via chris geidner

"I wish for nothing more than to be only what I am." - Nathan Fain

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Father’s Day, Nine Years Later

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It was nine years ago that I had the last Father’s Day in which, my father, Robert Martin Geidner, was still alive. A month earlier, I had graduated from law school and Dad was there, in Columbus, Ohio, to join me in celebrating my success. By June, I was studying for the bar exam and lost off in my own world.

Less than a year later, on Memorial Day 2006, he would die. In the last year of his life, though, I learned more about him — and what our relationship might have grown into — than I had in all my earlier years. As I would drive in the mornings to the law firm where I worked, I’d call him some days. More and more often, the calls became such that I’d pull over around the corner from the parking deck where I’d lose my cell phone signal to extend our chat. 

We talked about simple things, but he also got a better glimpse into my life than I’d ever provided before. We talked about the law firm, but also about the new LGBT group that I’d helped found and the political scene in Ohio as the 2006 campaign got underway.

Then, he got sick. As I traveled to Baltimore during the spring of 2006, we knew my dad would be dying. I ignored that fact, hoping that it would not be so if I didn’t think about it. But, when he was weak enough that he wasn’t leaving his bed, he and I had our last real conversation. He knew, thanks to our earlier conversations, that the law firm life was not for me — even though I’d not yet even admitted that to myself. He told me to do something that I cared about with my life, something that was inspired by my passion, something that drove me to do better.

When he died, I still ignored reality, leading to more problems than I needed in my life — but I did start listening to his advice. I left the law firm after the election to work in state government, to make a difference. As it is with life, things didn’t go exactly as planned, and two years later I found myself living in a world turned upside down. My boss — a mentor and friend — had resigned from office, and, by the end of the year, I left the office as well.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, that moment of feeling like I’d lost everything was also the moment in which the opportunity of my creating a new life was born. I went back to writing, and by the end of the year, I had moved to DC and was getting paid to write about LGBT politics. My family and close friends helped make the move possible, but it wasn’t until mid-2010 that I decided I had to take more steps to help me live the life my father, and many others, wanted me to live. I stopped drinking. I’d been using alcohol as a crutch and more for years, and it had long outlived its utility in my life.

With a new job in a new career in a different city, and newfound sobriety, I began the path of my past four years. I spent my time at Metro Weekly learning on the job, with patient, fantastic editors and co-workers who put up with me figuring out my new career and new life on the job. Over the past two years, I’ve done more of that “figuring out” at BuzzFeed with incredibly talented editors and co-workers, and it has been an amazing ride unlike anything I could have ever imagined.

That, I’ve since realized, was my dad’s aim. I care deeply about my job because my work is inspired by my passion. Because of that, it drives me to do better each day. And, of course, his advice applies outside of work, too — something I continue to work on daily.

Although my dad isn’t here to see the wonder that has been this past year — or four, or eight — I know that he would be proud. I am blessed with such incredible opportunities every single day, and it’s because I took my dad’s advice and because all of those still around — from my mom to my nephew and from my oldest friends to folks I’m just getting to know now through Twitter — have helped to encourage the best in me.

Thanks, Dad, for everything.

4 notes

The Harvey Milk stamp is unveiled at a White House ceremony on May 22, 2014.

7 notes

As the White House readies itself to formally unveil the U.S. Postal Service’s new Harvey Milk stamp this afternoon, it’s hard to believe that it was less than 5 years ago when I attended my first White House event as a reporter — the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act that included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act on October 22, 2009.
From that day, I wrote “The Legacy of a Legacy" at TheAtlantic.com, my first real reporting from DC and the beginning of the change that my life took when, in the weeks that followed, I began reporting for Metro Weekly.
Quite a 5 years it has been, indeed. #tbt
(Photo by Phil Attey.) 

As the White House readies itself to formally unveil the U.S. Postal Service’s new Harvey Milk stamp this afternoon, it’s hard to believe that it was less than 5 years ago when I attended my first White House event as a reporter — the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act that included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act on October 22, 2009.

From that day, I wrote “The Legacy of a Legacy" at TheAtlantic.com, my first real reporting from DC and the beginning of the change that my life took when, in the weeks that followed, I began reporting for Metro Weekly.

Quite a 5 years it has been, indeed. #tbt

(Photo by Phil Attey.) 

21 notes

My graduation speech

andymbowen:

I graduated with my Master of Social Work degree today, and my colleagues at Catholic University of America gave me the honor of speaking at commencement. For posterity’s sake (and, I mean, I’m a Millennial—posting personal stuff to the Internet is sort of my birthright), here’s the text …

Congratulations, Andy. I can’t wait to see what you do in the world. :)

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Responses to Jo Becker’s new book, Forcing the Spring, have been, by and large, brutal:
“The New Book About The Marriage Equality Movement Gets The Big Things Wrong,” my take at BuzzFeed
“The Gay Marriage Story Jo Becker Needs to Hear,” Nathaniel Frank, writing at Slate
Andrew Sullivan, writing (repeatedly) at The Dish
“The Worst Problem With Jo Becker’s Book on ‘The Fight for Marriage Equality’,” Michelangelo Signorile, writing at Huffington Post
“The Stars of Jo Becker’s Misleading Book on Gay Marriage Are Racing to Claim Even More Credit,” Noah Feldman, writing in The New Republic
“Jo Becker’s New Book Disparages Gay-Marriage Activists’ Years of Hard Work,” Adam Teicholz, writing in The New Republic
“The Becker book outrage,” Lisa Keen, writing for Keen News Service
Some less critical takes from out LGBT writers include:
“Fighting, And Winning, Against Prop 8,” Richard Socarides, writing at The New Yorker
“Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality,” Jonathan Capehart, writing at The Washington Post

Responses to Jo Becker’s new book, Forcing the Spring, have been, by and large, brutal:

Some less critical takes from out LGBT writers include: