As the Executive Director for the Center for Online and Digital Learning, Peter is part of a team that supports students and faculty at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology. When not immersed in online instruction, Peter teaches a WELL 310 (Women as Empowered Learners and Leaders) class in the WELL program. He is currently working on his Doctor of Education degree at Northeastern University. Peter has been out for over 20 years.
“My coming out story starts in high school. I was junior when I began coming to terms with my sexuality. At first, I put my head in the sand, but this action soon affected me in other ways. Although I was a straight “A” student, my grades began to slip. And then I failed a Spanish test. That was it. I literally withdrew from school, got into my car and drove off. The school provided me with a tutor, and in the meantime I worked at the Big Y supermarket. One day, when no one was home, I looked into the mirror and said, ‘Peter you are gay.’ This was a huge moment because I came out to myself. Once I admitted who I was, I decided to tell my parents. But first, in case things didn’t work out, I packed my clothes in a grocery bag. If they didn’t accept me, I would go to my grandmother’s house. When I told my mother, all she said was, ‘…is this what this is all about? You put us through this because you are gay? Who cares??’ Even my dad, whose reaction I was concerned about, suspected I was gay. I re-enrolled in school and eventually received a full-tuition scholarship as part of the Honors Program at Eastern Connecticut State University. My advice, which I also try to impart to students, is that it is better to be the person you are, rather than show the person you aren’t. When I came out, I was so much more comfortable around people. And that day when my life changed—December 11, 1997—I celebrate it every year. I like to say it is the day I was found.”