The Gay Man’s Camp Guide To Cancer
As seen through the Jazz of Jared Bruce
A gay RANT and dramedy based on life’s most un-gay issues. The health issues of the masses affects us too. Seems more in the gay community that sarcasm and gay black humor become a defense for our life style vulnerabilities. A way to even the attitude fields. We are most often harder on ourselves and those like us. Though I don’t truly understand the curt assaults we attach to our lives as gay men, I too fall victim to the habit. Must be a training tactic for the next confrontation from the so called “normal” world? Whatever the reason for making light of serious situations I find comfort in the familiar pattern.
A true story for the rest of us. You know, those of us left behind? The ones that did not die in the first AIDS wave of the early 1980’s. Those of us who watched our immediate peer group dwindle and die with sometimes little or no notice. The ones who shuttered at every body bump and fever for fear of our own demise. The gay community left behind to attend to the sick and dying. We hoped for a cure and assured the afflicted there would be answers, so just hold on . The ones that attended four AIDS funerals in one week. We lived through the early epidemic denial. We shuddered at the closed caskets and false eulogies. We wondered if the funeral home would even pick up the next victim. We found our way to lovers and homes and locked our doors. When we did venture out it was only with Trojans and dental dams.
Rarely these days a gay publication does not have some new AIDS cocktail on the cover. A new celebrity gay related outing or affliction. And yet, little is known about the rest of us? We who survived, either by luck or lack of the old bath house ways. Those of us who somehow found safety in a more mundane repetitive life style. We surrounded ourselves with extended gay families as our local communities shrank. Intimate gatherings replaced the great afternoon tea dance and Friday beer bust. Some of us paired off and copied with flair the hunt and gather nesting of same age hetero’s of the time. We some how survived the great plague and wake up now in or around our fifties, with pot bellies and health issues of a more boring nature. In this case it was cancer. A twenty year gay household with two cancers within nine months. Just plain old everyday, cancer. Sort of lacks that gay drama, but just as lethal. We made it in spite of our lifestyle. We now cope with the trauma as anyone, straight , gay or other. Just CANCER.