|Photo Description: Two men kissing in a photo booth in the 1950's.|
They were dark times.
It might be difficult to imagine this now. For those who didn't live through it, it may sound almost unreal. For those who didn't live through it, it may be difficult to imagine what it was like to speak without pronouns, to have to lie to live, to have the magical ability to be amongst your co-workers while being completely apart from them. To listen to their truths and respond with lies or silence.
They were dark times.
Last week I ran into a woman with an intellectual disability that I hadn't seen for a long time. Since the dark years, in fact. She still lived with the agency I worked for back then. An agency that would now never think of firing or, better, not hiring, someone who was LGB. (I've left the T off because I'm not so sure that Transgender Rights have kept pace. There is so much yet to be done. Still so much darkness.) I approached her to say, "Hello." It took her only a second to recognize me. I'm fatter, balder and in a wheelchair so I was surprised she recognized me at all."
"DAvid," she said. She had always put such emphasis on the first portion of my name. We talked a bit and she caught me up with her life. She introduced me to her support worker, a nice looking young man of about 20. He was very good as support, he stood aside while we talked and only entered in when she asked for his help in remembering something. He was a 'support' worker. Then I asked what they were doing there. As I came by it seemed like they were waiting.
Her support worker spoke up, "It's my fault, I forgot my keys at home and I'm waiting for them to be delivered to me." Just as he finished speaking another young man, of about the same age, showed up. He shyly passed the keys to the support worker, leaned over, gave him a quick, affectionate peck on the lips, and waved goodbye as he left. I said to the blushing support worker, "husband or boyfriend." He laughed and said, "Fiance."
The woman I knew said, "I can't wait for the wedding, I'm giving one of the toasts!" She and I talked for a moment more. I wished her well. I said goodbye to the support worker and congratulated him and wished him well on his wedding.
It was simply nice.
I happened near noon.
On a Saturday.
In the open.
In the light.
I left thinking about the two women who had been fired. The one's that were the cause of us gathering in the bar. The one's who had been invited but did not come that evening. The one's who had had their careers cut short, their lives battered by the trauma of being targets of hatred and bigotry. I never heard from them again. Don't know where they are.
But I hope, where ever they are, they are in the light.