None of us in the gay community will ever forget the week of July 4th.
Independence Day fell on a Wednesday, and on the Monday before, the newly re-constructed Supreme Court ruled the Obergefell v Hodges decision that legalized gay marriage was unconstitutional.
Needless to say, my husband Andrew and I, along with more than 400,000 other married, same-sex couples had little to celebrate. In fact, a shock-wave of confusion, uncertainty and a bone-chilling fear swept through gay communities thru-out the country.
And then came the coup de grace: On the Friday following Independence Day, ‘The Freedom of Religion Act’ was passed by both the House and Senate and immediately signed by the President.
The simple language of the bill is clear in its meaning, and quite terrifying when you consider the implications: “No law shall be passed to subvert, or repress the right of the people to exercise their strongly held Christian beliefs.”
Not only does it mean LGBT people can now be openly discriminated against, but the language also targets any and all non-Christians living in the country. It is a not-so-thinly disguised attempt to insure whatever actions are undertaken against Muslims or any other religion in the country will be perfectly legal.
In short, employees of every business, or government agency can now legally deny to provide goods or services to anyone they feel violates their “strongly held Christian beliefs.”
That night we packed our local gay bar, ‘Two Lips,’ and drank our sorrows away while discussing what these two events meant for us.
It was a somber evening as we sat and drank. It was really a lesbian bar, but it was close to home, and the women viewed us simply as minor annoyances.
No one was under any illusions that our lives would remain the same. The question going forward was how do we protest these extreme injustices? Should we immediately take to the streets and make our voices heard, or should we wait and see how this will play out?
We didn’t have long to wait. The final blow to our freedom took place the following week with the passage of “The Homeland Terrorism Prevention Act.”
The ‘HTPA’ gave law enforcement broad-reaching, and unprecedented power to “arrest and detain anyone suspected of terroristic or un-American activities.”
The television talking heads and pundits all concluded that because of the language contained in the bill, gay people would now fall under the ‘un-American’ provision.
They also surmised that with a strong conservative majority on the Supreme Court, not to mention both the Senate and House, there would be no chance of the bill being repealed or declared unconstitutional.
That was it – we were screwed. We felt the repercussions almost immediately.
The following week Andrew was demoted from his well-paying IT position for violating the newly inserted “moral turpitude” clause in the company handbook. He was devastated. He had worked his fingers to the bone for ten-years to earn his position.
When he complained it was unfair and simply wrong; he was told by his long-time boss, and someone we thought was our friend: “Too bad you choose to live in depravity, you’re breaking the law now!”
He was told he could stay on as a programmer – the same position he had been hired for ten-years earlier.
Andrew said to him: “Jerry, you know me, I am the best man you have working here…you and Gina have been to my house for dinner…we are more than just co-workers…this isn’t right and you know it!”
“You know, Andrew, we have tolerated your perversions for a long time…well, it’s a new day in this country,” fired back his boss.
“WE?” asked my husband.
“Yes, good Christians like myself and Gina are tired of having your deviant lifestyle crammed down our throats…we don’t have to put up with it any longer…good Christians and people of faith can finally stand up for what WE believe in…WE are going to make America great again!”
Needless to say, my proud husband stormed out of there and joined the swelling ranks of the LGBT community who were now unemployed.
The following week, it was my turn to feel the crushing hammer-blow-of-injustice.
I’ve been a server at an Italian chain restaurant for three-years. I am good at my job, and popular with the customers. Good service with smiles and laughter.
I didn’t think anything of it when my boss said there would be a pre-shift meeting the next day, and I would have to go to work earlier than usual. Those meetings are quite common in the business.
However, when I arrived, I was told the meeting was in the bosses office, and that made me suspicious because the pre-shifter’s were usually held inside the restaurant.
When I went into his office a lump formed in my throat, and my heart began racing. The only employees in the office were those of us who were openly gay. Two bussers and three of us servers.
Our boss stared at papers on his desk the whole time he spoke.
“You know guys, the five of you are up there among my casino oyna best workers, I have nothing but praise for way you all have performed your duties…”
My heart sank because I knew what the next word out of his mouth would be.
