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How did we get this far?
#1
I am only 17, so you know I was born in a more accepting generation, but I see so many people in their 40s here. Anyway, my questions are what was it like for you being gay in the 70s-80s and how did we slowly get more accepting? I've heard so many hateful stories from back then, so who made this a more accepting world? How did we get here?
Gay is happiness
#2
By risking life and limb and many other things by standing up and being counted. I was thrown out of the RN in 72 for being gay. It was the best thing they could have done for me. From that day on I was out and, in many respects, free. The 70s was fun Confusedmile:
#3
I came out when I was 16. in 1995.
I was forced into it really, I was in Year 11 at school, stories about me had been doing the rounds for a bout a year, and I was being bullied by pupils and teachers for being gay.

Anyway I started missing school, and eventually a letter was sent home.

I had a bf, he was my best friend also, we were kinda going out since we were 12... just babies... but nobody knew, and I was terrified of my family, especially my Dad, finding out.
Dad is an Ex Royal Marine Commando, he fought in the Falklands and was part of the liberation force, he also spent time in Northern Ireland fighting the IRA, plus numerous other hard core postings, so he is a proper 'man' if you know what I mean.

Anyway I arrived home 1 evening, walked into the kitchen to find Dad stood there holding a letter from school.
He looked at me, and said 'you better have a damn good reason for your behaviour, not start talking.'

I just burst out crying, and said every body hates me, the teachers pick on me, the pupils pick on me, all cuz I'm gay.

My bf, Lee, was stood outside.. Dad didn't say a word, looked at me, then opened the door and said 'Lee, get in here'.
Then he said to us both 'sit down'.

We sat at the table, then Dad picked up 3 glasses, put 1 in front of each of us, filled them with Whiskey, then said 'Lee, welcome to the family. Now drink up'.

He then said to me 'Dont worry Son, I'll sort it.'

The next day he took me to school, and visited the Head Master, I don't know what happened, but I never had a single problem after that.

Oh, and Dad has hardly mentioned the gay thing since.
#4
writerken Wrote:By risking life and limb and many other things by standing up and being counted. I was thrown out of the RN in 72 for being gay. It was the best thing they could have done for me. From that day on I was out and, in many respects, free. The 70s was fun Confusedmile:

The best and worst time of your life.

Very brave though Ken.
#5
The short answer: A lot of us being terrified of coming out, knowing the hate and rejection we would face and, doing it anyway, paying the price, making the sacrifices to be ourselves.

I was born in 1966, so by the time I was five or six I knew gay was not an option and, by the time my sexuality actually started surfacing, there was no think about it, just suppress it and be straight, like it or not that was the only thing to do.

In high school, I dated girls, remarked on this or that "fox" and even lied, bragging about sleeping with the class floozy. Then I married the girl I took to the senior banquet (SDA so didn't have prom, we didn't dance, we had a banquet with our parents all invited as well.)

That sham of a marriage lasted all of 11 months, she was pregnant when we got married, yes my daughter. I stuck it out until she decided she couldn't handle being married to a gay man that was there only to support his family and, maintain the illusion of being straight. She blew my cover to her family, forcing me out.

That cost me my parents (they legally disowned me), my marriage, friends and, home. She left me with my daughter and what I could back in my old VW Beetle. She didn't fight the divorce as long as I accepted full custody and let her off the hook for child support.

I was fortunate to have more accepting cousins on the French Canadian side of my family who helped me out with a roof over our heads and, eventually caring for my daughter when she had to go to school and, I was driving truck. She always spent the summer on board the truck for at least a month of it and, every vacation was with her.

I've seen the worst of what hate can do. Mostly verbal attacks but, I have been knocked over the head with a crowbar, by another truck driver, just because I am gay. I'm not the only one for whom coming out meant losing everything and starting over, and several times since running, leaving it all behind again to escape more hate, stress and other negativity than I could deal with. Not all of it over my sexuality, but enough to make that a significant factor in my decision to run.

It wasn't until 10 years ago that I finally stopped, planted myself and got serious about building a long term future for myself. I've always been a helper, healer if you will, the guy that willingly gives more than he can afford to aid a friend, it never mattered that I had nothing more to give, I would give anyway. I have learned to cork that financially but, as my friends will tell you, that's as far as corking my instinct to help and give goes.

