Posts Tagged ‘Background’

An unwanted Visitor

Posted: February 10, 2012 in Advice, AIDS, book, Depression, My History
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I realize that there has been a lack of blogging. Been trying to get my head in a better position. This past week, for the first time in almost seven years, lab work show that the virus as active again.

Of course I realize that one test does not show a trend. What is as frustrating is that my other labs were not good too. All my diet and exercise and now the cholesterol numbers are not as good as they normally are.

These seem like little things but to me it was (and is) a slap in the face. I live life like everything is ok. Like I am I normal. But every so often I get a stark reminder of reality. Yes the drugs have gotten batter and the life expectancy of people infected with HIV and quality of life get better all the time. That does not mean that the virus has stopped trying to kill me. The meds help manage; they do not dispose of the death sentence.

For those who bareback, breed or seed thinking that the meds will save you, they don’t. They only prolong the inevitable. The meds will not protect you. As much of a front as people have about life and death, reality can come along and put a big dent in it.

 

Just saying.

Wayland Flowers

Posted: February 1, 2012 in book, My History
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Wayland Flowers was best known for the puppet act he created with his puppet Madame. His performances as “Wayland Flowers and Madame” were a major national success on stage and on screen in the 1970s and 1980s. Wayland was a ‘blue comic’ and Madame’s opening line – “Wayland is no ventriloquist and I’m no f—ing dummy” – set the tone for the raucous humor to follow. I thought of him the other day when someone sent me a you YouTube of their performance. I met him on the side of US 81 rear Roanoke Virginia in the early 1980’s. He and his friend (I recall he did porn) were next to a van that had broken down on the side of the interstate. I stopped because of the pretty boy in the daisy dukes and then sort of recognized Wayland. After I stopped I saw the famous madam! I ended up giving them a ride (all three) to the bar in Roanoke so they would be there for their performance. To thank me they got me drunk and I ended up crashing with them for the night. The next day I took them back to the van where they were meeting a tow driver. It was a fun night from what I remember. Madame made many jokes at my expense. As I recall, she was a screamer in bed! (And she was not even in the bed with us.) When he died in 1988, the New York Times obituary did not use the word “gay” or “AIDS”. on cancer.
A couple of years later I met Margo. Margo was the manager of Trio’s restaurant near DuPont Circle in Washington DC. It was a regular haunt of the gay community for years in the 70s- today even. Cheep food served with a foul attitude. When I was there it was as if people actually came to see how abusive they could get the waiter to act. Margo herself was an institution. She was the inspiration for Madame. Wayland I was told, had gone to school in DC and frequented Trio. Her hair, always in a bun sat elegantly on her head like a crown. She had that very square jaw with the beauty make. She was also a chain smoker with cigarette holder always in use.
Publicly she hated people recognizing her but it always made her smile. Don’t know why I thought of her. She was a tower of a woman. I wish I had stayed in touch. So often people come into a life for short periods and we let them go. Always assuming that we would meet them again. Sometimes you just got to make the effort to keep it alive. In a computer age I have taken to sending a handwritten note to people out of the blue just to say hi.

In December I wrote about my meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It as a fascinating time. My good friend and co-worker, was the model for “Man in a Polyester Suit.” While trying to find a copy of the picture to post with the blog, I cam across several commentaries on the photo and the model, I laughed so had while reading one by “Mapplethorpe biographer.” I was certain that she made the shit up.  She said; “Robert Mapplethorpe found “god” in a gay bar called Sneakers one drizzly September evening in 1980 after leaving Keller’s [a former S& M bar that was now a gathering place for men interested in biracial sex].

Robert saw Milton Moore pacing up and down West Street, and was instantly transfixed by his beautiful face and forlorn stare. Mapplethorpe invited Moore to his apartment. Upon learning of his ambition to become a model, Mapplethorpe agreed to create a portfolio.”

Let me re-write it to more accurately reflect what happened. Robert met a scrawny ass black dude with a great smile packing serious meat in his skin tight jeans. Milton regular cruised the meat rack in search of bottom boys. Robert saw that Mitlon looked stoned and wanted to know if he had a joint. They went back to Bobbies place and got stoned together and fucked for several hours. Mapplethorpe then asked if he could take some pictures.

