One very gay time

Posted by Deb Price on

"'So tell me, America, how do I introduce Joyce?'

"I posed that question back in May 1992 in the first column I ever wrote. That debut was an earthshaking breakthrough — a nationally syndicated, weekly column in mainstream newspapers about life from a gay perspective.

"Over the next 18 years — and about 900 columns — I introduced my readers, mostly heterosexuals, to a gay couple — Joyce and me — and countless other wonderful people we met along our journalistic adventure.

... "Since my column began 18 years ago, so much has changed legally, politically and socially for those of us who're gay: Then, presidential candidate Bill Clinton was quietly saying gays should be allowed in the military; last week, the full House and the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal the ban on gays serving openly.

"Then, state legislators and judges routinely pointed to sodomy laws in denying basic rights; now, thanks to the Supreme Court, no such taint of criminality shadows gay Americans.

"And of course, then, the question of how to introduce Joyce had no easy answer. Readers offered plenty of ideas, from 'partner in perversity' to 'lovemate.' In 2001, the Netherlands started the gay-marriage snowball rolling. We wed in Canada two years later. So, now the answer is 'spouse.'

"What hasn't changed is the importance of being out. Poll after poll shows that people who know gay people are far more likely to support equality. That's the community service reward of coming out.

... "Mixing shame and fear inside a closet poisons individuals and couples. If you're stuck there, seek coaching from joyfully, openly gay couples. Beyond that, as Betty Berzon, author of 'Permanent Partners,' so wisely urged, pool your money, work as a team and assume permanence.

Now, as I write my last column, Joyce and I are preparing for our newest adventure: Thanks to the Neiman journalism fellowship I've won, we're moving to Massachusetts for a year. Imagine living where your marriage is recognized. We're definitely game.

This happily married gay couple leaves you with a few words we've tried to live by ever since 1992: 'Don't let fear choose your path.'"

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