Here’s a topic that ought to have got some coverage on this site long before now. My entry about Marc got me to thinking. People sometimes ask me how I cope with living in Wanaka as a gay man. Largely they know that it’s not a homophobic town, so they are generally referring to the lack of ‘family’ in the area.
I guess they don’t know, possibly because I don’t tell them, about Ben, Stephen, Paul, Andrew, Dean, Scott, James (Hamish), Mike, Andrea, Richard, Rob, Brian, Cameron, Chris, Deano, Gabe, Ed, Gareth, Gary, Jared, Roger, Malcolm, Peter, Pete, Lincoln, Nathan, Adam, Graeme, Moritz, Tim, Philip, Brian, Paul and last, but by no means least, Todd. Goodness what a list. 80% of this list are men I have met at one time or another in the flesh (there are varying degrees of flesh, ahhh.. Andy.. in the meetings) – and the rest I purely know from my online contact with them. However, I made inital contact with 100% of them online.
Yep, every one of these men is gay.
They are a group of very very special men. If I were to list their professions, you would be astounded. If I listed the cities in which they reside, you’d think I had been a sailor in a past life. I have been in contact with some of these guys for over 7 years now. They have seen me through many ups and downs and shifts and changes and revolutions in my life. I love every one of these guys. In my life, as much as anyone, these people are my mainstay. They are, in every sense of the term that I can think of, my Gay Community.
This ‘mobile’ community of mine is as utterly important to my happiness living here in Wanaka as the mountains and the lake and that beautiful school of mine. These men have stood the test of time and have shown loyalty and patience towards me such as I never felt I deserved. They have celebrated my triumphs and shared my sorrows and they know me. They know the worst things about me. And they still stand beside me.
For all of the public notoriety of the notion of gay “community”, one which seems to be dogged with out of date assumptions about rampant anonymous sex and other superficialities, this community of mine has endured and always been here for me. And (partially due to the vagaries of international time) they have often been here for me in the small of the night. The little hours that everyone knows I inhabit. The tough hours.
These men are largely responsbile for my idea of myself as a man. The sense of unending pride and possibility and optimism and utter excitement I have about myself has been created through my relationship with them. We’re a tribe of men who are not defined by the jobs we do, the sport we play, the colour of our skin or our ideas about the ineffable. We’re not unified by the style of our hair or the cut of our jeans or our ability to dance like no other. We’re not brothers because we were born together, we’re not connected through our taste in pop music (sorry, Kylie, and we do all love you nonetheless) we are united through our love, our love is what makes us who we are – and what higher reason is there to be a community?
So, you men who I love. You know why I do this website really?
It’s for you.