Utah 2

America is the most beautiful country.  Utah is my favorite state.

Utah 1

@cosmosgrouper

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Danny

RobertAdamKayci

Frank

I’m trying to write everything down but somehow the past few weeks have blurred into one long delicious adventure.

NYC and back again in the car.

Let me remember.

I drove east through death valley and this was the temperature:

Death Valley 118 Degrees

I drove through Utah during the day which was very wise.  Utah is very beautiful.  Devastatingly beautiful.

Emery Utah 2

You see.  I can’t find the words.

I stopped in Des Moines and enjoyed the state building and the wonderful contemporary sculpture park given to the community by John and Mary Pappajohn, a Des Moines venture capitalist and his wife.

I met a young hair dresser with blue hair.

Capital Building Des Moines

18 Year Old Des Moines Hairdresser

I stopped in Chicago and met a huge football player.

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I spent the 4th July in Chicago. The Fireworks terrified Dude, my little brown dog.

July 4th Boys

I arrived in NYC.  Just in time for the horrible heat wave.

It was so hot I had to leave the dogs inside the apartment during the day or risk them dying of heat exhaustion.

I sat uncomfortably in AA meetings.

I stayed on the upper west side.  A block from Central Park.

Central Park

We walked every day off leash at dawn around the Great Lawn.  We saw beautiful young men exercising.  We, being me and the dogs.

I explored Red Hook and saw a band at Dustin Yellin‘s place called Guerilla Toss.

Guerilla Toss

I met a beautiful man in the street and kissed him.

Sparky

Why was I there?

I had gone east to reclaim my gayness after months of feeling like an ex-gay.   Hanging onto the word queer as the only way to describe my isolation from the gays.

New York.

I spent my birthday at the cloisters with Richy.

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I read from my blog at a Lower East Side gallery and they paid me for doing so.

I met more interesting people on the street.

Michael 2

I helped a friend edit his movie.

Then, unable to stand the searing heat a moment longer, I drove to Sayville taking the first ferry to Fire Island.  The Pines.

I rented a small house on Cedar Walk but didn’t spend any time there at all.

From the moment I arrived I had one extraordinary experience after another.

Pines Domestic Life

I met cool people,  and coveted their things.

Beautiful FIP crockery

I was invited into their homes and onto their yachts, I met their friends and ate their food.  I returned their hospitality by paying for them as and when they would let me.

I walked to Cherry Grove where I had breakfast with John Walters.

I had dinner with Andy Tobias…

Andy Tobias

… in my favorite Fire Island Pines home.

My Favorite FIP House

Duncan Roy

I met a gang of charming gay men from NYC who were kind and considerate.

I spent time with all of them in the city once I returned.

This one is called Jon.

John Stevens Naked

As I let myself fall into the gay Fire Island days I began to remember how much fun being gay is.  Even if I was sober and a little bit older.

I walked the beach.

Fire Island Pines Beach

I had a huge old man crush on this beautiful boy:

Ian

Who worked here:

FIP Barman

I saw Justin Bond.

Justin Bond an Joan Fontein

I looked in at the house where we lived for so many years.

Grey Gardens FIP

And I met more men.

Blue Eyes

I spent time on my own.  I found an abandoned cock ring on the board walk.

Abandoned Cock Ring

I walked miles of boardwalks with the dogs who came home covered in tiny ticks.

Boardwalk Fire Island Pines

I finally met a beautiful man who left for India but lives in Paris who stole my head/heart.

I was so god damned happy.

The morning after the Pines Party I prepared to leave.

The Morning after the Pines Party

After ten days I took the ferry, then another ferry to Provincetown.

Provincetown Beach

I rented a small apartment on the beach and met more men.

Beautiful Man

I hung with my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis but the sparkle that used to exist between us has gone.

Benoit Denizet Lewis

We explored the graveyard.  We found Norman Mailer’s grave and a pretty headstone with a small dog carved into it.

Dog Grave

I ate a great deal but didn’t put on any weight as I walked so many miles every day.

I found this beautiful ceramic mirror frame:

Owl Mirror Frame Provincetown

I met more men.

Bulgarian Boat Boy

Eventually I drove back to New York and stayed with friends.  This is their view:

NYC View

I partied with Jeremy Kost…

…and his friend.

