I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
Houston mayor Annise Parker was elected two years ago and was re-elected two nights ago. She's also a lesbian, making her the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city. When we asked her to share a story with us -- any story, not necessarily about politics -- she was inquisitive. Her Chief of Staff checked and then double-checked with us if Mayor Parker could really share any story from her life. We said, "That's correct." After finally meeting the mayor, she asked one more time: "Any story, right? It doesn't have to be about the election?" After affirming, she began her story, and I realized why she triple checked:
I fell in love with a girl who was a year older than I, 16. We started a torrid relationship, first love, magnetic, had to be around each other all the time. Unfortunately her mother walked in on us when we were kissing and decreed we could never see each other again, and really, some real vicious comments.
Mayor Parker could share any story she wanted, and she chose to share an honest, courageous story about first love as a teenager.
We had to be together, so we found ways to sneak around and see each other. We would double date, or each get dates with guys, have them take us to the movies and we kind of run into each other so we could sit together. All sorts of things. Anything to be together.
Mayor Parker then shared another story of forbidden love, this time with a woman she met in college.
We went back to school in the fall, and her mother went to the university and attempted to have me expelled -- actually, attempted to have both of us expelled because we were in a relationship with each other. And fortunately for me they explained to her that policies had changed. Times had changed. That might have been something that would have been done in the past, but they didn't do that anymore.
After the school made it clear that they wouldn't expel Ms. Parker or her lover, her lover's mother went directly to Ms. Parker's mother to have her removed from school. Again, unsuccessfully.
[The letter] went on and on about how she'd gone to the university and the university didn't care and that my parents needed to probably pull me out of school and needed to make me stay away from her daughter. My mother just put it back in the envelope it came in and forwarded it to me. I guess it made her mother feel that I had somehow corrupted her daughter, and if I got out of the picture it would be OK again. But no, her daughter's still gay after all these years. It doesn't just turn on and off, no.
Submit your own story at ImFromDriftwood.com.
Follow Nathan Manske on Twitter: www.twitter.com/imfromdriftwood