Translate

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Miami at Sunrise

Venetian Causeway just before Sunrise
So for safety's sake I've been waking up early to ride my bike.  By early I mean between 5AM and 5:30.  The reason I ride so early is mostly to avoid car traffic, and be a considerate cyclist who feels that taking up a lane, alone, at 5AM should no big deal to the 4 other cars on the road at that time.  I try stick to main thoroughfares like Biscayne, Flagler, Collins because they're well lit and well paved. Also, if I should fall at 5:15 AM on a main thoroughfare, odds are that a good Samaritan might actually stop and help.  The few times I've fallen in the last 25 years of riding, someone has always stopped within seconds to inquire and help if needed. Yes, that is Miami too.
 
Miami is pretty cool between 5AM and 6:00 AM.  The streets are well lit, but empty, sometimes it's still too early for the kitchen and housekeeping staffs to arrive at the bus stops.  A few lone cyclists ride along these stretches sometimes well-lit with blinking lights front and back, sometimes they are pedaling away just using streetlights as their only illumination. Sometimes I ride along with those unlit guys sometimes because I feel I'm doing them a service with all my blinking lights on my helmet and bike.
 
The things you notice at 5AM:  Surprisingly, roads are in good shape.  Miami is not a city of pot-holes, however Miami Beach is.  Miami is very well lit, its buildings, neighborhoods, landscaping is all lit up to highlight it's fantastic architecture and greenery.  There are few cars on the road and in some cases the traffic lights blink yellow.
 

Legion Park, sunrise
Things start to change at 6AM though.  Traffic increases. The dog walkers emerge.  The bus stops start to fill up with the working class crowd...security, maids, cooks and construction.  The construction sites start to come to life at this time. Food trucks, and the hard hat men start to stream into the new buildings going up on the beach and downtown.  The smell of marijuana wafts from the areas where the construction workers park.
 
7AM is when the joggers and walkers emerge. Crack of dawn. By this time I hope to be riding my bike in Hollywood or Miami Beach along the paths that line the ocean.  The age of the walkers/joggers/runners vary by location, but trend younger as you head south towards Miami Beach, older (and more Canadian) in Hollywood and Dania Beach.   Collectively everyone stops riding, walking, whatever to stop and watch the sunrise. For about five minutes everyone who is awake stops watches the sun poke up in glorious reds, pinks, and blues from the ocean.  Regardless of age, or predicament in life, I think  they smile and welcome the day. I mean, watching the sunrise, on a beach, in January.....what's not to smile about?
 
Then a sprint home to beat the traffic.
  
South Pointe Park 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

50 shades of middle class grey.....

So yesterday as I was driving up Biscayne Blvd and noticed a brand new Lamborghini that had apparently hit an immovable object, like a curb, or a curb and a lamppost.  Its lovely sheet metal torn back to reveal it's frame. Both wheels were bent at abnormal angles. All I could think was "shit must happen to rich folks too."   Sometimes it's hard to live in Miami, with all this out-of-town wealth floating around. While my household income puts in us in one of the higher tiers of earners, I realize it doesn't matter, because, in Miami's retail market, I'm always a second-class citizen.
 
I recently went to a luxury dealer here to purchase a vehicle.  Firstly, I did not want a run-of-the-mill sports sedan.  Secondly, I actually have to finance or lease the vehicle. Thirdly, I did not want a "50 shades of grey" car.  When I told the salesmen this I could see the consternation on his face.  You want to finance? You want to negotiate? You want color?  Apparently the wealthy don't finance, don't negotiate and pay cash. If you have money, the high end models come in a rainbow of colors.  There wasn't any room to "negotiate" on a car that cost just $50K, I was told I could have the grey run-of-the-mill luxury vehicle or nothing at all.
 
In fact, grey, black and white were the only cars they had in stock, on 3 floors of a parking lot in Mid-town. The only cars that came in colors were the super expensive ones, or the "base" models.  Everyone else can have white, black or grey. Silver was an option too.  This is where my frustration kicks in. I don't want a grey car. I don't want something that everyone else drives. Isn't the whole point of having a status symbol is to be different?  Why do I have to "go down market" for a cute car, pants, shirt that has a bit of color in it?  Why do I have to go upmarket for nice car, pants, shirt, or shoe that has some panache?  In Miami it's Target or Nordstrom's and everything else in-between is grey. Macy's, Banana Republic are overwhelmingly grey and beige. 
 
Retailers must think if  you're poor...you should have bright colors...from Kia, Fiat, to Target, everything is a happy color because shit, it's hard enough being broke you should be allowed some color in your life.  Retailers must also think if you're rich...well, you deserve it don't you? I mean you fleeced your countrymen back home and since you can't flaunt all that wealth back there, why not do it in Miami, your plan B exit strategy. 
 
So where does it leave Miami's local middle class? In shades of grey and beige....and even don't think about financing.....you, you, average middle class person!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grant me the Grace

Sunday, I sat through a presentation by Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.  He had come to at the behest of my church: Coral Gables Congregational as part of our ongoing dialogue exploring and better understanding our faith.  He was a journalist for Time and Fast Company and his book was recommended by the New York Times Book Review.
His story is a common tale of overachieving boy born of fundamentalist parents realizing he's gay and then trying to reconcile the subsequent conflicts between him, faith and his parents after he fully acknowledges his homosexuality. In classic millennial generation style, he, being exceptional, finds the grace to forgive those who hurt him and realize that they are hurting him out of "love." Now on some level he's right. A good Christian should "turn the other cheek" and offer an unconditional surrender to love and forgiveness.
However, Mr. Chu takes it to another level. He decides "as an objective journalist" - (his quote on Sunday), to spend time with the followers of the Westboro Baptist Church of the "God Hates Fags" fame.  Here is my first critique: how exactly is a personal pilgrimage objective journalism?  He proceeds to describe them as "really nice people" who do what they do "out of love". Who he broke bread with, and made "funny jokes about cool-aid."  Who were just like you and me in their day to day lives.  He mentioned casually later on in his presentation that he had never met anyone who's family funeral was marred by one of their protests.
So I'm going to say this to Mr. Chu: I have been to two funerals where they have appeared. Prior to the tactic of going to Military funerals, they would scour the obituaries for men who had died of AIDS and show up there.  Grieving for a loved one is probably the hardest thing anyone has to go through. Especially someone young who left too soon. Then at that moment, that sacred moment, a band of hatemongers have attached themselves to the memory, your memory, of that person....and hopefully you can forget, that when you were at your weakest, somebody pulled an emotional sucker punch on you. So Jeff Chu asks us to find the Grace, to forgive them for what they've done to your family, friends and community because they're just "regular folks who eat cereal in the morning".
Sadly, Mr. Chu has touched evil and didn't see it for what it was. As a gay man I have encountered evil.  It always comes in the guise of "regular folks". Did he think the Nazis had horns? Did he think that the KKK didn't go to church on Sunday and love their children too? Yes, as Christians we have the duty of Grace, but don't we have a duty to call out evil when we see it?  What Westboro does is violence of the worst kind, do we look inside ourselves and say "oh well, they're just "regular folks" who are misguided, let's just forgive and move on. "
Grace, forgiveness, comes very hard to me and to my family.    It's something that forces me to dig deep and try not to hurt someone physically. (I am seeing a therapist about anger management) To tell me that someone who goes up to a grieving mother and tells her that her child will burn in  hell, at that child's funeral, is certainly not deserving of God's grace regardless of what they had for breakfast that morning.

