During my childhood and young adulthood, gays and lesbians were invisible in my community. But while they were invisible, they certainly were not absent; their presence was just not acknowledged. The behaviors I observed in the adults I loved and looked up to suggested that gays and lesbians were people one whispered about; spoke of in vague, masked terms; or ridiculed, abused, and violated because of who and what they were. The world that formed me and shaped my values did not honor, afford humanity to, or bestow dignity on those who were gay. I grew up in a world where gay, lesbian, and bisexual people were invisible, isolated, powerless, and voiceless.