DonaldHe/Him/His Age 66
I am a gay, black male who grew up in a Harlem “project” during the 60’s and 70’s ”. When I want to gain street cred, I focus on the crime and drugs that permeated the neighborhood. To be frank, it was just another working-class neighborhood with families trying to do better. Beginning in the late 60’s and more so in the 70’s Harlem and NYC in spiraled into neglect as the New Deal and The Great Society ran out of money. My parents believed in the American Dream, worked hard did quite well. We moved to a much better neighborhood in the Bronx and I continued in attended private (Catholic) school and a private (Jewish) summer camp. Oy vey! I’m already bored writing this!
At 14, I was forced out of my rather opaque closet as my mother confronted me with the question “are you a homosexual” as we sped down the Grand Concourse, a very wide street in the Bronx, in her 1967 maroon Mustang with a black vinyl top. (My favorite car EVER!) I said yes and she then asked if I wanted psychological help. I said no. End of discussion!
To be a gay naïve teenager in NYC during the mid to late 70’s (think DISCO!) was more fun than I could ever describe. Unfortunately the 80’s arrived and AIDS devastated society, gay culture became uncool and life and we all thought we were going to die. But I’m still here.
I had a wacky career starting as a customer service agent at JFK, a Bond Analyst, GM of Travel at the UN. (Yes, that UN) and finally the Director of the Ombudsman Office at a Fortune 75 company. Then they eliminated my department and here I am!
I have ADHD (suffered way before it even had a name) and I talk ways too much!
The LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project is fun and informative. Moving forward, during discussions with older gays about “ the good old days” and how the boys today are so… I may serve as a voice of reason or an annoying know-it-all. Probably the latter.