The Lavender Line – Quarter Stories 11

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Sunday was my favorite day to go out. Friday and Saturday shifts were over. I could go out on my own down to the Quarter and hang with one or two of the bartenders. We’d hang in the part of the Quarter below the Lavender line, a boundary of sorts at St Ann Street where the straight bars ended and the gay bars began. If straight men crossed this line, then they were fair game.

The Ins and Outs of Dating

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August 2012-September 8, 2013—For a lot of closeted gay men, the Internet, social media and smartphone apps offer an excellent opportunity to explore sexuality in a space where your identity remains hidden. Unfortunately, the Internet also allows vulnerable populations to be ridiculed, harassed and “outed.” Stories of 13-year-olds hanging themselves after being bullied online have become a common trend.

Feral Boys

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The Feral Boys were a group of a little over a dozen young gay men in San Francisco who formed a sort of fraternity in the early 2010s. We were all recent transplants to the city, and had moved there for school, or to be a part of the tech gold rush, or to leave small town homes and start a gay life in a gay metropolis. We came to be students, models, artists, DJs, and gogo boys. What we had in common was a love for unbridled hedonism: art, sex, music, parties, and living like we would be 22 forever.

Group Travel, Rio–1990’s style

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1989 to mid-1990s– My husband, Ron Oyer, had a travel business in the 1990s that catered to gay men, geographically mostly from California and New York, though also from many other states. Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Mykonos (Greece), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), were the most popular destinations.  The groups featured handsome men looking for excitement and fun.  As you can see from the following pictures taken during 12 different trips to Rio for Carnival, they found what they were looking for in that fascinatingly “alive” city populated by some of the handsomest men in the world.

Unlimited Possibilities

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March 1976: The year was 1975 and I was 23 at the time, living in D.C. I was working in the U.S. Treasury Department for a Republican administration and hiding my attraction to men from others, as well as from myself.

Same Sex Marriage, 1972

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Spring, 1972 – As a third-year American student at the University of Manitoba (UM) in Winnipeg, Canada in the early 1970s, I was eager to find other gay men and to participate in the energetic wave of gay rights activism that immediately followed Stonewall. At that time, Winnipeg was quite conservative, with only two “discreet” gay bars and a private, gay social club that did not have a liquor license. Neither the bars nor the private club appealed to me. The folks at both bars were pleasant but, except for those in drag, most guys seemed closeted and fearful of being outed. One of the bars even disallowed close dancing by same-sex couples because of Manitoba’s strict liquor laws. I wanted something more than forlornly staring into my beer behind blacked-out windows.

A Double-Edged Sword

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1974—“I’m like you,” the hand printed and hand delivered note said. “My name is Jimmy. I live on this street. I am 12. Will you meet me behind my house tonight at 5?” In the small mailing envelope there was a picture of Hercules, cut from a book. When I was Jimmy’s age, I’d wait until no one was around, and then pull out the “H” volume of the World Book Encyclopedia, and stare at the picture of Hercules.

Thankful for Chosen Family

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Thanksgiving used to be a time when I would go home and see family. This tradition ended 6 years ago when I moved across the country in my mid twenties and the distance between California and New York was too much for a long weekend.

When I moved to New York City I became involved with the a project to build an AIDS Memorial in the West Village. This led to a career pivot working for LGBT focused organizations and I then began acquiring a close network of friends from a diverse spectrum of the LGBT community.

A Tribute to Jackie Yordan

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Jackie, flexing on a boardwalk in Fire Island Pines at dawn (summer 1980)

Jackie Yordan was, according to many who knew him, an “incredible sweetheart and an amazing person… He was truly one of the biggest heart throbs of the period in New York. The thing about him was that he had no attitude at all and he couldn’t have been sweeter. So, everybody loved him. “And, he was “the hottest guy… top of the ‘in’ crowd.”

Making My Grandmother Cry

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I make my grandmother cry.

I come out to her and her fists close and her eyes fill up. She is silent for the longest moment and then, speaking through the tears, she astonishes me.

“It’s that gym where you go, that’s where they all are!”