April 12, 2022

Brian Gorman unexpectedly becomes a father in his 60s


Whether you are a parent or not, this story will inspire you, warm your heart, and leave you in awe.  My guest, Brian Gorman, gets a call one day from a high school student that was being thrown out of his home, with nowhere to go. Brian had had a brief experience with this young man two years earlier when he agreed to be interviewed by Brandon for a school project.  Now, two years later, Brian is confronted with making a snap decision to either help the young man or walk away.  His level of integrity moved him to help Brandon.  He didn't know this decision would lead to him adopting Brandon and becoming a parent in his 60s.

Brian is a coach, facilitator, and podcast host.

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Transcript

Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Brian Gorman and welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast, I am excited to hear your story

Brian Gorman  0:11  
Than you, Maddox. I'm excited to be here and share the story.

Coach Maddox  0:15  
I think we got a good story that the listeners are going to want to listen to as well. So before we jump in, I just want to tell the listeners that you and I've only known each other for maybe a little over, maybe about two months now, the way we met was in a professional association called the gay coaches Alliance. And I want to say What is there about 150 Gay coaches in there? Somewhere about there? Yes, something like that. And it's been a very welcoming group. And I've met some really, really nice men and, and so we don't need to know each other very well, where we're kind of acquaintances this point. But you know, today's the place where the rubber meets the road, and at the end of this one hour conversation, I'm thinking, we're gonna know each other a lot better than we did before we started.

Brian Gorman  1:04  
I think so.

Coach Maddox  1:07  
So, before we get into the main topic, I have one question for you. Right? And that is, what does it mean to you to be an authentic gay man?

Brian Gorman  1:22  
Alex, that really is at the heart of the challenge, I'm going to be talking about two. For me, integrity, and trust and trust worthiness are core to who I am. And to me the core of what it means to be authentic. You living into your integrity, living in a way that builds trust, and shows trust.

Coach Maddox  1:55  
Beautiful. I love the answers that I get from that question. There's just been so many, and they've all been brilliant answers. And they've all been different enough to write a book, I think, beautiful, I love it. So down to brass tacks, share with me what your biggest life challenge has been? Or is still your life challenge. Maybe you've gotten to this side of it. Maybe you're still going through it.

Brian Gorman  2:22  
Let's go. Okay, so I actually need to bring you two years before the challenge itself occurred a little bit more than two years, a little bit less, actually a little bit less. I was just getting ready to go to Eastern Mountain, which if your listeners don't know, is a gay retreat center in upstate New York for a hot new yoga weekend. It was right before Memorial Day weekend and I got an email. And I didn't know the sender. But the email intrigued me basically it said I'm a high school sophomore in Massachusetts studying photography. Our assignment is to write the write the biography and photograph in the style of our favorite photographer. I google gave photographers and you're my favorite may interview you. My ego said yes. And so after I got back from East Anon, I got on the, on the phone with this young man, who at the time was just short of his 16th birthday. And his questions were brilliant. He just really knew what he wanted to know and was very direct and forthright in asking the questions. One of his questions was, how did you come to your photography. So he explained to him that my first male lover was an artist who made his living, paid the bills by working in a photo lab. And David tried for years to teach me how to draw. And he never succeeded, or I never succeeded, or maybe both. But as I explained to the young man whose name was Brandon or his brand. After we broke up, and I was moving to New York, David suggested I buy a camera. And I thought, if I was going to buy a camera, I was going to buy a good camera, not just a little instamatic or something like that at the time. So I got a 35 millimeter camera and I started taking pictures. And that's how I came to my photography. And then is brands And how did you come to your photography. And he said, it's a way to see a world outside the abuse experiences at home every day. And the assaults I suffer at school on a regular basis when we got done with the interview, I couldn't say I hope you get a good grade kid. Goodbye. So I offered to stay in his life that he could, you know, I give him my my phone number, my cell number so he could text me and he had my email address, obviously. And we did stay in touch. And that summer, which was the summer between his sophomore and junior years. His mother threw him out. And he had just turned 16. He spent the summer in and around Boston sofa surfing. And he and I would text during the day. And then when he was allowed to use his cell, your minutes, which was nighttime, and I would talk and went back to school. His mother took him back in that fall and went back to school and the assaults accelerated at school. Kids would stand outside then this was a public school. By the way. We're not talking all that long ago. Kids would stand outside the school around the flagpole in the morning praying for him. He had teachers ask him, when are you going to get better, and he would get jumped. And then kids would simulate raping him. And it got so bad that the school district banned him from the school. Rather than take on the challenges addressing the homophobia. They banned him from the school. They started sending teachers to the public library for two hours a day to teach him. Well, he and I started talking and it was also very clear he was living with his mother, his parents were divorced. His father

