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Author Topic: The times, they are a changin'  (Read 4722 times)

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Offline aztecan

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The times, they are a changin'
« on: January 22, 2007, 10:47:32 AM »
After reading through Bears "Gay Joke" thread, I had a thought pop into my head.

I know many of the members here are not gay.

Having said that, I am. Or, at least, I was.

With the general acceptance, at least overtly, of gay people, the lines of separation have blurred. In some cases, they seem to have disappeared altogether.

I know, this is probably a good thing. Well, I hope it is. I'm still not sold on it nor convinced it is a permanent situation. It has happened in the past and the pendulum always swings back.

But I also feel a sense of loss. I can't identify with "Will and Grace," or "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." I also had a love-hate relationship with "Queer as Folk."

I guess I am a "Tales of the City" kinda guy.

Therein lies my sense of loss. I don't feel the sense of community I used to, let alone the shared experiences of many of my generation.

Part of this could be because most of my generation is dead. But part is also a result of the changes in society.

I miss the days of hankie codes, our own language, being called "Mary," although at the time it annoyed me.

I miss the San Francisco clone look. Of course, I also miss looking good wearing the San Francisco clone look.

I guess I just miss feeling out of the ordinary, not part of the norm.

Maybe its just my mid-life crisis setting in - again. (The last time, I bought a Miata!  :o )

Oh well,  there are more important things to think about these days: Cholesterol, colonoscopies, arthritis.

Besides, its time for scrambled tofu and millet loaf toast.

HUGS,

Mark

"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline J.R.E.

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 10:58:55 AM »
But I also feel a sense of loss. I can't identify with "Will and Grace," or "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." I also had a love-hate relationship with "Queer as Folk."



HUGS,

Mark





Your not alone on those thoughts. I have a difficult time with that also.


ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 6/4/14,  t-cells are at 423, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 13% 

  
 62 years young.

Offline ademas

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2007, 11:04:01 AM »
Yep, I miss those days, too.
Not to mention that it's shot my gaydar all to hell...

Offline David_CA

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2007, 12:01:31 PM »

Therein lies my sense of loss. I don't feel the sense of community I used to, let alone the shared experiences of many of my generation.


I don't think I've ever really had much of a sense of 'gay community'.  I was married for 9 years, and, although I had occasionally had sex with guys, that didn't make me 'gay'.  The ex- and I had many gay friends, but generally, they were straight.  D and I still have mostly straight friends (there are more straights, after all) and are alright with that.  Maybe it has to do with where we live; it's a medium sized city with a decent gay population, but it seems to be more segregated by age than anything.  It's not what I'd call a 'gay community'.

I guess the 'sense of gay community' I have is from going camping with all (99.9%, anyway) gay guys.  There, we get called all those old names: Mary, 'mo, etc.  If you want to wear leather with privates hanging out, go for it.  I see an occasional hanky.  Many just decide to wear nothing at all.   Anything is cool, as long as nobody is harmed.  It's like a small gay society where I actually feel comfortable being gay.  At the campground, I am much more relaxed and open, and can really feel the difference after a few days of being there and returning home.  I think that's why us 'discovering' camping at a gay campground has made such an impact on me.

I'm not unhappy at work or anywhere, really.  Honestly, though, I am probably happier when we're camping and I can truly relax and be me.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
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05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
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06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
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01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
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Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2007, 12:04:09 PM »
Honestly, though, I am probably happier when we're camping and I can truly relax and be me.

David

honey - you're a happy camper!  ;D

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2007, 12:08:37 PM »
I'm in the Gen X grouping that came right after the SF clones, but pre- the current Internet Generation.  I know this line of thinking because I think it myself with the current generation of gay folks.  But then every generation it changes so none of it is surprising.  I'm quite content in the knowledge that my generation was more fabulous than what came before or came after!  ha ha... and I still enjoy saying "girl" though amusingly it began by my clique making fun of queens who said "girl" and "queen" and then we just actually started saying it.  Sad, isn't it?
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline bear60

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 05:16:55 PM »
I try to make my everyday world as gay as possible.....David.  So I dont HAVE to go away on vacation to get that feeling of elation one gets when around others of our kind.  But....I know living in a fairly large city helps.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 05:34:58 PM »
If I might be allowed to defend my generation...  ;)

I think this very well might be the Brave New World... people my age are infinitely more accepting of queer-ness in all its forms and I only expect it to get more and more liberal as time goes on.

