In this episode, Matt Landsiedel interviews Peter DeWitt from Gaywellness.com and they explore the topic of leadership in the gay community. Both Matt and Peter have been in leadership positions within the gay community over the last several years and they wanted to share what their experience has been like and how we can all be a leader in our own right. Come join us to learn what makes a great leader and how you can step into your power through leadership.
These are the questions that were explored in today’s episode:
- What does leadership mean to you?
- What makes a good leader?
- What are the needs you see in the gay/queer community?
- How can we develop more culture of connection in the gay/queer community?
- What can people focus on to become great leaders in gay/queer spaces?
Connect with Peter:
Website link: www.gaywellness.com
Today’s episode is sponsored by The Silva Ultramind System
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Welcome to Gay Men Going Deeper, a podcast series by the Gay Men’s Brotherhood where we talk about personal development, mental health, and sexuality. I am your host, Matt Lancel. I am a transformative life coach, empathic healer and spiritual teacher. I specialize in teaching people how to heal shame and trauma and embody their authentic self so they can enjoy more meaningful connections in their lives.
My areas of expertise are working with highly sensitive people, empaths and gay men to develop a stronger sense of self-worth. Today’s topic is leadership in the Gay Community, and we are joined by Peter dewitt. Welcome Peter. Hello. Thanks for having Me. Yeah, it’s great to have another leader in the gay queer space, and I’m looking forward to unpacking what we got for the audience today.
So I wanna just briefly introduce you here. So Peter is the founder and CEO of Gay Wellness. He is interested in the upliftment and mental health of gay men. He is inspired to connect gay men to wellness services and opportunities to develop more love for themselves. So the questions we’re gonna be exploring in today’s episode are, what does leadership mean to you?
What makes a good leader? What are the needs you see in the gay and queer communities? How can we develop more culture of connection in the gay queer community? And what can people focus on to become great leaders in gay queer spaces? So Juicy. It is juicy. Yeah. When, when, when I, when I reached out and was like,
you know, let’s have this conversation and, and you brought this topic for it, I was like, Oh, this is perfect. It was actually in such alignment to me, and I’ve been navigating leadership, true leadership over the course of the last two or three years, and I know you have as well. So I’m looking forward to kind of,
you know, picking each other’s brains and seeing what, what this, this big topic means to us. And I think, you know, we’re kind of at, at a, at a precipice in the gay community where there’s, I’m starting to notice this a lot more, a lot more of my peers are becoming leaders in their own right. And it’s great,
It’s great to see, you know, people stepping up in, in these leadership roles and creating spaces that are helping us grow and evolve as gay men, which I think is much needed. So, Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. What inspired you to bring this topic forward? I’m curious. Well, so yeah, the, I guess it’s,
it’s this aspect. There’s several reasons. It’s just relevant. It’s hot, It’s fresh. I’m leading a queer leadership cohort with six or seven guys, so we’re in this where we meet twice a month. We’re, we’re, we’re discussing these themes. We’re trying to grow into our own best self and leader. So the question is kind of, you know,
what does that look like? Cause again, look like in, so, you know, so many different ways I think of leadership as like influence and impact and how we, how we show up in our space, whether we’re the team captain of the soccer team or like a barber and, you know, owning a small business, a barber shop or whatever it is,
leadership is about how I think we, we, we have an impact on other, on the people around us. So anyway, why? Yeah, I think it’s just a question that I ask myself a lot is like, how, how can I be of service to, how can I make an impact? How can I make a difference and how can I collaborate with others?
What does this mean leadership? What, what would, what would this look like? Cause like we don’t have very clear templates, right? So, you know, so yeah. It’s, yeah, yeah. What, so is the, so what, where can we go with leadership in a way that is more visible? Like, for example, I think we were talking about the other day,
like there’s not, you know, there’s kind of the mainstream gay scene and that’s like stereotypically the bar scene, right? And, but I think just more there, you know, what I’m in touch with here, and I live in LA here, so I’m just more and more in touch with queer and gay men who are not part of the bar scene,
who have a desire for something different. It’s not just that they’re, Okay, so there’s queer and bar, there’s the gay bar scene, the main, main gay, and then there’s like the, the, the rejection of that. But just rejecting the mainstream is one thing, but then there’s like, but I want something different. Yes. So that’s where I think it’s like super interesting.
It’s like, okay, so then we need leadership to step forward in that. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I wrote this down, what are we leading people into, right? Because we all have our own vision, and it’s like when we have an experience in the gay community and it’s not serving us, it’s not meeting our needs, then we as leaders,
it’s up to us to pioneer something, a movement, a space creation of some sort of opportunity for people to, to grow and evolve. And I think for me, like the inspiration behind the brotherhood was a desire for something more in the gay community, something more meaningful, more intimacy. More vulnerability. And ultimately, I think what I was seeking is other,
other gay men who were seeking really spirituality, personal development. And that was the birthplace of the gay men’s brotherhood, was to create a space. And I honestly was feeling, you know, I was coming from a place of feeling hopeless and angry and, you know, why is this the culture that I was, you know, born into, essentially I was born gay and I was born into this community,
and it’s not who I am, right? So I was like, I, I want something different. And, and there was, I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find it anywhere. And so I decided to create it. So I think, you know, there’s a, there’s an element of like, ingenuity, like in leadership, Like we are pioneers,
we’re creating something new. And you know, what I’ve learned about leadership in the last couple years is my vision might be the one that is the point of origin, but a good leader is somebody who really assesses the needs of the community and creates something that everyone needs that is inclusive to everybody as as much as possible, right? I think inclusion sometimes can be taken to,
so far to the point where then you, you can’t actually create the vision because everybody, everybody’s needs are trying to be met. But I would say the majority of people’s needs are being met. And so what I’ve learned to, to, you know, as, to answer the second question, what makes a good leader is somebody that listens. That’s been the biggest thing for me,
is I’ve had to learn how to listen and not just listen with my ears. Like listen with my heart. Like what are the needs here that I’m working with, and how can I advocate for this group of people and create something that is going to best serve them? Right? And that’s kind of been my biggest learning so far, as far as leadership.