didn't want him. So we started to make an arrangement. And I coordinated this with his mother. Because again, he was only 16 where he would do all of his schoolwork three weeks a month, and then come down and stay with me for a week. So that's how he ended up and through his junior year. That summer, I actually set up an internship program with him in photography, where again, he would do three weeks of photo work, whether studying a particular genre of photography, or photographing that genre, whatever. And then he come down for a week with me. His school district his senior year, I actually paid another school district about 20 miles away to take him. And that school experience that senior year experience wasn't anywhere near as traumatic as before. And then March seventh of his senior year. I got a text message. It said, my mother told me I have two hours. Maybe it was a little bit more. But basically my mother told me I have to get out of the house. What do I do? Well, I got a text message because he was not permitted to use the hours on the cell phone during the day. That was when cell phone bills were still a limited number of hours. And I texted him back and said Damn the rules call me which he did. And so I talked him through what he needed to try to get out of the house things like his birth certificate, his social security card, his medications because he was on a number of medications for the trauma that he had experienced as over the years at home. And I told him to call his boyfriend arrange for his boyfriend to meet him away from his mother's apartment to not make it make the situation even worse.

That decision moment that was the challenge you're going to ask me about that that split second, where I had to decide, am I the man of integrity? Am I the man of trustworthiness that I always purported to be out in the world?

Or am I a phony and not to say goodbye? There was no hesitation, was scared to hell. I had no idea what I was getting into. And I knew I was not going to let Brandon

alone in the situation. So I called I work for myself. I called a client that I was supposed to be traveling for the next day and I said, I can't make the trip.

I rented a car. I spoke to his boyfriend who recommended a motel where I could put Brandon up, made the reservation and drove up to Massachusetts. The next day he and I went in to see his guidance counselor by that night. By the way, you know, this this, this was not a pissed off at you kid action by his mother. By that night because he couldn't get his medications. By that night. When we went to CBS. His medical insurance had been cut off already. His cell phone had been cut off. The next day, I went in and met with his guidance counselor with him and explained the situation. And she said he's only got three more months to graduation, but you need to find him a place to live inside the school district. Or he can't stay in school. So here I am, in this blue collar suburb of Boston, very Catholic blue collar suburb of Boston, driving around basically saying hi, I'm from New Jersey, I'm looking for a place for an 18 year old who just got thrown out of his house to live until he graduates in June. It was a not an easy search. But I found a place it was a a garden apartment complex. It was a little studio apartment, little studio apartment with a very redneck owner. And he asked me every illegal question in the book. But I knew that this was likely the only place I could get for Brandon. So it was like, Okay. And so we got the apartment, went to bed bath and beyond and target I think and furnish it with inflatable bed with a card table and chairs that he could fold up at night so that he could open up the blow up the bed. Got him a desk, he didn't had manage to save his computer. But a couple sets of silverware and dishes and glassware and so forth. Towels, all of all of that household stuff and and set him up. But before he could move in he had to live in a motel for a few weeks. I don't remember how long it was because the the apartment wasn't yet available. So went back up, moved him in and then he graduated high school I went up for his graduation. We packed up all that he had drove back down to New Jersey and he moved in with me. Sure, I keep going. Do you have questions?

