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100 Years Strong And Still Fighting For Us

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December 23, 2017 was declared Guy M Kinman, Jr. Day in the city of Richmond, VA. It was on that day 100 years ago that Guy entered the world in Heavener, OK. He was an Army brat and his family moved to Indiana.


Guy grew up and went to college. At the suggestion of his mother he decided to go into the seminary and became a preacher. This was followed by a stint in the Army as a Chaplin during the Korean War. None of these jobs seemed to fill the void in his life. In 1962 he moved to Richmond, VA and fell in love with a woman and her three stepchildren. They were married for ten years and Guy says "she was a wonderful woman" but still he was not fulfilled. It was during this time that Guy had a period of self-discovery and came to realize the fullness of his homosexuality. Their divorce came with a great deal of relief and freedom. For the first time in his life, Guy knew who he was and what he wanted. As he says, "There are times in your life when you do turn a corner".

Guy remembers that time after he started to reach out and make gay friends. He "would see people at the Opera who looked scared, they were afraid that he would speak to them. They were working and going about their lives but they were not themselves. These wonderful people who were deprived, who were not their real selves, they were afraid. They were not by nature afraid, society had made them afraid".

In 1985, Guy heard about a campaign to put up billboards in Lynchburg and Roanoke. He ran for President of the Richmond-Virginia Gay Alliance, raised money, and the billboards went up all over town in Richmond. The billboards were not the in-your-face type but rather a gentle kind of message to make people think. One of them read...

Guy was in a unique position to stand up and speak out in the media; he was not afraid for people to know he was gay. Many today consider Guy a hero for the effort he spearheaded over thirty-two years ago. Guy is modest and resists that title. "If it wasn't I, it would be someone else."

In 2003 Guy was one of the first members of Prime Timers of Central Virginia. Through his many contacts, he was able to recruit numerous new members for the Chapter.

Reflecting back on that time and the progress that has been made ,Guy says, "There has been a sea change around the world as human beings who have been deprived all their lives, have been enabled to realize they have a right to be themselves. The best authority on who they are is them! Growing older has given me a chance to reflect on being gay, I realize now that my goal (in the billboard project) was not to help people to feel free to be gay, but to help them to feel free to be themselves."

Guy feels that older gay men need to tell their stories to help the younger generation recognize the challenges that we have overcome. All people have value and "a right to be famous in their own lives".


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Last modified on Saturday, 10 February 2018 13:24


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