Learning Acceptance by Example
My parents were physicians but they never talked about sex. Nor about Uncle Ed and Uncle Bob living together, year after year. If their relationship, or what it implied, bothered my conservative parents, they never said. We were family. Inclusion was a value.
During World War II, Ed knew being outed meant dishonorable discharge and an end to his career in social work. His first, post-war job, ironically, was with the Veteran’s Administration, counseling emotionally damaged soldiers. In the late 1950s, he pioneered state legislation, securing short and long-term support for struggling parents and their developmentally disabled children. For eleven years he was their advocate as the first director of
’s San Francisco . When he retired, his involvement in the Episcopal church kept him busy. He started a one-stop-shop at Grace Cathedral, helping the elderly navigate confusing government programs. He devised weekly, senior-centered markets where children from the Cathedral boys’ school sold bread and produce to local elders, some of whom had no family. Golden Gate Regional Center
In the mid 1980s, Bob and Ed applied for an apartment in a San Francisco retirement home. They were rejected. No one used the word “gay,” but two men living together wasn’t allowed. They were turned down twice by an Episcopal home in a nearby city for the same reason.
“What happens if you split up?” they were asked.
“What happens when any couple splits up?” they answered.
|Uncle Ed & Katy|
Pye/Harris Legacy Project: http://pyeharrisproject.org/
THIS IS SO WORTH WATCHING / GR
A month ago, I sat by my Uncle Ed’s side as we eased toward his death and the end of 62 years, accepting and celebrating who they were, and we were as a family.
Hyperlinks to use or not:
Ginny’s blog piece: http://grorby.blogspot.com/2012/06/adorable-children-singing-in-church.html
OpenHouse-LGBT senior resources and housing project: http://openhouse-sf.org/