Back in 1992 I had been kicking around all week in San Francisco trying to make at least one, goddamn deal. And as I sat in some guy’s office at 5 PM on Friday afternoon while he told me he just couldn’t buy any of the lousy junk bonds I was selling, the last thing I wanted to do was go back to the Hollywood Hilton and eat another one of those dinner meals that tasted like it should be served on a plane.
Remember the great David Sedaris story when he’s given the choice of a chicken dinner or a plate of warm dog shit with chipped glass? That was my choice on every American Airlines flight between New York and LA.
So, as I was winding up yet another useless sales meeting, I asked the customer if there was some restaurant in town where I could eat like a home-cooked meal.
“I know just the place,” he said, “but it’s not a restaurant. It’s the gay and lesbian synagogue in Castro. They have a Friday night service and then a pot-luck spread. Everyone tries to outcook everyone else – you won’t believe how good.”
Several hours later I found myself sitting down in a back row at the gay and lesbian synagogue where the rabbi, or someone who said he was a rabbi, gave a sermon on the Leviticus passage that condemns homosexuality in the most angry and uncompromising terms. And the point of the sermon was something to the effect that ‘Leviticus was then, and this is now, and let’s all go into the room next door and eat to our heart’s content.’ Fine.
I must say, the food was marvelous, the California vintages divine. You made a donation, you didn’t make a donation, nobody cared.
At some point while I was standing there trying to decide whether to eat another helping of beef bourguignon, a guy around my age (I was 48) came up to me, said ‘hello’ and obviously wanted to see if perhaps I was someone with whom he could spend some time.
I quickly made it clear that I hadn’t come to the synagogue to make any friends, but we started to chat because I could tell from his accent that he was a transplanted New Yorker.
Turned out he came from a religious family in Brooklyn and by the time he was in his teens he knew he was and would always be gay. He kept his orientation secret from his family and his co-workers, but finally decided he had no choice but to move to San Francisco where he could live the life he wanted to live.
Once a year he would go back to Brooklyn, usually for the High Holy Days, play the gay bachelor role and then return to the Castro neighborhood to lead his real life.
I asked him how he felt giving up family, friends, and everything he had been raised with to lead a gay lifestyle and he said, “It was the best decision of my entire life.”
This conversation took place thirty years ago. I can’t imagine having a conversation like that with a gay man or woman today.
How many millions of men and women had to hide whom they were back in those days? How many people spent their entire lives pretending to be someone other than whom they really wanted to be?
So now we have the POS/GOP in Texas so desperate to keep control in November that they just issued a statement declaring that homosexuality is ‘abnormal’ and opposing all efforts to ‘validate transgender identity,’ whatever the fuck that means.
Good. I hope other state POS/GOP groups follow the Texas lead. Let’s hope that Trump chimes in too. Maybe the POS/GOP shitheads in Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Josh Hawley can introduce a Constitutional amendment that will say the same thing.
And while they’re at it, why not a Constitutional amendment that reverses the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery in 1865? Ted Cruz can introduce it today as a fitting way for the POS/GOP to celebrate Juneteenth.
I’ll take the culture war over the war in Ukraine any time. The diversity and tolerance that has grown over the last thirty years in this country isn’t going to be stopped or slowed down just because every two years some political yahoos use such nonsense to scare up a few votes.
Most Americans are much bigger than that.