This essay comes from “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living,” a collection of original essays and testimonials written to teens from celebrities, political leaders, and everyday people. This one was written by Sean Blane and David Rosen of Canada. You can purchase a copy of the book, or donate one to a local school or library, through our store at ITGETSBETTER.ORG.
Sean: “David and I are gay. And while we’re in our forties now, we were teenagers once, and we know that it’s not that easy to be gay. Role models can be hard to come by, especially in a very small town like the one I come from. The only gay people I saw were on 1970s TV sitcoms. (Three’s Company, really?) I didn’t even know that being gay and having a normal, fantastic life was an option then. I just figured that this was a phase I’d grow out of, you know, like my ‘80s hair products. Well, Jack Tripper got canceled and now my hair is a lot shorter. Somewhere along the line I knew it was going to get better.
“The first sign was probably when David and I met each other when we were about twenty-five years old. We’ve been together for almost twenty five years now. We’ve both got good jobs; I’m a diplomat with the Canadian government and David’s a doctor, and we’ve been lucky enough to have traveled all over the world. It’s sometimes hard to see when you’re in high school that you are as good as everyone else. Today, I think being gay’s a gift. You might not realize it at the moment but it makes you special, it makes you adaptable. It gives you the ability to be successful because you have developed a lot of skills most people never acquire at such an early age. You learn how to read people; how to be an observer; how to be empathetic. But first, you’ve got to get through some tough parts.
David: “High school can be pretty tough. It’s hard having to pretend you’re something that you’re not. And it can feel like it’s never going to end. But it does. Once you leave high school and move on to the next phase, you will come in contact with all sorts of cool people who are just like you, people who will accept you for who you are. Sean and I were both worried about telling our families we were gay. We couldn’t have been more wrong! Our parents joke that we need to get married. So far we’ve put them off, but we did give them grandchildren. We have two children, now six and ten, whom we adopted when they were babies. Never did either of us imagine in high school that we could be gay and parents. It’s true, you have to weather some pretty difficult years but those experiences have their rewards. That’s why there are so many creative, amazingly gay people. They’ve all withstood the horrible stuff and made it through to the other side. The other side is pretty great.”
David Rosen is an anesthesiologist, and his partner, Sean Blane, is a consul with the Canadian government. But their lives are really defined not by their jobs but their roles as dads to their two kids. They still pretend to be cool but carpooling and soccer practice are making the memories of circuit parties and fabulous dinners a little distant. Nevertheless, their kids have already declared they will elope with future spouses rather than dealing with their dads as wedding planners with a 1990s point of reference.