I come from people burned at the stake, I come from people who were stoned, I come from men and women who were forced into loveless marriages, I come from hidden loves and love that dares not speak its name. I come from Michelangelo and DaVinci and James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin and Alexander the Great. Bessie Smith and Audre Lorde and Joan of Arc and Sappho and Lily Tomlin. I come from Rabbis who secretly wrote poems about how they wish they were born women and blues men who sang about having “sissy man” blues and berdaches, drag kings and drag queens. I am the burned out nightclub in New Orleans that left 43 dead, I am the Oscar Wilde going to jail and special ordering gay books by phone as a teenager, picnics at Roosevelt Island, kisses at the rain at the National Zoo, holding hands at an art museum, making dinner for his family, I am dancing at the gay club–and voguing–and walking runway and attempted death drops and blowing a whistle at 20, VIP at 25, dancing until I almost died at 39, making a happy fool out of myself at Pride.