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Blog, January 23, 2016: A Small Reminder Of How Far We've Come

Posted on January 23, 2016 at 3:35 PM

By Dennis Stone


It's easy to forget how far we as a community have come in recent years. How different the world was when we grew up and came of age as gay people. It's good to think about that once in awhile, and I had an opportunity to do so a couple of hours ago.


Two years ago this month my friend Scott helped me to buy a new Subaru. The old Prizm had just given up after close to 200,000 miles, and with a forecast of both snow and -20 degree temperatures over the next few days the summer sportscar was safely tucked away in the garage.  Scott really knows cars, and he spent the entire day with me, test driving several vehicles, debating what to do, sitting through the procession of paperwork as the dealer's closing time came and went and the temperature continued to drop. When we left it was dark, and the approaching cold front had fully enveloped the city. But I had my new all wheel drive Subaru, and I was ready for anything the elements could throw at me!


We had worked with a terrific sales guy named Dylan, who I would rank as the best car sales guy I've ever worked with. Both Scott and I were impressed, and when Scott and his husband Jay began looking for a new car a month or so ago they stopped to talk to Dylan, whose talents had resulted in his promotion to sales manager. Scott is particular about his cars, and at this point is still looking.


This afternoon I brought the Subaru in for its 15,000 mile service, and I stopped by Dylan's office to say hi. I didn't think he'd remember me after two years, but he did. Then he said, "your friend Scott and his husband were in looking at cars about a month ago." I didn't give the comment a second thought, and then I went to the waiting area to read while Dylan ran off to finalize a used car sale.


When I got home I started thinking again about Dylan's innocuous comment. The more I thought, the more I realized how much change, even revolution, was reflected in those few words. The biggest change, of course, is that until very recently men in America couldn't have husbands. I think we're already starting to take that for granted. Beyond that I was struck by the nonchalance with which Scott had introduced Jay as his husband, and the nonchalance with which Dylan mentioned it to me. Most everyone reading this can remember a time not long ago when you would go out of your way to not let people such as car salesmen think you might be gay. When you'd introduce your romantic partner as "my friend."  When most people you met just assumed you were straight since they didn't really know any gay people. 


My brief conversation in a car salesman's office seems like a very small moment. But I don't think it's an overstatement to say that in that small moment was reflected a world-shaking transformation in the life of American gay people.

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