I think a lot of that is because I know what it is to loose it all, endure more abuse than most can even imagine and, have to fight for every millimeter on the way back up form absolute rock bottom. If I can make that even a fraction easier for someone else, then it's worth it to do what I can.
#6
Marc Wrote:I came out when I was 16. in 1995.
I was forced into it really, I was in Year 11 at school, stories about me had been doing the rounds for a bout a year, and I was being bullied by pupils and teachers for being gay.

Anyway I started missing school, and eventually a letter was sent home.

I had a bf, he was my best friend also, we were kinda going out since we were 12... just babies... but nobody knew, and I was terrified of my family, especially my Dad, finding out.
Dad is an Ex Royal Marine Commando, he fought in the Falklands and was part of the liberation force, he also spent time in Northern Ireland fighting the IRA, plus numerous other hard core postings, so he is a proper 'man' if you know what I mean.

Anyway I arrived home 1 evening, walked into the kitchen to find Dad stood there holding a letter from school.
He looked at me, and said 'you better have a damn good reason for your behaviour, not start talking.'

I just burst out crying, and said every body hates me, the teachers pick on me, the pupils pick on me, all cuz I'm gay.

My bf, Lee, was stood outside.. Dad didn't say a word, looked at me, then opened the door and said 'Lee, get in here'.
Then he said to us both 'sit down'.

We sat at the table, then Dad picked up 3 glasses, put 1 in front of each of us, filled them with Whiskey, then said 'Lee, welcome to the family. Now drink up'.

He then said to me 'Dont worry Son, I'll sort it.'

The next day he took me to school, and visited the Head Master, I don't know what happened, but I never had a single problem after that.

Oh, and Dad has hardly mentioned the gay thing since.
A wonderful story, Marc. And a dad to be treasured.
#7
writerken Wrote:A wonderful story, Marc. And a dad to be treasured.

Cheers me dears. Invasion
#8
I didn't 'come out' until I was 24, that was 1990. Until that point I played the role of a celibate, I played that role so well I even believed it. But I did have a toe in the LGBT community at a younger age working with the Friars in San Francisco I was 'exposed' to the LGBT community - yes I did see a lot of terrible things.

How did it change? Two ways: The bravest (perhaps stupidest given the climate) were out and about - in your face and not pulling any punches. These were the ones that contrived of Gay Pride parades and parties, these were also the ones that lisped, swished and snapped their fingers in the faces of those who would kill them.

Then there was the 'whisper campaign' - more 'conservative' gays who slowly worked on the political and church leaders.

I was part of the whisper campaign.

Still am. Unlike the 'militant gays' of my generation, those who barely dressed and were 'in your face' about it, I took the other road, writing lots and lots and lots of letters to priests, bishops, cardinal and others in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church and other churches. Also lots of letters and conversations with political leaders - more on the local level than at the federal level.

There are a lot of us 'whisperers' out there, we are the ones that slink into the politician's office and slowly deceive them with our silver tongues, slowly talking them over to the dark side :eek: Rofl

One method was redefining and reinterpreting scriptures. And then using those to slowly convince leadership in the church that maybe their heritage and system of beliefs was just a bit off.

Another method was to call upon human decency, and show others what hatred leads to and remind constantly that Jesus didn't Hate.

There is a third method, by coming out to our family and friends and through demonstration show that we are not three headed monsters - we grew a secondary population of Pflag members - http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2

We one one concession after another, through active, out-loud screaming and protesting, through passive, quiet whispering and by winning the hearts and love of family and friends who support us because they know we are not the terrible monsters that we were formally known as.
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#9
Disclaimer: I was born in late 1982. How it LOOKS to me is a combination of factors.

One, prosperity allowed people to focus on things other than where their next meal was coming from and gave them extra time for THINKING. All those appliances (starting in the early 20th century) also gave women extra free time to start organizing as well. And once blacks started getting their civil rights then everyone else looked to them and said they should be equal as well, including gays.

