Archive for the ‘GAY’ Tag

Being Transgender: 2 documentaries and 1 ‘Hollywood’ film–reviews Gay Pride Month June 2021   Leave a comment

As a gay man I have been puzzled about transgender people because, in spite of what was said about gay men 70+ years ago, I never wanted to be a woman nor have I been exactly PC with drag queens. I did at one time, in the 1950s, have a relationship with Paul who I thought was a crossdresser but now that I think of it he might have been transgender though little was known about it at the time. This was just before Christine Jorgensen, an army veteran, who in 1951-1952 had sex reassignment surgery and made headlines when she came home from Sweden. (As an aside she went to Christopher Columbus High School which I, also, went to 2 years after she graduated but she is never mentioned there.)

It wasn’t until 22 years later that Renee Richards, a tennis champ, came out as transgender and battled to play in the women’s division!

Due to “Changing the Game” and “Growing Up Trans” I have become more understanding of transgenders and though we have many things in common regarding being ‘different’ and ‘coming out’ they have a much harder time and looked at differently than gay people, even from those of us who should know better. The more I learn about them–and I have a lot more to learn–the more I admire their tenacity, their struggle and their bravery.

“Changing the Game” (HULU) follows 3 high school athletes and how they navigate, fight to stand/play where they belong. “Growing Up Trans” (Prime Video) focuses on children and how they are handling their sexuality, mainly before puberty, of who they know they are and how the parents deal with it, in most cases with the father having the hardest time. It also emphasizes how doctors and researchers acknowledge the kids are pioneers. For the record “The results included the following LGBTQ suicide statistics: LGBTQ youth were 3.5 times as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers Transgender teens were 5.87 times more likely Gay and lesbian youth were 3.71 times more likely Bisexual youth were 3.69 times more likely to attempt suicide than teens who identified as heterosexual.” (


“Adam” (HULU) is a ‘Hollywood’ satirical look, and not too good, at the above problems

Posted June 25, 2021 by greatmartin in GAY, Transgender

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(The following is strictly my opinion from observations/experience of over 65 years of gay life.)

There is a gay stereotype very seldom discussed outside of the gay world though it effects many a nongay relationship and that is of the gay married man married to a woman. Woman have written books about the situation as have gay men who have tried to explain why they married and/or why some are still married. Actually it didn’t come before the public until movies like “Brokeback Mountain”, “Language of the Cranes”, etc., were shown on the big screen.

It has been MY experience that gay men married because: 1) a ‘family’ man stood a better chance of being promoted at work 2) they wanted to ‘hide’ being gay 3) they wanted kids 4) they loved the woman they married 5) knew something was ‘wrong’ (usually their word) but didn’t realize it until after they were married and had kids 6) it was expected of them.

I have met many gay men who divorced after their kids had grown up or the wife found out. Many were in their 50s, 60s and had spent a life of sneaking into highway rest stops, X rated bookstores with booths, X rated movie cinemas or attending ‘orgies’ (which is a whole other post), going to steam baths, cruising parks, public restrooms, etc., though today many will meet sex partners on the Internet.

Some have stayed married because: 1) they didn’t want to come out of the closet 2) were afraid how their children and/or friends would react 3) they were comfortable with having a ‘home’ 4) were too financially interwoven with their spouse 5) were afraid of living alone 6) had ‘arrangements’ with their wife.

There is no way of knowing how many married men are gay just as there is no way of knowing how many gay men there are. Figures have ranged from 1% to 16% of the population but even in today’s so called more ‘open’ society I am willing to bet more men are still in the closet than those who are openly ‘out’ so there could be a way higher percentage than is being guessed at by the ‘experts’.

A few years ago there was a big deal in the Black community about men being on the ‘down-low’–having sex with other men–but I have known married men, Black, White and every other color, doing that since I first started having sex many decades ago.

Being married, having children, leading a double life can cause a lot of strain and stress on a gay person and more than one has expressed the ‘relief’ they found after coming out and, in most cases, getting divorced and living openly. Some have ended their life because they couldn’t deal with it and their obituaries never mentioned that aspect of their life. In many cases the wife knew but it was never something they discussed.

