Gays that lived in the era Post-Stonewall and Pre-AIDS epidemic, was it really as awesome as it looked?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 21, 2014 2:16 PM GMT
    I don't know, I see things about the Castro and Greenwich Village in the 70's and all the free love, disco queen shit and I wish I lived in that era..I know we tend to idealize history and get nostalgic (I have an old relative that told me that when he lived in Haight-Ashbury 65-79 it was about 5% peace flowers and LSD 95% speed-freak psychos and the zodiac killer etc)

    What was it like, are modern gays missing out?
    Even though it's not a death sentence, AIDS is still really scary and if it didn't exist I would probably be a lot more...adventurous...bath houses and the like icon_razz.gif
    Also, now SF and the gay areas of NYC (Chelsea and the Village) are so expensive that you have to be wealthy and established to be in the middle of it all. Where it seems like back then some poor queen from Omaha could hop on a bus and live on Castro Street..
    Is my jealousy for your generation unfounded? Also, I know that all the fun had was negated by the epidemic in 80s but still i would've loved to have been in the Castro in 1972 or something. Also, vintage porn is sooo much better.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 21, 2014 2:44 PM GMT
    the pre aids epidemic would have been awesome.

    keep in mind the flower power was for the hetro population. Then compared to now there is more general acceptance of gay men. The other day I saw a couple holding hands at the mall, no one made anything of it. At minim they would be asked to leave back in the 70's.


    All the long hair men from the 70's now are 2x overweight, drive 5,000 pound land boats and voted straight republican since Reagan. I dont know how the hippie generation's opinions shifted so much but i bet only a tiny small part of the general population was liberal thinking. The other 90% just had long hair, hair is easy to grow.
    The media blew it up, like now, to sell a story.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 21, 2014 2:50 PM GMT
    pellaz saidthe pre aids epidemic would have been awesome.

    keep in mind the flower power was for the hetro population. Then compared to now there is more general acceptance of gay men. The other day I saw a couple holding hands at the mall, no one made anything of it. At minim they would be asked to leave back in the 70's.


    All the long hair men from the 70's now are 2x overweight, drive 5,000 pound land boats and voted straight republican since Reagan. I dont know how the hippie generation's opinions shifted so much but i bet only a tiny small part of the general population was liberal thinking. The other 90% just had long hair, hair is easy to grow.
    The media blew it up, like now, to sell a story.



    Yeah, I know...the 60s flower power and free love thing did open the door for the gays in the 70s by basically encouraging people to be more open sexually.

    And yeah there's more general acceptance now and gays are more "normal" and we are still fighting for certain things. But all in all, life for western (euro and North American) gays is liveable.

    Back then, we were fighting against being put in jails and mental institutions for fucking. And we lived in our own self sufficient communities like the Castro, whereas now there are gays spread out and the old gay villages are just bar districts and tourist attractions. I think it would be pretty amazing to live in a community of all gay guys, fighting the "man" for the right to just live basically, with nothing to worry about sexually besides the clap...which could be cured by a pill.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 21, 2014 9:35 PM GMT
    In the USA the 70s were great if you were gay in SF or NYC. Everywhere else - not so much. AIDS notwithstanding, things are MUCH better today.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 21, 2014 9:51 PM GMT
    From the perspective of being able to easily have lots of random anonymous sex, yes it was.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 12:51 AM GMT
    It had its pluses. It had its minuses. Read the novel "Dancer from the Dance".
  • 5100s

    Posts: 188

    Oct 22, 2014 12:58 AM GMT
    I guess I qualify. I lived in Chicago in 1977 and in early July of that year I went to my first gay bar, Le Pub at Clark and Armitage.

    The late 1970s were good years--dancing at the Bistro, shopping at Bonwit Teller's at the Hancock, and fooling around with handsome men at the Second Story Emporium at Diversey and Broadway.

    In August of 1980 I moved downstate to Champaign to go back to school. In August of 1981 my best friend came back to Champaign from a summer in New York City and talked about the New York Times article and the new sickness. The world I knew in the late 1970s is now like Versailles before the French Revolution and if you didn't live then you probably can't imagine or understand it.

    I live very much in the present, but all in all I think the 1970s were better. I also respect the opinion of those who think differently.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 1:50 AM GMT
    5100s saidI live very much in the present, but all in all I think the 1970s were better.

    The current prudish Victorian attitudes are unfortunate, but understandable.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 1:55 AM GMT
    At the end of the 70's I was an undergrad down the peninsula from San Francisco. We had a fair number of gay people on campus, but S.F. was 'the City' to us and we all had our fun there. There were a number of dance bars with all kinds of great looking guys, from all over the Bay Area. We were like kids in a candy store. With our fake i.d.'s and buffed, athletic bods, we got past every doorman and into any club we wanted to go to. We dressed up to go out prowling for men back then. We wore muscle shirts and form fitted pants (lots of black) and black shoes. Our hair was all freshly washed and blown dry - kind of long (like in one of my photos in my profile). Those of us playing H2o-polo or on the swim team, usually left the chlorine in our hair to be blonder.

