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Rodney Rousseau

Rodney Rousseau

Rodney Rousseau is from small-town Northwestern Ontario. Now living in Toronto, he is pursuing a career in HIV immunology research. Rodney advocates for accessible and impactful basic science research, and believes that integrating people living with HIV into the research environment and decision-making is integral to that goal. Rodney has been engaged with HIV and LGBT work for over five years, with experience in grassroots advocacy, outreach, event planning, volunteer management, and governance. Follow Rodney on twitter @RodneyKyle

Dec22

Coming out

Tuesday, 22 December 2015 Written by // Rodney Rousseau Categories // Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , Rodney Rousseau

Toronto’s Rodney Rousseau with the story of how he came out gay and poz.

Coming out

OurSpace is a collective of young gay, bi, and queer men in Toronto who seek to support, develop and build our community.  

As part of a recent campaign by OurSpace, 30 young men shared their stories. My story of coming out is one of the 30, and you can find it below. Read all 30 stories at thisisourspace.ca.

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I grew up in the bush. Nobody around. People weren’t gay in real life. TV, that’s where those people were. Who was I? What was I? 

Dad was dying. Mouth cancer. Why was I worrying about such unimportant things as sex when dad was dying? What does any of it matter?   

Later, I could tell Gavin. Gavin could tell me. We were both… different. But then, with a bang, he was gone. My best friend was gone. He couldn’t live with the cards he was dealt. I was left to live with it. Or die with it.  

It doesn’t always get better. At least not right away. It felt a little better, for a time. I lived with grandma. Grandpa had died and she was left alone. Living with her, we had each other. We were busy, but stable. I was studying or I was working or I was at air cadets.  

I was at air cadets that Thursday. It ended at 9 and I went home. Grandma was out with her friend. I came home but she never did. Nowhere was home anymore.  

I stopped to remember I was gay. The least of my worries. I could hide that problem. At least for now. Life’s other problems weren’t so easily hidden.   

For me, problems were easier solved when they’d been laid out. Examined. Picked apart and tackled head-on. So I came out. Stayed out.   

Problems keep coming. Is this really life? One problem after the next…. One challenge after the next. And one solution after the next. One success after the next. All the while finding balance: the art of constant correction.  

I became strong. Passionate. But still vulnerable. Vulnerable to problems. To challenges. To solutions and successes. And life carried on. Life more than carried on… Being vulnerable added a richness to the experience of being alive. Living.  

Life with HIV. Fuck. Why am I poz? What mistake did I make?   

I made no mistake. I was strong. Right? I was human. I was vulnerable. Beautifully, richly vulnerable. Vulnerable to challenges, and vulnerable to success. And alive.

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