Yes, men, these times, they are "a changin."
Reports of an increase in hate crimes has increased in recent months in the South Beach area of Miami.
The slurs of 'fag" and being hit with rotten eggs from passing cars is become the common occurrence lately.
Not too long ago, South Beach, was characterized as a gay haven. It has become less so because of these incidents.
On July 4, Carl Zablotny, the gay publisher of Wire, a gay entertainment rag, was punched in the face and knocked unconscious by two young men who made anti-gay remarks.
As these incidents become more common place, gay men are thinking differently about South Beach. Some are leaving, like Antonio Dumas, an owner of a gift shop and deli on Ocean Drive.
He was tired of the verbal harassment and shop lifting, so he closed his shop and relocated. He doesn't have any regrets.
The number of gay clubs has dwindled in recent years. Warsaw, Torpedo and Hombre have bitten the dust. But others still thrive, like Twist.
I guess it all depends on location, location, location. The Palace, a popular gay bar and restaurant on Ocean Drive seems to be insulated by the problem. It is situated between two 4 star hotels. It doesn't have the drug addicts and homeless people that Washington Ave. around 9th Street has.
Even a leatherman can't be too save. Incidents have been reported from men leaving the Loading Zone. These crimes aren't just happening to twinks and drag queens. They seem not to discriminate.
So the word to the wise, if you're plan on going out to gay establishments anywhere, especially when traveling, watch your back. Don't go out alone. And by all means, strut like you mean it. You don't want to be the next hate crime statistic. I love you men too much to see any one of you getting hurt.