by Clyde Peck, board member of Restore Our Humanity
After the events of the last two weeks I must sit down and reflect upon a few things.
I am 52 years old now, but I look back at growing up and remember how I was different than others in some way. I remember not fitting in and wondering what that was all about.
Then one day, I was at work, at one of my first jobs at 16 and I caught myself looking at some guy’s butt. Yup, that was my ‘OH MY’ moment. Realizing that I was gay. I was lucky. I just said to myself, ‘Ohhhhh’ and moved on about my day.
But back then, in the 70s, we had no options to be anything other than just ‘gay.’ I ended up bar-hopping and drinking too much, and yes, drugs too. But that is what gay was back then. We did not even dream of other options. We sought after those that were like us. To fit in somewhere. That was usually in a bar, drinking and dancing and being with others. I did not dream of other choices. I had thought about it. I had thought that I would be a great father to a child. But I figured that was not what life had handed me. I did not fight that, I accepted that that is what gay people did … back then.
Today, I am realizing that gay people, I use this term to include all others than just gay men, are now able to have choices. Choices to have a child, by whatever means, a choice to live outside of the gay bar culture. We have choices now to live the life we wish it could be.
I wish for our coming-of-age generations to take hold of those hopes and dreams. To marry if you choose. To have a family if you choose. To be something besides what the world, and even ourselves, have looked at as being gay. I see couples that are adopting children and becoming families, married with children. Good lord, who would have thought?
I now have a husband. I am proud to say that. Stan, is my rock! He is what I had always sought after in my years. We have been married three times now. Nov. 23, 1996, back when DOMA was being signed into law by President Clinton. We did it for us, no other reason. We knew it meant nothing by law, but we wanted that. Again, this last summer, on July 23, 2013, in California to renew our vows and made it legal, at least in California. The third time was Dec. 23, 2013, as husband and husband, in Utah because it was now legal in our home state. (each time was on the 23rd for some reason) But we will always celebrate our anniversary on the original date, November 23.
I would never have thought years ago that I would be a part of bringing marriage equality to Utah. But I haven’t done it for me. I have done it because it is the right thing to do for our community. My community that has suffered, been tortured, and degraded. Now, as always, we are human, we have choices to make. That is why we must restore our humanity.
Love and Light,