Inspiring Words from Inspiring People: Jim McGreevey

Jim McGreevey served as the governor of New Jersey from 2002 to 2004, when he resigned after announcing that he was “a gay American.” That announcement made him the first openly gay governor in US history.

Inspiring Words from Inspiring People: Jim McGreevey

Dear Jimmy,

I’m sorry for the pain and anguish of being a homosexual. Even using that word now conjures up dark, sickly, and unhealthy images. I know you’ve struggled to be quote unquote “normal” in the face of the taunts from other boys, calling you a “fag” and a “homo.”

You’ve worked so diligently to prove yourself just another kid at Boy Scouts, at church outings, on the Little League field. I remember the fear when you first went to the local public library, when you thought you were a homosexual. And how your heart was pounding as your fingers went through the card catalog to look up the word homosexuality. And being so deathly afraid of somebody in the next aisle seeing you look up that word. Finally, when you found the word, it was listed as a psychiatric illness; how your heart began to pound and your mind began to race.

I know the anguish that you felt when you read what the church said about homosexual love—homosexual love was an abomination, that it was worthy of eternal damnation—and how crushed you were because it was the church you so dearly loved, who hated you so deeply.

And despite your best efforts to change, to try to be straight, you could never change yourself, who you were, who you are. I tried to seek acceptance at the ballot box or with public acclimations, because I was afraid to be who I was. But it did not answer the longings of my heart. And only when it was thrust upon me in the most difficult of circumstances, then did I accept my own reality. That I am a gay American.

And so, Jimmy, while you may pace about nervously or anxiously or confused at high school dances and yes, even the disaster which is your senior prom. Not to worry. One day you will meet your life’s partner, fall deeply in love unconditionally, raise wondrous children, and learn to be the happiest that your heart has ever been.

In the meantime be patient, enjoy the blessings of friendship, be at peace, and accept yourself.

Love and all good things,