GHHD #1 2024

Well, it’s almost Gay High Holy Day #1 (Pride weekend). While I’ve often admitted to feeling disconnected from Pride celebrations these days, I think more than ever we need visibility. We need to show we are not going away. Trying to legislate us out of existence is never going to work. The alphabet mafia, in all its splendor, is here to stay.

I encourage you to celebrate Pride in whatever manner you feel benefits your life. There isn’t a wrong or right way. You don’t need to feel part of the scene [1]ugh, don’t even get me started on the thousands of definitions associated with “the scene” to celebrate. You can do it with family, friends, even hookups, etc. Or don’t, it really is up to you.

Just take a moment to be grateful for those that paved the way. Call it a blessing, a remembrance, a prayer; just try to understand it hasn’t been an easy fight and many of our brothers and sisters died in our fight for equality. Regardless of your beliefs, that deserves respect.

For myself, I volunteered at a work booth this year. I’ll be doing outreach and recruiting to get more of us into my field of work. If you’re a local and plan to be out and about, stop by the SFFD (Fire) booth and say hi on Sunday. My dept has never had its own booth and luckily we were invited to join this year, so it will be a first for me!

 

References

References
1 ugh, don’t even get me started on the thousands of definitions associated with “the scene”

Gym App

I use a couple different workout tracking apps. One for motivation and one for actually tracking my workouts. Sadly, I can’t seem to find a good all in one app that meets my needs. That really isn’t the point though.

I recently got a private message from a gym bro attempting to shame me because I declined his unsolicited offer for online training services. He felt the need to try and undermine my manhood while also inferring I might look "gay" to other men. [1]You wanna tell him? For good measure, he managed to squeeze in a comment about my age as well.

My first comment was, "well, bless your heart." I followed up with a summary of how he’s toxic bro mentality was so 90’s and from his follow list, I’m probably dodging a bullet by not signing up for his "services". Even had I been interested in such a service he had no official education listed in physical therapy or even as a certified trainer. He replied back a few more times trying to goad me into an argument, but I couldn’t be bothered and he appeared to give up.

I thought about it afterwards and wonder how many insecure men fall for this ploy? Straight men are definitely not immune to peer pressure, and I know firsthand how gay men often feel pressured to look/act a certain way to feel "included." I’ve found a striking susceptibility in gay men who come out late in life vs us early out eager beavers. [2]there is a pun in there somewhere I think I’d like to think I’m totally beyond such things, but I think that would be a lie. Granted, I could care less about some random bro’s feedback. My workouts and efforts in the gym are primarily focused on keeping myself healthy, especially as I age. While I certainly strive to be bigger and better, it is not the priority in my life. As I age, I’m certainly aware of the stigma in our world and am not completely immune to the sting of rejection so I get it. However, I also realize the hard truth is age comes to us all. We can’t be young and pretty forever. More astutely, I no longer base my self-esteem on the opinion of others.

I guess doing the work on myself all those years ago are still paying dividends today. Life is short, if your not happy make changes to try and change it, but don’t fall for the idea you need to look or act a certain way to be accepted.

References

References
1 You wanna tell him?
2 there is a pun in there somewhere I think

Anon

There is a new craze floating around social media lately where someone offers a link so you can send them “anonymous” messages. You can send anything you like and it’s totes anon. And there’s already been fallout on the things people send. I know, shocker! I get that it’s probably built on humor, but I find these things incredibly annoying. Mainly, because it encourages the lowest common denominator in replies. ((Yes I know that is totally not what that phrase means but it’s slang for ignunce)) Probably why I also hate most reality TV shows and all of the K-family. (I won’t use their name to garnish more clicks.)

If you know me in real life, you know I’m certainly capable of speaking my mind. Hell, if you read here with any regularity I’m pretty sure you can figure it out! Lol If I have something to say to you, I have no problem saying it. That doesn’t mean I need to be a dick or rude, but cowardice is not my way. If I can say it, I can take responsibility for saying it.

The act of engaging with others even in unpleasant circumstances is a social skill, and it should not be avoided. It builds character by teaching respect and self control. Life isn’t all pleasantries. Conflict doesn’t necessarily equate to being a jerk. Learning how to navigate conflict leads to humility. Hiding behind pseudonyms or anonymous accounts is just an act of cowardice.

