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Telling my st
ry has not
been easy for e. I've had':"
to dredge up memories 1:
would rather have forgot-;
ten. The lonely, anxiety-ridden months I avoided
others, attempting to hide from interrogations'
about my social life. The questions I couldn't or:
refused to answer ... the inescapable nightmares of
being rejected by family and friends. The mornings,
when tension-racked and covered with hives, my
ody would be raw from my incessant scratching. Through all
this I pretended that being known as a lesbian did not bother me
that it was only a problem for other people. Yet, for me and   o ~  
many women like me, being a lesbian today means living in fear
of discovery and in fear of not being liked. And nothing has
brought me greater misery or stagnation than those fears.
Somehow I survived the tears, the isolation and the feeling that
something was terribly wrong with me for loving another woman.
Coming to terms with my life as a lesbian has been easier for
me than it has been for many. Since I don't look or dress like the
; stereotypical bulldagger, I have a choice as to whether my sexual
1 preference is known. Not having a recognizable difference has
given me the opportunity to find out what my way of living entails
on my own time. I have also been fortunate because I discovered
my preference for women early, before getting locked into a
traditional marriage and having children.
When I decided to write this article, I said, ''I'm writing this for
my gay sisters." I wanted my voice to reassure ~ h o s   who feel as
isolated and alone as I once did, those who desperately seek
answers to all the "whys" when none exist, those who are
embroiled in a struggle to be themselves in a society that frowns
on differences. As I wrote and relived the pain, I realized that the
fears, which I had assumed to be gone, were still within me.
Furthermore, I saw that I had been denying my sufferings,
denying feelings that were important to me. In anger and relief, I
saw the importance of being myself and knew I had to sign my
real name. "Coming out" this far has taken me seven years and I
still don't rest easy. I worry that no employer will hire me again,
that my free-lance writing assignments will dwindle, that my gay
friends who are still in the closet will disassociate themselves from
me. I fear, in sum, that the monster of conformity will rear its
angry head and devour me. But I'm weary of playing games and
of hiding and being afraid. I refuse to be trapped in a half-life of
worry and anxiety, wondering how to explain to others that my
lover is a woman. For myself, my gay sisters and those who care to
take a step toward understanding-here is my story. (conlinuedonpage/571
M A     
linued[rompage 91)
November and  I  was  17.  On  a  cold  afternoon  L  along 
several  hundred olher women. were attending a freshman 
"entation  at  OUf  Seven  Sisler college.  Before  long.  everyone 
Vt reslless. There seemed  10  be  flO  end to  the  traditions. rules 
regulations we  were  supposed  to  absorb.  A  woman, ",'ho  I 
er  found  out  was  named  Sharon,  "at  beside  me.  With  her 
ightened  hair  and  prim  collar,  she  looked  conservative-a 
ical  Ivy  Leaguer-and  I groaned  inwardly.  BUL she  made  me 
n  when  suddenl)'.  unex.pectedly,  she  leaned  over  and  \vhis-
red.  "Don't you  wish  we  had a  joim?"  
"Tomorrow,"  I  wmked.  striking  my  most  genteel  pose,  
efofe  tea."  
From  thar  moment  on,  we  were  inseparable.  Although  
aron  was reserved and  I was  the  "take charge" type, we  were  
th  pretty much  loners.  We  also had similar interests.  Like me,  
aren  loved jazz and sunsets ar.d  hall  read  Lucille ClIfton and  
mesAlan  McPherson. She  LOa  haled  parties and socials  and  
Iy  paid  lip  service  to  the  frantic  manhunts  that  preoccupied  
any  of our  classmates.  Together,  Sharon  and  I could  find  
ace.  While our roommates party-hopped every weekend, we  
pt  one  another  company-swimming,  studying  and  writing  
etry-content JUS!  10 be  with  each  other.  
'One  morning. four  months  laler,  we  found  ourselves  in  une 
other's  arms.  admitting  fOf  the  first  time  aUf  Jove  for  each 
her.  I was  ecstatic.  There  was  the  joy  of  waking  to  her 
hispers  and  the  son  warmth  of her  woman's  touch.  Beyond 
at  was  the  joy  of discovery,  of  watching  a  new  part  of me 
folding.  It u:as  like  a second  birlh.  Yet,  however  natural our 
ing  seemed.  we  were  both  aware  that  this  \vas  a  turmng 
int  in  both our  lives. 
