Owning My Story

In my pursuit of authenticity, I’ve realized that proudly sharing my story — both as a gay man and as a person with CF — is an affirmation of my self-worth.

June 21, 2024 | 5 min read
A headshot of Brandon Wright
Brandon M. Wright, LSW, CDP
Brandon standing next to his husband who is holding a Golden Retriever puppy

In the maze of self-discovery, one of the most profound and liberating journeys a person can embark upon is coming out. I often find myself educating others and bringing awareness not only when I come out as a gay male, but also when I “come out” as a person with cystic fibrosis. 

Coming out is a personal pilgrimage marked by vulnerability, courage, and the pursuit of authenticity. The process of unveiling your true self can be both overwhelming, scary, and empowering. The decision to step out (or come out) of that closet is never easy.

For many people like me who identify as a person with CF and as a gay male, the closet can resemble a safe space where one can shield their authentic selves from the examination and judgement of the outside world. It's a place where secrets are housed and fears are often masked. Choosing to come out in a personal, professional, or intimate relationship can be exhausting, and each journey of coming out may look very different. 

The journey as one steps out of the closet is never over. Being out in the open comes with its own set of challenges — prejudice, discrimination, and societal stigma. It is a journey of both victories and setbacks as one learns to navigate the complexities of living as their authentic self. It is a journey toward self-acceptance, self-love, and the realization that one’s worth is not contingent upon the approval of others — but rather your own self-discovery. Yet, as daunting as it may seem, the act of coming out is an affirmation of self-worth — a declaration that one's identity is not something to be hidden or ashamed of. 

June is Pride Month — a celebration when the world’s LGBTQIA+ communities come together and remember their history and struggle for equal rights. I am proud to be able to share my story both as a LGBTQIA+ person and as a person with CF. 

My self-worth journey has been evolving over my 37 years of being a CF warrior. Being diagnosed with CF at 6 weeks old with a life expectancy of 12 years really shapes one’s vision of the world. Personal goals and aspirations feel different. I taught myself to live for today, as it was all I was guaranteed. The future was something I didn’t dream or hope for. As I grew older, that life expectancy increased, which forced my mindset to evolve and made me realize that my journey might be extended — there was hope! Now I could go to school, now I could get married. Fast forward to 2024, and now I need to think I could retire. Each of these things are only possible due to medical advances, including but not limited to CFTR modulators, which allow me to live life very differently and plan for my future. 

Along the way, each of these milestones have been part of the coming out journey. Someone asked why I didn’t have a 401K retirement plan set up since starting in the workforce. So, I shared the ongoing story of my life with CF, a story I am proud to share and want others to know. The impact of the past must be known to better appreciate the future. I have found many opportunities to share my voice, including various committees, research groups, and CF programs, such as BreatheCon, FamilyCon, CF Peer Connect, and many more.

To those reading who are in any kind of closet … know that you are not alone. Your personal journey is valid, and your truth is worthy of celebration. Take your time, find and know your support system, and know that there is a community of love and acceptance waiting to embrace you when you are ready. If you have already come out and your LGBTQIA+ or CF light is shining, continue to shine that light brightly. Your courage paves the way for others to follow, and your authenticity is a beacon of hope in a world that sorely needs it — being authentic is my personal mission on a daily basis. 

Know that my husband and I are always a resource for anyone reading this. He is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. We are coming up on our 8th wedding anniversary and both turned 37 this year. We have two dogs, two cats, and a potbellied pig, who we treat as our children! I am very close with my family, who live locally, and my younger brother also has CF. Happy Pride Month! 

Interested in sharing your story? The CF Community Blog wants to hear from you.

This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

Share this article
Topics
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Emotional Wellness
A headshot of Brandon Wright

Brandon is an adult with CF living in the greater Cincinatti area. He was diagnosed with CF at 6 weeks old and has a younger brother who also has CF. Brandon is a social worker who assists with the aging population with things like assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. He has been married to his best friend since 2016. They both love to kayak, garden, try delicious food, and get involved in local LGBTQIA+ community projects. They have two dogs, two cats, and a pot-belly pig. You can connect with Brandon on Instagram

Recent Community Posts
Reclaiming My Identity After Starting Trikafta
Blog | 8 min read
The Impact of Advocacy Beyond the Hill
Blog | 6 min read
Why We Took Our Son Off Trikafta
Blog | 7 min read