From my white trash roots, “don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash!” Don’t be one of those anonymous keyboard warriors spouting bias and judgment while hiding from any sense of accountability. I can’t control others but you’ll probably never see me using such antics. It’s beneath me.

Can’t Help Themselves

Ya know, some people just can’t help themselves. After my last post about my experience with monkeypox, most of my feedback was very positive. Of course it was, decent human beings being decent human beings, but there are always those few folks who just can’t help themselves. I write this post to support others vs any defense of my own actions.

I got the typical "are you ok" as an opener on several messages before the bombardment of code words implying some sort of shame or guilt. Ironically, two of them were twisting themselves into knots implying they weren’t referring to me specifically. Being a big boy, I flat out told them I got it at the tubs. And the person who exposed me reached out to let me know. Why? Because he was a responsible adult being a good human being. Duh! I was just unable to get the vaccine in time. The follow up level of backtracking was cute, albeit completely unnecessary. I’m a grown man, I won’t be shamed for my actions when I don’t feel I did anything wrong. Your opinion of my life and/or relationship is just that…yours.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never understood the fascination with shaming folks for communicable diseases. It stems from our institutionalized puritanical nonsense way of thinking, I know, but I’m just so shocked to see so many gay men still embrace it. You’d think after surviving AIDs we’d be better than that. But let you mention the rampant drug use in the gay community and/or the cottage industries built around it, and you’ve done gone too far! (Not that I believe drugs should be criminalized.)

I realize there are levels of compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance going on, but it gets old really fast. We are human beings. We like human touch and **gasp​** sex. We’ve dealt with communicable diseases practically since the beginning our existence and will likely continue to do so until the end of our existence. This puritanical idea of shame is nothing but a waste of time. It serves no purpose other than to establish "those people" in an attempt at disassociation. What has proven to work time and time again is timely intervention thru testing and available treatment. Removing this pathetic idea of stigma increases the likelihood of testing and preventing transmission.

Pox Upon Your House

I couldn’t catch COVID if I tried, but I managed to get Monkeypox right out of the gate. Go figure!

I’ve been exposed to COVID countless times in the last 2 1/2 years and either had it with no symptoms or just didn’t get it. Granted, I’ve had both shots and two boosters. The old roommate had it, the hubby had it, multiple work exposures, and nothing. One exposure to monkeypox and BAM! My case was apparently mild to moderate, depending on who you ask. I will tell you, it didn’t feel so moderate. In a word, it was shit. Not the worst I’ve ever felt, but definitely in the top 10.

I originally noticed a small rash in my armpit. I’m not prone to rashes so it set off alarm bells. There weren’t many places even available for testing so I ended up at the City Clinic. While there, they noticed a couple bumps in my groin area I hadn’t even noticed yet. They were mostly painless and small, but uniquely different than your average pimple. I now know why they call it a pox. The clinic tested me but testing was delayed due to a major influx of requests and the outbreak being relatively new. While they felt I had it, symptoms were mild so they didn’t offer treatment. The treatment drug, commonly referred to as TPOX, is from the national stockpile and in short supply. While they are using the COVID infrastructure to ramp up production, that doesn’t help those sick now.

I left feeling good and looking forward to a week off work. [1]Even though you primarily catch it through sustained skin contact, it is “possible” to catch it from surfaces. They did advise me to isolate.  Fast forward a few days later, the fevers, aches, & chills set in. They were quite unpleasant. The sores started out rather painless and mild w/no signs of spreading. By day four, they had become larger (about the size of a nickel) and little satellite sores were springing up. All of the lymph nodes in my groin area were swollen and very sensitive. Even pressure from laying on my side hurt. Apparently, the pox tends to attack/irritate the nerves and it played havoc with my back. [2]I have a minor bulging disc I manage w/chiropractic care  On day four, the aches/chills/back pain were so intense I’d had enough. I went back to the clinic to get treatment. Thankfully, they agreed my case warranted treatment, but only because I had a mild impetigo (staff) co-infection. This could potentially make me infectious longer and it was decided I was worth treating.

