In 1983, I went to Guatemala for a year and a half [on a mission]. The thing you notice about [Guatemalan] men together is that they are much more affectionate with each other than we are. That is just part of that culture. [It] presented some problems for me, because sometimes Guatemalan men that I did find attractive were very physical, much more physical than an American man would have been. They hold your hand. They put their arm around your waist when you’re walking down the street. It’s very sweet actually. It’s something that I wish our culture was a little better at. [In American culture] it’s horrible. [Men] can’t have any touch. I mean women can have a little bit of physical contact. I laugh at the way straight men show affection. I mean, I have to beat you on the back. That’s the thing. I’m going to hug this guy but, sure, I’m going to pound him too. [Thumping sounds; in cliché macho voice]: “I love you man.”
The bars were a big [meeting place for gay people]. I think certainly for sex, there was, like there always are—for men—the public sex kinds of venues. You know, either it was a bookstore or the park. You know, cruising, like in High Bridge Park. By the time I started looking, I got myself a circle by doing [LGBT activism]. I volunteered doing stuff and I met other queers.
Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson on 20 November 2006.