I had dinner with Dan at Mary’s Fish Camp.

Dan Hyman

I had dinner with Thom at my club on the roof by the pool:

Thom

I wore this chic watch:

Rolex

We worked on my film.

Franck in the office

Then, after another week in the city I took the car all the way home again.

I met a hitch hiker who travelled all the way to California.  His name is Albert.

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I stayed in The Lincoln Hotel in Chicago.

Bartender

Christian

I stayed in Denver.

Zach

I stayed in Utah.

We drove from Cedar City to LA in half a day.

We drove up the mountain in Malibu, up the drive and finally slept in our own bed.

It has been misty and cool.

Malibu Marine Layer

18 Year Old Des Moines Hairdresser

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Michael 2

 

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When your friends take time to ask what is wrong, what’s going on.

They offer considered advice. A theme emerges amongst your most trusted accomplices… one must take stock.

One must take the time to address the concerns of others.

It is obvious that I have been in a very dark and negative place for some time.

A place where paranoia, conspiracy and resentment take root like black, toxic mould blighting paradise.

The windows have been closed. The curtains dawn, the taps left dripping and the fire is on.

I withdraw. Excited to meet new people for the briefest moment. I only want a few old friends around me.

You must be very pleased with yourself that you caused all of this. Mining the weakness… manipulating me.

Then, when the dust settles, you tell everyone that I took advantage of you.

The irony must not be lost on you.

Let me describe what I see. how the light has gone. How the day is dim.

Last night I read my work in a small room. The jail story. It was well received. It was the first time since I wrote it that I had read it.

Evocative and startling. I had buried it. Exhuming it was a spiteful thing to do.

It’s my birthday tomorrow.

July 4th Boys

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I thought I might write about marriage equality today.  Marriage, fidelity and misogyny.  I may write about that tomorrow.  Instead, I’m going to post some boy pics, something from the garden and tell you all about meeting my long lost lesbian sister.

Yes.  My little sister has turned up.  Of course I knew about her.  I had been told about her.  Perhaps Natalie or Jessica or Rebecca told me… I can’t remember.  All the stories I heard about my father have melded into one.  From one sisters mouth.  All the stories about him spewed out of one mouth.  So, I knew about Roya and finally she revealed herself.

She has lived with her girl friend for the past three years.  She doesn’t drink much.  She can speak Farsi.  She came out when she was 11.  She has a sweet voice.  Her mother was a singer in one of the clubs my father owned.  She is perhaps the most forthcoming and inquisitive of all my siblings.  She doesn’t like being called a dyke.  She’s a lesbian.  She insisted that my brother James tidy our father’s grave and replace the headstone.  She told me that I had a small inheritance.  She told me that my father had mentioned me to her mother.  That was the sweetest gift of all.  That he spoke about me to someone he cared about.  That he remembered.

So all the other stuff, the gay marriage stuff that haunted yesterdays news… well, I had my own gay news and she was it.

Of course there was the usual vitriol about anyone who doesn’t agree with SCOTUS from the gays… and I took time to placate my rabid gay brethren and remind them that the way we treat the vanquished will determine our victory.

The day of the decision I took myself down to Weho with the dogs to watch the crowd.  Everyone looked very happy, quietly jubilant. Sort of fatigued. You know, after a fight is over.

Now what?  The war is won.  American gays will have to work out what it all means… this equality.   They have redefined marriage, will they redefine morals?  Will they mock the single man like straight people do?

For those of us who are single we enjoy the peace of mind that being single affords us.

I urge you not confuse single for lonely… or lonely for single.

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This morning, before dawn, I began wondering about the Supreme Court DOMA and Prop 8 outcome… as the sun rose over the mountain I considered how important the result seems to so many people.

Marriage Equality.  Something I had grown used to ignoring.  The idea.  The idea of getting married.  An alien notion.

Yet, many ordinary American people seem to really care very deeply that people like me can get married.

Gay men tell me, those most affected by DOMA… that they feel like second class citizens.  How is that so?  Will they feel like first class citizens now?  As we acquiesce into existing institutions.

I wondered about the justices.  Our elders.  Those making sweeping decrees about our lives in this litigious country.

