At 10 o’clock this morning, I really really wanted to call my mother. She would have been so happy. Very honestly really happy.
I remember the day 40-whatever years ago when I told her I was gay. She cried. Not because I was gay, but because she knew what a rough life I was going to have – and she feared I would be alone. I lived all over the USofA chasing rainbows of one sort or another but true love always eluded me. I hid the rough spots over the years, but she always hoped I would settle down.
And then I – and she – met Victor. It was love at first sight.
She adored him and knew from Day One that I had finally met my life-mate. She was a proud mama and so happy that her little boy had finally found the happiness she had always hoped and prayed for.
She died way too soon, but she left us knowing we were happy.
And today, I just wanted to call her and say We Did It! Legal everywhere! She would have beamed with pride.
What a difference from that little boy 50 years ago – several lifetimes ago – who at 13 actually thought about killing himself. I knew I was different, I thought something was wrong with me. I kinda knew what it was, but it was something I had to keep secreted in the deepest depths of my being. The love that dare not speak its name…
It was a very frightening time. I think it’s one of the reasons I’m very publicly out today. I want other 13 year old kids to see a [reasonably] well-adjusted adult gay male out there and just kinda pass on the “it’s okay” message.
When I told my father I was gay, his reply was “I know. I was wondering how long it would be before you finally mentioned it.”
And then I CAME OUT. In a blaze of Rainbow Glory. I was so out my brother finally told me he liked me better when I was in the closet. I got the message and toned things down a bit. It was such a relief, though, not to have to hide. Of course, it opened up a whole new can of worms… I got to experience fear – not of being found out – but of getting my ass kicked for being in the wrong place or coming out of the wrong bar. And then there was the hotel GM who told me I wasn’t going any further up the Corporate Ladder because I didn’t have – emphasis his – a wife.
So many years of open and blatant discrimination. So many years of being called a sodomite and a sinner, that I was going to hell. Laws enacted to deny me my basic human rights.
Hell – I couldn’t even get out of the draft by saying I was gay. In those pre-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell days, I would have been inducted, and then dishonorably discharged. With a probably prison sentence. Really. I lied like hell and then hoped to hell no one found out.
When we moved back here from California in 2001, I – naturally – had to quit my job. California denied me unemployment because we weren’t married. I filed an appeal and a judge wrote a scathing opinion denouncing California, stating that we had done everything we legally could to validate our relationship and they couldn’t deny my unemployment based on a legality they refused to give me. It was great.
When California finally enacted Marriage Equality we finally decided to get married at home in San Francisco in 2008. The wedding was planned for November 23rd. Prop 8 passed on November 8th. So much for our non-wedding.
We were finally married in October 2010 by a dear friend in New Hampshire. And then parts of DoMA were repealed. In May 2014 – while we were in Sicily – Pennsylvania recognized our New Hampshire marriage.
And today, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced we are married. Period.
What a long, strange trip it has been. I don’t think that little boy 50 years ago ever dreamed this day would come.
Hell – in 1995, Victor and I marched as honor guards in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade for Hawai’i defendants Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel – two of the women who sued Hawai’i for the right to marry and really started the firestorm. I didn’t think we had a snowballs chance in hell of ever seeing marriage equality in our lifetimes.
The champagne came back with us from Paris about 10 years ago. It’s been sitting in the ‘fridge waiting the right moment to come out, so to speak. Today seemed like the perfect day to drink champagne and spread some cheer.
So cent’ anni – a hundred years!
Oh… and that 10 year old champagne was outstanding! We need to go back and get another bottle!