Perfect match

Bob Nunn and Tom Harrover have been a couple for 4 decades. But it wasn’t until a near tragedy that they realized they were truly meant for each other

LIFE GOES ON | Nunn, right, and Harrover stand before a project commissioned for the convention center hotel. Four years ago, Nunn was near death because of kidney disease. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Bob Nunn agrees with the adage that the longer a couple lives together, the more they begin to look alike. Nunn and his partner Tom Harrover might not look that similar on the outside, but they match in a way that few couples do.

Let’s start with some history.

The two have that classic meet-cute that began on the wrong note. As Nunn tells it, Harrover was the dullest person he’d ever met —the two just didn’t like each other. Then, following a spontaneous invitation to a midnight movie, they ended up hitting it off. That movie led to conversation and then dating.

Forty-two years later, they still watch movies — as Nunn puts it, “I couldn’t get rid of him.”

A job in Houston took Nunn away from Harrover for three months, but old-fashioned letter writing kept the newbie relationship afloat.

“Tom had been writing me letters. He’s a very good writer,” Bob boasts. “He basically proposed to me by letter.”

They committed to each other, moving in and pursuing their careers: Harrover in architecture and Nunn teaching art. For 37 years, they lived in “a fabulous house” in Hollywood Heights. Life was good.

Then their life took a sharp turn.

“When we got together, Tom knew I had a kidney disease,” Nunn says. “Nothing was really a problem until about 30 years after we met — my kidneys began to fail and I had to start dialysis.”

Nunn registered with Baylor for the national organ donor list, but the experience was frustrating:  They received little response or encouragement from the hospital.

“Bob was on a downhill slide and the frustration with Baylor seemed like they were stonewalling us,” Harrover says. “We talked about going to Asia even. It felt like they didn’t want to deal with a senior-age gay couple.”

A LITTLE DAB’LL DO YOU | Bob Nunn is officially retired from teaching art, but continues to paint.

Then Harrover suggested something novel: He could donate his kidney to the organ list, with the idea that Nunn could get a healthy one.  Sort of a kidney exchange.

In desperation, they went back to their physician, who enrolled them in St. Paul Hospital’s then-new program for kidney transplant. The experience was a complete turnaround. Nunn was tested and processed immediately while Harrover prepped for his organ donation to an anonymous recipient.

Kidney transplants require a seven-point match system; a minimum of three matches is necessary for the recipient to be able to accept the organ into the body.

The tests revealed that Harrover’s kidney matched Nunn’s on all seven points.

“We assumed I would donate mine for use elsewhere,” Harrover says. “It never occurred to me that we’d be a match. The odds for that are off the charts.”

“See what happens when you live together for so long?” he chuckles.

Just six months after entering St. Paul’s program in 2007, they were on the operating table. They were the first direct living donor pair in the program. “It was all fairly miraculous,” Nunn understates.

Four years later, both men are doing well. Although officially retired, they both continue to work: Harrover does the occasional contract job while Nunn is currently on commission for an art project at the new convention center hotel. Outside of any official work, each interjects their quips about home, life be it cooking together or working on the lawn.

The obvious question for them might be “What’s the secret?” But they don’t see it just that way. Their relationship boils down to the obvious virtues of trust, respect and compromise.

“Selfishness doesn’t rear its ugly head in this relationship,” Harrover says. “You just have to be willing to accommodate, support and encourage what the other is interested in.”

Nunn agrees. “I would not be doing what I’m doing without his support.”

Nunn says if there is a secret, it’s akin to the dynamic on a playground: Like each other and share. If you don’t share your whole life, there isn’t a relationship, he says. At this point, Harrover says it would be impossible to separate. On paper, they are so intertwined with their house and financials, he jokes they are “Siamese twins.”

They’ve witnessed a lot in their decades together, including something they never expected to come to pass in their lifetimes: Same-sex marriage. Coming from a time when just being gay conflicted with moral codes set by their jobs, they wonder over the progress made in recent years. (They were officially married in Boston in October 2009.)

