Two years ago today I revealed to my sister, who is also one of best friends, the secret I’d been hiding for 18 years. A month later I told that same secret to my father, in what I can honestly call the best father/son conversation I’ve ever had. I informed my mother not too much later. Her positive response caught me off guard and still makes me smile. The internal struggle that I went through and the continual coming out process has made me a better person and a stronger individual. I was recently asked whether if presented with a pill that could turn me straight, would I take it. I immediately answered absolutely not. Being gay is the biggest blessing that has been bestowed upon me. It has made me a more empathetic, courageous, and confident individual. I’ve learned how very important it is to surround myself with people who like me for me – all of me. Sure there are people in my life who are probably made uncomfortable by my sexuality. However, to them I would say this. The only choice I made was to accept myself and to share that with others – I was born this way. I am still very much the same Andrew that you have always known. I have the same passion for design and car design, the same desire to be a dad, and the same enormous capacity to love. Having the gay label doesn’t change any of that, nor does it give me a lisp or any other stereotypical gay quality. The point of this post isn’t to shove the whole gay thing down anyone’s throat. I am merely letting everyone in my life know that I have moved past the denial and self loathing into a very good place – I am finally happy. I have amazing friends and an awesome family. As someone once said, life is too short to be unhappy. I’ll conclude this post with one last thought. I hope that next time an LGBT issue such as marriage equality comes up on the news, instead of thinking about how it isn’t relevant to you, think of me – put a face and name to a group of people who are often discriminated against. Think about how that piece of legislation will affect Andrew Stump, your classmate, student, roommate, cousin, nephew, or friend. I am a gay man and I would not have it any other way! A special shout-out to my family – the people who have always been and continue to be proud and fully supportive of me in my pursuit of happiness. Let today be one more mile marker along the road that is my life. I am very happy to be alive. Every day on this planet is a gift.