In the 70s feminism became especially angry at how many of the other groups seeking liberation (from blacks to hippies) treated them and went really insane. I'm not saying I blame them, from what Granny told me I might've been acting out that way myself back then as it was mind boggling intolerable (at least any woman who retained any self-respect having grown up in such a world). This led to some radical challenging of gender roles which, I think, had the unintended (if welcome) consequence of becoming more accepting of gays (especially after the reactionary feminism was met in I think the 80s with an equally reactionary pro-sex feminism which embraced alternative sexualities and perhaps would've been more accurately called a sex liberation movement and created the paradigm that eventually lead to things like The Sex Party). Radical feminism in the 70s also embraced lesbianism though it sounds more political to me rather than true lesbianism (and they had a tendency at the time to reject gay men as "hating women"), but that would inevitably contribute further to reevaluation of sexuality right along with gender roles.

And the reactionary Christian fundamentalist response against hippies, feminism, etc, would only encourage those marketing to the new boomer generation (who were now a huge market) with new idols who rebelled by becoming everything those conservatives feared (and thus appealing to the kids) and so we got women sometimes looking more like men (Joan Jett had a masculine feel to me when I see her early stuff on YT) and a great many men who spent more on their hair & face than your average woman (especially in "hair metal")...heck, when I saw some 80s cassette in a thrift store of Poison I thought it was a band of drag queens! Though apparently not gay friendly at the time it couldn't help but challenge gender roles (and thus orientation) even further.

And in the background was LSD, mescaline, etc. This didn't affect everyone (some just partied on it without any appreciable long term change in perspective), others drowned in it, but it also became a fad to tune in, turn on, drop out, and people would continue to do so after it went out of style (I personally believe that the main reason they're illegal is because they're a threat to the paradigm that supports TPTB). Though few people know it there have always been those who questioned society, rejected war & dogma, embraced feminism, racial equality, and acceptance of homosexuality, but they'd always been a small subculture with only a few small sanctuaries in the world until the late 60s when those views suddenly gained mainstream attention. Having played with such drugs myself I know how they can radically shift your perspective and that even once when you return to normal reality the experience lingers and influences you for a long time to come. Having so many people who's reality were so shaken up led to, I believe, a questioning of assumptions that contributed to the fight for civil rights, acceptance of change, and also for a more lucid way to learn about the self (the more mundane ways to free one's mind that seemed to become popular in the 70s).






And another background role, I believe, is that the boomers made it so that kids significantly outnumbered their parents AND society had changed so that "when you're 18 you're out the door" which led to a lot more youth (now influenced more by peers than stuffy mentors) questioning what they were raised with in a world where so many once radical notions had become easily available to the mainstream (only a few are radical, but they still had their influence on a great many others).

Anyway, that's off the top of my head.
#10
In the early 80's when I was 'coming of age' there was always negative talk about 'poofters' and the weekend sport was 'poofter bashing', but I never knew what a poofter actually was until I broke up with my first BF at age 12. I thought I was doing what felt natural to me, and it did feel natural to me.

When my BF broke up with me, it was because he found god and he gave me the 'fire and brimstone' story and told me if I didn't go to church with him and repent and ask for forgiveness, he could not be my friend and he would tell the world that I was 'like that'. I shrugged my shoulders and walked away...within minutes I had my face pushed into gravel and several punches to the back of the head...that was the story of my life for the next 2 years until I became suicidal and feared school all together and drop out of not only school, but society in general and became extremely reclusive and paranoid.

The only person I let into my life was a neighbour who was bi, we had an on again off again relationship that lasted 13 years when he passed away. The times we broke up was when he would venture off and find a girl friend to appease his bible bashing family. It wasn't until my late 20's that I reconciled completely with my sexuality and from there it took a further 3 years to gain the confidence to say 'This is who I am, you don't like it, fuck off out of my life, I have had alomst 20 years of bigotry and it ends now'....in other words I came out.

For a long time I wanted revenge, and the thoughts that consumed me when I was in my late teens and early 20's were not pretty and I am grateful I never got my hands on a gun. These days I am a little more philosophical about these things. If you don't like me because of a very small part of my life that ultimately doesn't involve you, then it is your loss that you want prejudice and bigotry to stand in the way of a friendship.


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