I get that the drug was scarce but in that moment I was irritated at the idea of having to plead my case or with the thought of being denied treatment. The drug is actually used to treat smallpox and has been conditionally approved to treat MP. [3]The viruses are similar enough it works on MP as well.  My pox were spreading as there were multiple new spots coming up in various places on my body. I won’t lie, in that moment I was just grateful to qualify. I know other folks who weren’t so lucky and they had symptoms worse than mine and were initially denied treatment. Within 24 hours, the fevers/chills were all but gone and the back pain disappeared completely.

Fast forward again to today and I’m headed back to work tomorrow. All the smaller pox spots that sprang up are gone and have new skin over the 5 original spots in my groin that were the largest and most sensitive. You are considered ‘contagious’, even on medicine until the scab falls off and there is new skin. If you shower daily, that can lead to fresh scabs daily. Basically, you’ll notice the ‘pox’ look is gone. You can have red, irritated, and even bumpy skin, but as long as the pox itself is gone, you are good to go. I’ve missed roughly 2 1/2 weeks of work. Lawd, baby jeebus I am bored as hell! Video games and tv only go so far. Most people take 3-4 weeks to heal so I’m slightly ahead of the curve. I think only because I sought treatment.

Of course, the usual crew of judgmental queens are trashing people online for being “slutty”. Except it is not spread only thru sex like traditional STI’s. Many of the folks I know that were exposed and/or contracted it did not get it thru sexual contact. You can get it from any environment where you touch skin with someone. You can be in a bar, a party, a fair, etc. The incubation period is 2-3 weeks so you can have it, have minor bumps or pimples, and not even know you are contagious. For the pissy folks, all I can offer is a sound, “bless your heart.” As for me, what you think of me is really none of my business.

If you aren’t vaccinated, make an effort to do so. If you are in an area w/no outbreaks, it may take you awhile as the vaccine is in short supply. They will most likely prioritize high-risk folks first. However, supply is ramping up. It is recommended to get the vaccine, even if you start showing mild symptoms. Once you develop full symptoms, the vaccine is no longer necessary. You also do not need vaccination once you get over an MP infection.

The government has been a bit slow to ramp up response as it isn’t like COVID. The spread right now is mostly contained to the LGBTI community. And while it may seem like they are doing nothing, that is not the case. The system isn’t designed to mobilize until a certain threshold is reached for diseases like MP. While part of me knows that, it doesn’t help that the other part of me that suffered needlessly isn’t still angry. I do hope they realize due to globalization, the old slow method should be update.

The good news, is vaccine and treatment are both being ramped up. Don’t let the shortage now put you off from getting vaccinated. I can assure you, it is worth the effort. You do not want to go thru the symptoms. Keep checking w/your local sources, usually your health dept, City government website/phone line, and/or insurance provider.

As for me, I’m healed up now and grateful to be over it. I even missed work a little. The one additional downside, I missed a trip to see my two besties for one of their birthdays, which was a deep disappointment. I was borderline by the day of the flight, but I didn’t want to chance it. No on wants to be the one that brings the gift that keeps on giving… lol

Be well!

 

References

References
1 Even though you primarily catch it through sustained skin contact, it is “possible” to catch it from surfaces. They did advise me to isolate.
2 I have a minor bulging disc I manage w/chiropractic care
3 The viruses are similar enough it works on MP as well.

Pride…

…otherwise known as GHHD1 [1]Gay High Holy Day #1 is this month. And again this year we see people in a pissing match about changes to the Pride flag. It’s downright embarrassing at times. While I tend to avoid the keyboard warrior approach, after more than a few disparaging comments, I have a few thoughts….

Claiming the flag was designed in its original form to include everyone, while technically true, is irrelevant. If you actually knew your “herstory,” you would know it was changed almost immediately after it came out. It is not sacrosanct. And nowhere did the original creator say or even infer the flag should never be changed. The only constant in life is everything changes. The flag is what we make it.

I personally like the original version only for its simplicity. It calls to me with the meaning and design. I also originally liked the idea of keeping it the same, but I listened, I learned, and I understand better now. [2]Not so hard really  And considering how co-opted the flag has become by corporations, who just want our money, I also like the idea of the new variations.

