I'm From Driftwood

The stories on I’m From Driftwood send a simple but powerful message to LGBTQIA+ people everywhere: You are not alone. I’m From Driftwood combats isolation and creates empathy to build a more understanding and accepting world. These are our stories, told in our own voices.

Latest What Was It Like? Stories

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Black Gay Man Reflects On A Life Defined By Love, Authenticity, Activism And Connection. “That’s Just Part Of Who I Am.”

by Harold Cottman

Black Gay Man Reflects On A Life Defined By Love, Authenticity, Activism And Connection. “That’s Just Part Of Who I Am.”

1980s: Black Gay Man On Coming Out In The South: “While I Did Come Out, I Didn’t Really Feel Free.” So, you know, for me, the last thing that I wanted to be was a gay man be...

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Lesbian Activist Recounts Her Decades-Long Fight For Equality In Philadelphia And Beyond.

by Leona Thomas

Lesbian Activist Recounts Her Decades-Long Fight For Equality In Philadelphia And Beyond.

1980s: Being Openly Gay In College “Wasn’t Without Some Level Of Risk Every Day.” When I was growing up in high school, I had no idea that I was LGBTQ or potentially LGBTQ. ...

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Black & Gay In New Orleans From The 60s To Today: “You Get Up, You Dust Yourself Off, And You Fight On.”

by Michael Hickerson

Black & Gay In New Orleans From The 60s To Today: “You Get Up, You Dust Yourself Off, And You Fight On.”

First Shunned By Neighbors, Then The Bars: Being Black In New Orleans In The 1960s and 1970s. Well, I was born to Sadie and Charlie Hickerson. We lived in an area of New Orleans c...

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“It Ain’t Over Till The Bisexual Speaks.” Activist Fights For Bi Inclusion Throughout The Decades.

by Lani Ka'ahumanu

“It Ain’t Over Till The Bisexual Speaks.” Activist Fights For Bi Inclusion Throughout The Decades.

From Living As A Straight Housewife to Becoming A Lesbian Activist. “It Was An Amazing Awakening.” I was conceived in Hawaii. This is how the story goes – conceived in Hawa...

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Trans Woman Reflects On Her Four-Decade Journey To Authenticity.

by Nancy Menusan

Trans Woman Reflects On Her Four-Decade Journey To Authenticity.

1969: Trans Woman Reflects On Exploring Her Gender As A Child. “I Knew Inside Who I Really Was.” In 1969, I was 12 years old. I was living in Douglaston, Queens. And I had –...

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Egyptt LaBeija – Life In And Out Of The Ballroom.

by Egyptt Labeija

Egyptt LaBeija – Life In And Out Of The Ballroom.

1980s: Seeing Trans Women For The First Time: “I Felt Welcomed.” I grew up in a town in Long Island called Freeport. And I grew up basically in a middle-class home. My parents Late 1980s: Overcoming Homelessness, Joblessness And Abuse: “There’s Always a Way Out Of A Bad Situation If You Want A Way Out.” In the late eighties, when I finally left my Late 1990s: From Walking Balls To Mentoring Youth: “It Taught Me That You Have To Step Outside The Box.” In the late nineties is when I went to my first ball. It was interestin2010s: Giving Back To The Community. “I Am Here Today To Let People Know That They Are Somebody.” So in 2015 is when I was asked to be in the House of LaBeija. It was intense b...

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Gay Life In Philadelphia From The 1940s To Today.

by Stanley Alper

Gay Life In Philadelphia From The 1940s To Today.

1947: Meeting Other Gays in High School: “It Was Something I Wanted To Be A Part Of.” My life actually started in early September of 1947. That was when I started my first day1948: Father Sends Gay Son To Two Psychologists. At the age of 16, which would been in 1948, my father suggested that I see a psychologist. There’s actually a pediatrician whose1963: A Five-Decade Love Story Begins With A Kiss At A Gay Bar. I had a very close lesbian friend. We first met in 1956 and we became immediate friends. It was May 4th of 1963. An2017: After Moving To LGBTQ-Friendly Senior Housing, “I Felt That I Was Starting A New Life.” After being with my partner Pedro for 49 years, 5 months and 2 days, he passed awEvolution Of Language Over Decades: “I Can Now Accept The Word ‘Queer’ And Be A Part Of It.” In my early years, people used to use the word queer. And it was always used i...

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Gay And Coming Of Age In 1970s New York City.

by Michael Dain

Gay And Coming Of Age In 1970s New York City.

