At a dinner in Atlanta, Georgia, I sat next to a slightly haggard British woman with an unlikely coif of grey ringlets who, having learned about my work, asked, ‘So tell me, then. Which do you find more burdensome: being gay or being depressed?’ I think I mustered a polite answer even as I imagined telling my husband later that his conversation partner could not have been worse than mine. But that was some fifteen years ago, before I began to question the line between identity and illness. Now, I have to admit that being gay and being depressed do have a certain amount broadly in common and a great deal in common in my life. Not because they are comparably ‘burdensome’, but because they have become my topics, both in my life and in my work. Not a day goes by that I don’t have unsolicited correspondence from someone who is depressed and needs help, or from someone who is gay and suffering for it.
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