Friday, November 11, 2016

Confessions of an Agoraphobe, by Louis

Since I come from an urban environment, I really cannot comment on rural mostly men going out into the woods and shooting animals. In bygone years, the hunter would kill the animal, decapitate it, take the head to a taxidermist who would stuff the head with cotton or Styrofoam, and the hunter would hang the animal head on his living room wall as a trophy or decoration. How sick is that?

Hunting means to me gay men cruising. The most extreme adventure I had with cruising was getting arrested for public lewdness in a public bathroom in Pennsylvania Railroad Station on 34th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. This was about 35 years ago. I have noticed Penn Station is on the news almost 7 days a week. Now with the bombing on nearby West 23 Street, we see even more of Penn Station. For years I worked in a social services office on nearby west 28 Street and 8th Avenue.

Nevertheless, I found getting on my Long Island Railroad car every evening to return home a somewhat traumatic experience. Ordinarily, I am a timid civilized person who would not dream of carrying on in a public bathroom. But one evening, I had an attack of agoraphobia, which the dictionary defines as a fear of public spaces. What it really is is a fear of crowds.

My rational civilized self told me that it is logical and normal that very large numbers of people are racing about to catch their trains, to board them before the scheduled moment of departure. But evidently I had another creature inside me that said these were not people going about their business, this was a life-threatening mob engaged in a riot. Walking about in these mobs, I became very confused, I felt threatened. I felt blood rise into my neck and head. In a daze I went to the Men’s room and did some unmentionable things. I sort of reverted to what Rousseau would have called the state of nature.

You smile at a guy you like, he smiles at you. You do what you have to get him excited and interested. And vice versa. And if it weren’t the public bathroom, you would then go at it and have a roll in the hay. Unfortunately for me, a police undercover cop caught me being naughty and arrested me, even putting handcuffs on and taking me to the nearby police office in the station. The handcuffs were metal (not the soft plastic), and my hands were behind my back.

When the rather good-looking cop interviewed me, I told him I got confused and I asked him if he did not ever get confused walking in the midst of the crowds at Pennsylvania Station. He said no. As time passed, the cop noticed I was amused at my situation and was even enjoying what could be seen as skin flick fantasy. The cop told me originally I would have to go to court in about two weeks and answer the charge of public lewdness.

About an hour later, the cop told me that his superior decided to drop the charges, and the record of the charges would be expunged. I was free to go. Informally, he told me that, when the police captain perused the contents of my wallet, he noticed I had several church membership cards (they were gay churches in my case), and so he concluded I was a solid citizen. So he decided in my favor.

The moral of this story is that, though we like to think our civilized personas are in control, and usually they are, if threatened, we all have a more animalistic self inside of ourselves that will act like an animal if going by the rules becomes too constraining or threatening.

© 20 September 2016

About the Author

I was born in 1944, I lived most of my life in New York City, Queens County. I still commute there. I worked for many years as a Caseworker for New York City Human Resources Administration, dealing with mentally impaired clients, then as a social work Supervisor dealing with homeless PWA's. I have an apartment in Wheat Ridge, CO. I retired in 2002. I have a few interesting stories to tell. My boyfriend Kevin lives in New York City. I graduated Queens College, CUNY, in 1967.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

In the Backlot of a Cowpen, I Sprouted, by Carlos

I thought I had forgotten; I wish I had forgotten. However, as I consciously pulled the threaded needle through the fabric of those distant memories, the details slowly encroach upon me, one after the other, mushrooming like a cloud of shadows hovering, lurking, having waited patiently for the day they could again walk upon the earth. And as I flesh out the details of those distant memories, as they become real, even now decades later, I roll over in my bed and shed one solitary tear although in truth I think I have mercifully forgotten why I weep.

It was a hot, sultry day in early August. Having packed my few essentials and tossing and turning for hours, I lay tormented in my bed, enveloped in the silence of the night, pondering the moment when I would have to say good-bye to all I knew, all I was. I arose ever so quietly lest I disturb my parents’ sleep although I knew that on that night, no one slept. I dressed and tip-toed out into the darkness, the stars and moonlight serving as my beacons. I walked the few blocks to the man whom I had met only months earlier, the first man whose warm embrace I knew. Waiting for me at the threshold of his home as I approached, I enveloped myself in his embrace and we held each other, for our time together had been so brief, our future so uncertain. Among the shadows of encroaching dawn, we walked into the garden he and I had planted, smelling the unfurling tea roses and interlacing our fingers as though we could never let go.  Our time was brief. I promised to return; he promised to wait until that day. I walked back to my parents’ home, tears cascading down my cheeks, my heart feeling as though it would tear through my sternum.

Being that I had to report to the army recruiting office near Oregon and Mills across the street from San Jacinto Plaza in central El Paso at 9 a.m., my parents were already at foot. They were trying so hard to be stoic, even as I tried to deny the reality of events around me. They dressed, wanting to break bread with me one more time before I flew away. My father pulled out the Chevy, its dented fender a vestige of my learning-to-drive days, and we headed out to a Denny’s for breakfast. We ate, we chatted, but in retrospect we were so far away, trying so hard to hold on, trying so hard not to let go. Afterwards, in the parking lot, I reminded myself that although my world was in flux, I would return. I tried to capture the rays of the early morning sun, to hold on to the gentle touch of my mother’s fragile hands, knowing I was about to be thrust into manhood in spite of my wishes to remain cocooned in the chrysalis of my childhood. I wanted to bask in Peter’s arms the rest of that summer and forge our emerging lives; I wanted to till our garden. I wanted to comfort my parents and continue to celebrate our Sunday morning tradition of menudo and sweet bread. But from the moment I received my draft notice weeks earlier, I knew that change was inevitable. I longed for comfort like a new-born babe finding himself not in the arms of a mother who had anticipated his birth, but rather in the emptiness of an institutional layette. A few minutes before 9, we arrived at my destination, and I requested they just drive off, afraid of betraying my macho bravado with a deluge of emotions. Accepting the inevitability of time and circumstances, I recognized the futility of my longings.