“I’m confident that it will happen for everyone,” Harrover says. “I’m sorry that it’s moving at a glacial pace, but it has that same inevitability as a glacier. We’ll get there.”

But nothing compares to the bond Harrover and Nunn already have, a shared intimacy few couples could imagine. Same-sex marriage was merely unlikely; what they have experienced is miraculous.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Ontario Catholic school board member compares gay-straight alliances to ‘Nazi groups’

Now she’s denying, a la Rick Warren and the infamous DOMA brief, that she meant to “compare” gay clubs and the Nazis. Then why invoke them at all?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Dancing with ourselves: NOM’s Ruth Institute compares gay unions to self-love

Over at the Ruth Institute (an official National Organization For Marriage affiliate), site blogger “Ari” has posed the following question:

You know what makes about as much sense as same sex “marriage”? [Ruth blog]

And the answer Ari pairs with the question comes in the form of this article:

Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends.

But there is no groom. Chen will marry herself.

Uninspired by the men she’s met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honor of just one person.

Bride-to-be set to say ‘I do’ — to herself [Reuters via MSNBC]

Yes, that’s right: The Ruth Institute is now comparing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples to an absurd kicker story about a bride holding a non-binding ceremony with herself. because that’s exactly how these “pro-family” folks tend to view us: As oddities. As stories fit for the “news of the weird” section. As anomalies. As people whose wedding photos deserve to be slurred with “perversion” labels. As citizens whose civil marriage rights are as binding as weddings between me & I.

Bullies don’t always age out of the system.




Good As You

—  admin

Video: The one where social conservative compares trans kid to KKK, blackface

American Vision‘s Gary DeMar:

“A crazy world indeed,” Mr. DeMar.




Good As You

—  John Wright

Gary Bauer at the Values Voter Summit compares 2010 elections to overthrowing 9/11 hijackers

I don’t understand how Gary Bauer can bleat over-the-top crap like this and think he’s going to appeal to the mainstream. This garbage not only exploits 9/11, it’s batsh*t insane. Amanda Terkel at HuffPo:

At Friday’s conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., speakers like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) urged attendees to turn out and vote in November in order to elect more conservatives to office. But the most extreme call came from onetime presidential candidate Gary Bauer, now the president of the right-wing group American Values, who equated the importance of turning out in November to defeating the 9/11 hijackers:

BAUER: From the cell phone calls that were made and the tapes that we have [from 9/11], we know that those passengers went to the back of the plane. Being good Americans, they started a debate. “Well,” some of them said, “we need to get back to our seats. We can’t do anything about this. You don’t fight hijackers. The plane will land. And then there will be negotiations. We’ll get out of here.” Other people said, “No, no, the country is under attack. We’ve got to fight.” And you know what they did? Nobody won the debate! So somebody said, “Let’s vote.”

That’s what we’re going to do in 45 days, right? We’re going to vote. If you get up that morning and you’re tired, you’re sick, it’s raining — remember these Americans on the plane. They voted to fight back. So they made weapons with whatever they can — leftover utensils from breakfast. The flight attendant was still alive; she boiled the water for the coffee. That was going to be her weapon. They took the drink cart, used it as a battering ram. They ran down the aisle of that plane, throwing the water, fighting as hard as they could, into the teeth of men armed with box cutters!

They brought that plane down. They spared this country more pain, more sorrow, more deaths. God bless them! Don’t forget them!

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Watch: Teabagger Christine O’Donnell Compares Herself to Reagan

Christine_odonnell

Gay-baiting, anti-masturbation teabagger Christine O'Donnell says Sarah Palin's endorsement made all the difference in her campaign, criticizs "Republican cannabalism" and shrugs off doubts from Karl Rove and other Republicans that she's unelectable: "They also said that Ronald Reagan wasn't electable."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Tragic: NOM’s Rhode Island director compares gay parents to dead parents



*AUDIO SOURCE: NOM’s Chris Plante on Rhode Island radio [NOM]




Good As You

—  John Wright