Trump, Kavanaugh, Fascism, and Why Voting is the Most Important Thing Queer People Can Do

Discerning Daddy

When I read that Brett Kavanaugh had in fact been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court I felt a sudden sense of existential fear. I was surprised how genuinely terrified and sad I was. I was sad because it felt like my home, my country, was no longer recognizable to me.
I have faith in what it means to be an American, regardless of the shit people say about us: it’s not like their governments are actually any better, or they are in any way more liberal: just travel and you will eventually come across the same hateful xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and racism. It permeates much of our world. It always has. It’s nothing new.
But now it is in our faces. We can’t hide from it. And that makes each and every one of us culpable.
I was in Munich, Germany, the day Kavanaugh was confirmed. Noah and I had decided to spend the weekend at his child-hood friend’s place, exploring a City we had never been to before. I felt incredibly far away from home as I read the words. Cut off from hope.
I considered not going back. I considered what it would mean to live my life fully as an ex-pat.
I had strange nightmares. I would wake up furious at my fellow Americans who seemed to be willingly marching like sheep into oblivion, sacrificing the ideals we are supposed to stand for…for what? A form of totalitarianism? Guns? Abortion? I was furious at my fellow Californians who are so secure in their liberal bubble that they probably won’t even vote.
And I realized: there’s no running away from this. There is nowhere to hide. The only thing I can do is speak up. To write about it. Not just about Kavanaugh or Politics but about everything being queer is. About sex and love and about hope. About being HIV Positive. To never back down from who I am. That’s where I can fight back.
Because I’m really scared.
And while writing about it and marching and talking about it is important, voting is where our real power is. Even in liberal states like California, and liberal Cities like LA, where it can feel like our vote doesn’t matter, it does matter. Because it is a voice: a way of saying to the Supreme Court, to Congress: We are the people, and this is our will. This is what we want. Even if it won’t directly impact the elections, voting is a way of being heard.
And we should be screaming as loudly as we can with every tool we have.
Organizations like the NRA have more power than the average person because we give them more power. We continually give up our voice and our power.
Maybe culpable is the wrong word. It implies a kind of partnership. Maybe the truth is, that those of us who don’t vote, those of us who don’t speak out, those of us who spend our lives in the bubble ignoring what is going on are actually fully responsible for the mess we are in.
The longer we stay silent the easier it will be for them to take away whatever remaining power we have left.
I believe that voting should be a requirement under law. I believe that our government should be run by a straight democracy: one person one vote, without all the middle stages that negate our votes. But I also believe in open borders and stronger international governing bodies.
It would be easy for me to run. To just move. Leave the USA behind and live somewhere else. I have freedom to do that.
But I still have faith. I have hope that in November those of us who can vote will. And even if we don’t “win” we will at least have used our voice: we will have made our will known.
We are a country of 325.7 million people. We are a vast continent with many different cultures and societies. We are one of the most racially diverse nations in the world. We will not all agree. That is part of living in a civil democracy. We don’t have to agree.
But we all deserve the right to be heard. Republicans and the Trump Administration want to take that right away from us. They want to silence us. Make it harder for us to Vote. Why? Because that is the one power we actually have over them: they work for us. They are beholden to us. They are in power because of us. And they can lose their power if we choose to take it from them.
So vote. Call your representatives. It’s just a few minutes. Get out there and make your voice heard.
Because if we don’t, then whatever comes is our responsibility. No one else’s. 100%.
Sorry I didn’t talk about butt fucking and dick sucking in this piece. If you want to read about my wild and sex adventures check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon!

Strange Beasts: A Novel in Pieces. Part One.

Discerning Daddy, Strange Beasts

Caleb closes his eyes….he is falling deeper into the darkness, wrapped in it… 

            …I smell you…he thinks…and I taste you…I hear your voice when I speak…I wake in the middle of the night to you kissing me only you aren’t there.  Not anymore. And you will never be here again…

Caleb agreed to meet the man at his shop in Friedrichshain to suck his dick.  The plan, as laid out to him on Grindr, went like this,

“Meet at my shop on Wülisch Strasse and Gabriel Max Strasse.  If there are customers you will have to wait a minute. Then you will follow me to the storage room to swallow my load and then leave.”

It was a simple and elegant plan, erasing anything about Caleb beyond the status of cock sucker.  This was the attraction for Caleb.  The wiping away of who he who was, of his past, of his future, grounding him in the present moment where the only thing he was was the receptacle for this stranger’s pleasure.

He has always found a beauty in sucking a stranger’s dick…in being fucked and used.  A meaning to life that wasn’t always available under other circumstances.  He is aware of how this sounds, which is why he would never speak it out loud, never tell his friends, never admit that some days the only way he can breathe, the only way he can survive, is to be fucked into oblivion.

You can get lost out there if you aren’t careful, Michael had said to him. They were sitting on the edge of a canal in Amsterdam.  It was late at night.  A chilly Autumn rain falling.  They were drinking Vodka, drunk and stupid and happy.  The world is full of empty spaces…I have spent years lost, wandering through life with no idea of who I was, no idea of what anything meant.

“And now?”Caleb asked him.  “What about now?”

“Now it is like drowning in light, drowning in love. Drowning in you.”

Michael had killed himself exactly seven months ago.  To the day.  If ODing on heroin and fentanyl counted as killing oneself.

They had been living in London at the time, two expats from LA on a grand adventure together.

Caleb pulled up google maps on his phone.  He knew the general idea of where the man’s shop was, but he wasn’t good at remembering the names of streets.  He had been living in Berlin for 2 weeks.  If living is hiding…Michael’s voice sings in his head…If living is hiding than I am most certainly living my best life!  They had both laughed at that, standing on a beach in Portugal, watching a group of teenage boys surf against blue skies and golden sun.

“Outrageous!” Caleb had screamed.  “You are fucking outrageous!”  They were high on hash and tobacco and Michael leaned over and licked Caleb’s forehead, tasting salty sweat, and kissed it back to Caleb.

“I love you,” Michael said and Caleb went quiet, watching for a moment as one of the surfers seemed rise breathlessly into the air, hovering on invisible wings, only to crash back down under the relentless pounding of the waves, soaring back to land, laughing…ecstatic…

“It’s like a demon,” Michael said, talking about heroin.  “It’s like a demon takes over and I am no longer me.  I’m this other thing.  Possessed.

Caleb has a fear of possession.  Of demons. He has a fear of losing control.

“Say you love me,” Michael said.  “Say the words.”

Sunlight blinding him, he caught hold of Michael, caught sight of him and he said, “I loved you the moment I thought of you.”

September in Berlin was sumptuous, tempestuous, it was dark and moody and warm and sunny, lonely and hopeful: you could feel the world ending in September, the darkness that was coming.

