David Fawcett; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
During my sophomore year in college I was as far from gay and proud as I could be. It was the mid-1970s and, despite a relaxed campus atmosphere, I felt wildly out of place among other students enjoying their first taste of adulthood. I had a deeply-buried secret: I was a homosexual.
As I accepted myself, the energy I had spent suppressing my feelings was released and I blossomed both personally and professionally. My occupational interests turned to healing as my own spirit awakened. My heart slowly opened and then broke as AIDS ravaged my community in the 1980s. Ironically, in that dark time I began to experience a sense of belonging that ignited my own first sparks of Gay Pride.
Today, my Gay Pride is rooted in a balance of giving to our community and receiving the positive energy that comes back to me. That old internalized fear of being devastatingly flawed is gone. I rely less on externals and more on my internal sense of who I am.
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