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19 Years Old

If gay marriage had been an option when I was young would I have made different sorts of decisions?

Would I have behaved differently?

Would I have looked for a serious relationship with another man to whom I would have proposed, married and had children..rather than leaping from one man to another…exhausting each and every one of them?

If that narrative had been on offer, as it is now, would I have married Joe or Matt or the beautiful Dane?

Joe and I were as good as married but it was a marriage of convenience.

If I had believed that a commitment between men was possible or respected or had some kind of future, perhaps I wouldn’t have wasted other opportunities.  I may have stuck around.

Did I even trust the love that dare not speak its name?  The legitimacy of love between men?

When I hear a man say, ‘I love you’ it turns me on.

Tell me that you love me.

I will make love to you.  Be part of you.

When I was a young man I felt hopeless, convinced that this strange love was simply…pointless. That to say ‘I love you’ to another man…meant nothing, could never mean what it meant when I loved a woman.

But you’re gay!  Did she know?  This woman.

One woman in particular.

When I fell in love with PH, it was a surprise to everyone…me included. She was so beautiful. She was so beautiful and she wanted me. There are very few things I do not write about here. She is one of them. Our relationship that spanned half a decade.

After years of enjoying a gay life I saw the world renewed. I looked into her eyes and I never wanted to forget her face. Every time I left the house I would memorize an indelible snapshot of her.

When we were in love every record played on the radio meant something. Holding hands in the street and never once a strangers savage glance…my love blossomed. Without the withering contempt of strangers my love blossomed.

Do you know what I mean? Whenever I held a man in my arms in a public place I felt the withering contempt of others. Have you ever felt that? It soured me. What other people thought.

Biracial couples know what I mean.

The artist, Marc Quinn said to me when he saw me and Phil together, “I knew you weren’t gay.”

That was then. This is now.

Before he and I stopped speaking he told me that he had met a man in Central Park and kissed them. They held him in their arms. He told so many lies yet somehow this lie was forgivable. He told me that it had happened before I met him…but I knew from the look on his face how new and exhilarating it had been.

An experience that he wanted to share but was too afraid of hurting me.

Well, we may never know how it might have been if I had the luxury of marrying a man.

Time has past, now I am too old to fall in love and make a man my husband.

Darling PH, even though we are estranged at the moment because of what happened last summer with him.  I want you to know that had you not been in my life I would never have experienced a brimming heart.

You trusted me and nurtured me and protected me and loved me unconditionally.

Watching my young gay friends emerge into the light, they have a different sort of gay life on offer.

During the past 50 years life for gay men has changed radically. When I was born homosexuality was still a criminal offence. So, I was lucky to have grown up without my sexuality outlawed.

This generation of gay men are freer than any generation before them. I salute the work we did to make a more equitable life for them.

Occasionally I am pissed that the young don’t recognise the sacrifices we made..but I am also aware that I seldom give a thought to those who fought for me to live a free and abundant gay life.

As much as I hate to remind you, these rights and freedoms could be taken away just as easily as they were given. We must not take our good fortune for granted. There are dark forces at work against us.

It’s election time!  Here they go again, debating my future, my expendable rights.  Using their disdain for our lives to get votes.  Championing gay hate to ‘motivate their base’.

Listen to what they say about us.  The cruel rhetoric they use.

I am tired of being the liberal hot potato thrown around at times of national debate/election.

Gay marriage, gays in the military, hate crimes, equality.

And finally mr/mrs republican candidate…what do you think of the gays?  Is this the kind of America we want to call our home?   We want our country back from the niggers and the faggots!

We are once again the devil’s proof of an evil, liberal America, a decadent America, a democratic America that Jesus would never sanction.

Apparently, like abortion, we must be outlawed.

I am sick of having my nature, my rights, my existence used by others in some heartless polemic.

Read my lips:  My rights are non-negotiable, un-repealable….mine to keep.

If you vote Democrat I am not proof positive of a better America. If you are Republican I am not responsible for every natural disaster.  I am just what I always was…alive. Doing what I always did…living. Hoping like I always will…that you leave me and my sexuality alone.