Her commentary continues on in very lofty prose analyzing “the genitals … pandering to the notion that blacks existed only as sex objects.” No! He was a size queen and hit a mother load! All that said, I jumped at the opportunity to watch Mapplethorpe do a photo-shoot in DC. I personal feel that most of his best work was black and white. That said his very best was the calla lilies! Although not black and white film, the contrast of the white flower and the black background combined with his eye for lighting are amazing.

My interest in photography started back in high school and I worked part time for the Times Crescent Newspaper, a local weekly paper in southern Maryland. I started as a deliver driver and then work my way in to the photo lab developing (by hand) photos the reporters had taken. I loved the dark room (have ever since). I loved the smell, and the excitement of creating something out of nothing. After the official photos were done I would experiment, overlaying negatives and playing with shadows. To this day I love the look of B&W photos and movies. At times when I frame a picture in my mind I see it and black and white. I guess how different colors are going to look as shades of gray. Just look at some of these photos and notice how converting to black and white actually makes them more striking. In black and white the lines and definition are much more clear.

 

 

 

 

 

I have fumed for years over the treatment the gay community gets from our “leadership.” I do not understand who picks these people except to assume that they are the result of an inbreed system where an organization chooses people to represent the community who look and act like them. We are gay, we are not like them and it is wrong to make that our image of two dumpy queens in Khakis and tacky sweaters. It is even worse to make that the image we present to those who already feel different and are struggling.

When I was growing up the only gays I knew about were Paul Lynde and Liberace. I knew I was different and I knew people like them liked boys, but I was not like them. That left me even more alienated. It is as though the gay movement is trapped in an I Love Lucy episode. Two twin bed and no pda.

The biggest difference between gays and straights is sex. Pure and simple. We are not a doddering couples on nightly walks with our “westies.” It is what makes us different. Instead of celebrating our sexuality and sexual identity, we hide that part away from public view, especially at “Pride” events. I know this because I am guilty of it in the first degree. I always worried about the picture that would make the newspaper, or trying to be family friendly. Now I still think that at a public event that we need to obey the law and respect the neighbors. On the other hand, we cannot celebrate the diversity of the GLBT community at the same time we limit or sanitize our message.

The worst of their offenses, is that they try to say gay relationships are just like straight ones. They’re not! What HRC and other gay rights groups would like to sell the straight public is that gay couples are just like straight married couples. In some cases they are monogamous and have been together forever and raise their kids behind white picket fences. What they don’t want people to see is that many, maybe most gay couples, even those legally married, civilly unionized, or otherwise common-law, are inviting guys over for three-ways or groups, playing around with other guys on the side, or engaged in other activities. Straight people have “swingers clubs” but there are more “non-traditional activities” among gays. It might be because gay men are hornier, but I doubt that. Men are pigs no matter what they are chasing. I think it is because we can be. Also, unlike the republican evangelicals, we are loathed to try to control another persons body. Many have outgrown traditional myths equating sex to love. As they say “sex without love is called exercise.”

Time and again media outlets have refused to show advertising involving gays posed in the exact poses as comparable opposite sex couples. The reasoning is that it makes people feel uncomfortable and parents don’t want to have to explain same sex attraction to their children. I am not inclined to apology that my life makes anyone uncomfortable. The Constitution may give Fred Phelps, Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh and other christians the right to believe and express stupid ideas. It does not however protect them from being offended my friends, my life or me.

The HRC has one objective, the survival of the HRC and personal access to the “A-list” parties. Therefore then need to be “non-confrontational.” They need to be presentable to the mainstream Washington elite. Time and again they try to say we are just like everyone else. We are not. Recently I sat at a table with 10 gay men and couples. One of the men made the same stupide statement. I challenged him. I ask the people at the table if they had met a porn star. All but one indicated that they had. I asked how many at the table had been involved in group-sex. Every one responded in the affirmative. I then ask how may thought a table of ten straight couples in Iowa would give the same answers. Point made. Gay men by and large are not confined to the traditional taboos of a Victorian society. Sex and attraction are part of how we are wired. How most of the last two centuries we have been sexual outlaws able to create and define ourselves. Please don’t make us into repressed caricatures of ourselves. It is an outrage to be marching to the beat of “We’re here – we’re QUEER get use to us” if we are afraid of really embracing the things that make us queer or different. Embrace your queerness! Embrace the communities’ queerness.

I am getting more and more upset by the constant flood of crap that is frothing out of Rick Santorum’s mouth on a regular basis. His ass must be getting jealous of the crap that mouth has seen. The worse comes when he speaks of “Gay Marriage.”