Caleb had moved here for the darkness.  Like a blanket.  A way of forgetting.  Not Michael…I will never forget you…a way of forgetting everything that wasn’t Michael.

Caleb didn’t know how to talk about Michael.  About Michael dying.  He didn’t know what people wanted him to say.  Or maybe he did.  They just didn’t want to hear the truth: that the pain doesn’t go away.  It sits there…the loss…the sense of being empty in the core of who he was…the place where Michael had lived…gone.

Strangers never asked him if he was okay.  They never brought Michael up because they didn’t know there was a Michael. Strangers never said, “I’m so sorry. How has it been…without…how has it been since…Michael?”

He wanted to scream, to hit them, to tell them there was never a moment that was without Michael.  That maybe Michael existed more now that he was dead than he ever could have alive.

Some things you only truly understand in their absence…

Caleb still sung songs for Michael.  He still danced for Michael.  He still told Michael long stories as he fell asleep.

“I love you baby,” he would whisper, waking up.  “I miss you so much today, baby head.”

Michael would understand this walking through Friedrichshain toward a stranger’s store where he would suck dick in a storage room…to feel alive…Michael…to remember what it means…Michael never made him feel wrong.  No matter what he did, no matter what happened, Caleb could tell Michael.

“Filthy monsters,” Michael would say.  “We are such dirty, filthy monsters.”

Caleb pauses outside the store.  It is a small exotic plant shop, filled with beautiful works of art, incense and a soft, atmospheric ballad playing over hidden speakers…sad…the song is sad…and yet there is an undercurrent of piano hidden beneath aurally vacant electronic sounds…like looking into the blackness of the night sky before seeing the splendor of the moon…all that beautiful light hidden in the deep…

And Caleb steps inside.  The man behind the counter looks like his pictures on Grindr.  Fit, bearded, darkly handsome: an Italian from Rome now living in Berlin.  Maybe a little older than Caleb had thought…closer to 36 than 30, but still sexy.  Still dick sucking worthy.

The man nods and Caleb follows him to the back of the store.  There is a tiled fountain, the sound of water running over stone and a buddha spray painted dark purple and blue and a shining gold…

Berlin is not what he thought it would be.  It is more.  More beautiful and more ugly, wilder than he had imagined, and yet there are pockets of quiet, of tree lined streets, where children played, mothers’ spoke in Arabic, men laughed, tattooed hipsters sitting on benches drinking beer.

It is a City of dark purple buddhas shimmering gold.

The storage room was filled with empty pots and dying plants, painted statues and neon-light structures that flickered off and on, as if sending messages from some far-off land…brief signs of brightly lit colors telling us that it was all ok. Everything would eventually be ok.

The man put his hands on Caleb’s shoulders, pushing him to the ground.

Caleb thought about saying, I came here because Michael died and I miss him.

Don’t say that!  Michael’s laughing voice in his head.  Nothing kills a dude’s boner like a dead boyfriend.

Of course Michael was right.  It almost made Caleb laugh.  He pictured Michael in whatever strange heaven might exist for people like them, looking down on this moment, and he knew how happy it would make Michael.  I love you best when you are being truly you…I love you most when you don’t deny who you are…

Caleb pushed the foreskin back, smelling the dick: sweaty, slightly musky, it made his heart beat a little quicker.  He licked the head, feeling it grow hard in his mouth, his hand cupping the balls and tickling them gently…he had learned to never pull or twist a guy’s balls unless they asked him to.  It was always better to go gentle at first.

The man exhaled, his hands on the back of Caleb’s head, guiding him.  Caleb ran his hands up the man’s calves…muscular and thick…over his ass, and along the small of his back, taking his cock all the way in, breathing around it, his tongue licking: focusing on providing as much pleasure as he could.  Focusing everything he was into this moment: grounded.

It didn’t take long for the man to cum, shooting into Caleb’s mouth: Caleb pulled back, letting some shoot into his beard, onto his shirt.  The man, looking down at Caleb, laughed.  It was friendly, nice: it made Caleb smile.

Caleb stood up.  The man moved in, and kissed him, licking at his beard, and then he hugged Caleb.  It was startling in its intimacy.  Caleb wanted to crawl into that hug, he wanted to disappear into those arms.

After a moment the man pulled back.

“I have to work.  I hear people –”

“Of course –”

“But you should come back.  If you want. I will be full again in an hour.  You can have as much as you want.”  He smiled.  It was handsome: bright, full of sunlight, and Caleb couldn’t help but think, based on that smile, that this was a lucky man.  “Or maybe we can meet.  If you –”

“Caleb.  That’s my name.  I’m Caleb.”

The man smiled, his eyes shining, “Mateo,” he ran his hand through black curly hair. Caleb noticed dark hairs on his knuckles, his forehead protruding slightly, lips red: decadent…that is how Michael would have described them.  Decadent red lips.  Pale white skin.

“I’m gonna go,” Caleb said, and for a moment they both laughed.  “But let’s do this again.  Soon.”

Outside, the sun shone faded through the clouds.  Yellow leaves swirled in the breeze.  He passed a line of people waiting to buy ice cream.

And I am still alive,he thinks.

He walks slowly home, through this City, and it begins to rain.

 

Please check out my novel, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon.

           

Thank you to Marc Martin for an amazing Photo!

CANNIBALISM, GHOSTS AND JERKING OFF: AN INSPIRATIONAL, LIFE AFFIRMING STORY

Accidental Warlocks, Discerning Daddy

I am sitting on a Norwegian Dreamliner plane, flying from LA to Berlin, to spend the next 16 days, with my boyfriend, Noah. I was watching movies. I will confess: I actually cried watching Geo-Storm. Don’t judge me. I’m in an emo-feeling kinda feeling lucky mood.

When I was in third grade my teacher, Mrs. Darlene Sacco, gave me a tape recorder. Because I told stories. That was her very kind way of saying I made up elaborate lies.

In second grade I told my whole class, teachers, and school guidance counselor ,that my parents had died in a fire and I was left alone to care of my 6 brothers and sisters. I think I was 8 when I told this story. At the time I only had one brother. My parents were, and still are, alive.

Instead of just calling my parents the school sent child services.

It was an embarrassing moment, but I remember my mother, almost proud, saying, “Well, lying is bad, but boy, you must have lied good. You’re a real story teller.”

My father said, “If you’re going to be a liar you might as well write them down and get paid for them.”

But it wasn’t until Mrs. Sacco gave me that tape recorder that I actually felt like a real writer. I would walk around school, or during lunch, with that tape recorder, recording all my ideas and thoughts and then I would write them down.

My favorite stories involved turning my mom and her two best friends, Sue and Vi, into Charlie’s Angels. They solved all kinds of mysteries. Mostly about witches and vampires, and mafia-zombies. In some of them my mother was a hybrid of a much cooler Samantha from Bewtiched and Farah Fawcett (It wasn’t till I got older that I really learned to appreciate Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.

