Gay Life

If you had told me when I was 18 that someday there would be gays in military and gay marriage and states that actually protected civil rights for gays...well, I wouldn't have believed you. If you had told me that in my early 20s an unacknowledged disease would take the lives of many of my friends, I would have been horrified. And yet all these things happened, and more.

Pre-AIDS, gay sexuality was just coming into acceptance. Remember The Village People? In those days gay life was more carefree, a nonstop party that made up for years of social isolation in school. But there also was fear of being outed, losing an apartment or job or getting beat up outside a bar. There were indignities, like enduring fag jokes at work, listening to televangelists condemn gays to hell or watching the police write down license plate numbers in bar parking lots. Indeed, I was a "known homosexual" in Indianapolis. So yes, I have stories to tell about being gay—then and now.