The intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street near downtown Dallas is is the center of the Dallas gay community - also known as the Dallas gayborhood. It's really not that large of an area, just a few blocks really. And, to an unsuspecting person who just happened to be driving down the street - they might not even notice anything different than any other area with restaurants, bars, and clubs.
I remember my first trip to the Dallas gayborhood. It was not long after I finally accepted myself as gay. I was in Dallas for some reason I no longer remember. I had heard of the gayborhood and was curious. I got out my map and realized it wasn't that far out of my way; so, I took a little detour and drove through it.
It was actually a bit underwhelming - the streets were not lined with rainbow flags. I didn't see same sex couples walking down the street holding hands. In fact, the only thing that seemed a bit out of the ordinary was a cafe with an outdoor eating area where there were only men sitting at the tables. Still I was nervous, even fearful - it all seemed so forbidden. I felt like I was committing some great sin by just being there even though I never even got out of my car. The only time I actually stopped was for a traffic light. Still, I felt guilty for some reason; so, I left and drove back home.
I've since been to the Dallas gayborhood a few times to meet with MoHo's for lunch or dinner. I've strolled down the street, checked out some of the stores. It's a safe area where you can talk without fear of being looked down upon. Same sex couples can walk down the street holding hands without disapproving glares.
The other day I found myself in that part of town while making a delivery for our embroidery business. I didn't even realize it when I left my home. I was just following the GPS directions and noticed I was in a familiar place. After making the delivery, I needed gas in my car; so, I pulled into the parking lot behind Hunky's (a hamburger joint where I've met with other MoHo's) so I could look up a nearby gas station on my GPS.
After filling up my car with gas, I was contemplating the different feeling I had this time compared with my first visit. There was no feeling of guilt or fear; in fact, it felt familiar - even comfortable.
I've come a long way during the last 6 years since I've accepted myself as I really am. I'm gay - and I'm OK with it. And, sometimes it's nice just being around other gay people - even if they don't know, or even acknowledge, me.