Conscience V Career

Dear Brian

It was late September 1994 and I was not in a good place.

I was not aware whether you knew about my meeting with Alan in North Queensland, or whether you knew what had been discussed.

I did not want to ask, either way the end result would be much the same.

If you knew what had been discussed with Alan, I would have been bitterly disappointed, and if you didn’t,  it would mean my path to honesty, would cause division within your family.

It was a battle between my loyalty to you and Andrew  and my need for honesty in my life.

I was tired Brian, tired of the innuendo I kept hearing about, and tired of having to tolerate the barbs and slurs from your brother and father.

At the time, there was no role model for an openly gay CEO and I was in uncharted waters. Ray White being a family business, probably made the situation more difficult.

Neither your brother or father were going to go away and their antipathy and not so subtle homophobia, made my role at Board Level almost untenable.

In hindsight, I should have at least discussed this with you, but in fairness I had previously asked you to intervene with Alan, and my concerns had been brushed off.

I understood and, even sympathized with your position, they were family and I was not, I decided to fall on my sword.

I had spent most of my life living a lie but the last ten years had been a slow battle for honesty.

I needed to complete the journey but Alan had made it abundantly clear that being publicly open about my sexuality was not acceptable.

My dream of a career AND freedom was shattered that night in Townsville.

The frustration and anger was eating at me. What had happened with Ros was more evidence, if I needed any, that the strain of continued personal pretense was destroying me.

I did not want to cause further antipathy within the business and family but I needed complete honesty in my life, it was time to go.

The business was by now, in terrific shape, with strong representation in nearly all states and New Zealand. I had done what I set out to do, in seven years I had had the joy and the privilege  of seeing a Queensland business with less than 100 offices, turning over $1 Billion per annum, become  a national and international business with  over 400 offices and an annual turnover of more than $7 Billion.

It had been a hell of a ride!

You, Andrew and Myf had been wonderful in support of my personal growth, but the shadows of unworthiness and shame were hard to erase.

I treasure the hand-written letter you wrote after I told you I was resigning. I treasure the trove of letters of support, I received from people across the breadth of the group.

Even now, more than twenty years after that tumultuous day; I question whether my decision was stupid, and cowardly  or brave or honorable, the answer is probably a bit of each.

I do know, that honesty in my personal and business life was now nonnegotiable, the shame and the demons needed to be put to rest, I could no longer hide the person I had become.

I do ask you to understand that my decision, was made with the very best of intent.

The financial cost of this decision was something I barely considered. To my mind, it was simply something that had to be done if was ever to achieve the inner peace I  now craved.

Best Wishes

Bruce

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