It’s incredible what having a place like The Center in town can do for a person’s comfort level when they identify as a gay man and come from a conservative family. Don’t get me wrong – aside from struggling with me being gay, they’ve given me the world. And regardless, I wouldn’t trade them for anyone. Not a chance. But getting involved with The Center has helped me realize most people, LGBTIQQAA or not, don’t really care about who you love. At least not in this community. This community supports humanity. And that means a place like The Center, which gives people a space and encouragement to feel comfortable in their skin, can exist… and potentially thrive.

As I’ve spent time volunteering for The Center, I’ve gotten over my fears of people judging me. It’s the perfect timing too. I’m planning my wedding with my fiancé. I can walk into stores, wedding venues, and everything else with my head held high, not worrying about someone not wanting to do business with me just because I’m marrying a man.

I believe The Center can give that comfort to anyone else who’s looking for it. Trust me – there are some great people here. I hope someday I’ll be able to come out of the shadows and help people find the comfort I have.