Coach Maddox  14:37  
I do have questions. Um, I mean, you're you're you're telling you know the logistical aspects of the story. I'm Connick wanting to know during all that process, how was that landing for you like tell me more about I mean, how challenged you and

Brian Gorman  14:59  
well Now at that, that moment of decision, it was scary. I had no idea what I was getting into

it was it was a real test of my commitment to not allow myself to be overwhelmed. Because again, you know, I'm a gay man, I have no children, I had no children, I had no plans of having children.

And I knew Brandon, you know, I knew him from his visits here, I knew his story, I knew the challenges that he had, because of the abuse he had experienced. But I didn't know what it would be like to live with those 24 hours a day.

And, and just as this unfolded, it became it unfolded very naturally, I guess that's the best thing to say.

I remember we went, went to a park before I came back the first time after he was settled into the motel. And we talked about our relationship. And I don't, I don't know whether I made the decision and Han and he endorsed it or whether we made it mutually but we agreed that he had referred to me as POF parental figure.

Because I was not ready to step into the role of father at the time. And because I had no idea how neither of us had this was going to unfold. But it, it became pretty natural, you know what, I think part of what helped was, we become friends. There was a strong mutual respect, between the two of us that first summer when he had been thrown out. I remember talking to him one time and saying, You are so fierce, not fierce, in a vicious way, not fierce in a nasty way. But fierce in the belief of his convictions fierce in doing what he believed was right. And that really was a that was a real, he was a role model for me and that as the story continued to unfold what I learned from Brandon, for the first time in my life, and we're talking in my wife of 60 plus years at that time, I learned that there is such a thing as unconditional love. And that was like even thinking about that brings tears to my eyes.

Coach Maddox  18:34  
Well, and you you found that with a non family member. You know, I think oftentimes we think of the people that are most inclined to have unconditional love for us or our parents or our siblings or and you you found that with a non family member

Brian Gorman  18:56  
at the time at the time, yes.

Coach Maddox  19:01  
You know, I love that you're sharing

Brian Gorman  19:07  
what you learned from him you know, this is

Coach Maddox  19:15  
this is just something we don't we don't look at that very often, you know, as a as a person much older than he was the natural thing would be that you would be the mentor you would be the leader you would be the teacher and we sometimes don't realize that it's a two way street and I think that's part of what I thought would be that was drawing me to want to hear this story. You know what, what what I know you talked about the integrity was the thing that couldn't couldn't allow you to to walk away. But beyond that, was there something more that made you know that You wanted to help him to take him in or whatever that look like, was there something more than then your own? I mean, you dipped into value systems and I definitely get that. But was there more?

Brian Gorman  20:19  
Like a got no words to it because the gut doesn't have language. But there was something in my gut said, You're doing this? Not you have to not you should not. You must just you're doing this.

Coach Maddox  20:39  
Yeah, I sensed that energy when you were telling the story. Like it wasn't even an option to to not help him.

Brian Gorman  20:47  
There's there's another to come back to what you were saying just a minute ago, Maddox is another important lesson that Brendan taught me that I find is so important. So often, when I'm working with clients, whether they're younger clients, or even whether they're young adults, or even older adults, who are dealing with parent relationship issues. When Brandon moved in with me, he was 18. I adopted him when he had just turned 21.

Unknown Speaker  21:33  
He was growing into

Brian Gorman  21:34  
a young man, a young adult. And that is a difficult time for any parent trust. And because we had this relationship that allowed us to have heart conversations, not just head conversations, he taught me that, while I will always be a parent, he was no longer a child who was an adult child of mine. And so we had to redefine the nature of our relationship. Prepare child to parent, adult child. And I think of so many adults, who, in the presence of their parents, become teenagers all over again.

