Funny how we relate to the word so differently.

I consciously reclaim it in stories I write, referring to gay neighborhoods I’ve lived in as gay ghettos. I didn’t invent the usage, of course, but I certainly work at perpetuating it.

I say, wear “ghetto” with pride. Take it back. Own it.

Easy for me to say in some ways, obviously. Even though I’m gay and face obstacles due to my sexual orientation, they aren’t the same sorts of obstacles faced by people of color and others born in traditionally low-income areas.

We tell ourselves, we Americans, that we live in a classless society.

Your experiences illustrate well the transparent falseness of that premise.

It’s a game of pretend we play, and sometimes not very well.

Something tells me, though, that you’re very good at overturning expectations.

I’m rambling, I think.

I really just wanted to thank you for telling your story and to tell you that I hear you.


Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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