Monday, July 30, 2018

Tips For Fitting-In With a Gay Men's Group

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I’d like to ask, how is the bear community or the gay community in general in regards to how welcoming they are and friendly? My area currently isn’t very welcoming and I’ve noticed a lot of cliques when it comes to groups and whatnot. I’ve been planning on moving eventually but I’d like to go to an area with a good, friendly, gay community.
Papa Tony:

I’ve been president of many, many clubs and affinity-groups over the decades. I have a few tips for getting past the usual indifference, gaining a foothold and fitting in.

ANY affinity-group has the potential to become a clique. I hate to see that. I have found that the new guy, the shy guy, the uncertain guy has the potential to be the one who adds value, and can even take over as leader/volunteer/star of that group some day. However, if he is never given a fair chance, then that possibility goes away, and everyone loses.

It would be GREAT if every group had somebody like me - a natural-born Julie the Cruise Director type. I see a new face, and I go toward them to thank them for showing up. I even give them tips on fitting-in as soon as possible, and then I introduce them around.

Fat lot of good that does YOU, living far away. Time for Plan B.

So, here are a few ways of cracking the shell of comfortable camaraderie that can be hard for a new guy to pierce.

- Find out who is/are the ringleaders/leaders. Who comes up with the plans that everybody else helps co-create?

- Once you find out, ask them questions... What events are coming up? How do I find out more? How can I help out?  These questions show a strong interest, and they set you apart in a really good way. Here is why…

The person in charge gets jaded after a while. This is inescapable. Everybody who shows up WANTS something. Pretty soon, the endless "I need, I need" just becomes background noise. That's part of the reason why it's hard to be taken seriously as a new face in the crowd. HOWEVER, when somebody says "How can I help?!?" then heads whip around in pleasure and surprise.

Doors swing open that are closed to most new people. You move closer to being on the inside. Folks start seeing you as a fully-formed person, rather than just as one more face that fades in, and then fades out, like so many that can drop away when nobody welcomes them.

Then, you are a lot more likely to get what you are looking for.

If all else fails, go with Plan C: Keep showing UP. Never miss an event. Sooner or later, folks will start to take you seriously. Wear 'em down. It's hard to find social gatherings in Real Life that get you the hell away from your computer screen. They are worth fighting for.

Memoirs of a Gay Leather Elder 16: Celebrating 27 Years of Marriage

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The page listing all of the articles in this series can be found here

Papa Tony:  This is a slightly-updated version of a much older article.  I was not as accomplished of a writer in those days, but I wrote with passion and joy.

My husband Dennis and I got married in 1991, before it was legal, or trendy.  We had been together for one year at that point.

We exchanged vows in front of friends and family in August of 1991, right after the first anniversary of when we met.  We tied the knot out near the beach at Highway 5 and Seaworld Drive, where folks fly kites on the weekend. Hardly anybody attending had ever seen a gay marriage before, so we couldn't see anybody's face - All of the people there had a camera up in front of their faces, clicking away.

1991 was LONG before the topic of Gay marriage became a thing to even talk about. I wish we had thought to patent the idea, so that we could collect royalties! đŸ˜€

We got married again during the March On Washington in 1993, as part of a mass wedding of around 250 couples.  I had grabbed a piece of chalk and drawn the heart in the photo, and it proved to be irresistible to many, many news photographers. Our picture went out on the AP Wire, and was on the front page of many newspapers worldwide.

Then, in 2001, we registered as Domestic Partners in California, the moment that it became legal.  The primary benefit was that I could finally be a part of Dennis' employer health benefits.  Plus, it felt GOOD to be legally acknowledged as a couple.  We were in no way satisfied, because we didn't want to be jumping the broom, like second-class citizens.  We knew that we were HUSBANDS, and referred to each other that way.

We got legally married in California in 2008, but we rarely remember to celebrate that anniversary.  We talked about it when marriage became legal, and we knew that there wasn't a single thing that anybody could do to make us feel even 1% more married. We finally decided to go for it, just to force a public official to acknowledge us.

The 1991 marriage is what put us on the family map in a BIG way, and is the only anniversary that we celebrate.  That's the one that shocked the generations in our family into taking us much more seriously as a couple - Invitations changed from "Tony and Guest" to "Tony and Dennis."

Out of ten siblings in my family's generation, our marriage is the third longest-lasting. If we DARE to stay seated during slow songs at family wedding-receptions, we get a crowd of nieces and nephews physically yanking us out of our chairs so that we will be a visibly loving, long-term male couple on the dance-floor.

Dennis and I adopted our son Justin, years ago. I've raised several foster-kids, but Justin was the only one we adopted, in order to help him feel connected in a deep and meaningful way. We are thoroughly proud of him. He is doing well as a publicist in West Hollywood.

I've been in many relationships, including one that lasted ten years.  This is the easiest relationship I've ever been in. I can easily see us staying together for the rest of our lives.  We still hold hands everywhere, we cuddle close every morning, we share the same politics, and we always talk our way through any disagreements.

He is the love of my life!

Our Wedding Day In 1991

I arrived at 6:30 AM on August 3rd, 1991.  I came early, to claim the prime picnic spot at the big meadow.  Behind us was the bay, where there would be folks jet skiing later on in the day.  In front of us was the meadow, where the battle kite flyers would be controlling their huge, colorful and bizarre-shaped kites with 4 strings and both hands.  Around us were several dozen date palms.

I drove the 1965 Chrysler New Yorker station wagon, which was riding very low, due to the tables, 20-by-20-foot yellow-and-white canopy, 5-foot barbecue and all manner of other items I was lugging.

I was earlier than I needed to be, but I unloaded a few things to claim the spot, sat down and started to write down my thoughts.  Up to this point, Dennis and I had had a few ideas about the ceremony, but I realized that morning that the whole thing would last 30 seconds unless I created a speech to greet everyone.  I started to write, and it was a real mixed bag of concepts.

On the one hand, I was thrilled that my family and friends were on their way, but I was also angry that about 50% of my family members had decided not to come.  My greeting speech was pretty angry in some parts.  I wrote down 5 pages worth, and showed it to Dennis when he showed up around 7:30 in the 1961 Imperial Crown Coupe.  He told me that my speech needed to be toned down, since I would be addressing the folks who loved us enough to show up.  Good idea!

I looked around with relief, because the weather appeared to be ideal.  San Diego has summer weather that fools a lot of tourists.  It starts out cloudy nearly every morning, the sun starts to peek through around 9:30, the cloud cover burns away by 11:00, and the rest of the day is gorgeous.  That's the way this day turned out, but I had been nervous about it, since we had gotten mild drizzles of rain the morning before.

Dennis' sister Pat, her daughter Maggie, his brother Jim, Jim's wife Tracy and their baby daughter Katie arrived, and we all pitched in with unloading the wagon, setting up the canopy, tables and barbecue.  My sister Mo showed up at 8:30 AM, with her family and her friend Linda to help finish the setting up.  They brought helium-filled yellow and white balloons and lots of other picnic stuff.  My nephew Eric brought his boom box and two cassette tapes of our favorite music.  He had been laboring over the mixing and arrangement of tunes, and he did a great job.

