One of America's most beloved writers is baring his soul in a powerful, new autobiography. Armistead Maupin chronicled the un-bridled sexual liberation of the 1970s in his wildly popular 'Tales of the City' novels.
"Your life is now dictated by blood, by kinship," said Maupin during a recent visit to Seattle. "If it's toxic, if it's poisonous to you, you need to get away from it."
Maupin is an open book when it comes to everyone's right to live their lives on their own terms, and be happy. And, he hopes his new memoir, 'Logical Family' gives readers permission to write their own life stories.
"Mostly, it's about my childhood and coming from a place of extreme conservatism. I was raised a conservative and was mired in a lot of racism and misogyny," explained Maupin. "And, it was how my life changed when I moved to San Francisco, how it challenged my own assumptions about things, and got laid along the way."
It was 1971 when Maupin moved to San Francisco. And, he says losing his virginity at the age of 26 changed his politics. It changed his humanity and gave him sympathy for other people.
Maupin came out to his parents in the 70s. It was a moment dramatized in his popular 'Tales of the City' column in the San Francisco Chronicle. But it was separately, and close to their deaths, that he says his parents finally got it.
"My mother died 40 years ago, my father died 10 years ago," he explained. "I had resolutions with both of them that were kind of beautiful. I took my husband to meet my gruff, 90-year-old father not long before he died. And, as we were leaving the house, my father turned to Chris, my husband-to-be, and said, "you take care of that boy, you hear?" He got it. He realized everybody needs somebody."
The memoir chronicles Maupin's journey from a conflicted, young boy to a groundbreaking writer and gay rights pioneer.
"I consider my contribution to have been cultural. My Tale of the City books are more about teaching gay people to love themselves, and to realize what we have and what's right here for us."
It also recounts his quest to find his 'Logical Family.' Maupin first coined the term through one of his 'Tales of the City' characters, Mrs. Madragal.
"She says, dear, you have your biological family and then you have your logical family, meaning the one we end up choosing for ourselves who will support us as we are unconditionally."
There's some great news for fans of 'Tales of the City!' Netflix is developing a reboot of the series that would be set today. Meantime, 'Logical Family: A Memoir' is available now.