Don’t let your pride keep you from Pride

Imagine making a wrong turn, but being too proud to backtrack, instead just wandering off into oblivion. As crazy as that sounds, it’s something we sometimes do in our social lives. This is especially true for those who fall into what I call “social cults,” where one manipulative personality wreaks havoc on others’ personal relationships and reputations.

Have you been pressured into starting conflict with someone you’d never had conflict with? Have you befriended someone you normally wouldn’t, simply because of a common enemy? Have you done things that damaged your reputation, or made you ashamed, in service of a person or group? 

Not long ago, a trans woman named Rachel recruited many in her effort to smear her enemies in the lesbian and trans communities, even trying to get people fired from jobs. Today, Rachel, who now goes by Ray Alex Williams, is a detransition activist on YouTube.

Well, that’s awkward. 

How will those once under Rachel’s spell, but since denounced by this person, respond when coming across those they had viscously targeted? To avoid this, some may skip Pride celebrations altogether. 

In another situation, a person was so swept up in a similar social cult that they even followed the leader’s enemies into restaurants and tried to get them kicked out. The group later turned on that person, canceled them in St. Louis, and they left town. While most don’t leave town, they do choose to live within the confines of the narrower community they find themselves in, or they drop out of the social scene altogether, as opposed to admitting they had made a mistake. 

A simple apology is the first step in undoing a world of damage, and it’s easier than you think. While it may not be immediately accepted, it typically neutralizes bad blood and paves the way for healing. It helps close an ugly chapter, and hopefully keeps that chapter from defining you, or charting your course. 

Pride is a big family reunion, and you should drop your pride and go. Take this opportunity to make a U-turn, and when you come across someone you may have wronged, simply say, “I got swept up in bullshit, and I’m sorry.”

My Statement on the Anti-Dustin Mitchell Facebook Group

Dustin Mitchell. Photo Credit: Houston Police

One of the Dallas-area victims of Dustin Mitchell founded a Facebook group to gather information on him, and has been diligently running it for about six years. They wish to remain anonymous, and I’m respecting that wish by not identifying them.

While I have zero doubt as to their sincerity in wanting to stop his crime spree, or the effectiveness of their efforts, it is my understanding that they are anticipating a big payout for the story rights. Because of this, they’re highly territorial about the story, as if they own all of it. They’ve badgered people who have covered the story over the years, and recently they’ve been calling those I’ve quoted and telling them not to speak with me.

Of course, the St. Louis LGBTQ Community has been on this ride for a dozen years now. Dustin Mitchell’s origin story is here and in nearby Rolla, not in Dallas, and we all own our individual stories.

If someone is wanting to buy their story rights, I think that’s valid. They’ve been on a traumatic and wild ride. I know others who have taken the brunt of his frauds, including his ex-wife, have no desire to be defined by this episode, and want nothing more than to put it behind them.

While it seems we’re nearing Dustin Mitchell’s grand finale, it’s my hope that the territorial page admin realizes they are occupying a lane on the highway, and not the entire road. That lane may take them to where they want to go, but these wild swerves aren’t helpful. I also suggest they avoid picking up sketchy hitchhikers, like the infamous racists who have found a home on the page in past 24 hours.

Stay focused, stay in your lane, and keep your eyes on the road,

SIRenity For All: Booming campground announces new concept

In the six years since Dennis Duncan and Michael Dekeyser opened their all-male, clothing-optional campground an hour outside of St. Louis, it’s grown exponentially, attracting 4,300 unique visitors from all 50 states and multiple countries.

With 62 acres, 26 lodging options and more than 100 RV sites including 70 seasonals and 60 tent sites with electricity, SIRenity is on a trajectory to become one of the largest gay campgrounds in America. Many St. Louis guys visit “the Farm” in rural Sullivan, Missouri, every weekend during the warmer months to swim, lounge, celebrate and socialize, monitoring their 12,000-strong Facebook page for the latest events and community announcements.

Now the campground is about to grow — with a new option for a clothing-required, truly inclusive campground for the entire LGBTQ community, including families.

“Michael and I began the journey in 2018 to build and open a campground in Missouri to offer a product that didn’t currently exist to the degree of our vision,” says Duncan. “We envisioned ourselves as a community-minded brand that made it part of its culture to be inclusive and affirming to men and male identifying persons. Our goal was to create a space where people could freely express themselves in a safe and loving environment; at one with nature and others of like spirits. One of our goals from the inception was to do outreach and be more than a business but rather a caring and contributing member of the LGBTQIA+ community. We have done that and are very proud of the way we have supported and nurtured that community spirit.”

“In 2024,” Duncan continues, “we find ourselves in a position of growth and as our business has matured, it’s become clear to us that there are parts and people in our community that we can’t reach and serve with our present business model. Let me state clearly that we will continue our all male/male-Identifying business as-is, but in addition, we are excited to announce plans for a new and exciting business model on the 12-acre parcel of land we acquired next to our existing Farm.”

SIRenity Village is the name for the 12-acre, family-friendly addition. Duncan says it will offer its own pool and hot tub, with the home on the property to operate as a lodge with full kitchen privileges for guests.

“We will be adding cabins, RV spaces and tent sites with electric,” he says. “It will be a perfect oasis to relax for gay and lesbian couples, singles and LGBT families to be honored in one of the first such spaces anywhere in the country. We are beyond excited to share this exciting news and will provide more details as they become available.”

SIRenity Village has its own Facebook group to join and follow for the latest developments.

Duncan and Dekeyser have turned a simple patch of Ozark forest into a magical oasis, drawing visitors from around the globe. They’ve hosted food drives to benefit Food Outreach and donated over $3,000 to Doorways St Louis. They also hosted Missouri’s largest Monkeypox vaccine clinic, earning recognition from Franklin County.

SIRenity Farm has become a must-visit for gay men. Now with SIRenity Village, they’re welcoming many more to the campfire.