Born in Florida
San Francisco resident since 1965
I was a closeted homosexual my whole life. I kind of fell into the computer field when I was a young man. Then I got laid off twice in a two-year period, and I could kind of see the writing on the wall. I only had a GED. So I decided to take the opportunity to go to college. I studied education and got a teaching degree. I ended up going to a church’s school. I totally loved it, and I was very good at it. But I was in the closet. One day, someone came to me said that this particular student had committed suicide. I knew the student very well. I knew why he had done it without them even telling me. Because he was gay and his parents were bullying him. I came out at that funeral service. Because I felt the boy wouldn’t have killed himself if he knew he had a gay teacher that liked him. I thought because I was very popular and very well loved…I thought I’d get a pass. That people would say, “We’ve known you your whole life, we’ve seen you grow into this great teacher. After 20 years of computers, we’ve seen you blossom into this new, authentic human being.” But they never even let me back into the classroom to say goodbye or anything. I lost everything. I lost my support system. My church was my family. I became homeless over this. I try to be hopeful but it’s a pretend hopefulness. It’s like my pretend straightness from before. I try to say maybe I can still find love, maybe I can still find joy, ya know. I want to be that guy that’s giddy and says “look my toes are hardly touching the pavement!” I want to know if that’s real or if that’s just in cartoons.