I basically dropped out of school in sixth grade. I just stopped going. I would just walk out and go home and sit in my room and write long and fantastic stories. I wasn’t really a happy kid. And I was a pretty miserable teenager. Life never seemed big enough to me. The world was devoid of color. But writing, stories, those worlds in my head, felt endless and beautiful, full of hope and meaning.

I come from a long line of story tellers (liars?). I once listened to my mother tell my grandmother, her mother, Sadie, about how at the local grocery store they were decapitating customers and selling their body parts to witches. It was a strange and frightening story, told late at night, at the Heart of LaGrange Hotel, which Sadie owned. The three of us had been doing the Quija Board most of the night, and my mother and Sadie had been arguing about witches. And evil. And the meaning of good.

I was ten, I think. It was hot out. All the windows were open. A breeze blew the humid night air, full and sweet, around the room.

My mother insisted that the local grocery store was selling headless bodies to witches.

“Well, Beverly,” Sadie began, her voice thick like honey, her eyes furious, her hands wrapped tight around her Jim Beam on the rocks. “What the hell are they doing with the heads?”

“Eating them,” my mother said. “They are eating the goddamned heads.”

And she stormed out, leaving me with my drunk and furious grandmother.

I remember Sadie looking at me, and then she began to laugh. She laughed long and hard.

“God, your mother is the best story teller I’ve ever known. Eating the goddamned heads. Well, shit, what else would they be doing with them?”

Sadie used to tell my brother, Damon and I, that my uncle Bruce was a shape shifter, and she belonged to a coven, and that my mother slept with demons and leprechauns. She told me how late at night, as a young woman, my mother would stand outside, alone in the moonlight, conjuring spells and demons and sending them to do her bidding.

I come from a long line of story tellers.

Though, to be honest, a part of me still believes Bruce is a shape shifter, and Sadie was a witch, and my mother, I’m absolutely certain she has consorted with a few demons, and probably some angels too. She’s that kind of woman. Full of southern charm.

For most of my adult life I have been a drug addict. Heroin was my drug of choice. When I was high on heroin the world felt suddenly beautiful, the kind of world my little boy self would have loved to live in. Full of magic and wonder. Full of a quiet, beautiful, loneliness.

Seven years ago, at 43 years old, I found myself broke, jobless and homeless, I did the only thing left to do: I got sober.

I bought a bike and road it all over Los Angeles. I used to go on long rides late at night from Silverlake, through Hollywood, all the way to the beach. I would stand at the water and scream at whatever gods were out there in all that darkness. I was full of fury and fear. I was lost.

And then I began to tell stories again. I started on Facebook. I would tell stories of my mother and of Sadie, of boys I had loved.

And people actually read them. They messaged me, thanking me for being so honest (which is a strange thing for a man like me to hear, someone who rarely knows when he is being honest and when he is lying).

When Vice agreed to publish a story about my three-way relationship with my husband Alex, and our boyfriend Jon, I couldn’t believe it. Why would anyone care about what I had to say?

All I was doing was just telling my experience. I was trying to make meaning out of my life. I was trying to find the beauty and the magic I had always felt lacking.

And then I decided to take those stories and turn them into a book, Accidental Warlocks. It took me almost two years to write that book. For much of that time I was broke. I was going to AA meetings. And I was riding my bike.

When Lethe Press said they wanted to publish my book I started to scream with excitement. I couldn’t believe it. Someone else was going to publish my fucking book!

I went into the bedroom, where Jon (I’m not going to go into the whole story of Jon and Alex and I…you can find tons of stories about my poly-triad marriage all over my blog or just follow the link) was, sleeping (Alex was away working on a TV show at the time). I was sobbing. He woke up, and I think at first he was scared,

“What’s wrong, baby?” he asked me.

“They are going to publish my book,” I said, and he was out of bed, wrapping his arms around me, holding me.

Jon died before Accidental Warlocks was published. He read every chapter I wrote, every word. I made him sit up for hours as I talked to him about ideas I had, making him tell me what he thought about what I had written that day.

There were nights when I woke him up at three in the morning to make him listen to pages. He never complained. He never told me no. He just said, “Baby, I love it. It’s so beautiful. I know it’s going be amazing.”

Here’s the thing: all I ever wanted was to be a writer. Nothing else in the whole world. I honestly believe there is nothing else I’m any good at. It was either be a writer or fail.

And I haven’t gotten rich. And I’m scared all the time. And sometimes I’m stunned by the fact that Jon died never seeing this book come to life. And maybe there is a part of me that doesn’t really believe that. I come from witches and shape shifters, my mother has fucked demons and angels into doing her bidding: I have a long history of talking to the spirits. So, I know, Jon is with me all the time. Just out of sight, helping me, laughing with me and loving me and so fucking excited by this amazing and beautiful life I get to live.

I am on a plane from LA to Berlin. To see Noah, my gorgeous German boyfriend. I will sit in cafes in Kreuzberg and write. I will go for walks along the canal and through the City. I will tell Jon stories, sometimes forgetting not to talk out loud because people start to look at me funny: the crazy guy talking to his dead boyfriend.

What’s the point of all this? Simple: I am a liar. I am a drug addict. I am an HIV Positive queer man in his 50’s. My best friend and lover died 8 months ago: but he loved me. He believed in me. And he taught me I can be and do anything I want, and you know what? He is right.

And for those of you who are wondering what happened to Alex and I: while we are no longer “husbands”, Alex is my brother. My best friend. If being in a poly triad taught me anything: it’s the value of holding on to the people you love. No matter what. Even when the nature of that love changes.

Jon once told me that the three of us were destined to be together. That we had been traveling through multiple lives together. That we were old souls on a long journey together.

And I think I now know what he means. I think I believe him.

There are a lot of people I think I have been journeying through time with. After losing Jon this idea appeared before me as the only thing that really made any sense about life.

Life has been this strange and violently beautiful experience. More beautiful than anything my little-boy -elf or my high-as-fuck-on-dope-self could have believed.

I know this is a rambling piece, tying together lots of pieces that maybe don’t always add up, but there is a point here, something I want to say:

When you are feeling scared, or when you feel lost, or that maybe you chose the wrong path and you don’t know how to find your way back, remember: it’s ok. If I can do this you can do anything the fuck you want. I swear to God. If there is one thing I know it’s that.

It might not be easy. And life will still be life, there’s no changing that. And people we love will die, and we will get older, but, and I wish I could scream this as loud as possible all over the fucking world: it’s better to fail at something you loved than succeed at something you hated. Those are words my mother told me, and they changed my life.

Cus look at me: I’m on this fucking plane. Writing this blog. And some of you will read it and it will mean something to you. Some of you might even think: Fuck, if he did it I can.

