Playlist of my Gay Life
There's a cute little LGBTQ space in my Dad's hometown. And I started going to karaoke there about six months before the urge to be out and open was so strong. I'm only in town two or so times a year, so it seemed like a sort of vacation to hang out at this gay bar. Like it wasn't my real life.
But last time I was home, back in January, I went several nights to this place. It was here I had my first pass made at me. The guy I was talking to squeezed my leg firmly as he was leaving. I was so titillated and flattered that I totally forgot to react. Maybe it was an invitation, and maybe it was just appreciation. But it was certainly nice. I wanted to dance that night anyway, and the music was just getting started.
A few days later, I had my first drunken make-out session in this place. And then I knew it was all right. It would be all right. And all manner of thing would be all right. Then I knew what I needed to do to be real at long last.
So when I left to come back to Jersey, I emailed the bar. I told them my story. How the community they had established here in this town had assisted me with my decision. How I had been able to come home and be out and open and honest with myself finally. I offered my services to repay this debt. I DJ on the side, and love music. I wanted to entertain their nice, sweet crowd of eclectic queer folx.
To my surprise, they said yes. So I just had my night a few days ago, coming out here to see my family during my spring break. The night was super-fun. Quiet, but the people who were there were appreciative and loved what I was playing. It's not what you hear everyday, especially in Colorado. So they liked it.
I love funk music, anything basically in that style from 1967 to about 1976. I devour it. I study it. I know the histories of the bands and players and the labels. I indulge this love whenever I can. I basically fell in love with this kind of music when I saw Stevie Wonder singing "Superstition" on Sesame Street in 1976 or so. I adore the way hip hop and breakbeat musicians sample these classic riffs and breaks. I glory in its expression of defiance in the wake of Civil Rights and the Vietnam War, when the promises of America were once again going to go unfulfilled for black Americans.
I see analogies in its exuberance and satirical edge to the process of LGBTQ+ liberation, and to my own experience as a gay man trying to come out. I identify with its totally sincere cynicism and joy and power and love. That's me. I felt funky in my life. As queer people, we are all funky in some magnificent way. So during this night I could share my love and vision with kindred spirits.
As I stood up at the DJ stand with my laptop, dancing and drinking, and chatting with patrons, I thought about how far I've come in this gay life. Still more or less feeling my way around. Meeting sweet men and other lovely people. Making friends and sharing the spaces in a comradely way. Figuring out who I am and what I like. I'm making headway on these burning questions, and I figure I'd like a boyfriend in about a year's time or so. I'm a relationship person I think.
But this is my life now. My gay life. And I love it more than I've ever appreciated life before. The dark shrouds that tend to cling to me have mostly passed. I think positively and with cautious, hopeful anticipation of the next weird adventure. It's so new to be real and authentic.