Extracts from the personal journal of Ben Williams dealing with his life and interaction with Gay leaders in building and shaping the Queer communities of Salt Lake City, Utah in 1986 with additional anecdotal material from various resources.
I have purposefully deleted the last names of people mentioned in my journal, including my ex-wife, who probably would not care if I did mention them; but since it's not my intention to "out" anyone I decided not to do so.
I once made the mistake of mentioning the name of someone, in a column I write for a Salt Lake newspaper, that I had sex with when first coming out. I thought he was thoroughly out of the closet. I was wrong. He was very upset over it and I apologized to him. I learned that even though someone may be openly Gay in his or her circle of friends, they still may not want the world to know their sexual orientation.
However those who are identified by their last names, have identified themselves as being Gay through either acting as a public leader of a Gay organization, having had their names published in articles as Gay people, or having since died. Those who have died I have listed them in a section called "additional material". All information found in those sections are like footnotes and do not appear in my original handwritten journal.
I have taken the liberty of editing my own journal for spelling and grammar since most of my writings were reflections written before retiring to bed. I have also changed some sentences around for clarity also.
I noticed that in many, many of my entries I am either sobbing or on the verge of tears. While I admit I am an emotional guy who will cry during sad movies, sad songs, and sad memories, I generally do not salinely emote so much. I think I may have been close to being clinically depressed while going through all those rapid changes in my life. I often felt I was free falling and therefore trying to grab on to anyone I could for support.
I don't claim that my observations and opinions of people I met in 1986 are accurate just that they were my perceptions, no matter how limited, at the time. Apologize for an offense I may give anyone by publishing my private thoughts from twenty years ago. I truly felt like Alice In Wonderland Through the Looking Glass at times.
I also don't claim that my experiences are all that unique. In the mid-1980's many married Gay men were leaving their wives because of the AIDS epidemic, and people were gravitating towards social groups to meet other people rather then in anonymous sexual encounters.
Notice that I always capitalize Gay as a Proper Noun and Proper Adjective. That is because my social construct is that Gays are a Sexual Minority as different from heterosexuals as women are from men. I do not hold to the modern assimilationist view that we are the same as heterosexuals and are defined only by our sexual behavior not by our sexual being.
Finally I am publishing this journal and maybe later others for the sole reason of serving as a time capsule of what it was like to emerge with a Gay identity in the heart of Mormonism in the year 1986 for Gay hsitorians.