And it’s true. I swear to god. I am screaming it so loud right now.

This is my cheesy, inspirational post. Because I’m feeling fucking mind blowingly lucky.

I would love it if you went to Amazon and bought my book. Because, yes, I want to get paid (getting paid is an admirable thing, I’m trying to remind myself that every time I pitch this book out into the void), but I also really want to hear what you think.

Because I don’t get to wake Jon up late at night anymore. So, it’s you guys I turn to now.

And while I didn’t talk about sex, just know, after this Ima go to the bathroom and jerk off. I’ll probably do it twice. Cus I’m on a fucking plane to Berlin!!!!!

Hey, Noah, I hope you’re ready for me! Ima be rubbing my stink all over you! Noah really is the fucking sexiest, cutest, sweetest guy in the world. I’m really sorry I’m so stinky! But I think he might kinda like it!

TAKING PrEP DOESN’T’ MAKE YOU A SLUT…TAKING PrEP MAKES YOU A HERO

Discerning Daddy

I recently received an email regarding my blog entry, The Beauty of Being a Slut. The guy wrote, “People like you should be ashamed. This is why no one takes gay people seriously. Instead we are nothing but whores who show our asses on Instagram and give everyone AIDS and herpes. It’s people like you that make gay men think taking PrEP and having unsafe sex is ok. You should be ashamed, you worthless piece of shit.”

I try to take all the comments I get seriously.

So let me fucking get to addressing this one.

First, what is PrEP: PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is the use of drugs that can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout the body. Meaning, that people who take PrEP are effectively protecting themselves from HIV while also preventing the spread of HIV.

So this should be a no-brainer, right? PrEP protects people who are negative from getting HIV and is one of the ways we can stop the spread of the virus. So PrEP is good, right?

Well, like all things dealing with sexuality, and queer sexuality in general, it’s more complicated than that.

I think the root of that complication is simple: we are ashamed. We are ashamed of our bodies, we are ashamed of our sexuality, we are ashamed of our queer identities. We have, on some level, bought into the lie that has been taught to us our whole lives: that there is something inherently tainted about us, as queer people, something not right: that we are somehow flawed.

If you question the validity of this statement, let me give you some facts: according to the recent Human Right’s Campaign’s “Growing up LGBT in America Survey” four out of ten LGBTQ youth say that they are living in communities that are not accepting of LGBTQ lifestyles, and 92% of those LGBTQ youth surveyed responded that they have heard negative messages about LGBTQ people, at home, at school and in their communities.

The Trevor Project, which is committed to ending suicide among LGBTQ youth, reported that LGBTQ youth are five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.

Our whole lives we have heard this message, that who we are at our core is somehow wrong, not worthy. It is debated by our politicians, by our religious leaders, by our parents and our schools: we are continuously told that who we love, and how we fuck, that who we are as humans, is not deserving.

But before we can take on how “They” talk about us, we have to begin to tackle how we talk about Ourselves, about each other, and about our community.

There has been a smear campaign against PrEP since day one. Some leaders in our own community have insinuated that PrEP is a party drug leading to hedonism and sexual debauchery. That PrEP is to blame for rises in syphilis and gonorrhea, that it promotes promiscuity and will be the downfall of respectable gay culture.

The Politics of Shame.

But let’s get real: human beings fuck around. And they suck at wearing condoms. This has been true since the beginning of time. And if there is a pill out there that can help protect us from at least one of the more life threatening STI’s than I think that’s something we should be celebrating and educating everyone on.

Most of us, queer, straight, where ever you lie on the sexual spectrum, are going to find ourselves at times acting a little promiscuous, or not making the best choices in regard to our safety. Instead of judging each other, or ourselves, why not arm ourselves with all the tools available to maintain our health?

I don’t care who you fuck, or how many people you fuck, I just care that you are healthy. So again, PrEP would seem like a no-brainer, right?

I think it’s time we start getting honest. If you are taking PrEP, whether it’s because you are in a relationship with someone who is positive, or because you just want the extra added protection, or because you want to go out and take all the loads or fuck all the asses: you’re a fucking hero. You are part of the solution.

I’m done with the rhetoric of shame. With being quiet, or the polite and good faggot, with being the sexless TV counterpart, or the campy and over the top best friend. I am done with playing into their stereotypes and being told how to behave and what is acceptable.

And I am done being told by members of my own community that the only way to legitimacy is by appropriating hetero-normative values.

Fuck that. I like being gay. I like the freedom, the outrageousness, the sex and the wonder and the amazement. I am constantly in awe of how strong we are: at how we have found a way to survive and thrive, at how we have fought and struggled for basic human rights and still maintained our dignity and our beauty in a world that is determined to tell us we are sick.

The fact that we even have to prove our worthiness is offensive to me. The fact that we have to demand that we be treated as equal, or that we be allowed to live our lives how we want is ridiculous.

So I say fuck it. Go out and be you. Be the loudest, queerest you there is. Wear it on your sleeve. Proclaim it to the world. And fuck anyone who tells you you aren’t deserving.

And for all your guys taking PrEP, thank you. You are heroes in our community. And if anyone tells you different, or implies that your morals are somehow not intact, take it as a compliment.

Who wants their fucking morality anyway?

And for the guy who called me a worthless piece of shit: I’m not here to make you happy. And I’m not here to show straight people how polite and legitimate queer people are. I’m here to say, as loud as I can, that we get to be whoever the fuck we want to be, and how we live our lives is nobody’s fucking business. I am a 50-year-old man, and I am way beyond apologizing for who I am. The only responsibility I have is to be good to those I love, and to treat my family and friends and sex partners with respect and kindness, and to try to live in the world in a healthy and whole way, and to be as loving as I can be to anyone who comes into my life: and to remember, that they get to live their lives how they want as well.

Imagine this world if we stopped condemning each other and judging each other and hating each other and just tried to let each other be.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I just think, life is really hard, but how much easier it would be if we all supported each other and took care of each other: if we kept each other safe?

And hey, you can now go check out my new book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon! Your support would be amazing!

Why Talking About Racism Matters

Discerning Daddy

We live in a world that wants to divide us. We have a government that tells us who we love and fuck, our faith, our race, our masculinity or femininity, our gender, are all wrong. They tell us everything about us is wrong.

Recently, I was out with some friends, and this guy Robert was trying to explain why not being “attracted to black guys” didn’t make him a racist.

“You can’t make yourself be attracted to something you aren’t attracted to. That’s not how it works.” He insisted.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist or a psychologist so I have no idea if what Robert is saying is factually true, but in my experience our tastes and preferences can change and grow through being open and by exposure. And I’m pretty sure that includes sexual attraction.

Maybe Robert isn’t a racist. But maybe his parents were. Or the society that raised him was. And those factors influenced what he finds attractive.

