Email Letter to Frank Bruni, NYT, re “Extinction of Gay Culture”

Thank you for your commentary! I came out in 1968 at age 24, two years after my honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force. Right around Memorial Day weekend of that year, I met the man who would become my first partner. We remained in our relationship for eight years; bonded as close friends until he died from AIDS in 1996.

In the late seventies I joined Gay Activists Alliance, DC, when Frank Kameny was still a very strong presence in our “community”. Anita Bryant’s assault on gay men, asserting that we all were child molesters, sent me over the top to become an activist of sorts.

I served on two separate gay rights boards in the very early1980s; wrote columns for gay rags in the early nineties, always using my real name. I contributed as effectively as I could while building a successful career in the private business sector.

I have seen how our “movement” has gone forward. I am still very close to the vest about being gay. “None of their business” is how I have kept it throughout these many years. In some respects, I believe our “blending” into the various neighborhoods has been a very positive step forward. Yet, at times I become anxious over the fact that we gays are not as mysterious as we once were. “Familiarity breeds contempt”, and we certainly see that in the current White House administration.

I guess I have been fortunate in that I ‘pass’ as straight to most people. I do not put any energy into that; it just happened. I love sports of every kind, especially Euro rugby and soccer; ice hockey; football. I was a bit of an enigma to those who “suspected” because I liked so many of “those guy things”. Sad, isn’t it!
Thank you for your article! It took me back to somewhat more perilous, and terribly sad times. I remember the fear we had. I remember how in the late sixties we could be arrested in DC’s gay bars if we were caught so much as holding hands. Yep! Even inside the gay bar! And, I must admit that I do get a bit uneasy when I see two lads walking down the street holding hands. It is an adjustment!

I have watched “The Normal Heart” at least 3 times and manage to cry during various scenes along the way. “Call me by your name” is awesome; so tender and truly loving — a time now past for me. At the end, the father’s speech to Elio was so profound. I thought to myself, “if only all parents were so perceptive and understanding!”

Best regards, Mr. Bruni, and bless you. By the way, you are one VERY handsome man. Yes, I can say that. I am old enough to be your daddy. LOL.

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