Congress and the Senate hog tied by dogma, unable to make any sort of decision.

They announced on the morning news that DOMA was overturned.  Eight white people stood on the steps of the Suprem Court and held their hands up jubilantly… victoriously.   Melissa Etheridge said she was proud to be an American.   A white man said that this would change the lives of gay people ‘all over the world’.  Don Lemons took his camera crew into a gay bar.  “If you’ve never been inside a gay bar before, this is what it looks like.”  The cameras ambled in.  There were a few white lesbians in their mid fifties and a drag queen playing a piano.

I started ranting on Facebook and Twitter.

I said: ‘I’m remembering queer hero Bradley Manning. He will have to get married in jail. The issues of privacy, hegemony and cruelty remain. Monsanto et al can breathe a sigh of relief as this gay issue deflects attention from them. This may be a great day for lgbtq Americans… unless you are black or a woman. Those inequalities still remain.’

I quoted a friend from Arizona:  “I’ve felt second class or less than my straight contemporaries every day of my life growing up in the US. Guess you would have to have been born and raised here to understand Duncan”.

There seems to be a great deal riding on this DOMA decision.  Self Esteem, A First Class Life, Equality.

He was, however, the first person to confirm what I always feared.  That some gay men compare their lives to the lives of straight people and despair… they despair that they are not as valued as straight people.  It made me sad.

I knew in my heart that DOMA would be overturned.  “You’ve got to give them hope.”  Harvey Milk said.  This is the hope.  After a week of catastrophic decisions for those interested in civil rights:  the evisceration of voting rights, work place bullying condoned, Monsanto unchallenged.  It has been a catastrophic week in America for whistle blowers… for the truth… for the constitution. In Florida it’s a bad week for young black men gunned down for no good reason.

Today was a great day to be pink washed.

A great day to set aside your disappointments for a moment and celebrate.

So, I decided to listen to Keith Jarrett‘s Koln Concert and wrap up warm… I decided to make hot chocolate.

I was 15 when that album was released.

I sat on the terrace listening to the piano echo through the canyon.  I celebrated my single life.

I am not, any time soon, going to get married.  I am not, any time soon, going to propose to anyone.  I am not, any time soon, going to sweep another man off his feet.

Whilst so many around me are.

After a day of fury yesterday I feel much calmer today.

The great thing about anger management?  Legitimate anger.  I have good reason to be angry.

Yesterday was a very angry day.  The neighbors started building their un-permitted retaining walls at 6am.  They are meant to start at 7am.  This isn’t the first time I have been woken by them earlier than they are permitted.  I stood on the deck and screamed.  The white contractor called me an asshole.  I said, “This asshole is going to shit in your face.”  The Mexicans laughed.  The white guy looked horrified.  “Where’s your permit? ” I demanded.  They downed tools until 8am.

I drove to Venice.  I was knocked into by a young woman eager to get to the counter at GTA.  She apologized but it wasn’t good enough.  I said, “This is what’s wrong with your country, you’ll knock over anyone to get what you want.”

The perfectly revolting British Tara Summers arrived for lunch.  Her friend asked me to move my car.  I threw the keys at her and told her to move it herself.

My lunch arrived. Pork Belly sandwich.  I sat opposite a 30′s something guy in a suit with his 60′s something dad.  They were enjoying the day.  I prayed that they didn’t speak to me but they wanted to talk about the dogs.  I kept my answers short.  Then the personal questions came.  Where are you from?  What do you do? How long have you lived here?  So, knowing that I was not in the best mood to have any conversation I asked what he did here in LA.  He was a public prosecutor.

I couldn’t believe my luck.  There was the father and son, a young black man sitting on his own and me with the dogs in the court-yard eating our lunch.

I couldn’t help myself.  I asked if he knew the corrupt and rabid prosecutors I had to deal with.  He did not.

I told him that I knew a prosecutor called Todd R (now an entertainment lawyer) who would get blown by hookers at lunch time when he was prosecuting in court.  Leaving the courtroom to break the law.  Prosecuting others then breaking the law himself.

His father laughed.

I looked directly into the younger man’s eyes.  “Have you got morals?”  I asked him.

His father said, “I used to spank him.”

