This past week was difficult for a lot of people who write same sex fiction, so I wanted to end the week with a different kind of post, something more personal. On top of everything else going on, another author posted about me and not only attacked me personally in a defamatory way but also questioned my identity again. No names, no links. I don’t like to give people like that any attention. And, I have absolutely nothing to hide.
But I did decide to come clean on something I haven’t mentioned before on this blog. First, everything I have written on the blog is true. My brother, who is also gay, does own this design firm in Manhattan. My mom and dad are retired therapists. The photo of me (and others like it on the web) is really me. I do live here.And I really do have a very good friend who has been a literary agent in New York for over forty years.
But there is one thing I haven’t discussed on the blog and this is mainly because I’m a very private person. When I’m finished working and I go out into the world, I don’t even tell other people what I do. I just say I work in publishing and leave it at that. I’ve been getting published for twenty years and I’ve learned how to separate my work from my private life. (Which is also why my publisher, whom I love dearly, often gets frustrated with me about making appearances at events and book signings in New York.)
The main reason I’m admitting the truth today and talking about this is because I post about same sex marriage and same sex relationships and it often sounds like hearsay. The truth is that I’ve been in a twenty year monogamous relationship with the same man since we were both in our early twenties.
We met in 1992, his name is Tony, and we’ve shared every single aspect of our lives since the day we met. There was no big wedding with gifts and checks. Every single thing we own we bought on our own through hard work, and working together as a couple.
For the first fifteen years of our relationship, Tony worked in corporate America and travelled the world. While he was in Germany, France, and Anywhere, USA, I was running my own art gallery in New Hope, and working part time in publishing as a writer and editor. They were rough years because I hated being alone, but work always got me through it. The down time in my gallery afforded me the ability to continue in publishing and pursue a career as a writer. Tony and I started, built, and eventually sold a very successful business between 1998 and 2004. We’ve bought and sold property together since our first two bedroom town house in 1992. And we’ve been living in the same private home just outside New Hope for the past ten years.
So when I write about the more technical aspects of same sex relationships, it’s not just hearsay. I know what it’s like to hire an attorney and have legal papers drawn up that cover everything from legal power of attorney to wills. I also know what it’s like to not only fear the loss and devastation of losing my partner on an emotional level (I can’t even think about it for too long…after 911, a day Tony was in the air on his way to Boston, I never stopped worrying), I also fear the inheritance taxes either Tony or I will be forced to pay when something does happen to either one of us. There are many things gay couples can do to protect themselves; we’re constantly learning and trying to find out what’s new.
Tony and I both come from large families. And we’ve been lucky enough to have been embraced by both our families. I love Tony’s family as much as I love my own, and I know he feels the same way about mine. Ironically, Tony and I have been together longer than any of our siblings. Unfortunately, we been forced to witness the pain when a few of our siblings had to experience bad divorces. We buried Tony’s mother in 2002 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, we supported my mom through an arduous ordeal with bladder cancer in 1998, and we buried our eighteen year old cat, Nittany, two years ago. On Thanksgiving, which we usually host here at the house, we have anywhere from forty to sixty guests at one time. If we ever decide to scale back, I have no idea how we’ll deal with this.
I’d like to make it clear that the point of this post isn’t to brag or boast about being openly gay and in a long term relationship. I think by now all the straight women authors who know me know that I support them completely and that I truly believe anyone should be able to write anything they want to write. In fact, one of the reasons why I love Michelle Montgomery’s work so much is because of the “Tony and Ryan” book she first wrote. It really did remind me of Tony and me.
The main point of this post is to come clean so I can continue to write about all the legal and emotional aspects of gay life the same way I’ve been doing it since I began this blog. And this time it won’t sound like hearsay. It’s coming from my experience and from my heart.