Monday, August 30, 2010

My Gay Genes

More from my treasure trove of family photos. Flying up in the air here is my great aunt Fran, full name Frances Scott, one of my grandmother's younger sisters. These two photos probably date from the early 1960s, as they appear to be taken in the A-Frame house my grandmother had built in Mill Valley, California, on a chunk of land she bought from Aunt Fran. Fran had moved to the area in the late 1950s; she was a photographer by trade. She built her own house as well as the third house on this chunk of property, a modern cottage called The Kite. I met her on several occasions as a child; she was very private and didn't really join me or my parents on our visits to gramma.

I don't remember when I was "told" about Aunt Fran, but she was a lesbian, and lived for years with a female partner right there next to gramma Dorothy.

I like these photos because the people in them are having so much fun: and I presume one of the two women here is Fran's partner. The top photo is inscribed by my grandmother on the reverse "that kid sister" and the bottom one "Ann, Fran, Kenny, Eral [Eval?]." There's a couple more in this series that involve dancing and one that involves something improper with a lampshade. While my Grandmother was most definitely heterosexual, this party seems evidently something not so strictly so, and its before-Stonewall vintage speaks to me of a sort of prehistoric time.

I wish I had known Aunt Fran better; but I'm glad that one of the family legacies I shared with her were a set of gay genes.


  1. i had a friend one time who insisted that homosexuality couldn't be genetic because then it would never be passed on. i gave the example of the multitude of other genetic irregularities that lead to traits not seen in parents, from what is classified as 'disease' all the way through missing fingers and stuff, and we argued and argued, before i realized that he really just had no understanding of what 'genetics' meant. he's a watchmaker now, and apparently he's good at it. i'm glad he didn't become a biologist.

  2. Nice story.

    And of course, many gay people have biological children. I bet complicated machinery like watches is still simpler and more predictable than people.