By the way most married gay men, divorced or still married, I have met state they are gay, do not claim to be bisexual and are what is known as ‘bottoms’ in the gay vernacular. Those who are married have become very comfortable with anonymous sex or, like nongay married men, have one person, or a few, they see on a regular basis.

Just recently there was a ‘case’ of a married preacher with 5 kids was, pardon the pun, exposed after being found out looking for other males to have sex on a popular sex site. He is not the first and certainly won’t be the last.

I know one gay man, married, without children, who stays married because as unhappy and miserable as he may be and he knows his wife is too, they are more afraid of being alone. She more than he always talks about how much they are in love and yet no one is fooled. Everyone knows their story and just plays along and she ignores that he comes home late because he had car trouble or had to work overtime or the hundred of excuses he will give. I once knew a guy who came over to my place on Wednesdays who told his wife he was going to Weight Watcher meetings!

As I said these are my opinions, my experiences and all I can say unless you are with your spouse 24/7 you both have to get tested for AIDS! That is the reality of life and more than one woman has sworn her husband loves her, that she trusts him and that he would never cheat on her only to find out she doesn’t know him.

Posted June 30, 2015 by greatmartin in MARRIAGE

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POLITICS   Leave a comment

As I wrote in a previous blog I didn’t always listen to what my parents said nor did I usually do what they said to do but when they advised me not to discuss religion or politics with anyone I took that to heart.

It is easy for me to NOT talk about religion but when it comes to politics it is another story. I do try to stay out of ‘party’ fights though when any POTUS is insulted I will say something. Which party I belong to isn’t relevant to anything and how I vote is my secret and my right to keep it secret.

The problem I have with politics is that I have been a gay activist since I was 16 and after 62 years I know fighting for equal rights is political. I also know that many people out there want gay people to disappear, don’t deserve any rights and have stereotyped ideas of gay people. I know gay people are being beaten, bullied and killed just because they are gay.

I read posts by people who live in the Philippines and I see they are where the USA was in the 1950s and 1960s. They are anti-gay unless you are a feminine man then it is okay. It is hard for me to stay silent when I read garbage like that because I know there is a young Pilipino  reading that post and hurting.

I don’t see discrimination as a conservative or liberal problem but as a humane problem that people don’t care who they hurt and attack.

I am secure enough in my masculinity that I don’t have to wear a sign around my neck proclaiming that I am gay but I am not shy about it either. I will NOT stand by when you tell a stupid/hateful gay joke or laugh at one. I will not stay silent when a gay person is discriminated against.

For over 25 years I have been working with teenagers who are HIV+ and/or have AIDS. They have been thrown out of their homes, bullied and beaten in school and they hear their church leaders condemning them and they are eventually on the streets prostituting themselves for a bite to eat, a floor to sleep on or a place to take a shower. They are abused by adults and tossed aside when finished with. They come to us to die and many do until I can’t stay silent, until I have no choice but to get political.

Our organization fights for clothes, beds, food but most of all life saving medicine that the USA sends overseas while their own citizens are deprived of the same and die in our arms.

No I won’t fight Democrat against Republican, conservative against liberal, the haves and the have nots but I will rail against all of them for not caring for children who are seen as disposable by them.

Posted December 1, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Marriage as practiced by opposite sexes is a failure. Even before people’s lives were extended 2-3 lifetimes marriage became a disposable part of modern day life. There is no more ‘for better or worse’, people are experiencing more than one marriage.

Something I have always liked about most, not all, gay people, well males at least, was their promiscuity. It was a major difference between gay and nongay males and defined, to me, what gay meant. Okay that’s for another discussion.

By law all people getting married have to have a license issued by the State but after that where does it say you have to have a wedding cake? Why not a candy bush? Why do you have to walk down the aisle? Can’t each walk around the room and meet at a certain wall? Why can’t the ‘best man’ be the one with the biggest penis and displays it? Come on, these are gay men and for many penis defines gay because without it would they be a gay man? How about ‘forever’ be for 10 years and every decade they have to get ‘remarried‘?