Fred Phelps, the founder of this Church died today, March 20th, 2014.....Grant me the grace. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

SMART Ride for AIDS, an experience....

So earlier this year I did my first long distance ride from Miami to Key Largo, FL.  It was for Multiple Sclerosis. You can read about it in a previous blog post called "On Your Left" http://miamiafter40.blogspot.com/search?q=on+your+left done back in April.  Since April I believe I have evolved as a cyclist.  I retired my very sweet, made in America Cannondale hybrid....they were still made here when I bought it. Now they're made in China. I replaced it with a beautiful Italian Bianchi (well, designed in Italy, but made in China). I've become part of the "Lycra" crowd, and I'd like to think on good days, it's a look I can pull off.  I'm not getting those "look away" stares that women in cameltoe get.
 
In keeping with this year's "bike for terminal illness" theme I decided to ride my first AIDS ride. I mean if you can't ride for a plague, why ride at all?  Each one of these Tour du Diseases require two aspects: First, you must raise funds to ride.  Second you must train. 
 
Being a professional fundraiser the money part was easier.  For the AIDS ride I simply pimped out my mad Haiku skills and promised anyone who donated any amount would get a Haiku. In no time I scribed 20 Haikus and then I knew the ride was on. For more about my Haikus see http://miamiafter40.blogspot.com/2011/12/haikupalooza-project.html.  Almost everyone was happy with their Haikus, except Alex, which hurt because I put a lot of thought into the 17 syllables that I feel define him.   When I gave Haikus freely, I was never criticized, now that I'm asking them to pay for them, everyone's a critic. However, the Haikus are not refundable.
 
Training, ugh. I was determined that I would be prepared for this ride. I would finish and I would not suffer inordinately. I would ride at a relaxed pace and I would not be at the end of the ride, the least bit in doubt of whether I could finish. I am proud to say that four months of training paid off. Despite one road rage incident (on my part) it want off flawlessly. No flats and no fats when I finished the ride on Saturday.
 
Finally: the ride. I can't say too much about the ride. I have ridden and driven these roads many times before. I was by myself for almost all of the ride so indulged in Conch Republic nostalgia.  Each leg had a meaning, Card Sound Road brought memories of countless Carl Hiassen books. Key Largo reminded me of when I lived there doing HIV tests for people under a big mango tree in a park. Islamorada brought back memories of sneaking out of class at FIU and going to Tiki Bar for rum-runners. Leyton: speed trap. Big Pine Key means Key Deer and speeding tickets.  I had seriously over-trained for this ride and spent most of the two days by myself riding furiously with a strong tailwind. Both days I arrived before the bulk of the group did.
 
Lessons learned: well, it was hard to get all maudlin about the whole AIDS/HIV thing. I mean as a gay man it's been around since before I was sexually active. I've lost friends and family and mourned them and I wasn't really feeling inclined to mourn them again.   I felt that I did a very small part, again, to address an issue that we all thought would be gone by now.  I had fun, I proved I could do something extraordinary, I can't wait to do it again.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stroke, Focus, Kick, Focus, Repeat

Recently, I had a near death experience. A real one, the kind where you see death staring at you in the face and you dig down into your soul and make an important decision about life....which is to just live it.  Its that conscious decision to listen to your lizard brain and say, yeah let's keep going.

I had been swimming in the ocean and I had a sudden bout of hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar usually comes on very quickly and being 200 yards from shore rapidly seemed like two miles. All of a sudden each stroke became harder and harder, each kick felt like I was dragging a lead weight behind me. A sudden chill of fear went down my body and the adrenaline boost proceeded to burn up the  little bit of energy left in my body. Focus....stroke...focus...kick...focus....stroke....do you want this? You could just settle down into the warm turquoise Atlantic and float away. Focus. ...stroke...focus....kick..
..focus....stroke...focus....kick.

Obviously, I made it back to shore and found some energy bars in my bag.  I was jarred for quite awhile. I sat quietly wondering about life. I have a wonderful one...great husband, friends, good job, nice house....everything I ever dreamed of and asked for. Now would be a good time to go...when things are really great. 

But the one thing I have learned since I was given a terminal diagnosis at 20 and told I had less than three years to live, is that you do just that: you live. 25 years later here I am, and life just keeps getting better.  When things get hard, dangerous or threatening: focus, stroke and kick till you get to shore.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Living in Community

Once I told a new acquaintance that I went to church. He was generally surprised that I was a "believer" and that I chose to live "in community" with faith.  I'm not sure if I understood his meaning or if that was what he meant to say, but I loved sound of living "in community."  
 
Another friend made a joke about a "whore in church" which may or not have been directed at me. However I was fine with that analogy too....at least I was going there and enjoying myself and whatever, it's all about forgiveness right?
 
Outside of our families and workplaces there are fewer and fewer opportunities to live "in community". Inside of families and our places of work we carry the burden of responsibility, expectations and outcomes.  Very few groups in our American landscape offer a simple refuge free of burdens and expectation.  All you need a tiny, infinitesimal bit of faith.  It can be clouded with scientific certainty, loss of belief in god and fellow man and sealed with need to understand the world as it is, free of miracles, mystery and the paranormal. In fact you don't even need that tiny bit faith to go there.
 
Recently a friend and fellow churchgoer passed away.   He died "in community".  What that meant is that a group of relative strangers reached out collectively to embrace him, his partner and family with love and caring.  With hugs and whatever support his loved ones needed to grieve, heal and move forward.
 