I’m smiling because, so, because we’re just, we’re we’re, we’re kind of moving in. We’ve been moving in tandem in a particular way. When you say vision, and then you start talking about, but that’s not, it’s not just enough to have a big vision. It’s been about listening and like learning from others because it, it’s, so,
it’s the same as to what I’ve been trying to do. So I’ve always been a person who’s had a vision, I have a vision for this, for this project, this community, let’s do it this way, da da da. That’s, that’s been a gift of mine, but I’ve been learning is how to learn, is how to listen in our,
it’s just cool. So I was smiling because we have, in our, we had a three month cohort with a queer leadership program. Each month had a theme. The first month was vision. That’s like your core, your your why, like into your mission. Like what are you all about? Like, what are you here to do? Are you here to,
you know, what kind of work are you here to do? And so we were all going around clarifying that for each other and for ourselves. Yeah. Spent a month on that. The second month was relevance. Relevance is just a word that I thought was useful, but relevance really means that like, whatever your vision is, bro, that it has to match other people’s needs.
Like, are we listening? Are we, are we in sync with the world? And I’ll tell you, like, I have done this in the past where I had this really cool, funky vision for combining yoga and music. I composed all this music, and I had all this yoga, like all these yoga sequences. Cool. And it was,
and it was this interesting project, but what I had not done was the listening and the relevance. I had not found, where does this meet the world? So it was like, not quite in the art world, and it was like not quite for the yoga world, it was kind of in between. So it drew in like certain kind of intellectual,
artsy mind body people, but like only a handful. And it never took off. And I spent 30 k on this project, and it just, like, I never recovered the money, but it was a beautiful project. But I, what I learned was instead of just having a, a cool vision, like wouldn’t it be useful to, to go out and talk to people and see what are their needs?
Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny we both have that similar scar tissue. Like my very first business wasn’t successful, but I, I essentially spent $40,000 on experience, right? Life lessons, very, very important life lessons and business lessons that I needed to acquire. So I look at it like that nothing’s ever wasted, right? It’s all about learning and growth and,
and these sorts of things. So yeah, there’s a few things I wanna actually clarify. And I want to, maybe we should have done this at the beginning. So, but anyway, I’m curious for you, what’s the difference between queer and gay? I’ll speak personally for myself, and then I, and then I do wanna share a few anecdotes from,
from myself. I’ve run a survey around this. Okay, Yeah. Great, great. For me, it’s like, okay, so I have a very, I have a very non, well, I nonstandard, let’s say orientation to those words. So mine is like this, gay refers primarily to men who are, you know, attracted to men.
Yeah. So that’s fine. And then, and then gay is actually, Okay, sorry, let me, And then queer, as I understand it, is, you know, it’s an umbrella term for not only, you know, one sexual orientation, whereas gay is really primarily talking about sexual orientation. But queer is, you know, the whole spectrum of gender identity as well as the whole spectrum of sexual orientation that is specifically not heterosexual.
So anything but heterosexual. Yeah. Those are, those are how I understand those terms. My orientation to the word gay is that it’s actually more political than queer. I wanna say. Why? Because I think that what I see is a lot of people catching onto the trend and throwing around the word queer. And like I see a lot, I have,
I know straight people, a lot of straight people who use queer, cuz it’s cool. Yeah, yeah. That’s why I’m asking. I’m kind of like, it feels like there’s that energy around it, but it’s, it is what it’s, No, I, yeah, I wanna ask you about that because, because gay, see, I have a lot of friends in,
in, in certain liberal woke spaces who are anti gay. Like, they’re like queer. They’re like, they’re attracted to men, but they don’t like the word gay and they just, queer, queer. And I’m like, they think that queer is more political. And I’m like, that’s fine. But I don’t agree. Like, I think gay is still more political.
Like, it’s a, like Florida don’t say gay. I mean that’s just the most obvious example of like, gay is, it’s a hotter topic, is it’s a hot, it’s a, it’s a more difficult thing to grapple with in the world. And queer, queer is like, but I know queer can be a slur. So I think it’s such a mixed bag.
I just feel like coming out and saying I’m gay for me is like more ballsy and difficult than saying I’m queer. Queer is kind of safe Queer. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s me though. That’s me by the way. I chose gay wellness, not queer. I’m, I identify as queer. I love queer. Yeah. And, and gay both,
but gay wellness, because I was thinking of internationally, other countries gay, like they don’t use the word queer so much, you know? Yeah, yeah. Like in some, but not, not that like, not that like maybe in Berlin and in London, you know, but like, not like in most countries it’s like gay, It’s just gay,
you Know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I kind of, I, I feel pretty much very similar to what you said, like, you know, gay is more actually associated with the act of a sexual attraction or emotional attraction to the same sex. Whereas I find queer bleeds a little bit more into gender, you know, so to say that you’re queer,
it’s like that oftentimes when I hear people talking about their queerness, they’re talking about the fact that, yeah, sure, they might have a preference to sleep with men, but they’re more fluid in dancing between the energies of masculine and feminine. And whereas somebody that, that is, you know, consider they consider themselves a gay man, they probably would have more pronouns of he,
him where, where queer people would more maybe more bleed into the they space. That’s kind of how I interpret it. But again, it’s like, it’s the linguistics, right? It’s like what meaning do we attach to the word and does everyone else attach that same meaning to it? I find like queer has kind of got this, you know, different people can attach different meanings to it.