Arriving at the reception area, I found twenty some boys quietly awaiting the arrival of all the conscripts and volunteers. I took a seat, trying like most to become invisible, knowing that that luxury could not be so. Promptly at 9, several U.S. Army officials festooned with a multitude of colorful ribbons upon their chests, ushered us into a room nearly and after a cursory introduction, lined us up, had us raise our right hands, and had us recite an oath, offering our allegiance to military duty. Some of the boys were patriots stepping forward to champion our nation’s cause voluntarily, believing their blood would nurture glorious ideals and righteous causes. The rest of us were boys whose lives were interrupted by the draft but who nonetheless were determined to answer the call. We were simply boys who had run out of deferments and saw no escape. Regardless of motivations, all were now a union of brothers who would be preened and molded for combat duty in distant lands. Earlier, I had debated declaring myself a conscientious objector since I did recognize that the war was but a ruse, a rich man’s war being fought by a disproportionate number of poor boys, fighting and dying for an unpopular war to maintain a corrupt government. However, I thought such an action would dishonor my uncle and father’s valorous service a generation earlier, in spite of the fact that they had returned to a country that still saw them as second-class citizens. I also considered declaring that I was gay. After all, I had battled with my evolving gay identity for years and just that spring I had been joyously thrust into its lovely, complex culture and been initiated into the fold, when Peter and I met and declared our love. However, I feared the long-term consequences of speaking my truth for dodging the Vietnam draft, especially since so many men pretended unsuccessfully to be gay to avoid military service. Furthermore, being gay still carried a negative psychological stigma that I did not yet have the wherewithal to question or deny. Perhaps, I was simply an Emerson blow heart dutifully paying his taxes even as Thoreau languished in jail for refusing to do so, recognizing the conflict of their time was but a land grab of epic proportions. Perhaps, I was simply a coward who feared the repercussions of not moving to the back of the bus. Thus, I mumbled my oath, swallowed hard, and lowered my eyes in resignation, for once the words are given wings, I recognize oaths become actualized.

I have but snippets of recollections of what transpired the remainder of that day since everything from then on out was a whirlwind of events. We were herded into buses and summarily hauled to El Paso’s International Airport to be transported to L.A. Never having flown, I looked down at America stretching out before me, wishing I could open the airplane door and soar away to discover it, know it, claim it for my own. Descending upon L.A. that evening, my mouth was agape at the lights that emblazoned beneath me even toward the most distant horizons. They appeared like a massive crab stretching out forever as though valiantly battling against the inky blackness of a void devouring it.  Never did I know America was so massive, so oblivious to the realities of a boy from the fringes of its seams. Upon arriving at LAX, we were goaded toward a small two-engine plane, which followed the California coastline toward our final destination at Fort Ord near Monterey. It was late and the darkness of the night mirrored the trepidation I felt within. Arriving at our destination so late at night along with hundreds of other boys who had arrived from throughout the country, we were finally allowed to bed down in army-issued bunkbeds. The room went dark, and we coiled within the itchy olive drab wool blankets and sought refuge from the uncertainty of what awaited. I pulled out a small locket containing Peter’s hair, and held it to my chest, desperately trying to keep my cloaked sobs to myself. Although I wanted to awaken from the nightmare, exhaustion finally overwhelmed me and I lapsed into a sleep that momentarily staved off the fears and doubts of the unknown. Soon enough, we knew we would awaken and discover the sun water coloring the clouds. We were boys from dusty Texas cow towns like El Paso, Mesilla and Ysleta. We were boys from the windswept great plains of Dodge City and Enid in Oklahoma and Kansas. We were boys from western hamlets of Alamosa, Farmington, and Gallop in Colorado and New Mexico. We were boys from the inner city barrios and ghettos of Watts and East LA. We had so little in common, except that we were a divergent mass of humanity about to be molded by fates that would anchor us to the annals of history.

Years after my stint in the U.S. Army after decades of trying to forget the past, I walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The experience was unexpectedly personal for me. I reflected on the millions who not long before had been unwillingly uprooted from their homes in Germany and Poland and throughout Europe’s backbone, only to awaken in camps with names such as Dachau and Buchenwald, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor. Entering a cattle car where “asphalt culture” Jews and “degenerative pervert” gays had once been transported, I broke down and wept. My brothers and sisters from American cow towns and from hope-defying Polish ghettos had been sacrificed, and I’m not sure history has ever truly come to terms with the magnitude of the sacrifices. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived something I would rather forget. I returned relatively intact to my home, to the cow town that infused me with its blood, allowing me to tell a story history would prefer not be told except perhaps in hushed whispers during moonless nights.

© 29 Aug 2016, Denver 

About the Author 

Cervantes wrote, “I know who I am and who I may choose to be.”  In spite of my constant quest to live up to this proposition, I often falter.  I am a man who has been defined as sensitive, intuitive, and altruistic, but I have also been defined as being too shy, too retrospective, too pragmatic.  Something I know to be true. I am a survivor, a contradictory balance of a realist and a dreamer, and on occasions, quite charming.  Nevertheless, I often ask Spirit to keep His arms around my shoulder and His hand over my mouth.  My heroes range from Henry David Thoreau to Sheldon Cooper, and I always have time to watch Big Bang Theory or Under the Tuscan Sun.  I am a pragmatic romantic and a consummate lover of ideas and words, nature and time.  My beloved husband and our three rambunctious cocker spaniels are the souls that populate my heart. I could spend the rest of my life restoring our Victorian home, planting tomatoes, and lying under coconut palms on tropical sands.  I believe in Spirit, and have zero tolerance for irresponsibility, victim’s mentalities, political and religious orthodoxy, and intentional cruelty.  I am always on the look-out for friends, people who find that life just doesn’t get any better than breaking bread together and finding humor in the world around us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Still Learning, by Betsy

I recently learned that I am not good at doing things at the last minute.  That is why I am writing this piece now--after the date that the topic was to be shared.  We got home Saturday from a trip to California where among other things, Gill and I were married. I could not get a piece on “Still Learning” together in a short two days.

A couple of things I learned on this recent trip come to mind now that I have had time to process the experiences for a week or so. Here are a few items of note.

On the subject of personal relationships: After 26 years together with my partner a marriage ceremony and a license do not make a big difference in our lives, but I have noticed that since making my vows I feel a deeper level of commitment to my partner.  Perhaps commitment is not the right word, rather more of a reminder to love and to cherish.  Speaking aloud and hearing these words in a ceremony gives more true meaning to the words and reminds me of their importance and the value of the commitment.

