On the heels of Star Jones’ engagement news, her ex-husband Al Reynolds has come out as bisexual.
In an essay written for RadarOnline, Al confirms the long-swirling rumors about his sexuality and how it has impacted his life.
Ever since I have been in the public eye, people have been speculating on my sexuality. And ‘speculating’ is a kind word for how it actually played out. With anger and disdain, people have been calling me out as gay, closeted, a sham and even nastier; much nastier.
I have come to a point in my life where I am ready to discuss my truth. I wasn’t ready to do this then — I wasn’t even ready to think about it, let alone process it. To understand my journey and how I got to this point, you need to understand a little about me.
I am the youngest of six children in a Southern Baptist family. We grew up in a three-bedroom mobile home in Horsepasture, Virginia. We were deeply religious; when we weren’t in church we were in school or an after-school activity. My life was filled with vacation bible school, missionary meetings, Sunday school, choir practice and youth ministry.
Life was not nuanced or frivolous, nor did it allow any time for introspection. It was clear and proscribed, black and white, angels or sinners. And people who were intimate with others of their own gender were the worst of all with no chance of redemption, or the glorious afterlife that I was taught awaited us all.
As a black man, that message and the hate and homophobia were multiplied to the nth degree. I saw no path out that would resolve my personal feelings with my deeply held and ingrained religious beliefs.
This internal dissonance was a powerful thing, like a cancer eating at one’s soul. This resulted in some tough times — homelessness, unemployment, dependence on drugs and alcohol, public assistance, and, at the center of it all, a deep, deep shame and a feeling of unworthiness of the love of God. I didn’t believe I deserved to live a good life, and I clearly didn’t.
My journey to the light was not a quick one nor an easy one. I threw myself into getting the best education I could, getting three degrees, and working harder than anyone else. I was a classic overachiever, suppressing the real issues of my life. I became a workaholic and have been on Wall Street, a banker, an academic and a consultant.
I was not only getting educated about business and the professional life, I was getting exposed to a far different life than I had known growing up. “I saw people from all walks of life, with multi-dimensional points of views and lifestyles I could only imagine.
Their ability to navigate the business world and have a fulfilling personal life was a revelation to me — you can have it all. So, I sought out my own happiness and the life that would fulfill me — not the life that I had been taught was my destiny.
Along the way there have been speed bumps and sinkholes. And at the same time, I have met presidents, kings, top athletes and great entertainers. I have hit the highest of high notes and had the lowest of moments. But I have learned gratitude for the lessons my merciful Savior has allowed me to experience and process. And I have become tougher, more empathetic, more open-minded and able to love greater, deeper and better, especially myself.
Today I accept myself as a bisexual man. I have learned that sexual orientation is not binary, at least for me. I am capable of loving both sexes, and I have done both. My relationships, all of them, have been honest and based on my attraction to the other person. When I am in love I don’t equivocate, nor do I waver.
I tell this story to both encourage my personal path, as well as give some small measure of hope to others that no matter your beginnings, no matter the obstacles, there is nothing so fulfilling and Godlike as living the life that was destined.
I will not live in fear or shame any longer. I will revel in the light of my truth and bask in the light of my Savior Jesus Christ who loves me and accepts me exactly as He created me.
Good for him.