NBC News correspondent Joe Fryer knew he was gay for many years but did not tell anyone out of fear that he would not be accepted. When he finally did make the decision to be honest about who he was, he was shocked to receive a primarily positive reaction. Now, he is reflecting back on that time and how much life has changed since then, according to Today.
Fryer had many unanswered questions regarding how people would react when he told them he was gay. He wondered if they would be disappointed or confused and feared his parents would disown him. When he could take it no longer, he finally forced himself to tell his mother in 1997. To his shock, his mother smiled and told him that she already knew and was not upset in the slightest.
"Words cannot express the relief I felt in that moment. No anger. No disappointment. And apparently, no surprise. Her assumption first took root when I was skipping around the soccer field in fourth grade. The perm I got in sixth grade probably added to the narrative as well."
The process of coming out was not over on that one day. Over the next months and years, he would continue to open up about his truth. It has now been 22 years since Fryer came out and he is still continuing to be honest with others about his sexuality. He explained that at times, people will notice the ring on his finger and will ask him about his wife. He will at times correct them and say he actually has a male partner but other times, he will simply let it go.
Looking back now, Fryer can say that he has rarely being treated poorly because of his sexuality and he is glad he went public with his story.
"Fortunately, I've rarely experienced a negative reaction in my lifetime. At least one that I've witnessed. And for that, I'm grateful. That number is one of the main reasons I think it's so important to share my own story. Visibility is vital," he explained.
He went on to say that he feels it is important for LGBTQ youth to see public figures that are open about being gay.
The United States is continuing to take steps to promote inclusivity. As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that will protect all LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination.