Give OUT: Paul’s Story

The question would usually come up on first dates.

The person across the table from me would ask an innocent question like, “Tell me about your family,” or, “What do your parents do?”

I’d hesitate to assess the situation. I’d quickly ask myself a series of questions about whether my companion could handle the truth, what their reaction might be, whether I had the emotional energy to get into it. All of this happened in a matter of seconds before I mustered up the courage to answer.

For years, because of misplaced shame, I called one of my fathers “uncle.” To make other people feel more comfortable.

As a kid, this just got me tormented a bit less. As an adult, it saved me from exhaustion. Every year onGive OUT Day, I am reminded of how children of LGBTQ parents must constantly come out on behalf of their parents. Whether we like it or not, we must constantly share how our parents’ and caregivers’ journeys helped to create our own, defend them, and demand acceptance for our families.

It wasn’t until I found COLAGE, at age 23, that I truly began to emancipate myself from the mental slavery (shoutout to Bob Marley) of feeling ashamed about my perfectly loving and wonderful family. I joined the COLAGE Board, began to write and speak publicly about my family, and it even turned out that my dates were more successful when I told the whole story 🙂

That’s why I give so much to this scrappy organization and the young people it serves. I want COLAGErs all across the country to feel empowered to tell their whole story and to live in a world where they feel safe enough to do so.

We hope you’ll join us by giving big to support this cause on April 20th, Give OUT Day!

Paul Perry, Interim Executive Director


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