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Oct 1, 2018

In today’s episode, Devon discusses his marriage to Emily Reese, his early knowledge of his homosexuality, his fear and shame around his feelings, as well has his religious beliefs at the time that lead him to compartmentalize his feelings of same sex attraction. His coming out journey has been a journey toward self-actualization, and he speaks about how telling the truth, even when it is painful for both the person telling it and the person hearing it, is critical for growth and healing. Devon and Emily are currently amicably co-parenting their three children through Emily’s final stages of terminal colon cancer.

 

Devon knew from a young age that he was gay. In his own words: “At least for me, it was like a compartmentalized thing. I know it sounds very cliché but in some ways, it was like a box and you put your feelings of gayness away in that box, and you put it away in the proverbial closet, and you close the door, and you focus on all the other aspects of your being. Certainly, I knew from my very first concept of feeling different, and for me there’s a lot of shame and fear because at that time - early 80’s, mid-80’s and even into the early 90’s - it wasn’t a great place in the world to be a gay man. You’re dealing with the AIDS crisis, internalized and externalized homophobia. I knew that in order to be the person that I thought I was and could be, that I had to ignore one aspect of my existence. That’s not to say it wasn’t deceptive, it was. It was deceiving to my parents, my friends, my family, certainly to Emily, but in that dark place where I put that, and put it away, you justify it by saying ‘well I do love my spouse, I am sexually attracted to them, I do want to have children, I want this very picture perfect life,’ and so you make choices, and those choices ultimately have hurtful impacts certainly to our spouse and our family. And for some people they are able to put that item in the box and in the closet and live an entire lifetime without acknowledging their true self. And they can be happy and healthy and well, they just aren’t 100% fully actualized in my opinion.”

 

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