Some woman on FB reassured me that Jesus loved me but hated my sin.  The sin of homosexuality.  The Jesus I was taught about on Sunday mornings in St Alphage church Whitstable never really hated anyone.

All he wanted was a fair and equitable life for us all.

After Stephen left yesterday afternoon for some appointment somewhere…I lay on the sofa and mulled over the days events.  One thing was certain, The Penguin no longer rents space in my head.

I kept marveling at how I had once found him so intoxicating.  I finally saw him as others saw him.  When Charlie said, “He wasn’t like anyone I had met you with before…”  I felt vaguely insulted.   “The boys you usually introduce me to are beautiful.”

Yet, Charlie was right.  My love for him made his fascinating.   The pictures I took of him made him look like a model.   The life I handed him.  The strengths I imbued.  When I took him to Paris all he brought with him was his mediocrity.

I realized that I had never seen him, in all the time we knew each other, with anyone other than my friends and family.  To see him interact with his parents was a revelation.  They looked at his iPad and laughed.  The sham, It might have worked if his Mother didn’t look so incredibly sad.  Amongst them The Penguin looked for all the world like the entitled brat who would think nothing of taking drugs to their house, using their kitchen as a porno web casting studio or telling them bare-faced lies.

Their ‘unconditional’ love created The Penguin.   I had hinted before that this may have been the case but just seeing them together confirmed my worst fears.

I suddenly understood Jessie’s fury in a way that I had never understood it before.

He wrote:

“Well, it’s over.  She came home, got me to confess a bit more truth–that i have had sex with men before–then after a lot of kicking, hitting and screaming, she kicked me out.  I took the train to my parents’ house, where I told my mom everything (my dad is out of town which made it all a bit easier actually), and she held me and told me it will all work out.  Jessie called her to make sure I’d gotten home, which gave me some hope that she might not hate me forever…but after she got home tonight it became clear that there is no going back.  She accused me of ruining her life, of being a deceitful sociopath, of being a bad person who she wishes she never met.  This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.

 Part of me feels like I wish I’d never met you–your were a catalyst of sorts and without that catalyst everything right now would probably be as it was.  But I know that “as it was” was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, and beneath all the pain right now I know I did the right thing.  Thank you for guiding me towards the truth,,,you are so incredibly strong…I can hear it in your voice, your words.  I hope I can be as strong as you and I really want to thank you for being here for me.  I cannot fucking believe this happened today.  Love you a lot.”

The truth is:  he would never have ‘come out’ if I had not been the crazy man I am.  I had threatened to ‘un-pick’ his life and he knew that the truth had to be told.   I forced him to tell her the truth.

His lies made me physically sick.

Whilst he was with Jessie I wrote:

You are making me unhappy.  There is no fucking hope.

 I refuse to be the other person in your life whilst you selfishly shit on other people.

 It is not fair on any of us.

 I refuse to be the levelheaded guy who just puts up with you.   Then, when and if it suits you, you turn on and accuse of craziness.

 I can’t do it.

 Yes, today I felt fed up with you because I don’t trust you.  Why should I?

 Why should anyone?

 What the hell did you expect from this?  That I just have no feelings?  That we just fuck?   That you sit in your room and jerk off on camera and that was going to be enough for me?

 Jake, PLEASE stop living a lie.  Leave that poor woman.  Be single for a while then find a man to love.

 Please.

I think often about Jessie.  How he treated her.

Let’s talk about who I became yesterday.  I didn’t really like me yesterday.  I didn’t like the goose-stepping, mad man who took obnoxiously loud telephone calls in the court waiting room.  It seemed like I just had to be THAT GUY.  It seems like it’s the only way I know how to protect myself.

I was the wrong size when I left the court.  So it was that I had to get back to being the right size.   Not too big, not too small.

Alex called.  We had dinner at Angelica’s Kitchen.  I ate steamed vegetables.  We talked briefly about the day but I was done.  Done talking about The Penguin.

We fell into bed and I kissed him.   Everything felt so different.  Fresh.

Just two men in bed, two men in bed without any expectations.

I am on Fire Island this weekend house hunting for the summer.   Very excited.

http://http://www.nextmagazine.com/nexus/scene-heard-brian-rafferty-and-shawn-paul-mazur-give-royal-treatment-kings

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