Once upon a time, a girl went to sleepaway camp and met a boy. They became best buddies, editors of the camp newspaper (neither liked sports too much), enjoyed reading the same books, and became “girlfriend and boyfriend.”
Only, something was off. He loved me, but didn’t love me, and gradually, we both realized why. We remained best friends and started to travel through the weird years of young adulthood.
I got married young. He had a partner. We hung out together, but the times were different, and acceptance of his lifestyle was slow to come. Job offers were few, money was tight and even back then, living in NY was expensive.
He didn’t make it. He committed suicide at 29 and for the years afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking if I had done enough, was I supportive enough, what could I have done differently to have a different ending.
I am certain this experience is one of the things that has made me who I am today, has helped me to be empathetic and PROACTIVE when I see or sense hurt , need, or pain. I know I am more perceptive and a better consultant / trainer because of helping him navigate the minefield of discrimination at a young age.
My past has created my present (in a good way).
Supporting Pride month is more than hanging a multi-colored flag, displaying a sticker, or wearing a T-shirt. Reach out to people you know that may be having a tough time despite of increased acceptance. As in most things in life, BE PROACTIVE!