I know there are a lot of people who thought they lived "in community" and that community hurt them. So they turned their backs on all communities of faith. They cut themselves off from the potential of love, friendship and support. A therapist friend recently posted how many of his young clients feel disconnected despite all their digital connectivity. A text is not a substitute for a hug. A "like" on Facebook is not the same as a smile when you see a friend for lunch. However sitting snugly in a pew with people that may not know your name, but will rise up and hug you in times of trouble is reassuring indeed, even if you sleep through the most of the sermons.
 
When I go to my church, Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, I feel loved.  Not in a creepy, fake or overbearing way, but in a way that says we're here for you when you need us, and someday you will need us.  A collective hug that will comfort you when times are hard, a large group of people "in community" who are happy to share the burden of caring for one member, though a rough patch.  All they ask is that I show up once in awhile and believe....just a little tiny bit...or not.
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Last Gay Summer

It's over, or almost over....the last official "gay" summer.  Throughout the community there is a collective sense of ennui, that all things gay are passé. Especially among the younger set.  2013 the last gasp of the mega-gay summer events.  From now on the closest thing to a circuit party will be hanging with spring breakers while hooking up on GRINDR and Scruff. I went to a couple of gay events this summer in Provincetown and Key West and in both cases the energy just didn't seem to be there.
 
Every conversation seemed to be the same: "how long have you been together?"
 
Answer: "Two years".
 
Reply:  aghast: "and you're not married yet?
 
OR
 
"How long have you been married?"
 
Answer"four years."
 
Reply: "And you still don't have kids?, you're not getting any younger you know."
 
Gays, being the last group of trendsetters, have run headlong, like lemmings, into conformity. The last vestiges of a culture built on shame and sexual rebellion will devolve into sad middle-aged swingers parties in a cul-de-sac near you.
 
Already gay ghettoes are looking older, more upscale as fewer young gays go there for community. Also gay ghettoes tended to be cheap and fun....there's nothing cheap about a $14 martini in Chelsea or South Beach. Key West, that outpost of non-conformity, caters to cruise ships. Drag shows are nothing but cabaret for straight people and three more gay guesthouses have converted to "all are welcome" resorts.
 
Equality: who knew it would make us boring.
 
 
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gay Gold Diggers....

Come and spend some time with me.
In the last weeks the term "gold digger" has come up in more than one casual conversation with different friends. Wikipedia defines it as a greedy person (stereotypically a woman) who only dates (and subsequently marries) wealthy partners with the (typically) sole intention of being a beneficiary of said wealth.  However, prior to last month, the term really had little currency in the gay community because you couldn't exactly "put a ring on it" so to speak. So any gold dug from the pockets of a gay person was probably given freely and more likely an exchange of goods and services, than say, the extortion of wealth caused by divorce. The only gay equivalent I could think of would be that of a "size queen".  The term size queen is slang for a gay or bisexual man who prefers his partners to be extremely well endowed. Now if that is not a form of greed I don't know what is. 
 
But I really have trouble with the term gold digger as it relays to same sex couples...and not just because of its pejorative connotation. Firstly, I might be considered a gold-digger, or my husband might. When we met in our late 20's I was earning three times his salary, now in our mid 40's he makes three times mine. At some point I became a "gold digger" especially since I took time off from my career to raise our son. Despite my solidly upper middle-class salary, it's very unlikely with my B.A. and general lack of professional motivation that I'll ever make as much as my workaholic husband who has a degree in Nuclear Chemical Engineering. We're fine with that. He's fine if I don't work at all...although I do. As I said to a friend the other day: "If I wanted to focus on my career, I would have stayed single."
 
If you're rich I'm single.....
So why is it when a guy who makes enough money to live on (whatever that may be) is not worthy of a someone making a very good living. As a member of the upper-middle class (through marriage and blood only) I tend to associate myself with other members of the bourgeoisie. My single lawyer and doctor friends bemoan the fact that they can't find "professional guys" who "make as much as I do." .  So don't. What's wrong with a guy who makes no money and makes you and your relationship a career? Somebody who supports you  in your personal and professional life? Someone like a wife? I have a friend who easily makes $400,000 a year and was concerned that his live-in boyfriend was unemployed. Who cares? He was concerned about appearances, that he was being taken advantage of. If his live-in had been a woman I doubt he would have had the same concerns.
 
This hand-wringing over what someone makes, as opposed to who a person is, is silly.  Really, if you're making six figures and your boyfriend is making $20K is your lifestyle going to suffer? Wouldn't it be nice to come home to someone who is not stressed about work, but worried that your dinner isn't ready on time? This instant labeling of "gold-digger" because you found someone who fits into your lifestyle.  Now I'm not saying there aren't real "gold-diggers" out there, because there are greedy people. However, gold diggers are not any different than size queens......and trust me you can always work harder, there's not much you can do about a small penis.

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm not a racist....well....Okay....no. Maybe yes.

Okay, it's Thursday and people I know want my opinion on the Trayvon Martin case.  On the case itself I have small opinion. Clearly an underfunded and under-motivated prosecutor put on a pro-forma case against a slick and talented (well paid) defense.   A prosecution that couldn't even get a man or a person of color on the jury. A bunch of white housewives from Central Florida.....really, and someone was surprised by the verdict?
 

That being said, there were some things that I found interesting in America's continuing quest to alleviate past racial wrongs and that each convulsion brings about new and interesting surprises. In each case it involves an African-American male pitted against police, society or in Trayvon's case: armed neighborhood watch volunteer. From McDuffy, to Rodney King to OJ Simpson each decade returns us to that excruciating self examination of self and society asking ourselves "am I a racist.?" 
 
Choo shoe? Let's do lunch.

Well, of course we are silly. Each one of us, big old racists, and elitists and classists and bigots. Who doesn't judge people at first glance?  I personally use shoes as a measure of a man or woman, but that is just my shorthand for character. Everyone uses different metrics. I mean at least Paula Deen "came out" about her racism and it didn't do her a damn bit of good. Don't even get me started about fat people.
 
So in this latest round of high stakes judicial proceedings this is what I found:
 
Firstly, the African American community flexed some serious political muscle. I mean seriously, they did.  Community pressure forced the City of Sanford to fire the Police Chief.  Now, you might think this is no big deal, but in fact it is. An important official was relieved of duty in short order. That is no small thing.  Secondly, they pressured the city to reopen the case and the State to prosecute. The  prosecution might have been lame, but still it was a step.
 
