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…

My father was fired for being gay

Below is the op-ed I wrote about 1967–the year my family was turned upside down–and Secretary Clinton’s support for LGBT service members unfairly dismissed, and my father’s unfair termination from his job. — My father was fired for being gay, and family deserves apology San Francisco Chronicle – Open Forum, October 22, 2015 Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to Read More…

National Coming Out Day

Today, October 11, 2015, is National Coming Out Day. In honor of this day, I’m posting a photo of my father taken during the brief period of time he was living as an openly gay man. The year was 1937. The place was Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Los Angeles County. Dad was 19 years old then and Read More…

A gift from a reader

A reader of this blog posed this question to me: “How would you have felt if you’d learned your dad was gay only after his death?” I’ve been thinking about this. Over the past four years of writing my memoir, I’ve reflected on the challenges I faced as a young adult in 1974 when my dad came out Read More…

The bright side

Growing up in a family with one parent in the closet and the other keeping the secret makes for an anxious childhood. I’ve written plenty about that. Today’s post is about my parents as parents, not as their sexual orientations. My three siblings and I were wanted. One of the reasons my father wanted to get Read More…

My dad wasn’t a trophy hunter

No, he wasn’t. Though at least once, he was the trophy. My dad was a gentle soul and my model for a man and father, the prism through which I gauged all others. This model was brought to bear for me last month when I heard the news of the maiming-by-arrow, and then killing, skinning, and beheading of the South Read More…

Marriage equality: Joy & melancholy

I can still see the twinkle in my dad’s big blue eyes after I recited the long poem, The Children’s Hour, from memory. The previous night, Dad had helped me write it out for school in his fancy handwriting. His eyes twinkled then, too. They also twinkled when my brother’s computer program received a shout out in an Read More…

He knew he wanted a family

My dad knew he was gay when he was five years old. By the time he was a young man, in the late 1930s, he knew he wanted to be a father. By then he’d also long known that homophobia existed, both in his Central Valley oilfield hometown and in the broader American culture. He questioned his paternal urges, wondering if homosexuality Read More…

Thank you, Caitlyn Jenner

I first saw the image of Caitlyn Jenner in her cream-colored corset as I sat in my neighborhood coffeehouse flipping through my iPhone. The June 1st Vanity Fair cover was popping up everywhere. Tears rolled silently down my cheeks. This wasn’t a normal cry with loud sniffles and snobs. And I couldn’t stop it. After Diane Read More…

Life’s trajectories

My father was one to ponder single events that forever change the trajectories of people’s lives. If he hadn’t been arrested in 1940 for being gay, he wouldn’t have dropped out of college and given up his dream of becoming an English teacher. Instead, he enlisted in the army and spent his wartime years and civilian life working as a bookkeeper. If Read More…