Vance Muse, the communications director at the Menil Collection and an accomplished writer, has an essay in a new anthology exploring live on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Muse writes eloquently about his coming out experience on the UT campus in the early 1970s. He discusses this turbulent time, just a couple years after the Stonewall Riots, when society as a whole was just coming to terms with homosexuality. CultureMap published an excerpt of the essay this week.
Muse writes: "I was 20. And gay, though I hadn't come to terms with that fact or expressed my true orientation and desires [...] But the University atmosphere was making the prospect of doing so easier to contemplate, even inevitable.
"Two summers before, the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village had given birth to an empowering gay consciousness that was beginning to filter down to our part of the country. At Columbia, Berkeley, the University of Michigan and other schools, gay student organizations and national groups such as the Gay Liberation Front were making noise and demands ("Proud to be a Gay American" and "Out is IN" proclaimed two of the battle cries)."
Muse goes on to discuss his first relationships, the university and Austin and their role in molding him.
The essay is a fascinating snapshot in time, particularly for gay people in Texas. It is featured in the new anthology, The Texas Book Two, published by the UT Press.
Muse has also penned several historical guides for the Smithsonian and other books.