“You might have spanked him for not wanting to join the KKK.”  I said.  They laughed.  They thought I was joking.

The lawyer was intrigued.  “Why do you ask?’

“Because 80% of the prison population are black.”  I said.  “I wonder how you live with yourself.”

“How do you live with yourself when you know the jails have become mental hospitals nursed by sadists?”

Then I started a tirade that lasted a good five minutes.  I covered as much ground as I could, including work place discrimination and the essential difference between the rights of straight and gay people.  I asked him if he had ever considered the differences?  I asked him if he had ever considered anyone other than himself and his own needs?

I ended with, “I’ve been radicalized by your country.”   He looked taken aback, “Are you a Muslim?”   I smiled into his dumb, entitled face.  “No.  I’m queer. I am a radical queer.”

I met a boy on Grindr.  We had coffee.

I can’t remember where I went next but we all ended up (me, Lily and Chuck) in Duke’s eating $3 tacos.

There are so many straight people on our side.  There are lots who are not.

Remember gays and lesbians. We would not have won this battle without the help of others. People with no stake in this fight other than your happiness.

Now, go help those not so fortunate as they have helped you.

Painted Map

Written for Beige in the UK and published today.

My inaugural letter from America is sent at a time when American secrets and lies take center stage.

I’m staying in Petrolia, Northern California, eleven hours from my home in Los Angeles with Daisy Cockburn, the daughter of Emma Tennant and political journalist and contrarian Alexander Cockburn who sadly died last year.  I am writing at his desk overlooking his wild and beautiful garden.  Alexander Cockburn, like his friend Noam Chomsky, would have slammed the US government for the actions of the NSA recently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Whilst I am amused by the audacious lengths government will go to hold onto its own secrets while harvesting yours… he was not.  Like this present generation of internet babies… I have never valued secrets.  I am an open book. I have always believed that everything I am is yours.

Do you remember the biggest secret you had to keep?  You know, the queer secret?

When I realized I was different, that my sexual/social narrative did not correspond with those around me, I was baffled as to how I should make the difference known.  I was just a child.  I did not ‘come out of the closet’. I didn’t understand why I should make a big emotional announcement. I decided that I wouldn’t tell anyone. My actions would speak louder than words.  It was up to them, those around me, to frame the reveal. Not me.

It was obvious that being queer, telling people that I was queer during the 1970′s… was like letting off a bomb. It was an act of terrorism.  For some, it still is.  Holding my lover’s hand in the street… a rebellion.

So, instead of having a difficult conversation with my secular loved ones about my sexuality, I spoke openly about my same-sex desires, my plans and my heroes.  They looked askance but they got used to it… or else.  I was a teenage whistleblower.

There is nothing more honorable than being a whistleblower.

This month, two extraordinary whistleblowers are top of the news.  Queer hero Bradley Manning and straight hero Edward Snowden.  Manning is currently on trial in a semi-secret military kangaroo court and unlikely ever to be released. The other brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, a fugitive in Hong Kong, unlikely to see his country of origin ever again.

My gay brothers and sisters in the USA have, on the most part, turned their back on Bradley Manning citing his law breaking as treasonous. Maligning his motives, distancing themselves from his gay story.  Manning’s narrative is bound up with the recently abandoned DADT, a messy ‘coming out’, Manning’s extreme family poverty and the witnessing of cruel and illegal horrors that no man should ever see.

Manning has unwittingly created a schism in the LGBTQ community, cleaving the queers from the gays.  The queers have on the most part embraced Manning, his activism and conscientious objection. The gays have not.  The Queers had Manning elected as a San Francisco gay pride parade grand marshal in late April, but the LGBTQ board quickly rescinded the ‘honor’ after a white male gay outcry.

Queer supporters of Manning held demonstrations, crowded a Pride board meeting and packed a community forum all with the hopes of seeing Manning reinstated as a grand marshal. The Pride board has not budged.

Why are the majority of USA gays so repulsed by Manning?

Perhaps if Manning had been a muscular, army guy of the gay-for-pay porn star variety so popular amongst the gays, they may have ‘evolved’ a different point of view.  Manning is not that guy. He is small and slight and wan.  He joined the army to get an education and ironically ended up educating the whole world.