Bernadine: The worst thing is that he made me move out here where my children are in school with only one other black kid so they won't be improperly influenced.
Secondly, not since the movie "Waiting to Exhale" and the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings have middle-class blacks been in the spotlight.  This happened in a middle class community, with middle class people. People with connections inside New York Times to shame the local community. Educated people who live in gated communities called Twin Lakes. I mean not even Desperate Housewives was in a gated community.
 
 
Perhaps most interesting is the liberal use of the "N" word(Rush Limbaugh) by white people. Just a general "let your hair down" and admit personal racism by calling it "common sense" according Kathleen Parker and "black kids in the ghetto don't equate the future beyond next week, unlike white kids." according to Mike Barnacle.  Then a general attack on any black person of consequence on TV such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Soledad O'Brian as "racists" because they side with blacks. Maybe because they are black? Just sayin'.
 
Finally, no riots. Sigh, I had already picked out a great store to loot some John Varvatos chukkas from. No really, hurray, no riots. Riots are the sign of hopelessness, desperation. Clearly when teenagers wearing hoodies are killed in gated communities hopelessness and desperation are a difficult argument to make. (What teen, what adult male,  doesn't own a hoodie? I'm gay and I own two.) 
 
So two steps forward, one step back African Americans and all of us Americans.  These painful events by two individuals reflect on all of us. I can't say justice was done, but I'd like to think hopefully that someday it will.
 
                                                                                                                       
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Climate-Change Journalists Absolutely Giddy About Miami's Destruction. (and just about everyone else)

Please pick me up a cafecito while you're there....
Rolling Stone Magazine's recent article, Goodbye Miami by Jeff Godell was positively gleeful about Miami's inundation due to global warming.  "an American Atlantis", "a great future dive spot" were some of the kinder words he used in the article. He also quoted a "local politician" who told him that "God promised no more floods, read the story of Noah." http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-city-of-miami-is-doomed-to-drown-20130620 I doubt seriously that a City of Miami or Miami-Dade County commissioner would quote scripture so I guess he spoke to someone in Medley or Homestead. His article, albeit science fiction presents Miami's inundation as a fait acompli.
 
Clearly, Miami has no shortage of haters. Interesting timing of the article being released just after our NBA Championship win, I would not be surprised if the author was from Cleveland or San Antonio. I wouldn't be surprised if Cleveland was pumping extra carbon emissions into the atmosphere specifically to inundate Miami. As usual the comments section was filled with unrequited hate from people who once lived here. Consistently Miami is held up as an example of a "future Atlantis" because of rising seas.
 
What I don't understand, if for example, the seas rise 10, 15, or 100 feet, they never use any other city "at risk" for inundation. I mean San Diego, Long Beach, New York, Washington DC, London, Nagoya, Sydney, Dubai, Wellington, Athens to a greater or lesser degree will be affected. However, I never feel the schadenfreude in global warming articles unless they include Miami. One article suggested Mumbai would have a similar fate, but felt really bad for the poor people there. No such compassion was shared for one of the poorest, albeit fabulous, cities in the U.S.
Yeah, and we're still here, better than ever!
 
As a native Miamian I have experienced my share of disasters both natural and man-made, including Andrew and the Overtown riots. I have watched time and time again when the rest of America and world have written off the Magic City. A, gleeful hope that a city dominated and built by a successful prosperous Hispanic middle class will somehow go away. Miami is glamorous, Miami is beautiful, warm and sexy. It is a global center of trade, fashion, culture and finance. Miami is the stick in the eye to all those people who think anything touched by the Latino community is second-rate, ugly, and not worthy of attention.
 
Whether we are an underwater Atlantis or the great regional capital that Atlantis was prior to its disappearance, you can look around. Our city is absolutely gorgeous. Brickell, Biscayne, Venetian Causeway. Our new Museums, opera houses, concert halls show that our city is finally realizing its fantastic potential in a way that's unapologetic and grand.  We are not a town that nods to New York or LA for it's identity. We are not going to just sit by and let this wonderful town, this Magic City, wash away like some sand castle. If we do, we'll be in the company of most of the great coastal cities of the world.
 
 
 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Gays Abuzz...What a Difference A Week Makes... A $100 Difference!

So what was the hot topic at all the Fourth of July pool parties hosted by the homosexuals this weekend? Well, marriage of course. But not in the way you would think.  Being a blog about a "man of a certain age", men of a certain age were discussing the most exciting topic of all......financial benefits.
 
Yes, benefits. Not, where are you planning to get married, not choosing wedding planners or deciding on which state to get married. No, most of these men (and women)are partnered and at some point or another took a jaunt to New York, California or Iowa to get married in the last 10 years. Their immediate joy was that they are no longer taxed for extending insurance benefits to their spouses, which is actually $100 month added to our family budget. Yes, the Supreme Court's decision last week added $100 more dollars to my hubby's paycheck...this week. Who would of thought that a decision made last week would actually increase our household income by $1200 a year? That's several pairs of shoes over the course of a decade.....hmmmm.
 
Marriage = Mo' Money = Mo' Shoes

The excitement of extending social security survivor benefits, fewer inheritance taxes, common property, joint tax returns, immigration changes and the plethora of protections and benefits that are offered to married couples by the federal government are now extended to us as well, we think. Ah, bet there is the rub....we think. 
 
 The Supreme Court was clear that the states could decide to choose about marriage....but the Federal Government is already recognizing immigration status for LGBT Floridians with valid marriages from other states.  The logical conclusion would be if my marriage is recognized in a Federal Court (Immigration is Federal) then it should be the case for Social Security and the IRS.

That being said, the myriad of benefits extended to couples by the State of Florida will continue to be denied, most of them related to transfers of real estate, inheritance of real estate, hospital visitation, and certain types of adoptions are still  just out of reach for the LGBT community. Lawsuits are being filed, petitions are being signed and soon Gays and Lesbian couples will work for a more perfect union, both as a country and as married couples.
 
God Bless America!
 
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage Equality, I Am Boring At Last.

The Supreme Court's rulings today were momentous, stupendous, fantastic. 
 
When I was a little gay boy there was nobody like me. Not on TV, not in magazines, nowhere.  There were whispers of fairies and faggots directed at boys "who didn't fit in."   At first I was told I walked funny, so I stopped walking funny.  Then I was told I was a "pretty boy" so I stopped fussing with my appearance. I was told I had a "funny laugh" so I started laughing with my mouth closed.
 
