When did it all change???
Cue the Music, smoke the room, Deborah Cox is in da house!!!
Several people comment that the gay community has changed. It has. I can remember how difficult it was to be gay when I was 21. Men were a dime a dozen and if you wanted to stake your claim, you had to play the games that the boys played. Back stabbing was a fine art in the gay community – as it has for as long as I can remember. The art of Catty Queens was something one learned from the finest drag queens in the show world. But the one thing they taught me was to stand up for myself and to be proud.
When at one point I was dating the man I was with at one time in my young life, he was a user and a cheat and an asshole. I fell for some real “hum dingers” as a young man. I didn’t know any better – but I learned as I went along. The best friends a young gay boy had were the drag queens he met, loved and knew. Carmella Marcella Garcia, Cheena Kelly, Ms. P and Jimmie Johnson, Toni Rose and Rusty Faucett, and Dana Manchester.
I was dating a man who was itchy. We had moved into a new apartment together and what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me right? Wrong! It was New Years Eve at the Parliament house, we rented the tux’s and reserved the tables, it was a six top in the show bar. Carmella and Ms. P and Jimmy were there. We were all getting sloshed. Midnight came around and my supposed boyfriend was MIA. Everyone got their kiss except me. So my friends went looking for him, and they found him in the disco against the side wall in the dark with his mouth fixed on his ex’s dick! They came to get me to witness the ultimate embarrassment. Needless to say, I didn’t go home that night. I spent the night at a friends house crying like an idiot.
The next day I went home to the apartment and it was EMPTY!
All the furniture was gone, the clothes and all were gone – moved out over night. I never saw that man again. Good riddance. So I knew what back stabbing was early on. My friends were young gay boys with ice water for blood. They did not think twice about sleeping with another’s boyfriend. Single men were a dime a dozen, but a couple involved was prime meat for the taking. And Monogamy and Honor were nowhere to be seen.
That stared the cavalcade of losers through my life. I was so stupid. But Nobody was there to say No, Don’t do this. I was a boy on a mission to find love, and SEX! I had one sexual buddy during those years whom I really loved. His name was Charlie. Charlie and I had sex whenever – but we weren’t a couple in the formal terms. That was the only good part of that period of my life. He would call and ask, Bottle or Blender? I knew then that sex was immanent. Daiquiri’s and Mary Poppins… Get drunk singing Chim Chim Cheree and then let’s get to the business at hand, it was fabulous.
Over the years I grew up, however slowly. I did not learn my lesson, until it was too late. My nine lives were drying up and I had that scarlet letter on my dress. Going out bar hopping was a business for those who poured the drink and those of us who paid big money for it – not to mention the money many spent on drugs as well. I could not be bothered by drugs because they were too expensive and I’d rather drink myself sick than to buy drugs, and also, my mother was a pharmacist and I knew her scorn.
When I moved to Ft. Lauderdale and met James and we cohabitated and he did what he did to me in cheating and lying then taking the easy route out by suicide, I was finished playing games. Todd kept me on a short leash, then I got sick. I started the death clock on July the 8th 1994 at 12 noon. I had 18 months to plan and wait for my death, which never came. Getting sober in a Gay Room of AA was a task. People were betting on my sobriety and that hurt me terribly. My sponsor helped me stay sober when the catty sober queens tried their best to get me to drink. At the end of the year I got my first medallion and I stood up there in front of them all and told the whole lot of them to fuck off and die.
When AIDS hit me personally and I got involved I saw the devastation that gay men could unleash on their own. I watched lovers of considerable time THROW their lovers and all their belongings onto the street and across the yards and change the locks after finding out their partners were sick. I watched families throw their sons out of the house and disown them. I watched employers punish sick men, fire them from their jobs. I watched civilized people become uncivilized. I watched friends turn their backs on us. It happened to me, so I do know from personal experience.
The only solace I found was inside the walls of The Stud and the family that Todd built, protected and cared for. After I was diagnosed and spent a long time getting used to my scarlet letter I was bar tending one night and this boy spent a a great deal of time at my bar drinking beer and chatting me up. This was my first contact after diagnosis. After my shift we went to the COPA and had some more alcohol and danced for a while. We then set off for his house in separate cars mind you. He was all over me trying to get my clothes off of me before we got into the front door. I was like, “Whoa man, I can’t move that fast and I was worried about sex at that point because of my scarlet letter.” I said I need to say something before we go any further, THAT was the biggest mistake. I told him what time it was and what I had.