"Have  you  ever  made  love  with  a  woman  be Core?"  I asked 
yly.  "Did  you  just do  it  because  you  were  drunk?" 
"No."  she  protested,  "1  wallteu  to."
"Well,"  I persisted,  "how  did  you  know  what  to  doT' 
Al  thaI,  we  burst  into      giggles,  clinging  closer 
gelher.  What  was  happening  between  us?  What  was  this 
phoria? Although  both  of us  had  slept  with'men,  neither of 
hall  been  intimate  WIth  a  woman  before.  We  didn't  even 
ow   lesbians.  How  and  why had  this  happened? As  we  lay 
gelher.  we  mulled  over  the  lho\Jsand  questions  we  suddenly 
d to  ask  each  other. 
  wanted  10  tell someone, "I'm in    I was so very  happy_ 
verything  was  Sharon.  Sometimes  we wondered  if  anyone 
uld  tell  we  were  more  than  just  friends.  But  we  were  so 
rapped  up  in  each  other  that  no  one  else  mauered. 
We  convinced  our roommates  to  switch,  and  Sharon  moved 
with  me.  No  one  seemed  suspiciOUS.  since  the  arrangement 
emed  perfecLly  logIcal.  OUf  roommates  had  the  same sched· 
les,  majors  and  interests,  and  Sharon  and  I were  clearly 
rnpatible.  Vo.'e  knew  enough  to  keep  the  true  nature  of aUf 
lationship  secret,  even  though  neither  of  us  realized  how 
uch  we  were getling  into_  Having  always  been loved, accept· 
and  praiscd. we  were  \Jnaware  of the  scorn  and  ridicule  that 
ciety  might  heap  upon  us  for  beIng  "differenL." 
Sharon  and  I realized  that  we  had  always  been  more 
!tracted  10  women.  both  emotionally  and  physically.  than  to 
nen.  We  were  very    that  we  loved  women  and  preferreJ 
  as  lovers.  Our  doubts  concerned  the  kind  of  life  this 
Deant  for  us.  What  if  people  fOlJnd  out-would  we  still  be 
ked?  What  if we  wanted  to  have  children? Could  we,  should 
'e,  ever telt our parents?  Would  they disown  us?  Could  we  get 
lpelled  Crom  college?  Did  any  of  this  matter?  Having,  no 
  or information  was  frightening. 
'We  soon  learned  that  it  is  one  thing  to prepare Cor  problems 
ld  quite. anal her  to  meet  them  head·on.  Despite  all  our 
    Sharon  and  1 had  managed  to create  a  small, 
Wate  haven  together.  That peace came  to  a  sudden  end  one 
ghl  when  we  CargO!  to  lock  (he  door  to  our  room.  We  were 
(collfillllCd on page /59)
  popular and friends and acquainl-
's were :Jccustomed lO making unan-
. ced visits for   conversa-
and lea. Sharon and I were silling on
. me bed hugging one another when
ilooropened. Light flooded the room,
  apart. "Shit!" J whispered.
.. arTy." muttered a tall. dark figure,
:king quickly out the door. After
.dy deliberation. Sharon ran out to
ain what we were   doing. Feel-
.;paranoid, I waited and wailed for her
m. When she came back. she re-
ed her lie for me and assured me
. our friend had bought the story. But
Jd nol feel reassured.
uddenly. I felt trapped. Sharon was
'tent with loving me in isolation, but
t was like a second
birth. There was
e joy of discovery,
•f watching a new
part of me
forthright Sagittarian spirit rebelled
ainsllhe lies.lhe secrecy and the threat
discoven', I knew I was not free. .
, Although I don't consider my sexual
eference the most jm portant aspect of
existence, I wanted people I cared
out 10 know Ihis love that brought me
much happiness. Sharon and I agreed
tell a fe"" friends. Telling people was
I as hard as I thought. Ilnd had Sharon
d I known more liberal groups of
ters. we might never have felt any
'r •. gative repercussions. Ironically. the
'0 women we spent the most lime with
  the most unreasonable about ho-
'ffosexuality. One of them would grow
';'ild at the mere mention of a rumored
    between two  
  YeL she loved to (alk aboullhem
  I never told her we were gay. I
,nsed, as she grew more and more
; toward us, that she knew. Well
  and sociable, her changed be-
Iiavior affected others and I was sure that
Ihe word was out.
