The First Time
I didn’t get the chance to come out on my own the first time. I had been quietly seeing my first partner Scott for only a few weeks when a mutual acquaintance named Melanie saw us riding in his car together.
Melanie went to high school with Scott, and she was a member of the church that my family had previously attended. She knew that Scott was gay because he had come out as a teenager and was kicked out of his home. Armed only with the knowledge that she saw me in his car, she took it upon herself to tell my mother that I was gay. Though I didn’t deny it when she asked, I never truly got over being outed when I wasn’t ready.
The Second Time
I joined the Air Force during Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which meant that in order to serve, I would need to close the door on the man I had been and live a largely silent life. It was during this tumultuous and torturous period that I quietly came out as bisexual. I married Jennifer and became a step-dad. Hiding my true self took a heavy toll on me and those closest to me. My mental health deteriorated and I sought solace in the arms of cocaine.
The Third Time
In 2018 I embraced a new descriptor that more accurately described the person I was and self-identified publicly as pansexual for the first time.
Though I’m not a fan of categorizing and labels in general, there are a few that do a good job of describing where I am in my journey and how I best identify myself:
I also lean somewhat toward a description of gender fluidity, though I most often present in a masculine way.