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Monday, January 7, 2008

the gay nineties

what do i remember about those gay nineties? i know that throughout the first half i lived like i was dodging a bullet. in my head, in my heart, in my soul, i was ducking, bobbing, weaving, hiding, and running away from the great possibility of the times. that dying thing that so many gay men were doing then. it was overwhelming, really. so mind boggling that most of my peers were walking with ptsd. everywhere we looked around us, we were fading. we were diminishing. we were disappearing.

then in 96, dr ho and his miracle cocktail came out of the woodwork. it was very much like oz, after the house squashed the wicked witch of the west. gay men we had stopped seeing started to come out of hiding. our lives shifted. in the space of 2 years or so, the once permanent darkness was fading and blue skies and sunshine once again became part of the landscape. come out, come out wherever you are became the phrase of the moment- in many more ways than one.

just like the seventies and the eighties, the nineties are a miracle time in the history of gay american culture. hell gay culture and well, culture everywhere for that matter. the quilt, the march on washington, the red ribbon campaign, the healthcare system makeover, the cocktail. the scourge is not over. the war has not ceased. there is no truce yet. there are many, many casualties still. on our little continent though, that decade brought a miracle. and i am humbled, still, to this day as i look out on the horizon.

i know i will always remember the 90's. it was just like going over niagra falls in a barrel. scary as hell while i was in it, but such a relief and feeling of accomplishment and blessing to have survived. it was definitely an adventure. i know my nineties were gay.


Geoff said...

The nineties were a miracle for so many.....and you are right on the money about walking around w/PTSD. Very accurate description. I have to say your writing is absolutely fantastic.

Marc said...

At the same time, I know my descent into drug addiction went in tandem with my emergence from AIDS. I remember it slowly dawning on me that two epidemics were going to mark that decade--and my life-- with almost equal import.
Whether or not I would have become an addict without the trauma of AIDS and those dreadful war years I will always wonder...

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