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Out October: “At 50 miles-per-hour I took my seat belt off and veered into a telephone pole.”

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Today’s Out October Project story comes from a man who fought so hard to be someone he wasn’t, he denied himself the right to believe the truth about himself. In the end, it almost cost him his life. Here’s a great story of courage and hope, that teaches us that it does, indeed, get better, when you believe in and become yourself.

Catch up on all the other stories of hope, truth, and courage here.

I guess these stories all start out the same, I always knew something was different. Somewhere in my early teens was where I became more in tune with what was going on, but I was absolutely convinced that possibly being gay was something I could control and if I was going to admit anything to myself, it was that I was maybe bisexual.

During high school I had a steady girlfriend, we had a lot of friends and times were good. My high school girlfriend and I broke up the summer after graduation. I went to a community college for the first two years and became best friends with a girl. We eventually started dating. I then transferred to a university. The long distance relationship was easy for a reason. Eventually we both finished school, and after five years of being together I asked her to marry me. We had been living together for two years at this point and it seemed like the next logical step. Around this time I became very anxious, and I wasn’t sleeping well at all. I went to the doctor and he prescribed me some anti-anxiety medication.

Looking back at this exact moment in my life has always been tough for me. I was in such denial, I didn’t want to be gay, I didn’t want to be bisexual, but allowing myself to think that being bisexual meant that I could choose, and since I didn’t want to be gay, that must mean that I’m straight. So life went on, and so did the medication. My doctor, without really asking any questions continued to prescribe a cocktail of medications to conquer my anxiety and to help me sleep. I continued to get through each day, with my best friend, my fiancé. We were engaged for three years before we finally married, and yes I was still medicated, to control my anxiety. We both had great jobs and we got along just fine as any two best friends would. Then she became pregnant. I was twenty-seven years old.

Five months into the pregnancy my anxiety became increasingly worse, panic attacks were more frequent. I really started to emotionally unravel. I was by this time getting through each day, but medicated, I could still not feel anything, I had no emotions, it had been years since I truly felt anything. I became depressed. My head was so clouded with guilt, I was finally allowing myself to admit that yes, maybe I was gay. My thoughts were repetitious, “God what have I done?”

The guilt was so intense, words cannot truly express to power of the guilt. I was driving to work one day, and I made the worst decision of my life, I took my seat belt off, and veered off the road into a telephone pole at fifty miles-per-hour. The rationalization seemed perfect. I can check out without embarrassing my wife, my daughter, my friends, and my family. The life insurance would take care of them. The pain of losing me would certainly be less to them than me coming out.

Somehow I survived the accident. I kept my secret. I was more scared than ever.

We had a healthy baby girl the following spring. Life went along, my medication continued. I went through each day never really feeling anything; the medication took care of any and all feelings.

Then later that summer the governor of New Jersey came out as a gay American. He was married had kids, and was talking publicly about this. I really started to emotionally unravel. I was by this time barely emotionally getting through each day; I became depressed.

Here I was with a house, two cars, a little girl, and I was married to my best friend. One morning I woke up and had one of the worst panic attacks. I wouldn’t have wished it on anyone, and I thought I was going to die. I slowly realized that I couldn’t handle, what I thought I could control, my sexuality, I wasn’t bisexual, I was gay. I didn’t want to be gay.

Then one night in the spring I sat my best friend, my wife, down and told her. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. We cried together for hours, there was no yelling, no screaming, just sadness. I moved out a month later. It was surreal.

The next six months were the worst. I stopped all medication, I was feeling again, but all I was feeling was tremendous guilt and embarrassment and it was crushing. It was hard, but it slowly got better. For the most part, my entire family, my friends, and my estranged wife’s family — believe it or not — were supportive. Slowly things were easier, very slowly.

A little over a year after my wife and I split up I met a man who had just come out to his family. We were the same age, twenty-nine, and we instantly connected. The panic and stress about being gay subsided and I slowly began to feel again, to be happy, and to really be in love with someone.

True love is something I never had experienced. I never felt it was something I deserved. I guess on some level it’s something I still sometimes have a hard time accepting. We are still together almost five years later. He is my soul mate.

It has taken years for me to begin to forgive myself for what felt I should have worked out much sooner, it’s still something I struggle with.