I mean, when I went to high school... from 1996-2000, it would have been paramount to putting a "Never Stop Kicking Me" sign on your back to come out in high school.  Just a few years later, I start hearing about these kids who came out in 9th grade, and no one really gave a crap.  In semi-rural Virginia! 

The ghetto mentality will become less necessary... and I think it's a good thing.  I really don't see any inherent value to spending all of one's time with people from your group.  It's just like people who discriminate against us, but in reverse.

My friends are a pretty decent mix of sexualities, and all of us think it's really cool.  We don't watch Will and Grace or Queer as Folk... mostly because we don't need to.  Gay bars don't serve the function for us that they did in the past... I'm just as likely to find a couple gay guys in the hardcore punk bars here in Richmond as I am to find a couple hardcore kids in the gay bars.

We're much more relaxed about it... and I think that the need for a distinct gay culture is disappearing. 

You guys had a cooler gay culture back then than what exists now anyway, I think.  We have a bunch of crap... so I'm not sorry to see it go.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline bear60

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2007, 05:46:14 PM »
aupoint....I truly hope you are right. But I hear Mouse talking about how he is going to be home-schooled because he is harrassed at school.  I know, its better in general....I mean "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" pretty much blew me away in terms of how accepting a network would be to a show with actual GAY people on it...not just guys who were " acting " as gay guys.... but the real thing.
I grew up  in the era when gay guys played straigt....Rock Hudson...who acted in a film where he was pretending to be gay. Hence the ....gay guy playing a straight guy playing a gay guy.  Everyone was underground or under cover or passing for....lol...
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2007, 05:50:27 PM »
I know... and I know there's still a lot that needs to change... but the difference between 2007 and 1997 kind of boggle my mind... just how much has changed.

It was a huge deal when Ellen came out on TV 10 years ago... now, it's "so ten years ago" to do something like that.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2007, 06:04:22 PM »
I'm not sorry to see it go either. When I went to high school there was one "known homosexual" guy. People didn't really make fun of him because he was perceived as almost dangerous. He wasn't allowed to go into the boys locker room and had to dress out in the coaches office. It would be analogous to if everyone knew the guy was a registered sex offender. He hung out only with girls because no guys would be seen talking to him. Unfortunately before I knew who he was he read me for gay and then started pursuing me, which made my freshman year hell. He killed himself my sophomore year.

Then of course there were the people who were entrapped by police and had their names and addresses publish in the paper for cruising. When you live in a small town if there is a gay bar and you go to it everyone one will know. So you pursue other avenues. The first time I set foot into a gay bar in Asheville, where I grew up, my younger brother, who I was not out to, was told within 24 hours. My parents were furious. I ended up threatening to kill the gay guy who outed me and he recanted his story.

I'm glad that now in the US people have more of an opportunity to be whomever they want to be.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2007, 06:45:10 PM »
So once your school made this guy a 1st class pariah and he off'd himself how did they react?

Oh, and there were ALWAYS gay in hardcore punk clubs.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2007, 08:36:57 PM »
I don't know... I really appreciate staight people who treat my relationships with respect.  I also really appreciate those straight guys who experiment and still talk to you afterwards.  I appreciate the fact that I am not as gay as I thought I was and can get rock hard having sex with a woman... something I had forgotten about.  I also appreciate the fact that I don't have to live by rules ... because being gay is as much of a prison as being straight.   I mean, I AM gay and am comfortable saying that... but I am also American... and I love Japanese food.  I love the ambiguity of "these days"
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline lydgate

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2007, 09:34:03 PM »
Random thoughts:

Assimilation vs. Separatism -- an old old debate. Many radicals believe, even today I suppose, that the price of assimilation and integration is too high. The loss of a distinctive subculture. The uniqueness of that gay subculture contributing something new and profound to society.

"The freedom to be as boring as everyone else" -- the so-called victory point of the gay rights movement?

"Being gay is just one part of who I am, it doesn't define me completely." True enough, of course. But how many times have I heard that from young gay men, or read it on internet profiles? Thousands of times, tens of thousands? It's a new badge, almost; the One Thing That Must Be Said.

