A now out gay US Navy sailor has opened up about accidentally coming out in a picture on Instagram, saying for the most part his colleagues and friends have only been supportive.
Conner Curnick, formerly a college water polo player, and now in the US Navy wrote for Outsports about accidentally coming out to his squad by posting a photograph on Instagram.
The photo was of him and another man on the back of his motorbike.
When he was confronted by a number of colleagues, he faced his fears and told them that he is gay.
He writes: “I was alone at the time and in tears, and I decided to come clean — yes, I’m gay, I told them. The reactions started coming in and, to my relief and surprise, they were overwhelmingly positive.
“While I did lose a few friends, the ones closest to me became even closer, because I no longer had to lie about who I was and for the first time they knew what was really going on in my life. Pensacola will always hold a place in my heart for changing me in the way it did.”
Curnick says since coming out he is “much happier”, and that his professional and personal lives have only benefitted from his openness.
The sailor writes: “Since coming out, I have become a much happier, productive and successful person. I have since been to the Middle East twice and been awarded accolades for my achievements. I have received letters of accommodation from leaders at Combatant Commands and won Sailor of the Quarter at my command of 2,300 Sailors.”
He adds: “I still face discrimination, and I understand that it is an unfortunate reality of living openly and fighting for equality. I am currently working with fellow LGBT sailors to start an organization at my base for LGBT service members to promote understanding and ensure equality in the workplace. I hope that in the future, people won’t have to “come out,” but they can simply say this is my boy/girlfriend and be accepted by everyone.”
Gay, lesbian and bisexual people have been permitted to openly serve in the US military since 2013, when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed.
Out gay Army Secretary Eric Fanning last week hit out at critics who say the US military should not engage in “social experiments” by allowing LGBT people to serve openly.
He spoke as the US last month announced that it was lifting its ban on transgender troops serving openly over the course of the coming year.