However, my naturally gregarious nature prevented me from turning invisible. But a strong wall of faux-masculinity, insults and eye-rolling got me through my teenage years relatively unscathed in regards to my homosexuality. At 19 I was arrested in a raid of a gay bar. The police gave me two options: pay a $1000 fine or have my name printed in the newspaper as a homosexual. I refused to pay the fine and hired a lawyer instead.
 
years later I fell in love with a single dad with a five year old son. Ah the scandal of two men raising a child! "A child needs the love only a mother can provide." was whispered in my ear more than once.
 
So here I am at 45 and I've gone from a secret gay, to sexual outlaw, to pioneering "gay dad", to über-gay Miamian. Then suddenly I'm legally married in 12 of the United States. The last part occurring between 9:59AM and 10:00AM on June 26th 2013. Talk about going from interesting to boring in the time it takes to figure out a Supreme Court decision.  The long fight to be boring. My husband and I have worked on numerous campaigns, suffered defeats, have given time and money in the fight to be boring.  The fight to be mundane, to protect our property, to protect our son, to protect ourselves.
 
To have a boring existence where you don't have to explain to a nurse who you are in relation to the patient. To live in an existence where your property can't be taken away from you by the government or greedy relatives should you or your spouse die or become incapacitated.
 
To live in a boring world where you know your child won't be taunted, teased or sidelined because he has two dads.
.
Safe is boring, Certainty is boring. Longevity is boring. Legal commitment is boring. Having the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else is boring. I want to be boring. I want that for me and for Florida and all people who want to be treated equally.
 
Now I realize there is a lot of work left to do. Yet words such as "elevated" and "dignity of individuals" and "equality" all used by the Supreme Court of the United States in reference to lesbians, gays and their children, makes me glad to be part of that long fight to be boring.
 
All in all the battle for boring has been exciting. I am looking forward to being boring just like everyone else.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dame la Gasolina.....(Give me the Gasoline) A local's Guide to Miami's coolest gas stations.

A couple of years ago I was with my hubby heading to a party in the area south west of Little Havana, to locals it's called "La Souwesera." Needing to pick up some wine I remembered there was a Citgo nearby with a good wine selection. I hadn't been there in years. As we pulled up we noticed a bevy of expensive cars pumping gas and filling the parking lot. It was your typical Miami thing, Aston Martins, Rolls, Beemers, etc. I thought, well this is odd but they need to get gas too. 
Just another gas station, right?
In the back of the gas station, where the wine used to be was a small, and very chic tapas place called "El Carajo". There happened to be a wine tasting that night and all the Miami wine cognoscenti were there for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau tasting. It was such a weird juxtaposition. in front there were twinkies, lotto tickets, and your typical 7-11 fare, but just few feet more and you were in a chic wine tasting with candlelit tables and the best tapas in Miami. I mean, they could have added a car wash if they wanted more business, but a fancy tapas place? Today, the 7-11 decor is mostly gone, but you can still buy lotto tickets and gas, now it's considerably upscale, gone are the rows of chips and candies which are now replaced with great wines from around the world. 
Honey, don't forget to play lotto and get a slushy for dessert. 
My next favorite gas station is Dade Corners.  Since I was a little boy my dad loved to take us out to Shark Valley to see the gators.  Dade corners is on the corner of Crome Avenue and U.S. 41/8th Street/Tamiami Trail.  Long the hangout of the Harley-Davidson set, on any given day you can see all types there. From truckers to Honda Goldwingers.  It's your classic Florida tourist station. Here you can imagine some hapless tourist from the 50's driving up to fill up the old DeSoto. Inside you can purchase roadmaps, assorted Floridiana, and it even once had the cool machine that if you put in a dollar it would pour hot green plastic in a mold in the shape of a gator.  Now it is a gathering place where yuppie Harley riders mix in with Hell's Angels on the poker runs to the keys. Drop in the lost tourists, ATV riders, cyclists and you get a great feel for all the "outdoorsy" types you get in Miami-Dade County. On a side note: a friend noted that it has several unique octane blends that are recommended for European sports sedans which apparently are only found there. 

In "up and coming" MiMo district, aka Miami's Upper East Side there is the Europa Cafe.  Built from scratch the Europa Cafe is "at the curve" on Biscayne Blvd. Outside it's a gussied up Chevron, gas pumps and a great hand wash. Inside it's a chic and modern décor with plasma TVs, comfortable cowhide chairs and an area that can been closed off with a fabulous chain link curtain.  I have had several business meetings there. It comes across more as a first class lounge than a gas station.  The food is good and the coffee is strong. 


g

My next favorite station is the Art Deco station on Coral Way.  Not because it has a "surprise" on the inside. It's shows us that there was a time when things were built not just to be functional, but beautiful.  That something as mundane as a gas station could have flair and whimsy.  I know preservationists have battled hard to keep this gem from the wrecking ball, but honestly, isn't it worth it? 


Happy Summer Driving Folks! Add your own suggestions for Miami's coolest gas stations.

El Carajo International Tapas and Wines
2465 SW 17th Ave  Miami, FL 33145

Europa Car Wash and Cafe
6075 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33137

Dade Corners Travel Center,
 17696 SW Eighth St. (corner of Krome Avenue andTamiami Trail).

Southland Super Service Station
1700 Coral Way, Miami, FL


Friday, May 24, 2013

I am not the Friend I thought I was.





So I was at the tail end of an argument between two friends and I heard one mutter under her breath "this is how I get treated after I have invited him to the house five times."  Granted, I was not sure whether I was supposed to overhear that comment or not, but I realized at that moment that my friend was keeping score. That perhaps her view is that friendship is more of a quid pro quo than a two way street. Of course that comment got me thinking....am I keeping score?
 
Lately, I've been doing a lot for my friends: errands, small favors, big favors. Doing things for others when I would rather be doing something else. In some cases there was some serendipity: an unexpected tour of a beautiful home, rides in expensive cars....both things I enjoyed immensely. In some cases there was just hard work and no reward beyond that of knowing I helped a friend, someone I care about. That's when I realized, I was keeping score too. 
 
That in that complex and very delicate relationship that we call friend, there is a constant give and take. That there is a tipping point on either side where one party feels a bit put upon.  Unlike family where a favor can be returned in the next generation and although forgiveness is implied, it is not guaranteed. What is guaranteed with family is that you're stuck with them and generally, barring something drastic, you have a lifetime to work off the debt owed in the "favor bank". With friends the favor bank is more of a short term loan, time can run out and it's time to say "what can I do for you?" or even better "can I invite you to dinner."

