Grateful he stayed

I’ve been struggling to express something about my dad that’s been bubbling up inside me this past year. I’ve swatted away the whispers, but it’s now a roar. Today, Father’s Day, I’m giving it a voice. So, here goes: I’m happy my dad stayed in the house with our family until the end. I can’t Read More…

The experience of the closet

Dr. Nisha Gupta, a psychotherapist, has produced a cinematic poem about being in the closet. It’s called “illuminate.” Nisha is a friend of mine. When I first clicked Play to watch “illuminate,” I wasn’t expecting to learn anything new about my father. After all, he came out to me in 1975. Our conversations would span another three decades Read More…

Dad’s girlfriends

My father was born on March 15th, 1918, one hundred years ago yesterday. March 15th is also The Ides of March, a tragi-drama birthright Dad enjoyed claiming. He died at 90. I haven’t written much about his girlfriends, but his earliest photo album, which I still have, is peppered with their photos. Before he came out Read More…

That one person

Last night, I watched the “Coming Out” episode of the PBS series, “We’ll Meet Again.” In it, two elderly gay men recalled that single individual who made all the difference in their lives. My father had such a person in his grandmother, Frances Hall, whom he called Fanny. During the high summer temps in the Read More…

I would rather know

Should I tell my children? It is a question I’ve been asked by a number of gay men over the years who are closeted in straight marriages in repressive cultures and who don’t plan on leaving their wives. The conversations go something like this: What if my children find out from someone else, or after I Read More…

Paper Chains

Today is Veterans Day, a U.S. official holiday observed annually on November 11th to honor veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans like my father. Flipping through my dad’s old photo albums this past week, I found this snapshot of him taken in Cold Bay in the Aleutian Islands in 1943. During World Read More…

Dear Dad, The Grandkids are Alright

So, Dad, your great-granddaughter told me a story. That little girl who went to you so easily when she was only a year old, is all grown up and she’s lovely. She graduated from college and works professionally in DC now. You’d be so proud of her, and of her younger sister, too. She and Read More…

I wanted you to have a father

My mother had known for decades that Dad was gay. He told me so in 1975 when he came out to me. It would be another decade before I had the nerve to ask Mom why she stayed. She was someone who shied away from difficult questions. But at a family gathering sometime in the Read More…

My last big question of Dad

Mom had been gone for two years. We lost my little sister in 1979. My remaining siblings were out of town. Today it was just Dad and me. It was June, 2008. He’d turned 90 that March. Even though I was by then middle-aged, and had long known my father was gay, I still clung Read More…

The AIDS Memorial

The AIDS Memorial on Instagram is a beautiful, valuable, and growing collection of stories of those loved and lost to the epidemic. It is self-described as such: Preserving the Legacy of the AIDS Epidemic. Stories of Love, Loss & Remembrance. Silence Equals Death. I was honored to contribute my father’s story below to the Memorial on Read More…