Kate and I met in Santa Cruz, CA in 1981. We had two children together, Tobi and Jesse, and moved to Eugene, Oregon when the kids were two and six. We also have a goddaughter, Aly, who has lived with us off and on and is almost 19. I am a technical writer, web designer, and photographer. Kate is a social worker.
We love traveling and camping. Our first RV experience was actually in Europe when the kids were 5 and 9. We’ve canoed amongst hippos down the Zambezi River in Africa, explored the Amazon and Machu Picchu in Peru, volunteered in an orphanage in Thailand, driven a houseboat down the Canal du Midi in southern France. We are lucky to have been able to explore so much of the world, but we are far from posh travelers. We don’t mind roughing it, and we love connecting with local people and culture.
In many parts of the world, it hasn’t felt safe to be “out” as a lesbian couple. At the Catholic orphanage in Thailand, for example, we were advised to present ourselves as friends who don’t mind sharing a room. Our local friend in Africa sternly warned us not to make any physical gestures of affection in public. Even visiting family in the Midwest has required more discretion than we’re used to. Regardless, we have managed to break through social barriers and make meaningful connections with people very different from us. In the process, I like to think we’ve broadened a few minds as well.
Attitudes towards gays and lesbians have shifted dramatically in the last decade, especially in this country. After 31 years together, Kate and I were finally able to be legally wed in Washington last year, and that’s an option in more states every month. While traveling the country during our year of “pretirement,” I’m sure there will be times when it’s simply easier to pass as friends, but I look forward to testing the waters of this Brave New World by being our true selves: friendly, approachable, and unequivocally gay.