“What if you met that perfect guy,” I asked Robert. “He has everything you’ve ever wanted in a guy. This guy is the guy you could love for ever. Only one thing: he’s black?”

“Then we’d make great friends,” Robert laughed. “I just can’t see myself with a black guy. And to be honest, as terrible as this sounds, I don’t think I could bring a black boyfriend home to meet my family.”

“Why can’t we have one night to ourselves? A night for masculine men without all these twinks and drag queens and fem-boys walking around here with their purses and perfume ruining the vibe for guys like us. Whatever happened to men acting and smelling like men?” I heard another guy saying recently. It was at a leather bar in New York City.

His friends all began complaining about the “assault on masculinity” in the gay community.

Another recent story I heard is about a trans guy being denied entry to a popular monthly party in LA that celebrates masculinity and “Daddies” because their ID still said “Female”.

We’ve all heard stories like these, or joined in these kinds of conversations, and we all have opinions: opinions that are valid. I think having these conversations is essential. The more we talk about race and gender, the more we discuss our faith and our ideas about masculinity and femininity, the more open we are with each other than the more tolerant we will become.

But first, we have to start getting honest about the fact that there is a discrepancy in how we are treated in our community. That I, as a white cis-man am treated very differently than those who don’t share my privilege. And maybe that means that I have an obligation to allow those who have spent years being discriminated against, beaten down, and denied the same opportunities that I take for granted, a voice that is a little louder than mine. That maybe I need to start listening to their experience instead of denying it or fighting against it, or justifying my own.

Maybe it’s time for those of us who have benefited from racism and intolerance to be allies to who have not shared our privilege, instead of trying to maintain some kind of hold on the status-quo.

A friend of mine was recently trying to explain why he felt racism isn’t such a big issue anymore.

“I just don’t see it. I think if we work hard we all have the same opportunities. I don’t see racism the way it used to be. I think it’s more about class. Specially in the gay community. I mean, all of us are minorities, right? Okay, sure, Trump is a racist, and that’s embarrassing, but Obama was also president. We’ve made some really amazing progress.”

My friend, like me, is a white cis-male. Of course he doesn’t see racism, or transphobia, or intolerance toward Muslims or Latinos, because it isn’t happening to him.

But it is happening all around us. And we are all participating in it. Sometimes by just being silent, or by making jokes that minimalize it, or by lamenting the “old days” which, in all honesty, were only glorious for some of us.

As queer people we’ve never had to play by hetero-normative rules. We’ve gotten to define who we are and what we believe, often in reaction to intolerance, and in many ways this has made us stronger, more tolerant, and more willing to change and grow.

We, as a community, are confronting an incredibly hostile and fascist regime, not just in the States, but around the world. A right-wing movement has been growing, and the only true way for us to fight back is to become unified, to stand together, and to stand tallest for those of us on the fringes of our community, for those of us who do not have the numbers or the privilege to be heard.

None of this means we can’t party the way we want to or fuck the way we want to, or even define the limits of our attraction, but it’s the way we talk about these things, the way we express them. If we begin to categorize each other based on race or our body type or our gender, then we begin to lose sight of who we really are.

And I think the Queer Community, in all its shapes and sizes and genders and manifestations is amazing. We survived the AIDS crisis, we have survived discrimination and violence and intolerance, and instead of allowing those things to destroy us they have just made us stronger.

So maybe it’s time we started to challenge ourselves. To look closely at the words we use, at how we express ourselves, at our privilege, and at the things we take for granted. At how race and gender and sexual preference should no longer be tools used to limit ourselves or each other but instead empowering aspects of who each of us are, things to be celebrated and explored.

I think it’s time the Queer Community, my Community, started using our differences: our diversity, as our strengths, and not our weakness.

Because that is how we will overcome those who wish to hold us down and tell us who we are and how we love is somehow less than, not deserving, or wrong.

Our survival will depend on our unity, and in celebrating all the diverse ways we shine: our survival will depend on all of us standing as one against anyone who will try to deny Us.

Sex Fucking Matters

Discerning Daddy

Sex fucking matters. A lot. In my experience sex is one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, statistics even show that sex and money are the two leading causes for relationships ending, and for some reason it’s one of the hardest things for people to talk about.

Sex is so deeply rooted to our sense of wellbeing and security, to our sense of self-worth, that when the person we are with doesn’t want to have sex with us anymore it can make us feel worthless and ugly, not deserving: it can really fuck with our identity.

Which is why, no matter how hard it is, we have to talk about it. Openly and honestly.

The other thing that can complicate sex in a relationship is varying sex drives. Not everyone wants or needs to fuck every day. Some people are fine going a few weeks without getting laid. I want to get fucked all the time. I’m a dog. I can jerk off three times and still want to fuck. This can be exhausting for someone who is dating me.

We often end up in relationships with people who don’t share our sex drives, whether they are higher or lower.

Something I want to add is that neither version is the better version. We are all different and our needs are all different. Our sex drives don’t say anything about who we actually are as people. It’s just our chemistry, the way we think about sex and love and intimacy. It’s all valid.

I equate sex with love. If you don’t want to fuck me every day then I think there is something wrong. With me. With us. That you are bored or not interested. I can be pretty fucking unrealistic. This is something I’ve had to work on a lot in my life. But I still have my needs. And one of the things I have found is that you have to talk with your partner about how do you get those needs met.

Some guys find intimacy: cuddling and kissing, touching, holding, to be more important than sex. This is how they express themselves sexually. For them it isn’t about the fucking. It’s about the connection. This can be a really beautiful quality. One that I have come to learn to appreciate, even if it is different from my approach.

The great thing about being queer is we don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules. We get to make up our own rules, to find our own ways of dealing with discordant sex drives in our relationships.

One of the things I’ve had to learn through-out the years, when dating someone who expresses themselves differently than me, is how to get my needs met while also allowing them their needs. One way I do this is: I love to have my partner lie next to me and rub my belly while I jerk off. For someone who is all about connection and intimacy this allows them an intimate way to share in my horniness and get their needs met. I get off, they get to cuddle, it’s a win win.

Sometimes having threeways or group sex or public sex can help. I dated a guy who loved to watch me get fucked and fuck. He would sit in a chair in our bedroom while some guy came over and would fuck me, or I’d fuck him. My boyfriend would sometimes jerk off, but often he would just sit there and watch. It was his thing. It was our way of making sure we both got our needs met.
And that’s the point. If we are committed to our partners and our relationships then we will find ways to get our needs met, and to make sure our partner’s needs are also getting met.

But it can also be hard. If someone doesn’t “want” us as much as we “want” them we can take it personally. We start to wonder If maybe they aren’t into us or don’t think we are sexy or maybe they are just bored.

Sometimes this can be the case, but mostly, it rarely has anything to do with us.

