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Parent Issue
Month
July
Year
1986
Copyright
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held By
Agenda Publications
OCR Text

What does Gay Pride Week mean to me? One night I went to a Village bar I would frequent, the Stonewall, and it was closed: Raided! It was not an unusal occurence and so I didn't think much of it. I sauntered through the village to another gay bar. A couple of days later I heard there had been a clash between the pólice and gays. I was stunned. Next time I went to the Village I passed by the Stonewall and saw gays picketing. I was paralyzed. I didn't understand the scène. I thought we were supposed to keep our business private and only in out-of-the-way, dark places. Here were these men openly protesting. I admired their courage and tenacity, but feit fearful that we had overstepped our boundaries. I filed the event somewhere dark and went on. When asked the question, "What does LesbianGay Pride Week mean to me?", I thought the answer would trip lightly off my tongue. But it didn't I am a board member of GL0HRYA2, which is involved in planning Pride Week for our community, therefore by association, I am also involved in planning Pride Week. But why this sense of quietness of mind when I ask myself this question? They say still waters run deep and so I guess I must fathom the depths. At 18, 1 was hanging out at gay bars in Greenwich Village, NYC. Having escaped from the suffocating grip of Spanish Harlem, I now wanted to fling myself into the new found freedom of the gay life. Gay bars mushroomed and dotted the West Village. I began making my rounds, but carefully. I quickly leamed that the bars were mafia owned and even with payoffs, were often raided. Rarely did I check my coat. But the need to be in a gay ambiance, to be with those with whom I could take off my mask of heterosexuality, and finally to be in a place where I could be more readily found by my knight in shining armour (you see, I too got taken in by Sleeping Beauty) was enough of an incentive to have me take the risk of being caught by the pólice in places of "indecency and perversión" that like weeds, kept springing back, no matter how many times you plucked them out. I may have been 18 and naive but not blind to the fact that anyone with my feelings for amouroussexual attraction for someone of my own sex was considered a pariah to my society. I was a Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde; during the week I did things the rest of my society did, but on weekends, I would be transformed into a monster who would perpétrate indecent acts of moral indiscretion on our vestal society by frequenting the bars. To be able to do the rounds of the bars without getting caught by the pólice added to the excitement for Mr. Hyde. In an unconcious, convoluted way I was making a statement of the need to have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This was the nascent stirring to expúrgate the Dr. Jeckyll which had been inculcated and enmeshed in my psyche as the heterosexual part of me. I was a homosexual and heterosexual all tied up (not wrapped too üght) in one being. With such contradictory postures inhabiting the same psyche, something would have to give. And having the psyche exist in an heterosexual environment didn't make the odds even as to who would win, Jeckyll or Hyde. With the cage now open, Mr. Hyde took flight. I lived for the bars for they were the only places where I could be myself. I then structured the rest of my life accordingly. I lived in a gay neighborhood (upper west side), had a gay roommate and gay friends. My work experience was the only thing I did in the world of Dr. Jeckyll. One night I went to a Village bar I would frequent, the Stonewall, and it was closed: Raided! It was not an unusal occurence and so I didn't think much of it. I sauntered through the village to another gay bar. A couple of days later I heard there had been a clash between the pólice and gays. I was stunned. Next time I went to the Village I passed by the Stonewall and saw gays picketing. I was paralyzed. I didn't understand the scène. I thought we were supposed to keep our business private and only in out-of-the-way, dark places. Here were these men openly protesting. I admired their courage and tenacity, but feit fearful that we had overstepped our boundaries. I filed the event somewhere dark and went on. Meanwhile, Dr. Jeckyll's knock kept getting louder. By then, I had been a libertine, gone through my drug days, was on my second relationship (the first was 5 12 years and the second was 4 12 years), and was in Italy to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. I had also, by then, come-out to family and friends and thought I was on my way to being an open Mr. Hyde in Dr. Jeckyll's world. A few days before the completion of the course I went to see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I asked him about my homosexuality. He said it was unnatural and that I should grow up to be a man. I was unravelled. I asked what I should do about my lover, to which he said, "Be friends only." I went back to my room totally discountenanced. I had gone to see Maharishi because I had found an organization that offered enlightenment, compassion and understanding, and was desiderative of his approval as a "representative" of God that I was "okay". Well, Dr. Jeckyll gave one last shove and I bought Maharishi's pronouncement. After being made a teacher, I returned home and told my lover what had happened and of my new personality. It was a nightmare from then on. We broke up. I finished my first B.A. and then took off for India to purify my soul. I was there for six months, celibate of course, came back to teach TM in NYC, opened a World Plan Center in Puerto Rico, and then began to feel the awakening of Mr. Hyde. There was no room for homosexuality in the movement and I was feeling a sense of discontent with it anyway and decided to return to India. I went for one year, celibate again, and thought things out. This time, I feel, I learned some truths for myself. lama homosexual. It was not a choice I made but a psychic identity I evolved into. That there are two sexes is a facL That they marry and procréate is a fact. But, that I am as genuine a homosexual as heterosexuals feel they are genuine heterosexuals, is also a fact for me. My concern now is not to become a heterosexual, but to be compassionate, unders tanding and supportiveof and centered in my homosexuality; while lovingly inviting my heterosexual identity to become integrated with the rest of me. Mentally, physiologically, I am a man with a complement that during my homosexual development I have been receptive and absorbed from heterosexual women (my mother and sisters) some of their qualities. These I haven't rejected, but also integrated into my personality. I am not one voice, but a collegium of different voices that cooperate in a spirit of harmony and though not always agreeing often speak in a voice of unity. After many years and a checkered and circuitous life, I feel I have come home. God is my source and center. The final truth of my identity rests in his omniscient, compassionate and all-merciful nature. I unequivocally place my being in his care and trust. It was not necessary to expunge Dr. Jeckyll from myself or to condemn Mr. Hyde to a life of shadows, but to invite Dr. Jeckyll to live in harmony and peace with Mr. Hyde in the light of day. And so, coming back to the quiet surface of my mind and asking what Gay Pride Week means to me is that it's a time to rejoice in coming home. Michaelangelo Salcedo

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