My nephew Jeff manned the video camera all day, which is normally MY job at weddings.  Jeff took up the slack so that I could be free to relax at my own wedding.  Mo's mate Jack would be barbecuing later, but he helped with the setup and unpacking.

Mo brought a superb cake, complete with a cake topper of a little gazebo containing two little top-hatted men kissing.  At least half of the pictures that day were taken of that cake topper!  Mo's friend Kay, the cake decorator at Vons, had done the cake decorating.

Dave and Karen York arrived early to help (as usual!), with Dave's mother Shirley.  Shirley was one of only two people there who had ever been to a wedding of a male couple. My sisters Suzy, Mimi and Barby came, and then most of the rest of the people arrived between 9 and 10 a.m.

Dennis and I changed into our wedding duds and washed up in the nearby bathroom.  We wore matching outfits:  white cotton pants, yellow-and-gold Hawaiian shirts, and dark blue sandals.  This was very well-received by everyone there:  We walked to the canopy hand-in hand, and many pictures were taken.  There was no doubt that we were a couple.
We served sweet rolls and Kona coffee, and Dennis and I bustled around greeting everybody.

Being a car club president, I have a strong instinct to get people chatting with each other, and I could see many folks standing shyly by themselves.  My friend Carol Kerr offered to make name tags, which turned out to be a great idea.  Each tag said something like "Jane Doe, Tony's neighbor".  I grabbed people by the elbows and dragged them up to other folks and suggested that they introduce themselves.

It worked, because the conversations were going full force within a couple of minutes.  Many of the guests wanted to help and didn't know how to ask, so I 'd go up to someone who looked particularly idle and ask them to perform a task.  In every case, they took over that job and performed it superbly, even if it lasted all day.

I'd like to say more about that.  I'm the type of person who usually tries to do everything myself.  On my wedding day, I decided to "let go", to allow my beloved friends take care of the day for me.  Since only the people who wanted to be there had come, everyone who came, pitched right in.  It was as much a community effort as a barn-raising.  This is exactly what I like in a wedding.  I've been to so many of them where everything was pre-planned, locked-in and uninvolving for the guests.  I recommend the helping-hands alternative very strongly!

Dennis and I had decided to make it a potluck banquet.  We ended up with twice as much food as everyone could eat, so we divvied up the remainder later.  The idea of having a potluck was not motivated by cheapness on our part.  We could have afforded to have the whole thing catered, but we didn't like the idea.

I got an early indication we were right when I heard from my sister Mo on the topic.  She told me that the sister's gossip network was demanding that they be allowed to contribute to the wedding's success.  Mo took responsibility for the potluck coordination, along with about 80 other projects, which she eventually handed away so that more folks could be involved.

Dennis and I didn't get to see very much of each other for awhile, since we were circulating separately.  Every once in a while, we'd cross paths and we'd hug and kiss and then head on out again.

There was only one problem with having this event be a potluck: there were folks who didn't arrive who were supposed to bring important stuff, and we had to make a couple of grocery runs before the ceremony could begin.  I went from group to group. letting them know of the plans as they changed.  Nobody seemed to mind at all, since this was already such an atypical wedding.

I panicked all of a sudden, since I didn't know how the ceremony would go.  Dennis and I had come up with some ideas, but we didn't have a solid game plan.  I then did the most valuable thing I could have done:  I called together Dennis' sister Pat and my four sisters and asked them to help.  Wow!  Jackpot!  They had been aching to participate, and they huddled for about 15 minutes while we waited for more supplies to arrive.  They immediately created a ceremony worthy of being perpetuated by couples through the ages.

My sister Suzy was the master of ceremonies, and she and my other sisters called everyone together in a circle, in an area surrounded by palm trees..  Dennis and I were called to stand at the head of the arrangement, with our direct relatives arrayed on each side of us.  I suddenly lost my composure.  I started crying, which I didn't expect at all.  I saw everyone there looking at us, and I felt their love pouring into me.  My defenses fell away from me, and I felt as if Dennis and I were tiny children together before our extended families, basking in their approval.  There was unconditional love around the entire circle, and I was naked to it.

My sister Mimi stepped forward to say "Tony and Dennis' immediate family welcome you here, and we want you to join a circle of support".  She went to each family member, kissed them and said their name, and put a silk-flower lei around their neck.  All of our guests joined in a circle with us.

Suzy called on me to give my talk, and my notes were almost worthless to me.  I had written them in a stew of contradictory feelings, and everything had changed.  I knew now that this was the day my life had been leading up to.  I knew that all of the old hurts and fears were gone, and our life together was starting over from this point.  I cut past the bullshit and old baggage, and said what was in my heart.

This is what I said, (omitting the tearful pauses):
"We could have done this very differently today.  There are at least three churches in town that would have been happy to marry us, with the tuxedos and all of that.  We could have done the engraved invitations.  However, we chose to do this in a sincere and relaxed fashion.  We pioneered a few things, like the newsletter we sent out.   
We invited all of you because we love you very much.  You're here because you love us.  Since Dennis and I first met a year ago, we've been cocooning at home, cuddling and loving each other, and pretty much closing our lives down so that it was the two of us in a circle.  We've been doing that big experiment : when people meet, we find out whether we're compatible.  Overwhelmingly, we've found that we are very compatible. 
Today is our wedding day, in the most traditional way.  We're gathering all of our loved ones together to publicly announce our love and commitment to each other, and the relationship that we share. 
It would be very, very easy for us to have not had this event today.  It's common for gay couples throughout history to just get together, to hang out together and to fade away from the family.   It was a hard decision for us.  We made the decision when my dear sister Mimi encouraged us back in December.  It was something that we dreamt about, but we hadn't dared to think about.  As a matter of fact, it took me about 4 months before I could actually call it a wedding.  I kept calling it an 'exchanging of vows ceremony'. 
Everyone here knows us personally.  Everyone knows that we are warm, wonderful human beings, and I'm going to say that:  We are wonderful.  We take the right to be sharing our love with everyone, like all of the rest of the people in my family, like all of Dennis' family, like all of our families. 
Aside from today, Dennis and I are doing a lot of very good things together.  We're combining our lives together, combining our finances.  We're taking the necessary legal steps to get durable power-of-attorney for each other.  This is not a frivolous thing.  This is one of the things that meant the most for me to talk about. 
In this day and age, with so many of our dear friends dying of AIDS,  it's not a frivolous thing to be in a loving relationship as a male couple.  Dennis was very sick a few months back.  He was wasting away after 4 days of this really awful stomach flu.  I was driving home, with chicken soup in a can, and I was thinking 'What if this is the Big One?'  I knew, absolutely and to the very root of me, that I would never abandon him.  My commitment was total, and I knew that it was the exact same way with him. 
And so, in front of the rest of you, I'm saying that I'm absolutely committed to this relationship.  We intend to be with each other for the rest of our lives.  We stand in front of you, with you as our witnesses.  Thank you so much for being here.  This means so much to us.  Thank you very much."
While I was saying all of this, there were many cameras going like crazy.  I've seen weddings with a few cameras, but nothing like this!  Everybody was determined to document their first gay wedding.