'hJd been elected dormitory repre-
'ntative for our class, but I withdrew
tm what had been exuberant panici-
  Maybe I imagined those funny,
  silences during a chance encounter
  riding in the elevator with what
iad been our loud, laughing crowd of
'riends. Maybe no one stopped speaking
ous and it was my own sudden quiet
Ihat precipitated the change. But I don't
believe that to be true. Tension settled
over my life and I slowly kniued a
cocoon around my feelings to protect me
from a hUrl and confusion I did not
understand. I was frustrated by the hid-
ing. the lies and guilt, but there was no
outlet. I didn't know how to reacl (0 the
ignorance and fear that constitute the
prejudice many heterosexuals have
against gays. I didn't know how to quiet
my fear of rejection. It was getting harder
and harder to get up in the morning, lei
alone study, and Sharon and I began to
argue and find excuses to stay away from
each other.
We finally decided to consult a psy-
chiatrist because there was no one else
whom we could trust and who could be
objective. We also figured that we could
not possibly be the first and only women
at this school who have had problems
like this. Although the American Psychi-
atric Association had not yet declared
homosexuality a viable alternative life-
style, the psychiatrist assured us that our
  stemmed from our living
conditions rather than from a confusion
about our sexual orientation. Sharon was
about security while I was about risking
and exploring-discovering what kind of
life I could have in the real world.
Separating was a long and painful
process, and Sharon saw the psychiatflst
for some time after.
I moved alone to a new dormitory and
eased into my new life. I grew more
serious about writing and changed my
major from psychology to En.glish I also
explored lesbianism through books. as
an attempt toward self-definition.
In Sappho Wiu A Rlghr On Woman,
authors Sidney Abbott and Barbara
Love define u -lesbian as ..... '1 woman
whose primury psychological. emotion-
al. erotic and social inlerest is in
members or her own sex even though
thut interest may nol be expressed. Les-
biJnism IS a state of mind rather than a
sexual ad,'· .lUSt as a woman may be
heterosexual yet never marry or even
have signiricant relationships with men,
so can a woman be gay. yet never have a
lesbian relationship. Sharon and I had
always thought of ourselves as hetero-
sexual IJrgely because society had con-
ditioned us to believe that was what we
should be. We had had positive rela-
tionships With men, but the depth. un-
derstanding Jnd warmth we felt for each
other was beyond comparison.
My new rooming situation allowed me
to make more rriends. I began to meel
women and men who were from cities
and had been exposed to people with
varied lifestyles. They were secure
enough not to be threatened by my
lesbianism. A couple of sisters even ad·
milled thal they had questioned their
heterosexuality. Although neither of
them had ever slept with a \It'oman. they
(continued on paRe ibn
Egg FuYung\
. starts   .
: - ',,'.  
Plepare 1 pkg. Fried Rice-A-Roni according '4.1li-
to' package directions; cool. Beat 6eggs willi.•'.;·'
1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 'I, tsp. salt, dash    
  in cooked Rice-A-Roni, 1 (16 oz.)      
  bean sprouts, 'I. cup sliced green ;'1;rt.
  Drop mixture by 'I, cupfUls onto;..;-·
  griddle. Brown .on each side. sauce:.. 'if,
c mbine 2 Tbsp. cOrnstarch, 2 .,
uce and 2 cups water;' cook untll thIck.
S,rve over Egg Fu Yung. Serves 4. -.
I r , _,     _.  

,:oll!/nued/i"om page  /5(j) 
  that  lesbl:Jolsm  goes  beyond the 
\;dwnm.  One  sisler  felt  that,  while  she 
J(lUld  always  have  a  greater  love  and 
  for  women.    could  never  dis-
..ppoint  her  family  who  expected  her  to 
lUfr\'  i.lnd  have  children.  The  other sis-
':f-     Intended  to  have  a  political 
ureer.  didn't  feel  thaL  could  ever  be  a 
:l:ulitv  if she  were  \0  have  relationships 
    We  had  many  long  discus-
iom  ,Ibou!  v..'hether  it  \'.'as  possible  or 
:.,.ven  practical  to  sacrifice  a  loving  rela-
l(lnshlp  wllh  a  woman  for  family  or the 
1lIlside  .,",arid.  Although  I  didn'I  feel  iL 
,as  necessary  \0  make  either  of  lhose 
acririces,  I realized thaI it  takes a certain 
;Durage  and  qrength  (0  be  visible. 