So it can be a little bit confusing for people. I find like, it’s confusing for me even at times, and I’m in this space and I understand it very well. So I can imagine like a heterosexual person that isn’t really in this lingo that can be very confusing for them. Okay, what is the difference between queer and gay? And, you know,
it’s like, it’s, yeah, it can be a lot. But anyway, I just wanted to make up that distinction because you used the word queer a lot when we were having our, our brainstorming session. You know, I obviously am a leader in a, in a group called Gay Men’s Brotherhood. So it is very much, you know, associated with,
with that. So, Okay. And the other thing was gay wellness. I, I probably should, we should have introduced at the beginning, what does that mean? Like, what is that for you? Because as we move into this conversation about leadership, like I want the audience to be able to have an idea of what you are leading, like what is your space in this?
So us a rundown on what gay wellness is. Yeah. So it, it is, it is gay wellness.com. It is a directory by all means. Just, you know, essentially we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re creating, it’s a central hub for you. Any wellness provider, whether they’re a massage therapist, fitness trainer, yoga teacher, code,
Harvard therapist. And we’re trying to work on getting doctors on there. I just emailed the, the first doctor this morning. Cool. Yeah. So anyway, that’s the goal is to become, you know, the central hub. We’re, we have 300 guys on the site, providers and in 10 different cities, but mainly are really focused on LA right now we’re finally starting to rank in Google here and cool.
But, you know, we’re just at the beginning of what could be then also, you know, more of like a, a brand with a mission that is, you know, that we’re, we’re doing we’re, we’ve already started doing live events here. We have a couple of month and really just, you know, trying to bring a new flavor within the,
within the gay, gay community. And that is the wellness flavor. And so, yeah, I mean, I mean I have my own personal story of how I came into that, which is basically I had my own, I’ve been working on my own, you know, gay queer oriented trauma and issues for decades now. Yeah. And I’m trained as a yoga teacher,
as a somatic therapist, and as a massage therapist. So I just really wanted to do something for the community, like, along with other people that we could have this central hub. So yeah, it came out of my own experience as, as a queer man. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. And I like it too.
Like I’m, I’m part of the community as well, like part of the directory. So I get like an email every month saying, this is how many times your profiles been viewed and things like that. So Probably not that many cuz where you are. Yeah. But it’s still, you know, still people are viewing it Well, People are getting some That’s good.
Well, Yeah, yeah, it is. It’s really cool. So you’re on, you’re definitely onto something and hopefully this, you know, this platform, you know, for people that are listening and, and this is something that maybe you’d want to join or you have a, a way to support Peter, then bring it forward, email us or email Peter and Yeah.
And I would say if you know any gay or queer wellness provider out there who they do they, you know, they’re a haircut, a barber, a massage therapist, fitness trainer, just like tell ’em about the site and it’s free to join. Exactly. So jump on. Yeah. Yeah. It’s perfect. Okay. Okay. So we’ve set the tone.
Yeah, we’re doing it. We’re doing everything in, in, you know, whatever order they come. So, We’ll, we’re rolling with it today, which I like that. So I’m, Did you have an opportunity to answer the question? What makes a good leader? So I was just wanting to say that month in our queer leadership program, going back to what saying,
so we had the first month was vision, clarifying the why. Yeah. The relevance. Having that on the ground, feedback from the world so that my product, my offering under is, is met by the world and is received is actually, and then therefore I can succeed. Yeah. And, and, and then the supply will meet that demand or,
you know, the supply of my offering will meet people’s needs. And then the third one topic is self-discipline. So with self-discipline, this gets all up into everything from time management, project management, prioritization, you know, rhythms, building sustainable habits. Cuz essentially it’s like if we don’t have a, if I don’t have a regularity in my rhythm, then everything I’m saying is kind of hollow,
right? Like over time people will sus that out. Like, it doesn’t matter if I’m showing up and I’m like, Hey, I’m this big leader of this movement and let’s do these events. And I show up at the events and I’m like, okay, everybody just drop it to your bodies. And like, I’m this leader and like, listen to what I say.
Like if I’m doing all that, but the, but like I don’t have the foundation down of like, yes. You know, like building, building my email list and like having a good set of content and really being clear on who I am and like making sure that I’m, you know, listening to my people, to the people’s needs and like what their needs are.
If I don’t have that foundation down, then it’s just gonna ring hollow. That’s, that’s how I feel about leadership is like really walking the walk, you know? And like, it’s all, it’s all about that for me anyway. It’s about the daily getting up, putting in the hours of work. And my, my coach, this guy Chris Tompkins,
he’s here now, like, he said to me, he’s like, Peter, you have to think of yourself as like you’re in the Wellness Olympics. So he’s like, you have to do, you know, all your, your marketing work and your like business work. But then for every hour of of of like business work, meet it with an hour of self work.
Yeah. Self work. Whether that’s going to the gym, doing yoga, meditation, therapy. So I try, I try to walk the walk, you know, sometimes I, you know, I definitely am not perfect. I’m just saying I think that like self discipline is something I, I wanna continue to work on. And I think it’s important as a good leader to have as a,
as a character trait. Yeah, I agree. What do you think? So I’m just writing things down as you’re, as you’re talking cause you’re stimulating a lot in me. So I think one of the biggest things I’ll start kind of with, with my journey and how, you know, leading in, in the gay community, for me it starts with vision,
right? So I’ve, I identified that there was needs in the, in the community and more so within me, I started to see it in other guys as well, that there was a need for more connection, for more meaningful connection in the community. That was the biggest thing. And so, and then creating the vision, okay, like, what,
what needs to happen here? And essentially what I realized is that I was going to be leading people into a transformation because in order for us to feel safe, to have connection with each other, we need to heal things like shame and fear and the things that are holding us back. Trauma from being able to really connect with each other. And I had a lot of that stuff.
So when I first came up with the vision of this and I re-identified the need, I wasn’t ready to actually bring it into fruition. So I had to go off and, and do some deep, deep healing. And that took me about a year, year and a half to complete that, that I shouldn’t even call it complete to, to, you know,
basically embark on the journey which I’m still on, and get to a place where I was able to create a community that wouldn’t be completely triggering me. Right? Totally. So that, that, you know, start the start of that took a lot of courage, right? So the vision is important and then the courage to actually bring the vision forward.
