I came out 35 years ago in January, 1978, six months before Harvey Milk’s infamous rallying cry:
Gay brothers and sisters,… You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
I was 21 years old at the time, studying violin at UVic and playing in the Victoria Symphony to help pay my way. The December before, Canadian pianist William Tritt came to perform with the orchestra as soloist. He was a bit older, but beautiful, with such soft eyes, so fun, so cynical and so smart — I fell head over heels in love with him, showering him with attention and books and gifts I couldn’t afford.
To my eternal gratitude, he didn’t take advantage of me, refusing my clumsy sexual advances, but stayed on in the city for two weeks after the concerts so we could spend time together talking about the books I made him read, arguing about our favorite artists, sharing many beers and meals and the intoxicating romance of it all.
I was completely wrong for Bill. He was attracted to much darker, more dangerous encounters. I was all boyish, youthful beauty — the opposite of what turned him on. Still, the love he kindled in me was shared. I’ve never been so depressed as when he left Victoria to return home. It seemed so cruel, no sooner having found Love than it abandoned me!