Monday, December 14, 2015

1st Christmas Without Faith. Nudist Pagan Ritual or More "Santa Baby"

Those of you who follow this blog might be aware of this author's great schism of '14.  When after months of contemplation I parted with my former church, and consequently gave up "faith" in general.  I left in my usual understated way, with a few choice words for the pastor and leadership.  But a year has passed and the holidays are upon me and in truth, I really love the holidays.

Now without the fetters of religion I'm wondering how to under gird my holiday traditions. I'm wondering if I should go "full pagan" and celebrate the winter solstice, with perhaps an animal sacrifice in the nude or go "full commercial" with endless renditions of Santa Baby and lots of designer gifts.  Or do I do nothing....not acknowledge the holiday at all, although in my heart I want to.

War on Christmas.

So in full honesty, I'm celebrating the holidays this year like every year. Yes, I've cut out the midnight mass and much of the religious trappings of the holiday. The creche and the three kings did not come out of the box this year and probably won't ever again. Thankfully "The WAR on CHRISTMAS" has made cruising the holidays a very secular affair.  There's less Hark The Herald Angels, and much more Deck the Halls.  In fact, Starbucks' red cup makes me question the whole "reason for the season" entirely.

Importantly, I also have an addiction to cool ornaments. This year I'm doing a whole Mexican, Day of the Dead thing on the tree. (That seems like a good holiday too.) But my Star Wars and Start Trek ornaments are up there too.  I think the tree thing is just a way to channel your inner id. Why would I want to stop that? Of course as an atheist, I could put that tree up anytime, assuming I could find a Douglas fir on sale in May.

That being said, I just can't let go of the "spirit" of the holidays. Giving, seeing friends and family are joyful, regardless that it takes the holidays to make it happen.  Helping the less fortunate and thinking about children, both our own inner child and the ones in our lives is something we don't do year-round.  That being said, I can't completely let go of the religious nature of the holidays. I'm sure the pagans were, like "I'm so stressed, and I've got to pick up the goat for sacrifice, but then again, its the Holidays."  So while I claim to be a non-believer.....there's still belief in the hope of humanity and the real joy this season brings to so many.   So Happy Holidays everyone.

Those pagans! Then again I could go to Haulover Beach for Xmas

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I JUST CAN'T: Its Time to Change the Narrative on HIV and AIDS

I can't anymore. I just can't. I can't sit through another speech or ceremony where a sad gay man speaks about his boyfriend who died of AIDS in 1986. Or a slideshow homage to the victims of AIDS who are wearing Members Only jackets and big 80s hair. It's time to put that to rest, I'm sure the fabulous dead would be like "girl, move on, day-glo was so three decades ago."  Yet this sad broken record replays itself over and over.  The stereotype of a sickly HIV positive gay man who is sexless is still the image that comforts people who know little about the disease, or their own HIV status. 

Yet the "AIDS industry" struggles to keep this death based narrative alive, because that is the orthodoxy of the HIV Epidemic. AHF, AIDS Healthcare Foundation uses its multi-million dollar bullhorn to warn gay men against PrEP despite clear scientific evidence that it's overwhelmingly successful in preventing new infections. It uses tactics such as sex shaming gay men who take Truvada to prevent HIV. It throws out red herrings like "drug resistant STDs" which do exist, however, even most diseases treated with antibiotics eventually succumb to drug drugs are developed to fight resistance.

So, finally, in 2015 we can actually change the narrative around HIV disease.  We can move away from the depressing, fear-based tropes that have permeated our culture, especially our gay culture for the last three decades.  In the last two years, especially in the last year new medical breakthroughs have emerged that show that HIV is beatable. That we can finally turn the corner on the epidemic. In all seriousness, HIV is no longer a major topic of conversation in the gay set and there is a hunger to move on.  But we can't move on quite yet.