So, you know, I look at myself as a pioneer or a trailblazer, which are kind of different words for, for leader. And it takes a lot of courage to stick out your neck and to be front facing. And you have to be willing to receive criticism and judgment, condemnation and all the things that people are like, no, you’re doing it wrong.
Right? And so, and then, you know, when it comes to the actual day, day in, day out stuff of leadership, like I would say networking has been extremely important for me. So relationship building and maintaining relationships, because, you know, a lot of this, the community that we have is this, you know, we have moderation team,
I have two other colleagues that I’m building it with. And relationship dynamic plays a huge role in leadership. And you gotta be willing to be able to get messy and get in the trenches and, and have conflict and move through conflict and forgive and forget quickly. Like these are all things that are really essential when it comes to leadership for me. Yeah.
And then like, like you said, practicing what you preach because how on earth am I going to be a leader and lead people into a transformation that I’m yet to embark on, on my, on my own, right? So I had to get to a place where I like, had done a significant amount of shame and trauma work on myself so I could then start teaching concepts.
And you know, I I think one of the most transformative things about, about, well, just transformation and leadership in general is the presence that somebody brings, right? Like if somebody, when someone walks into a room that’s a leader, you’ll feel their presence. They’re, they’re, they’re embodying what they’re leading you into to understand. Like, so that’s the thing.
Like, so for me, I had to embody the transformation of authenticity and being congruent and not letting my fear control me anymore. Not letting my shame control me anymore. So that’s been a big, a big part of this work and it really is never ending for me. Like, I’m gonna be constantly leveling myself up so I can level other people up.
That’s kind of been my kind of almost like my soul path. So yeah. That’s, so that’s, Thank you for sharing. That’s so, that’s so beautiful to hear. And that you saw that you, you had the conscientiousness to observe within yourself, you know, I need to do some more inner work. And you had the maturity to do that and then that,
that’s, that’s coming more into, you know, integrity with the work is like, hey, I gotta, I gotta embody it. That’s so cool. And yeah, I can, I can relate to that. Another thing is, is cause it’s kind of related, it’s, but it’s, it’s intrinsic motivation and that’s something that, you know, be honest with you,
I don’t think a lot of people have. Yeah. It’s something I’m continually cultivating, but like, I think it’s so multifaceted, intrinsic motivation, just like, just getting up and finding the willpower to, it’s like nobody’s around me to tell me what to do. I’m not working for the man. I just get up and I, I I go create the,
the thing, the container that will, you know, be of service to other people. Yeah. So that kind of intrinsic motivation, but then in addition to that, it’s like, it’s, it’s, it’s being creative and the ingenuity, like you said, to think of what are the ways, what are the things that are, that are not in the world now that need to be in the world.
Yes. So that creativity, you know, I mean like, but like, but that also comes from just talking to people. Okay. So last night I was talking with a massage therapist. Okay. So, so I just wanna say another reason of why gay wellness and then we’ll come right back to the story is all of these little sub industries,
sorry, they’re not, well they’re little sub industries compared to like the car industry, but what am I, the gay barbers right? Game of such gay yoga, naked yoga, that’s, that’s a whole, these are sub industries. They, they have their own like niches, hashtags on Instagram, you know, like tons of thousands of businesses all over the world,
right? These are sub industries. Yeah. So they’re all in the realm of like gay wellness. They don’t talk to each other. Yeah. Right. Like, I mean, kind of, but not really. Like the, the gay massage industry is its own microcosm. Okay. They’re really like in, in America, two big main websites. Well now with us for I guess the third one up and rising,
but we’re just a baby one in la. But like, okay, so, so my goal is that they’re, they’re talking to each other. So thus the need for a directory where we’re all there, but that’s not enough. We need more. So, so, so the goal is to to to connect, to connect, to bring it wellness as a movement because they’re all like,
everyone’s just kind of off doing their own thing and there’s no way of coming together. And so, and so, and so anyway, what I was gonna say was the story, but was last night I was talking to this massage service and he has been on the main site in America for 10 years and he’s gotten mistreated by them so badly and all this and that,
but he’s also gotten stalkers and even like some like threats for physical harm from clients. Yeah. So, So, so there’s no way for him to report to the website cuz the website doesn’t have any customer service. They don’t give a shit about the masseurs. There’s no way for him, him to connect to the other masseurs and tell him, Hey,
watch out for this number. You know, there have been deaths in the, in the massage therapist community in the, in the gay massage community. There literally have been like actual murders. Wow. So, so, so he has this list of numbers and it’s like he wants to tell every, all the other 200 guys in LA but there’s, there’s no way to,
So we were talking last night about this and, and I was like, oh my God. Like we need a forum. You know? Yeah. Or maybe it was his idea. But the point is, is that between us, that need came up. And so then, then it’s like leadership would, good leadership would say, Okay, here’s our industry,
here’s our people, we, here’s the need. Yeah. It’s coming from a real place of need in the community, you know, and then making sure that we have, we address that need. So I don’t have the answer yet, but like, Yeah. You know? Yeah. Yeah. And I think what, what the word that comes to mind when you’re sharing is collaboration because it’s like a leader is going to be somebody that is,
in my opinion, more heart centered and willing to collaborate. Like we have competitors and, and you know, in our spaces. Right? And are you willing to work with those people? Are you willing to see that you have shared vision? And is there room for everybody at the table? That’s, that’s, that’s kind of what I’ve been learning.