Which is why talking about sex and our needs is essential. Even if it’s scary and hard. Because if we don’t the closeness we can feel through sex and intimacy can disappear, instead becoming about insecurity and resentment, and eventually we find ourselves moving on or cheating or breaking up.

I hate talking about sex. And it’s hard to do without blaming the other person, or feeling shame. And talking too much about sex can become incredibly unsexy. I’m trying to learn to do this in a healthy way. To talk about my needs, not about my partner. To not blame them for my needs not getting met, or to feel unsexy or insecure.

And to remind myself that sex is varied, and that sex with a long-time partner is sometimes more about intimacy than being thrown down and fucked. I’m learning that lying next to my boyfriend, my hand on his ass, and jerking off, or having him lie next to me rubbing my belly and kissing me while I jerk off can be incredibly sexy and fulfilling.

Instead of blaming each other or feeling shame, maybe we just need to find ways to get our needs met, and to meet their needs, and to not put so much pressure on each other.

And to talk. Even when it’s scary or awkward.

These are the things I’m learning and working on. I find if I can stay true to myself, and to be open and honest about who I am and what I need, and to really listen to my partner’s needs, then I get to grow, and experience more love and more intimacy: and that can be super fucking hot.

And hey, my new book, Accidental Warlocks, is on Amazon.  Go check it out.  Your support allows me to keep doing what I do!

Thoughts on Travel and Sex and Love Part Two

Discerning Daddy

In my early 20’s I was lost in a dark and violent heroin addiction. My life was narrow and small, without hope. I was lonely and sad, broke, the only relief was getting high. I remember snorting bags of China White in my Court Street Brooklyn apartment at night and then going for long walks through Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights ending up at the Promenade, the Manhattan Skyline like some far-off fairy tale land of kings and magicians, a land where anything could happen: a land of endless possibility.

I would stand there, high as fuck, and dream of the life I wanted: a life where I was a writer, where I wasn’t alone: I had friends and a boyfriend who loved me, family who could stand to be around me, a life where I didn’t steal and lie just to get by.

I could feel that fantasy life in me, burning through the darkness, trying to get my attention: like a coded message in the sky, or in the flamed lights of New York City, flickering in the neon, trying to remind me of who I really was.

During this time I read a book called Martin and John by Dale Peck. It’s a small book, a first-time novel by a gay writer my age who lived in New York City and in London. I remember sitting in café’s in the East Village reading that book and crying. Every word connected to me. In the acknowledgments he wrote a thank you to a café in London where he would sit and write.

I must have been 25 when I read that. I remember so clearly thinking, I want to be that guy. That writer sitting in a café in London. I want to sit in café’s all over the world writing.

I didn’t get sober until I was 42 years old.

It wasn’t till I was 49 years old, sitting at the Bach, a café on Hoxton Street in London where I would go to work on my book, that I realized: holy fuck! I got exactly what I wanted.

That’s the thing about life, I spent so much time running, so much time trying to hide from the pain and the fear, that I couldn’t see that life was pushing me in a direction, trying to send me down the path of who I really was. The only obstacle to that path was me.

This has been true for most of my life. The more I try to control and orchestrate, the more I try to force something, or to hide from pain, the more I allow fear to cloud my thoughts, the further I get from who I am supposed to be.

I am now, at 50, in a process of learning to allow who I am to unfold. Sometimes I wonder, what if I had gotten sober younger, or if I had been more focused, or if I had always worn condoms when I fucked (would I still be HIV negative?), or if I’d never used heroin, or stolen all those cars and money from my dad, or lied to my friends, what if I had never been any of the things I spent most of my life being: would I be famous now? Would I be successful? Or would I still be wandering down the lost path? Maybe all those things are the things that have brought me closer to myself.

I spent a year travelling back and forth from LA to London visiting my boyfriend Noah. Every morning we would wake up and he would go to work, and I would walk across the street to the Bach, books and computer in my backpack, and I would order a flat white and sit there and write. I started a journal called “Thoughts on Travel and Love and Life” and I wrote in it every day.

During the afternoons I would walk over to the Glory, and down to the canal and make my way slowly to Broadway Market and London Fields. I would sit in that park and watch people, strangers, as they went about their lives. I created elaborate stories about who they were and the lives they were living.

I also spent a lot of time worrying. About money. About Noah, about sex and being in a long distance relationship, about work, about all the endless things our brains find to latch on to and obsess over.

But I didn’t let those worries stop me. I would just start walking again, exploring a new city and a new people. Finding book stores and cafes, wandering through parks and museums, stumbling upon London Bridge and Big Ben and that Ferris wheel that still seems like a mystery to me: what Is that fucking Ferris wheel all about?, never really knowing what anything was until, while telling Noah about what I had done that day, he would tell me what each and everything I saw was, giving me history and context to my day.

I am a clueless tourist. I just walk, letting it all be out of context. I probably should have bought a guide book, or at least asked Siri, but I wasn’t there to see the “sights” I was there to experience myself somewhere new, somewhere so far out of context that the only thing recognizable would be me.
That is what travel is all about for me. When everything recognizable falls away, and the only thing left is yourself. You can’t hide anymore. Some days the loneliness was unbearable, the fear so out of control I felt stunned by it, but other days there was hope and joy and love. And I just kept walking my way through all of it, coming out the other side: because there is always an other side to walk out of.

I’m still afraid a lot of the time. I don’t always know where the money will come from to keep traveling, my boyfriend, who now lives in Berlin, is still 6000 miles away. I wonder how we will make it work, I wonder if I will succeed or fail. I’m 50 now. It is easy to believe life is no longer beginning, instead it is ending. It would be easy to get lost in these thoughts, to turn from my path.

But then I remember that day, sitting at a café in the East Village, reading Martin and John. I remember how badly I wanted Dale Peck’s life, to be that writer in some café in London, or Paris, or Amsterdam, writing. I remember going into the bathroom and snorting a line of heroin. I remember the sadness, the since of hopelessness. I remember thinking that I would never escape.
But I did escape. And somewhere out there somebody is sitting alone, feeling like they will never be able to have the life they want: they feel trapped: hopeless.

I don’t give a fuck if this sounds corny, I don’t give a fuck if I’m the cheesiest guy in the whole world, I just want to say this: we are never trapped. We are never without hope.

I am 50 years old. I am 6.5 years sober from a brutal 23 year fight with drugs and alcohol. I am HIV Positive. I should not even be alive. And yet here I am. Living the exact life I wanted at 23.

Think about that. What kind of fucking miracle is that?

And Hey! Go check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon! Your Support Would be Amazing!

Thoughts on Travel and Sex and Love: Part One

Discerning Daddy

They fuck lot in Berlin. There’s no denying that. It is a city where partying and getting laid is relatively easy. Six years ago I spent my honeymoon at Berlin’s infamous sex club, Laboratory, fucking and getting fucked and sucking dicks, and watching my husband, Alex do the same. I met one of my closest friends during a threeway while he tagged teamed me with Alex.

You can find almost anything you want in Berlin, and for the most part, no one will judge you for it.
But the City is way more than that. To come to Berlin and only take advantage of the endless dick, ass and 24-hour parties would be a mistake.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for 24-hour fucking, but there’s so much more to explore and experience in this amazing City.

I’ve been traveling from LA to Berlin every five weeks for the past nine months. My boyfriend, Noah, lives here, so in many ways, Berlin has become my second home.

I think there is something radical about travel, about leaving the safety of your known world behind for something new, something foreign. Going to all the different gay and bear parties around the world is awesome, but there is something really exciting and mind-expanding about getting on a plane all by yourself, or with a friend, and ending up somewhere totally new with no planned queer party agenda.

The first time I ever travelled by myself for real was in January 2017. I made the decision after Trump won the election that I didn’t want to be in the States for his inauguration. I booked a ticket to London, a City I had never been to, but one that felt relatively safe and easy to manage alone. I had a friend who lived in London who said I could have his apartment while he was out of town.

There was also a lot of personal turmoil going on in my life and in my relationship. I felt stuck, I felt disconnected from myself and from my life.

I needed something to shake me up, to force a change. Something that would take me out of my life in a way that would give me perspective.

I was 48 years old. I had travelled all over the world, but I had never really done anything like this before: just getting on a plane and going blind to a new City, no real friends there, no big gay parties.

It was January, a cold and dark month in London. But I wasn’t there for the sun. I was there because at that point in my life I was desperate for something that would knock me off the course I was on, something to help me find my way back to the life I had always hoped for: a life that was full of adventure and hope and wonder, a life of potential and possibility.

And I have found that travel is one of the best ways to do that. It upsets everything: your sense of time and space and how you interact in the world. And how you interact to yourself, the way you see yourself suddenly changes when confronted by this new world.

One of the things I learned was that technology was my friend while travelling. I downloaded an app called Citymapper which basically allowed me to get from the airport to my new home, and anywhere I needed to go across the City. If I wanted to get lost, something I kind of enjoy, I could just start walking, but once I was done being lost, I just opened the app and could get anywhere I needed to be.

I also like having the gay apps like Scruff and Growlr. I’ve made some pretty amazing friends on the apps (and sure, they are great for getting your dick sucked too…but sometimes it’s just nice to have access to a ton of gay guys…one of them will be down for a coffee or a beer or to tell you their favorite things going on).

I met Noah on Growlr. He was a German architect living in London. We had been chatting for almost six months before we finally met in London (where he was living at the time).

I had no intention of meeting Noah for anything other than a fuck. He seemed like a nice guy, I liked chatting with him, but at the time I was married and in a polyamorous triad with my husband Alex, and our boyfriend Jon. Falling in love and dating someone new was not on the agenda.
So when Noah asked me to meet him and a friend at the Glory, a queer bar in East London, I wanted to counter with, “Lets meet somewhere dark where I can suck you off!”, but the whole point of this trip was to be a different me, to do things counter to my instincts, so I agreed to meet him and his friend.

When I first saw Noah I remember thinking, There is no way this guy is gonna wanta hang out with me. He was so handsome. The way he smiled when he saw me, the way it felt when we hugged: connected, genuine. I found it hard not to find ways to touch him the whole night, and when his friend left I asked Noah if I could kiss him.

“Of course,” he said. “I want you to.”

He invited me home to “cuddle”. I was pretty sure that cuddle was going to mean fucking, but I was wrong. Noah was very serious about just cuddling.

We spent the whole week together after that. A week that would eventually change my life. I met Noah for lunch, and after work. We would go for long walks and he would show me his favorite places in the City.

Traveling shake us up, it can be lonely and disorienting, and sometimes it’s hard to make ourselves break out and take the risk, to go to that museum or club or book store alone, to risk being lost, to standing awkwardly in a group of people who know each other, to learn to reach out and say hi. It can also force us to look deep, to really come to terms with our fears and our expectations and to rise above them.

I spent a lot of time in cafes alone, reading, or walking endlessly, or exploring the Tate Modern (one of the best things about London is the museums are free which meant I could just end up in one and wander until I was ready to go back out and explore the streets).

And what I realized was that I was okay by myself. That if I could get past that initial fear, that feeling of being alone or lost, then suddenly I found that I liked being on my own, and I liked who I was, and that maybe the world was a lot friendlier and kinder than I had ever thought.

I was lucky I met Noah. He helped to build structure around my time alone in London. Not only did I get to have this amazing adventure in a City I had never been to, and to get to learn more about who I was, but I got to have this amazing affair that would turn into a deep and meaningful relationship.

In Part Two I will explore a little more about my relationship to Noah, and how we made a long distance relationship work, and about how I found myself traveling from Los Angeles to Europe every five weeks, and I will begin to explain an unexpected love affair I now have with being alone in Cities I don’t know, and falling in love with life.

Because that’s what it’s all about. When you think about it. Learning to be okay on your own and learning to love life, to have adventures even when you are scared. To learn to do the things that scare you because you have faith that life will take care of you.

You can check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, at Amazon! Your Support would be amazing!

The Beauty in Being a Slut

Discerning Daddy

I’m a slut. A total fucking slut.

I don’t like to think of myself as a top or a bottom. I’m 100% versatile. I seriously love it all. I love to fuck, I love to get fucked, I can get dom or I can sub out, I like intimate sex and nasty sex, I just love queer gay ass sex.
I don’t say this to be provocative or to make your dick hard (though, if it does…that’s awesome)…I say it because in this day and age, being a faggot slut is political. It is radical.

And being an HIV Positive Faggot Slut is like totally fucking punk rock.
I love when bottoms love it so much they can’t get enough and when tops are so into their dude’s ass they will do anything to make that boy moan. I love the guys deep into kink and the dudes who love vanilla sex, I love guys who only whore out for their boyfriends and the ones who wanta take on ten guys at a time.

For the record, for all the trans, lesbians, gender queer and cis-gendered women sluts…this is for you too…owning our sexuality, owning our desires and our bodies is radical. And if anyone tells you it isn’t…fuck them. Seriously fuck them. There is no God, there is no legal or political system or moral code that should ever have the right to deny us our sexuality.

If I want to go out right now and take all the loads, or fuck all the sexy butts why does that say anything about who I am as a human being as long as I treat my partners with dignity and respect?

I wrote an article for Vice Magazine a while back about Slut Shaming. A “muscle bear” in LA, who actually knows me from out in the bar scene left a comment, “You deserve AIDS. Why don’t you go drink bleach and die?” All because I said that I had fucked over 3400 guys (I have a very complicated mathematical equation for this in the story) and that I wasn’t ashamed. I actually had fun.

