Forty years ago this month I was moving to Ballif Hall at the University of Utah. My first time living on my own. I’d received a full scholarship to study … civil engineering. I think we know how that ended up.
A few months later, I’d find myself with a crush on a red-headed boy in Calculus I. He introduced me to a bunch of gay boys and ally girls who hung out at Liberty Park with their trunks popped open blasting music, dancing, and laughing. And kissing. It was the first time I saw two guys kiss each other who weren’t me.
I then noticed an ad in the classifieds section of the Daily Utah Chronicle that said they had meetings of gay Catholics at the Newman Center. While I was raised Catholic, it was more of a Christmas/Easter Catholic thing. I never attended, but I looked for that ad every week seeking connection.
I saw gay porn for the first time at a house party and I remember being amazed that such a thing existed.
In short, I was introduced to a community I didn’t know existed.
To think how this community has expanded over the past 40 years and the progress made in that time.
While at the reunion I will see people I grew up with, studied with, learned the basics of socializing with, and got past the awkward teen years with, it is the time I left and met a red-headed boy and a community where I feel my life actually began.
So, maybe I am just turning 40.