Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Off to Fight the Good Fight

Last night we took our oldest, newly graduated-from-college son to the airport to catch a red-eye to the next adventure/chapter of his life. I have always kind of cringed when people say they live vicariously through their kids, but I am softening up a bit on that stand. It is just too much fun watching this kid take on life with such a sense of purpose and gusto.

Long before he found out his younger brother was gay, our older son was an activist for gay equality and rights. In high school he helped start a Gay/Straight Alliance club and organize the yearly “Day of Silence”. There was no debate to which he would not readily step into if he thought he could educate people on gay issues. And what made all of this especially courageous was that his forum in those early years was on the campus of an all boys Catholic High School and later on the campus of a Jesuit University. He was not intimidated by all that male testosterone in high school and he certainly was not deterred by the homophobia and ignorance he encountered in college. It only made him more determined.

So now we have arrived at the next chapter in this son’s life: the Peace Corps. He leaves in February. He is not sure what his assignment will be yet, but he does know he will probably end up somewhere in Eastern Europe. Not one to enjoy idle time, he is filling the few months between now and February with an internship at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC. He is ecstatic about this opportunity. And it goes without saying that his dad and I are too.

I asked him last night on the way to the airport what was the catalyst that made him become such an activist for gay equality and rights. He certainly did not know yet about his own brother when he started fighting this fight. He told me that it all started with a friend and classmate who in his freshman year was the sole participant in the Day of Silence. This boy’s courage so inspired him that he decided that this was a cause to which he too wanted to devote himself. And though our oldest son is not gay, he has many friends and a brother who are. I cannot help thinking how lucky they are to have such a great ally in this fight.

So to my beloved son:

Good bye, good luck, and thank you. You are such a gift. You are a wonderful son and a kind human being. Stay passionate. Stay strong. Stay true to yourself.

We love you so much!


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