15-Years of Both Names on a Lease
(Mike + Mike last month, in San Jose.)
It was fifteen-years ago this month that my partner Mike and I moved into our apartment in San Francisco's inner Mission district. When we signed the lease agreement and paid the security deposit to our landlord, we had a few conversations about the commitment we were making to each other.
In 1996, the dot.com boom had not happened and our rent was very reasonable and affordable. Still is. Other tenants in our building who have taken up residence here in the past 3-4 years, with the same amount of space, are paying almost 50% more in rent than us. We count our blessings that we moved in before rents skyrocketed for gays like us.
Having a lease with both our names on it has been important to us than trying to get a marriage license. Gay marriage is just something not for us, and when it was an option here, we rejected it.
While this month marks our 15th year of living together, and in June we will celebrate our 16th anniversary of when we met. Mike and I first encountered each other, anonymously, in the backroom of the My Place leather bar on Folsom Street. Its motto, updated annually on t-shirts, was "Ruining Reputations for ___ Years!"
Sure, it was a fun sleaze pit that attracted a vast cross-section of gays and men who have sex with men because of the sexual hijinks, but My Place was also where many of us started lasting partnerships and friendships.
My Place is gone, thanks to prudes at the SF Department of Public Health, but Mike and Mike are still here, surviving and thriving very nicely!
Here's a selection of photos of us over the years:
(Circa 1996, in San Francisco.)
(Circa 1999, in Washington.)
(Circa 2000, in San Francisco.)
(Circa 2008, in New York.)