by Norm Kent
(Norm Kent is the founder and publisher of South Florida Gay News, based in Wilton Manors, Fla. This editorial originally appeared in the newspaper’s January 2, 2019, issue.)
Here it is, 2019, and I know you are all waiting for my annual, humble, modest inspirational message.
First, as usual, I continue to remain very shy and soft spoken. With this issue, SFGN is as fortunate to begin our 10th year as I am to begin my 70th. Alas, I have been “cardiologically” altered, with pacemakers, defibrillators implanted.
As for the chemotherapy and knee therapies, that was so last year. So I have no idea how the hell I am still here, but I was told I should not be celebrating New Year’s Eve with shots of Crown. It’s OK. My medical marijuana card will do fine.
Each week, our mission remains the same. Our purpose is to illuminate and showcase our lives with credible and conscientious journalism.
Not since the days of Alexander Hamilton has a free press been under such attack in America. It is an assault led by a president who is a con artist and crook on one hand, and someone who does not understand the U.S. constitution on the other.
We may have been closeted and silenced years ago. No more. Whatever was thrown at us we have beaten back. We have a place at the table, and we will never lose the seat.
Gay Americans were wrongly and unjustly ostracized as outcasts, disgraced as deviants, and repressed as “queers.” But we are no longer "boys in the band.” We are adults who can drive the bus and push back.
Homosexuality was once called the love that “dare not speak its name." It was wrong then and intolerable now. Come at us with toxic presidents, judicial idiots, or impotent congresses, we are not going anywhere. Our love will find a way. It always has and always will.
Because of where we were once, we should empathize and empower those groups so cast aside today. Whether the indecencies occur at our nation’s southern border or in countries far away, we must speak up. Our voices must be heard in solidarity with the oppressed and repressed. We were so positioned not so long ago.
No matter your station or status, whether you are 18 or 80, life presents challenges and adversity. With core principles molding your soul, you can meet them personally and professionally. They are sources of opportunity. There is always harmony to be found within the chaos life delivers daily.
Keep a smile in your heart and a song on your lips. The things you find intimately most personal are universally most common. Being human is a privilege, not an excuse. If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.
We are no longer kids. We grew up, many of us on our own and against our will. It should not matter. Outside of unconditional love and an allowance, there are only two things your parents can really give you anyway, one is roots, the other wings.
If your parents or friends don’t like you being gay, that is their problem, not yours. Keep your faith, not theirs. Be true to yourself. It is your head on the pillow alone at night.
If you are lucky enough to find a lover, partner or companion, greet that person as enthusiastically as the way your dog greets you when you get home from work. (This explains why my ex still licks me on the cheek every time I see him.)
The things you think are intimately most personal are in fact the very matters that are universally most common. Sooner or later, everyone goes for a colonoscopy. Still, don’t share the password on your ATM card.
Don’t do anything at night you will regret in the daytime. And don’t do anything in the daytime that will prevent you from sleeping in your own bed at night. Crime, like Lotto, does not pay.
Risk taking has its rewards, but don’t speed in school zones or join the Bill Cosby School of Dating. Avoid using Super Glue as a lubricant or cooking bacon naked. Be the kind of person your pet thinks you are. I know. You have him fooled.
If you do screw up, professionally or personally, be glad you live here. America is a land of second chances. Make the most of them. If you want to change the outcome, make better choices first. A stone cast in the water cannot be recalled.
It’s the 21st century, but there are no rules against meeting people like it was the 20th. Five years from now, we are all going to find out Grindr causes mononucleosis.
It’s great to go jogging in a park, but try wearing more than a raincoat when you do. Reach out to old friends, but not for a loan. If you want an investment that lasts, don’t look just to the stock market. Invest in yourself.
Believe in reconciliation rather than revenge. When you hate, it’s like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Still, lock your doors just in case.
You are only limited by the boundaries of your imagination and innovation, but if you are sky diving wear a parachute. Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, but brush your teeth in case someone is. Don’t tell others how to live their lives. Yours is enough of an undertaking.
If you can’t go 10 minutes without your cell phone, check into an iPhone Rehab Center by noon tomorrow. Call Alexa, she will find one for you.
A walk through the valley of most souls, will barely get your feet wet. But walk anyway. Friends are worth it. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but don’t go barefoot. There are always stones along the road, but there is no bridge too steep for you to conquer.
America gives you a fundamental right to free choice. Whether you want to put a penis, pipe or pizza into your body is your call. It’s your life. But meth is not a necessity.
I have a lot more to say, but less is more. Besides, it will all be in my autobiography, titled, “Why Am I Here When There is a Baseball Game on TV?”
I don’t know who I am to give you this advice. I am just a kid who grew up playing stickball on the streets of Brooklyn. How I wound up being a radio talk show host for a decade or the publisher of a weekly gay publication is still beyond me.
Somewhere inside me there is this little voice that keeps on saying to me that mom is at home making meatloaf for dinner and I must get there before dark. Dad should be at home from work anytime soon.
Damn, I was so much older then. I am so much younger now. If it is really 2019, someone pinch me, wake me up, and tell me where did 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, and 2009 go.