We can't move on until we agree that the new studies of PrEP: Pre Exposure Prophylaxis are amazing breakthroughs and offer gay men a hope of a life free from the fear of HIV. As gay men we should encourage men who are not infected to start taking Truvada faithfully.  Second we need to get all those gay men who don't know their status to get tested. New studies show that with sero-dis-concordant couples (couples with different HIV status) if the infected partner has an undetectable viral load, the odds of transmission are almost nil.  These two breakthroughs can finally put a halt to this disease among gay men. Governor Cuomo of New York has a stated goal to get all sexually active gay men on PrEP while getting positive guys to undetectable viral loads, the combination should be enough to break the back this epidemic.  We need to make this final push, to make HIV infection rare in this country.

We need to sell a positive future for young gay men, that life without HIV should be the norm. Oh, and tell all of us survivors from the worst of the epidemic, that despite all the horror that HIV brought on us in the 80's and early 90's. We won't forget the 500,000 men who died, but I think its time we let them rest in peace and not use their memories to promote outdated ideas about fear and death always intertwined with sex.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Note To Millenials: There's "sharing" and then there's too much "sharing". Know the difference.

I am a firm believer in social media. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Grndr are all great.  It gives each of us exponential power to express opinions, share ideas, art and images.  However, as I move into my curmudgeon phase, or as the gays might say "becoming a bitter queen", I realize that sharing in the virtual world, is not really appreciated as much in the real world. At least not by me.  

For example, twice in the last month I've attended events that one would consider costly. The first one, was an awards dinner for two people who have done amazing work to fight for gay rights and have given a lifetime of service for the cause of social justice. The night was fun, both speakers gave wonderful speeches about service and selflessness. One actually went to the Supreme Court and defeated the national "marriage ban" for same sex couples. One speaker brought the entire room to tears with his speech about service to fight the AIDS epidemic and the hard work of getting marriage equality. 

So the night seemed to be coming to close, when a montage of a young attractive couple appeared on the screen. A lot of selfies and Facebook shots of these two twenty-somethings. Then you realize its a bunch of pictures of the co-host of the event. He comes up to the stage, invites his boyfriend up and does a marriage proposal.  Which is cute, I guess. It was peripherally connected to an event that honored people for their years of service.  However, my hubby and I did not spend close to $1000 to see activists who had accomplished amazing things being upstaged by a cute kid who thought he would hijack the event and really make it about himself.

Then it happened again. My hubby and I raised thousands of dollars for the HIV/AIDS ride,  Rode our bikes 165 miles from Miami to Key West and at the closing ceremony another millennial woman got up on the stage to read a passage with her wife.  They started to cry and said, "this is hard because my mother just died on Wednesday."  There was a collective "aww" sounding similar to the "aww" heard during the marriage proposal. She read her piece and stepped down. Did the mother die of AIDS? No, I learned later that she hadn't. It had become a topic of conversation with the riders afterwards. But again, the moment became about her grief and not about the cause.

I know this is nit-picky. But when you give a speech, or host an event, it's first and foremost about the audience.  It about graciousness and giving your all to make sure that they are comfortable, entertained, educated and or welcomed. Which means in many cases, means being selfless, taking your moment in the spotlight and remember the words in your mouth are not just about you. There is a delicate line between sharing a personal moment and just making a spectacle of yourself. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Year Without Faith, Less Church, more Mimosas.

So It was about a year ago that I had my falling out with religion and faith in general. Considering that the Pope just finished his whirlwind tour of the U.S. and Cuba I think now is a good time to reflect on this year of absolutely no religious activity (aside from railing against it) and how my life has changed.

First and foremost, my life is much more at peace and contemplative. As a child I never enjoyed church and always loved those Sundays where my parents were too busy, lazy or distracted to make us go.  They were lazy Sundays spent outdoors, like a skipping a day from work or school, a personal free day, knowing that everyone was busy, and you had the streets, woods, house to yourself.  I am glad to say, those Sundays are back. Lazy cycle rides and fun gay brunches populate my Sundays now.

