As I said in my previous post, I would dedicate my blog mostly to the letters I have received over the past twenty years since publishing my book. These letters came at a rapid pace, and at first I thought it would be easy to write a note to each and every person who took the time to write . I never realized how many letters I would receive. They say for every one letter you receive, five people actually want to write you. Well, including email letters, I have received well over 100,000. Humbled seems to be a very insignificant word for how I truly feel, but it is how I feel. To know that people, young and old, straight and gay, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, athletes, high school, college and professional, all taking the time to write me and thank me for giving them hope, and the courage to continue on at times moved me to tears.
It is my hope, that after reading these letters, you will understand that there are still young and old people out there who still live in fear about their sexual orientation. Until such time that the stigma of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered in our society has disappeared, we will continue to read letters of dispair and lonliness and lose some of the writers to suicide.
Below is the very first letter I received back in July, 1990.
Thanks for reading and remember,
Never Strike Out!
I’m a twenty-two year old college student living in South Carolina. I’ve just finished your book and thought I should send you thanks.
Growing up in a small Southern town, I thought I would never be able to be truly myself.
Although I have yet to “come out” to my family, your testimony has given me the courage to know that through strength and pride, I can achieve anything. I am now going to work on being completely honest.