Editor’s Note: The following submission is from Tommy Steenrod. Have an LGBTQ+ related experience or story to share? Having your article published on this site will automatically enrol you into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Submit an article today via queerdeermedia.com.
[amazon_link asins=’B073RMNP82′ template=’ProductAdRight’ store=’ourqueerstories-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4f9ffddb-8caf-11e7-a078-5b28701e80fa’]I realized at a young age that I was attracted to guys. I was 14 years old. Up until I graduated from high school and entered the Navy, my sexuality was private. I had planned on making the Navy my career, but I didn’t foresee the stumbling block ahead of me. I ended up getting myself in trouble by partaking in sexual acts with men, which I enjoyed, but due to the don’t ask don’t tell policy in effect in 1988, I ended up breaking several codes of the UCMJ. In 1991, in my early to mid 20’s, I moved to upstate New York, to live with one of the guys I met in the Navy. We became the best of friends and while living together I met several more friends that I got close to. During this time I was still in the closet about my sexuality, plus it didn’t help that I never knew much about the gay life. In 1995, I met my first gay partner, who happened to be 16 years older than me and introduced me to the gay way of life. While we were together, I remember the two of us got into the leather scene, a little BDSM, and I even tried drag. The two of us were together for five years, he was like my husband in a way. In 2000, I moved back to my hometown in Ohio, and after a few months of being home I tried turning my life around, going to church, and going to a Christian university for a few years. I also was married to two different women, both of which failed because of my sexuality. My first marriage was the shortest of the two, although I was gay, it was my first wife who did the cheating. She told me that I was going to be a father on Father’s Day of 2003. As it turned out, I was not the father of her baby, so I filed for the divorce. All the while this was happening, I was still going to church and had a church family to talk to if needed. It was in 2006, that I started going to the Christian university to become a minister. I quit going after three years. In the summer of 2010, I moved to Tennessee, living with another best friend of mine, whom I am no longer friends with. April 21, 2012, I married my 2nd wife. We were together for 3 years. While still married to her, I was in a constant struggle with my sexuality. I would look at naked men on the internet, using the data on my smartphone. I would also be talking to men in chat rooms on facebook. In January of 2015, I moved away from Tennessee, my now ex wife filed for the divorce because of my sexuality. It was then that I finally accepted myself for who I really am. At the time I was living with my friends in upstate New York. while there, I met a man via facebook, who became my boyfriend. The two of us got very close, so close that I was prepared to move to Texas to be with him and get married to him since it became legal in all fifty states. Well, that never happened, when it came time for me to go there, he never answered his phone. Later I found out he was in the hospital and couldn’t help me because of what happened to him. I ended up once again coming back to Ohio. My family knows about my gay life and support me. One year ago I met another man on facebook and moved to Hillsboro, Ohio to be with him. It was very short due to me finding out that he was bipolar, had multiple personalities, and schizophrenic. I moved back to Athens at my brother’s place. I was able to get my job back at McDonald’s and while there I met my buddy who asked me to share an apartment with him. To this day we still live in the apartment and we have become a couple, a relationship unlike any other relationship I have ever been in. I am very happy to say that I no longer have to struggle with my sexuality. I’m a gay man and very proud of it.