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"The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported."

Fight the H8 in Your State"A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity."

~ Honorable James Madison, Jr., President, The United States of America, 1809–1817. The Father of the Constitution, Author of the Bill of Rights, Co Author of The Federalist Papers

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01 March 2008

Hide~n~Seek's: Local Establishment Leaves A Trail Of Memories!

[Editor's Note: Some of the following text is taken from an article piece I wrote two years ago when Hide~n~Seek celebrated its seventh year in business. Sadly at that pointe, due to the nature of the intended article, some of the details and personal memories with HNS from my original piece were omitted at the time for space, theme, and content issues. In this tribute, now that I own the forum that F6 is published in, I can share with the public why HNS has a very special place in my heart and history, albeit in the opposite intention and currency of terms now that it is closed.]

Walking in to the bar a little late as usual (GST), I showed up on Saturday the 23rd of February, 2008 to join in the festivities with about a hundred and twenty five others to say goodbye to a place we had sought refuge and friendship in for almost the last ten years. The festivities were ushered in with Jim giving his farewell address and guests and long time patrons were entertained with Lola as emcee guiding the performances of Fort Wayne's own Latina Garret and two very handsome Erotic Male Performers Dakota and Nick from Michigan. The party continued well into the night. However, I was paged out on an emergency at one in the morning, the life of a priest is never dull.

The story of

What started as the dream of two entrepreneurs ten years ago amidst competition with four other bars at the time; followed along the years with rumors and perceived evidence of lewd conduct and sometimes absolutely disgusting sexual encounters; which garnered public outrage of guest callers and hosts of AM1190 WOWO's 'The Big Show with Pat White' and included legal intervention and twink rumors have not hampered either the presence or effect of this bar on the community. Over the last ten years I have had the privilege of witnessing a bar and Community change and grow as well as be challenged to the core of its purpose and not just survive but succeed in support of the Community it served.

Please allow me share my experience at HNS.

It was late in the summer of 1998, when I passed by this bar near Cass Street, in the old Mouse House Cheese Shoppe building, near the Wells/Fairfield @ Superior bridge. I had stopped on the block to design and purchase a denim cassock at D&M Apparel. But I felt drawn to the place, rather nervously so. It was the new gay 'leather and jeans' bar in town. Even with my limited pastoral and personal experiences in our Community, I had heard references to this new bar- they weren't good.

I walked in and almost fell over myself; there were three cute bois around the bar, half to three quarters naked. I barely managed to sit down, with a few shaky attempts (due to low blood sugar levels) and started talking to the bartender on shift. I ordered a bottle of Root Beer to cool off from the Indiana summer's heat, I shared my story as a young, openly gay Catholic Minister in the area, whom had just become active in the Community nine months previous and also lost one of his mentors, a local parish priest, due to HIV/AIDS.

[Explanation: I was always out as an adult however not always active in the "Machine of the Gay Community". Fr. Jim Koons and a couple other people drew me out, into the Community, they showed me that I had a place
in it. In other words, I had a voice in the dynamics of the Community that needed to be heard as well. They brought me to a place where I could speak freely, listen well, and learn from my Family members.]

The bartender was from small-town Nebraska or Nevada and had just 'come out' within a year or so previous and was kicked out of not just his home but his town as well. I don't quite remember his name, Ray, Nick, or Brian- something simple; it is sort of vague after nine years, two heart failures, and a carjacking. The experience we shared though of absolute friendship (with no drama) has and will remain with me into the next lifetime.

It was this experience which ushered me into an even broader understanding and acceptance of our Community's cultures and subcultures. It would be a year or so before I ever returned to the bar which granted me this certain freedom within our Community.

Thanks go towards Jim and Peter, the Staff, and all the rest who have truly made this bar a beautiful place to hide out while seeking our own identity as Community members, and with the new friendships along the way, help us
succeed in the battle for that identity.

[PHOTO CREDIT:] THE BOLT in Sacramento, California

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give medals 4 killing men but 4 loving men they wish you were dead?

give medals 4 killing men but 4 loving men they wish you were dead?
thanks to the sacrifice of many the scourge of Dont Ask Dont Tell in the land of the free and home of the brave will be gone by the end of June!!!!