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…

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…