Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From the Streets of Denver, 2004

Comments made by men who have sex with men from a 2004 study in Denver, Colorado:

I believe that I have seen a lot of different dilemmas, difficulties, and problems faced by gay men, primarily with social stigma that still exists. Although it is not as in your face as it was 20 years ago, it is still there.

I think the gay community is ageist; it's like once you get to a certain age, then you lose anyone desiring to be with you to an extent, and that causes more isolation.

I have been in social settings were comments have been made that were disrespectful. I was at a party and the gay host made a comment like, “ now don’t you end up running down the street with my TV”. I could not believe that he had said it. I was the only African-American man there. I excused myself soon after. I cannot believe that in this day and age again that people can be so rude and ignorant.

I am racist myself. I will not have sex with a white guy. I just don’t. In Denver a lot of African-American guys like white guys, I have no idea why.

Then you have all the guys with the financial means, upper class, you’re A-list gays. They are the ones who threw all the parties for each other.

I went to a ballgame with a friend of mine and he said that two of his friends were going to come with us. Well, this guy showed up with tweezed eyebrows, carrying a purse, a little white t-shirt and one of those overalls turned into shorts. He had eyeliner left over from the night before. It was at a ballgame. I was like a teenager, walking 20 paces behind their parents, who used them for a ride and 10 dollars in shopping money. I was afraid to be identified with that.

I am not quite sure why they want gay men to practice monogamy. Monogamy after all implies choosing one woman.

I feel like gay men stall. They get wrapped up in and stall in the service industry, in the airlines, hotels, and restaurant. The service industry works well with a self-absorbed lifestyle.

I think that a lot of the gay community doesn’t perceive education as beneficial. They graduate from high school and begin working at your minimum wage level…I don’t think that the gay community is educated as a whole, and there are a lot of people working dead end jobs. I have noticed there are a lot of guys in fast food or chain restaurants, where they can work the evening shift, get off work by 10 then go out to the bar, party until 2, and not have to go to work until 4 the next afternoon.

The higher your self-esteem is the higher the chances of protecting yourself. As much as gay men take care of their bodies, they don’t take care of their brains. They might hate themselves, but they sure do look good.

I am having a hard time finding someone to hang out with, without them getting sloppy drunk. I don’t knock anyone for what they do, but there is a tendency to get too messed up with that. Last night I met someone and he wanted to do drugs. I can’t meet a guy who only drinks a little or smokes a little. They all have to be fallen down crack heads or drunk.

I think that a lot of guys are so concerned about their appearance that maybe they don’t eat right. Some guys really think they need to be slim; they won’t even eat in order to achieve that. They say you can’t be too rich or too thin. There are also guys who think that you have to be so buff. It’s beyond ageism to lookism…If you look at gay magazines, just like with women, they show models who do not look like the average person, and yet you are bombarded with those images…I think that some gay men do things that are injurious to their health…I think that Americans in general do not want to live a healthier lifestyle; they just want a pill.

We are all at someone’s house and we are all drinking, and we are putting on body glitter and we are cackling. Everything is just fun and frivolous. We stop at 7-11 and everyone gets sweets and candy. Then we are in the car, and on the way to the club someone says, “Here is your party candy”. Ecstasy. I took it and got this surge of energy. This friend says, its okay, this happens. Then, we hit the club, and I was told to eat the candy so that it would last longer. You don’t want to do it in the club because of cops, so you do it in the car. They play the music to match your mood. Right when you get there it is high energy because everyone is freshly high. Right when you are high, the bar is high because they play the right music. Then when you are about to come down, and the club is coming down they play trance, because it is come down music. The do it to get you to come back.

I know that there are several guys who, who, you know, might ask if someone plays safe, but when it gets to actually playing with that person, who knows?

I would get them drunk; I would drink just to have somebody. Get them drunk. Then you can have somebody. Get them drunk. I would drink as well, but mostly I tried to make them drink more instead of me. I didn’t want to be drunk, just them. I wanted to be able to enjoy it.

I never realized that crack cocaine is a powerful drug. I found out that if I went out to Colfax with crack, and there is a straight guy that smokes crack, a fine guy, he is going to be up in that hotel room if I have crack, and he is going to do anything that I ask him to do to get high. Crack cocaine is a very powerful drug. When I found out that I could get straight guys with crack, man that was it. I was never one to have sex for drugs; I will be the one to get the drugs to have sex. I like straight guys. Once I learned how to use it, it was easy.

I like to do a shot of dope (methamphetamine) and its wonderful. I would get paid with a shot of dope and I would hustle from one to the next. I am from the Midwest, so I repressed my interest in men and it is not something you can express, you can get hurt for it. So I got out here, I got a little wild. If you had a little dope it made the party all that more fun and more interesting and if you wanted to invite a couple of buddies in then, shit, we are all about to have a good time.

You grow up alone, this is my theory, then you get to metropolitan area, and you find your little gay bubble, and you are like, Oh. My God, I found it. You then begin experiencing sex, and I think that is what gay is. I don’t experience it as an identity, but to me gay to me is more lifestyle, and it is the bar 5 times a week, and everything is fabulous, and fashion and all that. To me that is what gay is, and I think that too many men get stuck in that.