Now people tell me I should not get upset and that he has no chance of winning the nomination. I say BULL! He is giving voice to millions of Americans. Americans who will continue to harass, beat and kill gay men and woman because they are genetically different and they do not understand that difference.

First I have to say that I despise the term “Gay Marriage.” This past year, on our 18th anniversary, Ed and I got married in Washington DC where we first met at a political march. We did not get gay married any more than we had a gay lunch after the wedding and gay parked our gay car (ok it was a Chrysler Sebring but you get the point). We got married in Washington DC pursuant to the laws of the Federal District of Columbia and the rules of the United States Congress. It is Marriage, not gay marriage. We are fighting for Marriage Equality not something new and different.

Second, Santorum’s stump speech says that; “Marriage is not a right.” “It’s a privilege that is given to society by society for a reason…. We want to encourage what is the best for children.” That statement is wrong on so many levels when examined. First, Santorum and I were in law school about the same time. When I was in school, Creighton, a Jesuit Law School, We learned about a case called the Loving Case. (LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)). Many states, including Florida, through the 1960’s had Anti-Miscegenation laws on the books outlawing interracial marriages. The Supreme Court declared that these laws were, “designed to maintain White supremacy”. The Court stated in no uncertain terms,
“Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” I am not sure where Santorum got his information but marriage is not a privilege and equality is not a privilege. It is a basic right.

He and his ilk, the evangelical Christians, talk about the sacredness of marriage. I will point out that government sanctions marriage. There is NOTHING that a government in this country can do, under the Constitution, that is “sacred.” The government issues a license to get married and to have certain benefits and obligations bestowed on two people. The government cannot issue a sacred document. It is at its’ base a contract between two people for mutual support. Marriage has not been between one man and one woman since time immemorial. Not until the very recent times did it morph into that. Before that it was between and man and his property. One man bought a daughter from another. The payment took the form of a dowry. As an attorney, I still deal with divorces of marriages performed in other countries that require the return of goats and such.

The last part of his statement is equally absurd. “We want to encourage what is the best for children.” Does that mean my brother and sister-in-law, married for over 20 years having no children, are not really married. The other possibility is even more absurd and point out why Christians find science to be the enemy. It is highly unlikely that a marriage of two people of the same gender will produce children. When I was in catholic school, in the sixth grade, I learned that it takes and x and y chromosome to produce a child and to get the right combination requires people of two different genders. Maybe they have discovered something new in genetics that I missed. As to the need to protect children, protect them from what? Priests? “Youth counselors?” Michelle Bachman’s husband? I will let Zach Wahls close for me. He is a 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student and Eagle Scout whose parents are lesbians. Wahls gave a three-minute speech Tuesday before Iowa legislators urging them not to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

His words went viral across the Internet and had nearly a half million hits on YouTube in a single day.

This week Rock (or Punk) icon Patti Smith turned 65. Although she spent the past twentyish years in “retirement”, some would say she made a career out of being the last woman Robert Mapplethorpe screwed. The past year has been a banner year for her. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, presented with an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the Pratt Institute and awarded a National Book Award for her memoir, “Just Kids.” Just Kids was her second book published capitalizing on her time with Mapplethorpe. The first was a release of photos of Smith taken by Mapplethorpe.

I have never been a great fan of Smith although I do love the song she penned with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night.” The closest I’ve come to meeting her was when I was a bouncer at the 930 Club in Washington DC and she came into to see a show. We do however share a connection and that is Bobby Mapplethorpe. I met Mapplethorpe several times and in different environments. Two times will forever be etched into my mind. The first was through a friend and former roommate. He was the man in the polyester suit.

We worked together doing catering in Washington DC working both for Glorious Food and Design Cuisine. The first time I stopped by his apartment to pick him up for an event, I saw the print on his living room wall. I commented on it something to the effect that it was an expensive piece on a waiter’s salary. He proudly me told me the story behind it. A really funny side story about this picture is fodder for a post later this week. He spoke about meeting Mapplethorpe (in a rest room) and the shoot. He also invited me to meet Bobby who was in town then doing a shoot. I spent the better part of an afternoon watch him set up a shoots and deal with models and scenes.

The more interesting meeting was the next night when I ran into him at a SM play party in Washington. He did not recognize me at first, mostly because of the blindfold he was wearing. We ended up playing a few times later that week and again in New York. I have several pictures from that period including a picture of Bobby and Sam.

