Hello from Dallas

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Joined in 2010
January 10, 2012, 02:31

My dear friends in Sydney have for sometime encouraged me to tell my story. It is only the grace of God that I met them and was subsequently introduced to freedome2b. It's a hard thing to tell one's story for fear of starting in the wrong place or droning on and on and boring the reader to distraction. Perhaps the hardest thing about telling one's story is that once it is fully told, it is so much more real. I suspect that all of the stories here have been borne out of much pain and suffering. Mine is no different. To think that mine is unique would be quite vain. To attempt to tell my story in one sitting is out of the question, but I am willing to make a concerted effort to tell my story bit by bit in hopes that, like the bunny in Marjorie Williams' classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, I, too, will become real.

I am a 48 year old divorced father of three teenage children. I live in Dallas, Texas on the top floor of a 3 story apartment building barely east of the highrises of the central business district. It 's a chilly 46 degrees Fahrenheit and light rain in the metroplex today. I am on planned leave–vacation–from my full time job as a Care Manager for a health insurance company for the next two weeks. I authorize inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse care for customers of the insurance company. I am not sure if there is an Australian equivalent. Two evenings a week, I see clients in my private practice. I am licensed as a professional counselor in the state of Texas. Additionally, I have completed all of my coursework and field training for a PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology. All that remains is the dissertation. However, at this point, there is considerable doubt that I will accomplish this goal.

I am originally from Bayou La Batre, Alabama (think of the movie Forrest Gump), a coastal fishing town of about 2000 on the Gulf of Mexico. I am from the Bible Belt and following four years at a very fine liberal arts college in Kentucky, I returned to the Alabama Gulf Coast and made my home in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile is famous for being the first US city to hold a Mardi Gras parade. It is called the Azalea City and to be a true Mobilian one must be born on Mardi Gras day under an Azalea bush. It is a highly stratified and intolerant place dominated by legalistic Baptists and partying Catholics. While both groups differ in many ways, they are just alike regarding the belief that their church is superior to any other AND that being a homosexual is a sure fire way to hell.

In 2008, when my life came crashing down around me, I was driven from the place I called home as surely as Cain was driven from near Eden following the slaying of his brother, Abel. I found myself alone in a foreign land. The foreignness of that land quickly faded, however, and I found myself embraced by Aussies, the friendliest and kindest people on the planet. My short tenure in Australia surely saved my life. It was there that I met Phill Wall, Alan Hough, Paul Martin, John Meteyard, Anthony Venn Brown and many others who embraced me as family and helped me survive the devastation of my life.

Up until 2008, I was married (20 years), I had a successful Christian counseling practice, I was a national leader in both Exodus International and Living Waters, and I had a secret: I struggled with unresolved same sex attraction. No surprise to any of the readers here, I'm sure. Beginning in 2007, I was unfaithful to my wife with a string of anonymous sexual encounters with men. Until that time, my wife was the only person I had ever willingly had sex with. As best as I can tell you the sexual acting out was the result of a nearly complete emotional, spiritual, mental and physical breakdown. And the desire that I had worked so hard to suppress emerged with a vengeance. The results, of course, were devastating as I ended up losing everything that ever mattered to me. Without the support and love of my Aussie friends, I would have surely lost my life as well.

A little over three years have passed since the end of my former life. I must tell you that I am still sorting out the pieces and struggling to believe that God really loves me. There are times when the pain is more than I can bear and I dissolve in tears. The troubling ache in my soul never goes away. It is just more bearable at times than others. I am grateful to God that I still have my life. I want to be a strong source of love and support to my children, although their mother has kept them at arm's length from me for most of the last three years. To say that I am a pariah to those in my former life would be an understatement. I want to find God's purpose for my life. I want to be a genuine and authentic man. I want to find myself in the Father's arms and hear him one day say well done. I look forward to the day when the pain of all of this is in the past.

So dear reader, I have started to tell my story. I do put my trust in the faithfulness of God and believe that there is a way forward, although I cannot see it at present. My other option is to climb to the tallest building in Dallas and fling myself from it. And I am not nearly that brave.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
January 10, 2012, 08:46

Hi bslaforce

Thank you so much for sharing your story.! You are a gifted writer and your tale is a rich one indeed. 🙂

I'm interested to know what makes you doubtful that you'll complete your dissertation at this point..

When you've lived a responsible former life in such a closed-minded community, and then you shatter that by making what would be an incomprehensible change to that community (trying to be more of your authentic self), it's bound to have repercussions. Their responses of outcasting you are a sad indictment on them and painful for you to be treated that way. I'm really sorry that people can be like that.

But as we know here at f2b, things do really get better. And, as you will appreciate because of your professional training and experiences thus far, living authentically is the only way to live. Despite the pain, you can now be yourself and that will lead to far more wonderful outcomes than if you'd stayed in the closet.

I'm wondering if you attend a church or have access to a supportive community around you..

I look forward to hearing more from you and I'm so glad you decided to share with us. 🙂


Ann Maree

Princess _Fiona
Joined in 2011
January 10, 2012, 11:43


Thank you for sharing some of your journey with us on f2b, it was so moving to me to read it. I have read so many times on this site that comfort has been found in one another as people share with others and I hope you to find this to as you share. I know I have found support in others who have gone through (or are going through) a similar journey and hope to continue to do so as I sort things out.

May you have some good quality Rest and Relaxation while you have time away from work right now. I know myself its always hard to spoil yourself, particularly if your not feeling quite so good but as you would know this is the most important time to do those things that bring all the warm fuzzy feelings 🙂

From what you have written so far, its sounds like there has been alot of painful years of suppressing your sexual identity then only to find more pain once you are out. Glad to hear that at a time when you needed it, you found some Aussie mates who helped you through a tough time.

