Thirty years ago next month, at age 24, I took the Greyhound bus from Flint to view for my first time the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was on display at Cobo Hall. Caught up in my own post-teen gay angst and loneliness, I wrote in my journal on July 6th: “Tom’w I go to Detroit to be sobered by the AIDS quilt.”
As if it was a movie or TV show that would trigger some deeper feeling, that might jolt me out of early-20s myopia.
Continue reading “The Quilt at Cobo”
“These women were irrepressible,” Roey Thorpe remembers.
In 1992, while a doctoral student at Binghamton University, Roey interviewed two dozen Detroit-area lesbian and bisexual women for her planned dissertation. Although Roey did not finish the dissertation—choosing a path of activism rather than academia—she mined these vital oral histories for two pioneering articles.
Continue reading “Roey and Her Interviews”
This week on Facebook, my friend Pete tagged me for some sort of album challenge whereby I am urged or obligated, chain-letter style, to post an album per day for ten days. With little instruction to the challenge as it came to me, I have been selecting albums, good and bad, that made a lasting impression. My album of choice for today is Shaun Cassidy’s self-titled 1977 debut LP.
It had nothing to do with the music.
Continue reading “Remembering Age Thirteen”
Since elementary school, I’ve had an obsession with anniversaries.
Chalk it up to Batman, begun by Bob Kane in Detective Comics no. 27 in May 1939, accused of queer deviance by one Fredric Wertham in the book Seduction of the Innocent and in testimony before a congressional investigative committee in the 1950s. Something homo going on with that Robin kid.
Continue reading “LGBTQ Anniversaries”
When I was three years old, I had a snapshot taken of me wearing shoulder pads. Not actually wearing them proper, but lopsided with the padded, leather cups meant to protect my shoulders humped on my back on one side, sagging over my chest on the other. My real shoulders, unprotected, slope weakly as my arms just hang there.
Continue reading “Our Queer Snapshots”
My birthday last month and the death of my biological father on the day I turned 54 invariably have me thinking about my own clock ticking. As I get older, I am coming to understand how my part as queer rememberer is moving beyond voracious researching to the increasing role I need to play as a teacher, both in and outside the classroom.
Continue reading “Doing Queer History”
In 1938, eighty years ago, two men from my hometown cruised the same downtown park, hoping for some kind of homosexual connection. It’s unknown if they ever met. Their lives took drastically different paths.
Desire or loneliness or curiosity or happenstance drew Jack Pierson and Homer F___ to the footpaths of Willson Park in Flint back in the late 1930s, then planted with bounteous bushes and trees and lined with park benches along its perimeters.
Continue reading “Ripples from 1938”