I just published an article at a new website called suite101.com where I’m now a contributing writer. The article, entitled Gay Dating on the Internet: Queers in Cyberspace, covers the topic in some details, including the new trend in mobile phone cruising using Grindr. I’d love to read your comments about it.
From 304 Winfield Street, San Francisco, CA:
I made it home safe and sound.
South America was amazing for me.
Taking care of Grampy in Washington, D.C., along with my mother, was important.
Sending money to Guille in Montevideo may have been foolish. I’ve been trying to reach him by phone every day since I got back here with no success. I’m not sure why it’s so much worse for me not knowing what has happened then, let’s say, hearing from him that he no longer wants me to contact him. The uncertainty of not knowing if something has happened to him is part of it. Perhaps it’s part of my “wanting to rescue a boy” complex like Nikas talked about.
I met Nikas when I invited Storm out for a night dancing at the End Up. Storm flirted with him first — we both thought he was real humpy. It surprised me when he said he wanted to spend the night with me instead of Storm. He actually gave Storm $20 for a taxi home when I mentioned I was worried about him getting home OK. Storm seemed happy with the arrangement and Nikas didn’t seem like a psycho-killer, so I went home with him.
When we arrived in his bed, he told me has been HIV+ for years. We still hugged and kissed. I was horny, so jacked him off, which he liked, and he then did the same for me. It was comfortable hanging out with him, even though he confided in me that he’s had a speed addiction, shooting it up. Although he says he’s now off it, I get the sense that it may rear its ugly head in his life again. We ate a nice brunch at a place called Cafe 69, or something like that, on Maiden Lane. Then, we went our separate ways. It’s been a few days and I haven’t heard a peep from him. He has my info and Storm has his phone number in his cell phone.
Dear Barebackers, Bug Chasers, and You Who Don’t Care,
I’m all for freedom, so my first thought is to tell you, “Go for it, find your own way through this life. Do whatever you like as long as you aren’t hurting others.” I would never sic the law on you for consensual adult activities like fucking without a condom or using crystal meth because I believe in your personal liberty.
Our culture has caused problems for every one of us in one way or another. Growing up with a constant stream of abuse and discrimination against queer people — whether or not directed specifically at any one of us — takes its toll on all of us. Some struggle to have pride because we didn’t have it before. Some become macho men to counter the stereotype that fags are sissies. And some assimilate into queer consumer culture claiming that we no longer face discrimination so we no longer have to fight for our rights.
I was a big drug user. It started in high school as a way to find acceptance, to hang around hot guys among the stoner crowd and to avoid dealing with my attractions to them. Fortunately for me, my drugs of choice weren’t really addictive. I didn’t get trapped in a box of using and needing to use more until my body started to waste away. But some of my friends got addicted and more likely will.
I fucked a lot too. In college, we had a club where you had to have sex with two other members at the same time to join. Fortunately for me, my sex of choice wasn’t really risky. I prefer being a top, so once AIDS came around, it was fairly easy to avoid getting fucked without a condom. But some of my friends fucked unsafely a lot and more likely will.
In the earlier days of the disease, I stood by helplessly as my friend Richard, who had AIDS, lost his mind and lost control of his body, screaming incoherently as they dragged him off to the hospital where he went to die.
Even with the drugs available today, friends who have HIV often have to pop pills multiple times every day, fighting off the side effects of the meds. Some face troublesome health complications and others just don’t make it because they get drug-resistant strains of the disease or decide not to seek conventional treatment until it’s too late.
I stood by helplessly as my friend Todd got hooked on meth. Looking for love in the raver crowd, he did what everyone else wanted him to do until his body shrank, his face grew gaunt, and he got nervous ticks and twitches. He couldn’t concentrate on anything anymore and, as he says, the drug became “an evil necessity” so that he couldn’t have sex or function at all without it. He got HIV while he was high. And reaching rock bottom with an overdose, he’s actually one of the luckier ones who had the resources to get into a rehab clinic and try to clean himself up.
When I go the bars, the sex clubs, or the chat rooms online, I see lots of guys cruising for bareback sex and pnp (party ‘n play), using drugs for sex. I read that the rates of younger and older queer guys getting HIV are going up. Then, we have the higher rates of suicide, especially among queer youth.
I’m writing to you because I care and it’s tearing me up inside to watch you and live among you.
I want to live in a place where we have faced the odds stacked against us and responded by connecting and taking care of each other, living fulfilling lives in a supportive community.
I want to live in a place where we have exorcised the personal demons of low self-esteem and self-destruction — whatever the combination of internal struggle or external abuse that caused them — and responded by taking care of ourselves so we can live fulfilling lives in a supportive community.
It seems like most everyone is at a loss for how to prevent these problems.
My intuition is that it starts with caring.
Caring enough to see the people inside the bodies in the cars and walking down the street. Caring enough to tell people it’s totally fine to be queer in this crazy homophobic era. Caring enough to love people with the color of their skin and the cultures they come from. Caring enough to love people of the gender we don’t necessarily want to fuck. Caring enough to love people in whatever place they come from enough to offer a helping hand when we can and when it helps, rather than hinders, the situation. Caring enough to take action for constructive social change. Caring enough to discuss drug use and sex practices with our friends. Caring enough to choose not to pass HIV on to others.
And most important, caring enough about ourselves to get to a place beyond low self-esteem, drug abuse, unsafe sex, and self-destruction to a place of heightened self-esteem, hot sex that affirms life, and friendships that form a community of support that strengthens us all.
Cob is a trip. When we are in each other’s presence, I have a great time. The conversation is great as is making love. We’re exploring some interesting dynamics around power and consensuality through mild S/M fantasies. It’s when he’s not around that I experience difficulties, the uncertainty because he can’t seem to plan when he can be here. So, I try to leave space in my schedule for his arrival which ends up in frustration as I miss opportunities when he doesn’t show up at the time I hoped he would. We’ve discussed the situation. He’s now travelling for a couple of months without a home. I’m in my work and live at home routine. So our needs are probably a bit different. Hopefully, this will work out. I’d like us to spend more time together.
I was a bit surprised when he told me about relations that he was having with a woman we both know. Somehow, I hadn’t realized he is bisexual. I’ve felt brief bouts of jealousy for his liaisons whatever the gender. I work it through in about ten minutes each time. As long as he lets me know what’s going on and as long as he is playing safe, I’m fine with it.