At 15, at 20, at 25, and even at 30... I would have fought ferociously with anyone who suggested I move to a so-called "gay ghetto" (Chelsea, West Hollywood, Boystown etc). But at close to 35? Not so sure. Sometimes these days I find it fatiguing just to be around most straight people. Perhaps simply a function of my current location; rather, sense of dislocation.

The ambiguity and fluidity of "these days" is something I'm glad for too. And the term "queer" as an alternative to other labels. But some days I find "queer" to be a profoundly irritating word. And the fluid ambiguity REALLY tiresome. And I long for the rigidity of the 70s, the old days (when I was just a little kid). Labels and codes for everyone!

Even as an American gay subculture is dead, or might be dying (depends who you ask), many other vibrant "scenes" are being born in many countries round the world. The beginnings of a gay rights movements -- nascent, shaky, but oh-so-optimistic. I know a thing or two about this.

One of the reasons I glamorize NYC or SF in the 70s -- post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS -- is cuz being a fag then meant something differently complex. You could be an activist as well as a hedonist. Read Genet for the beauty of his prose and still jerk off to it. Go the opera in the evening and then go the Manshaft and be fucked by 20 guys. This kind complexity I find mostly missing today. And so the quote below:

Edmund White, referring to new gay writers: "These newcomers are unknown even to most gay men, who are too busy going to the gym and cruising on the Net to read. Whereas being cultured was once the entrance fee for being gay, now the gay community has dumbed down like the rest of the population."

And, as Mark said, the pendulum has been known to swing back. Oh, I'm NOT being an alarmist and suggesting that the tremendous advances in social acceptance made over the last few decades are going to be wiped away. But: there are still hundreds, perhaps thousands of hate crimes against gays and lesbians. (I was a victim of two of them in 2006: a broken wrist and a scarred scalp and face.) The suicide rate for gays and lesbian youth is still three times the national average. The Christian Right is not an enemy -- I use the word carefully -- to be underestimated or taken lightly. Plenty of reasons to celebrate, but none for complacency.

And now I'm going to post something really slutty on one of the sex threads.  :)

Jay



Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2007, 09:54:16 PM »
Lydgate,

I really do like you... so please don't construe this as an attack on you in any way.

But I think that the culture you're celebrating was one that sounds like it was incredibly elitist, exclusionary, and bourgeois.  Who had the luxury of free time now, or in the 70s, of reading and whacking off to Genet?  Homos with money.  Who had the luxury of an education to even begin to appreciate opera and then to spend an evening in the bathhouses?  Homos with money.  Who had the means to move to a large city and then stay there?  Homos with money.

Was it the dominant experience for gay people around the country?  No.

Personally, I like the democratization of the culture... yes, part of it is the freedom to be as boring as everybody else, there isn't as much radicalism... but maybe that's not what we need anymore... everybody else is on a much more level playing field now.  I am so sick of this Cold War us vs. them mentality vis-a-vis straight people.  Like we're NATO and they're the Warsaw Pact.  That might have been how it was done then, but not now... and you're right... a hell of a lot still needs to change.  But it's gonna come from these people out everywhere else... people like you, actually... and not some gay guys living in the Castro, or Le Village, or Chelsea.

I think the ghettos are a relic of a time and place that are long gone... this is the new reality now... the effing Internet.  And I'd much rather have this... now... in 2007... where I can essentially go most places in the Western world without too much fear of harassment... instead of 1977 and hear tantalizing tales of a few blocks in New York or San Francisco where no one cares that you're gay.

Yeah, everybody's in on it now, which means it's not special.  But that also means that nobody cares anymore... and when it comes to my sexuality... I'd rather people ignore it because it is, in fact, boring.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2007, 10:08:49 PM »
very well said, aupointe
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

Offline lydgate

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2007, 10:34:59 PM »
Benj, I'm agreeing with you by and large, believe it or not. No attack detected, of course, and no need to preface disagreements with that disclaimer, where I'm concerned.  :)

The spirit of my post is a kind of hypothetical-and-contrarian nostalgia. (There's a mouthful.) As for the point about homos with money -- point well-taken, but with lots of caveats. It's more complicated than what you've said -- or what I've said. We both know that, I think. But a thread on "the history of gay culture and the gay experience" would make for dreary reading and would be hijacking the intent of Mark's original post.