When you first go out you don’t know who is who and what they are about. The more people that you meet in that crowd, the worse it will be. There was always sex, there was always drugs, and there was always drinking… It was everyday of the week. Each day we already knew what we were going to do. Depending on what day of the week it was, we already knew what bars had what going on different nights…Sundays was the longest. We would party all up and down Broadway.

The problem is, say you go to a gay bar for brothers. There are going to be black men there that only want black men. There are going to be black men there that are only going to want white men. There are also white men who want only black men. Once you slice and dice the pie into all of those different groups, who is available in that room is much more limited than at first glance. At first when I thought about it, I was shocked, and then I was angry. Now it just makes me sad.

Out of sight, out of mind. It (HIV) was not something that I had to worry about. The majority of the population out there is like that. It don’t matter what we come up with, with what we do, the majority of them out there probably don’t think about it. You would be surprised to hear how many people ask me if I have HIV compared to those who want to know whether I want to have sex.

These are the tamer comments. All fodder for a candid discussion with the Kid.


  1. I've crossed paths with those in the gay community who are living that type of life depict in the comments you posted. They are, for the most part, good people, just very troubled.

    But it's really typical behavior of those who have become stuck in a troubled adolescence. Gay or non-gay. I've see men and women well into their 50's who still haven't matured. Many, it's apparent, suffer from extreme holes in their self-esteem. Always doing things to over compensate for what is missing but never being able to fill it. It's sad and my heart breaks for them. Very few of these people, if any, had any positive role models in their lives that accepted them for who they are. They value their life very little because their experience as been that the people who might have loved them unconditionally, only loved them on condition they weren't a certain way, whatever that was, gay, woman, man or simply being born, etc.

    If the only loving role model you know rejects you for who you are, then how can you learn to love and respect yourself and others. How can one enjoy life in such circumstances?
    The only enjoyment they can comprehend is that of pure physical thrills and whatever means it takes to get them.

    What is even worse is that the world, which rejects these people, attempts to scapegoat them as a whole, notably the gay community, in an attempt to prove that living the "gay lifestyle" is only a life of severe dysfunction and misery. That same world in essence is responsible for creating such dysfunction in the first place. Ironic. Never mind, the "non-gay lifestyle" which contains the same dysfunctional behavior and misery. To accept that aspect would be taking personal responsibility.

  2. "Never mind, the "non-gay lifestyle" which contains the same dysfunctional behavior and misery."

    Yep, there is a hetero mirror to all this.

    My question is how does a non-hetero or a more than hetero young person find the healthy alternative "lifestyles" that he or she fits into? And how do you avoid being sucked into things that are not "good" for you? I still deal with these things as an adult. Not as much, but they still raise their ugly head.

    I can remember doing stupid things with another teenager who had been drinking and I see some of the "lifestyle" consequences in my professional life. I'm fighting the fight for education and self esteem on a daily basis for the Kid. Unfortunately, the "lifestyle" has a certain siren song.

    We children of the sixties remember the songs well.

  3. Yeah, so true. There is that siren song that calls. LOL! I'm very much aware of it in myself.

    I can see aspects of my life where my self-esteem was intact and where it wasn't, depending on which part of me that was hurting. I actually fall into the category where my hurt came from rejection for being born in the first place. The gay stuff came later.

    So mainly what I was getting at was that we all have a better chance of seeing things for what they are when he don't hurt on the inside. The siren songs often appeal to the parts of us that are troubled. But sometimes a siren song may be just what we need to heal a hurt. The point is, it's difficult to judge things when we are looking at them from a space that isn't always rational, from our hurting space, from the space that we fear within us.

    I try not to put meaning to consequences because future outcomes that result keep teaching me new things. My mind keeps changing. ie. The last date I was on resulted in bad consequences, I knew it was going to go bad before I agreed to do it. But later, the consequence became enlightening, therefore positive. LOL! So which is it? Would I have found the same enlightenment had I never gone on that date knowing it was going to turn out bad?

    I can only speak for myself. I've never had children. But there is an aspect of that which extends to my relationships with others and how I treat and respect them.

    The mere evidence that you accept the Kid puts you and the Kid at a much greater advantage than most.

    I'm actually quite envious of the Kid getting the chance to figure this all out at a younger age rather than have it put off until midlife like me. :)

  4. Yes, there is always that chicken and egg, which came first, analysis. But some things, like crossing the road at the wrong time, with the wrong people, doing the wrong things, can be an exceptionally risky way to get to the other side. Yet there is always that kernel of admiration for those who purposefully live life in an extreme sports kind of way which goes hand in hand with the loathing of the stupid mistakes inadvertant kind of extreme living.

    Is acceptance the right word? Perhaps not. I know love is one of right words. Awareness is one of the right words. Priorities is one of the right words. Commonality is one of the right words. Experience, even the negative kind, is one of the right words. I still struggle with both external and internal conflicts, but some how I am at peace with our situation as it is. Irreconciliable with our many faceted existence, perhaps jarring, yet beautiful because we are and can be, yet always with things that won't quite mesh up.

    Thanks for stopping in again.

  5. That's very zen like. :)

    To me is like find the balance for our situation in life.