My dearest friend Lynn and I became lifelong friends with Jim when we attended an upstate NY community college in 1976. He was tall, dark, and handsome with a very deep voice, amazing smile and infectious laugh. The three of us laughed a lot.
Jim, like like Lynn and I, went on to become a social worker. He eventually moved across the state and then to Minneapolis.
I’ll never forget the day he called to tell me the terrible news. Lynn and I made plans to visit Jim and his partner that summer. My kids were five, three and one. It was the last time I saw him.
He died that December, after a horrible, debilitating decline. He was 33 years old.
Jim and his partner faced discrimination, rejection, and hatred because they were gay. I remember Jim saying, “I didn’t choose this. Who would choose this?” He was born the way he was, just like I was born the way I am.
This page of the book is for Jim and all the LGBT men and women who have faced hatred and discrimination because of who you are. Your light shines, and no one can put it out or take it away or destroy it.
I still see Jim’s smile and hear his laugh. He will always live in my heart.