I’ve never seen a man put his clothes on so fast before in my life. In the past it was that they couldn’t get undressed fast enough. This was fast forward in record time. He asked me to leave and he slammed the door in my face. I walked to my car and went home. I was devastated. THAT BOY continued to come to my bar and drink but he never looked at me nor did he ever speak to me again after that, even though I worked at that bar.
I told the story of my friends who left me on my own – the family who blindsided me with disgust and abhorrence. It was truly the most incredibly painful experience of my life. But Gay men, over the years, I have come to learn, are the first people to eat their own. When I lived in Miami, men were ruthless and arrogant. They were petty and petulant. If you did not have a buff body, or did designer drugs or drove a fancy car or partied with the fancy queens, then you were not worthy of even a conversation. I could not believe how hard it was to meet men.
I went to a POZ support group for a while on Miami Beach and that was a meat market. Everyone in the group slept with each other, and dated each other and fell out of love and would come to the group with the new conquest in front of their ex’s just to be spiteful. It was terrible. The only man I fell in love with there, his name was Steven. He was the man who would not marry me. He was self destructive and I wanted him terribly, alas, that never happened. He eventually would take me to the airport to come to Canada. We said goodbye that day and that was that.
When I was diagnosed sick gay men relied on other sick gay men for support and for life. There were very few healthy gay men who stuck around to help us. Although there were a few angels in my life, so for that I am grateful. I met a “few good men” during those years. Most of the care came from women because healthy gay men had to get on with the art of fine living with healthy boyfriends who didn’t have baggage – who could have sex without illness passing or baggage. It was perverted.
I slipped and slipped big, into a pit of hell that cost me everything that I owned and almost my life, had not an angel who knew where I was had not saved me from the hell I had fallen into. After my safe extrication with only what I could carry and thirty days in a safe house healing from the severe beating that I received from my ex, I went back to Miami in 2000. I drank until December of 2001 when I got sober a second time.
Troy took me to my first meeting of gay men on South Beach. I sat in the back of the room and not one gay man said one word to me except Troy. I stood there outside the room afterwards and not one gay man introduced themselves to me or asked me about my life, this spoke volumes to me. I waited outside that room for the next meeting and I met Fonda, who saw me there alone, she hugged me and asked me out for coffee and she took me to the next meeting at 10 p.m. That group became my home group. I got sober in a straight room of AA. I had no desire to be sober with gay men. They were spiteful when I drank and they were even more spiteful when they were trying to get sober.
When I worked at the tragic queendom, spite was rampant. Boys took their worst out on each other. Bar hopping alcoholic boys were evil. They did not think twice about taking what was yours or embarrassing you in front of others. It was demeaning. I never knew who to trust early on because gay boys were just evil. I had no street smarts like I said. I did not know what it was to be gay – I did not know it would be all out warfare for boyfriends and sex. Those early years on in my life were painful to say the least.
When I went to Pride at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center – it was safe. We were all gonna die and we knew it. So we loved hard and cared even harder. What we had we were grateful for. Who we had was terribly important. Pride meant more than a drug induced alcoholic inebriated circuit party. We upheld the memory of those at Stonewall and the sainted men who had died from AIDS over the last decade. Pride meant to Live, Pride meant to Support, Pride meant to Love unconditionally.
After I moved out of the states in 2002, I attended Pride here in Montreal a couple times, I was involved by the Winter of 2002 and we were both getting sober, so bar hopping was not something we did all the time, if ever. Because Peter got sick after the holidays and he was down for a year – so I was busy taking care of him day in and day out, night after night. But when we did get out our observations did not fail us. The events for pride centered around the “All Mighty Circuit Party” and who looked the prettiest.
I think the fact that we got sober together and we were building our lives together took us out of the main frame of gay life because we were becoming “other!” We had coupled and were waiting for that marriage legislation to ascend in Parliament so we could get married. I have one set of married friends. Our marriage set us apart. We went to Pride the year following our marriage to support gay marriage legislation with people in from other provinces who had gotten married as well. But our lives had changed so much since 2002 that Pride had become a spectacle. It was political and let’s face it, getting old has its disadvantages. We cannot compete with the pretty people any more, no matter how hard we try.
