Plains, October 2016
Unless I'm in a gay neighborhood, I'm never out in public. No gay pride t-shirts, no lambdas, no pink triangles, no rainbow flags. No holding hands with my date. My book on a gay topic is turned inward so no one can read the title.
Being Out and Proud is fine, but I've heard too many stories about gay people getting assaulted and killed by random bigots. Even if only one passerby in a thousand is inclined to kill you and has a gun in his pocket, that's too many for me.
But yesterday when I got to the gym, I discovered that I brought along a Gay Pride t-shirt by mistake. A very open one, with literally the words "Gay Pride!!!" in big rainbow letters.
I didn't want to drive all the way home to get another one, or spend $15 on one of the gym's t-shirts that are completely covered with banal "keep moving" slogans.
So for the next 1 1/2 hours, I was going to be out in public. In a small town in the Straight World.
It was my running day. Was assault more likely on the treadmill or out on the wilderness trail?
I opted for the trail. People see you for only a few seconds as they jog past in the other direction, but on the treadmill, they can get a good a good view for an hour. Besides, it would probably be empty. Who runs at 5:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon?
To get out of the gym, I have pass about a dozen people in the lobby, including two Somali women in hijabs, and a group of high school jocks.
They don't seem to notice, but Casey, who is running the front desk, does.
He isn't the usual collegiate twink the gym hires: he's in his 30s, buffed, with severely short black hair, a round face, and the hint of a hairy chest beneath his white shirt. I'm thinking manager, filling in for a sick desk guy.
They're supposed to say "Hi" on your way in and "Have a nice day" on your way out, but instead Casey asks "Going for a run?"
"Yeah, I thought I'd hit the wilderness trail. It will be covered with snow soon."
"Well, be careful out there," he says with a frown. "There are...um...well, this is snake season."
I think he means "homophobe season."
The full post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood