Robert Mintz, Kansas City, Mo.; Diagnosed in the mid-1980s
My relatives are 100 percent behind me -- they want to be educated.
I want to say something about my parents. Concerning my sexual orientation, when I came home from Vietnam and decided I had to come out to my father, I was scared of how he'd respond. I took him to a park, because then if he was going to do anything he'd have to do it in public, you know? Before I even opened my mouth, he said, "Son, God gave you to me, and nothing's gonna take you away from me." I told him, "Your son's gay," and he said, "Your point is?"
So when they learned about my diagnosis, they did not say, "I don't know you." They said, "What do you want us to do, besides keep loving you?" They spoke out whenever they heard prejudice against HIV-positive people or gay people.