Jim was a senior gay who had seen it all — done it all. When we met up in 2010 he was newly retired from a successful career in education and in the process of moving from Long Beach California to the Middle East. Such extreme decisions were not foreign to the man who sat in front of me explaining his latest venture.
“When Dan and I met over thirty years ago it was our dream to retire in the Holy Land; and now that I’ve left Catholicism and converted to Judaism, I believe we’re ready.”
Senior gay Jim was really good at the one – up – you bitchiness game. After his declaration, he looked directly at me and said: “so when do you plan on leaving the gay – ghetto?”
“Gay – ghetto, what’s that?”
“It’s when you first come out of the closet and you spend almost every weekend at the club and have anonymous sex while you drink and drug.”
I was doing about half that at the time.
His persisted: “You just came out right?
“Not just … but recently.”
“Eventually, something else will come along and you’ll move on. We’ve all been there. Just give it some time.”
Two years after Jim and Dan settled into the Holy Land — what was to be their final resting place — they moved back to the states and now reside in Las Vagas, Nevada. They couldn’t handle the regular bomb threats and evacuations.
My name is Ed Martin and welcome to Gay Ghetto Rising…Stories From the First Half of Life. To be honest, my legal name is Eduardo Martinez but I swore that when I became a writer, I’d shorten it.
As bitchy as Jim was, his life was an inspiration way before I knew it. I remember glancing through one of his photo albums and witnessing a man who lived many lives. From bell – bottoms to Tommy Bahama; kindergarten teacher to principal; beach cruiser to bomb-threat evacuee…Jim always had the courage to let something go and make way for something new.
As for me? It’s easier said than done. I’m always one inspirational quote away from a nervous breakdown. When life has decided it’s time for me to move on, I don’t move as freely as Jim. I kick and scream my way into a new support group, therapy workshop or the latest self-help book.
Now that I’ve made peace with the past and picked up some wisdom along the way, I’d like to share my stories of stagnation, learning, and change…all under the sweet umbrella of evolution.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by.