Yes I can see some of you behind the monitors shaking your head but does it make a difference what you do after you get that State license?

Shouldn’t we be doing everything to prevent the 50.02% divorce rate that nongays have? Obviously they are doing something wrong and if gays want to have a successful life, partnership, forever after together, they have to break the rules, which gays have always been good at.

Why aren’t we setting our own traditions? Say the couple give the guests gifts instead of the way it has always been? Why are we using the words such as husband and wife when we have imagination to come up with words that are special to the gay couple?

Let’s stand “marriage” on its head and revise what it has meant for years and had lead to failures for centuries.

Where is that gay couple strong enough, imaginative enough, trend setters, style and fashion setters, that can stand up and say that he is not my husband or wife but my—-? Who can come up with traditions that nongays haven’t owned, that gays can say we started them and, of course, now the nongays are copying us again?

Where are the smart, sharp, FAB-U-LOUS gays who can set the world on their heads by making legal coupling last and not end in divorce in 8.8 years? Come on out and tell us your suggestions!

Or are all stereotypes, clichés about gays just a myth?

By the way, it might take a month or two but it is on my list to write about and that is seeing a whole new conception of two people making their lives together successfully yet giving the nongay people their idea of marriage and gay people complete equality and status.

Last but not least, I have been basically talking about the laws and rules regarding ‘marriage’ in the USA–what are the advantages and disadvantages of getting ‘married’ in your country?

Posted September 12, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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This was going to be a 2 part series but it seems that people are misunderstanding what I want to say so I want to explain a little further and will break this part into 2 parts.

I am NOT against gay couplings! If two people of the same sex want to get together to express their love and/or to allow themselves the same and many legal benefits, including financial, that nongay couples get/have by getting a legal license that recognizes their status as a couple in the eyes of the law then I am all for that! What I am not for is calling it ‘marriage’, for following traditions that don’t seem to work.

If you only got a mark of 50% in school you wouldn’t graduate. If you only gave your boss 50% at work you would be fired. If you only paid 50% of your rent or your mortgage you would be thrown out of your home. Why are you willing to continue to follow a role model that is only successful 50% of the time? And that is why marriage as has been practiced for centuries needs a makeover and who can do it better than gay people? Aren’t they, stereotypically, the best at makeovers?

I don’t expect nongay people in miserable marriages to comment and talk about it. Yes it is nice to read about the success of opposite sex marriages but, again, this is not what this post is about. This is about correcting something that is wrong and making it better. I, personally think that those who are getting involved in same sex commitments for life can look at the mistakes that opposite sex attempts at commitment have made and show other ways to do it.

Let two members of the same sex get that legal license and instead of what has been tradition turn it on its head and set a new model for all—same and opposite sexes–to follow and maybe, just maybe, the divorce rate will fall among nongays and not happen among gays.

There are many reasons why gays want to get married. Being a romantic I would like to believe that all do it because they love each other and want to let the world know that it is about that love. I also think, possibly, in the USA it might be about the over 1,000 federal tax breaks they will get if the marriages are recognized by law. It also helps with Wills, estates, inheritances and many other legal aspects that unmarried people don’t get.

But let’s get back that it is done for love—ahhhhhhhh.

In part 1 I wrote about some of the traditions that nongay people go through when they get married and now let me explain why I don’t want gay ‘marriages’.

It has been said for as long as I can remember that gay people are imaginative, are leaders in fashions and styles, sets trends in music, dance an are ahead of the rest. Is that a false stereotype? Are we just as dull as nongays? Are we followers?

Posted September 11, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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‘COMING OUT’ AT THE AGE OF 12 IN 1948–BRAVE OR STUPID?   Leave a comment




“Wow, you came out in the 40’s. You must be a very brave and self-confident person.
I do know that would of been mostly unheard of. Though I think you must of had a better life than those who didn’t come out, in that you led an authentic life. I know you must of suffered in other ways though. I don’t know many people who would of been that brave.”