Coach Maddox  22:29  
Oh, my gosh, it is a real thing. I am amazed at the times in my life when I had been around somebody in their family at any age, and they get in the presence of a parent and they're suddenly 12 years old. I that was not my experience with with my parents. So it's always been just jarring to me. And I've seen it over and over. And over. I think you made a beautiful point. And I want to call this out. You know, there was a point, you know, he was 16. When you met him, he was 18. When you took him in? He was 21 when you adopted him. But there was this point where? Well, let me back up a little bit throughout my you know, my listeners at this point, know that I was a 40 year career hairdresser. And retired from the beauty industry in the end of 19. And I've been coaching since 2008. But throughout my career as a hairdresser, clients would ask me for parenting advice. And it always baffled me I was like, okay, not a parent, never been a parent not going to be a parent in this lifetime. And finally, I began to ask people, you know, it's a curious thing I want to know, you know, that I don't have any experience with kids. But you asked me for parenting advice. And I want to understand, and I, they worded it differently. But they all kind of said the same thing. And it was to the the gist of well, you know, first of all, you're, you're wise, you're very wise, just in general, you're just wise. And second of all, you know, you're you're not a parent. So you can see it very objectively, in a manner that a parent can't really see it objectively, which was stunning to me, I would have never been able to see that if I hadn't asked and they hadn't told me that. But one of the things that I observed throughout my career

Unknown Speaker  24:34  
was

Coach Maddox  24:36  
a child would become of age, and the parent would continue trying to parent the child. And I think that's the biggest mistake one of the largest mistakes that a parent makes. I think that the while you will always be quote unquote the parent. There is a point when you're role as a parent comes to an end, and it comes to an end around the time when they leave the nest. And when a parent should use to try to parent them beyond that, it creates separation it creates, it puts space in between the parent and the child. Yeah. Because somehow the, the adult child knows they no longer need that they no longer need that, and they no longer want that. And so there's that that's a source of resentment. And and it does put put space. And so I think it's so beautiful that you realized, you know, that while you had taken him in, and you're going to play that with the parent, that there was a point where you wouldn't be parenting him any longer. And I think that I'm hoping that there's lots of lots of gay dads out there, maybe if you strike two, that are that are hearing this. You have more to add to that, Brian.

Brian Gorman  26:07  
Really, it's it takes work. It takes hearing one another, it takes trust. It takes forgiving yourself and forgiving the other for the mistakes that you make in making that transition. But I'm so glad that we did.

Coach Maddox  26:32  
How long did he actually live with you before he left the nest? He hasn't. So he says

Brian Gorman  26:38  
yes. Well, he has lived with me on and off. He has been living with in house since since COVID. He spent several years over the time living with boyfriends or partners. But he stepped back. He went to the New School in New York City, graduated with a 3.9 GPA in psychology. And I believe it was while he was at the new school that I adopted him. And we had talked about it, we had thought about it. But the decision point was that he was going to be spending a summer semester in Shanghai. And we thought it very important that we have a legal connection should anything happen to him while he was there. So that that was the catalyst that wasn't the reason. The reason was we had evolved into father and son by that time. He's had several medical challenges along the way. So he will be going into his second year of his master's of clinical social work degree in the fall. So he is with me now and still excited about his his career that lies ahead.

Coach Maddox  28:26  
And Brian, how old is he now?

Brian Gorman  28:28  
2929.

Coach Maddox  28:32  
So yes, you're talking about a 13 year period of time said yeah, that's about right.

Brian Gorman  28:40  
Yep. Yeah, march 7, that will be

Coach Maddox  28:44  
and and what's your relationship like now?

Brian Gorman  28:49  
I'm parent, adult child best friend. Beautiful. You know, there's there's very little everybody has a right to privacy. And so there are absolutely things in each of our lives. We don't share.

But we also don't it's not a relationship based on keeping secrets. It's not a relationship based on

being roommates or anything like that. We're best friends. He is there to support me when I need support. And I'm there to support him when he needs support.

