Chad, age 4
Kingston, TN (1981)
I knew I was different from a very young age. I had attractions to other boys, but thought something was wrong with me. Or the devil was making me think those thoughts. Being raised in a strong Southern Baptist family, I felt I was in constant sin, and kept the secret to myself. I prayed often to just take these thoughts away, because I knew I would disappoint my family if they knew I had them.
I had girlfriends through middle and high school, college, and into my adult life. They were great best friends, who I loved dearly.
But, I always felt I was lying to them. I never felt that connection everyone said you'd feel, when you met the right person for your life.
I was bullied and teased for my mannerisms and appearance throughout school. I took every opportunity to try and get out of my home, school and life. Some choices I made were good, like taking youth group, church, and band trips etc.
Other choices were not so good, like skipping school almost every day in junior high, resulting in me failing a grade level.
It was very difficult to come out, and I still have underlying issues with my family. I feel in time, we will come to a common ground. But, I am out to my family, friends, and at work.
I married the love of my life on August 5, 2009. My husband (who is Korean) and I live in Seoul, Korea where I'm a teacher for Department Of Defense schools on the military base here.
As a gay man working in a federal position, I still face issues with regulations, laws, and politics. But I am proud of who I have become, and grateful for the journey that has led me here.
I often think about how this boy from East Tennessee ended up in Korea, with such a wonder life and partner to share it with.
Chad's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("Saved By The Bell")________________________________________________