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.
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.
On the first anniversary of Michigan LGBTQ Remember and this companion blog about Queer Remembering, I thought it might be time to reflect. Then I realized how silly that was since the entire project is all about reflecting.
But the one-year mark does seem like a good opportunity to discuss how I have decided which people to include here. Who to queerly remember?
LGBTQ Michiganders are coming out, hidden in plain sight.
They’re coming out in obits, as the deceased and as survivors.
I use gay obituaries to explore history.
Paul Cameron uses gay obituaries to tell lies.
Somehow, in my 53 years, I never realized until recently that the refrain of “Auld Lang Syne” is posed as a question:
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
As someone who pursues the life of a historian, and as someone who has devoted much of the past year to bringing to mind lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer acquaintances, I want emphatically to not forget.