I am reminded of the topic “Straight Friends Who Love Me?”  These friends of whom I wrote back in 2012 really do love me.  My cycling buddies with whom we had the reunion were truly excited about our marriage.  They were so excited they wanted to be there for the ceremony.  They wanted to be there so badly that we had an extra ceremony--albeit unofficial--in their presence. 

The straight women on my tennis team from the Denver Tennis Club were so excited about our marriage that they are giving a party for Gill and me.  Every one of them is coming. Every one of them is straight.  They have shown extraordinary support and acceptance and are going out of their way to do so.

On the subject of geology: In our travels to Southern California we came across many geologic phenomena. When traveling west on the ground, one always does.   We spend a couple of days in a place neither of us had every visited before; namely, Death Valley.  I have never thought much about Death Valley.  Considered it to be a “dead” place in the desert--a small valley between mountain ranges.  First, I learned that it is not small, it is not dead, and it is surrounded by mountains on all sides.  The towering peaks surrounding it are responsible for its extraordinary and unique geologic characteristics. The fact that it is surrounded by mountains is the reason it is the hottest place on earth and the driest place in the U.S. Death Valley is huge--140 miles long and 15 miles at its widest point.  Death Valley is also the lowest place in the US.  Furthermore, it is sinking faster than it is filling up.  The valley once was a lake, only 2000 years ago.

On the subject of spirituality: In the last few days I have also learned that we create our own misery.  How and why?  Because we have egos which want to be fed constantly.  Our egos are not our true selves.  If we identify with our egos, we are looking at a false image of ourselves. The image is a reflection of how others see us.  This is a false image of who we really are--our true selves.  Once we understand this we are on the road to identifying with our true selves.  Our true selves--our souls, if you will, cannot be controlled and manipulated by others or by society as our egos can be.  The next time I have a negative feeling because of the way someone has treated me or something someone has said or not said to me--the next time that happens I am going to watch my ego, not feed it, not deny it, just watch.  Then I can tell myself that I am creating my own misery by having a needy ego.

A young brain may absorb information faster, but I believe some things are learned only after, and as a result of, decades of experience in living.  I’m glad I’m still learning every day. It’s never too late for an “aha” moment and we can never have too many.

© November 2013 

About the Author 

 Betsy has been active in the GLBT community including PFLAG, the Denver Women’s Chorus, OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), and the GLBT Community Center. She has been retired from the human services field for 20 years. Since her retirement, her major activities have included tennis, camping, traveling, teaching skiing as a volunteer instructor with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, reading, writing, and learning. Betsy came out as a lesbian after 25 years of marriage. She has a close relationship with her three children and four grandchildren. Betsy says her greatest and most meaningful enjoyment comes from sharing her life with her partner of 30 years, Gillian Edwards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hunting, by Will Stanton

I know a little about hunting, but I have no first-hand experience.  So I cannot speak from the perspective of an avid hunter.  I do have, however, my own thoughts about the matter.

I know that, for millennia, human beings were required to supplement their diet of fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, with meat through hunting game.  Eventually, nobles and the aristocracy turned hunting into a sport, sometimes even declaring certain forests off-limits to the common folks under threat of punishment for any trespass.  Too often, this macho inclination to prove one's manhood by killing resulted in the shooting of literally hundreds of birds or numerous animals within a day.  Many so-called “hunting lodges” of the nobility still sport the skulls and horns of thousands of slain animals.  In theory, if I were to inherit such a lodge, I would remove and dispose of all those morbid skulls.  Only relatively recently, the British outlawed fox-hunts, a long-time tradition among the British aristocracy.

Only in more recent times in history, with the development of domestically raised animals, has modern man been able to sustain life without hunting.  Understandably, people living in homesteads outside of urban areas continued the tradition of hunting, even if game actually was not a necessary component of their food-source.  I also do recognize the occasional necessity of culling herds of wild animals that have become so overabundant that they threaten their environment or even their own species.

But, I also recognize in America that this so-called hobby became combined with some people's love of guns, a phenomenon that has resulted in this country's gun-collectors possessing nearly four hundred million firearms.  So, among people of today who are avid hunters and gun-collectors, the phenomenon of hunting is deeply entrenched in our society.

As for me, whose hunting is limited to the isles of the local food-market, I sometimes look askance at those people whose love of guns and hunting seems to me to be overly passionate.  I, myself, have a passion for the beauty of nature, for the exercise of wandering through the woods and bathing in the beauty of the environment.  I do not, however, feel a compulsive need to shoot and kill things while I am enjoying nature.  For modern society, I do not see learning how to hunt as an absolute necessity for obtaining manhood.  And, I never have had the slightest interest in joining the NRA.

That's why I was amused when a 1961 New Yorker magazine-cover sported an autumnal, Charles Adams cover showing an illegal hunter trespassing in a bird sanctuary and being flown off in the clutches of a giant pterodactyl.

Also, as a consequence of my personal discomfort with the concept of hunting as a sport, I understand and appreciate the satirical “Hunting Song” written more than half-a-century ago by Tom Lehrer, the humorist who was an apparently ambivalent academic who seemed to prefer to write funny songs.  So, here is his “Hunting Song.”            

I'll always will remember,
'twas a year ago November,
I went out to hunt some deer
On a mornin' bright and clear.
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow:
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.

I was in no mood to trifle,
I took down my trusty rifle
And went out to stalk my prey.
What a haul I made that day.
I tied them to my fender,
and I drove them home somehow,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.

The law was very firm, it
Took away my permit,
The worst punishment I ever endured.
It turned out there was a reason,
Cows were out of season,
And one of the hunters wasn't insured.

People ask me how I do it,
And I say, "There's nothin' to it,
You just stand there lookin' cute,
And when something moves, you shoot!"
Ten heads are stuffed and mounted in my trophy room right now,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a pure-bred Guernsey cow.

© 25 May 2016  

About the Author 

I have had a life-long fascination with people and their life stories.  I also realize that, although my own life has not brought me particular fame or fortune, I too have had some noteworthy experiences and, at times, unusual ones.  Since I joined this Story Time group, I have derived pleasure and satisfaction participating in the group.  I do put some thought and effort into my stories, and I hope that you find them interesting.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Choir and Singing, by Ricky

        In November 2011, in response to the topic “music,” I wrote an account of my acquisition of various tastes in music from youth to adulthood.  My tastes are not limited to just one or two types of music and one sentence therein deals with, not only listening to my favorite march, but also conducting it whenever I hear the song played.  One aspect of music as it relates to me I did not write about – singing.

