I always remember being a good kid. My greatest joy came with being around other boys. I was raised in a European culture and the boys always hugged and laughed. I loved it. I was a cute kid too and athletically gifted. My world revolved around playing sports which we played based on season. I'll never forget how much I loved my Rod Carew bat and Expos jersey (baby blue one!). And I cried like a baby when the Islanders lost in 1984 to the Oilers. Mike Bossy was my idol.

Around 9 years I was playing sports and my neighbor called me over. He was about 17 years old. He had a younger cousin who lived with him that was about 13-14 years old. This younger cousin was considered 'odd' by the neighborhood kids. He never played sports, preferred playing with dolls and plastic animals, etc. Anyhow, the 17 year old gave me a mandate, "Anthony, try to make 'Abuser' more like you." I felt honored by the request and took it to heart. It wasn't before long that I was being abused sexually over the course of a few summers.

In addition, my dad was a victim (female perpetrator) and so he never played, talked or touched me. Looking back he must of been terrified to be considered a pervert and veered on the safer side of having no contact with me. My mom on the other hand seemed to almost want a daughter. I wanted to play sports ; she'd buy me a guitar, etc. My uncle and eldest brother were there for me but I lost them to girlfriends as the abuse ended. I had a middle brother to lean on but then a few years later he came out as gay. It seemed I was only being given attention by men who wanted to be with other men.

I am 38 years old today. I have recently released a sexual addiction (I get the sensation of vomiting when I think of how I acted out)that lasted over 20 years and which I personally dealt with head on for the past 12 years. I have done many, many hours and years of individual counselling, group counselling, 6 week inpatient addiction program, 12 step groups. Incredibly, I never acted out with men. I am uber pro-LGBT but have always been surprised that with my history I never went there. I still struggle with sexual orientation confusion and it feels like HOCD. My gender shame in through the roof. I feel like a laughing stock as a man but slowly working through that.

It's obviously the toughest mission I have ever been given to handle. It is essentially my vocation. I sometimes wonder why the person 'upstairs' chose me to do this work. Maybe in some round about way it is to help make this world a better place. This work has been pure, pure, pure hell but small rays of light pop through and offer some hope.

Love.
AV