    We thought we were God's gift to men - and we liked them older - in their late 20's, 30's & ever early '40s sometimes. The Joy of Gay Sex had recently come out, and we read it. We had our fun on weekends and rarely ever went home empty handed. "Your place or mine?" was the only question. Condoms were for breeders. Anything you might catch could be taken care of with a shot, and most of my buddies never caught anything. The late 70's & early '80s were our halcyon years.

    51NicPXk%2B9L._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arro
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 2:38 AM GMT
    I can't comment on what it was like to be gay in the 70's, but in general I think things were much less serious and conformist than they are today. People really believed in individuality and ideals, and that the world would continue to get better. Today those ideas have been largely co-opted for money-making or political purposes. And of course popular culture was much better back then. The 1970's was a golden age of American cinema and popular music was exploding with so many choices and styles. The music industry today is dead for all intents and purposes, and the movie industry has lost most of its artistic credibility.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 9:44 AM GMT
    I went to my first gay pub in the 70's, the Woolshed bar under the Australian Hotel on Collins St, Melbourne; well under age. I also experienced free love,, as a way of life, and never paid the price that so many did. I think we take so much for granted nowadays.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 9:56 AM GMT
    sf_swimmer saidI can't comment on what it was like to be gay in the 70's, but in general I think things were much less serious and conformist than they are today. People really believed in individuality and ideals, and that the world would continue to get better. Today those ideas have been largely co-opted for money-making or political purposes. And of course popular culture was much better back then. The 1970's was a golden age of American cinema and popular music was exploding with so many choices and styles. The music industry today is dead for all intents and purposes, and the movie industry has lost most of its artistic credibility.


    Then the GLBT was created shoving many different tribes under the one teepee, thus taking away the individuality of us Bona Fide homosexuals.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 9:57 AM GMT
    sf_swimmer saidI can't comment on what it was like to be gay in the 70's, but in general I think things were much less serious and conformist than they are today. People really believed in individuality and ideals, and that the world would continue to get better. Today those ideas have been largely co-opted for money-making or political purposes. And of course popular culture was much better back then. The 1970's was a golden age of American cinema and popular music was exploding with so many choices and styles. The music industry today is dead for all intents and purposes, and the movie industry has lost most of its artistic credibility.


    Then the GLBT was created shoving many different tribes under the one teepee, thus taking away the individuality of us Bona Fide Homosexuals. icon_confused.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 22, 2014 6:04 PM GMT
    justin_pal saidRead the novel "Dancer from the Dance".

    I only vaguely remember that book; what I remember is that the first half or so I liked but then later on it went downhill and became alternately boring or sad/depressing (for me at least).

    For the sexual side with all of the sleaze, nothing beats the books by Boyd McDonald. They were written well before the internet. He'd get guys to write him telling him of their sexual escapades and experiences. They have an obvious veracity about them that's lacking from the so-called true stories that later appeared in the gay monthlies, which were no doubt inspired by his books. Some of the stories are really hot.

    https://archive.org/details/Meat.HowMenLookActwalktalkdressundresstasteSmellTrueHomosexual

    https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25293218M/Meat_True_Homosexual_Experiences

    7105275-M.jpg
  • masculumpedes

    Posts: 5549

    Oct 22, 2014 9:04 PM GMT
    [quote]

    Back then, we were fighting against being put in jails and mental institutions for fucking. [/quote]

    And the clubs got raided and guys got harassed and some even arrested. icon_cry.gif
  • rip12

    Posts: 63

    Oct 23, 2014 1:29 AM GMT
    another interesting read would be "and the band played on" which i recall being glued to in the mid 80's

    i recall reading the words of a psychologist in the latter part of the 80's who said that all people have some issue in their lives they must learn to work thru - my issue was being gay

    i survived it and was pretty happy

    i dont recall ever feeling particularly persecuted but was acutely aware of the fact that it wasnt accepted in all circles - in many ways the same is true today

    i do get the sense that people were better equipped to deal with adversity than people today

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 23, 2014 5:20 PM GMT
    rip12 saidanother interesting read would be "and the band played on" which i recall being glued to in the mid 80's

    i recall reading the words of a psychologist in the latter part of the 80's who said that all people have some issue in their lives they must learn to work thru - my issue was being gay

    i survived it and was pretty happy

    i dont recall ever feeling particularly persecuted but was acutely aware of the fact that it wasnt accepted in all circles - in many ways the same is true today

    i do get the sense that people were better equipped to deal with adversity than people today



    I'm going to get that from the library.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Oct 23, 2014 6:27 PM GMT
    For reading on gay life of teh era, a good reference site is:

    http://www.glbtq.com/literature/am_lit3_gay_post_stonewall,2.html

    Larry Kramer's, Faggots, is a good read.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 23, 2014 6:37 PM GMT
    Jockbod48 said

    The Joy of Gay Sex had recently come out, and we read it. . . . and rarely ever went home empty handed. "Your place or mine?" was the only question. Condoms were for breeders. Anything you might catch could be taken care of with a shot, and most of my buddies never caught anything. The late 70's & early '80s were our halcyon years.