        From Kindergarten through 6th grade, first at the Hawthorne Christian School then the Cambridge Elementary School and finally at South Tahoe Elementary School, music is included as part of the required curriculum.  As a result, I learned to sing religious children’s songs and fun or near nonsense songs.  Among the former I recall Onward Christian Soldiers and Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.  In the latter category, I remember, “Skip to My Lou”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

        Sixth grade was the final time I sang in a school Christmas program.  It was not because I did not want to sing but because the 7th grade and higher did not participate.  Therefore, as I aged into the teen years, the only singing I did was either in the shower (figuratively speaking) or around the campfire on scout campouts.

        As I attained the age of majority at 21, I sang in the choir of my church; not regularly but often enough.  My voice was stuck somewhere between bass and tenor like halfway in between, neither one nor the other dominating. 

        While stationed in Florida as part of the Air Force, I fell in love for the first time; or perhaps had my first major crush on a girl my age would be more accurate.  (I’m not counting the pubescent crush on my 5th grade teacher).  As a result, I became acquainted with her family for several years.  After I married Deborah who was the best friend of my crush, Charla, we ended up at Brigham Young University where I was a student of law enforcement.

        One day, Deborah told me that Charla’s brother (Vern) was also attending the school and that he is a member of a 50’s band.  She also said the band was playing that night at the student union building and we should go, which is her way of saying, “We’re going!”  We ended up attending the event with another couple from our student-housing complex and shared a table at the side of the room.  There were about 200 students present.

        Before the show began, Deborah found Vern and he joined us at our table for a few minutes.  The musical performance was excellent.  The band played all sorts of 50’s rock music but seemed to feature music by the Beach Boys, which I happen to like.  The band needed to play one more song before intermission.  However, as part of their performance, this song was not to be sung by the band alone.  All four members of the band rushed out into the audience and literally grabbed a person and pulled him to the stage to sing with the band.  Vern came out and grabbed me.

        Of course, I protested just like the other victims were doing but in the end “Deborah made me do it,” (at least that’s my excuse).  At that time in my life, I was introverted, shy, and always maintained a “low profile” so I was very anxious about what was about to happen.  I did not expect a good result from singing an unfamiliar song with no advance rehearsal.  I became even more worried when it was clear that the four victims (all males) will be singing four-part harmony without the band members.  The worst part was having the band members sing their parts, one at a time and each victim had to sing it back.  The others did fairly well as I recall but my anxiety increased when it became clear that my part was last; too much time to think about it.  Then panic set in when Vern sang his part.  It was in the falsetto range and I never sang anything that high since before puberty attacked me.

        As I wrote above, Vern sang his part and I sang it back.  The band selects victims to sing with as a regular part of their performance to be a bit of comic relief I suspect, especially the falsetto part.  When I finished singing the phrases back at Vern, he just stood there with his mouth stuck open for a full second.  By the next second, he and the audience were applauding.  Apparently, I sang the part back perfectly.  The only other time I sang solo and received applause occurred in a weekly scout meeting when I taught the troop the summer camp’s song by singing it to them.  Both back then and on this night my face flushed.

        The four of us victims went on to sing the first verse acapella and band members joined in for the rest; more applause when we were done.  I was relieved it was over.  In spite of a few extra hugs and kisses from Deborah, I cannot remember anytime that I have sung solo to any audience after that night.

        The name of the song?  Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys.

© 8 April 2013 

About the Author 

 I was born in June of 1948 in Los Angeles, living first in Lawndale and then in Redondo Beach.  Just prior to turning 8 years old in 1956, I was sent to live with my grandparents on their farm in Isanti County, Minnesota for two years during which time my parents divorced.

When united with my mother and stepfather two years later in 1958, I lived first at Emerald Bay and then at South Lake Tahoe, California, graduating from South Tahoe High School in 1966.  After three tours of duty with the Air Force, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I lived with my wife and four children until her passing away from complications of breast cancer four days after the 9-11-2001 terrorist attack.

I came out as a gay man in the summer of 2010.   I find writing these memories to be therapeutic.

My story blog is,

Friday, October 14, 2016

At the Snug, by Ray S

Dear Friends,

I come to you empty headed and weary of heart. Truly I bless the imaginative amongst you that brought today’s meeting to pass. Yea verily I say unto you, I am truly joyous to be “What e’er thou art” or something to be within the embrace of my dear compatriots.

I hasten to explain about my joy regarding the recent Feb. first and Feb eighth Telling Your Story subjects. I found last week’s explanations of the quote attributed to Bobby Burns fascinating, especially the scholarly interpretation of that foreign language. This was enlightening and “Sad but True.”

So, what about today’s Irish Snug venture? Will the change of environment bring forth new muses with beer on their breaths?

I am afraid that I have imposed my empty headed meanderings on all of you, probably to the point of, “Will he stop whining and let us move on to some meaningful stories?”

Sorry, friends, but I wanted to be here with you, even if I haven’t enlightened you with some grand inspiration. “Sad but True” and better luck next week.

© 15 February, 2016 

About the Author 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Death and Growing Up, by Phillip Hoyle

I recall clearly when in my mid-twenties I first had a new thought related to death, specifically regarding the death of my good friend James, a man I appreciated, with whom our young families spent time together (he and Sue and their son Charlie, Myrna and I and our son Michael and daughter Desma), and who with my friend Ted planted and tended a garden in my backyard one summer. My new thought was that wherever my good friend James lived, I’d travel there to attend his funeral. I was stunned by my newly-discovered perspective on friendship that seemed a mark of maturing and represented for me an aspect of friendship and love that has become an important signifier.

My work as a minister took me to many funerals, many of which I led. In the process I learned how to tend to the needs of family and friends of the deceased in calls I made on them and comments I shared concerning memories, grief, and hope at the funerals and memorial services I led. In fact, I learned to do this work well since the congregations which I served had many elders. I limited the time of my speeches, Bible readings, and prayers on these occasions (and as a side effect of my brevity, I became popular with the funeral directors).