Coach Maddox  29:48  
Yeah, that's gorgeous. You know, and I personally love being around younger people. I think they bring so much to the table. We all we all bring something to the table. You know But I think sometimes young people are discounted a little bit is oh, you know, they don't have much life experience. They don't you know, they haven't learned they don't know this, they don't know that. I find that to be not true at all. Some my young friends are incredibly wise and they bring fresh eyes to the table. You know, maybe maybe you can relate to this, maybe some of the listeners that are in our age category can relate to this, maybe not. But I think that for a lot of the population, life beats is down sometimes. And we become kind of cynical and jaded if we're not really being very aware and conscious making a conscious decision. And even when we are, it's still kind of can happen when you're not looking. And I know that when I'm with my younger friends, they're not they haven't gotten beaten down enough to have that that cynical energy and they just look at life through fresh eyes. And when I'm, when I'm getting to be in their presence and hear their conversation. I feel like I'm getting to experience life through those fresh eyes and through that energy, and it's always very uplifting and inspiring to me.

Brian Gorman  31:07  
Absolutely. Yeah. So and if I can just play with that thought for a moment medically. What's so wonderful is the exchange of wisdom. When Brandon first started visiting me he sat through every gay you know, DVD that I own, from Priscilla to a parting Lance's to longtime companion to angels of America non queers folk. Really important to him, the history of our tribe. And along the way, he has shared a lot of wisdom with me about about his generation and about living in a world of abuse and about healing from abuse and so it's just been a beautiful exchange of wisdom.

Coach Maddox  32:16  
It sounds like it I'm I'm very I'm in all So you started this conversation with this being one of the most challenging things that you'd ever been up against. So so far, it's the story's been a lot a lot about about him. I want you to take us please, back into your world and and help us understand how and why that challenged you and how you dealt with that challenge. How you got to the other side, how you navigated all that

Brian Gorman  33:00  
the first time Brandon came to visit I met him he took a bus down from from Boston I met him in New York City. We stopped at a diner to get something to eat. Came back here to the apartment, which is right across the river in New Jersey.

And this is a small apartment. It's about 700 square feet. One bedroom, one bathroom. Kitchen I think is smaller than the bathroom. And the bedroom is a it's a full story loft but it is a loft bedroom overlooking the living room.

So after we brought his stuff to the apartment, took him to a local pizza place to get dinner. And I told him when you're here, the bedroom belongs to you. There is no door but the bottom step is the door for me. And I will never go past the bottom step when you're in your bedroom without your approval that left me sleeping on the sofa or an air mattress in the living room.

When he moved in, I took the air bed that he had in his apartment and that became my bed until I found myself sleeping on the floor and now I've got the most wonderful, wonderful sofa bed but One of the challenges, really, for both of us was learning to share space. Learning to respect privacy. When other than closet doors in the front door of the apartment, the only door there is, is the bathroom door. So that was a dance. And over the years, we've had more than one conversation of really read negotiating what the

boundaries are. And again, in any relationship, people change your things change if you're not renegotiating or revalidating, one or the other. You're heading to trouble. Early on, Brandon, not too early on, I think it was either his sophomore junior year,

