"Yes, I still love you."
Can there be five words any gay person needs to hear more from his parents and loved ones upon telling them he's gay?
As part of "Coming Out Month" on "This Gay Relationship," I want to share the video below with you to prove not only how difficult coming out is, but also how liberating.
If you are a gay person, you will experience few other events in your life more frightening, but I urge you to remain focused on the end result. Coming out is not just about revealing yourself as the gay person you are; it's also about setting yourself free after years, or even decades, of being imprisoned within your body and mind. No one can live like that forever. All of us are entitled to be who we were meant to be.
The young man in the video is U.S. Airman 1st Class Randy Phillips, who is just twenty-one years old. According to Advocate.com, he is currently stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany and has been away from home for almost a year.
In the video, Phillips comes out to his father, who lives in Alabama. The video is part of a series he recorded on YouTube on the AreYouSurprised, to visually document each step of his coming out process, in anticipation of the September 20, 2011, repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the U.S. military. A short time after Randy came out to his father, he called his mother and did the same.
Make no mistake, this is one brave young man. Not only is coming out difficult enough as it is, but to set up a camera, record what happened live, and make it available to the world puts Randy in a class all his own. I don't doubt for a minute his videos will embolden a good many young gay and lesbian people to follow his lead. What an example he is to all of us.
Although my own coming out story happened decades ago, watching Randy brought me back to that day, reminding me of the nervousness and trepidation I felt. I know what this young man went through. None of us should have to face the possibility of losing loved ones because of who we are. His apprehension and hopefulness are palpable, but so are his relief and joy when it's all over.
Are you this courageous?
To see the video of Randy coming out to his mother, please click here.