What do you Think of When I Say "Gay"?

Elena and I went to Canada to get married. It was still illegal in the state of New York, and even though the gay marriage law has since passed here, it isn’t embraced on a federal level. So we still would have gone to Canada, where gay marriage is legal everywhere in the country.

The general tone of Toronto is so respectful and kind. Civil. Going the extra mile. And we as a couple were received truly like any snuggly pair of honeymooners, with indulgent smiles and complimentary proseccos. We were in heaven. Our wedding day happened to land during the week before their big Pride celebration—and everyone encouraged us to go to “Gay Village” (a part of Toronto reserved for people like us). We were so psyched. Couldn’t wait to go be with our peeps. I mean, it’s wonderful to be in a crowd of straight people who all completely accept you for who you are, but it’s a-whole-nother kind of wonderful when you and your kind are in the majority.

So up we troop to Gay Village where the street signs are permanent rainbow signs—not just for Pride Week. Within a couple minutes, though, our hearts began to sink. It was a 98% male population. I think we may have seen maybe one or two female couples there. Otherwise, it was groups of men lounging around, ogling each other, the air thick with sexual opportunism, posters on telephone poles advertising “SODOM: Toronto’s Decadent Dance Party—at GoodHandy’s. Doors unbolted at 10pm”

I applaud a country that allows freedom of expression, and I am glad for my friends who are into it that they can freely engage in this life—but why does it have to be the predominant symbol for gay people? Maybe it isn’t, and maybe someone will offer their perspective to enrich this conversation. I’m just saying that this wasn’t my first experience of being in the “gay” part of town, and still feeling left out. Everyone said, “Go to Key West. 90% gay population there.” Well, yes and no. 90% gay male population there, the rest were straight. I’m so sick of this. I’m told we need to visit Provincetown, which we will do someday. The prevailing impression is that it’s a strongly lesbian town. Hopefully not the big, mean, butch, tattooed, truck-driving, cigar-smoking, scary kind (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”). But just people like us.

Good thing I love being home with my wife. We garden, she cooks, I quilt, we walk our dog, go biking or kayaking, or we watch a Yankees game, or back in the day, “The West Wing,” or “The Sopranos” or “Friday Night Lights.” I don’t need to go to P-town really. But maybe someday it would be fun.