NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Theatrical circus performers Ben Franklin and Josh Dean invited Fox 5 into their Woodside, Queens, home to tell their tale and discuss an important day in the LGBTQ community: National Coming Out Day.
"We met doing a production of Cats in Akron, Ohio, and we were scratching around, licking ourselves, cleaning ourselves on stage together and then we started dating," Josh said.
Their 16-year love story is still in the making.
"It's a wonderful thing that we can get together and celebrate this specific day, but wouldn't it be wonderful if there wasn't a day necessary at all?" Ben said. "That everyone could just be who they are and live their lives in dignity and peace and love?"
Coming out wasn't easy for Ben, who grew up in a religious family in Virginia.
"I think it's important for those of us who go through those hard times to talk about it to let people know that it can be better, it can be great," Ben said. "And you can have a wonderful, happy life with the person that you're supposed to be with."
While they love clowning around now, their circus lives won't continue forever. Down the road, they have other big plans.
"My dream is for us to own a bed-and-breakfast in Maine that we can get up every morning, make breakfast for people and go sit out on the porch at night," Josh said. "That would be my dream."
National Coming Out Day was first observed 30 years ago. Since then, Ben and Josh both feel the country has come a long way when it comes to accepting the LGBTQ community. But they also feel we still have a long way to go.