A sit-down lunch for 80 people held in the courtyard of Higher Ground was a joyful and sometimes emotional farewell for three long-term associates.
Compulsion Becomes Understanding
If someone had said to me, within the next four months you’ll lose your job, house, car, get arrested five times, be sleeping in a park and asking for money at bus stops I would have thought they were on drugs! But that is what happened. I worked for 25 years in the travel industry, with great holidays and experiences. Single for much of it I had a good income to enjoy an active social life in my Ponsonby neighbourhood, and being openly gay I felt quite at home making a few places my regular hangouts. I’m not one of those loud, party guys who know everyone, but more the quiet, observant one that would rather have two or three close friends or just enjoy my own company.
Being gay to me is normal, I don’t know any different. It has helped me understand and accept diversity and look at people as people. But growing up knowing I was gay I didn’t quite fit in. I was always on the outside, not quite ‘part of’. On guard, because being different I was always a target. I’d worked my way into management and enjoyed balancing office dynamics, clients and my own fun. I was a ‘caretaker’ manager, loved looking after others and was more than happy to cover when they needed time off or whatever.