My first found family was Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City, the second in the series, when I read it in high school. The series took place in San Francisco, on the fictional street of Barbary Lane, at building number 28. It was an apartment house owned by Mrs. Madrigal, who grew marijuana and dispense wisdom to her tenants. In More Tales’ pages, I was introduced to characters that were diverse and inclusive. Mary Anne was the Midwest middle class. Brian was the womanizer who wished to settle down; the romantic hero. Most importantly was Michael Tolliver, Mouse to his friends, my first impression of homosexuality presented as a normal. I was captivated by how easily and zeal that Mouse navigated heartbreak, taking it in stride. Mouse believed he was meant to find love, and that it could be found the very next day just around the corner; he was my gay Mary Tyler Moore.
As I devoured each book in the series the cast grew to include all forms of intersectionality. Mrs. Madrigal’s daughter, the bisexual hippy Mona Ramsey came and went as she searched for her father. Edgar Halcyon, who first was Mary Anne’s boss then became Mrs. Madrigal’s lover. His daughter, DeDe Halcyon-Day, and her lesbian lover the model D’orothea Wilson offered opportunities to view the more affluent and art-centric San Francisco. Mrs. Madrigal’s own mother, a brothel owner, appears towards the end of the series.
Tales of the City series offered a deluxe view the real world, through a fictional lens, demonstrating that groups do not exist in isolation. Rather, they exist shoulder to shoulder, helping and loving, other groups. Tales of the City celebrates the connectedness of humanity.