I suppose that I shouldn’t dislike Patti. Maybe I’m just jealous of her relationship with Bobby and with history. I am especially envious of her relationship with those at the center of the Woodstock event. I will say that I toughly enjoyed the book Just Kids. Read it cover to covers in a couple nights. If you get a chance grab it! Also, I am convinced that every person that comes in and out of our life does so with good reason. She help form Bobby who in turned inspired my love and respect for photography. I only regret that I did not become more of a groupie when I had the chance. I missed a great opportunity to learn and be a part of something greater than I could see at the time!


 

As a continuation of yesterdays theme concerning the repression of the body, I thought it would be fun to follow up with a little story about rugby. The vast number of au natural rugby calendars is evidence of the complete comfort level most ruggers have with their body. Most are not classically handsome. Most are average at best. They are however not necessarily proud of their bodies. They  definitely are not concerned with what others think though. They realize that the body is a machine. When you play a game as rough as rugby, with barley a layer of cloth over some parts of your body for protection, the body is bound to become scarred. Like soldiers of old, a rugger is proud of his scars and will take any opportunity to display them.  In many ways rugby is a throw back to the early Greek and Roman way of playing sports. Limited protection and great physicality.

While I work on my year end post please enjoy some rugby from down under.

The nude version of the Kiwi All Blacks rugby team, the Nude Blacks, have had a lot of coverage on the internet for their naked rugby playing, and this is a good video of their Haka. The Haka is a traditional Maori intimidation ritual designed to scare opponents off.

Rugby Le haka des Nude Blacks from Joshua Le on Vimeo.

Happy holidays and sorry for the lack of blogging. Between cleaning and shopping and depression writing has been thin. There are several things about this time of year that make it my least favorite. The first would be my birthday.

My birthday, celebrated last week, has always been a time of angsts for me. When I was young, my friends and family would say that they got me one big present instead of two little ones. They would try to get out of buying me both a Christmas present and birthday present by trying to sell me a load of  bull. I knew, kids know when you are feeding them crap. I knew what they spent on my brothers’ presents and saw what they got him for Christmas. I was getting short changed. Damn it, I was the oldest, I should be getting more, not less!

Then the actual birthday celebrations always seam to fizzle. Our family would go get a Christmas tree on my birthday and that would be part of the tradition. It never failed that there would be some argument about the size or cost or type of tree that killed the “festive” mood. Then there was the year that my father was going to pick me up after school and we were going to Shakey’s for pizza. It was pouring rain and cold so that was a great relief to me. I waited at the school and waited and waited. After about an hour I started walking in the cold rain. My dad finally found me and I crawled into his car. He was soaked too. He had a flat tire and had to change it in the rain. We got back to the house, cold, wet and miserable, only to find my mother emptying the contents of the refrigerator into coolers and moving them downstairs to the garage. The refrigerator had died and the garage was the coldest place to store food until a new one could be delivered.

When we entered the house and shut the door, the vibration caused the top shelf in the living room to fall on to each of the shelves below leaving a huge mess. My brother (who had stayed home sick that day, my birthday, while I had to go to school) dealt with that while my parents handled the kitchen.  After all of that had been dealt with and we started to relax, and got ready for pizza, we realized that the dog was missing. We though that maybe she walked out the garage while the doors were open. My dad and I got in the car to drive around looking for her. My mom found her deep under the stairs with a new litter of puppies. Only one made it. We named him Jinx.

As I got older things did not get much better. In 1980, I spent my birthday being poke and prodded at the National Institute of Health with what I later learned was my sero-conversion of HIV. Other years my birthday usually fell during finals week and such. In the past few years’ things have gotten better though, although the last two years they were spent in the ER with friends. Even if the day itself is pleasant, to me it is the official beginning of the Christmas push.

The Christmas push is the window where presents need to be mailed and final gifts need to be secured. I always worry that I am not going to make the impact I want with a gift. Something special that is remembered. I know I create a lot of the stress myself but I don’t know how to not worry.

Then there is Christmas day itself. When I was younger and then in my “religion” stage it held a magical time. Now it’s just another day. I was talking with a friend last night about Christmas. He is going to spend it at a casino with an ex-girlfriend from 25-30 years ago, his sister-in-law and her sister. Scott, much like myself, enjoys solitude. For some reason however we are both putting together “family  groups” that would not normally be people we want to spend time with, because of some deep seeded need to find a community or place to belong.

