My name is Laura Hall. I was born on the San Francisco Peninsula in 1951 to a closeted gay father, Ralph Hall, and a straight mother, Irene Utman Hall.
My dad was born in 1918 and raised in Fellows in California’s Central Valley, the eldest son of an oilfield roustabout.
As a school-age child who knew he was not like the others, he was regularly beaten and bullied. As a young man in Hollywood in the early 1940s, he was arrested for being gay.
After that, in his own words, he could no longer stand the horrors of being queer.
He went into the closet, changed his name, entered the Army – where he would spend 4 years on active duty during World War II – and married my mother. Together they raised four children. I was their second born. My mother died just shy of their 64th wedding anniversary.
My father would lead a double life until the day he died in 2008 at age 90. Society approved of one of his lives and condemned the other, condemned him.
I’m writing a memoir about his life as witnessed through my own eyes and through my own heart. My monthly blog posts provide some history into my life story and my father’s as well as commentary on current LGBT events.
The story is one of shame, struggle, resilience, love and honor. It is my dad’s story. It is mine.