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“Everybody I Ever Knew Who Had HIV Had Died” (with De’Vannon Hubert)

devannon hubert

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1 December is World Aids Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic. 

To mark this day on this week’s show I’m joined by De’Vannon Hubert, podcaster and author of ‘Sex, Drugs, and Jesus’, a memoir about his struggles with his HIV+ diagnosis, drug addiction, homelessness, and rejection from his church for his sexuality.

And the venue we’re discussing is F-Bar in Houston, Texas, a place that holds bittersweet memories for De’Vannon – it was here that he celebrated, danced, and made friends and chosen family. But it was also here that he received the phone call telling him that he’d contracted HIV. 

Find out more about De’Vannon at his website, or on Facebook and Twitter.

DeVannon Hubert  0:00 

It wasn’t that like uncommon to walk into a gay bar and be like, Hey, where’s such and such? And they’re like, Oh, someone who worked there, whatever. They’ll be like, Oh, they die, you know a wow, it was not like it wasn’t happening still. I didn’t know anybody who was living as they say, with HIV healthy everyone I knew I had dropped dead.

K Anderson  0:20 

Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces, the podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories that they created there and the people that they used to know. The first of December, the day that this episode is published, is World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic. To mark this day on this week’s show, I am joined by divan on who bear podcaster and author of sex, drugs and Jesus, a memoir about his struggles with his positive diagnosis, drug addiction, homelessness and rejection from his church for his sexuality. And the venue that we’re discussing is f bar in Houston, Texas, a place that holds bittersweet memories for divan on. It was here that he celebrated danced and made friends and chosen family. But it was also here that he received the phone call, telling him that he had contracted HIV. Before we get started, the question that I’m asking this week is around religion. During our conversation, we talk about our experiences with organised religion. And, well, you know how cynical I am, don’t you? So I’m kind of a bit iffy on it and a bit like around the edges. But I’m starting as I get older to see that there is value within it. And, and I’d really like to hear your thoughts and see what your experiences have been. If you are listening on Spotify, you can answer this question within the app. But if you’re not on Spotify, reach out to me on social media. I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as lost spaces pod or email me via my website, last spaces podcast.com Right, let’s get going

K Anderson  2:52 

as I said, Okay, so first of all, what does the F and F bar stand for?

DeVannon Hubert  2:58 

I would hope that it will stand for fuck, or, or you know, something great. Like that. Hit I never asked that question once fr o FF, and we were just like, okay, that’s the cute new police in town, bitch. Let’s go. Oh, okay.

K Anderson  3:11 

So then if it did stand for fuck, let’s just say just just for a moment. Did you then, you know, embrace that concept?

DeVannon Hubert  3:21 

In so many ways, my dear, you know, he had much fuckery at bar, you know, in the form of lots of cocaine use in the bathroom. They had perfect stalls for it. Because they had the the floor to ceiling doors. This is a very posh bar. Wow. A little bit. I don’t know if I would say Tasmanian but you know, you had like the black chandelier is what Tasmanian I don’t know. I was thinking kind of like, I don’t know. I think kinda like Dracula. I was thinking like, Jackie

K Anderson  3:57 

Transylvanian.

DeVannon Hubert  3:59 

Yeah Transylvania. I haven’t had my vodka this morning. Yeah. So but it was very like posh and chic like that, you know, very dark, velvety red you know doors and stuff like that. Very exotic. So it’s a great place to do a lot of cocaine and so and so we would gather you know, we’d gather I was a drug dealer for so I always had everything on me.

K Anderson  4:27 

So how many people could you fit in a stall?

DeVannon Hubert  4:31 

I would go for three comfortably for cane really liked everyone.

K Anderson  4:39 

Because you always have to bend over, don’t you? I mean, like, white canes up your nose, right?

DeVannon Hubert  4:44 

Depends on the type of nature trying to have.

K Anderson  4:47 

Oh, I might. Do you mean up your bat? Am I kidding?

DeVannon Hubert  4:51 

You could do a booty bump. You could totally do a booty. Wow. Yeah, booty bumping. Is it It can be fun, but it’s also super risky because the, um, the asshole walls and everything is very thin, and things transferred to your bloodstream very quickly in there so you can overdose very easily by stuffing things up your asshole.

K Anderson  5:17 

Ah, I might not want to ask any more questions about this. I might like it. Maybe we should move on. Yeah, this is making me feel bad. Yeah. It was a discrete place to take drugs in. That means it must have also been a discrete place to have sex and

DeVannon Hubert  5:37 

it could be a very discreet place to have sex ed and I had my fair share of a bathroom rumps you know, Ron David, I just consider myself to be highly social. You know, I’m doing what they taught me to do in Sunday’s

K Anderson  5:52 

giving.

