How many times have I heard the following statements?  “Why do gay people have to come out?” or “Straight people to come out.”  Those individuals who complain the most about any man or women that are finally able to embrace their gender/sexual identity and live authentic lives are the ones that protest the loudest.  As a gay male – who hasn’t really officially ‘come out’ explain why this process is a process that many in the LGBT community need to allow to happen naturally:

First, here is the reason that people in the LGBT community must ‘come out’……(using my own personal experience, which is very similar for so many people)….I have always known that I was attracted to men, it wasn’t confusing – I was attracted to men.  I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “I think I’ll begin an emotional and physical attraction to men today” – that just doesn’t happen.  

There are many reasons that I didn’t decide to share my feelings in regards to being attracted to men, the most pressing was societies lack of acceptance towards people in same-sex relationships due to their religious beliefs.  Many so-called “religious people” who identify as Christian and God-fearing, justify their hate through their interpretation of the Bible.  They impose their religious ideologies and outright condemn homosexuals due to those religious ideologies and beliefs.  What if you don’t buy into those religious ideologies?  How do you justify not accepting a group of individuals as equal to everyone else?  Sounds very similar to what many black activists demanded during the civil rights movement, doesn’t it?  

I heard the many negative stories of people being kicked out of their homes and being disowned by family and friends after coming out.  I saw the harassment and bullying that many ‘out’ kids received in school.  Many were verbally, emotionally and physically assaulted – not only by their peers but by the school officials.  I wasn’t even out and was called, “faggot”, “queer”, “pussy”, “fairy” and so many other names that reinforced the lack of acceptance of people who were attracted to the same-sex.  This mistreatment wasn’t only experienced in public places – it was present in the home.  My uncle was gay – he has since passed but I remember that my mother loved him very much but no-one talked about his lifestyle.  It was kept secret and was a taboo topic of discussion because he was gay.  If family frowned and looked negatively upon my uncle’s homosexual identity – why would I make the decision to come out and open myself to further emotional turmoil?

There came a period in my life where I wanted nothing more than to find a partner and finally be free of living a double life.  But I knew that if that day came, my life would be an open book. 

I had many internal struggles and luckily found a community of people I could be myself with.  Many people like me – outcasts, freaks of nature, sexual deviants and predators as we were commonly referred to by those making the judgements.  I finally realized that my sexual identity didn’t define me and that I just happened to be a man who had attractions to other men.  There was nothing wrong with me.  On a warm night in Toronto’s gay community – I walked and pondered how my friends and family would react when I finally ‘came out’?  As I pondered this – a van squealed by and I heard several guys calling out to me; “hey faggot, wanna suck some cock”, “come and get it fairy” and eventually “die, faggot”  I had never been a victim of gay-bashing but I certainly came close that night – one of the guys in the van threw a beer bottle in my direction – missing me by inches, they then sped off.  This incident enraged me.  I was physically attacked because of where I was and for who I was even though these bullies didn’t know I was gay.

I was lucky – I finally made the decision to come out but only to myself.  I had to address and remove all the internal homophobia I had within.  I learned to love myself and I learned to deal with all the anger within me.  I met some wonderful people who looked death in the face but decided not to look at the world with hate and anger.  These people showed me that we had to stand strong and that we should not be treated as sexual predators or deviants.  We were brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters.  They showed me that we were teachers, policemen and women, doctors, lawyers, government employees, bank tellers, janitors or scientists – we were like everyone else.

I came out alright – but, I came out for the person it meant the most to – ME!  My ‘coming out’ wasn’t for anyone else.  It wasn’t for my father, mother, brothers, sisters or friends – if they didn’t accept me, I wasn’t going to take on their ignorance.  In ‘coming out’ – I made a decision that my life was going to be better for it.  Coming out would allow me to live authentically and positively.  So many of us in the LGBT community, want and need to be accepted by friends and family but, I learned that the only person that mattered in this process was me.  Coming out didn’t change the person I was.  I was the same Rob and this realization allowed me to see the ignorance in other people.  

The worst thing I hear from people now is – “I respect and love you but I don’t accept your lifestyle choice, it’s wrong” – I don’t accept that.  If you love and respect me as I love and respect you – there are no stipulations to that love and respect.  Imagine if I turned to a friend and said, “I love and respect you but your heterosexuality disgusts me.” It sounds just as ridiculous as, “I love and respect you but I don’t accept your lifestyle choice, it’s wrong.” 