It was now time to read our vows.  Everyone around the circle joined hands.  Dennis and I alternated reading the paragraphs, and read the last one together.  Here is the text of our vows:

Now that we’ve found what we have both been looking for, a relationship based on a sharing between equals, it is time for a declaration of our love and our intentions.  We share many interests and opinions.  Although we are not identical, we complement each other with our differences.  We have learned that we have a love that continues to grow and mature. 
We are two men who work together, play together and cry together.  We cherish each other’s company, and respect each other’s need for time alone.  We care deeply about each other’s needs and desires.  We share a bond that is strong and meant to last.  Mostly we have found a best friend who will listen and who will share his most intimate dreams and ambitions. With a love this meaningful, we are proud to tell the world that we are now living as a married couple.

We vow to work out our differences by the end of every day.  We promise to continue building a relationship that is ever-growing and vital.   We will stick by each other through sickness and health, whether rich or poor.  We promise to endure the hard times and stay together for the rest of our lives.  We look forward to a day when all men and women can feel free to openly express their love and relationships in the presence of dear family and friends.
To this end, today we exchange these promises and gold rings as symbols of our commitment for all to see. 

Our niece Maggie came forth with the matching, simple gold bands, and we put them on each other.  We'll never take them off again within this lifetime!

We kissed, and My sister Barby said "With great pride and happiness, I'd like to present our newly married couple, Tony and Dennis!" everybody clapped, and a few people cried, and Dennis' sister Pat stepped forward and said "You may all have noticed that there is no maid of honor, no best man.  They have a sheet here that they'd like you all to sign on as witnesses."

Dennis and I circulated around, hugging everybody there.  Later on, we realized that many of the men there were strangers to us, who had arrived with their girlfriends or wives who knew us.  These straight men were hugging us and praising us as vigorously as everyone else, and we were very pleased.  There was a large crowd of gay men that we have known individually for years.  They were pleasantly surprised to see so many young children there.  Most gay-only events don't have kids romping around.

The coals had been started in the barbecue, so four people appointed themselves chefs.  We had chicken breasts, pork ribs and swordfish steaks, with cajun barbecue sauce provided by my best friend John Chevis.  John and I were in the Navy together, but fell out of touch until a few weeks before the wedding.

I appointed our 8-year-old niece Maggie to be the one who got the eating started.  There was a large bowl of bite-sized chunks of fruit, and Maggie dished out some of it into bowls and handed to everybody until she ran out of bowls.  I asked our friend Butch to do the same with the drinks.  I've been to many weddings where folks were afraid to be the first ones to dig into the buffet.

There were several tables loaded with casserole dishes containing pasta salad, snack chips and the like, and we had a coverlet laid out under the canopy for the cards and the gifts.  We had specified that we were NOT soliciting gifts for ourselves, and everyone followed our suggestions.  We received many cards containing checks made out to Auntie Helen's Fluff 'n Fold, which is our favorite charity.  Others indicated they had already made contributions in our names.  The volunteers at Auntie Helens provide many services to people sick with AIDS.

There was dancing to music under the palm trees.  Nephew Eric had made a nice selection of music from the last 5 decades, and people only danced if they felt like it.  No awkward, forced dancing was necessary.   This went on for hours.  Lots of babies got held and bounced around by dancers.  Butts were shaken, dance steps were taught.

After a while, it was loudly proclaimed by many of those present that it was time to cut the wedding cake.  We assembled under the canopy, and the clicking still cameras and the videocameras were set up to capture the event.  We were told before we cut it that we were supposed to smash some cake into each other's faces.   This struck me as being a hostile act, and NOT a good beginning for a long-term relationship.

We sliced the cake together, but fed it to each other as lovingly as we knew how.  The vast majority of people immediately let us know that they approved of this, because we heard comments like "You can always tell which couples are going to stay together, depending on how they feed each other", or "I never DID like that silly custom before".

I allowed myself to fall into my favorite role at weddings: passing out food!  I cut the cake in custom pieces for every person that came up.  If that kid wanted a flower on her cake, that's the piece she got.  If somebody else wanted minimal frosting, then I took care of it.  I felt like I was parceling out love and approval with every piece.

After a bit of digesting, we were called together for a toast by my sister Suzy.  We were all given a small amount of wine in plastic cups. The two families each toasted to their new "brother" in their families.  Wine flowed, and we all got soppily affectionate, especially me.   A few people came up to bid us goodbye and to thank us, and the rest of us continued the picnic until my sisters came up and asked me to inspect their work.

Unknown to me, they had been busy decorating our 1961 Imperial Crown Coupe (with the big tailfins).  They had made dozens of tissue flowers and had firmly attached them all over the car.  Mimi had made a sign saying "JUST MARRIED", and had handed it around to be signed by the wedding party.  It took a long time to read everyone's notes of best wishes after we got home.  Mimi had placed slightly inflated yellow, ribbed condoms on the antenna, which were a big hit and raised much hilarity.  I gave everybody a tour of the car's unique features, like the swivel bucket seats and the Triple Trumpet horns, which sound like a freight train at close range.  Fully decorated, it was an eye-popper of a honeymoon chariot!

Everyone who was still there got busy taking down the canopy and gathering things to be taken home.  Of course there were plenty of bowls and spoons that nobody has claimed yet, but that's typical.  We loaded up the cars, and Dennis and I drove away with the wagon being driven by the nephews.  We took surface streets to avoid tearing the flowers off of the car, honking at regular intervals.  We got a lot of "thumbs-up" signs from the people we passed by, and we always made sure to honk at the cute construction workers to say howdy as we went by.

We got home and tried to take a nap, but we were too happy and excited.
The entire day had been a complete success.  It truly ended up as the happiest day of my life.  Nothing went wrong!  Several people told me that it was the most sincere wedding that they had ever attended.  We spent the evening and the next day visiting with Dennis' family, and we left on our honeymoon early Tuesday morning.

We drove up to Santa Barbara and stayed at a bed-and-breakfast inn, then drove to San Francisco and spent a few days hiking around the gay sections of town.  We squandered money like crazy and had a wonderful time.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Withholding Communication As An Abusive Weapon

I am 33 yo bisex and been having gay sex for about a year now with sub/master roles. It’s been less than 10 days here on tumblr and already a lot of wise men who share their experiences and one of them is u too. I will keep reading ur blog because it offers really a lot of insights on many things which confused me lately. 
Recently i had a sub who always when we met had fun and never off his limits. But now He just ignores me which really made me feel bad and asked him if i had done anything wrong but he keeps ignoring my texts. 
I have gone a long way now in Master domination. I remember first times i used to be really abusive, somehow knowing only what i had seen on porn thought that was the way. Also trying not to look inexperienced to a sub avoided discussions before or after. Just asked limits and after finishing never look back at them. 
But recently i have grown and try to create empathy with subs too. Don’t what to think why he refuses to meet again is it because i began to care for him after finishing because he is really very submissive or is having this thing i just read on ur blog sub drop? Don’t know what to think. 
Papa Tony:

First of all, thanks for reaching out.  Every single word of what you shared is honest, vulnerable, responsible and ethical.  You are clearly a good man, and a fine new addition to the population of Sirs.  Welcome, brother!