DeVannon Hubert  5:54 

And Share, share, share what the Lord has given me. Did you ever get caught? The only shade that was thrown was by the janitor. And I don’t say that by looking down on him because he was a janitor, because I’ve been a janitor before. But you know, he would like pound on the door and get hassled us and everything like that. And I want us to congregate. And I’m all like, okay, us coming in here. Spending money, you know, keeps the doors open so that you’re a bitch ask and have a job. Now if you want some of this cocaine, motherfucker, just say so you could have plenty. Nobody’s being stingy. There’s no need to be disgruntled about it.

K Anderson  6:41 

But you know, there must have been some of the kind of horrible bodily fluids that he had to clean up so I can kind of understand why he’ll be grumpy.

DeVannon Hubert  6:49 

Well, we wouldn’t waste the drop off calm honey.

K Anderson  6:53 

I’m not talking about calm I’m talking about other accidents. I’m not saying that you shout on the floor but I’m sure that like some people shout on the floor.

DeVannon Hubert  7:01 

I mean, probably but you know that’s a part of the job when I was a janitor and I was a janitor at a Veterans Affairs Medical Facility. I had to clean up all sorts of shit and piss in blood and everything that comes along with the territory but all the more reason for him to come in there and get a few motherfucking bombs with Okay,

K Anderson  7:19 

so he can just power through Yeah,

DeVannon Hubert  7:21 

right none of that would bother him anymore my shit was good had like the whole half a like your face and arm and like that I had that good.

K Anderson  7:32 

So it’s probably at this point we should say we’re not condoning drug taking Is that Is that fair to say?

DeVannon Hubert  7:38 

I don’t I don’t condone I don’t condemn everyone needs to find their own truth.

K Anderson  7:45 

Okay, sorry if you got fucked up you got your literally fucked why was it that you wanted to talk about that place?

DeVannon Hubert  7:54 

Or is important to me because that is the place where I retrieved the voice malware found out that I was HIV positive. And so you know that that’s something that’s probably gonna forever be ingrained in my head.

K Anderson  8:11 

So where were you then when you listen to this voicemail?

DeVannon Hubert  8:15 

I was there with my home girl. And we were a key King because it was New Year’s Eve I believe the year 2011 You don’t have beautiful horizontal black and silver sequined dress that fit ever so snugly and you know at her heels as she does. She’s also my attorney. And you know her Halle Berry Beyonce bangs and everything very beautiful, delicious African American woman. And so we were twirling on the dance floor as

K Anderson  8:46 

well. So what were you wearing? If we’re finding out what she’s wearing? What are you wearing?

DeVannon Hubert  8:50 

Oh, my head on my cowboy boots. Probably some seven jeans are true religion jeans buttoned down pinstripe black vast, probably went with my violet metallic tie that particular night, you know, that sort of thing. Okay, so

K Anderson  9:07 

we’ve got the image.

DeVannon Hubert  9:10 

And so, it so this doctor had been calling me all day. It was strange because this was like a Saturday I think and his office was only open on Monday through Thursday. This was the doctor who was treating was supposed to be treating me for Hepatitis B and I really wasn’t letting him because he was being really shady and I really wasn’t trusting him. You know, so he waited until the last minute on New Year’s Eve to blow up my phone. He must have called me 567 times and then he finally left a voicemail. And I had a feeling it was something bad and I was like should I wait and just party? You know deal with the shit tomorrow? That was like let me be bold. You know, since I got the voicemail today on New Year’s Eve, let me check this shit before the clock strikes. 12 So I just didn’t tell my friends where I was going. I was just like, I’ll be back then I just kind of walked out to the street to the music was so loud, I couldn’t have possibly heard anything in the club at all. And so I just wanted to retrieve the voicemail. And on the voicemail, he was saying, he wasn’t empathetic at all. It’s not empathetic to leave a voicemail with a positive HIV diagnosis pyramid

K Anderson  10:16 

tells you Oh,

DeVannon Hubert  10:18 

okay, let alone on New Year’s Eve. He could have like, waited till the first or the second little bitch and joy her motherfucking you know, not eight. Um, he’s all like, yeah, you’re HIV positive. Don’t be out there spreading it to anybody else, you know, like, call the office and stuff like that. You know, this dude’s like a real dick total for an asshole. And so that’s how I found out are you standing on the side of the club at about 1130 at night, via voicemail. And so I had a very, very bad reaction to that after the fact. But that night, you know, I dried my eyes, I cried a whole whole lot. But I had to clean my mascara up, which I was wearing. And I looked real cute. And I just went back in the club, and I danced the hardest day and said, I think I had ever danced because in my head, I was thinking that I would be dead in about eight months. Everybody I ever knew who had HIV had died. And at this time in Montrose, and Houston, Texas, people were still dying of AIDS. It was not like, it was not like, uncommon to walk into a gay bar and be like, Hey, where’s such and such? And they’re like, Oh, someone who worked there, whatever. They’ll be like, Oh, they die, you know, AIDS, you know? Oh, wow. Okay. So it’s not like it wasn’t happening. Still. I didn’t know anybody who was living, as they say, with HIV healthy. Everyone I knew had dropped dead. So it’s I

K Anderson  11:46 

had a much bigger impact than a minute word. Other words. So you listen to the message. You went back in, and you danced where your friends like, Oh, hey, what was? What was the message? What were you doing outside? Or did you did you talk about it with them? Did you bring it up? Did you just kind of like pretend it hadn’t happened?

