Andrew, Clinical Psychologist, Columbus, Ohio

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
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
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Andrew, in his own words: “My earliest LGBT-related memory is a not-so-flattering depiction of a lesbian couple on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show in the early- or mid-Eighties. I was probably 7 or so and remember wondering why the members of the audience seemed so hostile and angry toward the women. There wasn’t anything particularly remarkable in how the women looked or behaved during the segment. I had no real concept of what “lesbian” meant at the time and it wasn’t until college and moving away from my small-town midwestern roots that I first met openly gay and lesbian men and women. Gayness wasn’t really on my radar or the radar of my hometown through most of my childhood and adolescence. Images of LGBT persons on television or in movies were few and far-between, LGBT civil rights were not the mainstream political issue they are today, and amazingly (and fortunately) I don’t recall anti-gay slurs being thrown around in the schoolyard with any regularity toward me or anyone else. To me, and perhaps to my hometown contemporaries, the idea of same-sex attraction seemed so foreign, so “other” and “alien” that it wasn’t possible that I or anyone I knew could really be gay. Despite the feelings I was having to the contrary, it just didn’t compute! Weren’t gay people psychologically disturbed? Immoral? Or at the minimum inappropriately flamboyant in their displays of sexuality? While here I was… so quiet and “normal!”

So… boring! So I guess some of the experiences that had the most impact on me as I began negotiating the paths of self-acceptance and coming out were when I had the opportunity to meet LGBT persons whom I viewed as “normal” and “boring.” Persons who had friends and long-term relationships and professional careers. These individuals had such an impact on me because they helped me see that all of those assumptions and stereotypes I had internalized growing up were false. I could be who I am and be gay because being gay wouldn’t sentence me to some ambiguously disastrous future. It wouldn’t automatically change all of the other aspects of myself that were important to me. Being gay could be a part of my identity and I would not have to reject myself for that part or dramatically alter other parts to make it all fit the narrative I had been fed all those years. In short, I could begin to embrace myself completely for who I was and take the first steps down the long road of self-acceptance.”

2 comments

  1. Gregg Kimball

    I like him, too! Prob feel comfortable about Andrew because I come from “the backwoods” as well.

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