Monday I sat on a human sexuality panel at the Monterey Peninsula College. Originally, it was supposed to be a gay man, a bi person, a transgendered and a lesbian. No bi person or transgendered responded to the invite and the lesbian was sick, so the instructor managed to get someone else and it ended up being me and another gay man, a professor from the Naval Academy in town.
I was nervous at first, I'm not a public speaker by any means, but I got to tell my life story, which I think people needed to hear. I say that, not for any vanity reason but because I experienced a lot of harassment, violence and discrimination in my life. In telling my story, I also told about how and why we became parents.
When I was finished, the professor spoke and his story was as a (former) military man and what it was like to be gay under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Then the question/answer part began and the students got to ask us questions. I would say 80% or more of the questions were about parenting. Everybody wanted to know everything about gay parenting.
It was a good experience to let people know what life is like for a gay man, specifically what life was like from the 80's to now. How far we have come as a community in that time. In the 80's there were no gay/straight clubs in school, no domestic partnership registries, no civil unions, no protections. It wasn't until 2003 when the sodomy law was struck down that we were no longer considered criminals. We've come far as a community, and I think I've gotten to experience all ends of the spectrum in my life, the closet, a wild life, depression and a downward spiral all the way to being a married suburban dad. Something that wouldn't have been considered possible for someone like me just 25 years ago.
It was good to speak of it all, and it was good to answer any questions people had. I sit on another panel again, the first week in March.