John and Robert

Two of my mother's closest friends in the town where she lives, Conway, Arkansas, are a gay couple named John and Robert.


John Schenck and Robert Loyd

There was an article about them in the local paper recently. I'm not crazy about how it's written, but the fact that it was given such prominence is pretty cool.


Schenck grew up in New York with five brothers. One brother would later hold Schenck's new boyfriend, Loyd, while another pistol whipped him. A football player, Schenck was beaten by several members of the team after rejecting sexual advances from one of the players. In 1969, Schenck participated in the Stonewall riots in New York, he told the class.

Loyd was born in Germany and came to America when he was 3 years old. He grew up in Damascus. His family has a strong military background. Loyd denounced his German citizenship when he was 18 to join the United States Army. He fought in Vietnam.

During an earlier interview, Loyd discussed fighting for his rights. He was naive, Loyd said, and later felt like some of the rights he fought for seemed to be jerked away.

"I was born with those rights," Loyd said to the class.

"My life is about all of us being equal and sharing equally in the burden of life, or the joys of life," Loyd said.

The couple celebrated 29 years together Jan. 19.

My mother just e-mailed me:

My friends are having a wedding ceremony Sunday on the steps of the State Capitol. While I was there this afternoon they got permission to gather there from the Secretary of State's office. There was a problem at first getting permission because the Boy Scouts have a gathering there at same time. They have been talking with ACLU and the Arkansas Diversity Assoc. about being there in support as the news media have been notified.

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Published on February 26, 2004 5:54 PM.

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