Okay. Well, but Matt, don’t you think that like, Okay, tell me. Okay. Cuz look man, I went to the stretch festival in Berlin in 2019. Totally changed my life. Have you heard of Stretch? No, I haven’t. Okay. So they’re the largest, like gay queer men, like transformational, spiritual, sexual, tantra,
all the stuff workshop. They have a, a physical space in Berlin, but it’s a two or three times a year they have the stretch festival and as people come from all over Europe. So I went, it’s like 200 guys, 40 workshops. You have workshop after workshop all day and you have always have three choices. So it’s just like all these workshop facilitators,
well that festival is run by my idol. And you know, Kai Earhart, he is kind of the founder. They’ve been running for 12 years, but it’s, Kai is like very well, you know, associated with like 20 other veteran queer elder, like somatic practitioner wiz, like, you know, coaches. Yeah, yeah. All kind of are like on the board and it’s very well organized.
So, so it’s like they have they have infrastructure, this, it’s not just a bunch of individuals running around. It’s like a very solid, stable system. And, and this, this, you know, this this, this, this is kind of the hub that goes on to inspire people like you and me to go do the work in the world.
Totally. Yeah. So, so the, it’s coming out of a culture of what it’s German social democracy, right? It’s the opposite of like whatever we have over here, which is like, me, me, me competing against you. You, yeah. So do you feel, I’m just wondering if that’s, if that’s over here in the Americas,
is that what we’re doing over here? Is that, are we competing? Yeah, you know, to to, to frame it. I think that we’re very much more in that, that masculine energy of capitalism and com compete, compete, compete, be first to the punch, that sort of thing. But I don’t, I don’t operate from that.
I operate more from a conscious capitalism perspective, which is a little bit more rooted in the feminine, which is all about attraction and manifestation. So I think both are necessary and I want to really highlight that. But I think for, for me, I, I just trust that this universe is abundant and it brings you the people that need to be in front of you.
That’s it. Plain and simple. So if people go to somebody else, go to the competitor. That’s, that’s, that’s how it was meant to be. And I think that, you know, people will come to you, especially in these kind of, these spaces, service based spaces, maybe not for like Apple, like these big companies. Like you wanna be first to the punch.
It’s very much capitalism there. But in the, when, when somebody’s hiring me as a coach, we’re coming to a community that has an energy behind it. I think it’s a little different, right? Because it’s all about resonance. Do these people resonate with my vision, with my message, with the culture that we’re creating here? Right? And I think a lot of that is energy.
So letting the energetics take care of themselves, I think is really, really important. And Absolutely, and I love what you’re saying about creating culture and then collaboration. And I’m just thinking like, maybe it’s on the leaders of the queer community who are on this side of the pond, you know, the, these countries are much younger, right? Like,
we’ve only been around a few hundred years. Yeah. So we don’t have like these long ancient deep sense of national identity that brings us together in this way. Like we just don’t have that, like the French too, you know, they just do. Yeah. And so, and so, so I’m just wondering if it’s on us to even be more like,
all about collaboration and like, you know, maybe being a good leader. Maybe this is just like, it’s like people skills Yeah. Skills on steroids. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Like I went to that Dale Carnegie, it’s like that really cheesy shit. Like Dale Carnegies, you know, it’s like, it’s like how to win others and influence people.
Kind of like, like, like these little, it was in person though, and you would go and show up and it was like, how to remember people’s names. So like, when, when you meet a new person, make up a little moniker in your mind to remember their name. But all I’m thinking now of those things as like maybe like we all,
we, I need more people skilled training. Like we need more of that because, because we get so in our own thing. And then that’s the very thing that prevents us from moving forward as a community. Okay. So my goal, here’s, I have a goal, What do you think of this? That you could step into a city? Like I’m just,
I’m in LA so I’m thinking like LA Yeah, any gay or queer man can move to LA and they’re like, not into the bars, but like, that’s fine. Every now and then I’ll go to the bars. But really they’re looking for like that whole other like alternative kind of conscious community. And they just start running into people. And that through,
through that they would hear okay. About a platform that is like, we have all these live events and maybe there’s a couple physical spaces. And so there’s like a scene, there’s like a scene of like yoga and meditation and events and like, you know, like, like live, live events, dance events, queer meditation circles, whatever they are where there’s like a scene.
Yeah. That would be, And so that, you know, that would be my, my dream is that you could just, anyone could step into the city and within a few months of meeting people, they’ve heard about it. It’s big, it’s cohesive enough. That’s my dream. Yeah. And that’s the degree grace is the next question. What are the needs that you see in the gay or queer community?
And I think in order for that to take place, there has to be an interest though, right? And there’s an element of, of you hit a point on, on the journey where you, you start your healing journey and you start, your interests start to change, right? And that, that sometimes isn’t just healing, it could be maturation,
right? Like, I’m no longer desiring drugs and alcohol and parties and crews and that’s, and I’m now looking for expansion of consciousness, right? It takes, and maybe that’s not people’s journey in this lifetime, right? So it’s okay, it’s okay that some people want to indulge in those things. And it’s okay for people to want to indulge in these.
But I think you and I are more on the track of like, you know, we’re leading people towards what, for me, it’s, I’m leading people towards expansion of consciousness, towards healing, towards spiritual development, personal development towards, you know, towards authenticity, connection. These are the things that I really want to inspire people towards. And I see those as significantly needed in the community because we have such a limited capacity for connection beyond the physical,
Right? It’s, it’s, that’s very much about how gay men connect with each other. Right? And that’s, that’s very much a generalized statement. I understand that, but I do see it in such a big way and I see a Mass you mean sex Primarily? Yeah, sex or, or cuddling or these sorts of things. It’s like a lot of gay men have a really hard time opening up and being vulnerable because of past shame and past rejection for being gay.
And that’s our core wounding. Right? Right. So we, it’s up to, to us to create these spaces where people can come in and heal and feel safe to start to show up in these ways. Because, you know, I look at, I look at our community and I see a shit ton of loneliness. I see a lot of suicide,
I see a lot of addiction. I see a lot of people just feeling depressed and anxious. Lots of mental health stuff. So, you know, how do we mitigate that? How do we mitigate loneliness, right? We mitigate it with connections. So we need to find ways that, that men can connect in ways on top of the physical, because physical’s beautiful.
