Sunday, August 22, 2010

IN A GAY NEW YORK MINUTE

Last night I decided to bar hop for the first time in a while. After my friends and I enjoyed a fabulous Thai dinner we made our way to the watering holes in Chelsea and the West Village. As the night played out I unexpectedly analyzed everything going on around me rather than getting loaded and making new acquaintances like probably should have. Perhaps it was the bourbon that caused me to observe or if I was experiencing side effects from my medications. Regardless of the reason last night was an eye opener for me to rethink strategically how I am going to conquer HIV in this gay Mecca.


One of the most appealing attractions of NYC is the various communities and neighborhoods and the diversity of its occupants. There is something for everyone here. NYC is a safe haven for the gay community- the boy who grew up isolated in rural America simply because he was different knew one day he could run away to this city where he’d feel safe. Take note that it must never be forgotten that this city once oppressed those that were ‘different’ and all the tears, blood and shouts that were shed to fight the corruption. I thank those men and women for bringing me one step closer to showing the world it is okay for two people of the same sex to hold hands down Eighth Avenue.

With that said, as I sipped my cocktail and listened to the DJ blasting the latest dance tunes I asked the gay community in NYC as a whole, “What happened to us as a community? When did it become okay for us to be complacent?”

Let me give you a few quick examples of last night. We went to one bar in Chelsea filled with clicks and attitudes where majority of the patrons were dressed in tank tops and sweat shorts. Is this night life or did I make a wrong turn and enter the gym? Learn proper dress attire for the evening, I say. I had enough and headed to the West Village for some good old fashioned karaoke, and coincidentally, one of the few places that have the proper ingredients for an Old Fashioned cocktail. The clientele median age was 22 or so. The MC played the hit disco song, “I Love the Nightlife,” by Alicia Bridges. Unfortunately, my friends and I were of the handful of people in the bar singing along as the rest of the patrons had no idea what the song was. Taking note, the MC made a comment to the audience that maybe he should play some “Salt and Pepa” tunes to bring the kids up to speed. I swear on my life someone shouted out, “Who?” Come on now, these were songs I listened to as a kid in my bedroom fearing I’d get beaten up in school for knowing all the lyrics. Sure, I’m not a Streisand fan, but I still recognize her as a gay icon for the generation before me- for men who needn’t dare admit they were in love with her putting their own lives in jeopardy. Do the youth not recognize that Lady GaGa and TV shows like ABC’s, “Modern Family” were not always in existence? Brush up on gay history like Stonewall and life before it, I say. And finally, the icing on the cake was when I told my friend, who is in his mid forties and came out of the closet at thirty, that I’m HIV positive. His immediate response was, “Oh no you have AIDS!” Learn the facts of HIV before spreading lies, I say.

I could continue with my tangent forever, but let me get to the point. Gay guys here seem to be all over the spectrum, with a sense of entitlement- and why- because we are gay? Sure, it’s great that couples here can go to Connecticut to get married and come back to Manhattan. But, does it not dawn on them that you can’t get married in your own state? Why aren’t these Chelsea queens and the youth giving back what was privileged to them? Everyone seems to make time for the gym and brunches and frivolous things like that. Then, why aren’t more voices fighting for gay marriage and educating themselves on the ADAP crisis- chances are they have a friend or two in this city living with HIV. We are a city of eight million people, and sometimes this community can seem so small.

As I contemplate about relocating to another city, like Philadelphia or Washington D.C., I am starting to wonder whether New York City needs someone like me to bring back that sense of urgency and radicalism that gave us the freedom to be gay here. I am proud to be a New Yorker, but now I must speak to you, New York, as a whole: You’ve got a lot of shaping up to do.

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. So, so glad to see another interesting poz blog. Can't wait to read more about you.

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  3. Congrats on this blog, and I'll be keeping an eye out for ya!

    Mark S. King
    MyFabulousDisease.com

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  4. @ Anonymous- yes, can I help you?

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  5. great read. Looking forward to keeping up with you both here and on youtube. it is awesome to see others willing to take a stand, being open, out front and very much out of the closet when it comes to HIV.

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  6. NYC sure does need someone like you, the whole world does.

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  7. There are many singles who is looking to date with like minded people. I feel same like when i come to know was positive but my friend suggested me Std Dating site to find verified and local positive singles. I was succeed in finding a partner to date. hope d same from you All the best my friend.

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