about Yourself ...

Q. How did you know that you were gay?
A. I knew I was gay from a very early age, although I never knew what it
was called. I just knew I was "different". I've always been sexually
attracted to men. When I was little I had a crush on my fathers best
friend and I always looked through my dads porn for the pictures of the men
(even if it was only the tiny little pictures in the back of the magazine).
That's how I knew my sexual identity was gay, but thankfully I've learned
that being gay isn't just about sex, just as being straight isn't just
about sex. It's just a small part of who I am.

Q. What do you feel you have to do just because you're gay? Why?
1. Color coordinate.
2. Travel (internationally or summer at the beach).
3. Be theater literate.
4. Be fashionable, even when I'm asleep.
6. Treat having sex like having coffee at Starbucks.
7. Say that I know this or that person who is well known.
Why? Because it seems that the so-called "elite" rule the gay community
and stick their noses up at those of us who don't conform.

Q. What was your coming-out experience like?
My coming out didn't consist of a single experience. It was a process
that took about two years. It started in the Spring of 1970 when I was 20.
I left home and moved into a small apartment with a friend with whom I
began having a sexual relationship. At the same time the first adult
bookstores began to open. I started meeting people there and eventually
someone told me about the bars. The first person I met in a bar gave me
gonorrhea! The second person introduced me to two men who became my Gay Godfathers. They introduced me to their friends, who in turn introduced me to others, as well as organizations such as G.A.A. and Dignity. The rest,
as they say, is history.

Q. What happened when you "came out" to your family?
I never did. They probably knew I was gay, but we never discussed it.
My father was very religious and he had a gay uncle who he didn't like.
But the truth is, I didn't like him either. He was flamboyant, obnoxious and a
drunk; and those are the qualities that I grew up equating with being gay.
Fortunately I learned that it wasn't gay...it was just him!

Q. What makes you feel anxious or depressed about yourself? And what can you do about it?
A. I feel depressed because I feel secluded, and hidden from people in general. In order to remedy this I need to try to put myself in positive, comfortable social settings where I can talk about myself more and not be afraid of social interaction. Time will tell.

A. I am depressed and anxious because I feel useless. I will overcome this by staying positive and taking action whenever possible.

A. I was depressed in the past because I did not know how to think for myself as an individual person and a sexual entity. Everyone in my family told me what to do, everyone in school told me how to be, and everyone at work told me how to think. No one let me, or gave me credit enough, to run my own life and make mistakes, or at least develop my inner "me". To get over this I basically had to tell everyone in my life to "get lost" for a while and I just listened to me.

Q. What kinds of things do you keep secret?

A. I don't really have secrets from people but I do limit the amount of
personal or social information on a person by person basis. There are some
things I feel that people don't need to know or have the right to ask. My
money matters, where I live, my phone number, where I buy my clothes, where
I dine out and with whom, things about my family...

Q. What is your idea of "straight-acting"?
My idea is probably different from someone else's since it seems to be a
personal, individual thing. But I think generally in the gay community
straight-acting is about not being queeny, not doing drag, dressing more
blue-collar, and trying to appear or pass for straight. I think people who
are obsessed with straight-acting (you see it in the classified ads all the
time) are really just homophobic. But it's understandable since that is
the "act" that society praises and rewards.

Q. If you were straight, how do you think you would feel about gay men?
I think I would be a bit prejudice against them. My family had very
negative opinions on "queers" when I was growing up. If I were straight I
probably would have adopted their viewpoints just as they had for

Q. If a young man came to you and confided that he was gay, what would you
do and say?

A. It depends on his age...the younger he was the more I'd question him
about his conclusion about his sexuality. Why was it important to come to
me? What other questions did he have? We'd discuss my experiences, and my
coming out process as an example.

Q. If you had a "gay mentor", what stuff would you ask him?