I love sex, I love cuddling. All that is really, really beautiful. But if that’s the only way that you have capacity for connection, it’s going to be very, very challenging to mitigate loneliness and to, to start to move towards fulfillment, right? Yeah. I think what makes me sad is that the straight community, which that’s, there’s no such thing.
It’s just there’s like, we have the gay queer community and then there’s like everybody else. They don’t call themselves the straight community. But you know, that demographic, which is 90% of the world or whatever, 90% of you know, is, is, has more of a kind of like a movement, if you will around that and spaces for that.
Whereas we don’t, I think that like if you’re a gay man and you’re looking for what you’re talking about, something that’s more of like a spiritual connection, you have to really go outta your way and really dial that in and find it. Yeah. And it’s gonna be niche and it’s gonna be for you. Yeah. And God bless you that you find that,
whether that’s a friend that you go off into the forest and do psychedelics with Yeah. Or your therapist or whatever. A a group small group of friends, that’s fine. That’s great. But that’s not, that’s not what we’re, what we’re trying to, That’s, I don’t, that’s not what we’re talking about right now. We’re talking about, I think we’re talking about something like critical mass of,
of a movement around that and a scene. So I, Yeah, community, Community. And I’m just wondering if it’s like, I’m just gonna make up numbers cuz I don’t know if like 70% of or okay. 60, No, 60% of gay men are just like, not not on that page. They’re just not on that page. They’re wanting to drink and have sex and I,
I love drinking and having sex, but it’s not my main priority. Right? Yeah, yeah. Okay. But they’re not into, let’s just call it a wellness prerogative or, you know, a wellness direction. So let’s say there’s 40% of that, 40%, 20% of those are just like regular hardworking professionals who, you know, they just like to have it,
but they just living their regular life. They’re just walking the dog and talking to the husband and going to work. There’s just, there’s, and then the other percent are like more kind of these people who like go outta their way to go to yoga. They’re people who meditate, they get, they go to meditation circles, they are like actively participating and they would really love that.
Yeah. So that, making these numbers up at 20%. But here’s the issue. That 20% is all fragmented. It’s 2% over here in the naked yoga community. It’s 4% over here in the, it’s, it’s all split up. So I, I just, I just, Yeah, I do. It’s coming back to what you’re saying. It’s,
it’s that necessary to have that sense of community. What I’m experimenting with here in LA is trying to create what we call the umbrella community. So where it’s like we have literally, this is all we’re doing is queer picnic. We literally just call it queer picnic. That’s awesome. Yeah. And it’s just, we’re trying to get all the coaches and yoga teachers and,
you know, meditation teachers and leaders of, like, this guy, he leads the new, he has a nudest gay men’s group of 200 people to bring their people to this, like low stakes, just queer picnic. We had our first one last weekend. We, we did a 10 minute meditation and then like 20 minutes of like authentic relating like,
you know, little partnered exercises and then just hang out and network. Cool. And so that way if we’re just experimenting is how can all these different micro communities come together in one space? Cause then the overlaps can start to happen. Yes. Yeah. I I love that. I absolutely love that. And I wanna second what you said. It’s,
it’s a, it’s a both end when it comes to drinking and partying and stuff because it, just because you’re on a healing path doesn’t mean that you have to give that up, Right? It just means that that’s not your sole purpose for existence. Right? Cause I can still go out and, and go to a circuit party and have fun and,
you know, dabble with certain things, but that, you know, my main priority is my, my, my mental health, my physical health, these sorts of things. So it’s, it’s balance, right? That’s what everything comes back to in my opinion. So Yeah. Totally. Okay. So the next question is, how can we develop more culture of connection in the gate or queer?
That’s, we’re just talking about that, right? Yeah. Right. We’re kind of going, we’re hitting on the points as they come. So is there anything else that you wanted to add to that? I mean, I don’t know man, I I, it’s a great question. It’s literally the question that, you know, keeps me up at night.
It’s, I, Yeah, because it’s like, so I think that, okay, I think that organization, I believe in organization, I believe in hierarchical organization. I, I I, what I wanna qualify where I’m coming from, when I say that, I mean, so I play soccer. I am, I’ve been part of two leagues. I think they’re very well organized.
There’s varsity gay league, and they have dodge ball, kickball, tennis, soccer, and they have little micro leagues within the umbrella community of vgo, varsity gay league. It’s run by Will Hector. He does an incredible job at organizing. Actually. He, yeah, he runs the whole thing for America. It’s, but it’s primarily LA is is where there’s like a thousand people in it.
So it’s like, it’s the same with West Hollywood Soccer Club. You have 200 people in it and you have five teams. You try out for the first one second, one third. So I think organization is super important. Yes. And, and having systems and consistency and repetition. I don’t know where I’m going with that. What, what do you think?
Do you Wanna No, no, no. I know. Exactly. And I’ll build off of what you were saying because I think that’s where collaboration comes in. Because if we’re leading from ego, we’re not gonna be able to collaborate because we might have a vision like, Oh no, I wanna make this happen. And it, I, I want all the accolades,
I want the credit for. And I kind of, I entered the gay men’s brotherhood with a little bit of that energy, and I had a hard time letting people into my vision because I didn’t want it to be taken in direction. That was not exactly how I saw it laid out, which was very ego, very rigid, right? So I do think there’s an element of like,
when it says, how can we develop more culture of connection in the gay queer community? Well, the leaders need to start connecting. We need to start coming together and we need to start sharing our visions, and then we need to start bringing them together. So I think collaboration is probably a very, you know, easy way to answer that question.
And, and maybe let’s, let’s take another spin on it too, because I’m curious for you, what do you think creates disconnection in the community? Because if we’re trying to create a culture of connection, what is creating the disconnection? So maybe there’s things we need to actually start to focus on removing because they’re no longer serving our community and they’re disconnecting us from one another.
