Coming Out In Death: Army Veteran Unveils His Secret After a Lifetime of Hiding

Col. Edward Thomas Ryan of New York writes: ‘Now that my secret is known, I’ll forever rest in peace.’

A Veteran’s Truth Revealed

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A decorated veteran announced that he was gay in his obituary, finding peace in knowing that he died his authentic self. 

A Life of Service and Love

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Born and raised in Rennselaer, New York, Colonel Edward Thomas Ryan was a beloved brother, uncle, and retired veteran. 

A Personal Farewell

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Col. Ryan decided to write his own obituary to be shared by the Albany Times Union after his passing. 

All Through Life

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He wrote, “I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life”. 

A Love Remembered

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He wrote about his partner and how, “He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together”. 

Heartbreaking Loss

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Unfortunately, Col. Ryan said that his one true love passed away in 1994 as a result of a “medical procedure gone wrong”. 

Eternal Rest Together

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Col. Ryan will be buried next to his lover. 

Explaining His Silence

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In his obituary, he explained why he was unable to come out during his lifetime. 

Fear  and Regret

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He wrote, “I’m sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay,” 

Seeking Peace in Death

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Continuing, “I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers. Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I’ll forever Rest in Peace.”

Community Support and Sympathy

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The community has rallied behind Col. Ryan and his announcement, and within the week more than 150 people wrote messages in support of him. 

Messages of Comfort

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Someone wrote, “May you rest peacefully in the arms of your forever love. I’m so sorry that you never felt safe to be your authentic self. Your bravery followed you beyond death.”

A Legacy of Service

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Another wrote, “A fine American. A life of service that continues with his final wishes to share his truth so others may learn of love”. 

Live on in Happiness

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Another comment read, “Sir, I am so sorry that you had to live a life in secret. No one should ever have to wait until death to be happy. May your soul and spirit live on in happiness with your true love.”

The Harshness of Humanity

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Continuing, “Humanity can be so unkind to the kindest individuals. May you and your soulmate continue your love without judgment and boundaries”. 

The Military’s History With the LGBTQ+ Community

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The US military is not known to be an overtly accepting organization for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Historical Discrimination

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Up until 1982, gay men and lesbians were banned from joining the military. 

A Troubling Past

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Even earlier than that, same-sex relationships were considered cause for discharge, and in the 1940s being gay was considered an official mental illness. 

Controversial Policies

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Later on, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was enacted in 1993 which caused quite the controversy. 

Closeted Service

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This measure allowed for members of LGBTQ+ community to join the military, on the pretense that they remain in the closet and do not share their sexual orientation publically.

Discharges for Disclosure

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If military members did disclose their sexual orientation, they would be discharged. This policy was in effect for 18 years before being repealed. 

Progress Made in 2013

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In 2013, LGBTQ+ military members were finally given spousal support and family benefits. 

Uncertain Future 

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With the upcoming election, the military’s stance on LGBTQ+ members may see a significant change. 

Campaign Promises

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Both Trump and Biden are campaigning on hot button issues such as transgender rights, and their decisions have the possibility to either increase or remove rights of the queer community. 

The post Coming Out In Death: Army Veteran Unveils His Secret After a Lifetime of Hiding first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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