My father was short for a man, with a child's plaything for a name - Spinner. He had flawless dark brown skin and a head full of big, wet-looking curls, black as oil. And he had the smile of a scoundrel - the kind of smile that disarmed men and undressed women.
The first memory I have in the world is of death and tears. That is how I would mark the beginning of my life: the way people mark the end of one. My family had gathered at Papa Joe's house because Mam' Grace was slipping away, only I didn't register it that way. For some reason I thought that it was her birthday.
One thing the gay rights movement taught the world is the importance of being visible.
All identity labels are umbrella terms to some degree, but this term 'bisexual' is not only serviceable, but it is sufficient. And yes, it brings together a bunch of people who are maybe shades different from one another. And maybe that's the beauty of labels: that they force you to be with other people and see the difference.
Conservatism is rooted in preservation; progressivism advances alteration. These are different love languages. These languages turn on your view of change itself: When you think of America, do you see a country struggling to be maintained or one striving to be made better?
When I won my way to the international science fair, I didn't want to embarrass myself. It was the first time I was going to be away from home, the first time taking an airplane. I went to the local library, checked out every single etiquette book, and I read those books like I was uncovering some sort of treasure.
The Obama years will be remembered as a cultural - and legal - tipping point for equality for all people who do not identify as strictly heterosexual, arguably the civil rights movement of our times. The president signed the bill repealing 'don't ask, don't tell.' The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court.
I was born in the summer of 1970, the last of five boys stretched over eight years. My parents were a struggling young couple who had been married one afternoon under a shade tree by a preacher without a church. No guests or fancy dress, just the two of them, lost in love, and the preacher taking a break from working on a house.