Life is tricky. People come and people go, but for me one person has always been there. That’s my best friend Beth. I met her on my first day of High School ever. After I graduated, I left my Wheaton life behind and reconnected with her. Beth was a raver, outgoing, and a lesbian. Everyone loved her and I still do. My coming out experience could have be a disaster, more then it ever was, if I didn’t have her by my side. I did my first everything with her and I’ll never forget the first time I did ecstasy exclaiming “If I knew drugs made me feel like this, I would have done them a long time ago”. Whatever I did with her, I felt safe. She told me what it would do, how I would feel, and how long it would last. We did everything together, everyday. Then she took me to The Royal.
The Royal was a scummy banquet hall above the restaurant of the same name located at Milwaukee and Fullerton in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Every Thursday they held an event of gay teens under the age of 21. Unlike other raves at the time that were held in old warehouses or busted up laser tag arenas, The Royal was the same time, same place and every Thursday. Even on Thanksgiving. While rolling my balls off on ecstasy, I walked up the stairs to the smell of stale cigarette smoke and the pulsating beat of the music. I have never seen so many gay kids in my life. I didn’t even know that something like this could have even existed. A lot of the people I met there are still life long friends that I cherish so much today. That place was packed, a full house, probably breaking some fire hazard laws while giving young gay youth a place to express themselves. It was such an accepting place. It was more then that, it was a movement. I found there that I loved to dance, and I learned how much someone can actually sweat while dancing. As my weekly visits continued, I watched my popularity rise. I never had friends like I thought I did then.
My mom caught on quick. I never had guy friends anyways, and now the phone was blowing up. I shrugged them off as just Beth’s cousins that I was hanging out with. Even the most naïve person in America would be questioning the boys that were on the other end of the phone. When I was finally confronted by my mom, I explosively confirmed my abnormally. She tackled me and pinned me to the ground in our new house that she and my step dad just had built. She kept on hitting me, yelling out slander like “faggot” and Cock Sucker”, the whole time knowing there was nothing I could do to defend myself. I could not hit my mother like I watched so many men do before. This was probably the 8th time I had been kicked out of their house, but the first time for being gay. I told myself that I was never going to go back after that, and I didn’t. I found acceptance and a new family in the community that at the time was still brand new to me.
I moved what I could into Beth’s basement and my mom threw away the rest of my belongings. Quickly bills began to add up and not get paid because I had no idea what true independence cost. Beth was an up and coming DJ at that time, who is extremely successful today, and along with her mentorship, I learned how to spin records. I submerged myself in the music. I lived for the parties. Ecstasy, coke, weed, acid, K, and whatever else I could get my hands on became the way of life along with landing a residency DJ job in the city. I was now well on my way to disaster. I loved it.
After my time in Beth’s basement ran out, I found myself living on different friends couches and in their apartments until an old friend Amanda gave me the opportunity to share a one bedroom apartment with her in the suburbs. She was a stripper and I wanted what she had. On the eve of my 20th birthday I answered an add for a male escort agency. I was already dancing at the time, and gay boy strippers made pocket change compared to what Amanda was bringing home every night. I wanted more. For the next 5 years I juggled being a DJ, prostitution, dancing, and porn star as my main means to making money. After being exposed to the true dangers that the life brings, while dating my first boyfriend with the same occupational back round, I made a decision to leave him and admit to my family my shortcomings and loss of morality. I packed my bags and moved back in with my parents to go to beauty school, again making a decision to run and change my life forever.