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My Dad’s Closet: A Father, a Daughter and Their Secret

  • GLBT Historical Society Museum 4127 18th Street San Francisco, CA, 94114 United States (map)


GLBT Historical Society Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114


$5.00 | Free for members

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In this illustrated presentation, organized for National Coming Out Day on October 11, San Francisco resident Laura Hall recounts the life story of her gay father, Ralph, from 1918 to 2008. Hall was 24 when her father came out to her in 1975. She learned that in the late 1930s, her father had been in a relationship with a musician in Los Angeles. But two arrests for homosexual activity sent him back into the closet, prompted him to enlist in the Army and ultimately led him to marry a woman. With a panoramic sweep covering the conservative Central Valley oilfield culture of Ralph Hall’s youth, to his double life in postwar America, to his care for dying friends during the AIDS crisis, this universal love story — a preview of Laura Hall’s recently completed memoirs — is a window into the life of a man who felt that he had no choice but to live in the shadows.


Laura Hall, a San Francisco resident, was born on the Peninsula to a closeted gay dad and a straight mother during the post-WWII era of hopeful optimism. Laura has an M.A. in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, practiced urban design for two decades and currently works at the Environmental Protection Agency. The book she has written about her family has a tentative release date of Spring, 2021.

Image credit: Ralph Hall (1946) and his daughter Laura (1953), courtesy of Laura Hall.