DeVannon Hubert  12:06 

I pretended it hadn’t happened. I didn’t even tell them. I went outside. You know, I’m very sneaky. And if I don’t want someone to know what I’m doing, they’re not going to know what I’m doing. Ergo, I was able to be a drug dealer, you know, and stuff like that. And so I could not articulate what happened. I texted my attorney, my friend and let her know where I worked before. Before I inevitably left that job because I was too depressed to stay on it. I let him listen to the voicemail and out of the net. That was it. I couldn’t not verbally say I am HIV positive. I I was hit with a slew of emotions. I wasn’t expecting I was. I felt shamed. I felt like a pariah. I felt filthy. I felt dirty. I felt contagious. I felt so filthy. I couldn’t go to clubs anymore. I just felt like everyone knew. And somehow I was just like this walking in a petri dish of disease. Yes, all this unravel shit rolling through my head. But I accepted it as reality in it. And I didn’t want to say it because I guess I felt like that would make it more real. I was too prideful to ask for help. And because I’ve never I’d never had a problem that didn’t work itself out before that somehow it got better. But this wasn’t getting better every day, this shit was still here. And I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was the one helping other people. You know, so I needed to have a come to Jesus moment. And it learned how to be humble. So I needed to be broken on this level. You know, I really needed it. Getting back on it. But But no, I didn’t tell anybody anything for months. I was homeless on the streets before. Ah, wow. Before I could even much.

K Anderson  13:45 

Yeah, you mentioned that you’re sneaky and secretive, or, or at least that you were. And I’m, I’m kind of the same way like I’m quite a secretive person and haven’t really don’t really talk much about things that are going on for me. And I always just kind of thought that that was because of my upbringing, because of the family that I grew up in and things like that. But the more I talk to queer people, the more I realise that this is a kind of a common trait. And I wondered if you feel that that that your queerness has informed that part of your personality or if you think it’s from somewhere else.

DeVannon Hubert  14:23 

My family informed that not my queerness so I’m growing up growing up in the South in South Louisiana, okay, people are very traditional is very like we are the adults, you are the children. So you do not have a voice. You’re not allowed to be angry at adults. No one cares what you think we will handle everything and we are not going to walk through our problems in front of you. So and then If problems do happen with adults, they want you to cover it up and be quiet. So like when my dad had his affair when I was in the eighth grade, and it was a whole shit show at home. The only thing that my mom was like is look don’t tell anybody You know that Not, not? How did this affect you? What can we do? Just don’t tell anyone, whatever happens, Lord to let anybody know that this man then went fuck some other bitch out there. So secrecy is what I took from that experience so that when problems happen we’re supposed to internalise it deal with it ourselves not get help and act like we got our shit together when really we don’t. So I learned that bullshit from my family.

K Anderson  15:26 

And have you learned to let go of that bullshit over the years? Or is that still something that’s quite common for you?

DeVannon Hubert  15:35 

Oh, that bullshit is so gotten burned up the ashes have been spread and everything like that is how did you ever comment of the struggle to rehabilitate my life after I lost everything. So, you know, I went from like a job that was paying 30 to 70 an hour to homeless on the street. So I had to work up from being a janitor to a food delivery driver to waiting tables, to going back to school to be a massage therapist, you know, in all of that, now we’re talking about them, they’re 10 years of struggling new to come back from living with my parents at the age of 30. So all the pride and the ego and all of that got torn up in the process of the rehabilitation. You can’t be trying to act like you got it together when everybody see you homeless ain’t got shit. You can’t you can’t pretend no more, because everything that happened to me was done very publicly. You know, now, I’m in and out of jail got three felonies? You know, none of it’s a secret anymore. All of this is all public record. So I couldn’t hide if I wanted to.

K Anderson  16:35 

But is there ever any not temptation like to hide necessarily, but just to not mention it? Like you could just not mention it?

