The making of a leatherman, up close and personalGear Up! Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Social Chaos: Gear Up!
I’ve been writing this column now for about four months, and I think it’s about time for me to tell you how I got here – the Reader’s Digest version!
Well, I was born a poor black child … no, that’s not it! I was raised on the streets of … no that’s not it either! I’m a country boy from Texas. And that you best believe!
I come from an upper middle-class African American family. It wasn’t always that way. My grandparents had 10 children, so my mother knew what it was like to work. And she passed that work ethic on to me. I am the middle child. For what it’s worth, I’m not the typical stereotype in a lot of ways.
I was a civil rights kid. I dined with the likes of the late Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King when I was a junior member of the NAACP of Texas. I grew up loving music, and starred in a few local plays. One notable role was as the Tin Man in our rendition of The Wiz! I got the part naturally because I was a self-taught tap dancer, and the only one in my town who came close to the original performance.
But as the stereotype goes, you could say I was into theater. I worked as a radio DJ while in high school. So, you could say that I was an entertainer as well.
Now in the country, in a small town it’s hard to be sheltered by life outside of your environment. Well back then at least; communications weren’t as prevalent. So you could say that I was “Ghetto Fabulous!” That means I was a star in my own environment. My preparation for college was just as dramatic. I was my class favorite and I received a drama scholarship to attend a junior college, but I decided to join the military. I wanted to see the world and get out of that small town.
The Armed Forces took me to Germany. There I explored my first gay bar and backroom scenes at the age of 18. I was young and handsome, and there again, I was, “Ghetto Fabulous,” with lots and lots of friends; American, German, French, you name it! Ironically, I was taken there by another military member, whose gaydar went off and who told me, “I have a place that I know you will like!”
And now, I’m writing a column in the San Diego LGBT Weekly. At that time, I was not ready to own and face the fact that I was a gay man. I was just spreading my wild oats, as I thought. So I went back home and married one of my high school sweethearts.
That lasted about a year and a half and then I went out to explore. This is now called on the “DL” (down low). It means you don’t think everyone knows that you are gay, but they do and just won’t say! I did that for a while and because of my upbringing just could not bring myself to believe that such a thing existed; two men as a couple? How could that be?
So guess what? I got married again. This time I told myself that was how it was supposed to be and no matter what I was going to keep it that way. But life is a funny thing. Just because I was telling myself to believe that way, it does not mean that the other person you marry thinks it’s going to last forever. That’s when I started writing my fairy tales. It can happen, but only when both parties are involved.
Needless to say that did not last either, but it went on for a few years. There were the children that kept the happiness, but the relationship was not doing either of us any justice. So I moved to North Park and decided to find out who I was.
It felt like Germany, all over again. I was popular, even more handsome as a man than a young boy. And then again, I made more and more friends; some who now I call family.
I came out to my children and the love response I received was, “You’ve always been our dad, nothing can stop that now!”
Wow! That was great, but I had a few more folks to come out to. So I took my new found boyfriend, first one ever, to meet my family in Texas. Now granted, you heard me say that I am African American, but I did not tell you that I am also a percentage of Cherokee Indian. What a perfect combination to hate a white man. My new, first boyfriend was a white man.
We went home to Texas, and I was floored when my mother talked to me in the kitchen and gave me another lovely response, “Baby, you can’t help who you fall in love with!”
That was all I needed; the positive response from mom! Now I know it doesn’t happen all the time, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Well of course there is my sister, who said, “Oh! I knew that!” My inner thoughts said I wish someone would have told me!
Life is great now. I am on my last boyfriend. I’m relationship material, always have been. I like the party atmosphere, but I also like my quiet time with my family and friends. I’ve done a lot of things, seen a lot of places and going to see more.
Now that you know a little bit more about me, go ahead, I dare you to write to me and tell me how you got here. I might just print some of it in this column. Intlleathersir2003@cox.net.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=14392