“I’m 71 years old. I live in Belgium. After I retired from the tax department, I took a volunteer job at the church in my town. Sometimes I do readings on the altar or help conduct weddings. I try to be cheerful and usually get invited afterward for a drink with the couple. Most of the time, I assist the priest with baptisms. In the past ten years, I’ve baptized 556 children. This morning I baptized two 5-year-old kids. A few months ago, we baptized the children of two lesbian women when no one else would do it. I’m a left-wing Christian and my church is progressive. They don’t have a problem with me being gay, but we rarely talk about it. On occasion, we have coffee together and they ask me what it’s like to be gay. I tell them to look at me — I’m not sad about being gay. I’ve had a very good life. I hope to go on for another ten years. I know some people deal with a lot of problems and feel alone. But I wish people wouldn’t hide from themselves when they recognize they are gay or different in any way. We all have one life to make our own.”

“I feel that I still have to ‘come out’ to them consistently because they see homosexuality as a struggle that can be overcome.”

“I think an ally’s job is to help spread the message of equality.”

“I had to be really open and patient with her while she tried to understand me and my life.”