He is lauded by Michael Moore, Vietnam Vets, heterosexual politicians/presidents and liberal intellectuals all over the world.  His actions are widely credited with hastening an American withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring.

To many across the world Bradley Manning is a hero.

Yet, the gay establishment ignore Bradley. He is routinely ignored by the HRC and GLAAD. He is viciously bullied on anonymous gay, online discussion boards.  GLAAD would rather honor a homophobic, straight film director rather than one of our brave own.

Many of the USA gays who publicly hate Manning are upper middle-class, affluent white men.  They seem embarrassed and angry by his openness, his honesty, his despair.   They call him impertinent, arrogant and narcissistic.  Yet, had Bradley Manning been a bone fide journalist with a fancy ivy league degree he might have become a hero… or like Edward Snowden who currently enjoys the support of over 100, 000 people on the White House petition page demanding a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

There is no such petition for Bradley Manning.  Bradley was not well-educated… he’s a white trash gay kid with ideas above his rank.

His detractors, formerly closeted gay men, have their own relationship with the truth.  By necessity, after years of experience, they have become slick liars, natural spies, covert experts. In their every day life they create the illusion of perfection: socially, physically and sexually. A tribe of American gay men who have an overwhelming urge to be over-achievers.  They are clean-cut and conservative in appearance, they throw themselves into their jobs with the same fervency they got through school.

They champion marriage and the military rather than the end of LGBTQ jobs discrimination.  They have no interest in helping others in the coalition of oppressed minorities cobbled together by President Obama because they do not consider themselves an oppressed minority.

Why should they?  They are white, affluent and male.  What’s not to be proud of?

Since I arrived in the USA I have (rather proudly) been subject to not one… but two gagging orders imposed on me by white gay men.

Both ex-intimates, both terrified of having their secret gay lives revealed.  Professional white men, a 32-year-old and a 45-year-old.   The younger man works for a famous publishing house and is perhaps the most interesting because he supposedly respects the first amendment.   The other, a rich businessman caught lying and cheating.

The former was well ensconced in his comfy closet when I first met him, about to be married to a women, living a double life. When I found out about his deception I told him,  “Either you tell the woman you are deceiving… or I will.”

When I tell white gay men this story they are outraged.  They blame the deceived woman for being dumb.  Their thinly veiled misogyny revealed.

“How stupid of her to not realize he was gay.”  they scold.

One Saturday morning two years ago he told her he was living a double life.  After he came out of the closet he had a great deal of sex with many men then settled down with the man he intends to marry.  Free from her sociopathic ex she is now in love with an honest heterosexual.  Of course… he demonizes me.  She probably does too.  No good deed goes unpunished.

Like a lot of over-achieving well-closeted gay men, the publisher operated under the “Best Little Boy in the World” syndrome, a term from Andrew Tobias’ seminal coming-out autobiography of the same name, published in 1973, describing a certain type of middle-to-upper-class gay man.

Gay men are still terrified of the truth: personal or public. Their worst fear when growing up was having their gay truth revealed.  We all want to control the message.  Nobody wants to be told that they are queer ahead of their own declaration.

Many gay men still behave like small boys grappling with who and what it means to be gay.  Scarred by shame, they loathe any queer person who draws negative attention to him/herself in case it tarnishes them or the gay corporation.

They loathe Bradley Manning for outing the nation.

When gay men are ready to tell the truth about being gay they demand recognition and plaudits for doing so.  A heroes welcome for coming out of the closet.  Yet, after this initial flush of candor, their honesty only extends so far.

Beyond the great revelation there is a darker side to being gay that the gay white elite doesn’t want you to know.

They have gone to extraordinary lengths to make you think we are JUST LIKE YOU.  They are still placating their heterosexual parents, school mates and the straight friends who don’t mind them being gay… as long as you don’t do anything gay around me.

The gays don’t want you to know about the meningitis epidemic, the continuing HIV epidemic, they don’t want you to know about their loneliness, their propensity for STDs, the unreasonably high gay adult male suicide rate, the sexual unmanageability, drug taking, racism, sexism, classism, narcissism and ageism that blights the gay ‘community’.  They don’t mention how they routinely commodify women’s bodies/reproductive labor so they can have children. They don’t want you to know just how hard it is to be straight acting, to be ‘masc’ or to find themselves remotely attractive when they look in the mirror.