Lifestyle choice….these words suggest that I made the choice to become gay.  That being said – if I can make the choice to be gay – then everyone can.  So, to all of you God-fearing people out there who are quick to reference the Bible on homosexuality, I dare you to make the same choice I did and become gay. 

We must thank those people who hold no judgements on others because of the colour of their skin, their gender, sexual identity, nationality or any other attributes that make them unique and different.  We must embrace individual diversities and allow people to live authentically so that we can all have a safe, inclusive and positive environment.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!




How was it like for me to hide part of my true authentic self?  I was born gay, so why was I trying so hard to hide this amazing part of myself…..well, here are some of the reasons I refused talking about my sexuality:

  • I didn’t want my family to be ashamed of me.
  • I didn’t want to lose any of my friends.
  • I didn’t want to be kicked out of my parents house.
  • Society invoked violence against the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, queer) community – so why would I want to endure that?
  • Gay people were going to hell.
  • Gay people get AIDS and die.
  • Gay people are not “normal”.
  • Gay people are not equal to normal heterosexuals
  • Gay people are “dykes”, “faggots”, “sissies”, “pussies”, “gross”, “pedophiles”…..

So why didn’t I stay in the closet?  I was tired of trying to please everyone else but myself.  Once I embraced my homosexuality as part of my true authentic self – I was able to live my life with more clarity, honesty and authenticity.  No longer was I trying to hide who I was, no longer was I imprisoned by my desire to be what everyone else wanted me to be.  I was free, I was whole, I was finally me.  I was no longer afraid – I came to peace knowing that some people in my life (including family) would not accept this part of me but I didn’t care because there was nothing wrong with me.

I hope that there will be a day where gays and lesbians don’t have to ‘come out’ anymore because there is nothing to come out from.  ‘Coming out’ isn’t for the sake of making other people feel better – coming out, for me, was a way for me to liberate myself from the fears and stereotypes that society imposed on gays and lesbians.  If people accepted me already – why wouldn’t they embrace me after I empowered myself to live my true authentic life?  People fear what they don’t understand.  People are also slaves because of their religious beliefs and believe that the “sin of homosexuality” is an abomination.  Not very Christian is it?  (Please see my previous post ‘The Bible Mythology’ on many of the other things Christians should not be engaged in).

So – should we care when a celebrity comes out?  Absolutely!  What is the difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals (no this isn’t a joke)?  Nothing but our sexual preference!  As I have said many times before….I didn’t just decide to try being with men one day – I just knew I liked them and wanted to be with them in every way.  If it was that easy for me to choose to be gay – then it must have been a choice for heterosexuals to be straight.  Think about it – if, all of a sudden, I made the decision to be gay – then every other  straigh man or woman could make the same decision as I did.  Celebrities, athletes, politicians, and anyone else in the public eye should use their celebrity status as a platform to potentially save the lives of many individuals who struggle so hard in their decision to come out and live their authentic lives.  Whether you are homosexual or heterosexual – we all want the same things – to be happy, to contribute to the community, to help those in need, to love, to be compassionate and to spread positivity into the world.

I love all those who have paved the way for me, like gay icons – Harvey Milk, Liberace, Elton John, Carole Pope, Boy George, Jimmy Sommerville, Holly Johnston, Divine, Rupaul, George Michael, Barney Frank, Rachel Maddow, Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Collins, Dan Savage, Gareth Thomas, Greg Louganis, Cazwell, Frank Ocean and so many others.  I also love those who have continued to support the gay community and in our fight for equality, people like;  Madonna, David Beckham, Bill Maher, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Joy Behar, Adam Levine, Chris Evans,  Michelle Visage, Lady Gaga and so many other wonderful people.

Coming out isn’t easy – despite what others may say – coming out is about finally being able to face your fears and to go against everything that you believed to be true.  Coming out is a realization that there was never anything wrong with you and only in those that instilled their hatred, ignorance and fear about homosexuals into society.  Coming out is brave, liberating, joyous, loving, wonderful, strong and honest but, most importantly,  coming out is about loving yourself.

Enjoy these videos:

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!


