Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tolerance and Acceptance: Pass Them On

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tolerance and Acceptance: Pass Them On

Article excerpt

Regarding "Finally at Home in My Own Hometown: Growing Up Black, Christian and Gay Wasn't Easy in Pittsburgh" (Sept. 1 Perspectives) by Billy Porter: I was one of the fortunate people at the "Kinky Boots" premiere to experience Lola/Billy's emotionally charged number and subsequent standing ovation. It's something I will never forget.

His journey back home has truly come full circle, albeit not always an easy one. As a straight woman I cannot fully understand his or the LGBT community's struggle with tolerance and acceptance. I do have a few experiences from back in my teens and early 20s that forever shaped my views of gay people.

My dearest and closest friend in high school was gay, although he didn't come out for many years. He moved to the West Coast to pursue an acting career and ultimately became comfortable with who he was, much like Billy Porter in New York. After all, this was late 1970s Pittsburgh.

In the early '80s I attended the Art Institute and met many more in the gay community, witnessing the daily struggles of coping with fear of coming out, the thirst for acceptance and the backlash that follows - this at a time when whispers of a "gay cancer" (HIV/AIDS) were beginning to emerge. …

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