A Picture's Worth
By MARVIN N. BAGWELL '76
A Picture's Worth
The memories. Ahh yes. They come pouring forth from long unexplored recesses of my mind. Strange. The memories of the tutorials, the seminars, the lectures and the classes—the very reason for attending Fair Harvard—are shrouded, misty. Sure. I recall John Finley’s final Hum 3 lecture. I remember being awed by Professors James Q. Wilson and Otto Eckstein as well as being astounded by Stanley Hoffman and Michael Waltzer. But I haven’t the foggiest memory of what any of them actually said.
But my strongest memory is in Kodachrome because it actually exists as a three by five picture in my album. This picture shows three young men, one black, one white and one Asian, standing against a backdrop of Mount Baker in Washington State. They—actually we—looked happy, but tired just as one would expect after a days climb.
The three are pictured together in one frame, but they are apart. One could sense nervousness in the scene, a feeling that if the three were forced to get closer or by some accident, touched each other, walls would be breached and secrets, dark, deep secrets might be unleashed upon their world.
Leo Egashira, Craig Davidson and I were hiding a secret from each other and from ourselves. Each of us was gay. On that day, in that time, a mere twenty odd years ago, we were not willing to test or risk our friendship by admitting to the love whose “name cannot be spoken.”
I do not know when Craig and Leo came out. I do know that Craig went on to become an activist for gay and lesbian rights. Before he died, he became the founding director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Leo became and is, one of the most naturally out and gay persons that I know.
Me, I knew that I was gay for the longest time (maybe I should have taken a hint from my athletic abilities, or lack thereof, but I did not like Julie Garland, so how could I be gay?), but I did not realize it until years later.
During a visit to San Francisco (where else?), Leo took me to my first gay bar and got me on the floor to dance with him. In the years since we came out to each other and then to our friends and finally to the world, I have come to learn that, far from threatening our friendship, the sharing of our secrets fortified my courage and enriched my life.
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