Joseph, in his own words: “Being gay is my sexual identity. It’s one part of my life. I proudly identify with it but it’s not the only part of my identity. I like to think that in the 21st century that gay men are much more than their sexual identity. We are an integral part of our society. We are a part of the fabric which elevates all our experiences.
My challenges as a gay man has been with our politics. We do not yet have equal rights and this is disconcerting since we live in a “democracy”.
The gay community in San Francisco has been a beacon for acceptance. I moved to San Francisco 3 days after Harvey Milk was killed. Since then there has been an enormous change in the city politics which has made it feel as though we are equal on all levels. I’m proud of how the city has embraced the gay population and the diversity of it.
I came out soon after moving to California. When I returned to my home in Michigan they did not understand what that meant, because of the times, but they let me know that I would always be part of the family. This was a revelation of their true love for me. I love them so much for this because they did not have the social support to make this leap. It was unconditional love.”