Married!April 2, 2010
Growing up and through college, being gay wasn’t a thing. I didn’t think about it or acted on it. It wasn’t until graduate school when something happened that I gave serious thought to it all. I can confidently say that if I knew what it was to be gay, I would have been through high school and college. After I came out, I was excited to date. I was generally happier and if I could have spared myself years of brooding and pensiveness, I would have. More, I think I became a better person.
I already did a great deal of community and public service but after I came out, it was directed. I helped those with HIV/AIDS and I helped elect equality-minded politicians. Because of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, there aren’t a lot of older gay men. You have those who were careful, celibate or came out after the 80s but there aren’t as many as in my generation or younger. These older men and women were in organizations like the Stonewall Democrats and I was lucky to be around them when I came out. Their attitude of “Yeah, I’m gay. I’ve been gay for years/always been gay. So what?” was the perfect one to be around. I didn’t hide my sexual orientation and worked on behalf of others. I need for those younger than me to be able to live in this world without harm for being transgender, bisexual or lesbian/gay. The fear, bullying and suicides are not okay.
For my parents, people stared and pointed when they held hands. For me, it’s the same. Being in love and getting married doesn’t make me different from anyone else. My grandmother once said, “Why can’t the gays be normal? Why do they have to march on University and why do they have to get married?” I responded, “Grandmama, I think normal people do get married.” To which she responded, “No Paul. Not like that.” She seems fully supportive now, having met Michael. My grandmother is one of my favorite people in the world.
My wedding was a huge day for me. It was one of the most normal things I could have done and one of the most socially unaccepted things I could have done. I wasn’t trying to be different. I wasn’t trying to fight society. I’m in love. If Michael wanted it, I would marry him every day for the rest of our lives. He brings out my very best. My laughter is quick when he’s around and one of my favorite moments of every day is when I catch him staring at me with those blue, loving eyes. I can’t sing worth anything but I always sing to him, whereas he’s an incredible singer and appreciates my wildly pitched voice. I will always do my best to be as good to him. If he wants kids, wants to move or wants to fly to the moon, I will make it happen. Michael is my husband and my tomorrow doesn’t mean as much without him in it.