    51NicPXk%2B9L._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arro

    Guys in gay bars (the main place to actually "meet" someone) were very friendly and open. "Your place or mine?" was definitely the question if there was mutual attraction. There was a lot of sexual activity in the baths (and, I have heard, on the docks in NYC).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 23, 2014 6:44 PM GMT
    jayfromBK93 said
    Also, now SF and the gay areas of NYC (Chelsea and the Village) are so expensive that you have to be wealthy and established to be in the middle of it all. Where it seems like back then some poor queen from Omaha could hop on a bus and live on Castro Street..

    Definitely true. There was a constant influx of young gay guys into the big cities then, because housing was very cheap. Nothing is cheap in either SF or NYC today. I don't know how the few who still come can afford to stay in either place.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2014 2:06 PM GMT
    Very interesting comments. Having grown up in the 80s, and learning about AIDS from a very young age, I cannot imagine being an adult and hearing about this "mysterious disease" spreading around the country.
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jul 22, 2016 11:54 AM GMT
    theantijock saidgiphy.gif
    nazibonpan_zpsb0de1430.gif

    bonnazi_zpsca365da7.gif


    Just saw this thread. The 1970s, especially mid-to-late 1970s, was a great era! I lived in San francisco and it was so easy to be gay. People barely looked twice if you kissed your boyfriend. But the thing that was most obvious was that guys were friendly to each other. We made eye contact, smiled and said hello in a friendly tone. And on the dance floor, when the dj segued into a peak (highly popular song, the one that everyone wanted to hear) the crowd would joyfully roar in unison and then laugh that we'd all recognized the song and had the same emotion of happiness when hearing it being mixed in. And at that moment, people were translucent: you could see into them. Everyone's 'mask' dropped for just a minute (some guys were naturally inhibited, of course) and we were all so happy to be dancing together as a tribe. It was perfectly okay to look at anyone and if they saw you looking at them, the joy of the moment overwrote any fears, because EVERYONE was smiling and then laughing that we'd all roared at the exact same moment. It was a powerful feeling to feel the complete unity of a tribe, brought together by music.
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jul 22, 2016 12:05 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    justin_pal saidRead the novel "Dancer from the Dance".

    I only vaguely remember that book; what I remember is that the first half or so I liked but then later on it went downhill and became alternately boring or sad/depressing (for me at least).

    For the sexually side with all of the sleaze, nothing beats the books by Boyd McDonald. They were written well before the internet. He'd get guys to write him telling him of their sexual escapades and experiences. They have an obvious veracity about them that's lacking from the so-called true stories that later appeared in the gay monthlies, which were no doubt inspired by his books. Some of the stories are really hot.

    https://archive.org/details/Meat.HowMenLookActwalktalkdressundresstasteSmellTrueHomosexual

    https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25293218M/Meat_True_Homosexual_Experiences

    7105275-M.jpg


    That's too bad. I remember Dancer From The Dance vividly. Still have two copies. It recounted the beginning of the 70s up until around 1977. It was - and is - still the most beautifully written book about gay life. Not sure what was depressing about it: it was one hell of a novel. Read it Christmas Day 1978, when my friends were i the kitchen cooking turkey, and I picked up the book and became engrossed in it. The first time they came out, about half an hour into my reading, they asked, do you like that book, and I remember saying, "It's REALLY good." And then an hour later when they came out and I was still reading it, they asked - with disbelief, "Are you STILL reading that book???" And I said, have you read it yet??? This book's GREAT!" And I continued until I finished it. Malone's walking into the sea hardly made the entire book depressing. It was a portrait of gay life at a time when the only other major book had been "The Front Runner," by Patricia Nell Warren.
    I'm always surprised how little gay men have read the early books about gay culture. Don't people read anymore?
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jul 22, 2016 12:07 PM GMT
    Yes, it WAS that awesome.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2016 4:00 PM GMT
    It was awesome. Gays had become "liberated", as in the big cities, even with discrimination, gays could be out on the street, in bars, and meet. And before AIDS came on the scene, the USA had had the longest period of freedom from STDs in history. After the war, penicillin had become available to everyone, and it wiped out the scourges of gonorrhea and syphilis (untreated syphilis being fatal, and previous drug treatments for it not terribly great.) Sex had become liberated from the fear of disease. The new sexual freedom combined with no fear of disease equaled a lot of sex.