I don't want '77 back or '87 or '97 back, hell no. Very happy that it's 2007. But no harm in missing them (past years), a little, from time to time.

Times have changed: once upon a time, I used to rent every gay-themed movie ever released; or go a gay/lesbian film festivals. But most of them are soooooo bad. Like most movies made (yep, happily elitist on that score). So, about three years ago, I weaned myself off that habit. Just didn't need to see them anymore (in the way that I needed to see My Beautiful Laundrette, say, at 16).

Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2007, 10:44:39 PM »
You are, of course, right.

In 2030, I'll probably be complaining about how much I miss electroclash... and the feeling of community that came from jointly getting busted in a bathroom with cocaine with friends... or how much we enjoyed flat ironing hair together... or how much we loved the fact that our noses could bleed on the subway, and we felt like rockstars.

When, in fact, there was a lot more than that... and a lot of it was crap.

Aahhh... nostalgia... it should be illegal.   ;)

And "But I'm A Cheerleader" isn't a bad gay movie.  It has Mink Stole in it.
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2007, 11:05:30 PM »
Everyone's dumping doggie doodoo on aupoint's generation and for this I applaud you.

ps:  electroclash was so tired, and so is Larry Tee though I guess I'll have to accept some blame for that one since he's my age!
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline lydgate

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2007, 11:33:39 PM »
A book I enjoyed last year:

James McCourt, Queer Street: The Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985: Excursions in the Life of the Mind.
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2007, 01:15:40 AM »
So once your school made this guy a 1st class pariah and he off'd himself how did they react?

I remember them announcing it when he killed himself but I don't remember there being much of a reaction.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2007, 01:41:58 AM »
That's horribly sad.  The school sounds complicit in his suicide segregating him like that in a locker room.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline poet

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2007, 07:23:26 AM »
Let me not argue, but perhaps clarify?  Those of us who were actively gay, meaning pro-gay, marching, not parading, pushing the face of gay on NYC were, in my group, in the arts.  I grew up right behind Ed White and 'Andrew Holleran' in the time of David Leavitt (the 1980's).  We could read and we did read our history through their fiction because, for one thing, it cost little to do so.  Paperbacks were cheap then.  Second hand books were sold then.  And we all knew each other (as you can see from the Violet Quill letters) so we could mail (pre-internet of course) our stories and poems to each other.  We could as anyone can still do attend the opera by standing in the back.  And bathhouses cost perhaps $10.00 by 'session' with no membership required in those days.  And drinks were cheaper.  So for those of us in the arts who weren't making any money, any real money, this was how we lived.  Even today, you can live in NYC much cheaper than you can here on the Cape.  NYC always has options, ways of living, places to live in IF you put your need to be in NYC ahead of how you live in NYC.  How do you spell East Village/Alphabet City?

What happened in NYC, however, is two things: 1) the gay men who created the gay oasis of the West Village died from AIDS; 2) gay men (rarely women) began to make incredible amounts of money in the jobs and bought Chelsea, pushing out the Latinos who had lived there previously.  So what we now see in Chelsea, the gay paradise for some was, in this case, bought via money.  Those without money could visit, but had to live in the East Village or Hell's Kitchen/Clinton. 

I absolutely agree that we have two things going on in America.  We have areas of sexual fluidity where someone can come out and it's like nothing happened.  We also, still, have Wyoming situations, Laramie, states, towns, schools where being gay is not welcomed.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline aztecan

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2007, 08:21:34 AM »
There have been quite a few interesting points of view expressed regarding this.

Sorry if I sounded maudlin, but there are times when isolation creeps in and the pangs of loss become sharper.

My ex, who will be 71 this July, often told me of days in pre-Stonewall Los Angeles when gay bars were raided and people were jailed for merely holding hands or dancing together.

Things have come a long way since 1967. They have come a long way since 1977, during my heyday and my oh-so-wild youth.

Are things better today? I think arguments could be made for or against.

Once, I received a birthday card, a Gay birthday card, mind you, that described the four stages of Gay life.

