Paul Smith lives in Fort Lauderdale with Gerry Kennedy, his partner of 37 years and his husband of three. They were married in Los Angeles where Smith’s two children and five grandsons make their homes.

Smith said that he never really thought much about being gay as a child and later as an adult. “I didn’t come out until I was in my mid-30s and living the lie became too much,” he said.

Smith and Kennedy met at a gay bar in Washington, DC where Smith worked at the Pentagon and Kennedy was an accountant. They retired to Florida where Smith, who had become a therapist has engaged with SunServe and the Center focused on social work and HIV/AIDS issues. He once helped coordinate the Fort Lauderdale Brothas Speak.

About coming out today, Smith is circumspect.

“You still have to be cautious,” he said “People are in the closet for all sorts of reasons and we have to respect that. But coming out is a powerful act of strength and courage and it helps straight people know we are part of the fabric of this society.” 

– DC