Shared with permission from Michael Sharp, InsideOut LGBT Radio

I have been asked “What do I stand for?” and “What do I fight for?”.

That isn’t an easy or simple thing to answer so instead I answer by saying a little about myself.

I came out when I was young and wasn’t emotionally strong or secure. I grew up in a small suburb right outside of Detroit. I knew of no one else who was LGBTQ+, but heard rumors (negative rumors) about LGBTQ+ people.

Like so many young people I truly believed I was completely alone and believed that my life and my identity couldn’t take me to a positive place. With a series of suicide attempts.

It took years and years for me to connect with the LGBTQ+ community. Then to find strong positive representation, and support. It took me through growth that I could not have acquired in any other way. Which has helped me to understand what purpose means. What Love means, what strength truly looks like, and the importance of creating a ripple and making a difference.

Because of some of these experiences they have lead me to where I am as a husband of over 12 years and a father for 3 years. These experiences will also take me to where I go from here.

So what I stand for is even greater than all of this. What I fight for is to share all the strength I have been given to create a ripple and help people create their our positive ripples as well.

Every single day I am more and more thankful to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. The richest and most diverse community there is. Anybody can find flaws in our community but true strength keeps finding more beauty in our community.

What do you “stand for” and what do you “fight for”? Let us know in the comments, or send an e-mail to . #PersonalStories