“BUT…you guys are bright, you know what’s going on in this country…well, corporate has decided because of the prevailing attitudes now, they cannot afford to have gay people working for them any longer – I personally like you guys, but Christians are beginning to boycott businesses that hire gays…I am sorry guys, but I have to let you go…thanks for your work, and, uh, good luck to all of you!”
There it was. In less than a week, Andrew’s and my worlds turned upside down from comfy and cozy to chaos, panic and fear. We had car payments, a mortgage payment on the house, and no job prospects on the horizon.
In fact, there were times we were too afraid to leave the house because reports and rumors of outright beatings and bashings swirled through the gay community like a category five tornado.
Now Andrew and I are not flashy people. We’re very low key. We have never flaunted our sexuality. Many of our friends and co-workers never suspected we were gay. We didn’t purposely hide that fact from anyone, it’s just the way we are.
We thought maybe that will work in our favor. Because of all the firings of LGBT people, there were suddenly many job openings throughout the city. Businesses were caught unprepared; they shouldn’t have been. It’s an established fact that at least ten percent of the population is born gay. In the USA alone, that would mean well over thirty-million workers and consumers. Businesses NEED us.
With that thought in mind, Andrew and I scoured job sites online and in the newspapers. The number of openings appeared too good to be true. He applied online at a Tech company across town. I found a locally owned steakhouse looking for servers. Coincidentally, we ended up with job interviews on the same day.
I arrived at my interview wearing a nice dress shirt, slacks and polished shoes. I checked the mirror in the entryway as I passed by.
I thought, “Okay, good, you don’t LOOK gay!”
I instantly felt a little guilty for thinking that way.
I was led to a small room outside the owners office in back and filled out the application and waited. There were three other applicants ahead of me. None of whom appeared gay (oh my God, there I go again!).
When he called me into his office, I sat across from him at a big desk.
I studied him while he looked my application. I guessed him to be in his fifties; balding; not fat, but not skinny either. I was sure he ate his fill of his own steaks and potatoes.
“Ah, William, do you go by William or Bill?” he asked me.
“I prefer William,” I said. Andrew is the only one who calls me ‘Billy.’
“You look so young it’s hard to believe you’ve been a server for four years,” he said.
“Yes, I began in high school and, well, the money was so good I thought I would postpone going to college and be a server awhile longer,” I answered.
He banged on the keys of his desktop computer so loud and awkward, I had to smile to myself.
He returned to my application and asked me, “So why did you leave your last job?”
I had prepared for this question in the car.
“Well, sir, business was slowing down at the restaurant, and we all knew there would be layoffs…I volunteered because there were so many servers much older than me, I figured it would be easier for me to find another job than them.”
“Very magnanimous of you,” he said.
I immediately wondered if that was sarcasm. He banged on the keyboard again and studied the screen.
When he stared at me the intensity of his gaze sent a slight chill up my spine. He suddenly stood and pushed back his chair.
“Well, boy, you sure are a pretty little thing…” he said softly.
Huh? What does he mean by that?
Then he did something that made the hairs on my neck stand straight.
He openly, and deliberately reached for the zipper of his slacks and slowly lowered it.
He chuckled at the astonishment on my face.
“I guess you didn’t know you’ve been flagged on the government watch-list…it says here you’re a queer-boy…is that right?” he said with an odd smile.
I flushed a deep red and stammered, “Huh? What? Uh, no, I, uh, that can’t be right!”
“Son, all employers are now required to report deviant behavior to the government…when you got fired from your last job, your boss entered your name and social security number into the system…you are on the ‘un-American/terrorist’ watch-list…you won’t even be able to find work scooping dog-shit!”
Dumbfounded, my eyes grew wide as I watched him reach into his slacks and extract his flaccid penis.
“Boy, I don’t give a god-damn if you’re queer or not as long as you do a good job for me…but because you ARE a faggot, you’ll have one more responsibility…who knows, maybe you’ll look at it as a perk! Anyway, whenever I say so, you canlı casino will come back here and suck me off…remember, boy, you’re on the watch-list now, you’ll never find a job as good as this one ever again…so what’s it going to be, pretty boy, are you going to stomp out of here in a hissy-fit, or are you going to be smart, and come over here and get on your knees?”