1. Experimentation
2. Clone everything
3. Desperately trying to look 29
4. Tired Old Queen

I think what I lament, as I segue from 3 to 4, is what I had anticipated to be my golden years spent among my comrades will instead be spent isolated from a fluid society of which I'm not a part.
Again, I'm sounding maudlin and I really don't mean to be.

I guess living with golden memories is better than never having made them in the first place.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 08:23:34 AM by aztecan »
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Offline J.R.E.

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2007, 08:29:17 AM »

My ex, who will be 71 this July, often told me of days in pre-Stonewall Los Angeles when gay bars were raided and people were jailed for merely holding hands or dancing together.




I remember a bar in Buffalo, that was like that. You couldn't hold holds...forget dancing, and that was 1970 !!

Some of the bars in Niagara Falls constantly had their windows busted out by passing cars !! I almost got hit by a brick one night, that was in 73.


Ray
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Offline aztecan

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2007, 08:46:12 AM »
Hey Ray,
I remember instances like that as well.

One night, when leaving one of the three gay bars in Albuquerque, I was jumped and had my chest slashed open with a broken bottle. I refused medical attention because I was too fearful of "my secret" getting out.

That was 1977.

I also was shot at when leaving this same bar about a year later. They were lousy shots.

In the late 80s, a friend was jumped leaving a bar, also in Albuquerque. I stepped in and managed to take a .38 automatic away from one of the assailants. They jumped, literally, back into their car at that point and took off.

No cops were ever involved in any of these events. We took care of our own. I guess is someone had been shot, we would have had to call the not-terribly-sympathetic cops.

Those were great and terrible days. Maybe that's why I still miss them.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline J.R.E.

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2007, 08:59:56 AM »
Hey Ray,
I remember instances like that as well.


I also was shot at when leaving this same bar about a year later. They were lousy shots.





I am also very familiar with that. One learned after a while not to sit at the bar where you can view the street. Never knew if someone would shoot at you. It happened...


Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 6/4/14,  t-cells are at 423, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 13% 

  
 62 years young.

Offline David_CA

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2007, 09:17:36 AM »
Mark,
It almost sounds like a combination of age and homo/hetero isolation.  Some gays and lesbians have kids, obviously, but not nearly as often as straight folks.  So, as our friends move, die, whatever, who do we have?  We have new friends, but we don't have the continuation of the family like those with kids do.  I'm certainly not knocking what some younger members have said.  I can see where you're coming from.  As our (hubby's and my) straight friends marry, have kids, etc, they tend to be more family oriented, and who can blame them.  I know that I don't see our straight friends as often as before since they've had kids.

I'd also like to say that things might be a bit better than 20 years ago, but we have so far to go towards acceptance that  I'd hardly say it's 'safe' to be gay in most places in the US.  How many smaller, or even larger, cities can a gay couple walk down the street holding hands?  Why is a movie about a relationship with two guys such a big deal?  Why are states constantly battling same-sex marriage or unions?  We still have a long way to go.

In a sense we (gays) ARE different in that our family situations are often so unlike those of straights.  I know a lot of gays that cannot talk about their partners with their families.  I have a good friend who spends holidays with his family and his partner of almost 9 years spends them with his family.  I know this doesn't apply to all gays, but I do know that this is not what most straight families do.  It's like we almost create our own families consisting of very close friends.  I guess that's why I enjoy my gay 'family' at the campground so much (although my real family is very accepting of my having a husband and includes him in family events). 

Anyway, I suppose all this is just part of being different, of being gay.
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Offline aztecan

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2007, 09:56:56 AM »
Hey David,

It probably is a combination of age and homo/hetero isolation. It simply isn't what I had invisioned.

I'm not knocking what the kids have today either, although I do wonder what they will find their lives like in 30 years.

I have been admonished by friends to move back to a city - any city - where there is still some semblance of a gay ghetto.

They say I am too isolated here in the hinterland. Unlike you and D, I don't have the "camping" to rely on for release - at least not yet.

Last year's trip to Montreal was like a breath of fresh air for me, simply because I was in a place I felt I could belong. I hadn't felt that much in recent years.

That's my own fault and, its something I must address.

I hear there is a group in Durango that is hosting camping and other events. I think I will check them out and see what's what. Who knows, I might end up naked in the woods!  :o

Even if I don't, at least I could air out the tent that has languished since the group I used to camp with disintegrated.