Let's just make one thing clear, I am not a Marcie to your Peppermint Patty.  I will ask for something in return...it might be tomorrow it might be in ten years. It might be a hug, it might be moving day. So I am not as true a friend as I thought I was, you gotta show the love too.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Maid in Miami

"The hand who rock the cradle rules the world" Yet we never talk about the hand that cleans the toilet do we?  It may not rule the world, but it certainly has some influence.  I am talking about cleaning ladies and what impact do they have in our lives. The relationship between you and the person who washes your underwear. While employer-employee relations can be tense, imagine that your employee handles your unmentionables on a frequent basis and has free access to the liquor cabinet.
 
What surprises me is the intricate love/hate relationship we have with our cleaning ladies.  That delicate balance and fear that someone we trust to keep some semblance of order in our lives could walk out the door and we're left with dirt, spider webs and general disarray in is otherwise an orderly existence. The enormous trust we place in having a stranger go through our possessions clean them and hopefully put them back where we found them.  
 
My cleaning lady, Maria(not her real name) came to me over 25 years ago. She was the cleaning lady of my best friend and roomie. Carol, my room mate was severely housekeeping impaired.   Her solution was Maria, a person who had spun a severe case of  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder into a rather thriving business for the perennially disorganized like Carol.
 
I lived with Carol a few years, fell in love and moved out. I also forgot to mention to her that I also had hired Maria when I left. I neglected to mention this to my ex-roomie.  Well, it got out a few years later that I had "stole" Maria. Carol didn't speak to me for about 6 months. Carol insisted that I fire the housekeeper....but at that point my Husband and I were under the thrall of clean toilets and color sorted underwear. I realized a clean house was well worth the cost of a dear, dear friend.
 
Over the years I have referred our housekeeper to several friends. She has a waiting list. Through my housekeeper I have a the hookup to other cleaning ladies through a loose network comprised of relatives of my cleaning lady, her friends and people she had met on the bus. People seem to come to me if they need someone to clean.
 
My friends both fear, hate and love their cleaning ladies.  Their fear is that they will have to find another one.  One of my friends, Alex hates his cleaning lady.  "She doesn't clean!" "Her idea of cleanliness is shoving everything into drawers, regardless of whether they belong there on not."
 
"Why don't you fire her?" I ask.
 
"Well, I trust her not to steal and she's been with me a long time. I also don't want to tell her how to clean."
 
Another friend, Amy says about her housekeeper, Patti "All she wants to do is organize my closet, she's not a cleaning lady at heart." "I also think she's a frustrated decorator." Patti has worked for me when my housekeeper was on a month vacation. Patti works for several of my friends, she is also known as the Queen of Bleach.  Apparently bleaching every possible surface both cleans AND disinfects.  Amy tries to hide the bleach from her, but she always finds it.

My friend Evelyn fires cleaning ladies.....just the idea of another woman in her house drives her batty. Though she doesn't do a good job of housekeeping herself, she's an excellent critic. Kinda like a food critic, can't cook but knows what food should look and taste like.

For me it's trickier. Maria has been picking  up for me for 25 years. She has earned her place in my heart and I consider her family.  I know her so well, that if I annoy her she will walk out. I've seen her do it before. She will not tolerate disrespect of any kind. Plus she is totally OCD so things must have order and cleanliness.  Unlike Maria I am a frustrated decorator. I move things around, have lots of tchotchkes which I take out and put away.  You can imagine the torture it is for Maria.  Out of respect for her OCD I've given up on "grouping" things in a way I find aesthetically pleasing.  Each item must be placed on a shelf in an orderly way, about 10cm apart.  She also hates almost empty shampoo bottles....twice she's thrown away a weeks worth of Aveda shampoo.  Sometimes I seethe at how she's reorganized the towels, my gym bag( yes, I know it can smell) but I don't want it cleaned because she'll throw away all the shampoos I have in there.


In any case, for my friends and I, our domestic professionals bring sanity and order to our lives. I some cases they may be the person who cares for us when we're sick if we live alone. They insure our sanity by organizing disorderly closets, giving us a care-free Saturday where laundry is being done so we can go to the beach.  For me it's that touch of Mom that kept the house running seamlessly, not realizing how much work it really is to clean toilets when someone has bad aim like me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Miami, Always Trying to Keep It Classy.

A couple of years ago Miami was voted 2nd rudest city in America.  Working from home I don't always get the chance to fully embrace my own Miami bubble that basically disregards all else except my immediate gratification.   So last night I went to the Arsht, Miami's spectacular performing arts center.  The show was typical "Broadway Across America" and it truth, it wasn't bad. Gratefully, it wasn't the usual inane "family fare" that forced me to stay away for so many years. I mean how many times can one see Judy Taymore's Lion King? But I digress, I'm really here to talk about the patrons.
 
In particular, I'm talking about cell phone usage. Recently, at a movie theater in Broward, there was an announcement that said people who use cell phones will be removed from the theater. Hurray!  I know people might think it's common courtesy not to text, play Bejewelled, or actually answer the phone while at a show.  In Miami, it's a birthright to do these things at any time during the show....for long periods of time.
 
The tickets were expensive, so I'm sure that gives people the right to answer the phones. Like "hey, I paid for these seats, I'll do whatever I want while I'm here." It's Miami. It's not like anyone here is going to do anything about it anyway. The thinking is that maybe if you let your neighbor do it, you get a free pass sometime later in the show to do it yourself.
 
Now, imagine the baby is an iPhone
I had scored some amazing box seats for the show, just above the stage, set back a bit. Sadly, there was a woman(actually many people) who through the entire show had her cell phone on. Non-stop. I'm sure she was doing important things....closing deals, gossiping, sharing recipes and winning Words With Friends and getting high scores on Bejewelled.  I'm sure her Facebook postings were riveting. What was funny is that she was hunched over trying to create a light proof "phone bubble" made of elbows, cupped hands and her breasts.  Kind of the way a mother might huddle over her baby during a lion attack.
 
Yes, I care...no I really don't
So Intermission came and I heard several people talking to the ushers asking them to do something about it.  You got the typical Miami usher half-smile shrug that says: sorry rich guy, I don't speak English and I would do something about it, but I am a part-time minimum wage employee and I don't really care. Then the usher would go back to texting.
 
So during intermission I confronted the "phone bubble" lady. Her husband was with her.  I asked her to stop using her phone....not nicely...because I am a native of the 2nd rudest city in America.  I know from experience that the white guy saying politely"please don't use your phone" is the equivalent of asking a dog not to pee on the fencepost.  So I raised my voice and made sure that everyone around could hear: "YOU WERE USING YOUR PHONE THROUGH THE ENTIRE SHOW".
 