I was cooking dinner when Andrew came home.
“Hey, honey,” I called out. “How did it go?”
My heart sank when I turned and saw the crestfallen expression on his face. He was white as a ghost. When he smoothed his hair I saw his hand trembling.
“Oh my God, what happened?” I asked as I went to him and we hugged and kissed.
“Billy, this is terrible – horrible…it’s going to be worse than I imagined!” he said.
“What? What is it?” I asked feeling his panic and despair.
“I’m on a government watch-list – employers are giving the government our personal information…when I was let go, my damn boss gave them my name and social, and told them I am gay!” he said.
“Oh my hell – that’s not right!” I said.
“Billy, I’ll never get a job in my field again…what are we going to do?” he asked.
“We’ll think of something…we’ll get through this!” I said with as much confidence as I could muster.
“Billy, we’re going to have to move…we’ll need to sell one of the cars…I’ve never been this scared in my life!” he said.
“Honey, we’ll get through this,” I said even though the fear I saw in his eyes frightened the hell out of me.
“Sweetie, how about you? How did your interview go?” he asked.
I forced a smile to my face and excitedly said, “I got the job! I hear a good server can make 200-300 a night there…we won’t go broke…you’ll find something too, honey, I just know it!”
When Andrew left to change clothes, I returned to the stove. My stomach was twisted in knots. I had never felt such gut-wrenching fear and overpowering sadness.
Despite expressing confidence with Andrew, I really felt like he did: life was going to take a truly ugly and horrible turn for the worse.
After a month of working at the steakhouse, I wasn’t feeling much better about our predicament.
Business wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I was averaging only $175 a-night in tips, but at least, Earl the Owner had only used my mouth twice-a-week.
Sure I felt degraded every time I went to my knees, but I have to be pragmatic, mine was the only money coming into our household.
Andrew became a physical fitness addict. He went to the gay gym where we belong, and obsessively worked out 3 or 4 or even 5 hours a day.
His body was becoming so hard and firm, I couldn’t wait to go to bed each night where he’d rule me and have me give him at least three orgasms. Our lovemaking became tireless bouts of exhilarating pleasure and out of this world orgasms.
Yes, sex is great, AND it also takes our minds off the problems in our lives.
One night was so slow the boss sent me home three-hours earlier than usual.
Outside of the house, I heard music blaring inside. I walked in and OH MY HELL – there was Andrew dancing wildly before the living room mirror wearing only thong underwear!
He didn’t hear me come in and continued moving to the music. My heart began pounding watching his perfectly sculpted chest and his spectacular manly buttocks making lewd and obscene gyrations before the mirror.
I sprang an instant boner and decided to go along and simply watch the ‘show’ until he noticed I was home.
Damn, he’s good, I thought. I always figured he didn’t know how to dance.
It shocked me because he would never dance with me in public. He was an introvert, and had difficulty expressing himself in front of others.
The glistening sheen of perspiration covering his body told me he’d been dancing quite awhile. My breathing became labored. My heart beat faster and faster; even the pressure in my balls became uncomfortable.
Oh my hell, his dancing was making me hornier than ever. Staring at his luscious body caused me to reach down and give my erection a squeeze thru my slacks.
He began to do slow, lust-grinding movements with his hips and – OH MY HELL – his wonderful cock began to push out the thong until it was totally hard and straining, poking-out the thin fabric until I thought for sure his cock would burst thru the underwear.
I thought ‘to hell with it’ and opened my slacks, pushed them and my briefs downward, and found my throbbing prick and stroked it in time with his movements.
How lucky am I that gorgeous hunk of meat is my loving husband?
Suddenly, and totally unexpected, Andrew grasped the thong with both hands and ripped it to shreds. He was now naked with a beautiful erection jutting straight out, still slowly gyrating before the mirror.
I audibly gasped when he took his cock in hand and began stroking it.
He heard me. His eyes darted to mine and we awkwardly stood with our dicks in hand.
His face kaçak casino turned a bright red and he began to mumble something but I interrupted and said, “Don’t stop – you are SOOO-HOT…keep going…pleeeeeezzzzzzzzz…..”
And we both furiously masturbated while gazing into each others eyes.