Because sex is fun. And who doesn’t want to have fun?

And no one deserves AIDS and no one should drink bleach and die because they like to have fun. That’s just stupid.

You know what else I like? I like showing my ass on Instagram. I like when people tell me I’m sexy. It feels good. I don’t think that makes me thirsty. I mean, fuck, I love when a hot dude shows his body off on Instagram, or tumblr. I also like seeing guys’ gym selfies. Why the hell not? If you don’t like it, then don’t like it, just keep scrolling, why talk shit? Some of us like looking at hot guys, and some of us didn’t always think of ourselves as hot. Some of us felt fat, and unwanted, and were ashamed of who we were, so it’s kind of awesome to be able to post pictures and have dudes tells us, “Hey, I think you’re hot.”

So if you want to see my ass, you can find it all over Instagram.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, why don’t we all just shut up and stop judging each other and instead try to support each other? I do it too. All the time. I talk shit and gossip, but honestly it doesn’t make me feel good, and it certainly doesn’t make me a good person.

So go out there and be you. Be a slut, or don’t be a slut, make out, show your ass (I for one would love to see all your asses), and if anyone gives you shade or talks shit, or tries to make you feel bad: that shit has nothing to do with you. It’s all them. Their shame, their self-hate, and their internalized homo-phobia.

There are way more important things right now that matter then who and how we fuck. I actually think fucking each other, treating each other kindly, enjoying each other, being intimate (even in the most no strings attached dark room fucking there can be a shared intimacy), being loving and supportive with each other is the one way we get to say fuck you to anyone who has ever told us we aren’t deserving, or good enough, or worthy.

I don’t want to live a hetero-normative life. I think it’s awesome if you do, but I don’t. I want to be queer as fuck. I like being queer. And I really like queer sex. A lot. For all our messiness I think we are fucking amazing. Our whole community, the whole LGBTQ rainbow.

And seriously fuck anybody who tries to tell us how to live our lives.

You can check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, At Amazon! Your support would be amazing!

We Are All Beautiful.

Discerning Daddy

I grew up in and around New York City in the 80’s and 90’s. Some of my mother’s closest friends were gay men. Most of them have died from AIDS. When, at 45 years old I found out I was HIV positive, regardless of what I knew intellectually, I felt the devastation of all those men my mother had loved who had died. I felt afraid, alone, suddenly cut off from the rest of my community.

Of course the truth was very different. I sero-converted in the age of PrEP and Treatment as Prevention, an age where more and more of my community understood what being positive meant, the age of the Undetectable Status.

But I was now a 45-year-old man. My age and my HIV Status, the way I felt about my body in a culture obsessed with body image: these things fuck with your self-worth. It is easy to feel undesirable, it is easy to begin to feel like life is coming to a close, to start looking back and saying: what the fuck have I even accomplished?

Who the fuck am I?

In May I turned 50.

For most of my life I never liked the way I looked. I was too short, too stocky, too fat, too skinny…always too something that amounted to never being quite enough.

We live in a world that tells us, through advertising and fake news and PR campaigns, that we aren’t pretty enough, happy enough, successful enough: that nothing will ever fix us until we buy or try or wear or eat or fuck this one thing. Our worth and our acceptance is contingent on this product, service, whatever.

Because, they tell us, we are broken.

On Saturday night I went to my favorite underground warehouse party in LA. Severino from Horse Meat Disco was DJing. We arrived at 1:30 in the morning to an old warehouse behind a large parking lot in downtown LA.

Ushered from the street inside, we stood in a large waiting area, kids in colorful outfits and masks, horror movie and glamor make-up, drag queens and muscle bears in leather and jocks, girls and boys, genderless and gender queer, the music could be heard from inside, people were already dancing as we waited to be allowed entry.

On the dance floor the music pounded: Disco mixed toward a darker edge, then flowing back into that ecstatic memory of my childhood when my mother and her friends would dance wildly in the living room to Parliament and Donna Summer, bottles of red wine and joints, laughing and howling at the possibility of a future. They would scream into the night, they would hold each other and cry, my mother would do Tarot Cards and channel alien entities, she would cast spells as she held court over these men, and I would hide, quietly under the table, allowed to watch as long as I stayed in my little hidden fort.

I remember my mother saying to a friend of hers who had lost so much weight he seemed to be disappearing,

“We are all beautiful. Every single one of us. We are like these great shining lights, gorgeous and magical and full of existence.”

Underneath the disco ball as it captured and sent transcended light back to us as we danced, I closed my eyes, feeling the heat of the room, my body drenched in sweat, the floor shaking underneath the weight of us, bodies pushing against me, touching me: fans clapping loudly, people cheering with each new shift of the music: lost for a moment in the infinite possibility of who we all might be.

In that room I took my shirt off, no longer trapped by all the hateful shit that swirled in my head, no longer caring: I was more than my body, more than my HIV status, more than my age or my gender or my sexual preferences: in that room, underneath that disco ball I was part of something that extended way beyond myself, way beyond any of us.

It is easy to feel scared. It is easy to look at someone who appears beautiful, or of a different race or gender, someone with more money, someone with more power, and to think they are not scared. It is easy to be divided from each other, to forget that we are all human, and that we are all scared.

Before leaving the party I wandered into the Dark Room. I watched as a muscle man in a jock strap was bent over a chair, men taking turns on him, a shaved headed boy covered in tattoos knelt sucking the dick of a short, slender, gorgeous person, their shimmering black dress pulled up, golden high heels reflecting what little light was in the room.

In the middle of it all stood a tall vision dressed in white-netted cloth that reached up over their neck, covering their face, obfuscating them. They stood silently watching: as all around us men took turns fucking and sucking, jerking off onto each other, making out and laughing, talking quietly, moving to the music.

As men moaned, as someone said, over and over, “Fuck me harder, please, fuck me harder,” the white dressed obfuscation raised their glass, as if in toast, as if in blessing, and then turned and walked out of the room.

I followed them out, but I lost them. I looked everywhere but they were just gone. Maybe they had changed clothes, now walking naked through the party, or maybe they had left, walking out onto the street, or maybe they had come, just for a few minutes, to celebrate with us, to dance and fuck and laugh with us: blessing us before fading back into whatever strange and beautiful existence they had appeared from.

It’s easy to take all the hate and shame and fear I have and turn it on someone else: to judge them, to categorize their flaws, to hate them: it is easy to forget that, like my mother said, we are all beautiful, and we are all afraid.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore, to judge myself as if I am somehow flawed, not worthy.

I like to think of that white clad creature extending their drink over all those fucking men as some kind of angel come to say, “You are beautiful, and we love you just as you are. You are absolutely fucking perfect just like this.”