Category: West Hollywood, California

Frank Lopez (Eddie)

North Hollywood, CA

photo(2)My name is Frank Lopez. I am the proud adoptive father of two great kids a boy, now 22 and girl, now 25. They were raised by two gay dads back in the 90s. You think gay adoptions were frowned upon NOW…I remember being in the market with the kids and my now ex and seeing two ladies take great interest in us and the kids. When they figured it out i heard one say “those poor children”…Right lady. They were well cared for! :)

They are actually my niece and nephew. My brother, God rest his soul, and his then wife allowed us to raise the kids. For years the kids were very well aware of their multiple parentage and we made it work thank God. For better and sometimes for worse… Fast forward present day.

me and baby milesI am single now since ’05. I’ve had relationships since then but none that lasted. BUT, I have the best relationship ever with my kids and family and am so grateful. I am also now the proud gay grandfather of a beautiful girl, a month old today (9/8/13). I feel like somewhat of a pioneer with having had a 15 year relationship (almost married) and raising two kids before it became “fashionable”. And it IS. Sadly. Some treat the whole adoption thing like a status symbol and it’s quite disheartening to see. Fair is fair. I’ve seen some straight acquaintances do it too.

 

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I’ve been in the music industry for over 20 years now and am also a musician at heart. I have a great love of traveling and have been all over with and without my kids and family. I have struggled with some health issues over the past several years but the love and support of my family has kept me going. I’ve dealt with discrimination, hate, abuse (both sexual and emotional), addiction, recovery, highs, lows, joys and sorrows. No better and no worse than the next person but they are my own.

 

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I see all around me things changing for the gay world. We are being widely accepted in “married” circles and in “child rearing” circles if that’s what you want to call them. It’s so much easier now for our brothers and sisters but it’s also still very, very difficult. We are still very much the enemy. In returning to the dating world I run across many more guys who are saying they want to have children. Amazing but there are still many who say this without giving the actual responsibilities much thought. Show up and do the work is my advice. Research everything beforehand. :)

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For now, my personal story continues. I continue to strive to be healthy and happy. I continue to be there for my kids who don’t know it but they have actually saved my life many times. For want of a better ending, I will update this as things unfold.

- Frank Lopez (Eddie)

 

 

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Ken Bruce

West Hollywood, California

167832f17d1ea85af87b67d605d80af2“I Am…”

I am Ken Bruce, resident of West Hollywood since July 1969. I had moved here a few days before the first walk on the Moon. My friends and I had been in New Orleans earlier when we heard about the death of Judy Garland and days later, while on the road to Los Angeles, we were stunned and suddenly emboldened by the news of the Stonewall Riots. When we left Kentucky to head to Hollywood, we had no idea it would be such a busy summer for the likes of us.

I was born and raised in Central Kentucky and the eldest of six children. I remember that time as though I lived in a black and white movie. I always knew Hollywood is where I wanted to be. I had sent a letter to Walt Disney requesting an audition for the Mickey Mouse Club and was sure I’d get the job but my parents weren’t willing to move the family to Los Angeles on that hope alone. I was only 9 at the time.

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Once I entered high school, I was able to get into acting in the local Children’s Theatre and eventually got some roles at the Guignol Theatre at the University of Kentucky. Most of my friends were older students and I suppose they recognized that my comedic flair had translated into more of an ‘orientation’ than I did then.

So a move to Hollywood seemed like a no brainer after leaving college. Besides, I was out of place in Kentucky. Let’s just say that. It was an unreasonably conservative environment for me. I knew about diversity having spent some time in New York and Florida and the way I wanted to express myself just didn’t fit in with anyone else’s plan. I was recently looking at some photos from that cross country trip and I had never been happier and certainly haven’t been that thin since.

cffc2d2e8adc409a043038b40a3cf95cI loved music. After all I was a product of the 60’s. I had albums by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and also The Supremes, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. I loved listening to most music, still do and was quick to identify with a cultural and political movement which demanded civil rights and freedom for individuals long oppressed and marginalized.

I worked as a production assistant at the building just south of the little park on Robertson Blvd. #666.. Only steps from what would become the Abbey years later.  Eventually I got a call from a friend asking if I’d like to go ‘on the road’ as an assistant to Neil Sedaka. Well, of course. Sedaka was back and I wanted to be a part of it. This adventure, while fulfilling and foreshadowing a long career in the Travel Industry was not good for relationships or one’s serenity. I can tell you that over 35 years later, I still hear that from many people who spend their lives touring.

2457b896df1b9927a942d3a94f0ba77bAfter an exhausting 3 years touring and hearing “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” every night, I decided to take a job on the other side of the desk and I became a Travel Agent specializing in Concert Tours.

This has become a career for me since 1977. And I am now looking to retire from a most fascinating adventure which has taken me all over the world. I have worked along side many amazing colleagues over the years, people who specialize in logistics, geography, mapping, budgeting, hotel efficiandos, airline negotiators, tour guides, translators, experts in world religions, a guide who could recognize over 300 bird calls, environmentalists and safari drivers. To have the privilege of interacting with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds is something I would never have dreamed of the night Neil Armstrong said “One small step for man”.

98af3190e821b654a90fb0aee9115e86I am partner and co-owner of Bruvion Travel and Concierge Service. We are specialists in production travel and luxury travel. Our success has come from only a few things, principally hard work and a commitment to service. Recently we have launched a new division of our Company called ALT by Bruvion. This Service will be geared to the LGBTQ community who are looking for experiential travel anywhere in the world. We grew from 1 to 2 to now we are now a staff of 9.

54c22d0f9f69d8d20e4281e5ad04ffad So what does this have to do with Being Gay and Becoming Gray? Plenty. Life hasn’t been easy for anyone. I believe that as LGBTQ people we have had a different series of obstacles to overcome as we have matured. We have lost a generation of male mentors to AIDS. The Community has had more than its share of addiction disease and young suicides. We are still here. We have been able to find the resources among ourselves to advocate for our health, groups like ACTUP and AHF, The Trevor Project and others. The political advances in the last few years are moving so quickly it’s hard to keep up. Who would have thought that we would be able to serve openly in the military, marry our partners or receive federal benefits in marriage-like our parents have done.

34e3523ec70aa13506dcd21d7ba09b2fI am profoundly grateful for those who have come before me. I am humbled to have lived in the time of Harry Hay and Harvey Milk, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. In 1969, there were so few high profile LGBT people to identify with and now countless noble men, women and transgendered people are contributing to this juggernaut of human rights. We are now empowered by LGBT contemporaries in all livelihoods.

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Oh, yes, I’m getting married on August 7 to my partner of 11 years, Jose Gomez. You’re the first to know. It’s a long and winding road and lots of hiking trails.

-Ken Bruce

 

 

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