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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 291 > PAUL FLYNN


Figuring out your families may take more than a little logic

FOR MY 18TH BIRTHDAY, I received the first three volumes of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City from a boyfriend. It was definitely the highlight of a rocky 12 months. The books opened up Maupin’s fantastical San Francisco, a rainbow world of drama, heartache and satisfying personal development, as told through the eyes and ears of charming local gay hero Michael Tolliver and his chums.

In 1989, the Tales of the City tomes were peerless gateways into living a full gay life. They made it look like a happy place. This was a radical idea, given that Maupin began writing them in the early 1970s. The stories were not just comfort blankets. They came equipped with actual tools, such as Michael’s beautiful coming out letter to his curtain-twitching, religious, right-wing mother. They turned Maupin into a generational hero overnight. He remains one.

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