Your coming out stories strike me, Fred Shirley, because of how far we queer people have come, yet how far we still have to go.

You grew up in a progressive world with accepting, affirming parents. You all but knew what their reactions would be before you said anything to them.

It was still hard for you. Painfully hard. You agonized over your decision to talk to them.

You had to cope with internalized homophobia you didn’t even know was there.

You did, and that’s the wonderful part of course. You’re strong and brave.

Imagine what it’s like for young people who face really difficult consequences for coming out.

We have a long way to go yet.

Your children and grandchildren will live in a better world, I think.

I hope.

They certainly will if you have anything to say about it!

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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