The First Queer Person I Knew

I think last year I really got to grips with how odd a question this is and I celebrated my bi and nerdy friendship with Harry Potter over twenty years ago. Around that time I met a man, he wasn’t one of the lovely gay guys in UniQ, he was much older, he came to the odd art exhibition but he was much more of a presence at theatre performances. He wasn’t someone I really go to know until I was older, I think I mentioned him and his boyfriend in last year’s Queer Mentor entry.

He was mostly dignified (like I said I didn’t get to know him until later…he seemed dignifed to late teens Mish who didn’t see the hip flask!) , and somehow obviously gay…and, an adult. Most of my experience at that point with adults who were gay was through TV’s eternally funnysexual or at anyrate not participating in usual life. He had a boyfriend and wrote small-town theatre criticism for a local paper. He was an entirely normal adult (well, more fun than normal).
I was a naive kid from Green County and he had an impact on my perception of the Quiltbag as home, as family.

I would have liked to have told him that while he was still alive, but I suspect it would have made him uncomfortable. He knew, in that way that gay men in the community who lived through the legislation change of 1967, who lived through the AIDs as ‘Gay Plague’ era and who lived through the Section 28 debacle, he knew that he and his boyfriend were Queer Elders. I suspect his prefered way of being appreciated was was we did do when I was ten years older than when I first met him, we shared a hip flask, made dumb jokes backstage and were queer out in the auditorium of a theatre, just like anybody can do. Thankyou Gay Godfather.

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