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I'm 52. I'm gay. My husband and I have been together, exclusively, for 16 years (on June 25th), and have been married since November 2, 2010.

At the age of 11, I made it possible for my father to discover I had been being molested by a neighborhood man since I had been 8. My father became enraged; I became his personal punching bag and whipping boy. My father, apparently, believed this man when the man said what all child molesters say, when confronted: "He seduced me!" My father believed it so much that on the Monday after that weekend, my father took me to school. I sat in the principal's office, covered in bruises, while my father and a horrified principal pulled me out of gym class, because of "what (I) might do to the other boys."

Within months, our home (in a suburban sub-development) was up for sale. My parents found a small farm in the middle of nowhere, moved us there, and when my sisters would ask them why we moved, my parents - instead of saying they had wanted to own some land and farm most of their lives - would say: "Go ask your brother. He embarrassed us so much we had to move." Somewhere during this time, I had begun drinking - helping myself to the contents of my father's extensive "Jim Beam" decanter collection.

At our new home, in Lebanon County, PA, my parents enrolled me in a program similar to the one at UCLA, but it was held at Philhaven Mental Hospital in Lebanon, PA. M experience didn't last long; my mother refused to allow them to attach electrodes to my testicles after the first couple of rounds actually left permanent burn scars on the skin of my testicles.

My parents' motto: Do anything you want, just don't leave a mark.

About 4 weeks prior to my 18th birthday, I was out of their house, off to college on the other side of the country. After my first year of college, they cut me off. Over the next 6 years, I would work a year, go to college a year, etc... during one of those years of college, finances became tough, and I had to move back in with them. Finally, after years of a mutual love/hate relationship between me and my entire family, we'd all had enough. One Saturday morning, ironically, in another October, I walked out the door of their house in Ohio, flew back to California, and that was it.

For 25 years, there was absolutely no contact between myself and any member of my family. No holiday or birthday cards or telephone calls. No internet chats. Absolutely nothing. In that 25 years, I learned there was nothing wrong with being gay, had a couple/three lovers, managed to luck out and be HIV-negative (living in NY, 1984-1986; LA, 1986 - 1989; and SF 1989 - 2002, at my first HIV test in 1991, I was absolutely certain I was going to be told I was positive). Met the man I would marry - and knew that the moment we met.

And managed to make peace with my family. Both my parents are gone now, having died in the last 3 years. At the very end, with both of them, I was able to, at least, talk with them (with my father, we actually visited each other, on "neutral ground"), apologize for anything I'd done to hurt them, outside of my control. They managed to apologize to me, as well; my father even met - and liked - my husband.

I watched this, and felt such a kinship with Kirk. I can't count the number of times I couldn't get my mind out of suicidal thoughts, and the time I climbed into our hayloft with my 30.06, absolutely certain I would not be climbing back down to the floor of the barn... but not having the guts, ultimately, to blow my brains out.

I hear Kirk's mother so calmly recite the physical beatings her husband inflicted on her own child, her calm statement: "Today, it would be considered abuse," and see the look on her face, and am absolutely stricken with the thought: She thinks they did absolutely nothing wrong, and would think nothing of doing it again, as long as the "sissy" stops.

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