As I rework my dissertation into a book manuscript — cutting sections here, smoothing out passages there, tugging at paragraphs like taffy over there, finding the through line — I have been sneaking out and doing some last-minute oral history interviews. Even though many people have told me to stop, that I need to get the book done. I can’t quite help it.
So, for this year’s National Coming Out Day, bring out your dead. If you have deceased LGBTQ friends or relatives who may not have been out during their lifetimes, bring them out, even in some small way. Help them take their next step. Tell someone about them. Write up an account of their lives for some future reader (or perhaps a historian). Maybe, in the fashion of cemeteries planting American flags on veterans’ graves, place a rainbow flag at their final resting place.
When writer Beth Brant died on Aug. 6, 2015, she left behind a loving family and a vibrant literary legacy documenting her life as a Native American lesbian. A mother, grandmother and longtime Melvindale resident, Brant is remembered as a pathbreaking lesbian author, poet, essayist, editor, lecturer and literary activist.
Carl Mitchell in the 1950s Carl Mitchell, a former Detroiter and author of three memoirs that touched on different aspects of his gay life in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, died May 14 [...]