There was a bright red sunrise this morning but now, only ten minutes later, the gray clouds have blown in. It reminds me of the old saying: Red sky at night, sailors’ delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning. And that reminded me of those days 30 years ago when I’d awake each morning on my boat, feel the gentle sway of the water, the smells of saltwater and coffee intermingling in the air. Was it really 30 years? How can that be?
In 30 years: I lived on a 43’ houseboat in Jacksonville then floated it to Key West when my company transferred me there, and then to Miami when I was promoted; fired from that company because my hetero female VP boss came on to me and I told her I don’t do straight women or married women; depression and suicide attempt during that period of unemployment; hired by the Florida Health Department AIDS program where I stayed for seven years while I obtained a masters in education with a concentration in counseling, then a doctorate in Education from the University of North Florida; hired by the University of Michigan to direct their lesbian and gay office, where I added the words bisexual and transgender to the center name, then founded Lavender Graduation and wrote my first book and articles; co-founded the Consortium of Higher Ed LGBT Professionals; wrote the initial LGBT standards for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS); recruited by UCLA to grow their LGBT Center, published profusely, created the UCLA Masters of Education in Student Affairs, was the senior associate dean of students and a faculty in residence, was a full professor, and from where I retired; taught at Cal State Fullerton in the Higher Ed program for another two years after I retired from UCLA; saw students become successful, powerful leaders in their communities. During my higher ed years I was honored many times with all kinds of awards including Pillar of the Profession from NASPA as well as being named a NASPA Legacy. I’ve traveled the world, learned to play golf, had a documentary made about me (Letter to Anita). My children returned to me and I now have four incredible grandchildren. Some family members were born and some passed on. And I met my Kelly, my love, and got engaged on the first day of this year that I turn 69.
Life has been busy, productive, scary at times, interesting, emotional, spiritual, and very, very full. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, both good and challenging. I’m grateful for my health and my body, for my family and my community. Tomorrow I begin the Brene Brown Living Brave seminar, Kelly and I are doing it together. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I intend to live every breath as fully as I’m able. I intend to suit up and show up, to live vulnerably in love every single day. I hope you do, too…
On this day in LGBT history (from QUIST, Lavender Effect, and/or Wikipedia. (If you are unsure about accuracy, please do your research and let me know. Thanks!)
1975 – The Chicago Board of Ed. approves a plan that allows, for the first time, the City’s teachers to answer students’ questions about homosexuality;
1977 – The Episcopal Church of New York ordains an openly lesbian woman, Ellen Marie Barrett, as a minister;
1978, Maryland – 35 men in Bethesda who are married to women and have attractions to men meet. They are called the Gay Married Men’s Association.
1980 – The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence forms in San Francisco;
1982 – Paul Lynde, known to many as “the center square” for his years on game show Hollywood Squares, dies of a heart attack in Beverly Hills. He is 55.
2005, Israel – Israeli Supreme Court allows each partner of a lesbian couple to adopt the other’s children
I encourage you to write your stories. If you’d like to see your memoir and stories in print, let’s work together. I can help you self-publish your work. If this interests you, please see my website at http://purpledistinctions.com/self_publishing.html
Write your story! Now is good!