Ed is working on Christmas day although we will have Christmas Eve together. He said that on Christmas day, the ER fills with lonely people from the nursing homes who want company and the suicide attempts of the more mobile members of the lonely community.  Why on Christmas do we feel this need to be around friends and family more so than other times? Is there something deep in our soul or have we been so brainwashed by media, movies and Kodak advertising to feel that we are lees than normal if we cannot recreate a Norman Rockwell print. I don’t know. Maybe we always have hat need and the seasonal displays make it harder to mask. Sound good to me.

This past week I posted what I thought would be a cute innocuous blurb about Christmas. It simply said that “December 25: That awkward day when God is reminded that He slept with His own mother to conceive Himself!”

I thought it was cute but by reading some of the responses, you would think that I attacked the Holy Mother Church during the height of the Inquisition. People were responding about the bible saying this and that and others were urging me to stop my attacks on Christians especially at this time of year. I finally responded back by saying that these people had no room to speak of attacks. I feel that it needs a bit more explanation of my spiritual journey.

I was raised Catholic. Elementary school, middle school, graduate school and law school. During my time at the University of Maryland, I got sucked into Campus Crusade for Christ and the now infamous “Family” of “C-Street” fame who tried to “Pray the Gay Away”. From early on I questioned Dogma and theology. I asked the nuns in school how god could die on a cross and if he was really dead who raised him, or the salvation of the Indians in America while Jesus was alive in the Middle East, and other scenarios. After years and years of dogma dumped into my head, and developing a self loathing trying to resolve the “gay-issue” I looked to the evangelical movement. During this time I was never able to stop acting on my gayness. I only knew that one had to win over the other.

While I was living in the “Cornerstone House”, a home managed by “The Family” of  Jim Hiskey, Chuck Colson and The Coe’s (Father and sons), I was involved with Campus Crusade for Crist. After talking to the director, Dan Mosley, his wife told me point blank that she was; ”going to pray that the lord take me before I had a chance to sin again.” Yes she was going to pray for my death. This caused me even more confusion and anxiety since I was having sex with several of the other men at the house involved at Cornerstone and with “The Family”. I knew that something was very wrong with this situation. The Christians I met were either hateful or hypocrites. Often both. After trying several different types of counseling and often having sex with these counselors I made a clean break.

Once outside this environment I realize more and more how it was like a cult. So many people try to rationalize how to square biblical interpretations and religious doctrine with the reality of their life. I went a different rout. I question the bases of the foundation or their arguments. I looked at the validity of the “New Testament” as the word of god. I saw that the story of god coming to earth, having a son with a mortal woman who was to save the world, has played out time and again. It is the story of Zeus and Hercules. It is the story of Isis and Ra. It could also be the story of Odin and Thor. It is a story that repeats through history. The names change but the themes remain the same. It is in a writing that is done decades or even centuries after events in a time with no hard records. In short, it is a belief system base ancient myths that are reworded and refitted for a different time and period. These are nothing more than stories parents used to frighten their children and that the rich embrace to enslave the poor and keep them under control. Even the bible itself says men are but sheep being lead to the slaughter.

One of my favorite lines recently is that if the US got rid of all atheists, it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences but less than 1% of the prison population. I could live with that. I would like to live someplace sane! As we get more into the Christmas season the evangelicals complain about this fictions war on Christmas is destroying the holiday. That somehow stopping government from sapling nativity sets on public land is a slap at Christmas. Or using Happy Holidays is destroying the institution. I would simply say that before they worry about keeping Christ in Xmas, they should try putting him in their religion first.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

That was never more evident that during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. Instead of helping the sick and dying, the Christians were advocating a roundup and death camps for people with AIDS. Instead of caring for the sick, the Catholic Church in Washington DC ordered an AIDS support group in their parish to cease and desist using the church basement for meeting. Jerry Farwell declared AIDS “God’s wrath on homosexuals. Christians used AIDS to justify hatred and fear of gays instead of caring for the sick and dying. Indeed and thought and action, the Christians were very un-christ like. It was not until the early 1990’s, some 45,000 deaths later, that the mainstream churches began actually helping instead of demonizing. That is unforgivable.

I have no need for a life based on mythos and I have no room in my heart for forgiveness. That is my position on Christians.