• It looks to me that you got away cheap.  Somebody who would do something like this could easily use withholding of communication as a weapon, once he figured out that it hurt you.  Before I was with my current husband, I was with a chiropractor for ten years.  I finally figured out that it was an abusive relationship, AFTER I entered the current one.  He was repeatedly cruel, taking advantage of my Friendly Puppy nature.  He would stop talking to me for months, and told all of his friends how horrible I was.  Not one of them ever liked me.  I never earned any part of it.

• There is such a thing as being TOO responsible.  Sometimes, I refer to myself as a Responsibility Junkie.  Sometimes, it's the other guy who needs to step up, but we can't wait for that day to ever show up.  That takes character and kindness, which clearly, he lacks.  I applaud your desire to heal the situation, and I officially let you off the hook.  You did everything right.

• Understand that there is such a thing as Practice Relationships.  The larger culture around us is all about getting married, settling down, being together forever.  I'm a big fan of that.  However, if I hadn't been through more than a few crappy, short-term relationships, I wouldn't have been ready when the Real Thing showed up 28 years ago, as of the day after tomorrow.

I promise - there are superb subs out there who won't jerk you around, and will stay in full communication so that you can grow together in pleasure and ecstasy.  Set that as a goal, and it will come to you.  But first, it's time to give his memory the old heave-ho.

I have found that this can work for me: writing down everything that I need to say the other guy on paper.  Then, I burn it, letting the smoke carry my message to the universe.  At that point, I wash my hands thoroughly, and have that be my gesture that ENDS the whole thing.

Ethical Sirs deserve a lot better, brother.  You are ready for your next adventure.

The Big Secret Of Cruising Success In A Bar

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
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Papa Tony:

Think of the stereotypical horny and lonely man in a bar.  He is using corny pickup lines with everybody, and he can't seem catch a break, because he appears awkward and desperate.  He'd do so much better if he just knew what to do that WORKED.

This is the same with many kinksters on the prowl.  You see some porn fantasies on Tumblr, so you try what is described there.  Then, it doesn't work so well.  This is because real life is not always a fantasy.  The direct, starting-the-encounter-as-if-we-were-in-a-porn-movie approach CAN work pretty well, under the right circumstances, but being honest to your true feelings can work even better.

Over the decades, I have had a lot of very baffling first encounters.  Usually in bars.

Many men have come up and started growling in deep, monotone (hyper-masculine) voices, or trying to LIFT me off of the ground, or biting/punching/spanking me. That used to happen a lot in the 1980's.  Then, I took karate classes, and those approaches (and assaults) dwindled away.  I assume that this was because I carried myself differently, with greater confidence, like a bodyguard.  I'm under the impression that these men were aggressively and clumsily trying to attract the bigger Dom.  This is off-putting for me, because it is all an ACT.  I would then do my best to calm him down, and tell him that it isn't a good approach for me.  It's not a Butchness Competition.

At the other extreme, there are the ones who freeze, and don't take any chances at all.  Decades ago, I would go to Wolf's, which was our biggest local leather bar.  I'd be all duded-up, in head to toe leather gear.  I'd enter through the leather curtain, and duck my head to get under the doorway.  I'd walk through the crowd of hundreds of horny men, and I'd smile in the friendliest possible way.

Nobody would look at me, and nobody would talk to me.  After making a few circuits of the bar, I'd go home and jack off.  I was young, and I clearly didn't have the social graces that I have now.  I'd go to the same bar with a buddy, and would do the same thing, but with him following me while observing the crowd.  I'd make one circuit, and he'd say "Wow!  Everybody was looking at you!"  I'd say "What? Who? Where?!??"  He explained "As soon as you would pass, thy'd whip their heads around."  Clearly, our mutual desires weren't connecting.


You see somebody attractive.  He seems to be exactly what you want.  DON'T do the direct, porn-fantasy approach.  Instead, move through the crowd, and as you pass your object of desire, compliment him on something nice about himself ("Is that a new haircut?  It looks great on you."), and then KEEP WALKING.  Ignore him.  Head to the bathroom or something.  After ten minutes, circulate through the crowd and pass him again.  Make friendly eye contact.  He's going to smile.  You've intrigued him.

Here is why... We live in the age of distraction.  We get spammed by emails, messages and phone calls that are trying to hammer at our attention fast, before we can get away.  We have developed an allergy to that approach.  By giving him a compliment (this is called a "Warm Fuzzy") without expecting an instant payoff, you've set yourself apart.  The ice has been broken.

The next part is up to you, but you've done something nice and friendly.  Keep going with that.

Advice For My Fellow Doms

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
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Papa Tony:

I have met tens of thousands of kinky gay-male Doms since 1977.  In the early days, I had dozens of mentors.  In the last couple of decades, I have directly mentored a lot of Doms who have gone on to great success..

Don't compare yourself to me, or to any other Dom.  That's a loser's game, and you can never win.  This has never been a competition.  Sure - I have been doing this a long time.  Very likely, you aren't as far along.  However, we are both on the same path to growth, wisdom, and greater adventures.  You are exactly as valid as I am.  We all had to start somewhere.

There are a lot of bottoms.  There are fewer kinky subs, but there are much fewer Doms with any level of experience.  We are as rare as Snow Leopards.  The market is wide open, and crying out for more Doms who have found their centers.

The sooner that you LIKE yourself this way, the way that you are TODAY, the sooner you'll take some chances, learn some new useful techniques and gain confidence.  Don't wait for some day when you have a bigger dick, a flatter tummy, bigger muscles, can afford a $3,000 outfit or magically become younger.  You are an intense object of desire RIGHT NOW.

For every kind of man, there are men who love that kind of man, despite the messages that you get from Tumblr sites:  "Oh, look!  Everybody is having a rocking good time except for me!  Something must be wrong with my looks/age/skin color/whatever."

I speak with great authority, because I am actively in the world as a man who loves himself, flaws and all.  I carry myself with grace and kindness, and I respect those around me.  If I cared only about exterior beauty, it would be trivial for me to enjoy sex and kinky play with six new porn-actor pretty men, every single day.   When I was young, that was fun.  Now, I need more.

If I go out to public leathermen's parties, I tend to be the oldest, fattest , hairiest man in the building.  And the boys jump all over me, wanting to have some of what I have.  It's all very nice to gain some external validation.  I will admit that.  But I am also sad, because so many of my brothers who WANT to be Sirs suffer from Imposter Syndrome, added onto the usual and typical gay-male Body Dysmorphia.

If you don't have a mentor in your personal life, then here is a path toward confidence.  I guarantee it:

Study my Mentoring page.  Go deep into it, and at least try to do what you are being shown.  There is a lot of accumulated wisdom in there.  Many hundreds of men who have done this have SUCCEEDED, and are much happier.  Don't be a picky creature, saying "Oh, I would never like that!"  How will you know unless you try?  What if it turns out to be your superpower?  I ask that you be open to new possibilities.

Take some chances, and ask for feedback from the subs you are practicing with.  Admit that you are still learning.  I promise, the subs who would reject you for being honest and open are NOT the sort that would add value to your life.

