People Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout My Best Friend
Back in the day, when I was a scared 18 year old just starting out in college, I ran into another scared 18 year old and we instantly became best friends. For the next many, many years we went through thick and thin and kept each other sane as we discovered what life was all about. One of the biggest lessons we learned was that I was straight and he was not. Today, having a gay friend doesn't seem all that interesting or different but back then it was completely new to me. And to him. I was the first person he came out to and, believe me, I had no point of reference on how to help him at all. But somehow, we managed and our friendship just got stronger. As we grew up and got older we saw each other through a series of failed relationships, depression, divorce, several jobs, and, sadly, personal losses when AIDS hit the papers and ravaged our friend list and took so many of those who were close to us. I worried all the more about him and he had to keep assuring me that he was being smart. And safe. Later, we celebrated when we both found our true loves - the ones that are here to stay. His was a beautiful man from South Korea and mine is now my husband. Then one day, my dear sweet friend just passed away - suddenly and unexpected. I grieved like I have never grieved before. A part of me went with him.
This month is Pride Month. One month out of the year when the LGBTQ community can celebrate who they are and remember those who have gone before them. I am an ally because of my dear friend. Because of the lessons he taught me and I taught him. Because of the love we shared with each other and with others. I know that I am a better person for having had him in my life. Because in the end, all that really matters is -
LOVE IS LOVE.