Gay Anthems!

Dance parties often start with an easy intro. You know, a tune that starts a crescendo that will serve as a foundation on which an incredible dance party experience builds.

I’ve posted this tune more than once before. By now Fearsome Beard regulars will realize it is one of my all time favorites. I post it today specifically in honor of all of those before me who dared to love the love they deeply understood, the true love they felt, even though society told them that dare not.

I dedicate this incredibly beautiful anthem those who inspire us today to be who we are and to stand not only for ourselves but those who will follow us. I dedicate it to them because they were never Being Boring, they were just finally being themselves.

Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring – 1990

To those courageous people who finally said “Oh, Hell No!” …Thank you!

Twenty Five Years Ago

I thank Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God for making me aware of this anniversary.

Joe’s post is HERE.

I first wrote about this tune HERE.

I have many emotions tied to this tune. I consider it part of a  defining moment in my life. It evokes both joy and sadness when I hear it. I loved and lost so many in it’s era. It’s lyrics tear at my core while reminding me of the joy, love and laughter that we all shared. The Pet Shop Boys gave me and many others like myself a gift with Being Boring. I thank them for it.

I dedicate this post to Greg. Although you are now missing, I will never forget the love, joy and tears we shared as we danced to this tune as the wind enveloped our bodies as it blew in off the ocean that beautiful evening at Tea By The Sea, Atlantic Shores, Key West. We were never Being Boring, we were never being bored.

Not forgotten

It was early summer probably about 1985. I remember sitting on the couch of my then boyfriend listening to Bronski Beat.

We discussed how we could relate to the story the lyrics told. We moved to the rhythm and the beat of the music. We shared a few beers and a home made dinner as we discussed what we both had done at work that day. John was a good cook. At the time I was a respiratory therapist at a local community hospital, he was the new director of the newly opened AIDS community center.

When we had AIDS patients in the hospital it was I that was assigned their care. I was single, gay, had no kids and had probably been exposed. Thus it was always my job to take care of them, as they were always gay men just like myself. John’s job had him entrenched in the community. He was tasked with care, education, support and most of all organizing disorganization and fear. Fear infiltrated our culture. People feared us that we might be sick. We feared each other. We feared our own selves and what was to become if us. We did our best. We somehow found strength.

I cared for my patients, he for his clients. All were sick and dying. More were getting sick daily. Our friends, sex partners, lovers and those we didn’t know other than seeing them. It quickly became identifiable. A look you could tell, once they were sick. Others weren’t yet sick but knew of people they had been with who were.

At the time AIDS was a horrible death sentence. No one knew how it was transmitted. The treatments were next to non existent and those they had were only experimental. Still somehow we marched on. We were fearful yet managed. We were the dirty ones, the diseased feared by everyone including sometimes each other. Yet we stayed strong for each other, we were all we had as a community.

We danced. We danced to music and danced the dance of life. Loving each other as this was the life we were given, it was our time as the twenty somethings. We were the future. I don’t know what happened to John. It was a short boyfriend-ship. We each moved on. Many of my friends died, past lovers died and “encounters” died as well.

At the time we lived and survived. We still dreamed. We marched on. The ability to take a relationship to the level of government recognition let alone marriage wasn’t even part of those dreams. I remember just dreaming of a day when I wouldn’t be afraid of becoming sick, a day when my friends weren’t dying and that I would somehow escape to have a long happy life myself.

One of the dreams I shared with my lover Tim was to move to San Diego one day. Neither of us had ever been to California, but San Diego sounded like a nice place. That dream went to the place dreams go to, somewhere far away. Neither of us made any moves in that direction. Tim and I went our own way after a couple years and Mark came into my life.

By this time we had tests. Anonymous test because if it was recorded it was on your medical record and you were marked. I tested negative for the HIV virus. I was elated. I know I had been exposed multiple multiple times, because men I had been with all the way back to age 18 were either sick or dead. I was elelated that I had escaped, thus far. So Mark decided to get tested as well.

To get these anonymous tests you had to go to back entrances to county health facilities. It was less than glamorous. Usually standing in an alley behind a building with other men like yourself. Heads looking at the ground, little if no talking as fear permeated like a rancid fog in the air.

Mark’s test didn’t go as well as mine. He was positive. We stayed together for a couple years. Unfortunately Mark was not a well man on many levels and our relationship ended not because of his HIV but because of other reasons. Mark is no longer with us. I remain negative to this day. But I remember the horror of what HIV/AIDS is in graphic detail.

Why do I post such a memory today? The day that our federal government validated our relationships as equal. I post this memory in honor of all of the men that I knew, loved, cared for and laughed with. These were the men that marched before and with me. The men that paved the way for what we enjoy today. One step at a time. They worked, opened businesses, loved, shared, lived, gave, volunteered, taught, lead, cried, feared, parented, fought, built, created, cared, mentored and marched. I owe what I enjoy to all that came before me as well as those who march with me today.

They may have never dreamed this day would come, but in ways that they do not know, they helped get us here. They aren’t here today to call, hug or share it with in physical form. They are in spirit. They are in my heart. They are in your heart. All live through us. Let us not forget them, but rejoice with them.

….lets dance, love & celebrate Love. Love won today. Freedom won today. Our constitution won today. We won today. Those who walked before us won today!

(Posted in memory of Jerry Smoot. Thanks Jerry for teaching me to dream. Dreams really do come true.)



Being Boring

Back in 1990 I was a lad in my mid twenties. I used to frequent Key West back in those days, a lot. There was a favorite guesthouse and my favorite disco, The Copa. I so remember when this tune came out and made its debut at The Copa. I met my husband that year in Key West.

I loved The Pets Shop Boys then and I still do. This tune remains frozen in my memory. 1990 was a time when the majority of my friends were dead, dying or becoming ill. It was a time when we did not know who was next. We tried to be careful but a lot of us were still seroconverting and HIV was still a death sentence.

We were anything but boring. Thank God! We shared so much laughter, love, understanding and care. I still smile when I look back at what would seem to be such a dark time. It was anything but dark and it wasn’t boring. I do miss those I lost but I know that they weren’t bored with the lives they lived. Youth gives us so much as long as we enjoy it and live our youth.

Today I fill with joy for all those memories and the moments that made me the man I am today. I learned a lot. I somehow escaped HIV. I was one of the blessed ones. I learned about strength, hope, understanding, support, fear, discrimination, illness, life and death. I thank the power greater than myself that put me here for those I lost. A lot of what they taught me about being alive and living life still lives on through me. I try to share it with those I touch.

May this video offer a look into the joy of life. The blessing of living, sharing, loving, laughing, expressing, learning and never ever being bored. Be sure to catch the written words, especially at the beginning. Beautiful comes to mind when I watch this one!

Even though I’m now twice the age I was when I danced to this on the dance floor of the long gone Copa (it burned to the ground around 1995) I’m not bored because I’m never ever boring. Lifes a banquet, enjoy!