Chirlane McCray, the wife of politician Bill de Blasio, discusses coming out gay in a 1979 ESSENSE essay.

In the op-ed, titled I Am a Lesbian, McCray broke ground by talking openly about her sexuality in a Black magazine.

“I discovered my preference for women early,” she wrote, “before getting locked into a traditional marriage.”

McCray, 58, is now happily married to de Blasio, New York City's public advocate and a candidate for mayor.

In an interview with ESSENSE, McCray said she remembers feeling “positive about what I'd done.”

“So how did you go from being a lesbian to falling in love with a man?” ESSENSE asked.

“By putting aside the assumptions I had about the form and package my love would come in,” McCray answered. “By letting myself be as free as I felt when I went natural.”

“I was attracted to Bill. He felt like the perfect person for me.”

When asked if she considers herself to be bisexual, McCray answered that she is “more than just a label.”

“Why are people so driven to labeling where we fall on the sexual spectrum? Labels put people in boxes, and those boxes are shaped like coffins. Finding the right person can be so hard that often, when a person finally finds someone she or he is comfortable with, she or he just makes it work. As my friend Vanessa says, 'It's not whom you love; it's that you love.'”