David Parker has been writing about, talking to and helping gays empower themselves since the 1980s. We’re super-excited to have him join us as our Relationship Guyd, covering everything from relationships with your boyfriend, Mum, Bank Manager and mobile phone. And a hell of a lot more. Hold on to your seat – this Guyd knows his stuff and says it how it is. I got the lo-down…
DH: Where do you come from and what do you do?
DP: Well, after over 20 years of doing what I do I’m still not sure what it is, as it moves and changes with people’s needs. I loathe the term Life Coaching, but in 1988 I began a 3 year training as a Loving Relationship Training Coach specialising in loving yourself, as well as loving others, when ’empowerment’ was the key word, especially in the time of AIDS before combos. At one point I was called a Lifestylist, someone who shapes your life in the way a fashion stylist shapes the outer image, and this is still an aim. More work is often needed on the inside, rather than finding the right profile pic. In millennium 2000, Time Out, London’s listings mag called me ‘Clubland’s Therapist’, as my clientele included DJs, Club owners, music producers, dealers, and escorts as well as hardened clubbers, but twelve years on, I attract a wider market range, but the issues remain the same: relationships with people, family, work, money, drugs, viruses, body image, sex and emotional health. I still live in London UK, the gayest, queerest city in the world with over 500 LGBT meeting places, so distractions and casualties are aplenty, though I travel 4 months of the year leading Relationship Seminars around the world, specialising in codependency release and breeding functional relationships.
DH: What’s your approach?
DP: Unconventional. Someone once said I was the ‘Gordon Ramsey of the Coaching World’, as I didn’t do sympathy, excuses or pussy foot around. What they really meant is that with over 2 decades experience of assisting LGBT people to change lifestyles, deal with virus living and loving, or deconstruct unhealthy relationships, tough love needs to come into play sometimes, especially if addictions abound. I became a Loving Relationship Coach well before the fashion for coaching but still focus on the impact of birth trauma: how it affects all your relationships, challenging negativity and releasing suppressed emotions with Breathwork. Not many coaches come from this arena and my approach is based on my own experiences, not from a manual, like recovering from active addictions and overcoming long term illness. I don’t advertise anywhere, people find me through other people or read my blogs. Like Elaine Stritch singing Sondheim, I’ve been through, recovery, self-help stage, new age, middle age and new activist rage but “I’m still here.”
DH: What do you think are the biggest issues that gay men are faced with today?
DP: The same that gay men have always faced – ‘fear of aging, emotional editing, people pleasing and a desire to be loved,’ though these traits reflect all humanity not just gay men, except the gay script has got faster with new technologies and increased opportunity for hedonism. It is the best time, historically, to be gay, for most of us, especially via the web but anyone in IT will tell you ‘computers solve one problem and create another’ so it pays to constantly review your behaviours and all your relationships including the ones you have with food, chems, alcohol and your bank manager. Peer pressure and image is greater today than 20 years ago, yet the feeling that ‘it’s over by 30’ is thankfully in decline.
DH: How have things changed in 10 years?
DP: The HIV virus & BB still dominates the agenda, but drug use, including alcohol, in Europe has multiplied to excess. It’s the first thing American visitors say when they enter euro clubland or early morning net dating, yet this is not the whole picture. The young hipsters are not drug free, and no need to be, but much more interested in smaller individual meeting places, indie clubs, creative mixed bars, and social interest groups than hardened circuit party boys. Our world is now so diverse via the net, just like gay relationships, a full spectrum of graded tones of same sex attraction. Twenty five years ago AIDS took the Daddies away and now Daddy tops in their 50’s are as lusted over as skinny twinks. Men who have sex with men who defy labels have blurred the edges of what ‘gay dating is’ and this has allowed all men to explore the net to full advantage, so I would say that the greatest change in 10 years is the release of shames around fetish and sexual activity.
DH: Who are our greatest role models in 2013?
DP: Oh that’s easy – yourself. Be your own fabulous role model this year. This supercedes the LGBT sportspeople, rappers, politicos and celebrities that are deemed to inspire us. Inspiration comes from within, should you take time out to dig deep BUT you need to prepare and get some action in. People you meet can be the best role model, they may be online or just round the corner, but learn to avoid projection, just give up a destination and let things occur naturally. Letting go of ‘needing to know’ is a wise role model.
Look out for David’s posts, coming soon! You can find out more from his websites, and you can follow him on twitter. Details below: