Record of the Day: Francis and the Lights: Farewell, Starlite! (“My City is Gone” is my favorite song on this album, but fuck this record is incredible)
It is easy to be afraid. It is easy to allow what is happening around us, the fear and panic, the lines at grocery stores, the mixed messages handed down from our President, to overwhelm us.
I woke up today and looked at the NYTimes and instantly started to panic. Sunday night, the bar I work at in LA, the Eagle, shut down, along with all the bars in Los Angeles. My household all works in gay bars and in queer nightlife. This is going to affect us.
This is going to affect all of us. In ways none of us can understand.
Not just the virus itself, but how we handle the virus. Currently, watching the Trump Administration, it doesn’t feel like we are handling it well. It feels like we are racing toward more panic and fear.
I am a 51-year-old HIV Positive gay man. I remember clearly the AIDS pandemic that decimated our community in the 80’s and 90’s, which still continues today with close to 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS world-wide and almost 800,000 people still dying yearly. I remember the fear and the loss and the horrific mishandling of the situation by the Reagan Administration.
I also remember falling in love. I remember making out with cute boys on dance floors. I remember my community and the way, in spite of all the death and fear and abandonment by our families and government, that we took care of each other.
We are still that community. We are strong. I have so much faith in us. Who I am as a man, as an artists and a writer, who I am as a human being, is intrinsically linked to my queerness. To my community.
With the gay bars and queer spaces being closed down across the country, I am looking for ways to connect. To stay together even as we are told to be social distancing.
Isolation will not save us. I believe we are stronger together.
I am thinking of ways to maintain that balance: safety and community.
I’ve been thinking about online queer book groups, bike rides through the empty streets (you can keep a safe distance but still be together), walks and hikes.
Are there ways to volunteer in this time? Things that will get us out and together but still maintaining personal safety?
I live in a house with two other gay mean. My boyfriend lives just blocks away. This morning, one of my roommates, Matias, was in our front yard lifting DIY weights Alex made from bricks, plastic bags and towels. We are jumping rope and doing yoga. My coworkers and I from the Eagle have a group chat where we check in on each other and share information. Last night we made a family chicken soup dinner and watched horror movies. I Facetime with friends around the world.
I am finding ways to reach out, to be together, I am finding ways to survive this new life.
And I am writing. Because that is how I ascribe meaning to the world. And right now we need meaning.
I’d love to hear the ways you are finding meaning and community in the world right now. Feel free to comment and message and let us all know that we are still here. Together.
Look for my daily instalments of Life in the Apocalypse. Without you there is no meaning. I’m counting on us.