And I’m about to step on some feelings here, but it’s meant as tough love. Exactly why is it most of the complaints are coming from cis white gay men (CWGM)? Mmhmmmmmm? If you don’t like the variations of the flag then use the one you like. No one is forcing you to do otherwise. Like seriously, how are you in any way harmed? [3]The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything. 

A lot of CWGM feel attacked anytime someone calls out how often our PoC, Trans, Non-binary cousins etc aren’t as accepted in our community. And it’s good you still feel uncomfortable, it means there is still good in you. But, it is time to stop pussyfooting around and own our part. I say our because I am a CWGM. If I can learn and grow so can you. Channel those feelings in the pit of your stomach into something useful. And a word to the wise, you can disassociate any personal involvement because you’re not one of the bad gays, but that doesn’t erase the issue. You can do better by just closing your mouth, taking a seat, and listening.

You have to ask yourself, is it any real surprise many groups in our alphabet mafia [4]lovingly borrowed from TikTok don’t feel included? CWGM have spent decades using phrases like “no fats, no fems, no black, asians, straight acting only, etc“. How can you be shocked these same groups do not feel recognized? We don’t want lesbians in our bars. We don’t want trans men in our play spaces. We don’t want fem men virtually anywhere, except drag. Come on! Deep down you know why. These stigmas persist even today all over this country.

Being gay didn’t erase racism or the privilege many CWGM are afforded in society. And while you can’t always control that, it’s ok to acknowledge and accept it. You don’t need to get your knickers in a twist just because someone calls it out. Let that uncomfortable awkward feeling guide you to do better. If we did a better job making others feel included instead of “less than” us, maybe they wouldn’t need or want their own version of the pride flag. Frankly, collectively they outnumber us so be grateful the shoe isn’t on the other foot.

So… I humbly ask anyone reading this to try a different path. Instead of complaining about what the flag should be, just accept that no one person owns the Pride flag. Nor does any single group in our community own the flag. You don’t get to tell others what the Pride flag means to them. You don’t get to tell them they can’t make changes. Instead, use whatever version you feel connected too and let others do the same. /rant

*

I’ll most likely be working on Pride this year. While I have my issues with the commercialization of Pride, with recent events it is clear we still very much need it. I volunteered for the field detail overseeing medical dispatch for the fair. I have worked it for years prior to the pandemic. After the lockdowns, I’m now eager to be out there again seeing the sea of faces.

Whatever your path, I wish you a happy, safe AND inclusive Pride.

And as always, hope springs eternal….

References

References
1 Gay High Holy Day #1
2 Not so hard really
3 The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything.
4 lovingly borrowed from TikTok

Twit

Thoughts on 3lon buying the blue bird?

For myself, I barely use twitter anymore so I’m not trying to necessarily pick a side here. I am deeply concerned about how this will unravel though. He has plans to fundamentally alter twitter IMO. Like it or not, twitter has become a household name. It is a mass communication tool with global reach.

I’ve already seen folks within the #alphabetmafia applauding his purchase. I wonder if they’ve thought this through. twitter will now be privately owned, which means he can do whatever he wants with it (within some limits). He can dis(allow) any content he deems (un)worthy. He could try to monitize it thru more than just ads. What happens if he does and decides porn is no longer allowed? Can you say “Tumblr?” You may not care if porn gets the axe, but LGBT+ issues are routinely flagged as “adult material” online.

He may be the new sole owner but he leveraged that purchase and he will want a return on his investment. Keep in mind, this all started because he was censored for spreading conspiracies. Who will keep that in check now? I mean twitter wasn’t doing a bang up job before, but there was some effort to keep it honest.

I have no idea how this will play out. I don’t have any immediate plans to delete my accounts. I also wish I could say I don’t care, but I do. The ramifications of this are breathtaking.

A single man just bought a social media company with over 300 million users. What does that kind of wealth say about our society? What does it say about our future?

Petty

I try not to be too petty but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I am still a work in progress after all.

