Coming out makes you dangerous to those around you who believe they have to stay in the closet at any cost

Brotherly love, 1958 - The Anonymous Project

Coming out makes you dangerous to those around you who believe they have to stay in the closet at any cost. Especially if they work with you. Especially if being with you might not look right. Especially if, from the beginning, they had secretly hoped for a little more than someone to write their letters.

What was the point in making a man out of me if my mother unraveled it with her love?

My youth would be like that, the slow decay of cherished myths—about politics and race, about love itself—until nothing was left but compost from which something authentic could finally begin to grow.

I would love to make this vivid for posterity, but I recall little beyond the fact that it was poorly choreographed and lasted less than five minutes. There was no kissing, and certainly no fucking. I’m pretty sure I got a dick in my mouth, and that he did, too, but the episode was lackluster for something widely advertised as both a crime and a mental disorder. And I know it was my fault as much as his.

As I drove to the base with the top down on my Sunbeam Alpine, I felt like a freshly minted human being. I had finally held another man’s naked body against mine and the world had not come to an end. Yes, I had passed the point of no return, but it was not at all what I’d imagined, not the death of innocence, but the birth of a giddy, wide-eyed adolescence.

When my men got crabs, they made a joke about it and went to the infirmary for treatment. That wasn’t an option for me. What if there was a difference between gay crabs and straight crabs? What if the medical officer, a guy I dined with daily in the wardroom, could tell that my crabs had previously resided on the balls of another man?
[…] I had no choice but to visit a drugstore far from my neighborhood. There I bought something called A-200 for the treatment of body lice and crabs, including, presumably, the gay ones.

[…] it has to be said that if anything delivered me from the privileged white elitism of my youth it was the red-lit cubicles and darkened hallways and even darker mazes of Dave’s Baths. Everyone went there, pilgrims united on a quest for cock; and even a rejection, if delivered kindly enough, could reveal the difference between a bastard and a nice guy in the dark. […] only afterward, when I lay spent and happy in the arms of a stranger, another tender man-child like me, did I even begin to notice the secondary matters of race, creed, and national origin. It was a deeply democratizing place.

Le premier chapitre, lu par Maupin, himself :

Armistead Maupin - Logical family, a memoir (HarperCollins-2017)