A ‘Period Dignity Officer’ Seemed Like a Good Idea. Until a Man Was Named.
Every now and then, someone will open up a story about a time when they had an awful personal tragedy. That time was this. I was reading the obituaries on the Web when I came upon one I’d wanted to read for a while, and the story caught my eye. It was about a man named Charles W. Epp, the first openly gay U.S. Congressman to serve in Congress in over a century. I immediately clicked on the link.
The story was short, but it would have been much longer had I not come across the passage about Epp’s gay son being named after the openly gay former president, George W. Bush.
What struck me most about the whole story is this: Epp’s son was outed as a gay man at just two years old, a fact that was brought to him by his mother, who had to go out and find a family lawyer to help her understand the law. And how often does one hear of the gay son of someone outed by their own mother? Or, for that matter, about a child being named for their gay grandfather?
Is this what some people mean when they say that “coming out” can be the end of a friend’s life? I’ve been there. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you’ve done. I still don’t feel like I need to apologize. And Epp’s family was fortunate enough to not find out he was gay until he was over twenty-one. He was elected to Congress at the age of twenty-three. It took him another twenty years to come out to his own mother.
I had to go into a little detail to explain the rest of this story so the reader wouldn’t think I was making a huge deal out of it. It is, I’m sorry to say, a little bit more complicated than that. I hope it’s clear that I am not the type of person who thinks I have anything to apologize for. You are not the type of person who will be offended that this happened to you. It’s