Secondly,my family is profoundly uncomfortable with my anti-church, possibly atheist, fervor.  I cannot bring myself to step into a church. My mother is very worried for my soul which is odd because she's a Presbyterian. Short chats with family about her concern, and I thought Presbyterianism was the mayonnaise of main-line Protestantism, maybe there's some spice there yet. Also there are the small religious rituals, practiced reflexively over a lifetime I've let slip away. Saying grace, small prayers, even types of condolences seem fake, and I try to avoid them. 

Finally, there's just a general anger at organized religion in general, with its siren song of salvation, redemption and canned platitudes.  I had a glimmer of hope with the Pope with his glorious PR campaign and sweet words and then he runs off and has secret meetings with anti-gay crusader Kim Davis.  Which says to me that bigotry is tolerated, as long as it slips in the back door. As a gay man, it completely invalidates his messages and all the hard work he was trying to accomplish. It also reaffirms my disbelief in organized religion, whether its the Vatican or Coral Gables Congregational, religious leaders promote dialogue and inclusion but they only want to hear their own words repeated back to them and include only those who agree.

 "Waiter, another mimosa please."

Drag traditions

Monday, June 8, 2015

Venezuelan Chavistas Tried to Commandeer My Pool on Saturday. (and why do communists have to be so cute?)

You may or may not know that I happen to run the local Masters Swim Team, the Nadadores. Which is celebrating 21 years in existence this year.  Each Saturday our team reserves 8 lanes so we can do our workouts. Hadley pool is a fantastic facility run by the City of Miami Parks and Rec Department and they have been fantastic for the last 10 years we have been swimming there. 
So, last Saturday I arrive at my local pool for practice and noticed there were far more swimmers at the pool than usual. My coach whispered to me that they were the Venezuelan National Team practicing in Miami for the Pan American Games in Canada this week. All excited I whipped out my iPhone and snapped a few pics of some very cute swimmers. Suddenly, a very officious, albeit handsome young man approached me and ordered me to stop taking pictures of his swim team. He was arrogant, rude and very cute, I knew that it was going to be a tense day at the pool. 

 No pictures without communist approval...
I quickly realized he was the team apparatchik and the only person authorized to speak to anyone outside the team. The coaches, the swimmers and entourage were keeping a far distance from the lifeguards and this young man was the only one doing the talking.  He was demanding that he should get the entire pool because they paid for it, they were practicing for the Pan American Games and they were the Venezuelan National Swim Team. What he wasn't aware of is that he paid only for half the pool, because our team pays for the other half.   I was not about to send my 25 swimmers home for a bunch of communists. Also, a significant number of my teammates are Venezuelan emigres, and I doubt seriously that any of them would appreciate being displaced a bunch of communist Chavistas.

So Mr. Chavista Apparatchik argued incessantly with the lifeguard to push us out of our lanes to the kiddie pool.  Thankfully his arrogance fell on deaf ears of our own city bureaucrat who was on the phones with his superiors, on a Saturday, trying to accommodate two swim teams that had reserved the pool. We began practice as the poor lifeguard and the communist debated. Hitting a bureaucratic stalemate the communist had no choice but to come to me to negotiate for the extra lane he needed for his team.  Now instead of arrogant, Mr. communist was all smiles and niceties. "Por favor Señor, let us have one of your lanes....."  I remembered how arrogant he had been just 30 minutes earlier....his poor treatment of the lifeguards, the suffering of my wealthy Venezuelan emigre friends....but he was so cute, and young......."yeah, fuck it, you have the lane for 30 minutes".
" Oh, thank you señor." he said in Spanish.

Who am I to deny a cute young communist his dreams of medals?

I was left with these questions:
1. If they are so anti-American, why the fuck practice in the most anti-communist, anti-Chavista city in the U.S.?
2. Was it communist arrogance, youth arrogance or swim team arrogance on display?
3. Why didn't you just try to be nice in the first place and ask nicely instead of causing all kinds of drama?
4. I doubt I would have given him my lane if he wasn't so damn cute.....

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Gay Ageists, Gaygists?