So then that way we can bring more of a culture of connection. Good question. What are things that cause the disconnection? You know, I, I’m trying to think because I think that we’re in part of it is just sensitivity, honestly, being sensitive to each person’s, you know, we’re, we’re in a, we’re in a new era of wokeness,
so people are sensitive and people can get offended easily. And I have made that mistake in the past, but like, you know, so I think, you know, for, I grew up in Mexico City, so I, I did not grow up around, you know, a lot of black people, Well, any black people. And so when I came to America as a teenager,
I didn’t, and I lived in a predominantly white Nashville, Tennessee. Yeah. So coming out to California, I, I did not have any education or background around, you know, blackness and, you know, I just didn’t have the life experience. So it’s not that I was racist, it’s just that I didn’t have the sensitivity. Totally. So I think that’s a,
I think that’s just one thing that comes to mind is like building in sensitivities, sensitivities to trans people’s sensitivities, to people of color, sensitivities to my other, all the things. Yeah. Yeah. I, I think there’s, you’re, you’re heading in the right direction and I’ll, I’ll share my experience. So when I first shared at the beginning about creating this community and I wasn’t ready,
it’s because being around other gay men was really activating for me because they were, they were exhibiting things that I had yet to learn to love or accept about myself. Right? So it might have been femininity, flamboyancy in authenticity, these sorts of things, right? Yeah. So I honestly think that is the why we’re disconnected from each other. Because to be around other gay men,
when you haven’t worked on your shit, it’s more specifically your internalized homophobia that keeps us disconnected. And then that’s where like the lone wolf energy starts to come into play, right? Where we isolate and we stay away from the gay community because it’s too triggering for us. And we, that perpetuates loneliness and disconnection. So if you know what to answer the question,
how can we develop more culture of connection in the gay community? I think it starts with, it starts with the individuals that make up the community, right? Doing their part, you know, going to therapy, you know, getting some coaching and starting to process some of the past pain, right? Which, you know, in my experience, and I do this work and I’ve been doing it for 15 years,
is it’s a, an extreme fear of rejection. I see that with pretty much every single gay man that I work with has a very, very extreme fear of rejection because we come from a lot of core wounding around feeling rejected by the greater society. Whether that be we felt rejected by our parents, we felt rejected by our church, we felt rejected by our government,
by heterosexual community, by each other in the gay community, right? So I just think there’s this deep seated fear of rejection. And if that can start to get worked on in process, which is in my opinion, shame, healing work, then we start to be able to move towards connection a lot easier, which has been my experience. And now I’m able to be around other gay men and I’m not so activated because I’ve worked on the things that were activating me.
Yeah. I think that’s a piece of it. It’s not, it’s not all of it, but it’s definitely the piece that’s no, I i, that’s really, it’s really rich as you’re saying it. And I mean, the first thing there is having the awareness, Like I, I’m gonna, I’m gonna just say, I was talking with a couple,
you know, older gay men and older gay, you know, couple. And they literally made the comment, well if, well I don’t, cuz they throw these big parties at their mansion and whatever, and they’re very nice, you know, respectable in society, men, and, and they, they, they, they were like, well, I don’t know if we would ever have any,
you know, have invite any gay men who are feminine. And I was like, Excuse me, really? I really took an issue with, with, with that. And it turned into this, this big argument. I have a lot of, a lot of me that feels very feminine. Yeah, same. And I, I also have plenty of masculinity.
It’s just what one might call masculine energy. But I, I just, it just, it just did not sit well with me. So then, you know, I, I don’t know, I just, just, the first thing is what you said is the a is the awareness that that’s, that’s actually, I’ve got some issues to work on.
Let me go work on those. And again, I think that’s already, that’s already a sign of maturity. And I, I think, I think what, again, I think I’m just, what interests me, like we’re in 2022, we’re no longer in, you know, in the eighties or or early thousands. So what are, what am I saying by that?
Is that like, we’re ready for a more conscious gay queer community that is more widespread. Exactly. I think we’re ready for that. And so it’s about, nor like, I mean, wokeness is everywhere. Being queer is like on the rise, like now, like 10, you know, we’re heading towards 10% of Americans identify as some form of queer.
So I mean it’s, it’s just like, anyway, I guess I’m just wondering how, what we’re talking about, how, how does it become more widespread? And I think that’s through, like I said, collaboration, consistency, building a movement, and then, because then if something, like for example, embracing all genders in oneself and working on those issues.
But if that’s widespread knowledge, if that’s, if that’s what the cool kids are doing, then other people are gonna do it. This is just how it works. If like, if the cool people, if the cool kids are doing it, other people are gonna do it. That’s Just, yeah. Yeah. So, I don’t know. I dunno.
Yeah. I don’t know. But I appreciate your self honesty there. Yeah. That’s really liberal. That’s like, like I feel inspired by your, your honest and your courage. Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that, Peter. All right. I wanna respect your time. So, we’ll, we’ll wrap up with this last question. So what can people focus on to become great leaders in the gay or queer spaces?
Because there’s people listening to this that probably have vision, they probably have organization, they probably have all these things and maybe they might be lacking some courage to put themselves out there and be the leader that they know they are. So what do we think people need to focus on? Or what can people focus on in order to become a great leader, do you think?
Yeah, I just think it’s like, let’s bring, let’s, all of us, myself included, let’s wake up and think of like, okay, you know what, first of all, my efforts matter. And the small things can become big things and small things are great too. Like, like, so the next little thing I wanna do, first of all,
it, it matters. So like, there’s plenty of people who, like you just said, have the vision, have the ideas, but they’re not executing for whatever reason. But let’s just say that it, guess what? I think it does matter. It does matter. So knowing that it matters and then, and then, you know, I guess,
yeah, it’s like, what, what is that little thing? Cuz often it’s about creating a new world or a new thing. So there’s an element of almost like being an artist, right? Like, yeah, I’m gonna, I have an idea for a queer meditation circle and hosting it at my house on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM Yeah. I don’t, no,
go, go, go ahead, do it. Just try it, bring it into the world, Put it on Facebook, you know, promote it. Like go for it. Like that, dude, I did it the other day. No one came, but guess what? A lot of people were like all excited and they’re like, I’m coming to the next one.