My ex-wife was unbelievably supportive. Her family was there for me, my family rallied around me, my friends rallied around me, and things got better. I knew I had a little girl who was calling me daddy, which I needed to live for.

Lessons I’ve learned? Where to start… Be who you are always, don’t wait. Masking feelings is not healthy, it made things worse. Humans are meant to feel things, your body is talking to you, listen. Regrets? Yes I have many, many of which are obvious.

If you ever get to the point where things seem to be so dismal that you can’t imagine anything ever being right again, stop. Breath. Realize there are people in your life you love you, no matter what, it’s a hell of a leap of faith, I know, but things will get better. I promise that people you never thought would support you, will surprise you and possibly be your biggest support. The world deserves you, whoever you are.

Be happy, you owe it to yourself. I never thought I would be here, now, writing this, but with this anti-gay surge which is ever-more present, I needed to share my story.  I wish I had someone to tell me this story on that morning on my way to work, that things will get better, you can do this, and you will survive this.  I can’t change my past but hopefully my story can get through to one gay person who is struggling.

So listen up, you will be alright, you will be happy. Believe me. I’m living proof.

Remember, there are always options.
The Trevor Project: a 24-hour hotline for gay and questioning youth: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

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'HORRIBLE THINGS'

‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower

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Over the course of two decades Mehmet Oz, the “celebrity doctor” known as “Dr. Oz,” now the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, was the “principle investigator” at a Columbia University research laboratory with “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies.

According to the website Jezebel, “a review of 75 studies published by Mehmet Oz between 1989 and 2010 reveals the Republican Senate candidate’s research killed over 300 dogs and inflicted significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments.”

It was far more than 300 dogs, too, according to Jezebel.

“Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents,” Jezebel reported.

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

A whistleblower, veterinarian Catherine Dell’Orto provided testimony “about Oz’s research” and “detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.”

Jezebel also reports “Dell’Orto testified that a dog experimented on by Oz’s team experienced lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure, but wasn’t euthanized for a full two days.”

“She alleged other truly horrifying examples of gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs, including at least one dog who was kept alive for a month for continued experimentation despite her unstable, painful condition, despite how data from her continued experimentation was deemed unusable. According to Dell’Orto, one Oz-led study resulted in a litter of puppies being killed by intracardiac injection with syringes of expired drugs inserted in their hearts without any sedation. Upon being killed, the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates.”

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

That particular detail was so shocking U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), commented, “WTF.”

“Dell’Orto also noted that while Oz wasn’t the one who euthanized the dogs and puppies himself, ‘When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.'”

Oz’s Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman summed up the allegations, tweeting, “Dr. Oz is a puppy killer.”

PEOPLE magazine followed up with Dell’Orto to fact check the Jezebel report.

It did not get any better for Dr. Oz.

“Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE she witnessed the inhumane treatment of dogs in lab experiments investigating aspects of heart function over which Oz served in the role of ‘principal investigator’ — including leaving dogs in pain and paralyzed for weeks, with no discernible research benefit, before they were euthanized or died,” People reports.

While others in the same role as Oz involved themselves personally in experiments to “ensure minimal suffering,” People reports, Dell’Orto says with Dr. Oz, “What I saw was abuse.”

“‘The puppies killed in the bag were killed by a vet tech,’ not by Oz, Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE.”

In another experiment one dog “was kept alive for 29 days post-operatively despite being paralyzed and with no clear research benefit, says Dell’Orto.”

“Horrible things that went on,” Dell’Orto said.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Kellyanne Conway Is Now a Religious Right Crusader Using Christianity to Attack Democrats as a Paid Fox News Contributor

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Former Trump 2016 campaign manager and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has remade herself multiple times. A pollster who once had as a client Todd Akin – the GOP lawmaker who made the phrase, “if it’s a legitimate rape” infamous – Conway also did polling for Donald Trump when he was considering a run for New York governor.

Once inside the White House Conway was one of the newsiest officials, often appearing before the Fox News cameras almost daily.

Fox News viewers will once again get to see the former top Trump aide almost daily – this time as a paid Fox News contributor who is using her Christian faith as a sword to attack Democrats.

Conway is the latest Trump White House official to be hired by Fox News, and while she’s not Trump’s spokesperson any longer, she may wrangle the gig into getting her old one back. Puck reports she is being considered to helm Trump’s expected 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

In fact, the two have something in common.