The couple's response "Well the guy next to us was texting too."  REALLY? That was their defense. Not even a denial.  So fucking lame.  Of course, they were ready to engage me in an argument...and believe me I was ready....but it was a night out at the show and I did not want to be ejected for "rudeness".  I was just keeping it classy, you know.
 
Very little phone usage in the theater after my outburst. That was classy too.

 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Miami Potpourri: Ft. Lauderdale Haters, Fat(as usual), Bicycling.

Just wanted to write about a few things on my mind but in reality there may or may not be any coherence to this week's blog post.  As this post is about Miami and being a "man of a certain age" I thought I'd get a few things down that may be good fodder for future blog posts.
 

"Classy" Ft. Lauderdale......whatever.
Firstly, I read an article somewhere about 37 things that make Miami the best and weirdest place in the U.S.A.  The post was funny, but the comments section wasn't.  http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/37-reasons-miami-is-the-best-and-weirdest-city-in-the-us
What surprised me was that there were so many haters, and most of them from our neighbor just 23 miles up the road: Ft. Lauderdale.  So I wrote a whole page about how Miami was better than Ft. Lauderdale, I discussed it with my friend and she said "why bother, Miamians don't even consider Ft. Lauderdale. I mean does the fabulous prom queen ever think about the blah girls who don't even qualify as nerds? No." I thought about it and she was right, I never think about the place unless I need to go to Ikea. So I dedicate Janice Ian's song, Seventeen to Ft. Lauderdale and it's environs.
 

"Hello Kirk, we are going to be good friends!"-Bob
Okay, I am a man of a "certain age" and I've decided to "dress my age". Also for some reason my clothes seem to be shrinking.  I'm going to make the move to XL.  It pains me to admit it, but I'm expanding and nothing seems to stop it. No more tight tees stretching across my grossly distended belly. I am going just make friends with the belly and learn to love it. I will not suck it in at parties, at the beach or pool.  It will be a prideful belly that will not shy away at the sight of a hot guy. Nope, no more sucking in the stomach for me!  Don't get me wrong, I am not giving up my healthy lifestyle, it's just at some point you have to admit there are things on your body that can't change without surgery or discomfort.  Hello belly, my name is Kirk.
 
It doubles as a dress.
I know I may be suffering from a bout of body dysmorphia, but tight clothes are no longer comfortable. I want to wear shirts in the "blouson" tradition that define the middle aged. Under all that fabric there's fat, under that fat, there's a body. Those puffy, oversized shirts from Brooks Brothers which are so comfortable and go great with a 38 waist size pair of Levi's. Just letting go of vanity perhaps there's some dignity in hiding this decaying corpse of a body that once danced on boxes in nightclubs.
 
Ok, new topic! Bought a bike. You think being the captain of a swim team would be enough (remind me to turn in my Speedo's briefs for Jammers). Not just any bike but a lovely Italian racer made of carbon fiber. The bike shop fitted me for the bike and more tight clothes.  Hopefully I'll be riding hard enough that I won't notice my knees hitting my belly. I am a bit nervous moving up the biking food chain, but it is one place where clothes as tight as sausage casings are de rigueur.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ON YOUR LEFT!!! MS 150 Breakaway to Key Largo

A few months ago Jose, my barber, showed me his new bike. It was a sleek road bike with a carbon fiber frame that was white, black and neon green. Just beautiful.  He asked me to lift it and all 13lbs of carbon fiber, steel and aluminum caused my heart to melt. Since then I've had some serious bike envy.  That bike inspired me to ride in South Florida's premier bike event: the MS 150 Breakaway to Key Largo. The event was last weekend.

Prior to the ride, I collected a few intrepid bikers to ride the ride with me.  All of us had what in the bike world would be considered "beaters".  Older bikes, hybrids and road bikes that are clearly "recreational" bikes.  I began to see the pecking order of the biking world.

Like any community defined by the machines they use, the pecking order is clear: expensive new bikes at the top, everyone else below.  Concordantly, the nicer and more expensive the bike...the bigger the ego (dare I say: asshole) who rides it. Let's get one thing clear, the MS is a RIDE, not a race. Which is open to ALL cyclists regardless of bike or ability. You pay your entry fee, you raise $400 for a good cause and you ride.  No Lycra, no carbon fiber frame or Shimano Dura Ace components required.

So our intrepid little band started the ride and happily pedaled away at the leisurely pace of 15 to 18mph.  We thought we were towards the back of the ride as the faster cyclists, teams and groups were to the front. We were wrong. As we laughed and sang our way along 80 miles of Florida roads through suburbs, farm fields and mangrove, groups of "elite" riders would pass us(wait weren't we in the back?) and literally scream "ON YOUR LEFT!!!" in my ear.

Next year pink bicycle lady "on your left" will be me!

What kind of jerk yells at someone putting along on a country road which is deserted and closed off for the "ride". Go around...there's nobody here but you and me and an empty road.  One person yelled at me while I was resting on the side of the road not even moving. ON YOUR LEFT she screeched from her $3000 10lb pink Quintana Roo road bike, followed by a peloton of 20 bikers wearing acres of matching Lycra spandex shorts. (Rest assured very few people can pull that look off very well.)

So we finished our ride and as we walked away a "biker prince" said to my friend in a halfway rude, halfway pick up line kinda way "you rode 80 miles on THAT?"  Yes we replied, surprisingly her bike was the most "road" of all the bikes we had. She had tricked it out with some cool leather handle grips. We still couldn't figure out if he was just not good at conversing or a jerk.
 
So despite the "elite" riders, the RIDE (not a race) was amazing. The chance to see parts of my community from the best vantage point possible, on a bike.  America's winter garden in South Dade, Everglades, Mangrove swamps, waterways just pedaling away for a good cause.  It was fun, it was healthy and it felt good to push ourselves beyond what we thought we were capable of.

The MS 150 Breakaway to Key Largo was awesome fun.  Yeah it hurt physically. Yeah, my ego took some serious bruising not having some sleek road machine. Like showing up to the Indy 500 in an AMC Rambler.  Ouch, each time some jerk yelled ON YOUR LEFT! not as a safety warning but as a victory cry. I was glad to help our for a worthy cause. I was glad to challenge myself to something extraordinary and survive. Next year, I will be the one screaming ON YOUR LEFT!
 
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The New "Normal"(Gay Pride redux 2013)

Crazy weekend past. I was swamped with Gay Pride, attending a wedding by two dear friends and executing Miami's Gay Swim team float.  After last year's debacle at gay pride, I was sure the Nadadores, colloquially known as the "Nads", would represent this year. Even if it was just me wearing my Speedo's.
 
