Ed, in his own words: “I came to the realization that I was gay in 1957, when I was sixteen, and immediately went into a suicidal depression that lasted fifteen years. The word “gay” didn’t even exist back then; there was no public acknowledgment of homosexuality, there were no support groups, magazines, books, organizations – nothing. I thought I was the only guy on earth who was attracted to other guys and my attraction was unspeakably perverse and evil.
Half a century and a thousand heartaches later so much has changed. I’m happy to have witnessed the revolution and in some small way, to have been a part of it. I know we still have a long way to go, and for many young people, being gay and coming out are still a nightmare – sometimes even a deadly one. But the progress we have made, just in my lifetime, is unmistakable – and inspiring. Being gay used to be the thing I hated most about myself. Now it’s something I value – the sensitivity, consciousness and the passion that are part and parcel of being gay are some of the most essential aspects of my life. And I’ve come to realize that coming out – the thing I dreaded most – is actually a process that validates and enhances my identity and sense of self worth. My worst fear has turned out to be one of my greatest blessings.I feel honored to have been given the gift of homosexuality.”