When TV producer, Neal Baer, came out to his college-age son ten months ago, he was asked if it took him this long to figure it out, to which he replied, “No, it took me this long to say it.” His son, in true millennial fashion, simply said, “Oh,” then asked where he wanted to go for dinner."
That's how the story starts in a coming out essay written by Baer, a writer and producer best known for his work on ER, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and CBS's current summer hit, Under the Dome. In a column for The Huffington Post, the producer talks about how he — while closeted — used his writing as an outlet to tell gay narratives and even infused himself into the stories he wrote for TV.
“Then I started writing for television, and I didn't realize it, but who I really was seeped into stories on ER and SVU. I wrote about the struggles and accomplishments of gay youth, destigmatizing HIV/AIDS, whether transgender youth should be allowed to take hormone blockers, bullying, the pain of being on the down low (I really know about that one), AIDS deniers. Those stories were preparing me to come out.”
But even with his indirect expression, it took someone else’s op-ed piece — Adam Chandler's for the New York Times — to give him the courage to admit be honest with himself.
“I read his op-ed on May 6, 2013, and said aloud for the first time in my life, 'I am gay.' The roof didn't cave in; the floor didn't give way; the walls didn't crash down. But my life changed momentously.”