George: Our Gay Friend.
My sister, P.J. worked in a gas station as a clerk. One of here co-workers was George who was openly gay. He used to hang out with P.J. and her girlfriend, Kathy. The three of them worked at the same gas station. He would drive my sister home from work, and come inside to have coffee with me n my Mom. George was a very remarkable person that loved life and people in general. He had a heart of gold...he would give his coat to you if you needed it. We got to be close friends cuz we had the same hobby...painting pictures. I had made it clear that he was not to approach me in a sexual manner....and he never did. He was a jokester as well....one day he is at the kitchen window n he calls my Mom: Yia Yia (Greek for Grandma...everyone called her that)...I had sex last night n I was really scared. She asked him why he was scared. He said: "I was all alone!!!". We just cracked up. That was George being George...always cheerful n full of life. One time I had to go from Chicago to Peoria,Illinois to pick up some of my paintings that were in an Art Show...my car wouldn't start. George drove me there and back. He refused to even allow me to pay for the gas. A few days later my sister told me that he was having some problems by his house.....gang bangers were harassing him. Back in my past I was in a gang which happened to be the same one they were in. He pointed them out n I went over to talk to them. At first they were all smart mouth until I represented myself to them....through a specific hand sign. I used to hang around with one kid's Dad. I didn't need to go into detail cuz they knew of me from the neighborhood stories. I was know for being extremely good with my fists since I was a Golden Gloves Boxer! I told them George was family so leave him alone...and don't let anything happen to him, or his family. George just stood there looking at me like I was from the moon, or something. I asked him what that was all about....he said that was really you? My Uncles know you from the old days!!! I didn't care that George was gay....he was my friend...and part of our family as far as we were concerned. We were friends that was all that mattered. It really doesn't matter what sexual orientation a person is....what matters is the person they are. Just cause your gay doesn't mean you're a bad person. Just as being straight doesn't mean your a good person. I stuck up for George for one reason and only one reason...HE WAS MY FRIEND!!!! Well George passed away from Kidney failure.....he couldn't get a transplant because the waiting list was too long....those of us that offered a kidney didn't match. As I watched George pass from a happy, go-lucky, cheerful person to a little dent in a hospital bed I cried because we were losing a precious soul that brought joy n laughter to all that knew him. Yes he was my friend...and every year I march in the Gay Parade in his place to honor him as our friend.....to keep his memory alive. Some of my associates had asked how could I put myself in with that "Queer Crowd" like that? I said very easily...I just put one foot in front of the other n start walking.....but they really don't get it!!!! I was active in the Civil Rights Movement....I Protest Agasinst Viet Nahm...and now I'm In Support Of HIV/AIDS Awareness....but most of all: I SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF PEOPLE TO BE PEOPLE without all the stupid labels n petty prejudices that are thrown at them. Tommy Tee/Chgo,Ill