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"Things that are just on the surface, easy to believe, are not the whole story. There's a deeper, stranger, and more satisfying story to be found, both in science and in religion." —John Polkinghorne, physicist and theologian
Denver Houston is a 19 year old freshman at Lucidity College majoring in Graphic Design. Denver is rarely seen without his skateboard and sketch book. Private by nature, but an open book to those he befriends. Denver enjoys meeting new people, hanging out, exploring, and talking politics and religion among other things.
Social butterfly. Scorpio. INTJ.
Friendly -- Eager to make new acquaintances, takes everyone as they come and likes everyone until given a reason not to.
Optimistic -- Tries to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Generous -- with his time and talents, as long as he feels appreciated.
Gossip -- loves to gossip and hear about others, but not in a meanspirited way.
Kinky -- is absolutely a voyeur, loves to watch, and has a bit of an underwear and armpit fetish.
Flirty -- loves to flirt, but rarely takes it any further than flirting.
Loyal -- to his close friends, which are few.
Intense -- has strong feelings about his ideas and opinions.
Introvert -- requires alone time to recharge and enjoys solitude. The challenge is to pique his interest.
Gullible: will believe almost anything, especially if he doesn’t know you well.
Assumes most people are honest and good.
Holds grudges, never make a Scorpio angry; they never forget.
Emotional scars, he’s been hurt. Generally an open book without a lot of hangups, but past experiences have taught him to keep most people at arm’s length. Getting into the inner circle can be a challenge.
A bit of a dork.
Meet interesting people.
Learn new things.
Occasionally steal underwear.
Denver Houston was born to a middle class, suburban family in Memphis, Tennessee. Being male, young, white, relatively attractive and ostensibly athletic, he would appear to have everything going for him. However, Denver realized he was gay around the age of 11 and his family was ultra-religious and conservative, a common enough malady in Memphis where a church sits on every street corner. Coming out was not easy.
Somewhat shy as a youth, Denver leaned toward quieter, indoor pursuits such as reading, writing short stories, drawing, painting… Denver spent his time doing just about anything that let him imagine a world where he belonged, where dragons could be slain, treasure could be found, and the hero won the heart of the boy in distress every time.
Denver graduated high school with a solid B average. Both an underachiever and a good test taker made him a bit lazy about his studies. But he managed to graduate high school uneventfully and on time. Mostly, he was waiting until he could move away from home and his life could truly begin.
The summer before his Senior year of high school, Denver got a part time job at The Pizzeria across the street from the Wolfchase Galleria, the big, ritzy mall in east Memphis. Busboy and pizza maker was a dirty job, but the people he worked with were older and fun to be around. As first jobs go, it wasn’t bad. That was where he met Justin.
Justin was another busboy at the pizzeria. Justin was a year older, a college freshman, extremely friendly, and a little bit goofy. Denver and Justin worked a number of shifts together and slowly got to know each other over the summer. Long story short, a romance began to bloom and two virgins lost it to each other. Unfortunately, Denver wasn’t ready to come out AND have a boyfriend. He freaked out, quit his job at The Pizzeria, and broke it off with Justin. Justin was hurt and confused. Denver was a jerk and knew it.
Denver managed to keep the romance and breakup secret from his family. But he was devastated. Pulled between what he knew he wanted and the demands of his religious upbringing, a creeping desperation was growing greater and greater.
Needing some time to sort it all out, he convinced his grandparents to fund a gap year traveling in Europe. His grandmother had always been supportive of his artistic tendencies. She liked the idea of having an artist in the family. So hearing Denver wanted to major in Fine Art at the Memphis College of Art, their funding Denver’s extended trip to Spain, France, Italy and Greece to visit major museums and see great works of art in person seemed reasonable. Denver did all those things, but he also spent the year mostly just feeling like shit and wishing he wasn’t such a coward about admitting he was gay.
While in Spain, Denver decided to walk part of the Camino de Santiago*, a famous holy pilgrimage that stretches hundreds of miles across Europe. Denver thought that maybe God would provide some kind of answer along the way. Walking the Camino, Denver did find some clarity if not a still small voice. That clarity came by way of a boy.
Jensen Dawes was a handsome and smart young man walking the Camino at the same time. A college senior, Jensen was about to graduate from Lucidity College. Over the week they travelled the Camino together, Jensen became a mentor to Denver, describing a life as a gay young man that Denver could relate to. Lucidity, being an all male, gay institution, Denver began to imagine what being a member of a tribe might be like. It isn’t like there weren’t any gay people in Memphis, but the idea of moving to the west coast and starting a new life far from home appealed to him more and more.
Upon returning to the States, Denver’s mind was made up. He applied to Lucidity College. He sat his Bible thumping parents down to have the “I’m gay” talk. And packed his bags.
About the Camino de Santiago:
The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.
Updated 2021 June 11
Over the course of my Second Live, I have been a
-- dancer for various gay clubs
-- host at Steamworkz in Boystown and Club U-812
-- graphic designer at GUY Magazine
Currently I am invested in this Lucidity College project.