Not that it's absolutely necessary to understand the way the gay scene works in order to survive in this community but it does greatly enhance the experience if you know what to expect and also understand why so many young gay people find it appealing. It's still unfortunate but many young gay men and women usually find themselves alone and ostracized from their own families or communities, whether it be because their sexually goes against their religious dogma or they are made to believe that they've brought shame on their families, once that young person finds the safety of acceptance in community it does begin to have an impact on their psyche.
Acceptance is a very gratifying thing. Some young people are very fortunate and find that nurturing at home. Not all situations are ideal like that and sometimes the safety that is necessary to become that person that you are comes from somewhere else. That is why gay runaways head to the major cities -- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami -- here they find community.
I remember when I first came back home to New York. Being back in the big city energized my soul and engaged my spirit in an incredible way and when I began to compare the differences between Miami's gay population and that of New York, it was like gay on steroids (in some cases...literally)! But it wasn't long before I found a way to fit in and I began to carve my niche into the scene. I had a series of some small jobs here and there before I landed a job waiting tables and tending bar at one of the cities premiere gay owned and run establishments right in the heart of Chelsea. It couldn't be any gayer! The money was good and the hours were flexible. I was able to still hit the gym and get to work, pay my bills and still have enough income to available to grab drinks and go dancing on the weekend. In all honesty -- because of my job I was meeting all the people that made the club circuit what it was in NYC, so drinks and access past to velvet rope was never a problem.
As completely individual as a was I was still very impressionable as a young man, so I wasn't the most successful at the whole dating thing. I still made terrible choices for myself. In retrospect it was quite amusing, but those choices often made me question my place in the order of things and how and why I never really could fit into the scene. I struggled with it particularly after one failed relationship and then I received the best advice ever from someone that I respected very much. He was my boss at the restaurant I worked at and he said to me: "You're wasting your time trying to be something you're not...and you've forgotten to be yourself." And suddenly everything made more sense to me.
I remember how true those words rang to me. I remember smiling at their truth and I remember crying because I had forgotten trying so hard to impress everyone else what it was about me that was so impressive. And after that the scene wasn't so bad.