Rob Scheer and husband Reece Scheer founded Comfort Cases in 2013 out of frustration.
In the ‘70s, Rob Scheer himself was in the foster care system and aged out of it at 18. He’s never forgotten the indignities that went with it.
“I remember feeling terrified as I walked to the door of my first foster family carrying everything I owned in a large, black trash bag,” says the 51-year-old D.C.-area native.
He remembers his foster parents going through his items while he went to take a shower.
“I was a stranger in their home and had to shower with someone else’s bar of soap and change into someone else’s hand-me-down clothes. It was embarrassing, demeaning and demoralizing.”
Upon welcoming two foster kids of their own, the Scheers founded Comfort Cases with the mission to “bring comfort and dignity to people entering the foster care system.” Comfort Cases provides each foster child with a new backpack or duffel bag with personal items such as pajamas, a blanket, stuffed animal, toiletries, books and other items. The organization has been featured on “Ellen” and on Saturday, Nov. 25, Mrs. Kasha Davis and Tatianna from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will headline a benefit for the organization. Tickets are $50 for the 8 p.m. event. Details at comfortcase.org.
Rob Scheer works by day as a chief strategy officer for Landmark Network, Inc., a California-based financial services and real estate appraisal firm. The Scheer family, including Amaya (13), Greyson (10), Makai (10) and Tristan (8), lives on a farm in Darnestown, Md.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out when I was 22. I’d say the hardest person to tell was myself. It was a challenging period in my life and it took a lot for me to finally be honest with myself. Once I did, there was no looking back.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Ellen DeGeneres is a big hero of mine. She’s shown such tremendous courage in her life. I’ve always admired how she maintains her values and doesn’t compromise herself even when the pressure was unbelievably high.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Town is a fixture in the LGBT community and they’ve been so generous in hosting our Cocktails, Queens, & Comfort Cases fundraiser this weekend. I’m sad that Town will be closing this summer and really hoping that they will find a new home.
Describe your dream wedding.
That’s easy because I had my dream wedding. Me, my husband and our kids by our side. It was exactly what I wanted and I will never forget that special day.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Supporting kids experiencing the foster care system. Our system is a national disgrace and we need to come together to rebuild it from the bottom up. On any given day, there are nearly half a million children in foster care in the United States. Even worse, many of these children eventually “age out” of the foster system and find themselves homeless and alone at age 18. That’s exactly what happened to me.
What historical outcome would you change?
The deterioration of our nation’s foster care system and the impact that system has on our kids.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I’ll never forget when Princess Diana died. It was such a sad moment and such a loss for the world. She was a special person and a great humanitarian. What struck me the most about that time was how the world came together with love and appreciation for her life and her legacy. I found it very moving.
On what do you insist?
Accountability. I don’t have patience of people that blame the bad things in their lives on others or on their circumstances. I believe we all have a responsibility to ourselves to create the change we need to be successful.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I posted a message promoting this fundraiser and encouraging all of my friends to show their support!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
It’s funny you ask this question because I’m actually working on a book right now. It’s scheduled to come out late next year and you’ll have to wait and see what the title is.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. I’m proud of who I am and know that my life would be completely different if I weren’t this person. I wouldn’t trade my life — all the good and the bad — for anything in the world.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in a God that is the full realization of love. I have too many blessings in my life to believe otherwise.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I tell everyone who will listen that the best thing they can do is to lead by example. I believe working hard to change the things that need changing and fix the things that need fixing is the only way things get done. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I try to live by that motto.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To get to my husband and my kids faster. I travel so much for work, the charity and speaking engagements that I treasure every second with them.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we do not like sports!
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Milk.” A great reminder of what we can all accomplish if we get involved and fight for change.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Saying, “How are you?” to people in passing, when we’re really just being polite. I’m a people person so I like to get to know people, talk to them and hear their story. When I say, “How are you?” I really want to know.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I’ve got all the reward I need with my husband and my kids.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
At 18, I was homeless, having aged out of the foster care system, and I was alone. I didn’t believe I would ever amount to anything and I was on the verge of giving up. I made the decision to not become a statistic and I made a personal commitment to make something of myself. I wish 18-year-old me knew then how much love and joy I would find in my life.
Washington is my home and always has been. This is where I feel the most accepted and loved.