As a recent transplant to Palm Beach County from Philadelphia, I had the impression that this move was going to be an easy transition. After settling in, I set out to find the gay community and meet new people. I went online and did some research on some of the local establishments and gay bars. I quickly realized that the gay scene and culture here is quite different than that of a big city.
While out, I spoke to some of the guys and asked them what there is to do for young gay & bisexual men. The answer was the same “not much and then there is Fort Lauderdale.” I quickly learned that the itinerary of a young gay man in Palm Beach County is not very complicated. Activities and events are kept simple; weekend nights are usually spent in local bars and clubs or partaking in the night life down in Wilton Manors or Miami. A few times a year they attend Compass sponsored events and interact with others in the LGBT community in Palm Beach County.
I looked in to what Compass does for the community and how to get involved since that’s where the action is. Compass’ mission and their passionate staff inspired me to help build a thriving community of young gay and bisexual men. Compass Entourage is a group for young gay and bisexual men ages 18-29 that come together, share experiences and have fun.
The group does more than just party and hang out together; they have a voice in the community and care about each other. Unfortunately the number of young gay & bisexual men diagnosed with HIV is growing at a disproportional rate. Entourage is trying to combat these trends and behavior by promoting safer sex practices. This group promotes a healthy life style in more than just staying fit and eating right, but “playing” safely as well. By looking out for our friend and LGBT family we are ensuring a healthy community for all.
Entourage is growing; each gathering is bringing in new faces, new stories, and new talents. The ideas and suggestions are rolling in. Events such as beach parties, white parties, Halloween bashes are already taking place. Activities like movie night, game night, yoga and gay sports leagues are in the works. Given this pace Palm Beach will not be a place where these young gay men just reside in but will be the community they want to live, work, and play in. Compass Entourage #GoingPlaces; come be a part of the movement.
Ernie Gonzalez is Compass’ Entourage/Mpowerment Coordinator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org