Some years later, death and funerals took on a new aspect, the one I had anticipated in my twenties, when my longtime friend Ted died in his mid-forties. Our friendship had endured over twenty years. He lived fifteen hundred miles away, but I visited him several times after he became seriously ill. I wanted to help take care of him when his condition became critical but was not asked to do so. I did fly to San Francisco to attend his memorial service and pondered what I would say when folk were invited to deliver verbal tributes. I was unable to say anything and stayed firmly in my pew appreciating the speeches made by others. I wondered at my inability to talk but appreciated my ability to cry.

Last month I attended a memorial service for another longtime friend, Geraldean McMillin. She died unexpectedly at age eighty-two. Geraldean and I had been intellectual buddies and friends for over thirty years. I flew to Missouri and with members of my family attended the service. This time I had agreed to say a benediction at the end of the service. As person after person spoke, I cried; more specifically I had a constant stream of tears, mostly from my right eye, while others talked. I was afraid my weeping might leave me dehydrated, my voice too dry to speak at all, but when the signal came I went to the front of the chapel and said a few words about Geraldean and pronounced a benediction made up of some of her oft-repeated phrases and sentiments.

I miss her.

I miss Ted.

I miss James although I haven’t heard from him in many years and have no idea where he lives or if he is even still alive. I probably won’t need to travel to his service but sometimes I wonder who will travel to mine.

© 22 July 2014

About the Author 

Phillip Hoyle lives in Denver and spends his time writing, painting, and socializing. In general he keeps busy with groups of writers and artists. Following thirty-two years in church work and fifteen in a therapeutic massage practice, he now focuses on creating beauty. He volunteers at The Center leading the SAGE program “Telling Your Story.”

He also blogs at 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Strange Vibrations, by Pat Gourley

“Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with gods and goddesses is no reason to forget your zip code”
Ram Dass

For me strange vibrations have usually involved bouts of anxiety, which fortunately have been short-lived and really quite rare in my 67 years. My first experience with being anxious in an uncomfortable fashion was in my early teens and can be directly related to buying into the bullshit being foisted on me by the Catholic Church and its minions.

In hindsight I do think that my budding awareness that I was a gay little kid was just beginning to come into conflict in so many ways with the Church’s teachings. The cognitive dissonance created by what I felt in my core butting up against the relentless brainwashing could be quite anxiety provoking.

It was the most insidious form of child abuse legitimately sanctioned by society and the Church and it created lots of strange vibrations. By my Junior Year in high school these religiously induced anxiety attacks were quickly abating in large part thanks to my first gay relationship with a loving queer spirit guide in the form of an elder loving mentor.

I wonder sometimes if what I view as the relentless child abuse from all organized religions, often in an extreme form of psychological coercion and intimidation, doesn’t in some ways provide the cover or rather the rationale then for actual physical abuse both sexual and non-sexual to take place.  If you are willing to foist on young impressionable minds all sorts of bullshit succinctly laid out in the Baltimore Catechism for example does that make it easier to then extend this form of mind control to involve the physical? All of us are born atheists and really should be left alone with that universal view to eventually sort things out on our own.

I must say that my current spiritual view, which can best be described as Buddhist-atheism, is no longer a source of any sort of anxiety. I have finally learned the amazing calming effect of sitting quietly and focusing on my breath especially when the current fucked-up state of humanity begins to impinge, usually due to too much Internet surfing. Amazing how this can also be remediated by a walk to the Denver Botanic Gardens and a few hours of soaking up that energy.

After extricating myself from the Catholic Church in 1967 my next real bout with anxiety did not occur until the fall of 1979 and involved a bit too much psilocybin and a trip to the Empire Bathes. The resulting moderate freak-out was anxiety provoking enough for me to essentially swear off all drugs for the past 35+years with one accidental episode this past winter – details to follow.

My next strange vibrations did not occur until the fall of 1995 following my partner David’s death from AIDS related stuff. For many months after his death I would have nightmares often ending with waking up in panic mode with the sheets often drenched with sweat.  This did stop eventually after about six months of talk-therapy with a great shrink. No, I do not think I was experiencing untreated sleep apnea.

My most recent bout of strange vibrations occurred this past January when I was out in San Francisco. I was being Innkeeper and mentoring a new 14-week-old puppy.  It was a rainy evening with only a few guests and as is my want I started craving something sweet about 7 PM.  The pup and I were ensconced in the library catching up on Downton Abbey episodes.

Wandering into the kitchen I spied a Christmas tin on the counter. Upon inspection I found cookies that I remember being very similar to ones made in large quantities around the holidays. I quickly made short work of 6 or 7 of these cookies. I thought they had a bit of an odd molasses taste but still hit the spot. About 30 minutes later I began to experience very strange vibrations. This was odd I thought since I was in one of the safest places I can imagine on earth and to have waves of anxiety sweep over me rather relentlessly soon had me wondering if these weren’t perhaps the infamous house pot cookies. Several folks in the house have medical marijuana cards and made use of the herb on occasion often in the form of baked goods but usually only ¼ to ½ of one cookie imbibed at a time. 

Long story short I was able to determine that the cookies were “loaded”.  After several calls to Denver friends with questions about HIV Meds and large quantities of THC I was assured there were no physical interactions. I clearly recognized the anxiety as familiar ground and was able to weather the storm with the help of a good friend who came home from work early and some conscious breathwork. After about six hours I was pretty much back on earth with the strange vibrations fading away. I was left to ponder a line from an old Grateful Dead song: “Maybe you had too much too fast”. 

I was able throughout though to remember not only how to operate my cell phone and walk the dog but also I could easily recall my zip code.

© May 2016 

About the Author 

I was born in La Porte Indiana in 1949, raised on a farm and schooled by Holy Cross nuns. The bulk of my adult life, some 40 plus years, was spent in Denver, Colorado as a nurse, gardener and gay/AIDS activist. I have currently returned to Denver after an extended sabbatical in San Francisco, California.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Two Good Movies, by Nicholas

I remember seeing a cartoon one day in The New Yorker magazine, a publication famous for its topical cartoons. It showed two men, presumably gay, walking out of a movie theatre that was showing some male-female romantic movie. One man says to the other: “I’m tired of extrapolating.”

He meant, of course, he was tired of seeing great loves and the truths of great romances, their trials, tribulations, joys and triumphs, played out on the big screen by hetero couples from whom we could all learn about love by pretend-identifying with one or both of the individuals. Sort of, love in the abstract. Love is universal and I shouldn’t be concerned that the people shown don’t really look or act like me and my lovers. I should “extrapolate,” imagine myself and my dilemmas and joys through them.

