I always knew I was gay. People often ask, “how could you know before you were ever with a woman?” “The same way you always knew you were straight,” I say. But the truth is that kids don’t think in terms of gay or straight. They are who they are. So, I knew as much that I was gay as straight kids knew they were straight. Labels didn’t apply yet. It only became an issue in the teenage years and beyond. I desperately tried to be like everyone else, to the point of going overboard.
In the 1970s-90s, it was something to be hidden if I wanted to be a successful lawyer, if I wanted to fit in, if I wanted to get into the right social and professional crowds. By the late 1990s, the gulf between who I was and who I pretended to be was wider than the San Andreas fault (gee, I hope that the fault line is wide, or I bungled this analogy). I was tired of the schism, and so tired of the inevitable lies that somehow never fooled anyone, that I was willing to give up some measure of “success” and “acceptance” for peace of mind and peace of being. That’s when the journey toward self-acceptance and family acceptance began. A long, winding road, filled with pot holes, and yet, at various critical points, surrounded by warmth and beauty.
Today, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the military must end “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Last week, New York legalized same-sex marriage. A recent poll reported that more people in the country support gay marriage than not.
Still, I am not equal in the United States of America, the beacon of liberty to all nations. But I am closer to equal than ever before.
I just hope that there comes a time when people wonder why there ever was a need to fight for equality — for anyone, anywhere.