Ray, in his own words: ” Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing.” Richard Halliburton ( 1900 – 1939 ).
I wish I had read this quote when I was growing up as it would have been so inspirational. Richard Halliburton was the first man to swim the length of the Panama Canal. He traveled the world and wrote wonderful travel books. He was only 39 when he died. His boat was lost in a Pacific Ocean storm. Halliburton was a gay man who lived life to the fullest. He is a great role model for everyone.
I really never had any horrible experiences growing up. I did feel very lonely at times and felt that I didn’t fit at some events, but for the most part high school and college were great times for me. I knew I was gay from a very early age. I had gay relationships all through high school and college. My biggest challenge was becoming a teacher and worrying about someone outing me. I loved teaching. As a gay teacher, I tried to connect with all my students as I knew what it was like to be an outsider. Students can always tell if a teacher likes their job or is just putting in the time. So I had a great career of 39 years. I was lucky enough to receive many accolades. My favorite three were being named Teacher of the Year at David Douglas High School in 2001, the Portland Trailblazers Educator of the Year in 1987, and having the Palm Valley School ( Rancho Mirage, CA )Yearbook dedicated to me in 2009.
So my advice to all gay people coming out is to find a career that you are passionate about and that will make your life much more rewarding. I would encourage a college degree for everyone although I know it is not needed for every career. Also, I would recommend that you take care of your health. Most gay people are very social and that usually involves eating and drinking so practice moderation.
Being gay is a gift in many ways. You meet so many wonderful people through parties, clubs, dinners, events, and other social situations. Some of the most talented and creative people in the world are gay. Be happy that you were born gay and accept it as part of the plan for the universe. One last bit of wisdom about relationships. Steve and I have been together for 41 years. We are not perfect. Three phrases should be repeated in any relationship often: “ I am sorry, Thank you, and I love you.” If you say the first two phrases often, you will hear a lot more of the third one! It may sound dorky, but I like having a partner, a house, and two dogs to come home to every day. It just feels good to have a home. Last, but not least, communicate with your lover, partner, or husband. Do not assume anything about your relationship…….talk, talk, and talk some more. Most relationships fail because guys don’t sit down and express themselves. We have had many, many great highs in our 41 years, but also some tragic lows, but by having good communication with each other, we have happily survived life’s challenges. So adopt Richard Halliburton’s quote and “ Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing.”
Steven, in his own words: “When I was young, being gay meant that I was different and did not fit in with my peers or the world around me. It is very different now. I feel very lucky that I was born gay. I have had a wonderful life, been able to travel widely, and excelled at my career. If I had been straight, I don’t think I would have had the money, nor the drive to do the things I have done.
Being gay as a teenager was pretty difficult in the 70’s, but as an adult I have not had any significant challenges that could be attributed to my sexual orientation. In fact I would say that I am blessed to be gay. I think it has made me a more compassionate and loving person. I am very accepting of other people. I see things like bigotry hypocrisy, and elitism in other people that I really don’t like. I don’t think those are a part of my own character and I am thankful for that.
I am a Chiropractor. I spent most of my career as a teacher. I was hired by the College to be the Director of the Outpatient Clinic right after I graduated. At the age of 34, I became the Dean of the College. Those were amazing accomplishments that I will always be proud of.
I don’t really have a “coming out” story. I just assumed that everyone knew I was gay and it was not talked about much. I met my partner at the age of 23 and we have been together for the past 41 years. I think that fact basically let everyone know I was gay and there was no reason to announce it to anyone. I never spent a lot of time feeling ashamed of the fact. Actually, most of my life I have felt very grateful for it.
We live in Cathedral City, California which is next to Palm Springs. It is a very gay friendly community and there is a large gay population here. I love living here because I no longer feel like a minority. I can be myself and don’t really care what anyone else thinks of me or my lifestyle.
I think one of the keys to happiness whether you are gay or straight is to cultivate a group of really good friends. They become your family and it is a family of choice. We have been blessed to have a lot of friends who are quality people and who truly care about our well-being.”