I’m not a standard guy.
I am a yoga teacher, a meditator, a local government bureaucrat, a writer, a facilitator, an analyst, a leatherman, a philosopher, and a bad poet. I’m a graduate of the school of hard knocks. I’m an AIDS era survivor, a recipient of white male privilege, and a thorn in the side of those asking gay men to accept life as it is.
I grew up with a Mormon family in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho; then moved to San Diego in 1985 hoping to become a professional ballet dancer. AIDS and a drug addiction derailed those plans and landed me in West Hollywood in 1991. I’ve lived there until 2018 before relocating to the South Hollywood neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Hitting the gym and getting sober launched me onto a path of exploration that lead to a 20+ year job I love at West Hollywood City Hall, a chance to expand my sexual identity, and a nagging realization that, against all odds, I am becoming an elder in my community.
I’ve had the honour of being chosen as International Mr Leather 2007, a process that ripped the closet door off one of the last hidden parts of my identity. It allowed me to start a fraternal alumni group of leather men called the LA Band of Brothers.
I followed the lead of Race Bannon (from San Francisco) and started a FaceBook group called Mike’s Bar. It encourages kinky gay men to get offline and meet face to face.
At West Hollywood City Hall, Councilmember D’Amico’s office sponsored my idea to start a gay men’s discussion group. I call it “TRIBE.” February 9, 2011, was our first meeting and it has met monthly ever since. After five years of facilitating the group, I turned it over The Thrive Tribe who now handle the facilitation.
I’ve recently published my first memoir, Drama Club. The book is a labor of love. The process of writing it was essential to making sense of my life on planet earth.
After four a year of marriage to a quality man, we divorced. It is still painful for us both. But, instead of omitting this fact we both agree that presenting what’s really going on (both good and bad) about our experience is more likely to help our peers.
I have a boyfriend. Dennis and I are getting along extremely well.
Till then, you can find me on my blog.
2 thoughts on “About”
Hey Michael. It’s Rick Carter. I LOVE this post on aging! You are sooooo right in saying that we don’t discuss this in our community. I have been feeling very similar the last couple of years and then realized that so much of my identity and “happiness” has been tied up in being seen as “hot”, “handsome”, “attractive”, “fuckable”, etc. And, at 55, my body does not react like it did in my 20s and 30s. It’s more challenging to get erections and so forth. I still feel so young inside, but the grieving the loss of youth is a real thing in the gay community. We have to face it and it’s difficult to talk about. That’s why so many gay men end up on meth to hide from that reality. I appreciate your honesty in this article. I was fortunate to come across it. I had been feeling somewhat jealous of my straight friends who freely put on weight and have such a tight community. I too am just looking for love and connection. It’s hard to find that in the gay community a lot of the time. It really isn’t contempt like you said, but rather, fear of becoming “valueless” or “obsolete”. I can understand why Heather Locklear had her breakdowns as a straight female who is no longer in her prime and never will be again. She can’t even be a cougar at her age. Some of us don’t even quite fit into daddy category like myself. Reach out if you’d like. I always thought you were a very cool person and I plan to read more of your articles. I live in Vegas now. All my best and a big hug to you! Rick.
Hey Rick, So good to hear from you my friend. These are the tough issues for our generation. Like it or not, we are the public face of what it’s like to be gay, out, and aging all at the same time. It’s very encouraging to have you on the same path. The fear of being valueless or obsolete is real. When we talk openly about it, we are one step closer to finding meaning and contentment while our bodies do what they do when the get old.