Just a tired old bitter queen.
So recently I seem to feel a spate of ageism on the rise in the gay community.  Which I find strange because in Miami's gay male community seems more integrated than ever.  However I've read couple of posts on social media and heard about few community events have been clearly ageist in nature and it saddens me because Miami does gay in a very different way than other communities.

What? Now I have to let myself go?
So in full disclosure this blog is called Miami After 40 because its about an aging gay man in his forties. (late 40s now)  As I think about changing the name of this blog to "After 50" and start pushing Geritol and Rose Hips, I feel a bit sensitive about agesim.  Also, since the generation immediately before mine, approximately 500,000 gay men, died in the epidemic, ageism wasn't really a factor for gay men, because there just wasn't enough "men of a certain age" to warrant it.
So getting back to ageism. Sometimes it can be subtle, for example a buff, ripped handsome 40 something year old man posted a shirtless selfie on Scruff. A hookup site originally intended for more hirsute, older (30+ ) men and their admirers. Not to be confused with Silver Fox which is another demographic entirely.  But I digress. The man who posted the shirtless pic was told to "dignify", "act his age" etc. etc.  He was actually annoyed enough to post the interaction on FB.

Sometimes it's obvious, like a pool party thrown by a group called Impulse, supported by AHF (AIDS Healthcare Foundation),  which targets young men for HIV prevention. Men over 40 were charged $50 at the door, men under 40 were free.  Which would fine, if it wasn't billed as a "community" party. Unfortunately,  their non-apology apology on their FB page didn't help matters much. A restatement of your mission statement is not really an apology is it?  Secondly, if they made it a private event, for guests under 40, with a guest list, the whole messy business could avoided a lot of hurt feelings and one less reason for us to hate AHF and its stubborn opposition to PreP.

Sometimes ageism is just internal. My Grandmother's favorite saying was always "Don't get old, the only thing that gets better with age is Jamaica Rum."   This slow degradation of the body, aches, pains, wrinkles, grey hair is not fun. Especially in a community where youth and vibrancy are valued. However, aches, pains and wrinkles are part of the human condition and I earned them and I should get respect for them. If I exercise, compete, work out, I do it for me, to stay fit, to stay "younger", not to pick up somebody younger. Because this is the only body I have and I've got to make it last. Because, let's face it, most of us if we're lucky, will be considering adult diapers at some point in our journey.

Yes, I feel that just being older automatically deserves a little respect.  Young people should just assume I have more experience and knowledge based on the fact that I'm older.  A simple "sir" will suffice. I'm cool with that. No, me being nice, is not me hitting on you, get over yourself.  Believe me, at some point they stop hitting on you, so just enjoy the attention that youth brings and show some respect for your elders. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Leader of the (dog) Pack and Miami's Dog Parks

So inadvertently I became the temporary leader of my own personal dog pack.  I do have one dog, the perfect dog, but through the simple act of saying yes, for the last three weeks I had four pooches. Each dog, with the exception of my own, came to my home when I said yes to two friends who were traveling abroad, another is a dog I sit for a dear neighbor, the dog barks when left alone. I basically told both friends that I would sit their dogs while they were away. I didn't bother to ask what dates they'd be away and coincidentally both couples were leaving and returning around the same dates. I couldn't back out at the last minute and ruin vacations and friendships. 

My temporary "pack" of fierce dogs!

Creation of my Pack:
So packs seem to form organically. By Saturday I had 4 dogs and initially there was an adjustment period.  I learned that different doggie parents have different values when raising their canine companions. For example, house-training is a value I believe in as a dog owner. Dogs must relieve themselves outside. A stack of pee-pads came with one of the darlings and well I realized there were some different values regarding training. The problem is, when one dog uses pee-pads.....the other 3 felt like pee-pads, bathroom mats, and assorted floor coverings were put there just for any spur of the moment urination.  A second value I hold dear about doggies is that they don't sleep with me. Don't get me wrong I do not judge you if you sleep with your animals, it's just something I don't do. Call me elitist, but I am the alpha male and I sleep with other humans. I just want to keep at the top of the pecking order. When you raise your animals to your level, you're giving away your "power".  Whining  guests were quickly informed that the beds on the floor were for dogs. Any attempts to hop on the bed were blocked. 