It was  not long before  my own slreng\h 
us Lesled.  I was just getting  used  to  the 
dea  of  lIving  as  a  gay  woman  when  I 
  home  for  spring  break.  I  had  been 
I{Inle  less  thi.ln  a  day  when  my  parenls 
ailed  me  in  to  the  family  room  for  a 
  conference.  "Is  this  yours'?"  my 
nother  asked.  handing  me  a  brochure 
::Ir  iln  upcomll1g lesbian  conference.  My 
kin  went  cold.  my  fingers  twitched  ner-
(lusly  and  my  heart  fluttered.  Somehow 
managed  to'answer "yes." and  to admit 
'1'  involvement  in  lesbian  activities.  My 
llhcr was stunned. He  s:Jid  he  knew  that 
len  in  pnson  were  often  into  homosex-
<lIlLY.  but  he  didn't  know  about  this.  It 
'as  my  turn  to  be  stunned.  1 honeslly 
idn',  realize  how  liltle  he  knew  about 
"Would  ',.'ou  rather have gone to a coed 
)]Jege'?"  my  mother questioned.   
lpied  with  w<Jnling  to  know  whal  Ihey 
Jd  done  \\'[ong,  she  seemed  10  feel 
"No,"  I replied, surprised  thal she  had 
'en  asked.  It  had  been  my  decision  to 
tend  a  women's  college.  1  had  been 
'cepLed  al  four  coed  colleges,  but  I had 
Inscioush"  ehosen  an  all-female school. 
loved  women.  Even  if Sharon  was  [he 
st  female  lover  I  would  ever  have,  I'd 
:11 prefer  women.  I  didn't  know  why 
Iy  more  than  Jnyone  else  did.  I  ram-
ed  on  nervousl\'  about  some  stud l'  I 
,d  reud,  whICh  slated  that  there  were 
ore  gay  people  on  coed  campuses  be-
  students a\  single-sex schools were 
("rly  paranold  about  homosexuality. 
y  parents  stared  at  me  with  blank 
press IOns.  I could  have  been  speak 109 
.. ahilt  for  all  the'..  knew 
Finally  my  father  sighed.  "You're 
ack  and  'you're a woman," he  declared. 
don't see whv  you want  to  be  lI1volvcd 
something  I{kl:;  this." 
"You  lalk  as  If  I  had  U choice."  1 pro 
,ted.  my  reaction coming from  the  gul. 
My'  father  was  taken  abaCk  for  a  mo-
  It  W<.IS  slowh dawning on  him  IhaL 
was  deud  serious.  "Well,"  he  said, 
lking  hIS  heDd,  "I  don'l  condemn  it, 
but  1don't condone it either."  My mother 
was  silent. 
Despite  all  my  fears,  I fell  relieved.  At 
lasL  it  seemed  I  was  free,  Now  that  my 
parents  knew  about  me  and  were  still 
willIng  10  acknowledge  me  as  their 
daughter.  il  dIdn'T  seem  to  matter 
whether Olhers  accepled  me  or noL  I did 
not  know  [hen  that  Lhe  conversation was 
just the  beginning of a  long  road  toward 
When  I  rerurned  to  school.  I   
somed.  Coming  from  Smalltown,  USA, 
from  my    insular  family,  I 
hadn't really  experienced city  life.  Every 
gay  event,  organization  and  pLice 
seemed  to  be in  the city and  I  had  hopes 
offlnd1l1g  other gay  Black  women  there. 