It's okay to fall into self-pity sometimes.  We all do it.  It's the human condition.  After you've wallowed around in your pity-pool for a while, please keep challenging yourself to get to your next level of achievement.  A little bit of confidence can make entirely new doors open for you, that you would never have been able to see before.

The subs are waiting for you to step into your power, and to find out just how big and strong your wings are!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Straight Sirs with Gay subs

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
at the Kink Mentoring Archives… Spread the word!

Anonymous said: How do you feel about "straight" masters who have male submissives/slaves?

Papa Tony:

I think that it’s dandy, if the Master is an Ethical Sir  (listen to the Ethical Sir discussion audios: Part One And Part Two).  There simply aren’t enough Sirs to go around. That’s a dire, ongoing problem.

Every relationship is different, so there is no way to typify what ANY given couple or Leather Family is like, or how much (or how little) sex there is going on.  So, I won’t try to make up a generic scenario. Since such relationships are unlikely to involve actual penetrative sex, let’s talk about SERVICE:

In my experience, a TRAINED submissive is worth his weight in diamonds and rubies. If a boy, sub, pup or slave has been trained in service by an adept Sir, then he will be much, MUCH more attractive to high-quality Sirs when he moves on to his next Dom/sub relationship.

Ideally, ones where the Sir will throw them a nice, juicy and rigid cock, this time around.

The following pics are of my slaves being pursued and enjoyed.

I often joke with my slaves when they please me, saying “You are going to fetch MANY camels at the slave auction!”

When my slaves and I go to kinky gay men's play parties (I have attended hundreds since 1977), I immediately get mobbed by high-quality Sirs.  They politely ask if they can play with my submissives.  When they do, they are very respectful of my property, and everybody has a delightful time.

I have NO desire to unload any of the submissives in my life.  If things went another way, I am 100% sure that they would get snapped-up by one of the best Sirs in town, and fast.

From a reader:
This is my first experience of being a sub. All my life I felt sexually unfulfilled but never knew what was wrong. I was never involved in the kink community except from the outside looking in, and never felt a place there because the people I did come in contact with  always seemed to assume I was a top because I'm big and masculine looking.
Then a few years ago, in a conversation with my best friend, a straight man much younger than me, he revealed that he was a dom and offered me the chance to enter in a dom-sub relationship with him. I was very attracted to him, and excited, but hesitant because I didn't know anything about that.
And, I was fearful of damaging my friendship with him, too.
But I took a chance and it worked out beautifully
He helped me realize that I was a born sub, and that was what had always been missing. I will always love him for that.
It's odd being in a relationship with a man I love romantically and sexually but whose feelings for me I understood from the start could only be platonic and sexual. But because we'd started out as close friends, and remain so, and I keep a tight rein on my emotions, it works out.
He knows I'm mad for him and enjoys that, appropriately I suppose haha!
He is not interested in fucking me but likes to see me fuck myself with toys, and has even used them on me a couple times. But mostly he likes to be served orally, in foot worship, for water sports, as well as domestic service.
I love doing all those things for him
We have been getting together a few times a month like this for three years now.
And we talk/text daily about the things we always did as friends
I'm married to a gay man in an open relationship of 30 years standing.
And that's my story!
I've seldom shared it before.
I'm sure you heard similar stories many times but it's all so exciting and new to me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Supporting New Kinky Talent

Anonymous asks: When you're talking to a younger guy, dom or sub, what feature makes them stand out as someone you should talk to more or keep an eye on?

Papa Tony:

I am writing this from the viewpoint of the older, experienced kinky Leather Mentor.  This may not apply to others in my age-group.  I am driven to seek out those who I consider to be the very best new talents, and focus my supportive energies upon these superstars.  I’ve been doing this for a long time.

This answer is hard to answer in a generic way.  I have exceptional amounts of intuition, and that can’t be taught.  Either you have big antennas, or you don’t.

Capturing My Attention

I look for the bright, perceptive ones.  I will see some new face in the crowd at a public event.  Being a natural-born Julie the Cruise Director, I will approach them with the intention of helping them to fit in as soon as possible.  As I speak, I am ascertaining their responses, and tuning my approach accordingly.

When their reaction is to interrupt me eagerly, moving the conversation forward very quickly, then that’s a big clue. Folks like that tend to be the Smartest Person In The Room, and that can be a lonely place.  It’s much nicer to find a peer, or a mentor.  Those can be very hard to find for an exceptionally talented person.

I look for wit, humor, responsibility and a strong sense of self.  I have been accused of having an ego “the size of Montana.”  Well, gosh - In a world where people will misinterpret your motivations because you operate on a vastly different level, having a healthy ego is how you stay sane.

Using Questions to Dig Deeper

I am always on the watch for the ones who can answer probing questions, such as:

- If you were to walk into a room full of a hundred strangers, interacting strongly, how long would it take for you to figure out what the vibe in the room is?

- Same crowd, but now, how long would it take you to figure out who the Movers and Shakers in the room are… The ones that everybody is deferring to?

- After something big happens in your life (good or bad), do you just blow it off and keep going, or do you stop and ponder afterward, trying to get maximum value and wisdom from this teachable experience?

- Have you ever warned a friend that their current path will lead them to a bad result, and then it happens the way that you predicted?

- When was the last time that you made an impulsive, gut-level choice, and then you failed?

These leading questions have no bad answers.  Whatever is that individual’s truth is just fine.  However, I am asking these questions to see how deep somebody’s level of perception may be.


When I find somebody who impresses me with their wit and ability to astonish me, I make agreements with them as a Mentor:

Nobody does anything for free.  EVERYBODY has a desired payoff, no matter how idealistic.  I am like anybody else, so here is the price that I demand in return for my help:

Some day, when there is gray in your hair, I expect that you will meet a new, rising star.  Help them, and that will pay me back.  I’m paying-off the dozens of older men who supported MY dreams when I needed it most.

I am not annoyed by anything that my protégés bring me... sadness, joy, anger, whatever. I am a good listener, and then I speak to whatever is underneath. This helps them to get back to their center.

I value integrity, but I have no interest in perfection. So, you’re off the hook.

I am approval-based. No disapproval. Ever.  I don’t move the goalposts and deny approval.

Everything that I share is meant as an offering.  I have nothing attached to forcing you to strictly adhere to anything that I say.

Instead, I make invitations. Invitations can be

- Accepted

- Denied, or

- Renegotiated.

I am okay with any of those choices.

There is no pressure to respond immediately, if I reach out. You can take days to respond, and I won’t be stressed. I have nothing attached to prompt, complete replies.  I’m not going anywhere.

Right now, our relationship is asymmetric. I’m forty years ahead of you, and, frankly, most folks. I won’t be lording it over you. My actual goal is to get you to THIS level, and soon. I like having peers.


I have been mentoring kinky folks for decades.  I specialize in the thoughtful ones; sensitive, perceptive, clever and rare. They seek me out, because my tone of instruction draws them in.  I am speaking their language.

I teach them coping mechanisms, success techniques and life-wisdom. I also teach them philosophy that allows the maximum number of people to succeed.