So by the fourth day my pack began to act pack-like.  Keeping them all on the same walking schedule and food. I just mixed up all the fancy dog foods together, no use trying to each give them their "special food".  Like all dogs they slept for inordinately long stretches, but when they were awake they'd play and jostle and pee and play some more.  A leader emerged, Max, who would herd them in and out of the house and keep the dog pack working in a systematic, organized group. He'd poop, the other three would poop, he jumped in the back of the car, they'd jump in. The "runners" eventually fell into line and by the end of the week I didn't even need leashes to control the bunch. It was fun and fascinating and kept me entertained.

Going to Dog Parks:
So with four dogs I knew they needed exercise. I know people thought I was that "crazy dog person"showing up with four dogs. Also I didn't want to give off that "I'm a dog-sitter" vibe, because I went to college and have a job that pays. Plus I work at home and have a scruffy beard, so to a stranger, I might be some homeless dog hoarder that shows up with well groomed poodles. To me, having four dogs in not attractive, its just one dog too much.  My "pack" behaved well at the park and ran around and did all the normal dog things. 

Museum Park is lovely, not an "official" dog park. 
Good Dog Parks:
Best: Haulover Beach Dog park: Largest park around. Fenced in and has a small dog/big dog separation. There's a dog beach too.
Good: Blanche Park: Park is a bit small and crowded. Not much parking nearby. But it's fenced in.
Good: Pine Tree dog park: Fenced in. Shady. Dog owners were not friendly and gossipy about each other. If you go there stick to yourself and your dogs. 
Okay: South Point Park:  park is not fenced, too small, shrubbery around it. Good people watching.
Okay: Legion Park: fenced in but no grass, just dirt. poorly maintained dog park area.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Miami: Peaking and Sinking at the same time

So a series of events have combined to vex me about global sea rise. Let's be clear, I am no environmentalist. I don't recycle, I'm not a vegetarian, I drive cars that are questionably fuel efficient and probably meet the minimal emissions standards, So I know I have a lot of "personal work" to do on reducing my own carbon footprint. But I want you to know, I'm ready, ready to do my part to save mother earth or at least the fabulous patch of earth I'm currently inhabiting. I'm ready to tell climate change denialists that it's true. It's happening. And I don't feel like moving to higher floor on my condo because I hate elevators.
Lisa Beal: Saving the world and looking good doing it.

First of these events is my friendship with Dr. Lisa Beal.  Lisa is a world renowned oceanographer that works at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. I lunch with her every Saturday after swim practice. She is amazingly fabulous. Smart English accent with her signature shock of purple hair.  She keeps me updated on the latest in fashions and global climate change. She is unequivocal about sea level rise and frustrated by the dogmatic denial climate change by local, state and national leaders. 

Can Miami make waders hip? No.
Second, is a recent article in The Guardian by Robin McKie that really depressed me.    It depressed me because it's seems so true. Unlike Jeff Godell's bombastic piece in Rolling Stone, The Guardian's piece makes a credible argument that sea level rise is inevitable and that our elected leaders, despite all the evidence around them, don't notice that its really happening. You don't even to say "I'm not a scientist", not to notice that parts of Miami Beach now flood during high tide. Which didn't happen before. Miami Beach just spent $500 million to pump the ocean off of Alton Road and West Avenue 1000 feet into the the ground.  Despite this, the King Tide that happens at full moon every month still requires fashionable waders to get to Purdy Lounge or shop at Publix. To top it off, State Employees are forbidden from using the terms "climate change" and "global warming". I wonder if they're allowed to say "sea level rise" when Ocean Drive becomes navigable by dinghy.

