TOP STORIES Gay pilot reflects on what travel means to queer...

Gay pilot reflects on what travel means to queer people

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Then came the trip I took with my first boyfriend to Montreal. Three decades later, I remember driving north from Pittsfield in his Volkswagen on that long-gone summer morning, crossing the Canadian border and entering the city. We climbed Mount Royal to admire the metropolis of the same name, and wandered around the campus of McGill University. After we checked into the hotel and sat down in the restaurant and no one looked at us, I wondered if I was too pessimistic about the world and the future of gay people in it. On the way home we listened to the Pet Shop Boys. I liked their London songs, although I couldn’t appreciate the urban geography – the West End, King’s Cross – they were celebrating. I could not even imagine that one day I would move to London, fly on planes from the city or arrange a first date there (a spring walk in a green park) with my future husband.

Finally, in college, my passion for Japan led me to learn its language and, one summer, to work in Tokyo. My college instructor introduced me to a former student, Drew Tagliabu, who lived there with his partner. When I met them one evening for dumplings, I was struck by the sheer size of one of their favorite restaurants in the biggest city that ever existed, and that life was more free-flowing than I could have imagined. That summer, Drew, who later became chief executive PFLAG NEW YORK – The New York “Partnership of Parents, Allies and LGBTQ+ people working to create a better future for LGBTQ+ youth” gave me an E. M. Forster collection in which I found words that stay with me as a traveler today: ” just connect…

Travelers in the LGBTQ chair can of course hit the road with the many writers whose words and worldview have been shaped by travel. Consider James Baldwin in Paris, Christopher Isherwood in Berlin, and Elizabeth Bishop, who broke the heart of a Pittsfield boy and later lived with an architect named Lota near Rio de Janeiro. Some of the most beautiful stories I know about how travel can lead to self-discovery and new forms of community take place in San Francisco (“nobody’s from here”) of Armistead Maupin’s novels “Urban Stories”.

Like many Pittsfielders, I am inspired by the wandering spirit of Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick in my hometown. Whatever the truth about Melville’s sexuality – as Andrew Delbanco points out in Melville: His World and Work, it’s not easy to separate the teasing clues from the response of “homosexual readers who find themselves drawn to him” – something prompted him to go let’s hit the road. for the open ocean and the wonders of distant cities. Born in New York, he wrote with ease about Liverpool, Rome and London, about the towers of Jerusalem, the mists of Constantinople that covered the dome, and about “the Parthenon, towering on its rock, defying the eye for the first time on the approach to Athens.”

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