Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to my friend Duncan Teague. I have known Duncan for 15 years and have always admired and been inspired by his dedication to issues around social justice. He was quite resistant to allowing me to celebrate him and immediately protested: “I can think of so many other people we know that you should celebrate.”
Duncan came out in high school to his friend, Crystal and the second person was his cousin. As with most coming out stories, his was/is a journey of continually coming out and celebrating who you are.
I came out to my parents when I was a junior in college, well actually my mother yanked me out. A dear friend of ours was murdered and he was gay. My mother sat me down in front of my father, I had just read the David Kopay story and it gave me the blueprint of how to come out…Gay rights to me was just standing up for our people, especially when there were so many gay people dying of HIV. Being politically active was not the goal, helping people was the goal.
Duncan is a minister with a Master’s degree in Divinity and is now pursuing a Full Fellowship as a minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church. He has served as a lay minister at the church where Robert and I were married, the First Existentialist Church. His list of honors include: Grand Marshall of Gay Pride 1993 and 2001, Honoree of In The Life Atlanta, Black Gay Pride, Founding member (to present) of Community Advisory Board of Hope Clinic, Emory Vaccine Research, and the Auburn Research Library started the Duncan Teague Collection, which is a collection of his historical papers documenting black and gay history in Atlanta.
Duncan is quick, of course, to thank a host of people:
I have to thank several people that helped me with this work, Phil Wilson, Reggie Williams, Anthony Antoine, malik m. l. williams, the late Tony Daniels, and Reverend Carolyn Mobley. Carolyn was the first co-chair of the African-American Lesbian/Gay Alliance and had a profound effect on me, she was working with AID Atlanta, and she is a singer, and she pitches in where ever people needed help.
He wants his legacy to be:
that I lived a full life and that being out as a black gay man enriched it and it didn’t stop living a rich and full life and that I did something to prevent someone from getting HIV or that if someone already had that something I did made their life better. Some of the most profound work I did, or “ministry” was as an artist, specifically The ADODI Muse: A Gay Negro Ensemble–this was a chance for me to put together my art life and my activism together.
Duncan thanks his husband David:
a major reason for the success I have had in the later part of my life has been because of my marriage and relationship with David. We have established the kind of home and partnership that I always wanted. We have grown folks adopting us because we are stable, not perfect, but stable and caring to each other and our friends as a couple. My life for the last seventeen and a half years would be quite different in many ways without this kind of loving secure, base from which to operate. I knew how to live fully without David, but better with David.
For more information about Duncan you can read the book Sweet Tea, by E. Patrick Johnson.
I want to thank Duncan and look forward to the many ways he will continue to make the world better for all.