Ray, Professor, Dallas

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
Ray, in his own words: “Being gay means many things to me. As a child it was a stigma of shame. It was my scarlet letter and an object of my own disgust and disdain. Later, being gay was simply a biological expression, no different than height or hair color. However, in my 30’s I have come to embrace being gay as a gift of the Divine. I believe divinity has qualities of both male and female, that is both masculine AND feminine energy. So, to be gay means that I too possess both energies, and is therefore a divine gift given to me as I maneuver through the world.

For me, religion has been a paradox in my life and has served as the catalyst for my greatest challenge as well as my biggest success. As a child and teen I suffered from paralyzing insecurity. I felt as if everyone else had the key to living life well and somehow it had been kept secret from me. So, I looked to conservative religious understanding to give me a strict “how-to” guide to help alleviate my insecurity, live life and simply fit in. Needless to say this helped for a while but ultimately stripped me of my authenticity and left me upset and bitter. I eventually overcame this challenge, and now live life as authentically and honestly and I possibly can. To me, this is my greatest success. Oddly enough, the great success of authenticity couldn’t have been achieved without the comfort, encouragement and faith I often drew from the foundation of a religious upbringing (particularly in my darkest moments). Truly the paradox of life!

The gay community is Dallas is large and in many ways very active (Dallas’ local chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, The Federal Club, is annually a leader in fundraising for the HRC and the largest gay church in the WORLD is also located in Dallas), yet a word that is often used to describe the Dallas at large is “clique” and this is no different in the gay community. In many ways Dallas is still reminiscent of its segregated past…but today’s segregation happens not only across racial lines but across socioeconomic class, gender (gay vs. lesbian), geography (where you live in the city), and social groups. There are many clicks who rarely find the need to intersect with the others.

My coming out story is quite lengthy, so I’ll share the short version. I was raised religious; I was raised to be closeted, therefore I married very young (19 years old) and I had three children very young. I fell madly in love with a man. I could no longer go on with the farce….not to mention when I asked my wife for a divorce she went into my email and found a love letter to the gentlemen and confronted me with it….after which 99% of my friends distanced themselves, leaving me to recreate a new life…. high drama indeed (a screenplay waiting to happen)!

If I could tell my younger self one thing I would tell him to be your unashamed and unapologetic authentic self…no matter what!”

7 comments

  1. Jem

    Thanks for sharing your story, Ray. So glad you found a way through it all and are now free to be you. I so identify with you in the whole thing – religion, marriage, children, conflict of faith – only it took me all my life on a path of being closeted (to myself initially until I was in my late 30s), then only out to my wife until 2012 (in my 60s), and now still partly closeted by the laws of the land in which I live, so still not totally free, as you are. Be blessed! Enjoy your life!

  2. stuart senften

    Great words of wisdom!! I found out late in life that religion has nothing to do with being Spiritual..so I no longer subcribe to a religion..it only made me feel oppressed and feeling less than a normal human being. I hope that you will be happy and healthy in your life..and always be true to yourself..as you are now!!

  3. doug

    Thank you for such a thoughtful, articulate, kind, meaningful statement Ray- I have not commented about other presentations, but I wanted you to know that I am very moved by your beautiful commentary, both photographically and written word. Lovely way to start my day

  4. kevin

    ray is right about dallas being segregated by race and income…I am from dallas as well and I congratulate him from coming out….it shows how much things have changed since I was young. I used to know someone that was an assistant pastor of one of the largest black churches at the time and he lost his job when he was truthful about who he was….amazing that the same faith that he felt condemned him is his greatest source of faith but i feel the same as he does

Leave a Reply