Nov 102003
 
Authors: Taylour Nelson

Gregg Cassin’s mother called him on his cell phone Monday night

and he had to hurry her off the phone because he was in the middle

of giving a talk to CSU students, faculty and community

members.

He was discussing his life as a homosexual gay father who was

diagnosed HIV positive almost 20 years ago.

“Ok, mom, I gotta go- I love you, I’ll call you later,” Cassin

said. “And I’m homosexual!”

For 15 years, Cassin has been touring the nation, speaking at

schools, churches and corporate events. He speaks about his

experience in coming out to his parents, being a homosexual and

learning he had HIV.

“I truly believe that the deepest path we can go on is through

humbling, accepting, loving and appreciating ourselves,” he said.

“As a gay man, accepting myself was a way home.”

Cassin spoke candidly to the audience about growing up in a

Catholic home in Long Island, N.Y., always knowing he was gay but

never admitting to it until he attended college. He informed the

audience of his decision to tell his parents he was gay as a gift

for Christmas.

“It was the scariest moment of my life, and I made the decision

that the gift to my parents was also a gift to myself,” he

said.

With laughter and tears the audience listened to Cassin speak

about his first encounter with the AIDS virus when he was living in

San Francisco in the 1980s.

“I had this feeling that it was going to affect me, it was this

terrifying moment for me,” he said. “I went on being at risk, and

within a year, half of my friends started dying.”

Cassin was going to his friend’s memorial services on a regular

basis and said it was a time of incredible appreciation of

life.

“I feel like one of the gifts that my friend’s who died gave me

was that we all came together in support with love and friendship,”

Cassin said.

Concluding the evening, Cassin showed the audience a book his

daughter made when she was five years old about her father Kevan,

who died after contracting the AIDS virus. Drawings and pictures

showed an innocent view of the AIDS virus and her love for her

father.

Cassin acknowledged that his talks give other homosexuals a

sense of understanding.

“Everyone of us has something that love could be poured into,”

he said. “Everyone knows the feeling of being isolated and alone,

and I’m trying to tell gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered

people, that we aren’t alone and that there are people who care and

support us.”

Cassin will be giving a workshop for students and faculty

speaking on many of these issues at. D.C. Bottoms in the Durrell

Center today at 9 a.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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