I received the above email from a new friend and it immediately set off a chain of thoughts. I have written about my coming out and teen years in my books “The Free Prisoner” and “Letting It All Hang Out” and as years go by—66 years now–I see those days as if it was happening today.

Brave? Or stupid? At 12-13 I really think it was stupid as I didn’t have to come out. I wasn’t ’effeminate’ or ’acted gay’ and I was a good looking kid and girls started to be ’interested’ in me and I know that was the road to deceit–and I did go down that road a couple of times which a few years later I was ashamed of doing and said ’never again’. In many ways that experience helped me understand why a gay man married and had a family–it was (and still is–sadly) a good way to hide.

Heck I wasn’t about to be bullied for either being a Jew (I lived in an Italian Catholic neighborhood—got to celebrate all the holidays!!) or being gay–luckily I lived in New York and was able to step by step discover the gay life in Manhattan and was mentored by many–and to gays today just want you to know we had a very gay life in the 40s and 50s though it was more secret (and in some ways more fun)–I learned in my teens to stand up for myself or my life would be Hell and I had enough problems at home (nothing to do with being gay) that I didn’t want them outside of home.

I did become an activist in my teens in many little ways until I reached 16, ‘divorced’ my family, went to live on my own, get a job, rent a room, pay bills and finish school but at the age of 20—1956–I really started to be active in the very small gay movement back then–never regretted it!

Brave? Possibly. Stupid? Definitely. Regretful? NOT AT ALL!


Posted January 20, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Wicked Manors 2013 in Wilton Manors, FL

Carrie Fowler
Michael Newlin
Join the gang from Mark’s List when South Florida’s favorite LGBT Halloween event returns to Wilton Drive on October 31, 2013. Don’t worry, you’ll find your zombie prince – This years theme is “Walking Dead on the Drive”! So many options, so little time. Whether you want to be a zombie princess or a ghostly ghoul, start planning your Wicked Manors Halloween costume today. The event will be bigger and better than ever with Halloween Costume contests and entertainment throughout Wilton Manors. As in past years Wilton Drive will be closed during the event. This year’s event is being brought to you by the City of Wilton Manors and The Pride CenteratEquality Park . The event will begin at 7:00 pm and will benefit the vital programs and services of The Pride Center. The always-entertaining Miss Misty Eyez will serve as hostess on the main stage throughout the evening. The event has been called Wicked Wilton and Manors Masquerade in recent years and returns to its Wicked Manors name this year.

This year’s Walking Dead on the Drive event includes 8 Costume Contests throughout the evening on the Main Stage. There will also be costume contest in the individual bars and nightclubs along the drive.
7:00 pm – Kid’s Costume
7:30 pm – Pet Costume
8:00 pm – Dead Celebrity Lookalike
8:30 pm – Best Sex Appeal
9:00 pm – Best Drag/Crossdressing
9:30 pm – Most Unique or Outrageous
10:00 pm – Best Group Costume
10:30 pm – Walking Dead Theme Costume Grand Prize
You may enter the contests by showing up to the Mainstage Contestant Area 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time listed above.
There will be a Contest Coordinator who will determine if your costume meets the criteria for the contest category you would like to enter. Winner of each contest will be determined by crowd applause level as deemed by the emcee.

Thriller Flash Mob

Be part of Wicked Manors history this year as a performer in the First Annual Wicked Manors THRILLER FLASH MOB! REGISTER USING THIS LINK to perform on the street at the Mainstage of Wicked Manors for thousands of costumed revelers!! We will be holding open rehearsals starting Saturday, October 19th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Pride Center at Equality Park. Please review the entire rehearsal schedule as we highly encourage you attend all of the rehearsals to get yourself prepared for this truly amazing experience! The THRILLER FLASH MOB will be performing at 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm at the Mainstage surrounded by literally thousands of costumed Halloween revelers! Other performances may be scheduled throughout the night so be prepared to SPONTANEOUSLY BURST INTO DANCE when you hear that classic MJ Halloween Hit!

