Today I was reading an article online about the possibility of the current Supreme Court overturning on Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case that gave LGTBQ people in the US the right to be legally married. And I thought how incredibly sad that would be, how unfair, how inhumane.
It won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me to know that I fall firmly on the side of marriage equality. I have been blessed to have many gay/lesbian/bi friends throughout my adult life. And today, for some reason, I was thinking back on the first person I ever knew who "came out" as being gay. I'm going to record some of those memories here so read on if you'd like, or not.
When I was 18 (in 1974), I got a job working in a travel agency and had a co-worker (probably in his mid/late 20's) named Craig. We became work-friends and started going out once a week or so for drinks. We always had loads of laughs and he'd help point out guys that he thought I might find "cute".
One night as we were sitting at our little table in the bar, he said that he had something to tell me. And he said "I'm gay". At which point, I assured him that I was quite happy, too. Yea, I totally missed it. So, he went on to explain what he actually meant and asked if I would mind not saying anything at work because he might lose his job. It opened the door to so many conversations between us, so many laughs, so much shared fun. And it also opened my eyes to the bias and hatred that was - and still is - directed at those in the LGBTQ community.
It was through Craig that I met some amazing people, that I got to attend an "Emperor's Ball" which was a gala featuring some of the most gorgeous guys you've ever seen (all dressed as women, natch), and had the fun of going to gay nightclubs. The great thing about gay clubs in those days was that, as a straight woman, you never had to worry about being hit-on by some drunk jerk, you got to dance with some very hot guys, and there was never a line for the women's room. And Craig and all his friends always looked out for me as if I was their little sister or something.
As is often the way, we drifted apart after I left Alaska for California and eventually lost touch. I have often wondered if he made it through the first wave of HIV that ravaged the gay community, if he ever found someone to love and be loved by. I wish he knew how much his friendship impacted me, and how it shaped so many wonderful friendships in the future.
And let's hope that marriage equality is here to stay. Because people are people and we all deserve to love and be loved.
Love, kindness, safety...