My name is Josh; I was born and raised in the Twin Cities. Right now I am 21 years old and am going to school for law enforcement.
As many other gay men do, I like to think that my coming out story has something from it that is special. I knew I was different when I was a young boy, always wanting to play the more nurturing role person, having a soft kin-spirited heart and being very attached. Then the unfortunate happened. No I was not outed, but my parents went through a brutal divorce that has left life-long scars on all three of us children.
The divorce sent me to the very cold and lonely depths of despair. I tried making myself seem “normal” as to feel like the other guys in junior and senior high. I would do seemingly “straight” things; dress like the other guys in polos, and even participate in hate speech against gays and others alike. I joined the boy scouts and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout, amidst the torture from fellow scouts and so-called “friends” who thought I was gay.
I never would admit it and never did until I realized that if I want to be a cop I have to represent honesty and integrity and slowly started to come out at the age of 19. It was a long and hard heart-wrenching experience to deal with many of the issues that surround my decision. Law enforcement is a profession widely known for its intolerance of outside groups like ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities. I wanted to do it. It has been a wonderful experience to open up, my parents accept me for who I am and I live life with less worry about someone finding out or what my parents will say.
Sadly I cannot take part again in some of the experiences I had as a boy scout because the Boy Scouts of America does not allow gays, although my happiness was worth the sacrifice. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that success is not measured by the amount of achievements but rather by the ability to continue on living free and happy. I can continue serving my community much the same way I did in the Boy Scouts, but now I can serve openly and help bring light to those that are struggling much the same way I did when I was ten up until a couple of years ago.
Thanks for reading, it has meant a lot for me to be able to write this. I hope that I am able to help someone through my pain and suffering, it would have made it all worthwhile.
I’m From St. Louis, MO – Video Story. “I was employed as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I didn’t know any gay people in law enforcement so it was hard to kind of be the first one to be out there and of course as you get out there you realize that there are more people out there. Some of my friends now, one of my best friends is a sergeant on the police department, I’m friends with State Troopers, and all over, and it’s, you know, it kind of becomes a community within the law enforcement community.”
I’m From Jacksonville, FL. “John Bolton, my former Boy Scout leader, and the reason I left the scouts after coming out, suggested behind closed doors to the session that my mother wouldn’t be a fit for the position because of her positive views of homosexuality—because she had a gay son, specifically—and the session agreed. Someone sympathetic to Mom let her know what happened. John continued to counsel my brother to Eagle Scout. My parents continued to have him as a guest in their home.”
I’m From New Orleans, LA. “My parents had been divorced since before I could talk, but somehow drugs, money, court cases, and medical bills still sprang up around every corner. It was a hot, sunny day, with rain in the forecast, as there always was. We’d gotten po-boys for lunch. I got a half-and-half, fully dressed with Tabasco, no pickles (half shrimp, half oysters with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo). I had lost the patience to stay in the house and listen to people shout about lies and money, so I took my po-boy and plopped onto the grass in the backyard. Sitting there thinking about everything going on, I couldn’t help but be taken over by waves of anger and sadness. Why all of this? Why did they have to use me? Why did I have to be different?”