Yeah. So it’s just, it’s just, I think about, I’m trying. So yeah, so just, I was just saying before my computer died, just I would say, yeah, just focus on that Next little vision. Don’t, you know, like, let’s try to work against the doubt and whatever those procrastinating little parts of us are, just like,
go for it. And, and like again, back to what you said, Matt, about collaboration, just how can we reach out and collaborate with other people? Like, I could not have done this new queer picnic without Trevor Leapers and Trevor James. You know what I mean? So the, it’s like, I can’t, I can’t do it all.
Like I need other people. Exactly. Yeah. And I think that’s the biggest thing. If there is a bit of apprehension to become a leader and to put yourself out there, get a, get a group of guys together and, and create the vision together. Because I think that’s the direction we’re heading as a, as a society is we’re coming,
we’re flipping the meat to the we now and co-creation. And these sorts of things are becoming more, more prevalent. So, and it’s really important that we work together to create our vision. So Wait, I wait, so wait, Matt, I have a quick question. Okay. So maybe it’s for both of us. What is the one area of improvement,
a weakness that we have as a leader that we’re, that we could work on? Hmm. Do you know yours? I don’t have any flaws, so, Yeah, I was gonna say I’ve been, I’ve been working hard on my, on my stuff. No, I, I, I I was just kidding. I, I think that for me it,
oops, sorry. I have a tendency to get to overwhelm myself and to be impatient and kind of rush. Mm. And for me, you know, it, it’s the cliche of like, slowing down is speeding up. That is something I need that I’m, I have a hard time with. I just have a hard time with. Yeah. And,
and it’s like I have all this energy and excitement and passion, but it doesn’t, if it’s, sometimes it’s wiser to just take a step back for me and just kind of, cause like then, oh, this is actually the highest priority over here. This is what needs to happen. And I’ve been getting all excited about doing all this shit over here that can wait,
like this thing over here, you know, like making my business model, you know, financially sustainable in one city. Okay, let’s just focus on that, you know, And then just really pacing that out and not making mistakes because I’m rushing that. That’s, that’s kind of, that’s kind of thing I’m working on. Yeah. Yeah. So it sounds like focus,
learning how to just be focused and, and focus on what is the most important thing at the time. Yeah. And being, and being patient and like going, going, okay. Being okay with going slow, like, you know. Yeah. Yeah. Mine would probably be not taking on so much and burning myself out because I tend to have like a propensity to wanna take on a lot.
And I think that comes from control, probably. Like, I like to have control over over things cause I wanna make sure the vision is executed properly. And yeah, so it’s, it’s again just like believing in the team that is around me and, and, and, and also being okay with not always having to have my hands on the steering wheel and,
you know, giving over, you know, tasks and delegating and things like that because I take on too much, I burn out and then I don’t have a full capacity to offer. Right. So setting boundaries, all this stuff, it’s all the same flavor I’ve been working on for the last few years, but it’s coming together really nicely actually. I’m learning how to really give up control and not have to take on so much.
So, Yeah. Okay. Okay. And then, wait, I’m, that’s awesome. I have one more question. Yeah. If you could have any resource people, money, buildings, cars, planes, boats, gold, platinum, whatever, dirt, What, what resources, just, you know, what are your top two or three things that you would have to,
to be able to move forward with your vision as a queer? I would say a marketing specialist. I’m really good at marketing, but I, when you’re too close to something, your baby, you can’t, you can’t see it objectively. And I think a marketing specialist would be great. Marketing is a very expensive thing. So, you know, I think the two other leaders in this community that are building this with me as well,
Calan and Michael, they’d agree. We, we definitely would like to turn over our marketing to somebody else and get them to take it on and do a lot of the admin stuff because it’s very, it’s very, very time consuming. We do a lot for this community that people don’t even see behind the scenes. That’s like unbelievable. Like it’s a part-time job for each of us building this.
So, Yeah. Yeah. What about you? So, Yeah, I would say one is like someone to run an online form like I was just talking about earlier, but an online form also with like live events and you know, kind of like people can create their own profiles and you can just talk to each other and see like basically like a live event platform with a forum.
We’re just so focused on the directory and you know, getting profiles up and doing marketing for that. We just don’t have the manpower for that. So the other thing would be the, you know, just eventually growing towards a, an in-person, you know, queer Men’s Wellness Center. So that’s cool. That’s definitely like on the bucket list. Yeah.
Yeah. Well maybe there’d be an intersection for, cuz I think that would be also a vision of mine. Some sort of brick and mortar where we can have retreats and things like that. So who knows? All right. I love it. I love a seeding plant there. Yeah. Yeah. So for people that wanna get ahold of you, they can connect with you on your website,
gay wellness.com and your Instagram at gay dot wellness. Is there any other place that you think people would need to Yeah, We’re on Facebook and Twitter. Just look up gay wellness, but check out the site and see if there’s a practitioner near you. We have a blog, we have like 40 blogs just in the last six months and Cool. Yeah.
So, yeah. Yeah. Great. Yeah. Awesome. And for those of you who are not part of the Gay Men’s Brotherhood, come and join us over on Facebook and if you’re watching this on YouTube, please leave us a comment. If you have any comments or questions that you have for myself or Peter, please leave those in the comments below.
And if you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, please leave us a star rating. If you enjoyed today’s show, leave us five stars. That would be great. And be sure to share this with anybody that you think might be inspired to become a leader in the gay community. So, and I wanna thank you, Peter, for coming on and,
and sharing your passion. That’s what I experienced from you today the most. You’re very passionate, you brought out a lot of passion in me, so thank you for that. It felt nice to share this time with next future connection. So Yeah, dude, me too. Awesome. Thank you brother. Appreciate It. Yeah, you’re welcome.