Sunday, May 19, 2013

a gay hate crime ends in murder on 8th street

It's hard to believe I met Bob in a pervious century, but when I think about our lives then and now, I realize how much the world has changed. In 1989 when we met, there was no Ellen, no Modern Family, no discussion whatsoever of marriage equality. The biggest gay rights issue in any of the big cities around the country was legislation for AIDS services and research. Despite that Bob lived in the Village and I in Chelsea (the only real gay enclaves in the City at the time), we did not feel comfortable holding hands just anywhere around our neighborhoods. Even though we often did.

Over the past 24 years, we've lived openly as a loving couple, not so much as a statement, but as a way to live more honest, healthy lives for ourselves. I have spoken openly at work, telling simple stories of what my partner and I did over the weekend as my coworkers have recounted their own with husbands and wives. We've held hands in restaurants and shared with the waitstaff our own playful sense of humor and love of food. We've gotten to know our neighbors, trading recipes and holiday wishes. Whenever I've learned that we have been an example to others, a statement, a revelation, their reactions have in turn been a revelation to me. We're not revolutionaries by any means. We've lived our lives this way to make our own world better.

Two weekends ago when the weather was surprisingly warmer and the sky shown crystal blue through new leaves, Bob and I sat on a bench in Washington Square Park watching the entertaining cross section of humanity stroll by. The ages, languages, styles that pass through the park have become commonplace to me, but that weekend one thing in particular caught my attention. The number of young gay and lesbian couples walking hand-in-hand seemed greater than ever, especially for a weekend outside of June or for a space that has become more like a college campus than the center of the counter-culture universe that it once was. And I imagined to myself that the world was truly, finally, changing...for good.

And then the past week happened.