Meet Your Neighbor: Richard

“In 1969, I was 19 years old and I saw a very small news article in The New York Daily News saying homosexuals were rioting. They did not refer to us as the gay and lesbian community. I finally came out of the closet at 25 years old, when I realized what Stonewall was basically all about. Shortly afterwards, I met my future partner and we moved in together. My parents had no clue about me. My sister and brothers, yes. When I was 32 years old I couldn’t even tell my parents face to face who and what I was. So I wrote them a letter. My mother called me a couple of days later and she says, ‘we got your letter. I discussed this with your father. You are still our son and we still love you.’

Originally the bars were my usual ways to find community. But as soon as I found out about Queens Center for Gay Seniors, I started coming down here and I felt more comfortable naturally with my own kind. I come to Queens Center for Gay Seniors when I’m looking for companionship, and I love the socials that they have. And I play some oldies but goodies at the monthly socials.

My message to young people is to keep on keeping on. Don’t step down…agitate.”

- ​Richard, Queens Center for Gay Seniors Program Participant

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