HUGS,

Mark

"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2007, 10:04:07 AM »
ha!  I just google-map'd where you live and you ARE out in the boonies.  I'd say you might be complaining if you were straight, but that's just me.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline woodshere

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2007, 10:36:50 AM »
As much as times change they stay the same.  When I came out you went to the bar and a cool song would come on, the dance floor would be packed and everyone would pull out and share their little brown bottle.  Basically the same now, dance floor packed with people doing who knows what.  If you wanted a quickie you found a park, rest stop or bookstore had your fun and went on.  Now you hop on the web and search for your "mate" have your fun and then move on. Young gay men in rural America still want to move to the city where they can be gay and if they can't move at least visit as often as possible.  The days of clones are not different just the fashions. Ghettos are still around, they are the tree lined streets where 70% of the households are same sex couples and the others are the most liberal people in the city.

And in some places things haven't changed at all.  Being gay is still looked upon as being perverted.  Last fall a gay man and huge supporter of gay rights was murdered in his home.   And of course let's not forget the millions who push for marriage amendments.

I think as we age, mature, grow old...you choose the word.....we get a sense of nostalgia. Sometimes, I would love to experience those days again.  However I think I prefer to be in the here and now and wonder what changes are on the horizon.

Woods
« Last Edit: January 23, 2007, 10:43:25 AM by woodshere »
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Offline poet

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2007, 11:21:43 AM »
Should I have been surprised that the Club event I went to, in the late 1990's, was called 1984, that the music and decor were all from that 'year,' and that the guys who were barely legal to drink all knew the lyrics? :)  Mark, I could see you spending some time in the 'other' world of gay NYC, the pockets of the West Village such as Julius' where the men who have gathered are the same ones who have gathered since the beginning of time... and perhaps, not having been back in awhile, Fedora or her descendants, will still be cooking at the restaurant by that name, the food of which is below school food, but the setting, tables for two along the wall, the offer of a 'light,' or a cigarette held up for the light, has more meaning than words, which were not allowed, could express.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2007, 11:34:18 AM »
Julius's used to make GREAT cheeseburgers... we younginz used to pop in there just for that but most people were highly ignorant of their superiority.  Geez... I've not gone in there in ages but I'll assume the grill feature is still present.  Last time I walked by the plethora of meth addled white hustlers made me scurry... messy.

extra credit:  featured in opening credits of "Boys In the Band" which STILL hasn't come out on DVD
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2007, 11:57:19 AM »
No cops were ever involved in any of these events.

Wow. But that incident seemed so violent - Y'know, with a GUN and everything  :-\ Wow

Offline poet

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2007, 12:32:29 PM »
But guns have fired in our lifetime in NYC along the Westside highway. :(  To philly, yes, Julius' was known for his hamburgers and cheeseburgers (made from scratch), it's potato salad (ditto) which they replaced with french fries for at least at time after a 'renovation:' the walls were literally falling in/collapsing.  It was, however, restored (known as the Elephant's graveyard to some) with the same banquets with the carvings of male love and dates as well as the wall and ceiling messages and photographs of the famous visitors.  I don't know about Leonard Bernstein, but a well known, now deceased, Romantic pianist used to leave his wife for a place at the bar. 

The hustler problem dates to the ownership of Freddy who also owned The Ninth Circle before it went back to being a restaurant.  He would bring them in.  When he left, the bartenders would chase them out.  Back would come Freddy and so the hustlers.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2007, 12:39:19 PM »
Ah right... the Ninth Circle.  When I first moved to NYC in the late 80's someone pointed to it and told me if I ever was hard up for money to pay my Con Edison bill that was the place to go.  That or Rounds of course... Rounds was so legendary!  I only went a couple of times before it closed.  Glad I got some time in before the Disneyfication of the city... tragic!
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2007, 12:43:41 PM »
LOL Rounds and the Townhouse

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2007, 12:46:08 PM »
lawl... definitely girl

Did ANYONE here ever venture out to the legendary Magic Touch in Queens?  That was the real deal.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline poet

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2007, 05:35:22 PM »
No wonder New Yorkers have a reputation... even former New Yorkers for hogging things: sorry Mark!  Yes, the Townhouse organisation, as it calls itself, owns the Eastside Club, Westside Club bathhouses as well as a string of bars and restaurants (for which I once did consulting work :).  I 'worked' the Townhouse to my amusement with a group of new escorts so I could train them in the art of hustling. I remember Rounds from my roommate's working there, in translation finding boyfriends who could offer better opportunities than working at Bergdorf's. 