One  nIght  a  friend  and  J  decided  (0 
hitchhike  into  lawn  and  find  Sappho's 
Retreat.  an  alJ-women's  bar.  After  a  40-
mlOule  journey,  we  fin<.tlly  10caLed  it  in 
My spirit rebelled 
against the lies, the 
secrecy and the 
threat of discovery. 
the dark  and  isolated  heart  tJfwhat  is  the 
business dlstricl  during the  day.  A yellow 
sign  hangmg over the  entrance  \\'as  like a 
beacon, and a dozen curious faces turned 
toward  us  <lS  we  entered. 
Trymg  h<lrd  not  to st<lre,  we  made  our 
way  to  the  dance  floor  <J.nd  were  greeted 
by  the  truly  pleasur<lbJe  sight  of women 
duncing  together.  The  cozy  atmosphere 
was  in  sharp  contrast  to  the  dark,  dank 
Images  I  had  conjured  up. 
I  5l1W  several  Black  women  <.1t tables, 
talking  and  drinking.  One  siSler  with  a 
short-cropped  Afro  who  was  standing 
alone  glanced  over at  me.  I wus  dying  LO 
talk  10  her  und  she  CUOle  over  <.1S if she 
knew  wh<lt  I  was  thinking. 
"You  look  like  a  fflend  of  mine,"  she 
began.  luunching  into  <J. ","'hole  monO-
logue <.1boU(  how  she  h<J.ted  going to  bars. 
but  thcltthere  were so few  other places to 
go  Her  name  wus  Leona. 
Ilnlerrurted  her  to  expJaJn  IhULI  had 
come  to this  bur  because  1knew very few 
gay  sIsters  and  I  wanted  tll  meet  more. 
Leona's  face  brightened.  then  dimmed. 
"\\'elL  there  are  J  tot  of  us.  'iOU  know 
there  just  hDve  La  be.  \).,'e  have' u kind  of 
underground  network  because  this  bar 
and  the  women's center ure  <11\  for  whIle 
women,  I'll  keep  you  lI1formed  aboul 
p;.Hties.  meetings-whatever  I  hear." 
Leona  und  I  becume good [fiends over 
the  next  five  years.  Through  her  I  dis-
covered  an  enLlrelv  unhe;,lfd  of.  unseen 
community  or gay -Slack  women,  few  of 
\\hum  had  ever set  fOOL  In  a  gay  bar. 
(collf/Illted on page  lfJ4) 
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(cominued./i-ortl page 161)
Leona  and  I  were  still  talking  when 
someone  came  up  behind  me,  grasped 
my  hand  gently  and  asked  me  \0  dance 
I  turned  around  and  gazed  into  the 
honeY-brown  face  of a  woman with   
chlcr'm  her  eyes.  She  was  3. couple  of 
inches  taller  Lhan  me  and  was  smiling so 
warmly  I  cculdn't  lake  my eyes  away 
from  her  as  we  "bumped"  Onto  the 
dance  noor. 
When  the  song  waS  over,  we  sat  down 
to  talk  and  I  dIscovered  that  her  name 
"'as  Sharla.  She  was  a  transfer   
from  California.  who  was  unending  a 
university  close  by.  Sharla  and  I became 
friends,  and  tWO  months  later  we  were 
relutlng  inlimacely:  Although  we  liked 
bemg  together,  we  continued  to  date 
PLher  women  occasion'.. lllv  because  we 
were  bOLh  leery  of  bem-'g  tied  down. 
DUfJng  our  twO  years  togelher.  we 
learned  a  great deal  from  eJch  olher. 
What  WaS    was  that  Sharla  
had  been  openly  gay  since  she  was  14  
years old.  Her parents had allowed  her LO  
entertain  homosexual  friends  al  home  
ami  partlcipatc  in  gily    and  activi-
lies.  She  LOld  me  her  parents  tolerated  
her :-Iomosexuatity  because they  thougbt  
Il  \.\.as  [ncrdy  d  stage  she was  gomg  
through.  They  had  only  insisted  that she  
attend  a  coed  unlversitv.  
BOlh  of  us  had  bu"yfriends  10  high 
schooL  but  we  had  alwayS  ended  the 
relatIonships.  Sharla  had  bent  to  her 
parents'  SUbtle  plessure  to  at  least  "try 
II."  1 had  reacted  from  sheer  loneliness 
and  peer  pressure.  Unlike  Sharla,  I  had 
had  a  se;l(ual  e;l(ptrience  with  a  man, 
which  I  found  both  physlc<lll)  and  emo-
tIOnally  s<.ltlsfying.  But  I could  nol admit 
(hal  I  h<.ld  always  becn  more attracted  to 
women  than  to  men  The  longing  had 
been  there  even  though  il  was  unartI-
culaled  at  thal  Ulllt:. 