This past week I have been skiing for the first time ever.  Another item off the bucket list! One of the more interesting events of the week had nothing to do with skiing but was a friend request on Facebook. The request came from a law school classmate who I have not spoken with in over twenty years. I have not written much about law school except for my reasons for applying. One reason for why I ignored those three years is that they were hellish.

Creighton Law School - 1987-1990

They were not hellish in the “always studying, never playing, never socializing way”. I could live with that. They were hellish in the “having a horrible relationship while doing experimental drug protocols and living in a backwater hell hole called Omaha while going to a conservative Jesuit law School and trying to keep it all hidden from public view while living with a selfish stoner of a boyfriend” kind of way.

What made the friend request interesting was that it was from a classmate whom I had little interaction with, but carried a schoolboy crush for. Attached to the Facebook request he indicated that although he married out of school he and his wife had split and he had “come out”. He explained what triggered his search for me was reading a book that mentioned the Bowers v Hardwick decision (A case involving criminalization of homosexual activity). He remembered an incident in Constitutional law class when Professor Shugrue, after deriding the legitimacy of gay relationships, asked for my reaction.

To understand Professor Shugrue think Hobbit meets The Paper Chase. He thought of himself as a modern day Charles Kingsfield but looked like a hobbit with a skin condition. The first day of classes we were to be ready to discuss the classic case of Marbury v. Madison. True to the Socratic method of teaching, Shugrue called on me to analyze the case. I cannot remember what I said exactly but I’m sure it was insightful and elegant. I did however say Marshall instead of Justice Marshall. Shugrue jumped all over that omission saying, “Although you may be on a first name basis with the Justices, in the class we will refer to them as Justice Marshall or Chief Justice Marshall. I found out that Shugrue was on the admission committee and was privy to my application and personal reference letters. Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Byron White and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) wrote the personal reference letters. I had worked for all three in one capacity or another. Apparently I intimidated the good professor and he was going to try to put me in my place. We spent the next hour in a spirited discussion and in the end I had established myself as one who could not be intimidated and come hell or high water I was going to piss high than him!

Moving forward a couple months the discussion was about the Bowers/Hardwick decision concerning sodomy. Shugrue took the position that sodomy was not natural and should not be given protection and other conservative-babble not related to the law. I realize that this probably not his true position on the matter since he did not include any legal arguments in his discussion, but at 8 AM on a Monday morning, after a weekend of partying and fighting with Steven, I was in no mood. I raised my hand and went into a full throttle defense of gays, gay life styles, bath houses, leather and SM and relationships finally closing by saying that my other half and I had been together 6 years at that point (five and a half to many) but that we were more long term than most of my fraternity brothers from undergrad. Many of who were already on their second marriage. I kicked open the closet door and came flying out like the Tasmanian Devil. There appeared to be a stunned silence in the lecture hall. I think many expected me to go storming out of the room but I stood defiant, arrogant and emotionally drained.  After a bit the discussion continued. Shugrue moved on to another student and I sat. I soon saw the fallout. Many of my classmates who played racquetball with me or studied with me now avoided me. Small-minded America had reared it ugly face. I did however find a circle of friends. They included the few progressives in the school, and surprisingly, a couple of Mormon students who were incredibly nonjudgmental.

The isolation was actually a godsend in that I did not feel the need to integrate myself into the typical student social scene. Although the gay scene in Omaha was abysmal, I made due with it and the bookstores across the river in Council Bluffs IA. I also had the Iowa caucuses to keep me busy. I helped organize for Senator Paul Simon of IL, the bow tie guy, and did advance for him in Iowa.  A picture from one of my events was featured in Time Magazine. I had a great eye for photo ops. It was my second political campaign in Iowa. The first one being the Harkin Senate race in 1984.  Although I was out of the closet as a gay student, I still hid my medical secret close to my vest. If anyone at the school found out that I had AIDS I probably would have been separated from the rest of the students. I continued my bi-weekly visits to NIH for lab work and follow-up while testing new drugs. I was emotionally and physically a wreck. I stayed in a relationship with Steven because I thought it better to die in a miserable relationship than to die alone. It did not dawn on me that the relationship was doing more to kill me. We finally parted ways a couple months after graduation.

I’m sure there were some good times in law school. But right now I can’t really think of any. Well except my first jailhouse sex. But that’s a story for another day.