This is my way of coming out to those I know. Many of you already knew, heard rumors, heard through facebook, but now here it is from the horse's mouth. I am gay.
Big woop, now on to the important stuff. So even before the accident I felt like an outsider looking in. I tried my entire life not to be noticed, to fit in, to be somewhere in the middle of everyone. So much so that life took me completely by surprise when I suddenly became the focus of everyone's attention. After a lifetime of trying to blend in this was hell.
A friend of mine I met in rehab was in a chair and thankfully went on to get full use of his legs back. He told me that he was looked at differently in each stage of his recovery. Before he was unnoticed. While he was in the chair he was looked at with pity, looked down upon. When he moved on to the leg brace he was looked at with sympathy but with less judgment that he was helpless.
It still drives me nuts sometimes how I'm never out of people's attention, my own mini spotlight. When I'm not in my chair I'm using my leg brace which makes a loudish groaning noise every step. Kids stare especially, since they haven't learned society's way of staring, averting eyes, stare, avert eyes... it's more direct and allows me to address the issue much more easily. Sometimes I just want to want to scream to scream at people "yes I'm in a chair/using a leg brace. Take a picture it'll last longer." But I was raised to be polite so I try and be nice. As I was coming out of the locker room today in my wheelchair going to the pool, a little kid asked me "why are you in a wheelchair?" within 2 seconds of seeing me. This way I can at least get the issue off the table immediately and don't have to worry about the pressure to be awkwardly polite.
I feel I have an obligation, to myself and to those around me. I secretly wished someone out there would out me, force me to be honest with myself and those around me. But I have to take on some courage and do this myself. Since I'm in the spotlight already, I can show people that it's okay to be different, it's okay to walk in the light. I was terrified that I would have to stand up and be honest but now people can know that there is life after an accident, life after the closet. Now the statistic I've heard so often stated is that 1 in 10 men are gay. Now if that is true there are more people in the closet than most people can imagine; they should have someone to look out to and see a world where it is okay to be different.