Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm so glad he didn't live to see this

My uncle John was gay. His being gay was always a non issue for me because he was always accepted by his family. My catholic grandmother who said my mother was a witch and should be burned at the stake, loved her son and supported him. It really wasn't a surprise, since my grandparents had always set a great example. Long before their youngest son came out, my school teacher grandfather tutored kids who had been kicked out of school for being gay. In that environment I don't think he could have been anything other than proud of who he was.

He came out of the closet around the time he graduated from high school in the early 70's. After that he moved to California and lived there most of the rest of his life. He lived his life out and proud before many did. When I visited California for his memorial service I heard a number of times from people who had been his friends for nearly all of the time he had lived there that he was braver and more honest than they could have been. (they also said that he was brave enough to take on guys twice his size in a bar, but I think that was a height thing)

He would have celebrated when gays finally were able to marry. Some of his friends had been in relationships for 30 or more years so he knew that they had the power to last where many hetero couples did not. However, if his heart hadn't already been broken from losing so many friends to AIDS, and his addictions hadn't already taken his life, this surely would have done it.

I've always been extremely sad that neither of the uncles I knew will ever get to know, or be known by one of their great nieces. They were both wonderful men who died long before their time. I hope that when I'm telling M about her gay great uncle some day I can tell her about his wild life, the pain he experienced, and that California some day came through for him. How hate lost and love won.

We won't be able to make the march this weekend, but I encourage you to go if you can. Whatever you believe, hate shouldn't win.

The photos are part of the family photos my dad gave me as the keeper of the family memories. I wish I had some more recent photos of him, but I never thought he would be gone so soon, or that I would miss him so much.

1 comment:

WaltzInExile said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Please take heart: Hate won't win. Because we won't give up.