I came out on New Year's Eve in 1980 in Pocatello, Id. I was scared to death and had been wrestling with self-knowledge for years. Once I was out, though, I was unapologetic for my sexual identity. That has not changed in the 35 years since that momentous moment in my life. I have never been comfortable in the closet, not even to protect a job, and once I had T, the idea of hiding who I was went out the window.
In that first year out, I flunked out of college (spent all day of my finals sitting in the Student Union telling dirty jokes with the first woman I truly fell in love with), got fired from a job, kicked out of an apartment, run off the road in Rock Springs, WY by a couple of offended cowboys with a shotgun, almost beat to death in Rock Springs, WY getting out of the cowboy bar I was dancing in with a bunch of other women, lay with my first woman and had my heart broke for the first time.
That tumultuous year was followed by others, until I finally ran out of tumult. I settled into my life and my sexual identity, fell in love, had a child. During that time I worried about what would happen to our family if anything happened to J or myself. Living your life with your breath caught in your throat is a difficult way to live. I was worried they would take T away from J if something happened to me. I was afraid that T and I would be homeless if something happened to J. It's no way to live, but we had no choice. The cost to draw up legal documents to somewhat protect either of us in the case of something happening to the other was $20k and even with those documents, we had no legal standing for J to parent T without fighting the courts.
Then things began to change. Laws started being passed. Law suits began to be filed. Two years ago there was a civil union and last year a marriage. And now I am equal in the eyes of the law with every other person in the nation.
I'm not optimistic enough to believe this is over, since we are still fighting about whether the Confederate Battle Flag is racism personified, and Black men are in danger of being killed by the people who are supposed to Protect and Serve. But for today, this is enough.