I have found myself thinking to myself, "Am I where I am supposed to be?" Once I get out of my head and let a little time pass, I realize, "Yes! I am exactly where I am supposed to be."
Earlier this year I went to Washington, D.C., to meet with LGBT activists from Russia. We had a press conference, and I was able to share my journey and offer my support for what these brave individuals are doing in a country that seems to hate LGBT people. This was prior to the Olympic Games in Sochi.
I knew I was on the short list to be named to the official U.S. delegation to represent our country at the Olympics, which is a very prestigious honor.
The following week the announcement was made. I was not on the list to go over to Sochi. Door closed. I was a little disheartened.
The plan was that I was to go over for the Olympics and then to the LGBT-affirming Russian Open Games.
We struggled, but those LGBT activists from Russia did get me to Moscow for the Russian Open Games. The person who rushed my visa through commented that it was a good thing that I was going to a country where people can be bribed.
It turned out that Moscow was exactly where I needed to be! The contrast between my experiences there and the experiences that friends of mine had in Sochi was extreme, to say the least. (I've written about those experiences in earlier blog posts here on HuffPost.) I was supposed to be there to bear witness to the treatment of LGBT persons in an intolerant country -- and that treatment wasn't kind.
Next I was invited to Chicago share my journey with HIV/AIDS at Open Door.
We got there on Friday, and my husband was feeling under the weather, so we had a low-key weekend.
We walked around the town of Geneva and met up with some wonderful people, a straight, humble, country-club couple from the area, and we shared our lives with each other. I had a sense of suspended time, as though I were right where I should be.
The next morning we went to the hospital to make a visit to the coordinator of the event; he'd had heart bypass surgery and was not going to be able to attend the event. Again, I was right where I was supposed to be. I was slowing down and listening.
That evening was the event. It was amazing to learn a few things. For one, it was reported that early detection and treatment of the HIV virus can greatly lessen the opportunity for transmission, especially if one's viral load can be reduced to undetectable levels. This is the reason for regular testing.
The second thing about the trip was when the director revealed that the original contractor, who is well known in the area for doing work with many charity groups to realize people's dreams, had retracted his bid to do the work because it would have serviced the LGBT community. Really? With marriage equality -- indeed, equality in general -- taking hold, this is still happening? Unfortunately, yes, it is happening.
A door closed, but another door will open for Open Door. I know it!
The organization will be even more wonderful and will continue its outreach, treatment, education and support of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community in the suburbs of Chicago.