There are many reasons why I love Los Angeles. Is it the access to the many movie studio lots, the celebrities that live here or frequent here, the beaches, the sun, the light or what?! These are all great reasons, but my love is much deeper than that.
I moved here because I lived in the small town suburban area of Oxnard and Camarillo in Ventura County. Very suburbia, very! I clearly was gay and knew it. I needed to move to an area where I could be ‘me’ and thrive, let loose and have no one constantly look over my shoulder. I wanted a city. I wanted the lights, the sound, the bustle and hustle of it all.
So I moved here. I worked retail, the banking financial industry and even furniture/home goods too. I covered a lot of the Los Angeles County cities. Culver City, Santa Monica, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Rancho Palos Verde and the San Fernando Valley. I also commuted to Moorpark that first year I lived here as I was still in college. Yes, that was insane in hindsight. Oh the miles I put my car. Gas was cheap then. $1.99 for premium!
Fast forward to my first husband being diagnosed with terminal cancer and being given 3 to 4 months to live. He went through a lot of treatment options and traveled to and from New York. However, I found the Gay and Lesbian Center of Hollywood to be the best resource and assistance to getting him medical treatment. He wasn’t on my insurance at the time. Everything was covered. Sadly he passed away in my arms at a hospital in Burbank.
Then my work career thrived. I was moving up the corporate ladder as a bank teller, lead teller and then supervisor and then to an Assistant Operations Manager. That is where I met my current husband. We are on our 13th year of marriage. Technically speaking our 3rd year of legal marriage since gays only won the right to marry in 2013. I participated in many rallies and marches right in West Hollywood, a city where I could fully be my gay ‘ol self. I’d let my freak flag fly sky high. What’s wrong with being confident?
My husband and I then decided to start the journey to become parents. The agency was named Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency, which is now Extraordinary Families. This agency is located in the heart of Los Angeles between Korea Town and Downtown Los Angeles. They offered many parenting courses and prepared us for the foster-adopt process. Then children entered my life. So close was the court that the adoption was finalized. September holds a special place in my heart and significance for our family.
I am currently a stay at home dad. I have utilized all the FREE family events and children events offered by L.A. such as The Grove LA, Century City mall, Santa Monica and more. Plus the mountain areas and beaches are so close. I live 2 miles from the beach and I frequent there a lot. Many events happen here—art, music, farmer’s markets and more. Many organizations and non-profits also add to the availability of what one can do as an adult, a family and also for date night.
The one main love of L.A. for me is that even with today’s current turmoil and strong adversity around homosexuality, I can still be who I truly am. With my recent loss of a friend in the Orlando Pulse Nightclub tragedy, this was reaffirmed because I experienced so much love and support for me as a man and a parent. The many things I’ve listed are still there and still available. I utilized those resources for the therapy I needed to get over the death of my mother and best friend of 17 years. Plus two other close friends who passed away.
L.A., Los Angeles will always be the city that I call home. It welcomed my very gay self with open arms. It still embraces me the same way I embrace it. As a parent it has more value and substance that I was blindly unaware of during my single years. Even when coupled I didn’t know the abundance and value it offered. I learned this along the way while on my parenting journeys and during my beginnings as a stay-at-home dad.
My love, my city and my home is Los Angeles. The city to me has more value than a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow. Dorothy has found her emerald city. The place where my dreams have come true beyond my wildest dreams. Hard work and diligence pay off. I welcome you to seek it out. Find me and I can show you around. I suggest finding it on your own because only you know what you want out of it. That is how I took the journey. I started here alone. I made my way. Go and make yours.