NARBERTH, PA -- James Baxter III remembers this day five years ago fondly.
Baxter, then an 18-year-old freshman at Temple University, revealed to his parents that day that he was a homosexual and was dating a boy he met at school.
"I was really nervous," Baxter said. "Especially about my dad's reaction. I mean, he's in the electrician's union and was a Little League coach and everything. I thought that he'd be upset, maybe even ashamed with me."
But Baxter was met with a surprising reaction when he brought Trevar Brackford, his older RA from his dorm room. Earlier that year, Baxter and Trevar had started talking about their shared love of the Final Fantasy video game series and they soon began having mutual and simultaneous oral sex. They then started dating.
"I brought Trevar home with me over the summer and I just felt like I had to tell this to my parents or I'd never feel like myself," Baxter said. "So, I told them that I was gay and dating Trevar. They didn't say anything for a few seconds, but then they said that they thought I was courageous for telling them, that they loved me and that Trevar was welcome to their home at anytime. It was a little shocking that they were so comfortable with my sexuality. But they did watch Will and Grace at the time."
Baxter and Brackford broke up eight months later after Brackfard met an older documentarian. However, Baxter's parents still remain supportive of his sexuality.
"They're still really cool about things. If I'm going out to a meth-fueled S&M leather party, they tell me to give them a call if I've been drinking too much and I can't drive home," explained Baxter.
The same day Baxter came out to his parents, Gloria Patterson, then 23, was at Sabrina's restaurant for a scheduled brunch with Tricia Lee and Matthew Schwartz-Garcia, whom she shared a house with her senior year of college.
While eating fruit-filled pancakes, the trio started discussing politics. Lee and Schwartz-Garcia started talking about how much they hated President George W. Bush and how that they, no matter what, would vote Democrat.
"I told them that I was going to be voting for Bush," Patterson said. "And I told them that I voted for him in 2000. They were apoplectic. They assumed I voted for Nader like everyone else we know did. I explained to them that I believe in a small and limited federal government, more power given to states and localities, strict constructionist readings in Supreme Court cases, a strong national defense in the wake of 9/11 and a flat tax. They then asked for the check."
Patterson frantically tried to explain to her friends that she wasn't a "religious right-wing nutjob" despite attending a pro-life rally while a high school senior. She also started claiming that she was "more of a libertarian than anything else" and only voted Republican because the Libertarian Party was in favor of drug legalization, which she is opposed to.
Patterson soon found that she was excluded from e-mail forward circles and weekly pot-luck dinners with her friends. She drifted apart and has only seen Lee and Schwartz-Garcia infrequently.
"I ran into them at Whole Foods a few months ago," Patterson said. "I asked them how they were doing and they just mumbled something about free trade and No Child Left Behind. They kinda left abruptly before I got a chance to ask them if they still had my Season 2 Arrested Development DVD's."