I know myself that since leaving church and walking way I now almost 8 years on recognise its been a tough journey living my life without support and without God. This I am now working on fixing. It is good to hear that you are putting your trust still in the faithfulness of God even through that 3 years down the track your still struggling and to believe that God really loves you. I wish you all the best on your journey to live authentically and to find peace and comfort in the Fathers arms. This is a process there is no doubt about that and we can hold onto the fact that others have lived through his nightmare and have come out the other side, happy, content and very much walking as authentic gay christians, this is something to look forward.

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
January 10, 2012, 12:55

Hi bslaforce,

Welcome to F2B, so wonderful to have you share your story with us. You have certainly be through some hard times. You have shown great courage and strength. I'm sorry to hear that your community cast you out, one day they will have to answer for their behavior, it's wonderful that you were able to find support among your Aussie friends.

As Ann Maree said, things do really get better, I know you will find great support and acceptance among the F2B people.

Look forward to hearing more about you.

God Bless

Joined in 2010
January 11, 2012, 00:32

My dear Ann Maree,

I have gone a bit to a wonderful Episcopal (Anglican) church near my home. I miss corporate worship so very much, but as you may imagine, the constant self-loathing has kept me from fully committing to a community–for two reasons, really, I see myself as Grendel in the epic Beowulf–far too loathsome and vile to be included in a community of human beings and secondly, I have a deep fear of being discovered for what I truly am. I could not cope with more rejection. In spite of what I have just just shared, I do plan to return to the church this week.

In regard to my PhD: with the last several years full of so many painful changes, I have gotten significantly behind schedule on my dissertation. I am in need of both an academic extension as well as a financial aid extension. Thirdly, I am not sure that I have the strength to complete a project of this magnitude in addition to working both a full time and part time job.

Your words have warmed my heart and, suddenly, I do not feel nearly as alone. Your kindness to me is such a dear thing.



Joined in 2010
January 11, 2012, 00:41

My dear Princess Fiona and Mother Hen,

Thank you so much for your encouraging and heart felt words to me. I do receive them with much gratitude and find them nourishment for my soul today.




Joined in 2010
January 11, 2012, 00:50

Dear Reader,

It's Tuesday morning here in the Big D (as we refer to Dallas). It's a chilly 46 degrees Fahrenheit and the rain continues. This is the most rain–two days worth that has fallen here in the the 2 1/2 years I have lived in Dallas. Think the Australian Outback. Two factoids that you may or may not find of interest: My football team, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide won the National College Football Championship last night in New Orleans, LA against arch rival the Louisiana State University Tigers. And second, for anyone interested, the hit TV series from many years ago, Dallas, is in production with a number of the original cast. Larry Hagman, I think, is about 92 years old these days. And so, Reader, no one really killed JR after all.

Now onto, hopefully, more substantive issues. In 2002, although I had a growing counseling practice, a wife, and three young children, I made the decision to return to school to complete a PhD in Clinical Psychology. In order to accomplish this, I enrolled in an online school called Walden University. Beginning in 2002, I studied almost every weekend–at my office, alone, while my family was home. There was significant travel involved in my program and so to suggest that all of the coursework was done online is misleading. And so from 2002 until December of 2005, I studied and studied and studied–all the while accruing significant debt from student loans. I completed the coursework in 2005 and accepted an internship at a state forensic hospital on the plains of western Kansas. The commute between the hospital and my home was nine hours via two regional jets and drives on both ends. While I loved the work–I ultimately was the unit psychologist for the Competency to Stand Trial Unit, I suffered great homesickness and found myself in tears most evenings by bedtime. I should also tell you that I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome by the end of 2005 and for most of my life I have endured frequent and debilitating migraines. Oh and to round out my clinical profile, I started taking an antidepressant in 1995. During the two years of internship, I was in school, worked full time at the hospital (I was responsible for 30 dangerous and psychotic criminals), returned home every 10 days to keep my practice going, suffered a physical collapse, and was assaulted by one of my patients (resulting in a mild concussion, and severe angst about being on the unit). It has only been in retrospect that I see how traumatizing and cruel such a schedule was for me. I am more aware than ever just how much I have lived my entire life dissociated, but the two years in Kansas–with no rest, no pleasure of any kind, and being away from my family–resulted in genuine traumatic stress and even greater dissociation. Even then I was reminded of the words of Scottie, from the original Star Trek series, "She's breaking up captain!" Except instead of the USS Enterprise–a plastic and metal toy spaceship swinging from mono-filament line–it was my life that was breaking up and breaking apart. The results as you already are aware were devastating.

I leave you today, dear Reader, with the words of St. Paul to the church at Philippi, "…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry in on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Alan Hough
Joined in 2005
January 11, 2012, 18:42

Congratulations on starting your story Brannon. This is a big step for most people, and I know that it is big step for you. Most people find it incredibly therapeutic to share their story, but one should only do so when one is ready. I am thrilled that you are now ready.


Joined in 2009
January 11, 2012, 21:09

Dear bslaforce

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that the writing of it – in such beautiful prose – will help to clarify issues, create perspective, and build hope.

It does get better. We have some similar aspects in our stories – I also have three children, whom I rarely (if ever) see, I too have been on my own since 2008, and I am also behind in my schedule for a PhD that I am completing part-time.

But it does get better.

My story (for what it's worth) is here:

I will be in transit in DFW next month.



Joined in 2010
January 13, 2012, 00:18

Ian, thank you so much for your kind and insightful words. It would be my pleasure to meet you when you are in Dallas next month. We can certainly go for some Tex-Mex food and I'll be glad to show you the sights depending on your schedule. I would really enjoy chatting with you more.

Warm regards,


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