Last week was my six-month anniversary of moving to the Gulf, and in the last few days I've realized something important: I'm lonely because I don't have contact with other LGBT, face to face.
Let me be clear - I have excellent friends and colleagues, and most know that I'm gay, so it's not that I don't have people in my life that I can talk to.
I also have many gay friends online...in fact I have a gay friend who is in Egypt right now and we chat several times a week.
It doesn't help that last year, I was in a relatively good situation: I lived in Istanbul, just 300 metres from Turkey's largest gay bar, I had a gay flatmate and, most importantly, gay friends who I would see several times a week.
*le siiiiigh* I know I know, I'm actually a lucky gay who lives in the Gulf because I come from a western country where I am out to my family and friends, and I have lived as an openly gay man in two other countries before I came here.....so that is what makes my situation now so difficult. I'll explain it another way: if you grew up in a house with no microwave, then you don't know how convenient and wonderful having a mircowave can be. But, if you had no mircowave, then you bought one and enjoyed it's benefits for years, and THEN it broke/was stolen/was taken away/was outlawed, then of course you would miss the mircowave a lot and it would be frustrating and potentially very difficult to go back to a life without it.
So, I've realised I want more gays in my life (don't we all!) and I am aksing you, dear members of Ahwaa, for some advice.
When I lived in Budapest, I found a gay yahoo group and made my first contact with gays there that way (I didn't want to use any sites like manjam because I figured, even if I stated clearly that I was REALLY only looking for friendship and to join the community, I would have mostly encountered people looking for hook ups)(not that I have an issue with hooking up, but all I was looking for at that time was a way to join the community).
In Istanbul, I found groups like Lambda, and I was also lucky enough to be hit on by a guy who then introduced me to his friends.
Now here, in the Gulf.....as I said, I am out to most of my colleagues and almost all people I meet socially, and I was hoping that someone might then come up to me quietly and say "well, keep this quiet, but I think you should meet my colleague because he/she is also gay and....", but interestingly, people have only told me about gays living in OTHER gulf countries, doh!
The other situation I have is men who don't identify as gay, but hint to me that they are interested in "having fun" with me. I, however, don't want to enter into that kind of relationship (well, not withsome who doesn't identify somehow as 'queer' and would want to keep our activities hidden - I mean, hidden from our mutual friends).
Heck, I found myself thinking of using manjam, but that (and other) websites are blocked here....and I am a little suspicious of who may read what I type (I mean, I haven't even told any of you my nationality or which gulf state I'm in - am I being too paranoid?).
^ oops, I didn't think I would type so much. If you have read this far, then thank you, and if you have any advice on how I can better reach other gays in this part of the world, I would be eternally grateful :) .