A Gay Miracle

Joel Engardio
2 min readMay 17, 2019


By Joel P. Engardio

Back in 1992, before Ellen came out and long before the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage by one vote, my friend Jeff who was wrestling with being gay committed suicide at age 19.

We had played tennis together earlier that day.

Then a few weeks later, was the news that the closeted actor who played the all-American dad on the classic TV show “The Brady Bunch” I grew up watching in re-runs had died of AIDS.

It was a dark time.

I wasn’t sure how one survived being gay. At 19, I was deeply repressed and closeted.

The presidential race that year was especially ugly for LGBTQ people. I watched in horror as Pat Buchanan railed against “homosexual rights” in prime time during the GOP convention: “We stand with President Bush against the amoral idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the same standing in law as married men and women.”

And it wasn’t just Republicans. A few years later, President Clinton would sign the “Defense of Marriage Act” that denied me the hope of being able to marry the person I love.

It was a dark time for a young gay man in his teens and early 20s.

I’m glad I survived and fought for LGBTQ equality. I’m glad I was able to celebrate in my lifetime the ability to legally marry Lionel Hsu. And I’m glad I was able to meet openly gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten Glezman. They left quite an impression.

The Time magazine cover of Pete Buttigieg and Chasten is something else I never thought I’d see.

It makes me pause for a moment and reflect during my busy day of 2019, because it is extraordinary.

And from the view of 1992, it is a miracle. I wish Jeff were here to see it, too.

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Originally published at http://www.engardio.com on May 17, 2019.



Joel Engardio

Forward-thinking + pragmatic Democrat, civil liberties advocate, award-winning journalist, Westside SF homeowner. My local views at www.engardio.com/issues