We also became academics. We both went back to school. So our gay community consisted of those we knew at school, friends and professors who mentored us both. Quitting the drink and the drugs, and then eventually cigarettes, life became distant from what we once were. Priorities changed. Life changed, shit happened… Shit that we were powerless to change.
We were going to a gay sober meeting here in the city on Friday nights. In 2003 it was just before Christmas and at this particular meeting there were a number of sick men who were POZ a hell of a lot longer than I was and I was dying to find out how they got there so I could fight to live and stay sober. I had tried to get into the HIV community here and I interviewed at several groups to work and get services, and they all turned me away nobody would hire me to work because they said I was uneducated and did not have experience in the HIV field? WTF??? I was like I’ve been poz almost 10 years now and you say I am unqualified??? Oh My Sweet Jesus…
One of the men who was on one of those groups board of directors used to come to that Friday night meeting and he was pissy, miserable and wanted to die. He used to tell us about his death wishes. That night I was besides myself. I got up and grabbed him by the throat and screamed at him “Shut the hell up. You wanna die, let me push you out this second story window or better yet give me your gun and I will shoot you myself, you miserable fuck!” We never went back to that meeting.
Peter’s sponsor and his lover went to that meeting as well. When he had his nervous breakdown and ended up flat on his back for that year, NOT ONE gay man, his sponsor or anyone else called us to check on him or offer us any kind of support or assistance. So you can tell that I have certain views of the gay community here in Montreal and why I am so judgmental.
I had one gay friend in this city who cared to help me, and outside the University community he remains my only gay friend in this god forsaken city.
When did things change? When we lost site of the prize. When love became disposable. When sickness became divisive. When the gay community turned its collective backs on those who were sick and suffering because you know “The Party Must Go On!” Unabated and without skipping a beat. Because there is alcohol to consume, drugs to push and sell and sex to be had until our nuts are blue and falling off…
Gay became material. Gay became designer kitsch. “Live fast, Die young and leave a good looking corpse.” If you aren’t pretty or you aren’t a PNP boy then don’t waste your time. The gift givers and bug chasers were having private parties trying to seek out disease intentionally. And now in Europe we read about GAY MEN with HIV are drugging, raping and INTENTIONALLY Infecting negative MEN to create a POZ sex community.
The morals of the gay community world wide has GONE TO HELL!!!
Designer duds, drugs, alcohol and beautiful buff men who can be catty, ridiculous and mean are the mainstay of the gay community. The community as a whole has fractured to the point of self destruction because we have lost our way. And the labels are killing us from the outside and we are killing each other from the inside. If the world does not do us in with religious intolerance and indignity and homophobia, we will all be dead in a generation because of immoral and stupid gay men and women in this lifetime. We would rather be discordant and differentiated and fractured rather than building bridges, loving each other and caring for one another like we should. If we don’t love ourselves, who will?
So let’s all bend over and kiss our proverbial asses goodbye. Because I don’t believe that we can maintain this life for very much longer. Gay rights is coming and going. All these gay folks in the U.S. want equal rights and marriage rights. SURE as SHIT!!
But we keep living this destructive life and gay men around the world are shooting themselves in the feet by doing such immoral and unforgivable acts of savagery to their own and the politicos of the U.S. are watching all this transpire. Gay men and women cannot find peace within their own community and we continue on this self destructive path, and YOU THINK that Gay rights and Marriage rights are going to pass across the U.S. like a knife through warm butter, THINK AGAIN….
Unless we begin to BEHAVE our way to Success there will be NO success…
If we cannot lead ourselves, how can we lead anyone else. And if we don’t or can’t take care of ourselves and each other, who is going to take care of us, when the world slams the door on us? NOBODY!!!
We need to get right,
We need to rise up,
We need to start in our own communities loving and caring for each other
We need to stop complaining and bitching about not having our cake and eating it too because the Gay Communities are, them, themselves responsible for what the nation thinks of them. You did it to yourself.
Do you want to be right OR Do you want to be happy? You cannot have your cake and eat it too and expect to get any farther. Something’s gotta give. Because if government has its way they will repeal rights back to the 1970’s and we will have another Anita Bryant fiasco. The religious right is trying to beat us into submission, we cannot allow that to happen. Grow Up and Get Up and Begin Building – not destroying any longer…