They don’t want you to know that for many LGBTQ… it doesn’t get better.

Manning broke the first rule of the white gay American elite:  Don’t rock the boat.

The gay businessman’s gagging order expires early next year and he will, inevitably seek to extend it.  The publisher will do the same.  The problem is:  as they know all too well… the truth is eventually revealed.

I met a man.  A medical doctor.  He was well put together, handsome, the president of a large gay organization that supposedly represents the interests of the gay community.  Our trusted servant. He couldn’t stop crying.  Under his well cut trousers he had a permanent needle in his leg for jacking meth. He begged me not to write about him.

I couldn’t make that promise.  He is the perfect white gay American metaphor.

In modern America secrets both public and personal are simultaneously considered defending and deflowering at the expense of the constitution. At both micro and macro levels this secretive bipolarity has come to define my stay in the USA.

 

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You know, I just drove 700 miles from Petrolia to LA. I listened to the radio as much as I could bear it.

In between the many, many Christian broadcasts that you can hear very easily and NPR which you can’t, I listened to love songs.

Not one of them from one man to another, one woman to another.

Whilst we may be addressing our visibility in tv and film we are woefully represented on the radio… especially the love songs where I never hear my love mentioned.

Why is this so? Is the music industry a harder nut to crack than the military or sports?

I remember when I fell in love with a woman the songs on the radio seemed to make more sense. They had meaning and relevance.

When will I hear that love song? When will I see a real queer love affair on TV that isn’t the butt of some joke?

Why do I have to re-imagine every love song to include me?

The love between two men is implicit in George Michael‘s work but not explicit. It is obvious in Joan Armatrading‘s work but her songs have not been played for a very long time. Elton John is gay but mostly wrote the music for Bernie Taupin’s heterosexual lyrics.

When I hear queer love songs, lyrics that speak to my condition, on the radio… I will know for sure that things have really changed for people like me.

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My final days in Petrolia.  I’m home now.  The exhausting 11 hour drive.

Stopped in San Francisco for lunch.

We must have climbed the steep hill to Alexander Cockburn‘s Tower ten times a day, getting ready for Daisy’s first paying guests.

By the time we were finished it looked magnificent.  Beating rugs like Victorian chamber maids.  Oiling the redwood kitchen.  Making beds with fresh white linen.  Sweeping cobwebs off the windows.

Giving succor to the inner butler that lurks within.

Here is the sculpture that decorates the path:

Here are the fossilized fish that decorate the bathroom:

Here are random pictures I failed to publish earlier:

Hand on a Thousand Years Living Thing

Driving through the last remaining Redwood Forest in California.  Sequoia.  Only 5% remain.  Strange birds calling out to each other, echoing… high above us.  A vast cathedral of magnificent trees.  The oldest living things on the planet.  Awed by the spectacle.  Out of the car.  8am.  I touched one of them.  I expected it to speak to me.

FDF 3

The President has third graders announce LGBTQ pride month at the White House.

Whose idea was that?  Even POTUS looked a little incredulous.  Obviously I don’t have any problem with 3rd graders manning the barricades but… perhaps we can have kittens next time… or puppies… or fluffy yellow chicks… or a new born foal?

The gays are in Pride party overdrive.

Circuit parties, sex parties, pride events, bear parties, underwear parties, mourning parties, party parties.

When Joe and I lived in The Pines on Fire Island we went, over the years, to various high-octane, drug fueled, over lubricated, semi-naked circuit parties.  Yet, however many drugs I took, however great my body was… I still felt alienated.  I still experienced a strange, out-of-body disconnect from those men around me.  You see, I remember thinking quite clearly that they… GOT IT… and I didn’t.  I thought back then… they understand something more about homosexuality than I did… than I do.

Don’t get me wrong… I wasn’t looking down my nose at them.  I wasn’t feeling superior.  I would love to have connected with those men.  Like I used to feel connected (high on E) in my mid twenties exploring London (straight) club land.

The same heaving mass that miraculously included me.  Joyfully, willingly abandoning self, self consciousness  terminal uniqueness and dancing as one with a thousand others.

