I’m From Winston Salem, NC.

by Erv

Satellite overhead image of North Carolina from Google Earth 2022

I was always confused about my sexuality. Sometimes I felt straight. Sometimes I felt gay. It would fluctuate like the seasons. I went to school, and got a great job. But I felt confused. And I didn’t want to be with anyone because of that.

Then I felt nothing. I was neither gay nor straight. And I found this was relieving. I didn’t have to worry about hell or what other people think. Or worse yet losing the love of my mom. I also didn’t want to feel different from all I knew. But I wasn’t happy. I started losing the hair on my body and became really tired to the point I slept 12 hours a day.

One day I went into a eye exam. The doctor saw something. He sent me for an MRI. I was diagnosed with prolactinoma — a reoccurring brain tumor that affects the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Not knowing the success rate of this condition, I was terrified. My mom came to stay with me as I went through the process of preparing to have a 4.7 centimeter tumor removed through my nose (transphenoidal surgery). She came to every appointment. My brothers called daily. My co-workers came the morning of my surgery and sat with my mother who was all alone. I was terrified but I had to be brave for her.

I woke up 14 hours later, a spinal drip in my back, a catheter. And tubes in both arms. My mom was asleep next to me, her hand on my arm.  I woke her up. She hugged me and told me with tears that something happened. I lost my pituitary gland.

Now for those of you who don’t know, the pituitary gland is the brain of the endocrine system. So, I lost my adrenal function, my thyroid function, and my testes function. Fortunately, I could wear a patch and take medicine.

With the patch I received a normal testosterone level for the first time. I came alive for the first time as an adult. I was 35 and just waking up from a nightmare that I didn’t know existed. Along with accepting a new physiology I also accepted myself as a man for the first time. And for the first time in my life, a full understanding of the gift of my sexuality came alive.

I was Gay. I am Gay.

I didn’t know how to approach this. I never really dated. Because of my pituitary issues, I was as asexual as you could be. But now, things were normalized. And normal meant gay. Gay. Wow. It felt so right. I never even kissed but here I was. I didn’t need to test myself or sleep with someone. I just knew who I was attracted to. And it was great.

I told my mother, and she wasn’t “happy” at first but after everything I had been through, she was okay. Now she is great.

That was five years ago this summer (2010). I am turning forty soon. Everyone knows now. It has taken time to get where I am. I have lost some things, and I have gained some things. And that is okay, for life is about the losing and winning. I have gone through a “second” puberty. And I have learned who my friends are.

I am ready to bring someone into my life. Even though I am nervous every time a man sees my hypogonadism (a result of the pituitary loss). I want to get married, and even have a kid. It will be difficult, but I have been through worse. One day I am going to find the man I love. I know that he is out there. I feel it for the first time that I am not going to be alone without friends, without family, and without a man to love and who loves me.

I know a lot of stories talk about falling in love and realizing who they were and what they need at that moment. Well, that is sort of true. I am a person who finally loved himself. Who finally realized who I am. And that being gay is one of the greatest things about me. I am not saying I don’t have my moments where I get angry about being left out of society. I am not saying that I agree with every gay person on the planet or the country. I am saying, that the rainbow flag has a hue that includes me. And I am proud of that.

So, to all of you out there who are afraid of coming out, I am here to tell you, it’s scary and wonderful. I did it and so can you. In spite of all I have been through and dealt with, I have never lost faith in people and my belief systems. I now know that God wanted me to be here living my life as a Gay man. And I thank him for this.

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