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I can’t speak for anyone’s experience but my own. So when it was time to attend the GLBTQ and Ally workshop, it was sensitive. It is a community I began with at the age of 16 when I came out to myself. I wasn’t active until I was 19, and I went through difficult adjustments of sexual practice and identity. That’s now at issue here. Rather, I am examining the relationships I do have with other GLBTQ community members. One of the strongest assets of this community is that it promotes the individual voice. It allows each member to find their identity, at their own pace, and within their own boundaries.

I know I’ve discovered my own boundaries years ago when I was emerging from an abusive, same-sex relationship. I’ve been single now for more than 10 years. Some may say I’m playing the victim card. Others (i.e., Republicans) may say I got what I deserved. I’ve been involved with the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and multiple Sheriff, Police, and emergency management departments. I take my time away from dating and relationships to be a very determined, specific, and planned time. I’ve advanced in my work, I’ve recovered from depths of disability claims. I’ve endured hostile, toxic work environments, and I’ve suffered the consequences of my own malicious actions. All in all, I’ve succeeded, though, because I’m still breathing and walking as a free man.

And I’m gay. And this is what I thought about when I reflected on the GLBTQ+Ally workshop. I’ve found my identity, and I’ve learned to tell my story.