Embracing the fullness of your identity

Embracing the fullness of your identity

When Guido, registered nurse at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., was growing up as the oldest of three in a conservative Italian family, he was guided by three main principles: Follow instructions, stay together and do not upset your father.

“For someone hiding the fact they are gay, it’s almost as if you take on the life of someone else,” Guido shares. “You pretend to be someone you’re not due to the fear of not knowing what may happen to you. I played the part everyone wanted to see until I felt it was safe enough and that I was strong enough to let that person out.”

That time arrived during his senior year of high school, six years after Guido first realized he was gay in 7th grade. The experience was challenging for both Guido and his parents, who had a vision of what they expected his life to be.

“I feel like when it comes to parents, they already have an ideal picture of the kind of life they want for you,” says Guido. “Mine was to be married to a woman, have kids and a nice job.”

After coming out, Guido’s parents needed time to mourn the loss of the image they’d created in their mind of who their son was to be, Guido shares. They encouraged him to see a therapist as they did not have the answers to any questions he might have about being gay.

During his freshman year of college at Illinois State University, Guido made friends within the LGBTQ+ community, which was his first time having gay friends and learning about their history and culture. There he became close with two drag queens, who were always there for him through ups and downs with his father, and kept him surrounded by love, Guido says.

With everything happening in the world, it can be hard to always embrace his full identity.

“I’m proud of who I am,” says Guido. “I embrace my identity by supporting my community and spreading love.”

As a gay nurse, Guido is more cognizant of people’s preferences, pronouns and recognizing that every patient is unique, he says. His identity allows him to provide holistic care to patients. Guido says he can come to work and know that his colleagues and management have his back.

Guido is now married to his husband, a high school science teacher, after meeting at a macaron shop on the north side of Chicago.

“We have a lovely life together,” Guido shares. “We enjoy going to the botanic gardens, cooking and baking in the kitchen and traveling together.” They also divide their housework and chores and are each other’s support system.

With time, his parents have accepted his identity. His mother attends LGBTQ+ rights events in support of Guido and his community. And despite not having the same viewpoints, Guido says his father has nothing but respect for his husband and has told him that he will be a great father himself and head of the family one day.

“I share my story because I know that somewhere there is a person who is scared of their own realizations and pondering of self-identity,” Guido says. “At the end of the day, as long as you love yourself and who you are as a person, you will be okay. The LGBTQ+ community will continue to be a beacon of hope and love for all individuals.”

Looking for an LGBTQ+ friendly health care provider? Find one in Illinois  or Wisconsin.

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About the Author

Anna Schapiro
Anna Schapiro

Anna Schapiro is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a background in public relations and communications and studied journalism at Northwestern University. When she’s not working on internal communications for the organization, she enjoys cooking, reading and living in Chicago.