That is what I felt then.  This is what I feel now:  To have ones life defined by gay circuit parties is simply revolting.

Some people prepare for weeks for Pride, in the gym, tanning, organizing parties, getting the right tickets for the right events.  Making sure the drink and the drugs are pre-ordered.  Leaving nothing to chance.

The last ‘pride’ parade I attended I saw a drunken man defecating in the street. It was not the enduring image of LGBTQ solidarity after which I was hankering.

There is a hideous disconnect between the civil rights we demand and the public face of ‘pride’.

A parade of semi naked gyrating narcissists.

How can anyone take that seriously?

Pride simply reinforces the difference between me and them:  I do not drink or take drugs.  I am not driven (compelled) by my homosexuality.

The parade terrifies me.  Aesthetically.

The corporate floats lack ingenuity and wit.  The rent boy/sex worker float lacks class.  The thongs, the swagger, revealing the lie of Pride.

The near identical bodies in various hues.  Searching, begging for tiny differences between each naked, muscular physique that may determine the uniqueness, the individuality of just one of these men.

Of course, I am excited to see so many out men.  But they are all the same.

I look at them and, as much as I want to be, I am not attracted to them.  I am not attracted to their essence… to their remarkable lack of ego.

The Pride parade is a celebration of sexuality.  First and foremost.

And I, absurdly, want to fall in love.

You see, I proved it.

They wanted sex… and I didn’t.   I wanted to fall in love… and they didn’t.

“I want to tell you how much I love you.”  I whispered.

When I have sex.  I tell them to say… I love you.  It turns me on.  “Even if you don’t mean it.”

I was useless then and I am useless now to those gay men at those gay circuit parties because I didn’t want to have sex.

I wanted to fall in love.

I didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t and they knew it.  They could see by the look in my eye that their sexuality terrified me, baffled me.

I wanted to fall in love.

That man I loved.  After he came out… he told me about the sex he was having with many, many men.  He was really good at meeting strange men and having sex with them.

His priorities shifted.  When we were together and he was in the closet he told me he loved me, he was emotional… the moment he came out he threw his emotional interest in men away.  In favour of sex.

I wanted to fall in love.

It was my fault.  I had this sex genius at my disposal and couldn’t work out how to use what he was brilliant at.

When we made love I felt the same disconnect.  Out of body.  Away.

Pride is a tough word to have appended to any celebration because it means so many different things to so many different people.

That’s why I love the LGBTQ Mardi Gras in Sydney, it doesn’t have PRIDE  in the title.  Mardi Gras is everything you want it to be because Mardi Gras mean nothing to me.  Means everything to me.

Mardi Gras implies celebration.  It doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t.  Even though it eschews the word Pride, on the several occasions I attended… I felt really proud.  Proud to be just like them.  Just like you.

I looked for the similarities and not the differences at:

The silly Mardi Gras community events, the Mardi Gras parade, the film festival, the theatre festival, the LGBTQ city art tours… even the leather cruise… something I would never usually do seemed fun and interesting.

It was a gathering of the LGBTQ clan and made no mistake by calling itself something it isn’t.

The parade and the party.  Mardi Gras was so different from London Pride.

London Pride in the 1980′s, was a sombre affair.  Men and women.  Simply being seen.  It was originally held during the miserable months of the British year.  Overcast skies.  Rain.

London Pride has evolved from a bunch of angry gays and lesbians marching through Westminster (Margaret Thatcher’s back yard) denouncing the infamously homophobic Section 28 to right now and a profoundly different landscape for the LGBTQ community.  We have enthusiastically embraced the Blair (credit where credit’s due) government’s equality overhaul and the introduction of legal parity for all citizens of the UK regardless of gender.

London Pride is a deserved celebration… but it was earned.

It’s not my cup of tea.  But it was earned.

If it isn’t your cup of tea… what is?  What does this old queer want?

Well.

Somewhere between the seriousness of a civil rights march and the celebration of Mardi Gras there is a parade I want to attend.   There’s a parade I want to join where all men and women are respected and nurtured regardless of age, sexuality and religion.

Let me know if you find that Parade because I’ll be there… to hold your hand.

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