We’ve come such a long way since those days when, growing up, I knew — and everyone knew — that being homosexual was the worst thing in the world, even worse than being a communist. But I also knew it wasn’t my idea to have the feelings I had, and that I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong (not least because, until the age of 23, I wasn’t doing anything). And I remember how at 16 — having already kept this horrible secret for six years — I fantasized about the speech I would give to the world — which is to say my high school, which back the was my world.
It would be 30 years before I did give that speech, and by then it wasn’t a particularly brave thing to do, nor the shocking surprise I had fantasized. The school had invited me.
The world had already changed so much — and that was still way back in the last century, before all the progress that’s been made since.
(You saw that Sports Illustrated is featuring a trans model in this month’s swimsuit issue?)
(You saw that as of this morning, the most highly valued company in the world was Apple, run by an openly gay man?)
Having lived through so much of it . . . having seen documentaries like Out of The Past and The Lavender Scare and the forthcoming Cured . . . and having actually known Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings while they were alive . . . well, I figured I would buy a copy of Frank’s story, The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States Of America but that I wouldn’t actually read it. What could I learn that I didn’t already know?
So much, as it turns out!
What a story.
Thanks to which I can live an open, happy life.
Buy the book? And if, being straight, you find it doesn’t hold your interest, pass it on to a gay friend?
If you don’t have a gay friend — outside of Anderson Cooper or Ellen DeGeneres or Randy Rainbow — well . . . hmmm.