March 07, 2018 04:34 PM

NOTE FROM JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, PEOPLE AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:

In the moving comedy-drama Love, Simon (in theaters March 16) Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel star as the parents of Simon, a high schooler played by Nick Robinson who struggles to tell loved ones that he’s gay. Acceptance in America has increased dramatically in recent years, but coming out as LGBTQ is still a profound and often traumatic experience.

PEOPLE and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, along with GLSEN, the non-profit that fights to make schools safe for all kids, invited individuals from all walks of life to share real-life coming out stories. COMING OUT STORIES (produced by Ryan Buxton) can be seen at people.com/comingoutstories and on PeopleTV (download the app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device).

Darren Walker
Stacy Beneke/Zenobia

For Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, coming out as a gay man was an “evolutionary process.”

The 58-year-old says there was no grand moment in which he declared his identity, but his family and friends immediately knew from the moment they met him.

“I think most people who encountered me understood that I was a queer little boy and that I would grow up to be a queer man, which has happened. And I’m actually quite happy about it,” he says. “I actually never thought that I would find someone, fall in love, spend the rest of my life with them. I always thought I would just be a single gay man.”

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