Once we’d cleaned up our mess, he slipped into boxers and me my string, bikini briefs and sat on the sofa for a talk. He wanted to explain himself.
“Honey, that’s not necessary,” I told him. “I know being out of work is making you crazy, and you’re unsure of what is going to happen to us…”
I smiled then added: “…but let me tell you, that was one, hot and wild dance…I’m glad you found an outlet for your frustration!”
The tenseness he’d been feeling left his body. He even flashed me that beautiful smile of his.
“Sweetie,” he began, “do you remember Mike the Greek from the gym?”
“Yes, nice guy…and hunky like you,” I said with a chuckle.
“Yes he is,” he said laughing along with me. “Anyway, he called me today, his uncle owns ‘The Parthenon,’ you know, the new development on the other side of the city…well, Mike runs the place for his uncle, and he wants me to, uh, interview with him tomorrow, isn’t that great?”
My first reaction was: “That’s like an hour-and-a-half from here! Do you want to commute that far every day?”
Then I remembered what kind of business it was.
“That’s a gay bar and nightclub, isn’t it? Is there enough tech work for you to do there?”
Oh my, Andrew blushed again. What is going on here? I wondered.
Andrew took a deep breath then said, “Billy, it’s been a long time since you’ve been there…it’s a large community now…not only are there gay bars and restaurants, but they have condos all around, different stores even a huge grocery store, anyway, Mike says I could make a lot more money as a ‘performer’ than as an IT person…”
He saw the surprise register on my face and added, “I’ve been practicing every night for a week…what do you think? Do you think I’d be any good at it?”
“Well, uh, I, uh…” I stuttered. I was having a hard time picturing him on a stage, dancing like he did for a roomful of horny old men.
“Honey, you got ME all hot and bothered…I think you’d be great at it…but is it something you would be happy doing?” I asked.
“I don’t know…it feels pretty good when I practice, but I don’t know if I can do it in front of a lot of people,” he said.
And then he added: “It sure excites me thinking about it though…I mean, there I am dancing under the spotlights, showing off my body, with the sole intention of giving a roomful of men hard-ons…now that’s hot, don’t you think?”
I laughed with him and replied, “Yes, that IS hot, but honey, what about the drive every day? And have you totally given up on finding work in your specialty?”
He took my hand in his and said, “Sweetie, it’s time to face reality…no, I haven’t given up – I may be able to find tech work there, too, but for now, I would like to try this – I want to bring in money like you do…I don’t want to live off your earnings for whoever knows how long!”
“But the drive…we’ll hardly ever see each other!” I said.
His face brightened and he said, “Sweetie, here’s the best part: Mike said he can get you a server’s job in one of the bars or restaurants, whatever you want to do! Not only that, but there are rental condo’s where we can live…we could practically walk to work!”
“Well, that would be nice,” I said; not mentioning to him it would be fantastic not having to blow Earl anymore. I never did tell Andrew how I got my job in the first place.
He suddenly became serious. “Billy, I know you’ve been following the news and you’ve seen what’s going on across the country…how it’s become ‘open season’ on gays and Muslims…I think we should move there out of self-preservation – for our own safety!”
I solemnly nodded my head.
He was right. Every day seemed to become more violent than the previous day. Gays and Muslims were not only being persecuted, but physically attacked in large numbers.
Worst of all, police were rounding up gay people ‘”for their own good” and sending them to “safety camps” – it was outrageous but mass hysteria seemed to be sweeping the nation…once normal and rational citizens, good Christians believed the government lies and thought locking away an entire group of people “for their own good” was sound public policy.
The more I thought about his idea the more I liked it.
We were now living in a whole new country. Far right-wing politicians controlled every aspect of government, and they were enacting strict and authoritarian laws which affected every low wage earner, as well as the entire middle class…and there was no predicting how bad it would get before the country regained its sense of decency.
“Do you think we’ll be able to sell the house?” I asked him.
He ruefully smiled and said, “Sweetie, we have very little equity in this house, and the way it is nowadays, I think it will be extremely difficult to sell it. The middle class is getting squeezed hard by the politicians; no one is buying right now…I say we simply walk away from it and let the goddamn bank take it back!”