Unedited excerpt from the rough draft of: GROWING INTO MY SKIN, a memoir of a gay man.
“Who is Dale Thele?” the interviewer asked.
“I suppose I’m a person who’s passionate about my beliefs.”
“What do you believe?”
“I believe in humanity, equality and I believe in myself.”
“How would you summarize yourself?”
“Passion driven. I’ve made enemies because of who I am. I’ve made enemies because of my passionate beliefs. But I’ve gained even more friends and allies for the same reasons.
“I’ve held men in my arms as they drew their last breath. I’ve been covered in the blood of fallen brother’s from hate bashings.
“I’ve compromised principles to keep jobs. I’ve been silent when I should have shouted. I’ve sacrificed integrity far too often, all because I didn’t fit into society’s “norm.”
“In hindsight, I suppose I could have made better choices, but every decision was based on my passionate beliefs and belief in myself. My only regret in this life is that I have not done enough for others. More than once I had retreated, isolated myself from a world gone mad, buried my head in the sand. There comes a point when a man can take no more hatred, bigotry, anger, blood and death before he screams, enough is enough, I’m only one person.
“Yet, the day I came face-to-face with my life-long nemesis: HIV and AIDS, an inner strength was awakened and burning passion was reignited. The fight for life was on. I had a secret weapon, an arsenal that few possess: a life of pain, loss and discrimination which had prepared me for the fight of my life.”
* Prototype Cover Photo by Dan Winters Photography