MC PEAKE GIVES OUT SOME REASONS Why and how it begins a Paths of Courage quest
Everyone talks about a new year with new beginnings, and this is what everyone hopes for.
Personally, I had a very hard year in 2015. I lost much of my life savings in bad investments. I returned just a few months ago to the USA with my personal belongings and my two Americans dogs, and two adopted cats from my 5 year seclusion in Puerto Rico back to Pennsylvania, USA.
For some it sounds exciting! You are living on the island of Puerto Rico, owning a Philly Cheese Steak shop on the beach. Yet, what with a few good times I enjoyed; it didn't replace the financial lost of an old gay man's retirement fund.
A hardship that not only was of loosing money from the store; but me personally I went through a mental change.
At 62 being alone, I wasn't often questioned about my sexuality, I kept busy working, made a few friends, and continued to pray to God at the local Catholic Church. Since I hadn't had a sex life in the past 5 years, I actually considered myself non-sexual.
I wish to share with you how I was put in my place, a reality check by God. I was educated on a variety of religions, attended services, and learned their beliefs about God, Americans and gay people.
Having come from the life of being a big time gay night club owner, with being in the limelight of a progressive gay city like Philadelphia, moving was challenging. I earned good money, lived in a nice suburbia farm house, had a bf/room-mate(?).
My life bf/roommate of 8 years did not want to leave the country when I retired from the 40 years of managing and owning gay nightclubs.
He bid me farewell. His choice made my "moving decision" more emotionally heavy, since I really believed at the last moment I would not move alone.
Yet the stress of the gay world and being a professional homosexual for the past 40 years had played a toll on me. I was exhausted and burned out with life and death.
In the new location no person would know me, I would get looked at as a 62 year old retired "gringo" (American) in Puerto Rico trying to do a 'gringo' store in their country. After all, I was not moving to the famous city of San Juan which actually had two gay clubs but to the outskirt area of country side and the Rain Forest. It is here most gay American tourists frequent
I learned over time that outside of San Juan the country struggle is unlike what you can imagine. Jobs were scarce, many people spoke no English and their income was 60% less than that of middle class Americans. The gay culture was no accepted to most.
I came to understand those locals who remained on the island to live, reached deep into their souls and faith so their family could survive. Since Puerto Ricans were considered American citizens theirs was a freedom choice to move and to live in the USA in a different culture.
When the corrupt politicians were reaching the bottom of the pot from stealing the money of the people. The country spiral into the worst economy in its history.
Those educated or who had some money or young students who were fortunate to conquer the English language and attitude; they moved to the USA for the challenge and a better chance of survival.
The remainders of the young and old who were forced to continue to live on the island became students of the American ''free'' system for getting aid, food stamps, welfare, social security disability, and anything they could; in order to try surviving and live similar to Americans.
Not only did my living situation change but so did my mental state.
Now existing was a new culture. The island only had the name of being a USA territory and the bottom line was the only common denominator was the American Dollar of currency. Is there no gay life outside of San Juan?
I saw a classes of people in forms of poverty different from the Americans. I saw a people lost, who were living day by day, a continual look of sadness in their eyes, and mask of hope and lots of people still loving God.
I met gay people young and old, acting differently, some open, some from the USA cities who returned to their homeland. others were gay men living openly in San Juan. Exposure locally of gay people was by radar at first, soon I learned of an underground community of gay men.
I will share with you the different attitudes of straights and openly flamboyant gay teen kids who had no fear.
Yet with all the straight and gay, the many people on the island, those in the small towns and mountains still held this unbelievable hope that God would be there for them
Wow, how strong they are, yet me, I have no fluid speaking Spanish, my money became scarce, and I wanted to be the real me, I was getting lonely, and I didn't real feel local or accepted; especially if my background was completely known.
Yes as in every society, here where I was living on the island, where homosexuality was stuffed into a big box with many labels.
When I first arrived I read of a teenage gay boy who like Matthew Sheppard was beaten and killed, hung from a fence in the rain forest because he was gay.
Hmm.. like some American Christians many here also project hate towards gays and get away with it.