by Noah R. Bombard
Like many, Chuck Connell was drawn into the debate over a Gay Pride flag at the John Glenn Middle School earlier this year. But viewing the issue of homosexuality as today’s civil rights movement, Connell decided to be more than a spectator. “Obviously I paid attention to the Gay Pride flag issue, as everyone else did,” Connell said. “I felt I wanted to say something. To stand up for what I believe in, which is gay rights.”
Beginning this week, Connell appears in the Opinion section of the Minuteman in a multi-part series Growing Up Gay in Bedford. The short series will chronicle the thoughts, frustrations and triumphs of Bedford residents growing up homosexual. A computer consultant and Bedford resident, Connell, neither grew up in Bedford nor is he gay. “I’m a straight, white, heterosexual family guy,” he said. With Bedford his home since 1998, however, Connell feels telling the stories of those who have faced the difficulties of growing up gay is important to creating understanding. “I want to put a human face on it,” Connell said. “Obviously there are people in Bedford who don’t like gays. I suspect those people don’t personally know a gay person. These are real people who struggle with the same issues we do.”
“This actually struck me when the gay flag issues started,” Connell said. “I’m sitting there in my nice suburban home and I was remaining silent about it. Suppose I was a white guy living in the south in 1965 and black people are starting to march for civil rights, what would I have done? Would I just sit by and say nothing? I hope I would have done something to speak up."
Controversy erupted in Bedford earlier this year when a Gay Pride flag was posted at John Glenn Middle School as part of a display, which also featured flags from various countries around the world.
Connell is working with a few individuals who grew up gay in Bedford to tell their stories. He’s also looking for others to contact him with their stories. “My approach as a writer was to tell their story as much as possible in their words,” Connell said.
Published in the Bedford Minuteman newspaper on August 4, 2004. Copyright Herald Media Inc.