More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
USA Today's Craig Wilson Is A Shining Example of Acceptance Through Visibility
USA Today columnist Craig Wilson, who writes the paper's Wednesday Final Word spotlight, always communicates with class and elegance. His decades-long career, spent sharing slice of life stories, has brought immense joy to his countless readers throughout the country. From time to time Wilson also includes anecdotes about his longtime life partner, Jack. He weaves those stories into his writing with a wit and wisdom that resonates with people from a variety of backgrounds, and his openness and honesty has even earned him past GLAAD Awards nominations.
This week Wilson took the opportunity to write about celebrating 25 years with Jack. The Column, "It started with a chance encounter and leftovers," chronicled how the couple met and why their relationship works, while pondering how certain couples are destined to stay together for a lifetime and others are not.
He also touched on the importance of supportive family members and his aspirations for staying with Jack for life.
Wilson's column prompted a wave of heartfelt letters that he shared with GLAAD. Here's a sampling of some of the responses:
At first I appreciated your articles and your wittiness and looked forward to Wednesday's paper under my hotel door. Then I read about Jack. At first I was mildly offended that you were putting your lifestyle in my face. I continued to read and continued to be "connected" to you, Jack and your mom.
In today's column (December 2) I read about your 25th anniversary with Jack. I've come full circle and I believe I'm more tolerant of others in small part because of you and your columns.
Keep writing and I hope (as you say in your column) you can give Jack another 25 years.
Please understand that some young gay or lesbian will read your article and know that they can have the American dream. They can fall in love with someone, regardless of gender, and have a life together. Your article gives these young people hope. Your article shows them that they ARE normal and can have everything they want out of life.
Our son is gay - lives and works in NYC and shares an apartment with his partner. My wife and I can't possibly understand what it is like to be gay in America but thankfully, there seems to be far more understanding in America today than in the 1960's. Our son and his partner will join my wife and I, and our daughter for Christmas this year as we as a family have done since our marriage in 1970. I enjoyed this column in that you talked a bit about your history and how it all looks from your perspective. While our family accepts the fact our son is gay, and love him without question, his partner does not quite enjoy the same luxury. He has essentially been disowned by his family so he has been with us every Christmas and we consider him our own in every way he deserves. I won't hazard a guess as to just when, in this nation's history, gay marriage, rights, and equality with heterosexual individuals will stand on the same level and the same balance; maybe not in our lifetime. I thank you for today's column.
My partner called me last night (we work 84 miles apart and so sometimes she stays overnight near her workplace). The gay marriage bill had just been defeated in New York, but instead of venting over that, she said to me -- "did you read Craig's column today?"
I hadn't (having taught graduate classes til 10PM and it was only then 11)...she said, "be sure to read it!"....
As a journalist, I imagine you like to know when your story resonates with others -- well -- your column was SOOO "right on". My partner and I have been together 31 years... met during a chance encounter....and have had our ups and downs, too. We are as different as night and day...but complement each other in all the important ways. We've had our differences, and our hard times....but we're in it for the long haul....
My best to you and Jack....and know that, probably all over the US last night and this morning, couples read your piece, and applaud the fact that you celebrated the longlasting love of gay and lesbian couples...whether we can be "married" or not!!!
Hi, Craig, I'm one of your many friends on Facebook, and also a long time reader of your column. I just wanted to say I'm happy that you and Jack have been together for 25 years. I've been married to my husband for almost 21 years. It'll be 21 years next February. I guess we're doing something right. Our parents on both sides are just like yours, their marriage ended only when one partner died. (Both of us have lost our dads.)
I first found out about Jack probably about six or seven years ago when you mentioned him in one of your columns. I paused for a few seconds, thought about it, and decided that your private life was just that, private, and that I liked your column too much to care. I've been right all this time, I still really like your column. Usually I find USA Today in rental cars (I work for a rental car company) and when I find a Wednesday paper, your column is the first thing I look for. I still find it funny that even though you are from a different part of the country and about 16 years older than me, that we still agree on a lot of stuff. I read your column and find myself nodding in agreement or laughing out loud. And if I can't find a Wednesday paper, I just read your column online.
I have read every one of your columns and have enjoyed your writing long before I realized we had something in common. My husband and I are now in our 29th year together. We enjoy your sharing and we appreciate the open support of USA Today who appears to be committed to the concept of a global community. You deliver normalcy which is something we do not always experience, particularly in view of our locale. The likelihood of equality in Georgia is highly unlikely, but articles about life that just happen to be written by a gay author give us hope that someday everyone can be seen as an equal. Your wit and charm are a joy. Thank you for sharing your life with us and for making a difference by just being yourself.
I just read your article about you and your partner in the USA Today. It was refreshing to read about a gay relationship that has lasted through the years. I'm 26 years old and in love and hoping that we can make it too. He and I are both opposites as well but somehow we click in the face of all adversity. We both live in Oklahoma which isn't always the most the most accepting of gay people. Thanks again for sharing this story. It was wonderful.
These varied responses to Wilson's column about his 25 years with Jack, vividly illustrate how getting to know someone, whether a friend, a co-worker, or even a trusted columnist, can make a difference in how you feel about people who happen to be gay. Wilson and his partner Jack have the same hopes, aspirations and experiences as everyone, and Wilson's columns provide a meaningful bridge to the common ground we all share as human beings. Bravo Craig Wilson-- for your beautiful words that inspire courage, open hearts and change the world. And congratulations on 25 glorious years with Jack! We here at GLAAD are cheering you on all the way!