|Dan Pearce - The 'Single Dad Laughing'|
Dan Pearce writes several blogs. His most popular one is Single Dad Laughing, in which he discusses life with his son, Noah. Last year, Dan's blog exploded when he wrote a piece called "I'm Christian, unless you're gay." The responses to this insightful and well-written post were nothing less than astounding. Dan's post actually healed wounds and reconnected family members who thought they'd never see one another again. It was quite the phenomenon. Throughout it all, Dan maintained that he was straight. And I wanted to believe him. Afterall, I have many straight friends and acquaintances (both male and female) who not only love me for who I am, but fully support LGBT rights.
I, along with thousands of others, responded with a positive message. His post made me cry and the responses to it were nothing less than amazing. Dan continued to post about life with his son, his relationships with his ex-wives, dancing in a local 'Dancing with the Stars' competition and dating women. All well and good.
Today, though, Dan did something amazing. He came out, publicly. Finally. Irrevocably.
Bravo, Dan! I know from experience how difficult coming out to the world can be. It was only after a year of therapy that I came out to my immediate family in my mid-30's. While they were supportive and accepting, the dread of doing so was nearly as toxic as the years of lying to them. But the relief following it was simply amazing. I hope that Dan is experiencing that sense of relief, too. I'm out at work, out to all my friends and out to my contemporary cousins (though my very Catholic aunts and uncles are probably better off not knowing -- and I am probably better off without them knowing. They are in their late 70's and early 80's - why upset the cart?). And of course, my mother and sister both said "Yeah, and...?"
As a country, the U.S. continues to make strides in accepting LGBT people as equals. In the recent elections, four states approved same-sex marriage. It seems that more and more celebrities and politicians are coming out of their closets and the fear we once felt in declaring who we are is diminishing, daily. Make no mistake, we still have a long way to go. As I write this, there are still places in the world where being gay is punishable by death. Indeed, there are still states where it is legal to fire someone for being gay. Hopefully, I will see that change in my lifetime.
By adding his voice to the millions around the world only want to be able to love who and how we love; without fear of reprisal; without fear of discrimination and without fear of persecution, Dan has helped open hearts and minds to the cause of LGBT rights, which are really nothing more than Human Rights. Today, Dan Pearce was added to my list of Heroes. Congratulations, Dan. Welcome to the Light Side. It's so much better here.
If you are ready and are planning to come out yourself, here are a few tips on doing so:
Okay - that was a bit campy. Still, you should know that it really does get better:
If you have questions or fears; if you don't know how or if you should come out, please know that I (and many others) am here for you. Post a comment and I promise I will answer and reach out to help you. And you can always contact The Trevor Project. Come out, come out, whoever you are!