The Face of Gay 47 (Mary Gresham)
Posted on December 14, 2013
There are people who always want what they don’t have and people who are grateful for everything they do have. The do’s seem to always learn how to pay it forward and, in today’s post, it’s evident why. Welcome to Mary Gresham’s Face of Gay.
The Face of Gay 47 (Mary Gresham)
There are so many people who have come into my life over the last three and a half years, some of whom have made a great impact on my life and have changed me for the better. The first person I’m going to mention is Andrew Grey, he’s the reason I started reading m/m books. It started with a free download from Amazon, I was all for free books and I usually downloaded all that I saw that interested me and one day they had one of the Love Means books for free, so I said what the hell, it sounded interesting. Well, that one free book led to me purchasing every one of Andrew’s books that were out up until that time. From then on, I have read nothing else but the m/m genre, whether it was romance, horror, drama, action or paranormal, I love them all.
But, that was just the beginning. That same year, I found out about GRL, which was being held in New Orleans. I had become friends with several authors on Facebook and that’s how I found out about GRL. When I walked into the Bourbon Orleans that day in October, the first person I saw was Ethan Day, who greeted by name, which totally shocked me. There were a few more I met that evening, J.P. Barnaby, Carol Lynn, Damon Suede, Blake Deveraux. But the person who made the most impact on me during that trip was Mr. William Neale.
Randy and I felt a little out of place as neither of us had been to a gay bar before and Bill stood there and talked to us both for a very long time. I had read a few of his books, but not all of them, so I knew who he was, but Randy had no idea who this guy was who was talking to us. After GRL, we stayed in touch with him, talking every few weeks. Then, early last year, when they opened registration, I mentioned that I would like my best friend, Travis, to come with us.
I had met Travis when he was working at a convenience store and he noticed my rainbow tattoo of the male symbols intertwined. Anyway, when I mentioned to Bill that Travis was wanting to go, but we weren’t sure if any of us could afford it, Bill immediately said he would pay for it because he needed to come. He wouldn’t let me say no.
Not long after that, Randy and I became involved with a Relay for Life silent auction and I requested donations from several authors, Bill was one of them. He called me the day he mailed them while he was at the post office just to make sure he was sending them to the right address. He told me he had included all of his books that were in print at the time and all were signed. Three days later Randy picked them up and I found out that afternoon that Bill had passed that morning. I sat and cried for hours at the loss of this wonderful man, who gave so much of himself and I’m crying as I’m writing this, it’s so very hard for me.
When October came around, Travis was unable to go with us because he had moved to West Virginia to be with his boyfriend. So, we had an extra registration and no one to use it, or so I thought. A young lady on Facebook mentioned that she wished she could bring her son with her to help her get around while she was there. She lived in Albuquerque and was not going to be staying at the hotel, but she was in a wheelchair and while people offered to help her out, she preferred to have someone who was familiar with her.
I contacted her and told her I had an extra registration and because it was given to me, I would give it to her. That person is Stacia, who many of us know as Aurora Rose. I was so very glad to honor Bill’s memory by doing this for her.
I mentioned Travis and how I met him. Travis has become one of my two best friends, the other is the person many know as Anthony Romero, who happens to be a former porn star. These two men, along with others, have really helped change my life. For years, I didn’t really have what most people call friends. I had acquaintances, not true friends. Thanks to them and others–authors, other porn stars and normal everyday people, which, by the way, I consider all of them normal everyday people, who happen to have jobs that some people look down on–these are the people who made my anger go away, who made me care about someone besides myself and the ones who were there for me when my house burned in June of last year when only one of my blood relatives cared enough to help us when we lost everything we had.
I talked to three people that night, the 911 operator, my cousin who helped us and Anthony. I had sent a text to his boyfriend at the time and asked him to have him call me since Anthony kept his phone on silent. Within five minutes my phone rang and it was Anthony. He was the only one who could calm me down that night. Not even Randy could do it. After the fire, many of my LGBT and author friends of Facebook are the only ones who helped me by getting us a few things on our Amazon wishlist to replace what we lost. Then, while at GRL, Hank Edwards came up to me and handed me an envelope, telling me he couldn’t help back in June, but that he could now. I gave him a big hug and a thanks from both of us. I went to the restroom to open it and while I won’t say how much, he was very generous and again. I sat and cried.
And now we come to the last person I’m going to mention. He’s also a porn star, with his first scene being released back in February. I’m not going to mention either his stage name or his real name because of what I’m going to say. Some who read this will, I’m sure, know who he is, but please, no one say if you do know. Until a couple of months ago, I really didn’t know all that much about him. I saw his posts on Twitter and usually commented on them, but not much else. But then he posted something a couple of months ago that kind of threw up a red flag to me, so I sent him a dm asking what had happened. And, he told me he had tried to commit suicide.
In a way I was shocked, but in a way I wasn’t. Because since I have become friends with several porn stars over the last few years, my eyes have opened to what goes on behind the camera as well as in front of it and it’s not as easy as it looks because it is a job, but that’s another story. The more I talked to my new friend, the more I have become involved in his life. I have kind of become his beacon in the night. He doesn’t have much of a family support unit; they tell him it’s his fault he has problems, his fault he’s gay, they blame it all on him. I’m the only person in his life right now who tells him he is a good person and he does deserve to have something good happen to him.
This young man has become very important to me and I don’t want to lose him. He has told his counselor about me and so far they think it’s a good thing. He’s going to come spend the week with me next week. I’m hoping that seeing and feeling someone treat him as the very special person he is will give him a better outlook on life. But, I know I can only do so much. He knows I’m here for him 24/7, just as my other friends do, but not all of them are bipolar with suicidal tendencies either. But, I pray that I have helped him and will continue to be able to even when he has setbacks. Sure, it’s not always easy to be the happy person he needs, especially when he’s on a downward spiral, but I do my best and so far, it seems to be working. My heart got involved very fast with this one and if at some point I lose him, it’s going to hurt like hell, but I’m not going to give him up without a fight.
So yes, my life has changed for the better over the last three and a half years. I used to be angry and very easily lose my temper. I’m not like that anymore and I know it’s because of the people who have come into my life; Bill, Travis, Anthony, Hank and so many more who I haven’t mentioned. I thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me the person I am today, the kind of person who puts aside her own problems to help friends when they need someone to talk to or whatever else. Bill, I miss you so very much. GRL isn’t the same without you. Travis Istre, Anthony Romero, Hank Edwards, Jeff Erno, Andrew Grey and the others…I love you guys and I look forward to what the future brings us all.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.