Shada  and  r saL  on  panels  and  con-
ducted  workshops  on  the  dilemma  of 
being a  minoricy Jnu  gay  Through these 
aCllvlties  l,I;e  met  and  exchanged  Ideas 
with  gays  outside  of  Ihe  bars  and.  as  J 
result.  established  close  fricnd5hips  and 
were  rrequently  Invited  to  urnners  and 
house  parties. 
J also  stayt:d  in  louch  with  Leor.a  and 
eventually  joinec  a  Black  femlnlsts' 
group  to  Wh'lCh  she  belonged.  I  had  nOt 
embruced  the  femmist  movement  up 
unl11  then  because  I  thought  iL  was  a 
while  woman's  cause  I  dId  no!  connect 
the  economic  oppresslon  and  phySical 
anJ  psychological Jbuse of Black women 
Wl!h  women's  flghts  until  I  attended  the 
TalkIng with  other sisters about what was 
 to  us  and  diSCUSSIng  our own 
c,'penences  made  me    [hal  Black 
women  must  snuggle  even  harder  than 
$50  to  $250    in  :tQur 
spire  hovrf.  EnjOy the  plUJure  lild 
bealilY  01  ttlese  samples,  make   
sharing    new  beauty  setrels  .. ,th 
olhNS.  Up  10  $10  an  hOUI  UIY,  Make 
neVj  Iriends  ud  customers.  Show  and 
  orders  lor  over  150      ad 
vertised  fragrances.  sk,n  eire,  hair  [Ire 
and  make  up  products  We  fl.ltnlsh  evtry 
thing  you  need  to  start  making  money 
at  on[e.  Rusi'l  name,  address  '0'  u 

pies  and  cosmetic  display  case  oller 
IJIcty  Hurl  CoIIIIllea.  Dlp!- 411<9 MI.. phis.  TN, 38101 
v,hlte  women  for  equal  flghts.  J  decided 
[hal  we  have  a  responsibility  10  preen] 

of the  movement's gO<.lls  and  USe 
(0  meet  our  needs.  And  further.  we  ha 
to  let  Black  men  know  that  the  ffiov 
ment  IS  not  a  denial  of  men.  bUl 
<.Ifflrmation  of  women,  whether  we  a 
straight  or gay  marflf"u  or single,  hOme 
makers  or  professionals. 
My  interest  in  the  women's JnDvernen 
  me  to  Slan a  Black  femini_st  publicq 
uon  at  college  In  the  spring 01  my jUnlo 
year.  Despite  thiS,  numerous other extra 
curfJculur    and  a  he:..wy  COurs 
load. I was doing well  in aII  of my  classes 
I  was  writing  poetry  <.lnd  short  stOrie 
For me, the depth 0 
communication an,' 
understanding I 
had had with men,
was not nearly as I 
great as that which 
I later experienced 
with women. 
and  had  more  energy  I.han  ever  beforl  
An essLI:,  I wro[e earned  me a scholarshi  wou Id  enable  me  to  truvel  throug  
Africa  for  six  weeks  Lhal  summer.  Shdf  
would  be  in  H:1Wall  that  same   
so  we  spent  every  pOSSIble  momenl  
could  tugether  
By  senIor  year.  separate  interests  werc  beginnIng to  draw Sharla ar.d  
I  <.Ipart  After  graduation,  Shada  
:.Jbroad  and  I a{(ended  a  summer   
llshing  course_  LOok  a  few  odd  jobs   
then  moved  to  New  York  Clly to   
upon  my  career.  I  also  had  begun  It  
reahzc  that  I  did  not  want  to  spend  rnJ  
life  dflfLlng  in  and  out of relauonshlps,l  
hoped  mstead  to  find  someone  
whom  to  live.  dream and  build  a  ltff"  J  
New  York  Cny's  gay  scene  was  
whelming!  J was  delighted  ",hen' fnunf  
  a  ThIrd ·\\!orld  organiuI10  
for gay    W .. lking into <.l
of  sister",  whu  were  relating  wlth  
olher  positIvely-teachIng,  learnl"  
  a  heady  experten:  
Through SalsaSoul I discovered Jeml
u  Black  lesbIan  writer's  collectlve.  T  
first  time  I  heard  the  suong,  Spiflt  
vOIces  of  my  Sisler  artISts,  I  knew  th 
despite  New  York's  fast  pace.  cfl)wd 
dirt  and  crime.  I  had  found  my   
Some  tIme  laler.  a  Jemima  memb 
inVited  me  to.l  hlrthday  rany.  I  diu  n
meet  Candice.  the  hoste'ls,  until  abo

three  in  the  morning  J  Wished  h n 
"happy  hlrthdJy,"  Jnd  we  rapped  for 
short  while  Before  I  left,  Candice  gal 
(co{/(inued on page l'
(continued li'om paRe 164;
me her number and urged me lO call.
