I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. Founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important, and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with The Huffington Post.
"Going back 15 years ago, I thought I was happy having the big house and the car and the vacations and the perfect relationship and social life, but something was missing," says Gill.
Before coming out, Gill seemed to have achieved the middle-class American dream, picket fence and all, but he knew a part of himself was lost in that equation.
"I had kind of a catharsis when I finally reached the fact that I knew I was different, that I was attracted to men, but never really acted on it," he says.
Through therapy, he gained the courage to name what he was holding back. He made up his mind to tell his friends and family, although he expected backlash.
"Well, of course, everything has consequences," he says. "That eventually led to the demise of my marriage. It was the complete deconstruction of my life.... I had to rebuild emotionally, familially, financially. I had to build it all over again. But it wasn't just my story. It was my wife's story and her reaction to it. ... She was devastated."
Later, he came out to his grown children by inviting them over and giving them a letter. Perhaps because of his formality, they assumed the worst. When they learned he was gay, they were relieved, and it was their love that showed through.
"I gave them the letter ... and then I went into the bedroom, and they came in afterwards," he says. "And my daughter put her arms around me -- I'm going to get emotional -- and she said, 'Dad, we were so afraid you were going to tell us you had cancer.' And in that light, being gay was OK."
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