It is my assertion that the perceptive ones make the best leaders, mentors and role-models. We can see several steps beyond most folks.

If we are using our perceptions in a powerful, joyful way, we can see the underlying context and flow in any social gathering. Then, we guide things to a successful completion.

I make it my business to bring that new star plenty of peers who are just as special.  They will no longer have to slow down their thoughts to allow others to catch up.  Everybody can be fully self-expressed without holding back.  This is a rare and wonderful gift.

Dangerous Subs

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
at the Kink Mentoring Archives… Spread the word!

Anonymous said: What is your biggest red flag for a dangerous sub? 

Papa Tony:

Short answer:  Someone who does not take responsibility for their lives, or how their behavior affects others.

There are three parts to Drama:  The Victim, Rescuer, and Persecutor.  The most delightful, delicious role is the Victim… The Victim is NEVER responsible.  Every bad thing is always somebody else’s fault.  If a sub promises to show up, and never does, or arrives an hour and a half late with lame-ass excuses (when he could have texted at ANY time), then he never gets another chance from me.  He is now welcome to tell everybody around him (the Rescuers) that I am a terrible man (the Persecutor).

I grew up with Big Drama in my family, and I am allergic to it.  I choose to be a responsible man.  A sub who withholds honest feedback, who stores up resentments and then explodes with anger, and who tells big tales about how everybody is picking on him is NOT a sub who will grow alongside me in our journey together.

Decades ago, I used to attend kinky play-parties at a big industrial warehouse that I nicknamed “Submission Valley.” The main warehouse was jammed so full of kinky furniture, toys and miscellaneous structures (such as “The Rack”) that you had to walk sideways through most of it.

The head guy was named Master Mike. I was warned about him - “Watch out!  he’s a BAD SIR!”  Well, that was bullshit.  He treated his six house slaves respectfully, and he had a truly kind nature.  I watched him for months, ready for any signs of abuse, and I only saw a decent man.

After a few years, one of Mike’s collared slaves started flirting with me.  I very courteously let him know that I was not shopping for new talent.  I was in no position to take on a full-time slave.  He continued to try and convince me, for months.

He told me that he wanted to break up with Master Mike.  I suggested that the two of them talk about it.  “Oh, no - I could never do that.”  He wouldn’t hear of it.

Suddenly Master Mike was on the evening news, for WEEKS.  The little shithead slave had decided that the best path for breaking up with his Sir was to go to the news and the police, and smear Master Mike.  Every night, the TV news would show Mike in handcuffs and orange overalls, doing the Perp Walk, while NEW allegations were added to the pile.

Mike was forcing his slaves to have sex with strangers for money.  Everybody was being forced to have sex with Mike’s two overweight, utterly-spoiled Dobermans. The list of appalling charges just went on and on, and NONE of it was remotely true.

Months later, I saw the slave again, and I tried to get him to understand what a horrid thing he had done.  If I had been quacking like a duck, I would probably have made more sense to him, because the idea of being a responsible adult simply didn't show up on his radar.  He felt perfectly justified in using such a vile tactic to get what he wanted. He felt that his behavior was part of his roguish charm.

I told every kinky man that I knew what had happened.  That slave had to move to a different city to seek a Sir, because nobody would talk to him.

Several years later, I attended the first meeting of ACT UP San Diego  This was in the late 1980′s.  Off in the back, all by himself, I saw Master Mike.  He had finally gotten out of prison, and he was a shrunken, broken and defeated man.  I sat next to him and told him how sorry I was for what had been done to him.  He had been cruelly violated, and I hugged him while he cried.

Two months later, he was dead.  He lives on in my memories.

Dangerous Doms

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
at the Kink Mentoring Archives… Spread the word!

Anonymous said: What is your biggest red flag for a dangerous dominant?
Papa Tony:

Short answer: I am always on alert to spot somebody who uses Force instead of Strength.  There is a huge difference between the two.

I have spent decades being tightly connected to my local Kink community.  The reason why Leather-Fetish affinity-groups have ALWAYS existed is BECAUSE of the Bad Doms out there.  Kinky folks who live in the light of day, openly and proud are the ones who gather in Tribes.  We are protective by nature, and are the first to say “That’s the man, officer - arrest him!”  or “You MIGHT want to stay away from that guy - He doesn’t respect the word ‘NO!’”

Bad Doms make the rest of us look bad.  They perpetuate the stereotypes.

I’m not talking about ignorant, new or inept Doms.  I’m talking about sociopaths, frankly. Somebody who enjoys others’ suffering or harm, and who has no ability to relate to any part of it.  The ones who leave damaged subs behind them, and keep looking for more to use up and throw away.  The ones who can’t hang onto a sub for more than a few days.

Here is a great way to spot one:  He's really, really nice to you, but when you go out for a dinner date, he is nasty to the server.  BIG, RED FLAG.

I am glad to say that I am the exact opposite,  I am perceptive, kind, approval-based, and I enjoy, long, LONG relationships with my subs.

Many people think that money is the best currency.  It’s not.  It’s credibility.  You can’t buy credibility with any amount of money.  Kinky clubs are based upon credibility.  If you are a stand-up guy, a “mensch,” then you gain the benefits of being in a support network… “”Let me introduce you to somebody who would be good for you.”  “Him?  He’s newly-single, and a GREAT catch.  You are exactly his type.”

Bad Doms?  They don’t stick around, because they like to hide and deceive.  They operate in the dark.  They may smile to your face, but are just setting the trap. They lack a sense of responsibility.

I would like hear some stories or questions on this topic.  I've been writing long, involved articles for decades.  I'd like shift into more of a dialog.

From hadriantemple:

It’s estimated that as many as 2% of people may be sociopathic. Not all of them are truly dangerous, but all of them are fundamentally selfish in ways that make them bad doms and partners. So why truly bad doms are rare, they’re out there. Novice boys need to learn how to recognize the signs that a dom is one of the bad ones. As @papatonyinsandiego says, force in place of inner strength is one. Issuing demands is another—a good dom may have rules, but he’ll listen to a boy’s concerns and try to accommodate them. A good dom makes you want to obey; a bad dom makes you afraid to disobey.

From tomgcooktown:

A clue for a quality Dom is the same as the clues for anybody else. Aside from how He treats you in your privacy together, observe how He treats others, especially those weaker than He. If he yells at the check-out guy. If he honks at the old lady crossing the street. If he kicks ANY animal. RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG. When you become the slightest inconvenience He will both drop you & blame you. Being assertive is what you look for. His having a prick & using it is what you want. His BEING a prick is entirely different. Same advice as to abused women…LEAVE & STAY GONE.  Master T

Friday, July 20, 2018

Memoirs of a Gay Leather Elder 15: Gayborhoods

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
at the Kink Mentoring Archives… Spread the word!

The page listing all of the articles in this series can be found here

Mobility Created The Gayborhoods

For centuries, most LGBT folks lived and died within a few miles from where they were born.  Then, when cars, trains and planes became common, large amounts of us had useful choices, at long last.

