How a 'Proud' Lesbian Became a Pol's Wife

She made the transition "by letting myself be as free as I felt when I went natural," Chirlane McCray told Essence magazine. 

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Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

In 1979 Chirlane McCray declared in an essay for Essence magazine, "I am a lesbian." Thirty-four years later she returned to the publication for an interview about what happened between that groundbreaking piece and her current "traditional marriage" to Bill de Blasio, who's running for mayor of New York City. Check out a few highlights.

On why she wrote the 1979 essay:

I thought it important to dispel the myth that there are no gay Black people, that Black people just didn't do that sort of thing. That article was my way of telling Black women across the country, "You are not alone."

On how she met her husband:

In 1991 I was working in the press office at the [NYC] Commission on Human Rights and was sent over to City Hall. I was wearing West African–inspired clothing and a nose ring, and Bill says he had the love-at-first-sight experience. I did note what a good-looking guy he was and that he was funny and smart and made other people laugh.

On how she transitioned from identifying as a lesbian to marrying a man:

By putting aside the assumptions I had about the form and package my love would come in. By letting myself be as free as I felt when I went natural.

Read more at Essence.

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