In Cleveland, They’re Cooking Up a Gay Neighborhood From Scratch | News
The first time that I arrived on the shores of Lake Erie, in the late eighties, it was a pretty cold Saturday afternoon—I don’t remember the precise temperature, but I do remember the sun was high enough to be pretty. It wasn’t exactly warm—I mean, we had a couple of big snowstorms in Ohio, so this was pretty much the middle of December, and it was probably a cold, rainy day—but it was kind of nice in a way, because the sun seemed to shine on the water. I went out to look for birds and, in my mind’s eye, I saw that water like an ocean, dotted with islands and swamped with boats. And I wondered—would the birders come here, or would they flock to Canada? And finally I made up my mind: I would live here. And so I moved here, to downtown Cleveland and the Lakefront.
As soon as I moved there, I realized that I was in the middle of a lot of white gays who did not give a shit about me. I’ve lived in Cleveland for the better part of forty years now, and it’s been tough for me to be gay. For me to be gay in Cleveland, I’m supposed to be white, upper-middle-class, and straight. But what else can I be? I’m not a white upper-middle-class white gay man; I’m a white gay white male. I’m a white gay man with brown hair. I’m a white gay white man with a beard, with a girlfriend, with a house, with a wife. I am my own man, and I like to live my life how I see fit. I’m just another gay, and I like to be gay. I like to be queer, and I like to be queer like me.
It was like that for me. I was different. And I felt like I was on this new page—new life, new family, new job, new neighborhood, new friends, new whatever—