About a year or so ago this guy flirts me up on IG.  He was moving to SF and looking to “make friends“. He came on pretty heavily. I’m sure you can read between the lines on that meaning. We chatted off and on for a bit and eventually he asked if he could text me. I text him and he immediately tells me, “wow did not realize you were a ghetto android user” and then proceeds to ghost me. I clucked to myself and promptly moved on with my life. I’d forgotten about it until recently.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he apparently moved, or at least was visiting as he sees me in the shower at the gym. He decides to get all “flirty.” To be clear, it was obvious he recognized me. My first thought was to be gracious but my pride got the better of me and I wasn’t having any of his shenanigans. I’m excellent at giving resting bitch face Right before I exited I leaned in for a moment of privacy and said, “I still own an Android.”

I did get to witness the brief look of shock on his face. I won’t lie, in that moment it felt delicious. I did feel guilty for a bit later on but also got over it just as quickly. I know it should have been beneath me but I couldn’t help myself. Frankly, if you’re that effin’ shallow, I’d rather not “know” you anyway. It’s one thing to joke or just “fanboy”, it is quite another to be so incredibly shallow.

51

It’s here folks, I’ve hit 51 today. Parts of my body definitely feel 51 but overall I don’t feel it. I always appreciate well-wishes, kudos, etc, but if you know me you know I don’t make a fuss about it.

On the flip side, realizing I’m half a century old does feel a bit weird. So what does 51 years mean? Well, I can remember when cellphones (and pagers) didn’t exist. I can remember when one had ‘friends‘ they were people you actually knew in person. I can remember the ‘before times’ when there was no internet, social media, or “apps”. I can remember when TVs had 3 or 4 channels at most and that was depending on which frequency bands you could get on your rabbit ears. [1]And god help you if you plugged in a VCR and didn’t set the TV to channel 2 or 3. “Streaming music” meant jamming an 8-track tape in a flap that did nothing to keep out years of accumulating dust and listening for the warble of the tape drive kicking in before you turned up the speakers with an actual knob. So yeah, a lot has changed.

Shawn always finds a way to do something incredibly nice or generous for me, so I’m sure it will be lovely. Age comes to us all and most days I’m just grateful I’m still here. If you read w/any regularity you know my younger years were rough and even my initial arrival in SF was a personal struggle. Having come thru it all stronger, albeit w/more scars, I feel good. One of several reasons I started this blog was to help me discover the man I wanted to be. I felt like a blank slate in many ways and needed to find my path in life. I used to think less of myself because I had been convinced I wasn’t a particularly good or moral person. I spent many years doubting I even had a sense of morality or a moral code. Considering the state of affairs today, that irony is not lost on me. Hell, I’m practically a saint by the standards we see in our politics and leaders today. All hail the great and powerful nobody….

As I move into my 51st year, I find myself trying to keep my mind and spirit focused on the things in my life I can control vs letting myself “feel some type of way” about things I have no control over. With age comes wisdom and I’m certainly trying to apply it to myself. I don’t waste a lot of time on regrets, as it just seems pointless. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” never makes one happier. My life has been and is what is because I never gave up on myself. That pretty sums up my thoughts on my birthday. I still miss my beloved Cooper. His anniversary is just 8 days away and it’s already in my thoughts.

Of course, aging in the gay world has its own challenges. And it isn’t really a secret many gay men struggle with the lack of physical attraction as we age. I’m not tucking, jabbing, or cutting anything to pretend I’m 20 years younger than I am. I have no problem w/physical touch-ups but I’m seeing people in their 20’s, 30’s getting botox over the tiniest of lines. I weep for them in their older years. More importantly, I earned these f**king wrinkles! Luckily, I live in an area where the average age is higher so I’m not really ‘struggling‘ much…yet. 😉

I usually giggle when I hear or see folks inferring my age should deter me from activities I enjoy. Frankly, what you think of me is really none of my business. But I won’t lie, I did have to remind myself of that a few times this past year. It is one thing to be realistic, it is quite another to let yourself be pressured into avoiding life’s pursuits because of the selfish projections of others.

Lastly, I took off from work so I get a nice 5-day weekend. We didn’t really plan any trips, courtesy of Omicron [2]that bitch! but just being off is its own reward. Here’s to another year… above ground!

References

References
1 And god help you if you plugged in a VCR and didn’t set the TV to channel 2 or 3.
2 that bitch!