All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kerry Madden

Advisory Committee Members

Peggy Jolly

Michael Kightley

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2010

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This is an original work of creative nonfiction centered on the challenges of living a gay lifestyle during the early years of the AIDS crisis. This work is primarily a memoir, engaging real life events and people, crafted into a chronicle of everyday life in the deep South of the mid 1980s and early 1990s. Aspects of gay life are exposed through the lense of the author's relationship with his first partner. One of Us is Gay provides a graphic exposé of the journey that a young man takes through the vulnerable and innocent awareness of his homosexuality, to the conflict of self acceptance, and to action in relationship with fellow gay men, family and friends. A substantial amount of this work exposes the darker, even grim side of gay life when contending with AIDS. However, this work is also a celebration of life shared between two men complete with awkward moments, humorous moments and moments of bittersweet reality. Many colorful and caring people join this journey as it unfolds; reminding the reader that love comes in many forms and is shared by a diverse community. The Southern perspective, complete with all of its unspoken rules and expectations, is a fundamental dynamic of this work as characters, especially those steeped in expected Southern behavior, engage realities that are uncomfortable for them. When AIDS begins to take its toll on the lives of two dear men in love, then religion, societal norms, beliefs of right and wrong, taboos and cultural constructs all begin a complicated dance that can only hope for resolution. Unlike other works of this genre and content, this work also adds the dimension of a faith journey for both partners. Such a facet is typically unexpected. The idea that an alternative lifestyle, especially homosexual interaction, can coexist with a living, breathing faith in a loving and benevolent God seems a paradox, antithetical, even hypocritical. Yet, this composition affords the reader a view that finds no such inconsistency. One of Us is Gay provides light in seeming darkness.

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