I knew I had to be the father to my daughter that my father never was for me. She is my hero, my angel, and my HOPE.
Ryan Joseph Allen
I labeled myself as a Gay Addict unworthy of Love.
God labeled me perfect.
God labeled me loved.
A piece of my STORY
From the time I was very young... four years old or so I knew I was different. I was different than my brother and my male friends. I tended to feel things so deeply. At the age of six was the first time I had thought about ending my life. Within a few years I realized that I fell within the LGBTQ+ community. By my teenage years I was engulfed in self-destructive behaviors. Self-mutilation, body dysmorphia, drug and alcohol use and an ever growing sense of self-loathing. I survived suicide multiple times. As I entered college I was in full addiction and spiraling out of control. Until one night me and my drug dealer had a talk about God. She simply was sharing her story with me about her connection with God. After our conversation I went to the bathroom and fell to my knees asking God to save my life. I knew if I continued on the path I was on I would surely end up dead. From that moment everything shifted and changed. Some things little by little and others astronomically. Eventually, I was able to get clean and stay clean at the age of 23. I was able to be a father to my daughter that my father wasn’t to me. I was able to finish my undergraduate degrees, eventually a masters degree and now I’m almost to the dissertation process in my doctorate around leadership studies and spirituality at the age of 31. I helped form a nonprofit organization around love and acceptance. When we founded the organization we knew we needed to do something for those kids, teenagers, and adults like me that had felt a void of love and acceptance for themselves throughout their life. Through this work I’ve had countless souls touch my heart and impact my story. Within each story we share with others we help to break down walls and barriers that so often divide us. Storytelling creates hope! My dream is that by sharing my story I will inspire others to share their story authentically, with passion, and ultimately with love.
I’m so blessed to be given a second chance at life. Any one of the many horrible decisions I made could’ve ended up with me in prison, homeless, or dead. I became a Dad at the age of 22. My daughter and drug dealer became the catalysts to drive me closer to God. A God who is ALL loving, pure love, pure light- something so many of us in the LGBTQ+ community didn’t see growing up. My extended family was conservative and lived within a very rural community. We were often taught we were bad, wrong, sinful, and even damned. My true inspiration comes from my heart. I don’t ever want anyone to feel the way I felt growing up. I want others to feel the love that is abundant and available for everyone. No matter what it’s called. The name doesn’t matter. Only the feeling matters. Only the love matters.