But I'll get back to the Parade soon.  First I want to briefly describe the lovely wedding I went the night before. Two friends from the swim team finally tied the knot.  Attractive, successful these two are the poster boys for Marriage Equality. More importantly the ceremony was both poignant and beautiful. Set on a beachside terrace at a South Beach hotel the wedding guests sat outside waiting for the couple to walk down the aisle. Attending were both men's families (a Mexican and a Argentinian union). There was crying, there were flower girls, there were mothers-in-law and it all seemed so lovely, beautiful, exactly the way a wedding should be. Hotel guests could see  from the beach and pool the wedding going on. Strangely, there seemed no reaction to see these two striking men walking down the aisle.  Tears, dancing, love....the new normal.
 
So, the next day I'm scrambling to find hot young guys to be on the swim team float for  Miami Beach Gay Pride.  This year's crop of swimmers are a far cry from what the team had when I started swimming five years ago. (See "Gay Swim Team blog 6/12/08).  While the team has  it's fair share of hot young gay guys, the demographics have switched up a bit.  Now there are significantly more women, parents,seniors and oddly, straight young male professionals. Who, much to the chagrin of the gay guys, are actually extremely attractive.  
 
As I cast out calls for people to be on our float, of course I was hoping the hot young ones would heed the call. But like anything young and pretty, they need to wooed, begged and convinced that strutting themselves in a Gay Pride parade in Speedos is not going to make them seem uncool and/or slutty.  That somehow if their young nubile male flesh exposed to the world (they are on a swim team after all!) would make them damaged goods on Grndr or some other social media outlet.  That somehow being seen on a Gay Pride float in a pool would make them seem.......god forbid...."un masc"(non-masculine).
2010 Young hot and wet.....

The straight guys, the women, their kids, the seniors were like "hell yeah" let's do it! That's the new normal.  Yes we had a few young hotties on the float. What shocked me was that we had a lot of older ones too. There were kids (youngest was 3), there were women, and there were seniors: oldest person on float was 71. No, it wasn't the hot young crew we had in year's past. But isn't that the new normal?  Isn't that what we want for our community? That an event called Gay Pride, can hopefully be called "community pride".    An event that in the past (in other cities) that was known for R-rated frottage in public by people in just the minimal amount of leather clothing is now known for PG-13 strippers dressed as firemen and churches' bringing their entire youth groups to march in support of marriage equality.

That our allies, their families, our seniors are there for us.  Holding our hands, standing by our sides, in Speedos on a float and saying yes, I will be there for you. I want for your family the protections that I have. I am glad to see that too.....is the new normal.
2013 Diverse hot and wet



Visit the website nadadores.org

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Before the (Gay) Parade Passes By,


It's Gay Pride time in Miami again and of course I feel like writing my annual "angry gay" column. I've just spent an evening with several bickering homosexuals, a homosexual ally and two 14 year old girls.  The teens and I danced to gay anthems while the rest of them bickered of Gay Pride signage.  My slogans were: "Can't Pray Away the GAY" and "Fabulous by Choice, Gay by the Grace of God". There were several others as well.

That being said, I'm not going write the "angry gay" Pride column. I really want people to understand why this event is important to gay identity.  Why we do this. Is seems frivolous,  pointless even.  It's core roots forgotten and it's overt sexuality misunderstood. Why do gays want this, why do we NEED this and why it might all just go away.

At it's core it's a protest.
How do you piss off a nun? Well I know from experience, not much. However, to really anger a "moral" "God fearing Christian" you wiggle your firm male buttocks in their faces to thumping dance music. It get's them fired up, angers them, forces them to pray....pray hard. Even if you're 2000 miles away in San Francisco, your hot bod is going anger someone in Tupelo, Mississppi at the Family Research Council. Really piss them off. 

It's a protest about moral oppression. Back in the day, the Stonewall riots lasted for three days. Gays were tired of being brutalized and humiliated by police.  It's a protest about societal rules that kept gay sex hidden, in the darkness,  where someone's natural inclinations were to be ashamed of.  To the point somebody would wish you incarcerated, hospitalized or dead.  It's about taking that shame and shining it in the sunshine and say....no, I won't hide anymore, my love, my body, my person. 
This is the kind of thing that pisses off the biblicals

It's a Celebration!
The media says it, we know it. No other movement has come so far so fast. This year 2013 could be the chance that marriage equality could become real for all. In 50 years we have moved from the fringes of society. Arrested, incarcerated, institutionalized for who we were. We can serve openly in the Military! We can marry in several states! Travel companies fight for the gay dollar! 

 Soon we will the most boring neighbors with the nicest begonias and rose bushes on the block.  We will be normal! We will be like the middle class black couple down the street, seemingly out of place, but here nonetheless.  We will become one more denizen of the potpourri of American life...and it will be no big deal.

It's a Remembrance.
600,000 gay men died in the AIDS epidemic.  No other group of people outside of the Vietnam generation can understand what it's like to lose an entire generation of people.  The epidemic taught us the lesson of uniting in the face of adversity, to advocate for ourselves in the face of government oppression, to understand the we, as gays, have something unique to offer this American experience. 

There's no real account of the thousands of teens who have committed suicide because of bullying and non-supportive families. We remember them and fight for the end of intolerance and bullying. It does get better.
Parade beauty queens....that should have been me. 

It's Passe.
Maybe, maybe not.  Aren't all parades passe? When is the last time you went to a parade? All the parades are fading, St. Patrick's Day, Fourth of July, New Year's Day, Orange Bowl.....I remember when Miami had all of those. Why does Gay Pride still bring out over 30,000 people to Miami Beach.  

Younger gays are moving on.  As our battle for rights getting closer to victory, in-your-face displays of homosexual lust seem a bit 20th century. Hot muscular men writhing against each other is just one mouse click away....who needs a parade for it?

  I mean for those of us who grew up playing "smear the queer", the world has moved on to Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, sensitivity courses for bullies and real acceptance in their personal and professional lives.  Gay marriage polls at 80% for those under 30....

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Why keep pissing off the nun, when she's already in the Parade?



Before the parade passes by 
Before it goes on, and only I'm left 
Before the parade passes by 
I've gotta get in step while there's still time left 

I wanna hold my head up high 
I need a goal again, I need a drive again 
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again 
Before the parade passes by 

I'm gonna carry on 
Give me an old trombone 
Give me an old baton 
Before the parade passes by

Lyrics by Gerry Herman.