AHP Staff Reflect on Coming Out
In honor of National Coming Out Day this Friday, Connections asked AHP staff to reflect on their experience coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ.) Here’s what four had to say:
Ramon Matos, LMFT, Program Manager, ASAP Counseling and Case Management Services
I came out to my father in 1979—I was 19 and a sophomore in college. He was the first person I came out to and it was in response to a conversation we were having about his desire to know me better. It wasn’t planned and after I told him, he wasn’t able to speak to me for about three days. He called me and told me that he didn’t understand, but that I was his son and he would love me no matter what happened. He asked that I not tell my mom and said that he would do it. To this day, I could not tell you when it was that he told her because she never changed how she was with me. My coming out strengthened my relationship with my family.
Coming out for me has been a process and I still come out these days – just less often. As a young man, my coming out was about me. As I have aged the process of coming out has been about standing up for my relationships, protecting my community, and becoming part of something bigger than me.
Rob Marks, Publications and Training Manager
The first person I came out to was myself. I had moved to San Francisco to apply to graduate school and ran into a childhood friend who was now a member of a quartet—The Choral Majority—which rewrote Protestant hymns to reflect a lesbian-gay sensibility. She invited me to a concert at the Pacific Center in Berkeley. Crammed into a little room with 50 other people, I thought everyone there assumed I was gay. At that moment, I realized I wasn’t straight or even bisexual, the fictions I’d been reciting to myself. To stop rejecting myself was a revelation, a coming home. Coming out to my family and friends? No problem; they already knew.
Lisa Roth, Graphics Gal
The girl I was madly in love with and I threw the I Ching, seeking its ancient wisdom and sage advice.
The hexagram we threw (Hex 31, Judgment), said: “To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.”
We figured if the I Ching was good enough for the Red Army, it was good enough for us. Sage advice, indeed.
Chance Kaleimakalii Ramos, SWA, Case Manager, ASAP Counseling & Case Management Services
I like to come out nonchalantly. I can recall having a conversation with a new hire at the runaway shelter where I was working. As we were walking into the employee parking lot, I asked if he drove that new 300Z and he affirmed. I then stated, “I dated a guy that drove a red one!”
Or the time on a flight with a college student sitting next to me, chatting about Hawaii, since he was going to the Big Island to do geological research for the summer. When I pulled out my wallet to give him my business card, he noticed a photo in the clear plastic section of me and a guy. He asked me who that was. I said “my ex!” He leaned in even closer for the rest of the flight and the conversation never stopped. We became pen pals (circa 1993).
Look out for more staff stories this Friday!