“I will tell you why he wants to run for president,” Conways told CBS News on Friday. “Donald Trump wants his old job back.”

Conway joins a long list of her former colleagues at what has become a far right wing media outlet catering to promoting anything Trump, while downplaying any negative news about the former president who is currently being investigated by prosecutors in Georgia and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for an array of possible felonies, reportedly including ones under the Espionage Act.

Conway will be right at home working alongside Kayleigh McEnany, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, and Trump’s daughter-in-law and former Trump campaign official Lara Trump.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

In April Vox reported that “while he hasn’t been hired by Fox, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller — known for helping to develop Trump’s nativist immigration policy — has become a fixture as a guest on Sean Hannity’s and Laura Ingraham’s shows.”

“Since the start of President Joe Biden’s term,” Media Matters reported in February, “Fox News has hired at least nine editors who previously worked for former President Donald Trump’s administration, Republican campaign offices, or Republican politicians. Many of those editors now cover politics for FoxNews.com.”

On Tuesday Conway appeared on Fox News and attacked Democrats, saying Hispanic voters “see a Democratic Party that’s openly hostile to religion. They can’t even give their thoughts and prayers when there’s a tragedy. It’s only thoughts now.”

The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump calls Conway’s analysis “overly simple and, in part, … explicitly dishonest.”

“Kellyanne Conway claimed that Democrats are hostile religion, something that will surprise the vast majority of Democrats, who are religious,” he adds on Twitter. “There’s a reason that ‘religious’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘Republican.'”

One day earlier, in a segment with a chyron that reads, “The Importance of Religion,” Conway told her former and now current colleague, Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, “People are afraid to make the sign of a cross before a meal in public, they’re afraid to express their — they actually think their religion could get them canceled now, not just their politics, and think about that.”

Conway, perhaps best known for her “alternative facts” flub, offered no proof of her claim.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

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Herschel Walker is now suggesting the souls of Georgians are in the balance, and if they don’t elect him to the U.S Senate they will not even “have a chance to be redeemed,” a Christian religious belief about being delivered from sin by God. Walker is also suggesting his right-wing son, who turned against him this week after reports he paid for an abortion, is a member of “the left.”

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Walker told host Brian Kilmeade, “If we vote for the people on the left, like the guy I’m running against,” Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, “you’re not going to have a chance to be redeemed. He’s a minister and he don’t believe in redemption.”

“Right now, they’re trying to destroy America, they’re trying to destroy Georgia. It ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee said.

Kilmeade asked the embattled Senate GOP candidate why his son, Christian Walker, is “doing tremendous damage to you.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

Walker served up a confusing claim, suggesting his popular right wing social media influencer son is actually a liberal.

“Well, the damage he’s doing is letting people know that the left will do whatever they can to win the seat.”

“I told you when I got into this race, I’m gonna win this seat,” Walker continued, as he played the religion card. “People see someone seated here in front of you right now that have been redeemed. And I want America to know, I’m living proof that you can make mistakes and get up and keep going forward. But you can only do it in this country right here. But you can only do it, if we get this election correct this coming November.”

Christian Walker, once his top supporter, this week blasted his father in several online videos and tweets after The Daily Beast reported the former NFL star turned Trump-endorsed MAGA politician had paid for an abortion for one of his girlfriends.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

Kilmeade asked Walker if his son’s allegations – including forcing him and his mother to move to six different homes in six months, going out and sleeping with other women, and never being home to raise his own son – were true.

Walker never answered, instead, telling Fox News viewers he loves is son “unconditionally,” as Fox News repeatedly play a clip of Walker giving his son a hug and kiss at an event.

In a video posted to twitter Tuesday, Christian Walker blasted his father, saying, “I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised.”

“And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”

“You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life,” Christian Walker added. “You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on day one. We haven’t. I haven’t told any stories. I’m just saying don’t lie. Don’t lie on my mom. Don’t lie on me. Don’t lie on the lives you’ve destroyed and act like you’re some moral family man. Y’all should care about that, conservatives.”

“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Walker said about his father Herschel. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The  abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he likes about it. Okay, I’m done.”

Watch Herschel Walker’s Fox News interview below or at this link.

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