That is, of course, a bunch of crap. And fortunately, we don’t have to put up with that so much anymore.

This past weekend Jamie and I saw two movies at the Q Cinema film festival at the Denver Film Society not far from our house. On Friday we saw a dramatic film called Lazy Eye. It might soon show up in commercial release and I highly recommend seeing it. The story is a fairly ordinary one of two men who briefly had a passionate connection years back when both were young. They are in their middle-age 40’s now. There’s been no contact between them for years until one finds the other and we’re off and running. They reconnect and the passion soars. Problem is, one has gone on to another relationship and even married another man. Of course, despite old yearnings, it does not work out. How they get to that point of finally separating is the beauty of the story and the film.

Someone remarked that the story could have been any couple, not necessarily a gay couple. It could have been told that way. But it wasn’t. It was told by, for and about gay relationships. I didn’t have to extrapolate. Straight viewers seeing this move could do the extrapolating now.

Moreover, the story involved two men comfortably and completely out. Being gay was not the issue. No angst about anybody’s sexual identity. At this point in my life, I have to say I am totally over coming out stories. I don’t think the words gay or homosexual are even mentioned in the movie. We are seeing the fully realized story of two men who were in love long ago and maybe could be now if it weren’t for the fact of other choices being made since.

It was a joy to see people who are gay working out their lives without any specter of closets and prejudices hanging over them. The story was our story, my story.

The other movie we saw was a documentary called Political Animals and tells the stories of the first four lesbians elected to the California state legislature in the 1990s and later. It’s notable that the first gays elected to that legislature were women. Gay men in the 1990s were too busy caring for ill friends and lovers. One of the women—Carole Migden who made an appearance at the showing—I know personally and we got to reminisce about lesbian and gay movement days in San Francisco. I was a journalist then and covered politics.

These four brave pioneering women politicians accomplished a lot like protections for queer youth in schools and the first statewide domestic partnership recognition. The vile things they had to hear said about them and all gay people in legislative debates is an astonishing history lesson. They were brilliant political strategists. It’s moving to hear their stories about how their politics was not about abstract ideas and policies but about their own personal lives. It was their story, our story, my story.

I recommend both these movies.

© July 2016 

About the Author 

Nicholas grew up in Cleveland, then grew up in San Francisco, and is now growing up in Denver. He retired from work with non-profits in 2009 and now bicycles, gardens, cooks, does yoga, writes stories, and loves to go out for coffee.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The LGBT Diaspora, by Louis Brown

The prompt “family” reminds me of Hillary Clinton having once proclaimed that “It takes a village to raise a child.” Of course, there is some truth in that. It is a reference to what many sociologists refer to as the “extended family.” If we take this broadening view of the “family”, we may think in terms of an extended, extended family or Diaspora, or world-wide family. Webster’s dictionary defines “diaspora” as “(1) (a) the dispersion of the Jews after the Babylonian exile; (b) the Jews thus dispersed; (c) the places where they settled [and by extension] (2) any scattering of people with a common origin, background, beliefs, etc.”

In this etc. I would definitely include “sexual orientation”. Lesbian and gay people are everywhere in the world. If our community could only harness the power, it would mean a better world for us, a better world for everyone.

In the 1950’s, Senator Joseph McCarthy, if you recall, went on an anti-communist witch-hunt and an anti-gay witch-hunt, claiming there were communists and homosexuals in the U. S. State Department that were trying to subvert and even overthrow the government. For a while Senator McCarthy was taken seriously. He referred to the international communist conspiracy as the “comintern,” that is, the international communist movement and the international gay community as the “homintern,” presumably meaning the homosexual international.

Many liberals would claim there is no such thing as the “homintern”. That was just Senator McCarthy’s overactive imagination. Au contraire, of course there is a “homintern” although I would call it the gay and lesbian diaspora. We do not necessarily want to overthrow governments, but we do want liberation. Our diaspora implies that our struggle for liberation is the most analogous to that of the Jews. All of which we should embrace exuberantly rather than shy off for fear of enraging homophobes.

If we take a bird’s eye view of our diaspora, we note, for instance, that the Muslim world population is one billion one hundred million. That means that there are one hundred and ten million lesbian and gay Muslims. Have there been any attempts to organize these one hundred and ten million people? Yes, but so far the results are miniscule. In New York City there is one out-of-the-closet gay male Imam. In time there will be millions like him. The MCC church of New York City provides a weekly meeting place for lesbian and gay Muslims in that city.

In 1995 a group of lesbian and gay Muslims held a “congress” in London, England. It would be good if our Denver lesbian and gay community had an expert historian who could describe exactly what happened at that congress. More information please?

Recently when I was back in Jackson Heights, Queens County, NYC, I attended a lesbian and gay spiritual meeting, at which the topic was gay spirituality in the history of Islam. The leader asked each of us in attendance what spiritual remark we would like to make. The leader did mention Rumi*, of course. I said I think we should remember how many people we are talking about: 1/10 of one billion one hundred million was 110 million. The leader responded to my comment by first saying that that was not exactly a spiritual observation and made other comments indicating that he could not even begin to understand what I was talking about.

I did not reply to his evasive reaction. I felt like saying “I cannot begin to understand how you do not understand”. We have to raise the consciousness of millions of “lesgay” people everywhere.

Consider also the efforts of lesbian and gay Russians to organize to resist oppression in Russia. Their best chance is to organize in Russian colonies abroad located in more liberal countries, such as Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, NY.

Consider also there was even a study of gay and lesbian people in the indigenous Maori tribes of Australia and New Zealand. Let us celebrate our ubiquity, or omnipresence rather than fear to acknowledge the simple truth.

© 1 Sep 2016 

About the Author 

I was born in 1944, I lived most of my life in New York City, Queens County. I still commute there. I worked for many years as a Caseworker for New York City Human Resources Administration, dealing with mentally impaired clients, then as a social work Supervisor dealing with homeless PWA's. I have an apartment in Wheat Ridge, CO. I retired in 2002. I have a few interesting stories to tell. My boyfriend Kevin lives in New York City. I graduated Queens College, CUNY, in 1967.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Death, by Lewis

It is hard to write on a subject with which one does not have any "lived experience".  Like most, although having witnessed many thousands of deaths in the popular media and on television news, I have even less of an idea as to what death will be like than I have on being the President of the United States.

