Brett, in his own words:“Being gay is my sexual identity. Being gay plays a large role in the choices I make politically. I am not a one issue voter, but gay rights and marriage equality are extremely important.
The biggest challenge that I have had is recovering from pneumocystis in 1996. I spent 7 weeks in the hospital that summer. The biggest success is the recovery of my immune system after protease inhibitors were created in 1996. Perfect timing.
The gay community in Little Rock and central Arkansas is like most areas now. There is still some discrimination, but for the most part gays live, work and play along side everyone else. We’re in the same struggle as most states over marriage equality and waiting to see how far up the courts it goes. Was a beautiful summer here going to weddings of same sex couples.
I came out at 19 while in the Navy. A buddy in boot camp said he knew I was gay and took me to my first gay bar in Orlando, FL in 1982. I really never had any issue after that. My family gave me hell over it for a few years, then they got over it.
I would tell my younger self to relax and don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Bryce, in his own words:“Being gay means that I am: me… I suppose? In an ideal world me, being gay wouldn’t be a large part of my life, but alas it is. It means I’m honest with myself and truthfully, I find it hard to compare it to something or really know anything different. It’s normal. A constant.
I think because we are gay (or counter to the “norm”) we are subjected to the idea that we are different, somehow. Lady Gaga has really tapped into that market. [Her motto of: I’m different, you’re different…we’re the same! drives me insane.]
Now, I’ve had my share of glee and heartbreak, but nothing that isn’t relatable to our other straight counterparts. I am honestly no different then my straight male friends except- in our preference of gender.
Nonetheless, being gay is about honesty with myself and the people around me. I don’t try to hide it anymore- I just do me. And I hope that everyone else gay or straight, just does them. Because what’s the fun in being something you are not?
Torrey, in his own words:” I definitely see being gay within the context of a broader identity as a Queer person. I see it as a history, both forgotten and hidden, triumphantly emerging from the shadows, drumming and dancing a present and future sown with compassion and conscious of our existence as a collective bound to the lonely orb upon which we sit. Iconoclasts, enigmas, renegades, eccentrics, artists, healers, spiritual leaders, and so much more, across the body of this Earth, throughout humankind’s presence here. Essentially, in my opinion, it means we’re a marvelous and absolutely essential gift to our societies and communities, as powerful archetypes and as individuals embodying those roles as ancient as life itself.
At risk of sounding like Miss New Age America, one matter I encounter daily and expect to until the last, is how to love myself better so I am capable of greater love, in intention and action, towards all of humankind, our fellow occupants on the Mothership and the big blue and green lady herself. I feel as a Queer Person of Color who occupies space and has been conditioned within a racist, hetero-cis-sexist, patriarchal culture, my never ending journey in self-love and liberation, unlearning fear, stigma, shame and self-hatred, is both my greatest enduring challenge and endless opportunity for success, wisdom, and joy. “