I came across a fascinating article I POZ magazine that got me to thinking about my early life as a gay man. The article is, Trauma and HIV: A Call for Intersectional Approaches by Charles Stephens and Naina Khanna.
My nephew, who will turn 17 in a few weeks, in on the autism spectrum. He is considered high functioning, and will graduate from a special high school with a high school diploma in two years. As far back as I can remember, like many on the autism spectrum, he could hyper focus on a subject to the exclusion of everything else. For a long time it was cars. Every conversation began with the same question, “What kind of car do you have?” He would step through all kinds of detailed questions about my car until he got quickly beyond my knowledge of my car. Then it was houses. “Where should I live? I am thinking of living in (insert any neighborhood).”
Last night my boyfriend and I were invited over to the home of a friend for an evening of cocktails, dinner, music and poetry. The music part entailed our host and three of the guests, including my boyfriend, playing the piano, cello, bassoon and singing. The two of us without musical ability read poems. We heard a bit of opera, some beautiful classical pieces, and a few more modern songs. I read a Robert Burns poem that I love called, John Anderson my jo, John and another man read a wonderful Maya Angelou poem called, Still I Rise.
As much I have read about the transgender experience through a number of biographies of trans men and women, and through a few trans individuals I have gotten to know, the trans experience, while more known to me, still feels so different from my own life as a gay man. What I have found most meaningful in the biographies of trans individuals is seeing the similarities with men, like myself, who came out later in life, and being trans but hidden. We both went through parts of our lives hiding who we truly were before deciding we had to come out as gay or trans.
A few years ago, before I came out, and long before I came out at work, I studiously hid even the slightest mention of anything gay. Since coming out at work last year and becoming the executive sponsor for my company’s newly formed LGBT Associate Resource Group, I have marveled as some of the LGBT related conversations I have had in the workplace. Continue reading
How does one navigate their life to get from a place of hiding to a place of pride? Pride comes in stages as we repeatedly push against the thoughts and beliefs that made for hiding. Continue reading
My son texted me today with a simple question: “Hey, remember when we went to Florida with grandma, grandpa, my cousins and everyone. How old was I?” In a digital age all information is accessible, and I began to look online at my pictures that are backed up from my home PC on Carbonite. I quickly found a family picture from that trip to celebrate my mothers 80th birthday dated December 2008 and texted my son.