I suggested this topic because it has been on my mind a lot lately, due in no small measure to the recent death of my husband, Laurin.  Also, over the past year or so, I have experienced a series of maladies and mishaps that I can only attribute to a body that is showing signs of breaking down and rusting away, much like cars used to do.  (Incidentally, have you noticed how few rusted out clunkers you see on the streets these days?) 

Every life story has a finite beginning and a finite end.  It is the incredible mish-mash in-between that makes our life stories so unique.  I hear every day about lives cut short by one tragedy or another and I always think how lucky I am to have lived to the relatively ripe age of 68.  Each day, I check the obituary pages of the Denver Post to see how many have died at a lesser age.  It's a small percentage--perhaps 10-15.  The majority of those are men. 

Though four years younger than Mom, Dad died 3-1/2 years before her.  I think he had the advantage, though, in terms of how he died.  He had undergone an upper GI a day or two before.  The x-ray showed a tumor on his stomach.  He likely had just received that news when he went to lunch with some friends and came home.  He was sitting on the toilet, perhaps trying to rid himself of the viscous prep for the test, when he had a massive stroke and died on the spot.  Mom heard only one long groan and it was over.

It was then that my family first realized the seriousness of Mom's dementia.  Within six months, she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and institutionalized.  For the next three years, her condition continued to decline, while she wondered the halls of the place where she resided, pushing her walker, not recognizing family or friends, and cursing at those within earshot.  She did not know that she had survived the second and last of her children by her first husband.  I did not have the heart to tell her.

Some people die in their sleep.  Others starve to death or after spending months in a coma or after days of clinging to life after being horribly injured.  Family members have seen their loved one die despite round-after-round of chemotherapy or surgeries at an enormous cost in terms of not only treasure but also emotional capital.

We do not choose when we are born.  Heck, we're not even old enough to choose when we go to the bathroom or what we eat for dinner.  But death is a different matter for most of us.  By then, we're adults and making all kinds of decisions, some of major consequence and some of very little.  We can pick our doctors, our hospital, our spouse, the person who holds medical power of attorney, whether we will take our meds, and, in some cases, whether we want life-prolonging medical procedures or treatment.  We can even refuse to take food or liquid by mouth until we die, which can take up to ten days or so and causes pain as our organs shut down (for which we would be given pain killers).  What we can't do legally in this country is to ask for a dose of something that will end it all painlessly and quickly.

The term "assisted suicide" frightens people.  They seem more comfortable with "dying with dignity" or "aid-in-dying".  Today, loved ones who give aid-in-dying can be charged with murder.  Where are all the Right Wing voices who scream about government overreach when it comes to aid-in-dying?  It seems they were all in favor of keeping Terri Schiavo alive as long as humanly possible, even through recourse to the Florida state courts.  Talk about government abuse of power--and in service of a specific religious faction at that!

Ask a dozen people--around this table, for example--what happens to us after we die and you will likely get at least a handful of different opinions.  Is there anything that happens to us that is more personal than the circumstances of our death, should we be fortunate enough to have a choice?  If I am unable to walk or stand, if I am unable to feed or go to the bathroom by myself, if I do not recognize that the person standing beside me is my own next-of-kin, if I am not able to talk and the only thing coming out of my mouth is drool, I do not want to go on living. 

I do not believe in life-after-death.  I believe that the release of my last breath will feel very much like that moment before I received that swat on my bottom that brought that first gasp for life-giving air.  It is that belief that makes me want to make the most of every day that I have left--to live, to love, to celebrate, to share, to grow, to smell the roses, to simply be.  Then, when that final breath comes, it will be every bit as sweet as my first.

© 13 Oct 2014 

About the Author 

I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and had two children while working as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. I was married to a wonderful woman for 26 happy years and suddenly realized that life was passing me by. I figured that I should make a change, as our offspring were basically on their own and I wasn't getting any younger. Luckily, a very attractive and personable man just happened to be crossing my path at that time, so the change-over was both fortuitous and smooth.

Soon after, I retired and we moved to Denver, my husband's home town. He passed away after 13 blissful years together in October of 2012. I am left to find a new path to fulfillment. One possibility is through writing. Thank goodness, the SAGE Creative Writing Group was there to light the way.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Men in My Life, by Gillian

Many men have influenced my life; most positively, some not.

Until I went off to college, the only males I had formed any attachment for were my father and maternal grandfather and a teacher. The boys in school all seemed too immature for words and essentially I ignored them, preferring the company of girls; especially one, with whom I remained secretly in love through all my schooldays, but I won't digress as this is supposed to be about men.

My dad I have written about many times, I will simply say that I loved him, he loved me, and in a strangely silent way we became increasingly close over his lifetime. And, yes, even since his death. My mother's dad died when I was pretty young so I don't remember very much about him, except that I was always happy just to sit with him while the carved beautifully ornate headstones out of the local marble. Only slightly more garrulous than my father, he sometimes sat in silence for what seemed like hours, but I was a little kid so maybe it wasn't really so long. I do know I never got restless or tried to make him chat. I loved just being there, watching his clever hands create such intricate beauty. Occasionally he shocked me with a sudden swift launch into story-telling - spellbinding and supposedly true although looking back, even if I cannot recall the details of any, I doubt their veracity. But despite these rare jaunts off into the world of monologue, words were few. So the first two men in my life, both of whom I loved greatly, folded me into a strong, silent world; a world where deeds spoke much louder than words. A world of true, if silent, love. They actually had a lot in common, Dad and Granddad, although not related by blood. (Not so very surprising, I guess, as girls supposedly tend to marry a man like their father.) They are also connected, in my child's memory, by birds; more specifically, robins. The English robin, quite unlike the American version, is a small brown bird with a scarlet breast, known for it's inquisitive nature. One it seemed was always around, watching my grandfather chisel and hammer just as I did. The little bird's head bobbed from one side to the other as he seemed to evaluate Granddad's every move with his sharp, shiny, little black eyes. My father had his faithful robin, too, who followed him around on his chores; waiting, I'm sure, for tasty morsel to be offered up in the process.

