and I have loved each other and respected one another every day. Every time I look at his face, the joy inside my heart almost makes me weep. Never to fade!
Too, My sons, grandchildren, friends all embrace Ben. They love him. Likewise I am so lucky that his family loves me very much and we are so close. They are my family, too. Our home is one of peace and love. We are a team!
Initially because I held many public and high profile jobs (Police Chief, School Administrator and now therapist/counsellor) many folks had much to say to me and sadly some behind my back when I fell in love with another man 16 years earlier. The state of gays in the world has changed a great deal from those days; now gay folks are accepted and few make a big deal about gay people in 2013. I was glad to be in the early days. I tell people, I would have fallen in love with Ben whether he had been a man or a woman. His qualities of giving of himself, his humility, core values, kindness and respect for all that lives are huge points of attraction. Being good looking is nice, but that fades for everyone. We all grow old. I am happy that Ben’s enduring qualities will never fade.
Moving to Vancouver was the best decision we could have made, suggested by his sister, Sungya, who had visited here. Every day has been a joy! Our gay friends we met when we first moved here are still are close friends. Vancouver’s gay population is well accepted. There are still those who hate, but overall, being gay here has not
been a big deal for many years. Gay men and women have straight friends, they live in houses and condos throughout the Metro area. There is a gay village, called Davie. It’s funky.
Where we live, New Westminster, has been turning into a sought after community (known as highly supportive to gays) for gay singles and couples. The community reminds me of communities I lived in as a kid in Maine. To sum, Ben said it best when we arrived here in July, 2005. “I finally feel so secure and happy.” Since then Ben and I both became dual citizens of our own birth country and Canada.
I am happy with who I am. During the Winter of my life, it really feels like Spring. It feels right.
This project and the stories that are told are good , supportive tools to help any gay man who is thinking about coming out. We live very short lives. The hope for all of us is to start living that life in a creative, meaningful way that is filled with comfortable love. Being honest, loving yourself and coming to terms with who you are signals the right time to sing to the world about who you are. Sing in quiet melody, shout a song to the mountains – your choice. But sing. When your soul says you are ready.”
Ben, in his own words: “I think I have always liked men from when I was little. I thought that I was the only one in this world having these kind of feelings. It’s liked having a big secret and I didn’t dare to share it to anyone. First feelings came when I was young and at summer camp in Singapore. I did not know
though what those feelings were.
I later had a boyfriend in Bangkok when I attended the university there. We did everything there, even opening a clothing store at an upscale mall. Sadly, we grew apart. I was sad and decided to move to the United States.
Soon I was off to graduate school in Boston. There I met many interesting men but none like Ron. I adored him from when I met him. So did my family.When I graduated with a Masters degree, I moved to Portland, Maine to be with Ron and his family. We lived in an ocean-side townhouse near a college. It was beautiful. I was so happy. Ron always had a committed plan and he was always kind to me. I worked as a math teacher at the high school where Ron was an administrator.
Soon we moved to Orlando with dreams of moving to beautiful Vancouver. Vancouver never disappointed. It is the most beautiful place with many friendly people. The moment we arrived, we had so many friends! Many of those friends are our friends today.
Ron and I were never much for clubbing or going out. We always enjoy each other company. He is my everything…my partner…my best friend and my soul. I think we complete each other!
Advice? Be true to who you are – only you can decide the road to your own happiness and joy. You control your destiny. You have that gift, that freedom.”