In honor of National Coming Out Day, here is my story.
October 11th, 2016
I’m going to detail my story within the context of childhood to the
present. This will hopefully etch a broader scenario. I was born in
Rapid City, South Dakota on April 21st 1993. Both sides of my family are
deeply rooted in Catholicism. To add, my step father was raised
Lutheran. Though the leanings of doctrine were present in my family, my
parents weren’t avid church-goers. However, the socially conservative
attitudes on homosexuality were still present in how they raised me.
I had shown homosexual traits when I was but a child. Though I don’t
hold any harsh feelings, I was scolded when caught exhibiting this
behavior. In my heart, I knew I certainly was attracted to men- however
I didn’t want to alienate my family. I buried my fears and insecurities
deep within. I dated women & had a long term relationship in high
school. I did however align myself with the theatre department toward
the end of my educational career at Central High School. I truly felt
myself exiting a barrier and fulfilling who I was supposed to be through
the artform. Theatre was and is the ultimate platform of human
expression. The department & individuals affiliated helped me discover
beautiful aspects of myself. Qualities that I didn’t realize.
Fast forward to post graduation, I no longer had that apparatus to
express myself. My relationship disbanded. I fell into a depression. I
didn’t know what to do with myself as the future progressed. To combat
this darkness and my homosexuality, I entered the waters of baptism and
became a Latter-day Saint. I was introduced to the faith by a close
friend of mine. I took into consideration the sense community Latter-day
Saints shared, among other things. I had hoped this would fill the void
within me. I studied the scriptures diligently & then prepared to go on
a two year mission. It wasn’t until some administration issues and a
wide range of other topics at the helm unfolded that caused my exit from
the faith. I stepped away from organized religion completely & took two
years to vacate within myself.
At the end of that sojourn, I came to an epiphany.
First off, I looked at the individuals in my life. I realized how much
of a beautiful support system I have. Building a healthy network of
positive individuals has such an impact. I had the foundation of enough
people behind me to become public about it. Secondly, I looked at my own
well being. I had figured that I should put my happiness at the
forefront. Taking ownership of my humanity was incredibly crucial. We
are who we are. When we inhibit ourselves, we do the world a disservice.
It had finally become time to accept that I am homosexual. Though many
may feel contrary- I feel that it is a blessing. I embrace it. With
these two incredible realizations in combination with one another- I
came out on March 17th, 2015 (Saint Patrick’s Day, appropriate right?).
I made an announcement on social media, to my stomach’s dropping/upset.
Liberation, self love- these sentiments came to me after I shared this
aspect of myself. Though I was expecting a torrent of chaos- I actually
received the contrary. I was greeted with mostly love & support. Though
some relationships have since dissolved, I finally freed myself from the
bonds of psychological torment.
A year had passed & I grew into myself furthermore. I attended BHCFE
events, such as Pride 2015 & 2016. I found solace, indeed a true
environment of tolerance. I have the desire to expand that feeling into
other spaces. Ever too often do people within our community live in
terror. Fear of being disowned, peer shunning, physical/mental abuse, or
worse. Not to mention basic human rights being denied regularly. With
our stories, with our experience, with our love- we will wash the ills
of intolerance away.
As a result of my attendance to these events, I felt a fervent desire to
become more involved. I was accepted onto the Board of Directors for the
Black Hills Center for Equality in August of 2016. I was then voted as
the Black Hills Center for Equality Board Secretary in October of 2016.
I love the work that we as the organization do. I love all of you. As we
proceed, I am optimistic for our movement.
Here’s to our future.
Daniel Todd Davis
BHCFE Board Secretary