Stuart Garcia

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How has Stuart Inspired you?

Mark Bauman
The first time I crossed the Israeli border into Lebanon, I was terrified. Stuart and I had taken a trip to the beach at Rosh HaNikra, with a Belgian friend from Kibbutz Ga'aton. On a whim, Stuart decided that he wanted to talk to some of the Israeli military guys manning the border post. Before I knew it, Stuart had convinced an Israeli Colonel to let us cross into Lebanon without a visa, which was not at all part of the plan for the day. We had a total of about $27 between the three of us, no passports, and nothing but bathing suits, towels and sandals. The Belgian and I thought Stuart was crazy. But as soon as the offer was made, Stuart insisted that it would be insane not to go. So the three of us took the bus to the ancient city of Tyre, and had an amazing series of adventures, which in some ways continue to this day. All of this happened just months after Stuart had finally come out of the closet with family and childhood friends. Growing up gay in Texas in the 1970's -- and coming out to everyone in the early 80's -- required incredible courage. Stuart had that in spades. His friendship inspires me to live more bravely than I ever would have without him.