I’m “hoping” that when you read that you thought to yourself, “Yeah, so what’s the big deal”. We, as a society, are making strides to getting to that point but this story takes place in 1984 when we, most of us at least, had very different ideas. AIDS was still a new “mystery disease” for the most part and many considered it a “gay disease”. Some even thought, “They are getting what they deserve”. Being gay was not what it is quickly becoming today; acceptable. So when me and one of my best friends, Brian, were talking about moving out together he felt compelled to let me know he was gay. Or as he put it to me that day, “I have to tell you something. I’m a fag”. I remember smiling at him and saying, “No big deal. I kinda figured that. When do we move in together?”. It was all I really ever said about it.
Let me give you some background info. Brian and I had been good friends since 1981. We met through a mutual friend Don. Brian had a shaved head and a “tail” and loved Black Flag. All three of us would hang out during school and especially on the weekend. All minors, then and now, knew of that one place that would sell beer to minors. The first time I threw-up because of drinking too much was with Brian. We saw a ton of great bands together like: Minor Threat, Exploited, Discharge, Peter & the Test Tube Babies and many others. Brian quickly became a “core member” of my group. We all loved Brian as well as his family. His house became one of the spots we would hang out, drink, go swimming and have a great time. After a couple years our group of friends had all seen Brian pulling away from us. Not going to as many gigs, no longer dressing like a punk, etc… We all just assumed it was a new group of friends he had met in College or something. No big deal, we still hung out with him and had fun together just like always.
So it honestly was no big deal that Brian was gay. Our other friend (mine since 4th grade) Darren had also decided to move in with us. It all worked out great. Darren eventually moved out (I think we had to quick him out if I remember right) and Brian’s boyfriend; Al moved in. I have to admit that was a little weird for me but I got used to it. Brian used his punk rock “ethics” and became the president of a newly formed gay club at college. I remember coming home one night to a room full of gay men and one of them looking at me with my leather jacket on and spiky hair smiling and saying with lust in voice, “Wow, a punk rocker”. I just smiled and quickly made a beeline to my room!
Brian and I eventually lost touch. He moved out to Palm Springs [75+ miles away]. I hope he’s doing okay. My high school years wouldn’t have been the same without him. Here’s to hoping and striving towards that one day sooner than later we can all say “no big deal” to many of the differences that make us all unique.
*Pictures are some various photo’s of Brian, myself and other friends (1982-1984)