he took a course in restorative justice. And he fell in love philosophically not not romantically, but with the teacher. And he went through restore, or justice or mediation training with her. And she had just started a nonprofit called Hidden water that used indigenous healing circles, to work with survivors of sexual abuse and their family. And Brandon was in therapy, he was in therapy before I met him, he was in therapy. Before he was thrown out, he was in therapy as soon as he moved in with me. But in that 12 week period, that he went through a, a healing circle on hidden water, the healing was just so visible. And so he trained him, he became a circle keeper. And one of the cool things about hidden water is they have healing circles for survivors of sexual abuse, they have healing circles for family members. They have healing circles for non abusing parents, and they have healing circles for the perpetrators of sexual abuse. And one day, he said that, you know, because with his trauma, I could very innocently trigger him at times. And as he healed, I needed to do some healing on my own, some some really gaining a better understanding. So he invited me to participate in a healing circle for family members, which I did. And subsequently, I trained as a circle keeper. So again, that that learning to live with a survivor of abuse took time, took time took effort. You know, I said at the beginning, I never was a father, and planned on being a father. So clearly, there were some economic challenges along the way, because having a kid is not free. And so we again, really both had to work through that what does what does an allowance look like? What what are the essential living expenses and what are nice to haves and a one point I lost a client that was 70% or more of my income, and so we had to adjust our lifestyle to that. And it was a it was a collaboration. Clearly, as a parent I I carried more of the weight of understanding and figuring out how to make it work and it took Brandon's partnership and that also so it's it's been a journey. It still is a journey. And never once have I said, if I had to do it over again to take a different path. Wow.

Coach Maddox  40:12  
Wow. I mean, you've rendered me actually speechless. Like I'm just in awe. What a compelling story and very inspiring in the way that you handled

Brian Gorman  40:26  
all of it. Wow, Maddox I, I believe not just I would like to thank but I believe

that there are more people than not who have put in the same situation would have done the exact same thing.

Coach Maddox  40:55  
Yes, I would, I would like to believe that as well. Man, a question just came to my mind and then it went out of my mind.

Brian Gorman  41:14  
What would you say was

Coach Maddox  41:18  
your biggest takeaway from this overall experience? 13 years with this young man? What would you say your biggest takeaway is had? I mean, how did this change your life for the better? That's the question I was searching for. How did this change your life for the better because we've talked about the challenges of it. But what what is the part that the part that you will win when you're laying on your deathbed getting ready to take your last breath and you're reflecting back on all of your life and all of your experiences? And this of course, being a very significant experience? Because you described it as one of the more challenging moments of your life or not moments but experiences of your life what are you walking away with? What what did this mean and in Brian's life?

Brian Gorman  42:19  
Walking away with a full heart what what we talked about before we have unconditional love for one another. Not everyone gets to experience. No,

Coach Maddox  42:44  
you're exactly right.

Brian Gorman  42:48  
There's so much more. But if, if there's your your question is one thing, I have to come back to that

Coach Maddox  42:57  
I personally believe that people come into our lives for a very specific reason. No matter how brief, you know, I think I think there's a beautiful orchestration that's happening by whatever higher power whatever label you want to put it, you know, but the higher power is orchestrating things to work in our favor and for us to grow and evolve in the ways that we most will benefit from growing and involve evolving. I always say you know, people show up in our lives as the movie The actor in our our movie, and they come as as actors in our movie for very specific reasons. And you now have a bit of hindsight, you know, you can look back on these 13 years what would you say was the purpose the main purpose that that Brendan showed up in your life and played the this his role his acting role in the movie of your life? What was what do you see the purposes being?

Brian Gorman  44:05  
Well, first of all, very often, when either of us share the story the listener will say something to the effect of Well, Dad has been a real gift to Brandon. That may be true that I have not met him. I'm sure that is true. I know. He's, he said that. But it's also been true, and also is true that he's a gift, a real gift in my life.

And I think I'm answering your question. My last relationship My partner at the time and I very early on had talked about children and the possibility of children

you know, we seemed to be on the same path until I began to press the issue and basically he said well you need to choose between me and having children because his rationale, which I strongly disagreed with then and still do is that it would be unfair for a child to be raised by two games and I chose him and that didn't end so well. That relationship didn't last as long as Brandon and I have known one another and he gave me the gift of being a parent humans gift fun conditional love and gave me the gift of really paying more attention to what's important in life what's essential in life what is frivolous in life how the patterns in our life don't have to remain the patterns in our life I guess I could go on and on and on.

