My first post
A brief introduction to The Gay Psychotherapist: Will Sawyer, Founding Partner of TeleTalkNow, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ Community.
If you are looking for a psychotherapist who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and will understand your needs and desires beyond empathy and has experienced your struggles, you have found the right therapist.
My story started with my birth in 1964 in Oakland, California. I am at the beginning of Generation X, influenced by MTV and 1980’s pop culture. There is not a Madonna, Cindy Lauper, or WHAM song I do not know. I loved all my gay icons. They provided me with an escape from my reality for decades while I was closeted. I experienced significant gay bullying and physical abuse from family, friends, and a society that was raging at our community due to fears of gay cancer. Gay men were literally dying across the bridge, increasing the fear and paranoia I felt and driving me deep into the closet. I failed to complete high school in 1982 due to the emotional distress and gay bashings I experienced. We were living in Sunol, California, a rural Bay Area Community nestled in the hills that surround the San Francisco Bay Area. I was forced to transfer schools to stop getting bullied on the bus and my only transportation to school was hitchhiking.
In 1983, I joined the Mormon Church and attempted to pray the gay away. I was a devout believer and served a Mormon mission in Ohio, came home, and married the woman who waited for me. We had four children, one boy, and three girls. The Mormon Church parented me in a lot of ways my own parents were not able to. Due to their influence, I was able to complete my GED, a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology, and family studies from Weber State University in 1996. I then completed a master’s degree in clinical social work from Brigham Young University in 1998.
My wife and I separated in 2000 in a contentious divorce after I came out to her. I chose to have my name removed from the Mormon Church so that my children would not have the stigma of being children of a dad was the faggot that was excommunicated. She fled the country and an international custody battle ensued and when I ran out of money, I was represented pro-bono by a lawyer from the ACLU.
Today there is a great deal of peace in my life. I am married to the man I love and have spent the last 19 years with him. We met at a gay bar through a mutual friend. We bought a bed and breakfast in Sacramento, California in 2002, and together with my ex-wife and her husband we have raised four amazing children. We got married the old fashion way by going across the border in 2005 and getting married in Canada. In 2008 we bought an equestrian event company and in 2015 I returned to Social Work and in 2018 I finished the clinical hours and was licensed to become a clinical social worker.
My husband and I have always been involved in LGBTQIA+ activism and are to this day. We have knocked on doors, worked phone banks, hosted fundraisers, attended protests, and donated to causes we are passionate about.
My story is not unique. Many of us have walked this path. If you are looking for a therapist who has been through the pain and will help you find a way out, I will be your guide.