I commented directly to Mark that perhaps male sex workers, given how gay life has changed with the recreation of Chelsea, NYC, are the ones walking his four stages: 1. Experimentation (Having mastered having sex, but with bills to pay, one discovers that not only can one drag home boys easily, but one can be taken home by both younger and older men and find cash, discreetly, the next morning.)  2. Clone everything  (The 'trick' of working is the ability to blend in, to be able to dress up for those special dinners one then gets invited to attend as well as to dress down as needed.  Or rephrased, the ability to pass through a hotel lobby in which every staff member would get why you are there providing guest services, but since you don't stick out in a bad way, are allowed, perhaps encouraged, to make the guest happy.)  3. Desperately trying to look 29  (Ah, make that much younger and keep the lights low, very, very low.  Or be prepared to adjust your fee downwards.  The biggest challenges are that some johns only want one experience with someone and then it's off to the next new tidbit to chew on and over; the lower income johns grab onto one 'boy' and hold on for dear life.)  4. Tired Old Queen  (At some point, every ex-porn star, ex-escort reaches the point of paying for the same.) Win




Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2007, 05:40:28 PM »
goodness... I'm taking notes!
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Offline lydgate

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2007, 05:44:24 PM »
Philly, minor complaint: As much as I enjoy reading brief posts about NYC nightclubs in the 80s and 90s (and I'm not being sarcastic, I really do), this is the fifth or sixth thread in which the the discussion of the original post sorta fizzles into reminiscences of the Magic Touch or the Ninth Circle or whatever. Pretty cool, in its own way, but could we have a separate thread for all those memories? (I remember, offhand, another thread started by Joseph/Strayboy, that became all about The Monster.)

I'm hardly "attacking" all digressions; and the change in the nightclub scene is probably more relevant here than in other threads. But sometimes a lot of straying makes it harder for new readers of the thread (or even old ones) to respond. Just sayin.

Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2007, 05:54:47 PM »
*noted*

bad tendency on my part... these digressions, but hey someone else mentioned Julians first
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Offline poet

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2007, 06:16:14 PM »
Guilty.  Point well made as usual, Jay.  My excuse is that I am in a creative muddle, trying, on the one hand, to come up with an equivalent for these forums so I can write about them, getting a hint of gay life past which, because of my age, gets the creative juices flowing back to those times and how 'we' all (White, Holleran, Leavitt, etc.) tried to nail them in words and then, no longer living in Chelsea, finding my mind going back and forth between decades and locations in the hope of finding an equivalent for Mark's purpose here, where might the past still be preserved?  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline texasguy

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2007, 08:47:18 PM »
Mark's thread is certainly familiar to me.  I've spent the last 21 years in the "gay ghetto" here in Dallas, and if this city is typical of other large cities in the U.S., the 'hood is rapidly disappearing.  The rents/home prices are outrageously expensive, far too much for anyone I know to afford.  So over the last few years we have scattered all over the city.  I was one of the last holdouts, but even I had to go last fall.  There are hundreds of gay groups here on every conceivable interest, which is great, but I can't help but feel that in all this something has indeed been "lost". 

My best friend for these 21 years passed away Christmas day.  He was 66 and I'm 46.  We had this very conversation numerous times over the years.  Having lost all of his close friends to AIDS in the 80's, he could be a bit harsh on the younger generation, feeling that perhaps they did not fully appreciate what had come before.  I would defend the youth and it was always a lively discussion.   I will say that for those of us in our mid forties that have always lived in urban areas, this can be a challenging time.  I really should make some younger gay friends, but I find myself holding back from initiating conversations when at clubs.  I guess that's my insecurity of thinking that they're going to think I"m some old queen trying to pick them up, rather than being genuinely interested in their generational viewpoint.

