Articles, Blog

It Gets Better FDNY New York City Fire Department xvid


[music] Growing up I never really felt like I belonged anywhere. I was always trying to figure out – well – why me and not them? This deep secret, dark secret
that I was afraid of. That I didn’t want to be me. I struggled with being queer. I wanted to be just like everyone else. I
wanted to fit in. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be loved. I felt like I’m inside a bubble and I have
to get out. When the pain of where you’re at is stronger
than the fear of where you’re going, then you’ll move forward. When I came out to my mother, she broke down
crying because she didn’t realize that her child had been carrying a weight that big
for that long. She was loving and understanding. But, she, I think part of her believed that it was a phase. I said, yeah, she’s my girlfriend. And
she’s like, so are you gay? And I was like, yeah. She was like, oh, okay. [chuckling.] The main thing I think that made me nervous
or uneasy was the military. So we kept those two worlds apart. It wasn’t his immediate reaction. But a couple
weeks later he told me that I was lucky that I had waited until I was 18 to come out to
him. Because if I was younger he would have put me in a mental institution. So I sort
of had both ends of the spectrum in terms of how people reacted. I never got a chance to tell him how much
this meant to me. But, he was eating and he literally just said, oh, so you have a girlfriend, okay. And he just kept eating like it was no big deal. Like I grew up listening to punk rock in high school and I was a teenager and it was like my punk rock moment. I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not hiding
who I am, pretending to be something I’m not to make someone else happy. Coming to terms with how my parents raised me. Hey, homosexuality is just wrong. It doesn’t exist. And if you pray about it, if you think
about it, you’re going to go to hell. When I decided to come out, I kind of channeled that defiant “I am the other”, you know? And I’m okay with that and like I’d rather be the “other” than the cookie cutter. Being able to embrace who you are and say this is me, I’m not changing for anyone, I love who I am is such a powerful, empowering experience. I was so uncomfortable for my first six months
on the job thinking I have to maintain this fascade. And then one day someone just looked
at me and just went, what are you doing?? The guys were worried, you know? They didn’t
know what to expect. But after some time they realized I wasn’t much different from themselves. I was fortunate enough that I was always placed around people that were, that appreciated me and appreciated the hard work that I put in and my attitude. What people care about here is whether you can do your job and whether you can apply yourself and be about giving yourself to
other people. The Department has been really wonderful and
very supportive of my transition and of who I am as a person. I think we’re very lucky to work for the New
York City Fire Department. I’m not your queer paramedic. I’m not your
tall paramedic. I’m not, you know, your female paramedic. I’m your paramedic. Who I love is never going to interfere with
whether or not I can treat you. It doesn’t change who I am essentially. Gay, straight, bi, trans, it shouldn’t matter
who you are in order to work any field you want. It’s about whether or not you do your job. And I think, if anything, I’m a stronger person and a better firefighter and more compassionate public servant because of the experiences I’ve gone through. My 16th birthday was probably the closest I’ve ever come to suicide. And I remember very clearly not seeing a future for myself, or at least not a future that involved happiness or peace. Learning to be comfortable with myself and learning to interact with the world in a way that felt right and didn’t feel like faking
being normal for other people, just took a lot of time. Had I ended it, I would’ve missed so many
wonderful things in my life. So since that time I’ve found a really healthy relationship with someone I truly love and I’m incredibly grateful to be married to. And we have really delightful children. And I have a healthy relationship with my parents and a really
fulfilling career. And I never, ever, ever would have imagined it in that instance. You have people who love you. You’re going
to have people who love you. As much as you don’t think that that’s a thing. That’s totally
going to be a thing. A lot of who I am now, a lot of the strong,
confident, proud person that I am now is not just me. I owe it to so many people who helped me along the way. Whenever I had a problem or whenever I had a concern, I just went to the people that I trusted. You kind of still go about and create your
own family because you don’t have the church or the commercials on television or whatever
telling you what it is to be gay. You go out and find out for yourself. Your friends are the family that you make
and that you choose. And that’s where I found, just most of my support. A lot of my queer community I consider family
more than my blood family. Community is important to, I think, all of
us. We all need a place to belong. Once I’m around people where I don’t have to censor myself, where I can be myself, where I know that if I say something it’s not going to be looked at differently, it’s not going to be looked at sideways — there’s a comfort in that that really can’t be replaced. [music] If I could give a message to myself when I
was a teen, I would tell myself not to give up on being who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you who to be or how
to be that’s not true to who you are. Love and understand yourself and you’ll get
to everywhere you need to be. Love yourself. Be okay with yourself. Because
it is okay and you’re worthy of love. There are people who understand you. And there
are people who can help you. Search for the love. There’s gotta be someone
out there. That will hold your hand through any difficulty
that you’re going to have. There are going to be moments where you’re
going to want to cry. You’re going to want to throw things. You’re going to want to break
things. You might even want to hurt yourself. Don’t do it. The world eventually opens up and you get to be whoever you wanna be and do whatever you want to do! You get to be you at some point and you just have to get there. So, please, hold on for one more day because I promise it gets better. You get better. Your soul gets better. Your
spirit gets better. It gets better. Keep moving forward. It gets better. Give it time. It gets better. It doesn’t just get better — it gets amazing! It got better for me. It can get better for
you. Believe that it gets better. It definitely gets better. It will absolutely get better. I promise you — it gets better.

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