Pride Day Coloring Book

It has been about ten years since I was told that I am in remission from lymphoma. But I have never looked at my recovery from cancer as a second chance at a first life. I have always looked at life as a precious commodity to be cherished. I have always thought it a tabula rasa, a blank tablet to be colored in with our experiences, at all levels.

With or without cancer, our lives are precious, out futures uncertain, and our tomorrows unknown. One of the things I learned during the days of my own illness was how many others have also experienced loved ones who endured cancer. Things that are intimately most personal are inevitably universally most common.

Cancer patients who meet in groups are told to “Make Every Day Count’. I don’t think that you need to be a cancer patient to believe that.

Tiny Tina on the Cover of David Magazine 1977

Last month, Ray Fetcho, who many of us know as ‘Tiny Tina,’ was fired from his job as a licensed practical nurse, because a routine screening in 2010 revealed a ludicrous lewd act conviction from 1976. He had been a nurse for 40 years, since turning 21 in May of 1969.

As Ray himself notes in SFGN’s front page story, he always kept his ‘real’ world of nursing and ‘show business’ world of fantasy separate and apart from each other. He humorously stated he was not just ‘a queen.’ He billed himself as ‘the queen.’

As a young man coming out in the late 1970’s, I remember those ‘wet jockey nights’ at the Copa. I remember the night my roommate strutted his stuff on stage. Ripped and cut, he nearly won.

On that night, however, in a moment of spectacular irony, some obese 300 pound guy showed up and wiggled his butt, shook his gargantuan beer belly, and blew the crowd away with laughter. It was hilarious. The overweight contestant won, leaving the roster of buff-boy challengers frustrated and broke. Everything was in fun. We all laughed, went home and charted the episode into our memory banks.

This week our newspaper learned that the Fort Lauderdale Men’s Chorus, in an effort to save money and secure advertising and promotion for their concerts, signed an exclusive contract last fall, with the now defunct 411 Magazine and South Florida Blade.

The terms and conditions of that secret agreement provided that the chorus would not be allowed to advertise their concerts in any gay publications other than those two venues.

Last week, in only the fourth issue of SFGN, we were fortunate to team with Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out to expose a convicted felon who had engineered a two billion dollar fraud against poor people and U.S. taxpayers, from East Saint Louis to the Pacific U.S. territory of Guam.

After getting out of prison 20 years ago, Arthur Abba Goldberg then founded JONAH, Jews Offering Alternatives to Homosexuality, an ex-gay group which has become nationally known. Conveniently, he built his new reputation while running from his past, owning up to no one who he was and where he had been.

Some people might consider this the third issue of SFGN. Your publisher considers it the 208th issue of The Express. I apologize for the six year hiatus.

My goal in selling The Express in 2003 was to pass the baton of a credible gay and lesbian newspaper to an established institution that would carry it forward for generations. Who better than the operators of The Washington Blade to entrust your baby to?