Think about it:  You are a special, blessed child, born among hicks, yahoos and bigots.  You have creativity and an open mind.  You may as well be a pink monkey in a cage full of mean, brown monkeys. Instead of being warmly welcomed into the local community like everybody else, your LIFE is in danger, just because of things that you can't change about yourself.

Who the hell wants that?  So, you head out on your own, as soon as you possibly can.  You pick a coast or a big city, far, far away from Chicken Leg Arkansas, swearing never to return.

You would find a neighborhood that caters to the disenfranchised, and where LGBT folks can be themselves as much as the local police will allow.  It's not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than Squaw's Ass, Idaho.  You can finally find folks of like interests, and plenty of sex that is pleasing.  We could also band together and protect each other from bashers and police.

Folks had plenty of Gay Ghetto choices, according to Wikipedia:
Among the most famous gay villages are New York City's Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods; Fire Island and The Hamptons on Long Island; Boston's South End and Provincetown, Massachusetts; Chicago's Boystown; Philadelphia's Gayborhood; Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle; London's Soho, Birmingham's Gay Village, and Manchester's Canal Street, all in England; Los Angeles County's West Hollywood; as well as Barcelona Province's Sitges, Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighborhood, San Francisco's Castro, Madrid's Chueca, Sydney's Newtown, Berlin's Schöneberg, The Gay Street in Rome, Le Marais in Paris, Green Point in Cape Town and Melville in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In North America, the following gayborhoods are also noted: Asbury Park, MaplewoodMontclair, and Lambertville in New Jersey; Wilton Manors, Florida; Atlanta's Midtown, Montreal's Le Village, Houston's Montrose, San Diego's Hillcrest, San Jose's St Leo neighborhood, Dallas' Oak Lawn, Sacramento's Lavender Heights, and Seattle's Capitol Hill.
It was an exodus caused by pain and rejection.  LGBT folks wanted to get the hell out of a miserable, unsafe environment, and into a place of our own choosing and design. Gay men wanted career choices other than being florists and hair stylists.

As more and more distressed refugees from flyover country arrived, businesses sprang up to suit our tastes.  Boutiques, bistros, barbershops, book stores, bars and bathhouses.  We developed our own subcultural slang, styles and traditions.

Any open-minded, sassy waitress made a LOT of money on tips in the 1970's.  Particularly if she worked an all-night restaurant after the bars closed.  Gay men love us some divas, and any woman who could entertain a table full of drunken homos with her brassy ways was our QUEEN.

LGBTQ Junior High Arrives At Last

I have hosted hundreds of Men's Discussions.  Periodically, I will stop and ask "How many of you have attended a high school prom?"  A bunch of them will raise their hands.  Then, I ask "Keep your hand up if you feel that it has prepared you for the life that you are living now."  All hands drop, and rueful laughter ensues.

My point is that we were all put on a track.  That track was designed for heterosexuals.  During our formative years, most young men and women were playing games of "Does he like me, or does he REALLY REALLY like me?" They were testing their attractiveness and dating freely, while queers lacked such choices, and sat by the sidelines.

Picture this concept:  In Junior high, when you attended "Health" classes that were really "Sexual Education" classes, an announcement comes over the loudspeaker: "In Room 24 at 2:30PM, we will be teaching a class on how to have sensational male-male intercourse.  Directly afterward, we will teach the basics of long-term gay-male relationship dynamics."

Well, THAT never happened, so we had to figure out that mysterious stuff through direct exposure.  So we gay men would dive right in to our new Tribe, liberating our dicks and asses.  We slutted out, baby.  The pendulum needed to swing.

Once we hit the gay neighborhoods, all of that repressed pleasure started revving up as fast as we could manage.  Sexual intercourse was gay men's way of shaking hands and saying "Howdy!"  We called sexual conquests "numbers,"  "He's a hot number" was a sassy way of saying "Now serving Number 63!"

West Hollywood

I recommend reading this wonderful article about West Hollywood's gay history.  There are MANY articles online that can speak more knowledgeably than me.  All that I can share is what I saw, back during the heyday of Boy's Town in the late 1970's, and early 1980's. There are long stories coming up.  This is just an overview.

I took these photos during Los Angeles Pride in 1979.
You could see where MY mind was...

I lived near West Hollywood for a short time.  Santa Monica Boulevard in the late 1970's was intensely gay.  The sidewalks would be crowded with cruising men on a Saturday afternoon.  For miles.

There were gay bars everywhere, and many bathhouses. It felt like you could go a full month without seeing a heterosexual in West Hollywood.  I used to joke that we'd have to bus "breeders" and "front-loaders" into town once a month for Diversity Day.

You could walk into a supermarket and find yourself facing a magazine rack with muscular, scantily-clad men on the cover of BlueboyMandate and Drummer magazines.  I don't think I got used to seeing that for a few years.

Cops Harassing The Gay Bars

Being gay in the 1970's was still a very bad thing to be.  Sure, Stonewall had happened, but the culture around us was still very disapproving, and changes came slowly.  That's why the earlier Pride parades were confrontational, angry and political.  We wanted a lot of bad treatment to end.

Cops were still a hazardous problem.  There was a recent KPBS documentary about San Diego's Gay Bar History, and I'm in it.  I'm the one who is crying, and also making jokes.  The point is made by somebody that hundreds of bars have existed in our city, but they tended to come and go like spring mushrooms, due to police harassment.

It all started at the top - The local Attorney General or Police Chief could encourage the hiring of hateful law enforcers, and set up stings to entrap the homos.  Bars would get busted for having signs outside that were too big, having porn on the TV, or having people in the bar who didn't have ID's in their pockets.

Beaten By the Cops

In 1981, I was dancing at a local bar called Mister Dillon's (it has been Rich’s for the last few decades).  I am huge, and a very enthusiastic dancer, so I was up on stage.  I wanted to avoid colliding with others who were smaller than me.  As a result, I could see what happened:

Two uniformed cops were shoving their way through the crowded dance floor, throwing punches and whacking people with their billy clubs.  I jumped off the stage to try and see their badge numbers.  Bad plan.  Being six foot five (five foot seventeen when standing fully erect), I do NOT do the "unobtrusive" thing well at all.

Fresh out of jail the next morning, 
I had a broken eye socket and broken nose, 
plus many deep bruises all over my body.  
Just for being in a gay bar at the wrong time.

They caught me, and knocked me to the ground.  One of them stomped and whacked at me with his club while the other one called on his radio.  Within seconds, four more cops arrived and all six of them beat me while I cried out for help.  When they got tired of doing that, they arrested me, my boyfriend, the bar manager and a few others who hadn't left quickly enough.

I was convicted of "assaulting a police officer" and "resisting arrest," despite the fact that the ringleader cop had earned over 150 citizen complaints for excessive force.  Shortly afterward, the police chief was replaced, and the new one started firing the bad cops.

It took me several decades before I could stand to be near cops.  Seeing friendly uniforms at Pride festival booths, actively recruiting gay cops, helped a lot.

San Diego's Spreading Gayborhood

In San Diego, Hillcrest was widely known as the where the gay community lived and played. When I first started living there, it was referred to as "The Gay Nineties," because in order to live there, you had to be either gay, or ninety years old.  As the old, original owners of the cute little bungalows died or moved away, gay couples moved in and GENTRIFIED.

