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

Virginia Beach GOP chairman agrees to resign after hitting ‘forward’ and ‘send’ on a racist e-mail

When will they ever learn? I’m not just talking about moronic Republican bigoted politicians like this Virginia Beach Republican chairman (remember NC State Rep. Larry “Fruit Loops” Brown?), but people who think that somehow your randy/racist/homophobic emails to your “friends” may lead to forwards to “friends of friends” and then eventually to the MSM?

But back to this brain-dead pol — David Bartholomew, now the former chairman of Virginia Beach’s Republican Party resigned after sending this out to friends:

MY DOG

I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare.

At first the lady said, “Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare”.

So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is.

So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify…

My Dog gets his first check Friday.

Is this is a great country or what?

Yes, the mask comes off easily these days for the GOP politicians. As Monica Roberts said on my Facebook wall…

VA has a GOP governor and a GOP AG, so the bigots feel comfortable enough to KKKome out and play.

But wait, it does get better (as these stories often do). Look at the statement in the Virginia Pilot.

The city’s Republican chairman agreed to resign late Monday night, just hours after a racist joke sent from his e-mail address surfaced.

David Bartholomew is not a racist and agreed to resign because the e-mail had become a distraction to the Nov. 2 election, said Gary Byler, the 2nd Congressional District GOP chairman, after meeting with Bartholomew.

The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when “he was first getting familiar with the Internet,” Byler said.

Oh. My. F*cking. Dog. Is that not the most ridiculous excuse you’ve heard? OK, first, any disclaimer that starts off with “he’s not a racist” should just go into the circular file pronto. But “getting familiar with the Internet” makes the guy look like a moron. Perhaps Bartholomew’s “forward” and “send” buttons in his email client must be inordinately larger than the rest of the commands, and his hands uncontrollably moved to hit them on that one missive.

Come on, go with the simplest explanation, since Republican bigots are a dime a dozen. Bartholomew just wanted to share his tasteless humor with people he thought were his friends. Now who’s going to fess up to sending to the media? I’m sure he wants to know.

The Maddow blog has more, with the hat tips going to Daily Kos diarist @lowkell and Blue Virginia.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Hitting the ground running in Minnesota

Terry and I arrived in Minneapolis on Monday evening and in the ensuing 36 hours have settled into our roles with the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) campaign here in Minnesota.  We’re working with Spencer Cronk from the DFL to mobilize the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to vote for fair-minded candidates up and down the ballot.  In a year when our friends are likely to have difficult challenges, it’s important for us to turn out the LGBT community to put them over the top.

Starting off, Terry and I will be hosting weekly phone banks at Service Employees International Union in St. Paul.  If you would like to help assure marriage equality succeeds in 2011, we need you to volunteer to elect those candidates who will make it happen!  Join HRC staff and our local leaders at weekly Equality Night phone banks to support Mark Dayton and other fair-minded candidates. We’ll be calling HRC supporters and talking to them about how important this election is to moving forward with a pro-equality agenda in St. Paul in 2011.

HRC “Equality Night” Phone Banks
Every Tuesday, beginning September 28 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
SEIU Headquarters

2233 University Ave., W | Suite 422 | St. Paul, MN

To sign up to volunteer for Mark Dayton or other fair-minded candidates in your area, please email Terry.McGuire@hrc.org for more information.

Prepared and paid for by Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington D.C., in support of the Minnesota DFL Party.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Will The Air Force Punish Sgt. David Gutierrez For Hitting Swingers Parties Without Revealing He’s HIV-Positive?

Air Force Sgt. David Gutierrez, a twenty-year veteran stationed at McConnell Air Force Base , is being probed by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations over allegations he failed to disclose he's HIV-positive to all the sex partners he met at swingers parties. Including dudes!

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright

Katy Perry Still Trying to Prove She Kisses Girls By Hitting Up Lesbian Parties

The best (only good?) part about reading how Katy Perry was "partying with lesbians" — she showed up at the all-girl Grouse Party at the Bendigo Hotel in Australia, after also "crashing" a prom — is that they got a quote from somebody named Muffy. You can't make this stuff up. [MTV UK; photo via]


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