Coming Out to Dr. Melvin

Tonight I sat down with our family therapist and laid it all out.

“Dr. Melvin, I separated from my wife. I’m a gay man and I’ve decided to live that way. I can’t have my cake and eat it too.”

“Are you sure?”

“I feel more at peace. I think I’ve made my decision. I can’t keep living a double life.”

Dr. Melvin takes notes. He is a tall, wiry man black man with high cheekbones and mahogany skin. He has provided counseling to my wife and I for two years in a vain effort to patch up what can’t be patched up. But he has succeeded in helping us understand each other and be civil.

He doesn’t dwell on the gay issue much, other than tell me that I must be ready to accept that others may stereotype me. I can also come out to family and friends as gradually as I feel comfortable with or not at all.

We move on and talk about how to parent effectively after separation and how to communicate to teenagers. He urges me to be more patient and listen and less hyper and dominant.

I think I can do that.

But before I leave he gets back on the gay issue again.

“I counsel several gay men,” he said. “Be careful, you are coming out when there is a lot out here.”

“I always do safe sex. And I just got an HIV test last week and I’m negative.”

“Okay, I’ll see you when you’re ready to see me again.”