We would plant flowers, peel away old aluminum siding, remove green-painted, low-maintenance concrete, and restore the interiors and exteriors.  Property values skyrocketed, and fewer working-class folks could afford to buy a home in Hillcrest.  So, we started spreading outward, into University Heights, Mission Hills, Talmadge, and on and on. From Highway Five to the west, to Golden Hill on the south end, and all of the way out to Lakeside in the east.  One big, well-blended, straight and LGBT, open-minded culture, and almost NOBODY was born there.  They were all refugees.

Even the heterosexuals had fled the Midwest. These intelligent, creative and flexible-minded folks had to get the hell AWAY from where they were born.  This is why the Red states were getting redder, and the Blue states were getting bluer.

On one hand, we benefitted from the "Brain Drain," but on the other hand, the folks in Wisconsin, Iowa etc. lost their champions - the folks who would fight the good fight.  That's why I was so pleased when the Kentucky men who confronted Kim Davis stood up on their hind legs and confronted her bigotry.  This is why the Red states are now turning Purple.

Papa Tony's Parties

I live in a suburb of San Diego called Normal Heights. A century ago, a "Normal" school was a school that taught teachers.  I love living here, and it is very neighborly, but it's a bit discriminatory.  I tried to join the Normal Heights Book Club, but they wouldn't allow me to, because I am not of "normal height."  Hardy har har.

When my husband Dennis and I moved into our home in Normal Heights in 1993, I saw a gay leatherman buddy of mine, behind our home's back fence.  He lived there, and I said "Wow - We shall have to have a nice party together, once we have fully moved in."  I talk like that.

He said "Don't forget to invite the other gay couples in the area," and started listing them.  I thought "We should have the party in our yard!"  A couple of months later, I got onto my bicycle, and started riding up and down every street in Normal Heights.

Back then, rainbow flags, lambdas and pink triangles were very popular and visible on car bumpers, window stickers and flags.  For a long time, I had been one of the few thoroughly and openly-gay folks.  Now, everybody was doing it.

I'd stop at a house, and knock on the door.  It would open just a sliver, and I'd hear a doubtful voice say "Yes?"  I'd say "Is that your red Toyota out in front?"  "Yes, why?"  "Well, I saw the rainbow flag sticker on the back bumper, and I have a neighborhood party invitation for you!"  I'd hand them a sheet of paper that was festooned with many rainbow flags, and I'd ride away.

The first year, we only had 26 households who showed up.  The next year, we had over 250, because word had gotten around.  I was the real deal.  That second year, I had created a map of Normal Heights.  It was printed and mounted on foamcore board.  I had created little rainbow-flag pins, and as soon as folks arrived, they would place a flag where they lived.

Most blocks had a MINIMUM of three gay or lesbian households.  I showed this map to local community leaders in other neighborhoods, and they assured me that their local area contained the same density of LGBT households, for miles and miles.

These were not "gay" neighborhoods.  They have just become peaceful, comfortable and diverse.  25 years later, the level of diversity has only gone up.

The Bashers

For years, there was a constant hazard of assault by bigots.  Groups of rednecks would ride into town in pickups and station wagons.  They would drive around Hillcrest, yelling and throwing eggs at homos who were walking along the streets. If the fag reacted badly, they'd pile out and beat him with baseball bats and fists.

Now, you KNOW that every one of those bashers was sexually repressed, and wanted nothing more than to suck a nice big, juicy cock, but their cultural programming didn't allow for it. So, they acted out in violent ways.

Things got very bad, in phases that lasted for years.  You'd read in the gay newspapers about men hiding outside of gay bars, and when a gay man would walk out of the bar and past the hiding-place, the basher would swing a lead pipe at the back of his head, leaving him permanently brain-damaged.  I can't recall how many men this happened to, but it went on for months until we started our own Neighborhood Patrol.

A buddy told me that he was leaving town, because he had been traumatized.  After leaving the San Diego Eagle, six men had chased him with baseball bats, and when he jumped into his car, they broke his windows before he could drive away.

Once we finally got the leadership in the local cop culture on our side, the problems stopped, but not before I studied karate and weapons training for four and half years. I was tired of feeling like a victim.  I mean, come on - we were being handed rape whistles.  That seemed like some pretty feeble protection.

The Ghetto Slowly Loses Relevance

Living in Boys Town in any city has its charms.  After so many of us have been cast out of our homes, disinherited and shamed, we needed a space where we can hide out from the world for a while.  It's a great place to live, but it doesn't move our lives forward.

Decades ago, my husband Dennis left Buffalo, New York, and moved to San Diego.  He rejected Buffalo's hetero-biased culture, and had no intention of ever moving back.  His attitude changed radically when we went back for our niece's wedding in 2016.

We were walking around downtown Buffalo, and when we turned a corner, there were rainbow flags everywhere!  We had arrived without knowing that it was Pride weekend, and we had arrived at the festival, which was being set up.  Folks there told us that the parade would start shortly, so we made our way over there.

That's Dennis on the far right, smiling blissfully.

Dennis cried as he watched 150 teenagers lead the parade.  The crowd for the parade was enormous, and I noticed a lot of heterosexual couples smiling, waving and hollering in the crowd.  It was a cheerful, mind-blowing day for the both of us.  Our minds were changing about Dennis' home town.  Sure, when he lived there, there had been a gayborhood, but it was small and furtive.

We stayed in Buffalo for two more weeks.  As we power-walked through every neighborhood, we'd see rainbow flags hanging on nearly every church (and Buffalo has a LOT of old, massive churches.) Buffalo was revitalizing in every area, even the most-deteriorated ones.  There were rainbow flags flying on every block for miles around.

I started testing my hunches on dozens of strangers:  Dennis and I would be at a street fair, or an open-air concert, and we'd meet a heterosexual couple.  I'd introduce us, adding "We are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary!"  Within a second or so, the first words we ALWAYS heard were "DID YOU MAKE IT TO PRIDE?!??!!"  Those straight folks wanted to take sure that we didn't miss out on something that THEY were invested in.  They were proud allies.

In Conclusion

I have been using Buffalo as a metaphor for what has been happening in the USA.  Younger folks can't imagine why anybody would want to fag-bash.  They have friends who are queer.  Based upon the fact that the horrid mommy-porn book called "Fifty Shades of Gray" was the fastest-selling paperback book in history, I suspect that many heterosexuals wish to be more flexible.

Over the decades, folks who are closed-minded are being excluded from the now-dominant, open-minded urban places.  In my neighborhood, I know of only two households that have been proudly anti-gay, and both places no longer fly hateful flags or bumper-stickers.  They know that their opinions aren't welcome.

In 2018, I still see plenty of negative crap in the news from folks who want to drive us back into our gayborhood ghettos.  I don't see that ever happening again. The trend is ever upward.  All of the current aggravation from hateful people is their last gasp of resistance to generational and demographic change.

The gayborhoods have expanded, and are popping up in new places.  My wish is that the day will come when every child is valued, and never driven away.  Then, everywhere will be a safe space.  Based upon my last forty years of close observation, the positive changes are accelerating.