Happy Gay Pride. I look over the years and I see so much hate for the gay lifestyle, but does that make me ashamed? The answer, short and sweet ... No.

  People hide behind religion with gay and non-gay reasoning. At the age of 10, while I was a camper at a Salvation Army camp here in the central Ohio area, I was molested by the camp counselor. When the leadership of the Salvation Army found out this happened, they fired him and had him leave the camp without informing the police or seeking help for the many campers he had sex with. The simple reason they didn’t want to turn him in was they knew he was going to be a minister and didn’t want to hurt his lifelong dream, and with him being gone nobody would be hurt. But what I found out during the following year was not only did he have sex with me at the camp but he also had sex with several other children all under the age of 12.

  Another thing to question the Salvation Army about is while they accept money from all sources of life, even our gay money, few people realize that over the past two years the Salvation Army has been giving funding to our government and other anti-gay groups. They, as a church, have forgotten its founder’s cause for the church movement. William Booth started the Salvation Army for love of all persons and, most of all, the people not accepted. He accepted the drunks, the poor, the blacks, and several others in his early movement of London England yet here ... his same church finds ways to put the gay community down and ban them from employment and membership in the church.

  The United Methodist is another such church. I attended a UMC for over a year and while they accept gay money and open their church to some gay people, they continue to vote from conference to conference that gays will not be accepted. On another point of the UMC I find it interesting is that the church will open its doors to you as long as you give them your money, but when that money stops they will forget all about you. And in one case of a UMC, I was sent monthly statements telling me what I owed the church and they knew I was very ill at the time.

  My daughter’s senior year at Westland High School was a bust due to my lifestyle. I had taken out an ad in the fall program to commend her on her years at Westland. One parent found it offensive that I signed it with my partner’s and my name and quickly edited the ad out of the program. Her reason was we didn’t want to hurt our daughter. It’s funny and I laugh now because over the past five years I’ve had over a dozen of those band members come up and congratulate me on being honest and told me they too were gay and were afraid to come out while in school because of reactions from school mates and parents. My daughter, while not understanding at the time, has opened up a lot and now she’s very happy for my partner and me.

  Employment is another touchy area. I worked at a local hospital for 15 years and moved up the ladder with hard work. My ex-wife also worked at the hospital. When she and I divorced that’s when things became ugly. She found it to be her job to tell everyone about my lifestyle. I thought it would get better if I’d transfer to another hospital but they not only already knew about me, they continued to let her harass me at work and home causing me a breakdown from lack of sleep and harassment. It’s funny how at the hospital parties, etc. I’d see the staff of that hospital point me out; and one night I even had someone damage my car. When I filed a complaint with the hospital, I was told I was getting what I deserved. Yet it’s funny how I had a boss come on to me, and right before he got married, he quickly fired me saying he just couldn’t see me with the hospital anymore. Was he afraid that his wife would find out? It’s truly funny now that I think about it ... at least 80% of our married men have had a homosexual affair and still continue to do it behind their wives’ backs.

Family - now that’s another story. I’ve not been to a family Christmas party, wedding, funeral, or event for over five years now. My sister states that she doesn’t want her boys to catch it. My oldest brother says it’s a sin and God’s going to let me burn in hell. Another brother says his mother-in-law and wife feel we are the downfall of America and has asked me not to call. And another brother almost had me arrested for stealing furniture he had given me when I divorced and had me evicted from an apartment that he and I lived in up until the time he found out about my lifestyle. Another brother feels it and the people I’m hanging around with are a phase. He even had me attend his church where they tried to brainwash me and change me to straight; and yet to this day he is a closeted homosexual. My father is somewhat accepting, but still doesn’t want me around. It’s funny how family members are the ones who hurt you most when you face the truth.

  As for my life now ... I have been with a partner now for over five years. We have shared good and bad times. His family, while not accepting of our lifestyle, still accepts me and loves me. I spend all my holidays with them and accept them as my family now. My partner has had to put up with a lot of health issues as I have a liver disease that has its ups and downs. At times the medicine has been very costly and yet he makes sure I get the medicine and see the doctor. He has stayed at my side through many jobs as the employment world still discriminates against the gay world. We were committed to each other four years ago at a UMC church here in Columbus and on that day I was and still am the happiest man around. Love truly does happen in the gay world and straight people need to open up to it.

  So with this I want to wish all a happy pride and let you know that while we all have some bad times we also have good. Be who you are and be proud.

June was Gay Pride Month.

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