Trying to pick up a stranger in a parking lot should have filled me with shame, but it didn’t. A brush with death gave me a different view of my life. I learned to value the little moments and stop denying who I was—a gay man.
I had spent a good chunk of my life dismissing myself. When I enlisted, the don’t ask, don’t tell policy hadn’t been rescinded. But I was good with staying hidden. Back then, coming out meant recriminating looks, homophobic gestures, and potential violence outside of the military. Besides, I refused to let my identity jeopardize my career.
Losing part of my leg, however, changed me. I saw a shrink for help with the PTSD. I learned that keeping quiet about my sexuality was living half a life. Something I didn’t want anymore.
But wasn’t picking up strangers the act of a desperate person?
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