ThJt MondilY J c{Jlled Candice and we
made J owner doHe. "This must be des-
liny," she told me, afler discovering that
we worked only fouf blocks away from
each other. After that first dinner she
made dales with me for every lunch and
dInner thal week. It seemed we had to be
IOgether every moment. I had wanted a
serious. Slable relationship wilh a
woman. but I hadn't expected il to hap-
pen so quickly. I losl lrack of my meals
and grew absent-minded, Talking
throughout most of the night, neither of
us got much sltep. Before long we were
truly. dizzilv in love.
OUf frie'nds looked upon the match
dubiously. Candice was 34 and I was 22.
She was astreet·wise native New Yorker
uou 1was nuive. She loved cats and I was
allergic to them. Yet. we both reveled in
the com forts of home, enjoyed travel and
poeuy and seemed to have similar goals
and desires for the future.
Candice and I hi.lve now been wgether
for two and i.I half year:s. That time has
been wonderful for both of us, although
it has not been all sweetness and flowers.
Like other couples, we have been
through our slormy periods. But these
limes huve brought us closer together.
Today, one of my major concerns is the
<.lttilUde of my parenls lOward our rda·
tionship. Whut my mother and father
may have viewed as youthfuJ experi-
menl<llion seven years ago. they must
now acknowledge as my life. They also
have (0 acknowledge Candice as the
woman With whom I am liVing and with
whom I hope to spend my life.
Having supportive
friends has helped
me come to terms
with my life.
Last Christmas Candice and I stayed
with my parents. My   also
brought home lhe woman he is living
with. Mv mother was warm toward Can-
dice, and my father was polite though
reserved a bit.
Later he voic.::d his refusal to deal with
any bnd of "living lOgelher" arrange-
ments while my brOlher and l were under
his roof. We were welcome home any-
time. but we. were not to bflng anyone
with LIS unless we were married. I felt a
rejection of greater dimensions thall
"".hal my .brolher must have fell. UnJi'
hIm. I wlll never marry; society <:hoo
10 £ancrion only certain kinds of lovin'
Ahhough I Jove and respect my fath
I can't live [he lIfe he wants me 10, n
will I seek his approval. His altitude
not just conservative or old-fashione
but dosed. My mother and Cllodj
liked each othcr instuntly. which pleas!'
and reassured me, Since the holidays m
  and !   grown   keepin
In touch by wfltlng, phonmg and e
changing re:.lding material. She alway
asks ilbout CJ ndice, and I'm hopingshe'}
be able to visilus in New York soon. \'
I haven't gl .... en up on bringing  
futher around. since I have seen hi
changing his attitudes toward others w  
haven't met his standards prevIously. B
I am still torn betwecn wanting to Spl:
lime with my mother and not wanting
see him. And of course. I don'l wa
Candice to be uncomfortable. When
cull home. though. my father seems gl
10 hear from me. I am sure that he
proud of me in his own way.
At 24 , have worked in the editori
dcpJrlment of a national m<lguzine, I'
a published writer Jnd I h<lve rna'
honors and awards 10 my credit. I a
optimIstic about my 'relationship wi
both my parent". I may nOl have {urn
out       as they dreamed, but I
have wh,H [hey seemed to Wan! most
Iheir children-Jove <lnu happiness.•
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