A couple of weeks after I had finished filming the show, I was talking with a female friend. She was telling me about her day, but I wasn't hearing a word she was saying because I was staring at her quizzically, trying to decipher what I was feeling. Then it hit me: I was sexually attracted to her.
It rather astounds me that I was as self-affirming as I was at a time when the Stonewall riots were not yet seven years in the past and homosexuality was still unimaginably taboo, at least for my parents' generation.
On the day after I realized I am a lesbian, I invited over the woman I was in love with (we hadn't been together in any sexual way; we had not even hugged or kissed) so that we could watch Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. The guest was Brené Brown, whose new book was about vulnerability.
Though we aren't fighting a traditional war, we are soldiers nonetheless, soldiers who, when called upon, will draw their sword to protect the younger ones from the hurt that they once endured, soldiers drafted into an army not by choice but by providence.
When I came out to the rest of my family in my early 20s, no one was shocked. The fact that I was gay shouldn't have been a surprise to my brother either. After all, we had adjacent bedrooms and my high school years were spent wearing out the soundtracks to Rent and Jesus Christ Superstar.
As a parent, every part of you, every fiber of your being, is designed to protect your children, keep them from pain, shield them from hurt, and never, ever inflict suffering on their precious hearts. It is that protective spirit that kept me in the closet for so long.
When Vivian was first created, I think I was afraid of how my parents would react to the news that their son-in-law is a drag queen. For the seven years before Vivian, my relationship with my parents had been amazing, and I was afraid to lose that. Then the unthinkable happened.
When my dad left to pick up some dinner, my mom, whom I've been out to for almost two years, said, "Your father saw your Facebook status when I left my Facebook up. The cat's out of the bag." You see, I hadn't told him.
A year ago I thought that disclosing my sexuality would aid in the healing from my eating disorder and my compulsive exercising. However, looking back, I realize that I was looking at my sexuality all wrong.
At first I'd thought my mom died on my birthday to bring my father and me together. Since then I've realized that her gift was an opportunity to finally find the fortitude and the wisdom to do what she never could. So I left him behind. And that's where he remains: behind me.
At the ripe old age of 17, being gay was fully how I defined my sexuality: I was a man who was only attracted to other men. In retrospect, it bothers me that at 17 I chose (or felt pressure) to set a boundary this concrete in my brain.
Sitting in my car, in the dark of night, during a 15-minute break from work, I was at one of the lowest places in my life. Coming out had brought up so much more than being attracted to men, and now I couldn't stand the thought of feeling this horrible way another day.
Though I can remember almost everything about that day, from my mother's facial expression to her subtle physical responses, only recently have I tried to understand her reactions and consider her feelings throughout my coming-out process.
It all started with an awkward conversation with my dad when I was 16. On what I thought was a day like any other, we were passing our neighborhood Walmart when my father began the line of questioning I'd been dreading since before I was positive I knew the answers.
One reason I got so personal last month was because of a powerful statistic that will matter come Nov. 6: Straight people who know gay people are significantly more likely to support LGBT rights, by 20 points in one ABC News/Washington Post poll.
It makes me sad and frustrated that anyone needs to "come out" at all. However, I realize now that being "out" to family, friends, colleagues, professors, the Internet, etc. helps them get to know me and helps me be more comfortable with the way I am.