1960s: A Trip To The Met Was “The First Time I Remember Any Attraction For Men.” I first became aware of being attracted to men when growing up in the mid-sixties, when I was 1970s: Melba Moore Performing At Bathhouse Changes Gay Teen’s Life. Okay, so in the early seventies when I was around 15 and attending Bronx High School of Science, still feelinComing Out To Parents In 1975: “You’re Our Son. We Love You. Be Home By Midnight.” Okay, so around in 1975, just a little before I turned 18, I was talking with my brother. 1981: After Protest At Harvard, “I Was Out For All The World To See.” After high school, I took some time off because at the time I didn’t think I wanted to go to college. B1985: “Heartbreak Is A Natural Part of Relationships.” Here I am in Boston in 1985. After taking a hiatus from Divinity School, I had resumed taking classes again and I met myFear Surrounding AIDS In The 80s: “I Might Have Already Been Infected. I Didn’t Know.” I started hearing about AIDS or as it was called in the press at that point, Gay Relat...

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Finding Love While Living Through The AIDS Epidemic.

by Ted Chapin

Finding Love While Living Through The AIDS Epidemic.

Coming Out To Parents in the 1970s Wasn’t Easy But “Time Heals All.” Every every gay man knows at some point in their childhood, certainly by puberty, that – what their at1970s: Embracing Interracial Gay Love. “This Is Just A Great Big Family. Let’s Drop All The Prejudice.” Jacob and I moved to Philadelphia in 1972 because I was starting the1978: Celebrating Thanksgiving With Family Of Choice. “They Wanted To Welcome Me To Their World.” Well, I came out in 1970 in New Haven in the year after Stonewall. And the waReceiving A False-Positive HIV Test In The Mid-1980s: “I Thought This Could Be It.” Eric and I got to San Francisco in 1978. It wasn’t a good place to bring a boyfriend beca1988: “God, If You’re There, Please…I Need To Fall In Love With Someone Who’s Not Going To Die.” Well, it was April, 1988. I was living in San Francisco. There I was, ag1990s: Following Societal Progress Gay Man Has To Learn “How To Be A Spouse Of A Gay Executive.” We were living in San Francisco. It was in 1993 that we had to move to Boston 2000s: A Civil Union In Vermont And A Marriage In Massachusetts. “We Celebrate The Day We Met.” Well, Torrence and I moved to Boston in 1993. We were part of that South End ga...

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Falling In Love, Breaking Up, And Reuniting: “Every Day Was The Best, Best, Best, Best Day Ever.”

by Sheila Bligen

Falling In Love, Breaking Up, And Reuniting: “Every Day Was The Best, Best, Best, Best Day Ever.”

1950s: Experience During Naptime: “It Was An Inkling Of A Difference.” So being a native New Yorker, I started my early childhood education on the Lower East Side. I was four Late 1950s: Neighborhood Crush: “She Was The Sexiest Thing I Had Ever Seen.” Okay, so in the late fifties, we – the big migration – so we moved from the Lower East Side to1960s: First Kiss With Another Girl Was “The Kiss Of Life.” So I’m 17. I’m living in Spanish Harlem and I’m venturing out to Harlem at this point. So Diane becomes one o“I Learned How A Broken Heart Actually Feels.” So now I’m 17. I’m a senior in high school. I start to venture out. So I’ve become friends with Diane. Her house was a comFalling In Love, Breaking Up, And Reuniting: “Every Day Was The Best, Best, Best, Best Day Ever.” From my twenties into my thirties, I’m dealing with men and I’m living myOn Being Called An “Elder”: “I’m A Human Being. I’m Sheila. End Of Story.” I’m 67. And if I have to be put in put in a box, I embrace the term queer. But, I don’t ...

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Gay Veteran Reflects On Life In And Out Of The Navy.

by Jim Darby

Gay Veteran Reflects On Life In And Out Of The Navy.

1950s: Sailor Spends A Night In Jail After Gay Bar Is Raided. In 1952, I received what we call the SSS, Selected Service System envelope. Every young man who got one of those, of ...

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Gay Man’s Journey From Bathhouse Towel Boy To AIDS Activist.

by Jay Blotcher

Gay Man’s Journey From Bathhouse Towel Boy To AIDS Activist.

1970: Gay 10-Year-Old Boy Finds Creative Way To Convince Mom To Buy Teen Magazines Well, I grew up in a small town called Randolph, Massachusetts, which is about 15 miles south of1982: Following Homophobic Police Taunt And Arrest, AIDS Activist “No Longer Believed The Police Only Arrest Bad People.” I graduated college in May of 1982 and a friend of mi1983: Gay Man Transitions From Bathhouse Towel Boy To AIDS Activist. Being a gay man of 22 years old in New York City is an experience for anybody. It’s learning who you are, it1989: ACT UP AIDS Activist Takes On The New York Times In the latter part of the eighties and the early part of the nineties, my life in New York City was dominated by AIDS activi 1992: Friend Who Died From AIDS “Gave Us The Gift of That Absurd Memorial.” So it’s April of 1992 and I’m at Beth Israel Hospital on the east side of Manhattan. And it’...

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