Randyland

I’ve decided I want to live in Pittsburgh when I grow up. My mom says I’m already grown up, especially since I just graduated from college, but I know the truth. I’m not grown up yet. Maybe I’ll never grow up.

But if I do grow up, I’ll live in Pittsburgh, the Iron City.

What decided this for me wasn’t the architecture, the culture, or even the people. (Okay, maybe it was kind of the people.) The turning point that made me absolutely sure was a place called Randyland.

It looks strange, I know. It’s something else. It’s a freak show and a home all in one. It’s magnificent. It’s gay as hell.

Thankfully, I went with my very gay girlfriend, Emily.

Right now, I’m missing Emily a lot. She’s three hours away. I dropped her off at her house yesterday and won’t be able to see her until the end of May.

For the record she’s not taller than me, I’m just… shrinking? Okay, she’s taller than me. I give up. I’m not short though! I’m tall for a leprechaun.

Emily and I got to run around Randyland and listen to THE Randy Gilson speak. It was only a few months after his partner, Mac, passed away.

The only other person I know who talks in jumbles when super excited, the way Randy does, is Emily. Which made me feel even more at home in this beautiful place.

I even let her take some pictures of me while we were there.

Happiness is my goal and being told that I belong is one of the most important things anyone could say to me.

I’m always really careful about coming across as gay in public. I don’t hold Emily’s hand or wear clothes out on the street that I know scream “queer person walking.” I know that people are still killed for being gay in this country and I want to be sure that Emily and I are not the next ones to face such a fate.

In Randyland I didn’t feel like I had to hide. I could hug and hold hands with Emily and not worry that someone would be coming around the corner to put a knife in our necks.

This place was incredible. It was full of joy and acceptance. It felt like home.

So, in two years, I will hopefully be calling Pittsburgh my home. If I’m lucky, Emily will be with me too. But if not, we’ll always have Randyland.