Posted October 31, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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There is a distinct difference between cross dressers, drag queens and the neighbors who put a lamp shade on their head for Halloween. And neither catagory necessarily means the person is gay or has a sexual identity problem. I don’t profess to be an expert on any of these subjects though I have enjoyed Jim Bailey as Barbra Streisand in his one man show in Las Vegas. I am not a fan of ‘Dame Edna’ but I loved Charles Pierce and who didn’t laugh at Flip Wilson as Geraldine?

Since ancient days men have gone on stage dressed as women and the Shakespearean era was known for not allowing women on stage. There is an excellent movie starring Billy Crudup and Claire Danes with the latter playing female figures such as Desdemona on stage until the king decrees that women can do stage roles . There was also “Shakespeare in Love” where Gwyneth Paltrow had to play a young man auditioning for the role of Romeo. Who hasn’t laughed at Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag in “Some Like It Hot” or enjoyed Dustin Hoffman as “Tootsie”?

What does all this have to do with Halloween being a Gay holiday? What follows is MY experience and what I observed over the years. Now I haven’t been into a gay bar in years so I don’t know if this Halloween we will still see hundreds of Judy Garlands and Nuns but at one time both were a symbol of the holiday.

In the 1950s and 1960s many States had laws on the books–and some probably still do–that a man could not dress as a woman or he could be arrested. In fact I went to a number of bars, called the Bird Circuit, in New York where men where not allowed to touch each other. Some had dancing in a back room and if a bartender thought a customer looked suspicious, like a plainclothesman, he would flick the lights in the backroom from a switch under the bar and the men would immediately stop dancing.

Back then there were infamous drag balls in Harlem that were known far and wide attended by many socialites. The costumes were outrageous, each one more glamorous than the next one and though illegal it went on without a hitch. Dressing up in costume for Halloween became high art and some of the grandest balls were held that night.

I vaguely remember being in the Faision D’Or bar one Halloween sort of surprised by all the women who were in there–hey I was young back then–only to slowly became aware it was men. Living in New York drag shows were nothing new and in fact there was a nightclub that catered to tourists where the cast was all men dressed as women except for one woman dressed as a man. Yes even back then drag was an accepted form of entertainment.

I don’t remember the name of the bar on Miami Beach that was off LIncoln Road on Alton Road that in the early 1960s did drag revues and a few blocks south was the famous Jewel Box Revue that traveled all over the USA and would be nodded to by the character Paul in “A Chorus Line” in 1975.

There being drag in New York and Florida really didn’t surprise me but I was surprised to find a drag bar–don’t remember the name–in Memphis, Tennessee, when I moved there in 1969. I, also, remember the high caliber , finely polished drag show I saw in Sidney, Australia, a few years later where it was all live music including the singing but that’s another blog.

Halloween as a big gay holiday hit home to me when I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1979 and went to The Sandpiper nightclub that October 31. At that time we had 4 different gay magazines/bar guides/newspapers and the ‘Best Costume’ events were being held in every bar–gay or nongay–but the biggest awards/ prizes were in the gay bars. That was the night I thought the whole world was made up of Judy Garland!


Posted October 29, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Posted September 28, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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The  books I have had published in the past  tell most of my story so I won’t get into that aspect. I IDENTIFY, FIRST AND FOREMOST, AS A GAY MAN though many gay men don’t like that label as to who they are. I am many things: a Jew, a ‘Yankee’, a friend, a server, a writer, retired, volunteer, lover of Mother Nature, reader,  blogger, theatre and movie goer, gourmand, gourmet, etc., but all proceeded by GAY. It is who I am and proud to be and fought 66 years to be able to say/write that loud and clear.

I talk for myself and not for any other gay person though I use many as examples.

I have never wished that I was or wanted to be nongay. I don’t see gay as being any more, any less,  or even being, a burden than all human beings have to deal with.

I don’t, never did, need/want, anyone’s acceptance or approval or validation of who I am and how I live(d) my life.