As we continue to celebrate the ruling SCOTUS made yesterday in deeming Prop 8 unconstitutional – I want to look back into the past, 1984 to be exact.  I was in High School and was living a life as a closeted teenager.  I didn’t know where to go for support – I knew how my friends and family felt about homosexuals (especially males) and wasn’t about to ‘come out’ to any of them.  The only release I managed to receive was in pop music. 

There were a lot of ambiguous music groups and artists that were just reaching peak stardom levels, groups such as; Duran Duran, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, New Order, Yaz, etc….What I really connected with were bands that had openly/known gay singers and band mates like; Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and especially Bronski Beat.  (I learned of Andy Bell of Erasure a few years later).  

Music transcended the closet for me and I guess, for many others.  These bands had massive hit records and albums during that time.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t come out especially when Bronski Beat had a hit on the charts about a young boy’s struggle and coming out with his homosexuality.  The song was called “Smalltown Boy”.  This song resonated with me – it was about me, it was my story and it was on the radio everywhere.  The irony is that the song didn’t give me the courage to come out and live my authentic life – for me, it reinforced why I should stay closeted.  I didn’t want to be bullied, I didn’t want to lose my friends and most of all – I didn’t want to be ostracized by my family.  What that song did was allow me to begin the dialogue with myself in accepting who I was because it was confirmation that there were many others out there like me.

I think the LGBTQ community should acknowledge the importance of pop music and artists such as Divine, Sylvester, Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Madonna, Elton John, Erasure and Bronski Beat – some for being openly gay and not apologizing for it and some for embracing the community without fear of what could happen to their careers.  These artists, through their music and videos, have provided an escape of a harsh reality that so many today (and yesterday) couldn’t live through.  So thank you and Happy Pride.

Here are the lyrics to “Smalltown Boy” :

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
But the answers you seek
Will never be found at home
The love that you need
Will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Pushed around and kicked around
Always a lonely boy
You were the one
That they’d talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try
They’d hurt to make you cry
But you never cried to them
Just to your soul
No, you never cried to them
Just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Cry, boy, cry…

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Here is the video that gave me inspiration to begin to live my true and authentic self….enjoy!

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!


I am sure that many have heard the news that pro NBA player – Jason Collins has proclaimed that he is gay!  Here are comments that people have made about this news:

“I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend.”Bill Clinton (via twitter)

“When I see you I’m gonna hug your knees so hard.”Ellen Degeneres

“This is what role models are made of.  Here’s to a time when it’s no big deal.”Ricky Gervais (via twitter)

“Thank you for not being afraid to speak up and speak out.  Thank you for your courage.” – Representative John Lewis (via twitter)

“Hey @JasonCollins34 I’m still gayer than you!” – Rupaul (via twitter)

“So proud of you, Jason Collins!  This is a huge step forward for our country.  We’ve got your back!” – Michelle Obama, FLOTUS (via twitter)

“Collins has led the way to freedom. Yes, freedom — because that closet is completely and utterly suffocating. It’s only when you come out that you can breathe properly. It’s only when you come out that you can be exactly who you are. Collins’ action will save lives. This is no exaggeration: Fully one-third of suicides among teenagers occur because of their sexuality. Collins will truly affect lives, too. Millions of kids will see that it is OK to be gay. No need for shame, no need for embarrassment, no need for hiding”Martina Navratilova (Sports Illustrated column)  – Martina came out in 1981 at the height of her pro-tennis career.

Not all of the news was positive though…..here are what non-supporters have said (again, hiding behind religion to justify their bigotry and ignorance):

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.” – ESPN sportscaster Chris Broussard

“I will guarantee you if the ownership of whatever team is thinking about bringing him back or thinking about trading for him – and they go to the players on that team and they say ‘how do you feel about an out, active homosexual being in the same locker room sharing the same shower facilities with you’ they’d say ‘no way. I don’t want that. I don’t want some guy, a teammate eyeballin’ me in the shower and my wife does not want that.” –  Bryan Fischer (AFA – America Family Association)

Here is Jason Collins first interview after ‘coming out’ on Good Morning America:

I focused on the positive comments because it is that feedback that matters.  Those who make negative comments are hiding behind their fear of what they don’t want to understand.   Some of my (gay) friends have made comments such as;  “big deal, there are many courageous individuals that are not in the public eye that ‘come out’ every day and don’t even receive half as much attention”.  Yes, many individuals come out everyday – which is also great.  However, it is not everyday where a pro-athlete decides to risk their future career by announcing to the world they are homosexual.  Jason Collins coming out IS a big deal.  As Martina Navratilova indicated in her Sports Illustrated column (see comments above).  In addition to this giving our LGBT youth the courage and strength to come out and live their true authentic lives – it may also inspire other pro-athletes to stop denying their right to live their true authentic selves.

