David Harborne began his project, Secret Gay Men, just over a year ago after a near 30-year experience of his own.
“I specialize in coaching closeted gay men. The reason I do that is because I’ve gone back on 30 years in the closet and realized how painful that time was,” he said. “I would never want anybody else to go through that.”
And thus, secretgaymen.com was created to connect with these closeted individuals. Despite the name, Harborne is inclusive of hearing everyone’s stories.
“I’ve attracted lots of people to my sites who are hidden and secret, and the biggest challenge for them is knowing they can trust somebody that’s not going to talk about them or share their information,” he explained. “My aim is to at least help them acknowledge themselves for who they are.”
When someone is concealing a part of themselves, Harborne noted a dissociation within them. He works to help others open up and be honest with themselves. He also said a disconnection between oneself and the identity they’re hiding is because they pick up that maybe a religion or parents, friends or relatives say it’s wrong.
“We need to understand [social] constructs and understand who we are and map the two together internally so we actually are true to ourselves.
Harborne launched Secret Gay Men just over a year ago now, interviewing people worldwide and of all ages.
“We just find each other on LinkedIn and they point me in the direction to help others and check in with them. What I’m trying to create is a diversity of voices to create inspiration.
One of the biggest challenges Harborne has seen in his clients is overcoming what parents and religions have said as they were growing up; that gays are bad. Harborne has worked in the healthcare field for over three decades and has held several positions in that time.
“As I’ve sort of retired from those parts, I’ve become more focused on what I can do for the people. What I do is take people back through their timelines to understand and uncover who they truly are – their values and missions – and take them on a path to rediscover who they are and where they want to go.”