I'd drive my 65 Pontiac convertible down to the area and park wherever I could. Often times, I'd be alone and would walk as far as a mile to get to the mentioned areas. One particular evening, it was slow and not much was going on. I'd tried my haunts, Whiskey- A-Go-Go, and some other joints whose names have escaped me and it was early yet time to leave and head north to home. As I walked through a questionable neighborhood, I noticed that a man was walking right behind me and pretty much keeping pace with me. I picked up my pace, only for the follower to do the same. I wasn't really scared yet, but a sixth sense told me something was amiss. Keep in mind, I'm at almost a run now and not gaining on the stranger.
Stranger: Slow down a minute.
Stranger: What's your rush, I just want to talk a while.
Me: Silence at full speed!
Eventually the stranger stopped, yelled something insulting and went away. My heart was beating at a rate that was clearly off the charts and that's when I realized I was homophobic. Not with all gay folks, but certainly with the ones that have ME on their menu! That was 48 years ago and I remember it like it was recently.
Later, my younger brother confided to me that he was indeed gay. I laughed at him and asked why he thinks he's gay, after all he'd had several girlfriends (beards) in the past. He told me he thought he was gay, because he sleeps and has sex with men. I'm not sure how long the lapse of conversation was after that announcement, but it was lengthy. I did what any close, concerned brother would do. I ignored him for 15 years. Yep, it scared me.
At my mother's funeral we reunited and I learned that he was a nice person with a wonderful sense of humor and a rather high IQ. He taught the deaf sign language in his spare time and decided to turn his pudgy body into a body builder's physique. When we reunited, it was 1987 and he was a strapping 6' 3" and had muscles that made me envious, a shaved head, mustache and goatee and a powerful presence. I realized that his sexual orientation did not make the person and was merely a phase about him. I liked him, but it was short lived, as he had contracted HIV and it had developed into full blown AIDS. He passed away in 1989. I went to Chicago to visit him 2 weeks before he passed away and he was truly suffering. At that point, I believed my homophobia was behind me. I knew of some gay people and didn't shun them because of it. I believe in Gay marriage.
Last night, I was browsing through the local dating service, because I find as I get older, it's harder to find a mate. I was writing to a very pleasant woman that I have no interest whatsoever in meeting, when I get notice that TX Mustang has made me a "Favorite". How sweet, I thought. I continued that email I was composing when suddenly there was notice that TX Mustang wants to "CHAT" with me. Well, I'm really not a fan of the instant message or "CHAT" feature, but it also gave me the option to view the picture and profile of little TX Mustang. I clicked on it and below is what I saw!