Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Catching My Breath

By Joey Amato

Is there such a thing as becoming too gay? Let’s take my life for example. I am a young gay man, work in a gay town, spend much of my disposable income in gay-owned establishments and write about anything and everything gay.

This past weekend, I became concerned that my life is becoming too gay. Thinking I may have been over exaggerating, I addressed my concern with a few friends and surprisingly, they told me my thoughts were justified. My friend Mike told me that he thought it was healthy for me to feel this way and that he would be more concerned if I didn’t. My boyfriend agreed.

I don’t want to make it sound like I am not proud of being gay, but I am worried that I will morph into someone who forgets that there are other cultures outside our own.

Before accepting a position with SFGN, I lived in Delray Beach, a community that doesn’t contain any gay bars or clubs, although I was told one had closed in the past few years. Because of the minute gay population, we’re forced to blend in with the community.

Then I was invited on a life-changing date to Galanga in Wilton Manors.

I had never heard of Wilton Manors. Call me naïve, but I also have not travelled to gay tourist locales such as Key West, San Francisco or Fire Island, even though I used to live 30 minutes away on Long Island. When I arrived to this town, I was surprised to see the large number of rainbow flags lining the streets. It was quite astonishing actually. I didn’t know places like this existed.

Over the following months I spent more and more time in the Fort Lauderdale area and began to immerse myself in the gay community. I became involved with the GLCC Pride Center, GLBX and started attending numerous gay events. I strived to be photographed by Hotspots and 411, currently Mark’s List. The days of attending charity galas hosted by Donald Trump and Governor Charlie Crist at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach have faded.

I feel like a part of me died when I was introduced to Wilton Manors. I started neglecting a lot of things I used to love to do in favor of being gay. I started passing up the opportunity to network with professionals in Boca so I can share a drink or two with friends on the Drive. I favor partying at Living Room on Friday evening over a weekend getaway. Two years ago, I would have never even entertained the notion.

Over the past few months, I have met people who have mentioned to me that they refuse to do anything outside of the gay community. Most of these people were older, but does there come a point when we become so secure in our current surroundings that we develop a fear to venture away? That is what scares me and why I wonder if I am becoming too gay.

I don’t like segregation. I like unity. I want to be part of both worlds. How do I find the perfect balance of gay and straight? How do I find a way to combine both worlds and become whole again?

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