Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Celebrating 50 Years

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Celebrating 50 Years

Article excerpt

When Bill and I committed to each other in 1953 we were stumbling in the dark. The word "homosexuality" was not mentioned anywhere, and we were always assumed to be straight. Same-sex couples today know where they stand in a way we couldn't. They know they're not alone.

It would have been easier for us if we could have gotten married because then we would have been out to our families. And if there had been a public ceremony, it would have confirmed for us that our relationship could last. Now, after 50 years together, we don't need marriage for survival. But if we could get legally married today, we would, because we have had a great number of straight friends who have supported us. We would get married to validate that support.

On thanksgiving Day, we will celebrate our official 50th anniversary. We met in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1947. Bill was 16, and I was 20. For the next six years, while attending the University of Florida, we were close friends. Bill had accepted being gay, but I had not. When we entered the job market we both found employment in Atlanta, and with no indecision we moved in together. By that time I had come out to myself, and we had agreed in advance that our new cohabitation would be intimate.

There were no role models for our relationship. We couldn't know if it was going to last. It took a long time before we came to the understanding that we were not going to go our separate ways.

The closet was absolutely required in the 1950s. …

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