Seas  rising? No such thing.
Finally, a freak winter storm flooded my neighborhood last weekend. As a native Miamian my father always warned me about all those neighborhoods "built in the swamp". Which is essentially everything west of 57th Avenue. Because of those warnings I've always been adamant about living on "high ground" which is basically most land east of 57th Ave. (the city extends west to about 190th Ave) High ground in Miami is about 12 feet above the current sea level.

I'm depressed about the whole thing. I walk and bike through Miami everyday.  I stroll through Morningside, Bayshore and Belle Meade and look around at the absolute beauty of this city.  The lushness, it's vibrancy.  I love it's new dynamic art scene, the amazing architecture new and old. I am so sad to think that within my lifetime all of it could just float away.  I don't have a plan, I'm not going to be a vegetarian or give up my BMWs tomorrow. I'll work on my recyling.......and tell my elected officials that it' true and fancy Bass Pro Shop waders are just not going to cut it. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Blog as Art and Why I like Being Called a Whore.

So, in the last few months I've received some critiques about several personal blog posts. Which in turn helps me to think about how I might reply.  Should a blogger answer to his critics? Especially a blogger like myself which mixes hyperbole, personal experience and combines them with a love for a particular tropical metropolis?  I mean a general "fuck you" could suffice.  However I consider this blog more along the lines of art form and not at all about journalistic integrity. I write to please myself and hopefully, sharing it will entertain the reader. I would like to outline the general type of the critiques I've received and in turn I will address them. 

I would like to state 99% of my critiques come via my Facebook page, Some on this page, some via email, some via text.

The Diva
I can't tell how many times people have told me that my blog is "self centered" that it's about being a "diva". That it's narcissistic. Yes, yes and yes. I don't see "diva" as a derisive. It is a woman's (usually one in very comfortable shoes) favorite brickbat to throw at a gay man who has outsized gayness and expects to be treated with respect and not as an object of pity. I will own my diva-ness and wear that badge with pride. In my own life I am my own diva.....and shouldn't we all be? I pity the person who resents another for accidentally or purposely being the center of attention. This critique was rampant during my whole "loss of faith" posts....I guess I'm just not one for being one of a flock.

The Douchebag/Piece of Human Garbage
I love these little bon-mots.  I get visuals of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate and the phrase "plastics" comes to mind. That being said I try to keep discourse at a higher level and name calling is just intellectually lazy.  Try harder.

I just love being called a whore.  No really, I do. It's such a funny/sad/poignant word. I mean anyone who calls me a whore has some really serious sexual hangups of the whole "unresolved mommy issues" variety.  Plus the "whore" visuals in my head are fantastic. I mean who can forget the "midget hooker" post that caused a ruckus in my former church.  I mean I try to be frank about sexual matters and if that makes me a whore, giggle, then so be it. Gay men have always been considered sexual rebels whorishness just comes with the package. 

How Dare You!?!
Dearie, I dare. How dare I be an out gay man, open about my HIV status, about my husband, my contented petit-bourgeois homosexual lifestyle and still look good, feel awesome enough to ride a bike165 miles to Key West and live in a city that is peaking and sinking all at the same time? I double dog dare. I don't see any of my writing as "daring" or "brave" its just me creating an interesting portrait. I do have the "audaciousness" to live my life in the open, and really be cool about the things that happen to me. Hopefully my example is one part "warning beacon" and two parts "case study".

 I do go back read my blogs all the time. I can honestly say I am not ashamed of single word I've written. So my "audacity" is just me putting stuff out there for my own entertainment. I can't draw, sing, or play an instrument, but I know how to string a sentence together. I do welcome your comments, even the angry, bitter ones. So while I hope my foibles are entertaining, I hope they make you think too. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

So, I accidentally outed myself as HIV Positive on Facebook.

