EPISODE 17: Circuit Boys, Gym Rats, Papi Chulos, Fashion Queens, Bears...Which One Are You?
This episode explores perspective, how sometimes it takes years to figure out that something you did or thought was totally fucked up. Bo tells his story about getting blocked from a 1-900 gay hotline. But the story is really about how it took him years to become comfortable enough with himself to stop judging the free expression he witnessed among the gay people he first encountered on Miami Beach 24 years ago. Bo came from the deep South in search of freedom from oppression. He wanted gay book clubs and stimulating political conversations with other like-minded gay men. But what he found instead were all kinds of people who fit into categories he describes as circuit boys, gym rats, fashion queens, papi chulos, and bears. He felt like he didn’t fit in. He didn’t want to fit in. But when Bo called the gay hotline to try to “save the gay soul” and made fun of it, he realized he was imparting the same hurtful and hateful church messages he came to Miami Beach to get away from.
Twenty-four years later, our teacher Andrea Askowitz sits down with Bo on Lincoln Road, the heart of South Beach to talk about what’s changed and how he changed.
Andrea tells her own story about trying to “save the straight soul” when she finds out that her next door neighbor doesn’t like lesbians. (Her neighbor’s housekeeper told Andrea’s housekeeper). So Andrea tries to make friends with her. When that backfires, Andrea brings cookies to her neighbor but “forgets” to wear shoes. And a bra.
Set your timer for 11 minutes to be queer. Here’s the prompt: Everyone’s hiding something. What are you in the closet about? Go.
Record what you wrote on the voice memo of your phone and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Original music in this episode is by Cat Cousteau and Blue Jay. Theme music by Adriel Borshansky.
This episode is sponsored by the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, created by Tom DeMarchi, where there’s a powerhouse lineup including: Richard Blanco, Joyce Maynard, Steve Almond, Darin Strauss, Karen Tolchin, Steven Elliot, and Sue Monk Kidd. Awesome, awesome storytellers and authors. And you can take classes with all of them. Including Andrea Askowitz.
November 3-6, 2016. It’s also really, beautiful, perfect beach weather. Click Sanibel Island Writers Conference before it sells out.