Gay life in the 1990s.

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    Aug 08, 2009 7:36 PM GMT
    What was gay life like in the 1990s?

    During this time, I was in the closet and terrified so I don't have much knowledge of it. I remember a few things: The media was always trying to out a celebrity. Rainbows were everywhere. Gay men use to wear Doc Martens with white socks and rolled up denim shorts. Caesar-styled haircuts. Sideburns, goatees and tattoos; some people still wear this stuff (mostly the bear and leather scene). There were Raves which I think mostly involved heteros—wearing their glow sticks, chunky black shoes, and floor-dragging, wide leg jeans. No one was wearing form-fitting, $200 Diesel jeans at that time. icon_wink.gif

    Every time I skimmed through a local gay paper, there was someone dying of AIDS, gay bashed, or robbed and murdered after having brought home a trick. There wasn't much of an internet until the mid-to-late '90s and that's when I curiously and privately started peeking at the gay sites to see what was "out there." I did not visit my first gay bar until 2000.

    Now, for those of you who were out out during the '90s, please fill me in on some of the things I missed out on (good and bad). If you lived in Atlanta during that time (my home town), I'm really interested. What were your experiences as an out and proud gay man of the 1990s?
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    Aug 09, 2009 1:34 AM GMT
    I came out at 16 in 1989, so I don't recall gay life before AIDS. It was a mixture of fabulous, scary, disheartening, and exhilarating. I think it was, in general, more fun than it is now. People felt linked by a common cause. There was a sense of sexual liberation that seems to have disappeared in the quest for marriage equality. At the same time, HIV was a relatively short death sentence, so I was very circumspect in terms of who I slept with.
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    Aug 09, 2009 2:03 AM GMT
    From a new york perspective, the 90's were a transition period from the 80's. The devastation of the AIDS epidemic, which began in the mid 80's was continuing but new medical treatments were becoming available. People with HIV ( and their friends and family) were very anxious and worried if they would survive until the new drugs hit the market. But people were still dying a lot from AIDS. Aids activism was going strong and people were angry.

    Gay men were forming neighborhood patrols to fight back against hate crimes and pressuring politicians to enact protective legislation.

    There was a lot of SAFE sex going on and no meth scourge.

    It seemed lots of men were in relationships then. I was...for many years.

    The dance, social art scene was flat. There were still lots of places to go, but cutting edge stuff and new talent slowed.

    There were RAVES, but if you were really hip, you traveled to Thailand, Ibiza or Goa southern India.....or big private raves on the outskirts of some American major city.

    People were only just starting to use the internet to meet people so there was still a lot of socializing in person, and it was popular, or preferable to entertain in your home. People rented movies on VHS.

    Guiliani was ushering in a new age of law and order and cleaning up the city so the seediest dens of sin were being closed or moved into the outskirts of town.

    New York was cleaning up its act and getting ready to make a comeback. And it did.

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    Aug 09, 2009 2:11 AM GMT
    I came out in the 1990s. I was afraid too at first because my brother came out in the early 90s and he was a crazy fanatic flaming queer with glitter that listened to happy hardcore music (imagine vocal house on speed, no literally on speed)...and that's what I thought homosexuals were like. But once I came out, everyone supported me, except I encountered a few guys not enjoying the fact that I talked about guys and would say "god I know your gay we don't have to hear about it." I've since counter-acted that kind of homophobia by screaming "EW BREEDERS KISSING" every time I see a guy and a girl kiss in public. Somewhere deep inside the 15 year old in me is now smiling.
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    Aug 15, 2009 1:35 AM GMT
    Let's see, what else do I remember about the gay 1990s?

    Oh, I remember riding the train to work in Atlanta one day while Gay Pride was going on. Around '93 or '94. There was an effeminate gay man being harassed by some people and especially this one big dude. The gay dude got on the train from a stop that was in a bad part of town. The gay guy told the big dude that he would cut him with his knife to defend himself. No violence ever happened but I really felt sorry for him. It was pretty much him against everyone else on the subway car.

    On Melrose Place (I use to LOVE that show), I never liked Matt. He was the ONLY gay character who rarely had a plot. I never thought he was cute and I generally did not like the character. He was never as cool as the other straight male characters like Jake, Billy, or Michael Mancini. It's good that Matt (Doug Sevant) is now in Desperate Housewives... but I still don't like him because I still see him as "Matt."

    Wasn't Ricky Lake considered a gay icon back then?

  • calibro

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    Aug 15, 2009 2:22 AM GMT
    I was just a kid in the 90s mind you, but I knew I was gay at a young age and had quite a perception of what it was like to watch the gay culture then. I remember AIDS was on all the talk shows, and that people were still trying to convince the public you couldn't contract it from touching. I also remember just being gay in and of itself was worthy of talk shows, and they'd bring people out to tell they're families they were gay and such...

    I remember my family hushing up stuff like the death of famous actors who were gay. I remember Philadelphia came out and I wasn't allowed to know what it was about. I remember when Ellen came out and that was the first time I had ever known a famous person being gay.

    Most of what I remember about being a kid at the time was how parents and those that surrounded me were very comfortable being against gay people. It was still ok to mock them. It was still ok to disown your children if they were gay...

    I'm sure the adult world of gay life in the 90s is very different from my experiences, but that's what it felt like to witness it from a kid.