So I accidentally outed myself as HIV Positive. I was responding to a moving article in the Gay Star News about those of us who survived the epidemic back in the 80s. .  The article was moving, I clicked to comment about my own experience and before I knew it, the article and my comment about sero-converting in 1988 was posted to my Facebook page. Initially I was ashamed.  An hour had passed before I noticed what I had done. I figured, well, it's out there, I wasn't secretive about it when I initially found out at 19, but at the time I was told I would have "at best three years" and to "get my affairs in order." So I really didn't see the point about being secretive. Now I can't imagine what affairs a 19 year-old would have to "get in order." but I didn't die and that was a great disappointment. I had envisioned the maudlin tragedy of a young emaciated man being wheeled off some podium after receiving a diploma and quietly dying 20 minutes later. Instead I am far from emaciated and far from that 19 year old boy that received that diagnosis. 

So after my "accidental outing" I really did have to sit back and think about this journey. How I live in the city that has the highest infection rate in the U.S. and the real apathy around the issue.  I will be honest, HIV infection to me, at this time in my life, is no big deal.  I know that sounds terrible. That I should be suffering a gigantic emotional cost, that my prospects and my dreams should some way be diminished because of my status, it's just not true.  It's simply 3 trips to the doctor a year and two pills a day. That's it. Of course I am an educated, affluent, white(ish) male and I do understand that I have the resources to make my HIV management simple.

That is not to say I haven't paid some price along the way, and that perhaps there are opportunities I didn't take, or worries about illnesses, or just plain "fuck, I'm infected"pity parties. But those I'm sure have been far and few in between. After realizing that I wasn't going to die, hell I didn't even get sick, new treatments came out, I got married, raised a child and my HIV status faded into the background. Many of battles protecting HIV positive individuals in housing and employment were won. Life moved on.
Oh crap, TMI.....

So the article touched me, I wanted to share, inadvertently sharing it with 450 friends on Facebook. The responses were touching, but I feel guilty being commended for being alive. Often times I've been asked by people "how do you live with HIV, how do you go on?"   I always sarcastically answered in my head: "well what's the alternative?"  My usual answer is: "I just do what my doctor tells me." To the many friends on Facebook who shared my "outing", well thanks for thinking about me, I am and always have been very embarrassed about my HIV status because I made a mistake......but hey I was a teenager. Secondly thanks for being friends and some you know a little more about me than I planned to share, but you're my friends and it shouldn't matter.   

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


27 years ago I was arrested for being gay. Not because I was having sex in public or being lewd or anything like that. I was in a bar, we were rounded up and put in a truck and booked on various charges. Mine was "battery" which means touching someone without their consent.  When I got to the booking person at the lock-up I was informed "pay the $1000 fine, or we will publish your name in the Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times."  Me being me, I refused to pay the fine.  52 other guys did pay the fines. So the Tampa Police made $51,000 in four hours to herd people into a truck and book them on trumped up charges. 

Miami, Florida, 1996, I volunteered for SAVE Dade to fight to add sexual orientation to the County's anti-discrimination charter. 
It wasn't a chapel, but a Credit Union 

San Diego, California, 2006. My partner of five years says "meet me at the Credit Union on the corner, I need you to do something important."  I get to the Credit Union right before the close of business, we walk up to the teller and ask her to notarize our Domestic Partnership Papers. At the time in California, domestic partnerships were a "marriage equivalent".  I was allowed on my domestic partner's health insurance plan. 

Miami, Florida, 2007 I get hired by SAVE Dade to be their Field Director. Worked on campaign to fight Amendment 2 the "Marriage Amendment". 

Miami, 2007.  My  husband and I are redefined as "Domestic Partners" when we register as domestic partners in the County's "business bureau" not in the Marriage office.  Domestic Partnership is not recognized outside of Miami-Dade County.

San Diego 2008, I become LEGALLY MARRIED in the State of California. Marriage is not recognized anywhere but there. 

Miami, Florida 2008.  Obama elected and Amendment 2 passes. "Marriage or any equivalent thereof shall not be recognized"  My spouse and I are officially  un-domestically partnered.

Miami, Florida 2013. DOMA was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Family income goes up by $100 per month because we no longer have to pay taxes on benefits to spouse.  Marriage is recognized by Federal government, for all Federal benefits including Social Security.

Miami, Florida January 6th, 2015.  I AM LEGALLY MARRIED!