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…

Collective storytelling

My fellow “gay dad kid,” Amie Shea, recently invited me and three other adult daughters of closeted (or formerly closeted) gay fathers to blog with her on her website, The Gay Dad Project. This exercise, with each round of our stories told through a specific prism, is already shedding light on the value of collective storytelling for me. Our common Read More…

Look them in the eyes

Despite what the nursery rhyme says about sticks and stones, words can hurt us. And if you happen to be a member of a minority class of citizens during an election season, the words can especially sting. Anti-LGBT slurs by presidential candidates abound, despite the Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that same-sex marriage is constitutional. For some, the Read More…

At six

Lately I’ve been drawn to photos of my parents and me that were taken at the same ages. In this post I look at us at six. Dad (left) in 1924 This is from Dad’s class photo from the first grade. His family lives in poverty in the oilfields of Fellows, California. He already knows he’s gay, though Read More…

Coffeehouse chatter

I was sipping a latte in my neighborhood coffeehouse the other day when a man my age shouted out birthday greetings to a younger man. The younger one grumbled. “I’m 40 and I feel so old,” he said on his way out the door. This got me thinking. I’m 64, but I don’t go around humming, Will Read More…

My closeted family’s Christmas calm

When I was a kid, Christmas was my favorite day of the year. And it wasn’t just because of the cool gifts my parents bought us. I looked forward to the fanciful gift Dad slipped into our Christmas stockings, to his rich chocolate fudge, and to his unique lime green and teal window decorations. No “garish red lights” on our house, he’d proclaim. I Read More…

Callings

Busy 4th and 5th graders sprawled on the sidewalks of the Castro on December 1st. Their tiny hands clutched chubby sticks of colored chalk and index cards printed with the names of those whose lives were lost to HIV/AIDS. It was World AIDS Day 2015. All morning, these students from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy inscribed the Read More…

World AIDS Day 2015

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, held on the 1st of December each year. It is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time Read More…

Calm in the face of terror

The terrorist attacks in Paris, the City of Lights, the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment. More terrorist attacks. The political backlash towards refugees fleeing the terrorists. Many of us who aren’t directly in harm’s way still feel fear, grief, and anger when we see the images and hear the horrific stories. Some turn their emotions into vengeance. I am not Read More…

Resentment, no

I’m sometimes asked if I resent my closeted gay father for marrying my initially unsuspecting mom. By the time she’d jimmied the lock off his secret box in 1957, they’d already had four children, all under the age of seven. I was six. Don’t I resent him for “doing this” to her? For “tricking” her? For “lying” to her? Read More…