Coach Maddox  46:42  
Well, it sounds to me like he brought meaning into your life that was not present before he came. Yeah. I can feel that right now in my body. That's beautiful. So how does all this wonderful story that you're sharing play a role in you becoming an authentic

Brian Gorman  47:09  
gay man I'm a gay dad with a gay son and I'm a gay dad who is authentic with my son it really has heightened and other other events in my life that

first you and I grew up at a time when coming out would have been had us classified as having a mental disorder so there have been times in my life when I've been less authentic and circumstances in my life that really turned that around. But I haven't random in my life has has heightened that authenticity, because first of all, going back to serve that trigger moment, if you will. It proved to me that I am the person integrity that I had put out to the world

that's something that I show up with every day in every way with, with my clients with the clerk at the supermarket or the the stranger in the street that I happen to chat with.

I think it also shows up whether I'm coaching a member of the LGBT community or not. And my focus on helping them get in touch with who they are and finding ways to live more fully into into that. One of the one of the first questions I asked him one way or another of all my clients is what makes your heart sing. What is it that that you are passionate about? That that expresses you? Now how do we find a way for you to live more fully into that? Beautiful, I love that. Absolutely love that.

Coach Maddox  50:00  
Wow. I love the way you tie that all in. Before we wrap up based on everything that you're sharing, you know the story in this journey towards authenticity. What words of wisdom would you have for the listener?

Brian Gorman  50:25  
Listen to your heart, listen to your gut. Not every decision she would make in your head.

Coach Maddox  50:31  
Love that? Yeah. Yeah, I hope you. I hope your listeners out there really caught that because that's, that's epic.

Unknown Speaker  50:40  
I love that.

Coach Maddox  50:42  
All right. Are you ready for some rapid fire questions?

Brian Gorman  50:46  
Absolutely. Just real quickly before that. There's neuroscience behind that listen to the heart and gut as well as it's not fiction. There's neuroscience behind that.

Coach Maddox  51:00  
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. A lot of a lot of scientific brief. I'm with you right there. Thank you, Brian, for spreading that. Question number one. What are you afraid of?

Brian Gorman  51:19  
I know I'm supposed to give you a rapid fire answer. This is stuff I don't have an answer.

Coach Maddox  51:31  
Okay. I'll accept that. If you only had months to live, what would be your greatest regret

Brian Gorman  51:49  
some of the family that let me go.

Coach Maddox  51:54  
Got it. I can feel that. And final question. Many years from now. You're a ghost at your own funeral. And you're you're watching it all happen. You're seeing family and you're seeing friends. But you're also seeing your closest gay male confidants. They're at your funeral.

Brian Gorman  52:21  
What do you hope that they say

Coach Maddox  52:22  
about you?

Brian Gorman  52:27  
It was a man of integrity. Beautiful.

Coach Maddox  52:32  
I love it. So that theme ran through your whole conversation today. Yeah. Now that's something I really believe the world could use a little bit more of a little bit more integrity. Unfortunately, we've

Brian Gorman  52:45  
one disagree. We could use a lot more. A lot more.

Coach Maddox  52:49  
Yes. Yes. Yes, you're right. So Brian, I want to leave you with one thing. And that is I just want you to to know that. I see you as an authentic gay man. Thank you so much for being my guest coming on to the podcast and sharing your beautiful story and your wisdom. It's been a total pleasure.

Brian Gorman  53:17  
I've enjoyed it too. Thank you, Maddox.


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Brian Gorman

Coach

By the time I was a teenager, I knew that my interest was in other males, not females. I had only one date before I graduated high school and dated only two women in college; I married the second one. At the time, homosexuality was classified as a psychiatric disorder. I sincerely hoped that my desires would change, but they didn't. It took me another nine years to acknowledge that I couldn't hide from myself my entire life; I had to begin to live authentically. My separation and divorce were the beginning of that journey which continues to this day. Along the way, in one relationship, I gave so much of myself away that I was unrecognizable to me; when it nearly cost me my life, I vowed to never do that again. It also brought me a son, an 18-year-old homeless because he is gay is now my adopted 29-year old Brandon.