My two cents anyway .....
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Offline Mouse

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2007, 02:00:15 AM »
My best friend (at the time) came out before I did our freshman year of highschool. She kind of gave me the courage to do so because I saw that no one was giving her a hard time about it, she was very openly giving her girlfriend little kisses on the cheek and stuff or whatever so I figured that my school was cool with it and it wasn't a big deal.

But, apparently, I'm a guy so it was. Apparently girls can be sexually fluid and no one gives a shit.

I'm slightly bitter.

I seem to only hang out with other gays. I can't think of one straight friend of mine off the top of my head which is really kind of scary. Before I left my highschool, we all ate together at lunch - either smooshed together at one table or we'd eat in a teacher's room (we have an openly gay english teacher in our school and she is really kickass). My sophomore year I found my friend Mikey, who everyone was utterly TERRIFIED of. He is this enormous, 6'3", thick punkgothwhatever guy and you'd be utterly stupid if you decided to fuck with him. And he is gay. I met him in my art 2 class (who would've thought?) and he kind of protected me that entire year. He ate lunch with me and walked around the hallway with me and threatened kids on a number of occasions if they tried to mess with me and eventually everyone got the idea.

We were never interested in each other he just kind of took me under his wing or something like that. Unfortunately he was a senior, so he left last year and this year I was utterly alone again and I wasn't on good terms with a number of people in my 'group' because of dating mishaps and shit. And with Mikey gone everyone decided it was okay to fuck with me really badly again.

Outside of school, I seem to exist only in this almost cultish like gay circle of like 15 to 20 year olds. I go to this gay youth group every Wednesday and if we're not there, we're elsewhere. Together. In packs. I feel almost like we're this pack of wolves that nobody really wants around. We really only hang out with each other and associate with the outside world as little as possible.

Healthy? Probably not. Safer? Yeah.

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2007, 02:24:31 AM »
I have been almost completely assimilated into suburbia. Currently my only gay friend who I talk to regularly lives in Los Angeles. The people who my partner and I hang out with are straight people with kids. For some reason the gay friends we've had in Greensboro don't stick around. Frankly this has a lot to do with my partner, who has always refused to participate in anything "gay". In 14 years I've managed to get him to go to a gay bar 3 times, each times with bad results. I occasionally play volleyball over the summer at a gay bar and sometimes I go out without my partner. I would like to go on a gay cruise or go to a gay outdoors group or a bear event. I do wish my partner was more open to gay culture but he's not going to change.

Offline Robert

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2007, 02:33:40 AM »
I was talking to Alex the other night and I mentioned to him how I was glad internet dating was not around back in the 70's and 80's. Had it been, I probably wouldn't be around today....too much anonymous sex.

When I first came out in Sacramento, we had 2 gay bars. The Underpass catered to everyone, leather, crossdressers, Castro clones etc. You might score in the bar. If not, then maybe outside when the bar closed. Your third and final chance was the dirty bookstore down the street. (That was always my favorite) Of course, if it's a beautiful fall afternoon, you go down to the park by the river. This is how I met my first boyfriend.  

We didn't have the internet. We didn't have 800 numbers. We didn't have raves. Last call was it. IT was primarily bars, bookstores, parks and bathhouses. Oh yeah and early Saturday/Sunday morning if you went downtown you could always find someone just walking around. You made a lot of friends that way.  

I'm like Mark now. After Sacramento I moved to SF and put in 20 years. NOW I'm living in a small farming town in N. California. Not many people here to talk to about my salad days.

robert

robert
..........

Offline bear60

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Re: The times, they are a changin'
« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2007, 09:48:58 AM »
Mouse said..."Outside of school, I seem to exist only in this almost cultish like gay circle of like 15 to 20 year olds. I go to this gay youth group every Wednesday and if we're not there, we're elsewhere. Together. In packs. I feel almost like we're this pack of wolves that nobody really wants around. We really only hang out with each other and associate with the outside world as little as possible."
....
Intrestingly enough that pretty much describes my life today.  Only difference is that when I was Mouse's age ......High School...the WORD ...GAY...was never even uttered.  Never.  No discussion about the subject of being gay.  Gay people did not exist.  It wasnt until I was 28 to 30 ...after the GAY LIBERATION FRONT  was formed that I began to have gay friends.   So, until I was 30 I had no gay role models, no gay therapist, no gay anything.  It was like living in a vacuum. Very lonely.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

 


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