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…

The View from the Closet

My father had just come out to me when this photo was taken. It was the summer of 1975 and I was a 24-year-old mother in an unhappy marriage. I can see a mix of emotions on my face. Confusion, probably. Stunned? Definitely. And an effort to smile. This would be my face to the Read More…

Why I write now

When I was 12 years old, my schoolteacher suggested I enter a writing competition. It was sponsored by the local branch of the American Legion. The prize was a $25 gift certificate, for Woolworth’s, I think. Academic achievement was a big deal in my family, especially for my father who doled out dimes for every Read More…

Long without a tribe

There must be others like me. Where are they? It took me more than three decades to even ask this question. The journey began on Father’s Day, 1975, when I asked my dad if he’d ever been unfaithful to Mom. He’d always been a shameless flirter. I was 24. He stunned me by answering a Read More…

I will be your family

Our topic over at The Gay Dad Project this month was family. Before the election, I’d have written about my family of origin, friends from childhood, supportive tribes of like-minded souls. Not today, though. The election has triggered too many feelings in me. I see the world through that filter right now. Bigotry in America is Read More…

Nothing’s wrong with you

Dear 17-year-old Laura, I know you’re having a hard time right now. What’s worse, you don’t understand why. After all, you’re getting good grades at school. You’ve been accepted at UC Santa Barbara for next fall. You’re kind of cute. Boys are interested in you. You’re interested in them. You get a lot of attention Read More…

Transmitting my family’s experience

Times feel scary for many of us right now. Terrorism, violence, hate crimes, all amplified through their real-time dissemination on social media, keep us on edge. What can we do? For LGBT people who’ve lived with targets on their backs, times have generally felt scary. The slaying of 49 people at the gay nightclub in Orlando Read More…

A home for my pride

June is National LGBT Pride Month. Given the complexity of my family’s story, I’ve been asking myself what pride means to me. First, some background. My father (1918-2008) may have attended the first gay pride parade in San Francisco, which was really more of a march. That smaller version of today’s massive parades on Market Street would Read More…

Parenting from the closet

When I picked up the phone that evening, I didn’t hear my father’s normally measured voice. Instead, it was loud and animated. “What is it, Dad?” The year was 1985. I hoped Jody, my 15-year-old daughter, was okay. She was spending a few weeks with her grandparents on the San Francisco Peninsula as she did every Read More…