The other strong male influence in my youth was my high school geology teacher. He was one of the natural teachers of this world, and carried with him an aura of boundless energy and enthusiasm which was very contagious. At weekends he and his little band of devoted followers would slog up and down wet Welsh mountains, returning home exhausted with pockets and bags groaning under the weight of rocks and minerals and fossils. He blessed my life with a fascination with geology which has remained with me throughout. And, no, I didn't have that schoolgirl crush on him which tends to accompany teenage admiration, and which I'm sure some of the girls succumbed to. I was immune. My passions were spent, as are all good lesbian youthful crushes, on my female gym teacher!

In college I was never romantically involved with any men, being passionately but secretly, even for the most part hidden from myself, devoted to a female classmate. But I learned a lot from men in my life who were completely unlike any of the boys I knew at school. Inevitably so; they came from different worlds. My professor at The University of Sheffield had been a prisoner of the Japanese in World War Two. They had cut out his tongue. Consequently, his lectures were very difficult to follow until you became tuned in. I was incredibly impressed by his courage and tenacity in returning after the war to a position made difficult and, I would suppose, embarrassing, by his affliction. I also learned forgiveness from this man. I never once heard him say anything negative, either in class or in private gatherings, about the Japanese or their country. The attitude he maintained made it very clear that he held no grudges; no animosity. This was 1959, so he had had fifteen years to get there, and how long it took or what efforts it cost him, I don't know. But ever since, upon finding myself harboring resentment over some petty words or deeds, I have tried to remind myself of a wonderful man who managed to forgive completely a truly terrible wound.

Also at Sheffield University in the late 1950's and early '60's were several young men who had managed to escape Hungary after the invasion by the U.S.S.R in 1956. I had seen, on the tiny old black-and-white T.V., the street fighting in Budapest where these men, or others just like them, faced up to tanks with nothing but a handful of rocks. We found them strange, these dark brooding silent men who emitted such an unmistakable air of rage. They never bragged, or even mentioned, anything they had done in defense of their homeland.  If they talked at all it was of nothing but their hatred of the Soviets and their endless innumerable plans to free Hungary and return home. They hated England, and refused to offer any sliver of gratitude for the free college education they were taking advantage of at that very moment. We didn't like them. They were unfriendly. They were no fun. They were freeloaders. Then I slowly formed a friendship with one of them, and was forced to dig deeper and learn. Domonkos needed a lot of help understanding our mutilated professor's lectures, and I somehow fell into spending time going over every class with him. Usually this was in a coffee shop or pub, and slowly his entire story came out. He himself had not been one of those tossing stones at tanks. He had tried to protect his mother and sisters but instead was made to watch while they were raped and then shot. His father had died in Auschwitz in 1945. His mother and sisters and he, had for some reason been taken to Mauthausen, from which they were liberated at the end of the war; only for the women to die at the hands of the Soviets in 1956. Was all this true? I had no way of knowing, but I had no reason to doubt it. It didn't seem to matter. This young man had clearly suffered from terrible traumas, no matter the details.

He told me similar stories of his fellow Hungarians students, until I was numb to the horror of his tales. Numb in a sense, yes, but he also forced me to wake up. I and my friends found these men boring? They were no fun? How much fun would we be, under such circumstances? In all honesty, I could not warm to them as a group, nor even to Domonkos himself. But through them I learned to look below the surface; to see perhaps why people act as they do. To care for them, to empathize, despite no real affection or liking. To try to be quicker to understand and slower to judge.

Then came adulthood and, at the age of 26, marriage. My husband was not a silent man like my father, nor was he terribly loud and verbose. He did not have my teacher's energy and passion, but he worked and played hard enough. He certainly was not Hungarian-style hating and morose. He was really a pretty average guy doing his best, but with my homosexuality lurking around, rising ever closer to the surface, the marriage was doomed from the beginning. It was the final chapter of my book of learning that if you are not true to yourself you simply cannot bring happiness to others. My poor husband inadvertently taught me that.

Not long after we married, his four children unexpectedly came to live with us. Once over the shock, I coped pretty well, and step-motherhood became a positive experience for me and for the children, three of whom were boys. Over the years, they became new men in my life. I know parents cannot have favorites, but I say that's one of the advantages of the step- relationship.
I truly think I didn't show it, but my oldest step-son was my favorite. I loved all four kids, and they loved me, but I adored Dale. As did many many people. He could charm anyone; girls, boys, men, women, neighbors and friends, teachers and police. What defenses could a helpless step-mother employ? Sadly, this very charm turned on him and did him evil rather than good. He was born to trouble, it seemed, and he almost invariably charmed his way out of its consequences, and so led him deeper down the wrong path. The real trouble, which no-one can talk themselves a way out of, was serious unrepenting un-recovering alcoholism. This became manifest in his early teens and lasted all his life, which predictably was short. He died a few years ago at the age of fifty. I was heartbroken, although he had not been in touch with any of his family for a long time so the hole he had dug in my heart was nothing new. It had been there for many years.

After my divorce, I still worked mainly with men so I did not register an absence of men in my life even after my social life morphed to consist mainly of lesbians and straight female friends. Post-divorce, I tried to keep up some male friendships but straight men all know that a divorcee is looking for only one thing. It was hopeless. After I was out to the world, I foolishly imagined this might change, but straight men all know what it takes to cure a lesbian. It was hopeless.

When Betsy and I moved in together we found both of us equally missed the rumble of men's voices in the house; in our lives. We both like men. We looked around. The answer stared us in the face; gay men. They had no interest in whatever divorcees were after or what it took to cure lesbians. But hold your horses! Not so easily done. Looked at objectively, where is the attraction? Gay men and women are the ones not drawn to each other. So - you need a catalyst; something to attract both, other than each other. Betsy joined a gay tennis group where we did make a few male friends, but as she was the only woman who ever belonged, it slowly fizzled out.

The Center was, of course, our salvation, and especially this group. We now are grateful to have many men in our lives with whom to share laughter and tears, anger and celebration, memorials and hospital visits and parties.

I love the men in my life.

I always have.

© 28 Mar 2016 

About the Author 

I was born and raised in England. After graduation from college there, I moved to the U.S. and, having discovered Colorado, never left. I have lived in the Denver-Boulder area since 1965, working for 30-years at IBM. I married, raised four stepchildren, then got divorced after finally, in my forties, accepting myself as a lesbian. I have been with my wonderful partner Betsy for thirty-years. We have been married since 2013.