Looking back – I wonder how much earlier I would have come out had some of my role-models made such an important and public statement.  Never-the-less, Jason Collins news is wonderful, inspiring and important for reasons that heterosexuals may not understand.  One such reason is that gay youth, men and women may not feel a disconnect and alone when there is such a high-profile role model in the public eye and that there are others that are just like them.

Jason Collins did not come out to seek attention – he come out to truly live his authentic life and in doing so, has probably saved the lives of so many who are struggling with their own sexuality.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!


Many people are blogging about Anderson Cooper coming out.  Many are saying:  “that this was old news and that they are not surprised”, many others are also saying that it was a vital move on his part for coming out especially when he was reporting on bullying and the need to advocate against it.  We look to celebrities and public figures as role models and as such, should they not be responsible to be truthful about who they really are? 

Growing up in the 80’s – I didn’t really have too many gay role models to look up to – especially as a closeted gay pre-teen.  Everytime I did see a gay person on television or in print – they were always flamboyant and feminine or they were painted as being deviant, promiscuous and not part of mainstream society.  I did know that there were many celebrities who were gay but they feared that coming out would hurt their careers – with a few exceptions like;  Holly Johnson (from Frankie Goes To Hollywood – remember the song Relax?), Elton John (was out as bi-sexual), Boy George (from Culture Club), Andy Bell (from Erasure) and Jimmy Sommerville (from Bronski Beat and The Communards).  Jimmy Sommervile was by far the person who I deemed the bravest – he had a huge hit with ‘Small Town Boy’ which depicted the ‘coming out’ story of a teenage boy.  This was my story and the story of so many other teenage boys (and girls) who were bullied and pushed to have their sexual identity oppressed and hidden.  In 1983 – the video tackled all the issues that the LGBT community faces – harrassment, bullying, not being accepted by friends and family etc.  It seemed that Jimmy Sommerville was the only ‘celebrity’ who was not afraid to be his authentic self and to address it in his music and videos.

There were many artists that were ‘gay-friendly’ and embraced the gay community and even used their voices to make us feel accepted and loved – Cher, Barbara Streisand, Donna Summer, Diana Ross and Bette Midler (just to name a few) – most of these celebrities or artists didn’t speak for my generation and I didn’t connect with their music as much as I did with Madonna.  Madonna was a voice for my generation – I felt like she was the voice I never had.  She was excepting, opinionated, direct, strong and did not care about what people thought of her.  She was innovative, provocative, sexual, controversial and made people notice and talk.  She was never afraid to say what she felt and was successful in her goal to ensure people talked about the things they were afraid to talk about – sex, religion, feminism, homosexuality.  Madonna was monumental in helping me coming out and being true to myself.

Today – it may not be as difficult for someone to come out and become their authentic selves.  There are gay role-models who are accepted and celebrated for who they are;  Ellen DeGeneres, Harvey Fierstein, Ricky Martin, Melissa Etheridge, Barney Frank, Rupaul and so many others.  There are artists that are speaking out and are not afraid to let their generation know that it is okay to be themselves without fear.  Adam Lambert is a perfect example of being his true authentic self and remain successful. 

The biggest defender of equality for all for today’s generation is Lady Gaga.  She is the Madonna for today’s generation.  She is a huge advocate for LGBT rights and is not shy to let everyone know that it is okay to express yourself and be who you are.   She has managed to express her message at the height of her career.  She truly is a huge role-model for today’s generation because she speaks for everyone despite their age or sexual orientation.  Lady Gaga’s message is a message of compassion, equality and strength.

I applaud Anderson Cooper for his decision to be public about his sexual orientation.  I know that he is not asking to be the voice of a generation or to be recognized as a public role-mode for the LGBT community but in coming out, he is clearly sending out a message that it is okay to represent yourself in a true and authentic way.

We all have our struggles in life – some are easier than others.  We must encourage each other to talk about those struggles (without judgment) to ensure that WE ALL have the support, love and compassion to make those struggles easier so that we can all truly be authentic to who we are.