On August 10th, at the age of 94, Albert Gordon died...
Who is Albert Gordon you may ask? I didnt know either until I read his obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle. It was given to me by my husband Jay, torn out of the Chronicle from the September 8th edition....
I have had this article for two days and have wanted to talk about it since. Albert Gordon was an Attorney who had twin gay sons, he himself was straight but he fought tirelessly to defend gays, often working for free. Thats right...a lawyer working for free...I never thought I'd see it either. Among the things that Albert Gordon did was help in fighting the California laws that made consensual homosexual sex acts illegal. He often defended gays being persecuted by discriminatory police practices. The online article can be found here
The comment Jay made to me that morning was his amazement at how much of our history we as gay people dont know. To which, the automatic thought I had was,"wait a minute! Aren't we gay people supposed to be a secret cabal with an agenda to tear apart the social fabric of America?! If we are all so well organized, how can we not know our past?... I even spent all month learning the secret handshake!"
Indeed, anyone wanting to look up gay history has their work cut out for them. Sure you can find it on the racks of progessive bookstores, mashed in between twenty versions of the stonewall riots, but many of those books are written from a scholarly perspective and not such a treat to read. You can go on the internet, but again, hope you dont mind some footwork because its hard to find an unbiased, comprensive, and accesible work on the subject. Admittedly, this is mostly because gays thoughout history have had to lead a life lived in secrecy. This, to me is a tragedy on a scale of burning the library at Alexandria in Egypt. How many of our stories and our place in history is just lost to time?...not only our horrors as gays but our triumphs as well.
If I am supposedly a card carrying homosexual, then I would like a copy of the history of the order. I think we all should get one. Including the positive contributions to the human race of those who came before us.
Jay and I often get these fantastic emails telling us how gratefull people are for showing our family on Youtube and showing them that its possible to have the family they always wanted but were told they couldn't have. I love those emails because they help me believe that what we are doing is helping in some way. But, everytime I read them I think of How many shoulders we stand on. Jay and I couldn't even be a couple, let alone have a family to show online, without their actions. I think about all the Gays and Lesbians in the 60's and 70's who had to be the first on the line to fight for our rights. I think about Harvey Milk and Matthew Sheppard. I think of All the people who's lives never got told many who lived in secret relationships when you couldnt even say the word "gay" out loud. An example of this is a great movie on youtube called "Bob and Jack's 52-Year Adventure", Check it out here:
Albert Gordons contribution to my life and indeed to all gay peoples lives almost slid by without so much as a peep, buried in the back of the newspaper.
I can't let that happen...
So, thank you Mr. Gordon, Wherever your soul finds itself at this moment. You acted out of love for you children but that love grew to take in all of us. I will remember you as I know your family does, and I hope that one day all gay kids get the chance to see the lives of gay people through history and those that helped them and find their place in a more loving world. Bless you sir from the bottom of my heart.