I firmly believe that the only differences between a gay man and a nongay man is who they have sex with and how they approach sexuality, the former being much freer.

I admire and respect effeminate men and masculine woman more than I admire the so called masculine nongay jock who beats his wife and takes steroids to break records, as the former face being bashed and/or killed each time they step out of their home because of the way they talk, walk and act.

I would/will/do applaud the drag queens who are the first to march, the first to rebel, starting the Stonewall revolution, who, withut being asked will do and have done benefits for AIDS from day one or perform to raise money for gays in trouble, than I would admire/respect the nongay so called ‘butch’ man who tortures dogs. And, no, I have never wanted to be a woman–their life is way too hard!

I am thankful that my whole life I have looked for and found caring, loving friends, male and female, gay and nongay, who are there for me (as I am for them) whether I need them or not. As nongay people, gay people are choosy who they are friends with, discarding those who are negative and condemning a whole group of people because of a few. I see how some nongay people treat their ‘gay friends’–they all have one, don’t they?–and I wonder how little that gay person can think of themselves to be ‘friends’ with those hypocrites.

Though I am ‘straight acting, straight looking’–whatever that means–doesn’t make me any better or worse than than those who aren’t gay or nongay.

In many ways I suppose I fit the stereo type that many, gay and nongay, people apply to gays–I like Cher, Bette (both), Barbra, Diana, Broadway musicals and plays, torch songs, romantic movies not to forget that I do cry when I am moved and am not ashamed about it–but I don’t like Liza and I still have my gay card!

Like many gay men, not all, I love the fact that many of us are, as John Rechy called us, ‘Sexual Outlaws’. I believe in promiscuity, orgies, back rooms, baths and point to the fact that after 65 years of not following nongay standards I have been practicing safe and safer sex before it was even spoken of.

Though I don’t believe in the definition of marriage, as nongays define it for me, I will fight for those who want that piece of paper to show that they are as much as a couple as the nongay married couple are.

I will, and have fought, fight for ALL gays who are put down for being who they are. The only people I have no tolerance for are  people who are  homophobics who have nothing good at all to say about gay people and only spend their time putting them down. They are gay people’s worst enemy who fail to stop gay people from who they are and want to be and, not surprisingly, very vindictive, unhappy, unsuccessful people–just look at the nongay divorce rate. They try, and fail, to bring others down to their level not seeing the harm they are doing to future generations.

I have always been an independent person who has relied on myself to have a roof over my head and food in my stomach and, consequently, I have been able to help runaway/throwaway kids who have prostituted themselves on the streets to get a bite to eat, a place to shower or a bed to rest their head and have become HIV or have AIDS, in a safe environment. I do not believe you can ever repay those who have paved the way before you and have to, until my dying day, help those coming along after me. And some nongay people have to add a (false) sexual connotation to this and make it appear dirty–like their minds.

I have been called negative names by people who don’t know me and just have to laugh at them for stooping so low. And I won’t stand for gay or nongay people calling any gay person names or putting them down as that is not supporting those who may be hurting.

I am a proud and out gay man who wouldn’t choose, even if I could, any other life for me . And I salute any/all gay people who are proud of themselves, fight for others and just want the equal rights they deserve and earn and, as always, fighters get the respect they are honored with. I am also proud of nongay women (many) and men (few) who fight for gay people to get equal rights. (What are nongay men afraid of? That’s another blog!)

We have a diverse group of gay men (and women) here who may be different than me and want different things than I do but from the young (Matt) to the approaching middle age (sorry, AJ, Dale, Chris, Tim and Tom–couldn’t think of another term–don’t hate me!LOL) to the old men (Yes, talking about you Alfredo–and me–LOL) they are articulate, loving and care for human beings!

Someday I will understand what a nongay person means when they say a ‘gay lifestyle’–my lifestyle is no different than theirs–now my sex partners may be so is that what they mean? Why don’t they say so?

We don’t wear a sign saying, “I am gay” but we will stand up for other gays when they are being put down!



Posted September 9, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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