A reader writes:
I agree with the reader this morning; His experience is much the same as mine. I spent my whole college career knowing that my parents (conservative, southern) would disown me if I came out. I was partially dependent on them for financial support at the time. I know I could have survived if they cut me off, but it would be easier for me if I didn’t force their hand, so I stayed in the closet, had a girlfriend, etc.
I spent my 20’s working my butt off to put some space - financial and emotional - between us. When I had that space, I told them the truth. My father threw me out, though by that point I didn't need anything from him anyway.
They’ve since come around and now value me and my partner as full members of the family and are very supportive. I am very thankful for that now.
One thing not touched on by anyone is the fact that most of us don’t have children or traditional families, which frees us up to take on non-conventional assigments in our jobs, and be free to devote more time and energy to our careers. This may explain some of the differences in achievement. In my own career, I’ve volunteered or been asked to do things that others wouldn’t (or couldn’t) simply because my personal life is more flexible than others.
It's strange to see my own life under this rubric as well. Small-town boy, understanding deep down somehow that I could not fit in the world I grew up in as it was, burrowing into school work, getting scholarships to college and grad school, making it far away to America on a stipend with no parental subsidy, saving as I went, always aware that there was no safety net beneath if I fell, and making a living by long hours and risky innovation. At 45, I have no debt, a retirement account, a job I can take anywhere (because I might have to leave the country), and a husband. Would I have followed this path if I had been straight? I have no idea. This is who I am.