For the first time, the number of same-sex couple households in the United States surpassed 1 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released late last year. Of these households, about 710,000 of them (or nearly 60%) are married. Bryan Jordan and his partner, Mike, are one of the same-sex married couples.
Bryan agreed to share his story during Pride Month. He joined CPS Energy 24 years ago and works in the People & Culture area as an Employee Development Analyst. In this role, Bryan facilitates various leadership development workshops and conducts personality and strength assessments.
Difficult teenage years
Bryan asserts a great deal of comfort and ease leading workshops at CPS Energy. However, he experienced many uncomfortable moments, and even years, growing up in the small town of Natalia, Texas.
“I was in a small town in 1979, so being open about who I liked was not a good idea,” he said. So, he kept his feelings and thoughts to himself, even from his family. He said that topics like being gay or same-sex relationships were not talked about in his home.
In high school, Bryan participated in speech, drama and band, even becoming drum major. These were not the usual, stereotypical activities that young men at his school participated in at the time. A lot of people assumed he was gay. Although he denied it when asked, Bryan became the target of hateful, hurtful comments on a semi-regular basis.
At college, Bryan continued to suppress his feelings and couldn’t escape the name-calling.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health professions from Southwest Texas State University and a Master of Arts in administration from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Accepting himself and his feelings
Bryan says he had spent many years praying for a happy life.
He came out to his parents when he was 23 years old. He said his dad and stepmom were very open and accepting. At first, things were a little rocky with his mom but that soon changed.
Bryan joined the Parents, Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) group in San Antonio and credits the members for helping him become his authentic self. “There was a freeing sensation that occurred when I was finally able to accept myself. I began to see the possibility of a fulfilling life as a gay man,” he said.
In 1995, Bryan had a job assisting individuals with learning and intellectual challenges when he met Mike at a state conference. “I don’t know if I would say it was love at first sight, but I definitely found his charisma attractive,” says Bryan of that first encounter.
In 2013, the couple traveled to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where they were married with family in attendance. They will celebrate 10 years of marriage this July 13.
Bryan said that it took years for him to be open and comfortable talking about his relationship with Mike. His co-workers have helped raise that comfort level. For example, at a party to celebrate Bryan’s 20th service anniversary with CPS Energy, his colleagues surprised him by inviting Mike to help celebrate the milestone. Recently, Mike joined Bryan and his team at a volunteer event. Also, one of Bryan’s colleagues gave him a small Pride pin that he wears on his work lanyard.
When asked why he wanted to share his story for Pride Month, Bryan indicated it was for a couple of reasons. “I’ve reached a point in my life where I want to be Bryan, and that means all of me. I don’t want to have to fear mentioning my husband when talking about what I did over the weekend. Or have to be careful using specific words when I share stories to reinforce learning during a workshop,” he said. “I also want others to feel comfortable seeing me as an example and someone they can rely on if they need someone to talk with.”
Thank you, Bryan, for coming out of your comfort zone to share your story with others!