DeVannon Hubert  16:43 

No, I don’t like that. God spared my life. Because I almost got killed a few times out there mucking around with the game and on the streets. I don’t feel like I was spared to hush up about it. You know, because hadn’t been anybody else and they would have died on their on those streets. But God just wasn’t ready for me to die. I was making a lot of foolish decisions every day. But as you can see, I’m very much still alive. And so the purpose of that is not to just have a quiet successful life, it is to open my fucking mouth. And to speak about what has happened so that other people may be be may benefit from it. I’ve never been more comfortable talking about my flaws. It’s the freest I’ve ever been, you know, embracing it. And I wouldn’t go back for the world. I wouldn’t go back.

K Anderson  17:30 

It’s really interesting to hear. So without going over it in great depth, and well, I mean, you’ve just said you’re happy talking about it. So I don’t know why I’m being so apologetic. But you said earlier that you had to be really broken down in order to move forward. So what exactly is broken down look like?

DeVannon Hubert  17:54 

broken down? Oh, my God for me went from. So I no longer had my two or 300 pairs of underwear because they were all taken, you know, during the drug raid and everything. Why did

K Anderson  18:06 

you have two to 300 pairs of underwear anyway, because I have an indoor fetish. So you just do one load of washing a year, theoretically,

DeVannon Hubert  18:13 

if I wanted to. But that that. That is how much of a diva that I was before I lost everything I would change ahead everyday time outfit in an evening outfit every day. Because I didn’t want to be seen in the same outfit that I had on during the day after the sun went down. And I had that much clothes and it was a huge pride for me. But after the drug raid, everyone from the streets came in and took my shit. And so as I’m homeless, I’m going into different places watching this guy wearing my shoes. This person here has a drawer full of underwear. This first here is wearing my damn jeans, you know, you know that that that right? That is broken down. So I no longer am making 30 to 70 an hour. I don’t have anything. I don’t own anything. I don’t have an apartment. I’m having my Mustang anymore. All I have on all I own is the clothes on my back. That is it. So there’s no go into clubs. There is no more outfit changes. There’s no contributing to anyone. There’s no volunteering, there’s no nothing.

K Anderson  19:09 

So you were a drug dealer, and then you got arrested. And that’s when that’s when the raid happened. How long had you been dealing before then?

DeVannon Hubert  19:21 

I can’t remember like maybe like, and my memory is really good from that time now but okay, it took a long time for my memory to begin to come back. I think that time was so traumatic that my mind spaced it out. And so just just say maybe like a year or two okay, or something like that. But I was just you know, dealing with friends locally. I wasn’t doing you know, I was starting to get heavier into it not because I needed the money just because it was it was entertaining. It provided community whereas I got kicked out of the church before you know this became my new family, the street the street world. The Underworld. So probably like a year or two, and then the arrest happened. And then like four days later than I mean, I got to find out about the HIV and then four days later than I was in jail the first time because I started to get sloppy, because my mind was overthrown. And, and I didn’t care to live anymore. I lost my little live and then I just became super careless. But up until then I got arrested.

K Anderson  20:25 

To the raid happened within the week of you finding out

DeVannon Hubert  20:29 

no, that was the first arrest. The Raid happened about four or five months later.

K Anderson  20:34 

Okay. Okay. So was the raid the moment when you stopped dealing?

DeVannon Hubert  20:41 

Oh, heavens, no, that doesn’t stop anything. But well, I could say as I stopped trying, will start having the ability to do it. Yeah. Because apart from that, then it just turned into me just trying to get high everyday, so I didn’t have any sort of infrastructure or base of operations anymore. And I never really, I never got back to it. I tried a couple of times, but it never worked. And I was kind of glad that they came. Now I was I was really relieved that they did come and get me because I needed an intervention.

K Anderson  21:12 

And were you on the street immediately after this raid? Or how does that right because

DeVannon Hubert  21:18 

I got to the raid came in talked about it raid honey, like 45 I don’t know how many armed men would say my automatic rifles and face shields and cavalor and the dogs and helicopters and everything. Sure, but you know, it was it. I was in jail like five days. And when I got out, it’s not like you can I tried to go back to the apartment just to see what I could scavenge. But it was just so heartbreaking to be in there. I just started crying. And then I just walked out and then in that instant, I went to the street.

K Anderson  21:46 

Oh, okay, so And how long were you living on the street?

DeVannon Hubert  21:50 

Like six months, and then they were then we were able to transfer my probation to back home to Baton Rouge.

K Anderson  21:59 

And so I’m really interested in hearing about at what point I’m gonna say you found Jesus. But that might sound really corny, but like, at what point in this you gravitated towards religion?

DeVannon Hubert  22:14 

The the thing there is about when did I gravitate back, because I had the strong relationship with Christ the whole time until I got kicked out of out of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas for not being straight, which created the void, which allowed me to become open to guys bringing me drugs as all my old drugs I tried with the first time was because I do that I liked was like, Hey, do you want this, I didn’t go and look for the ship myself. I accepted it. Because you know, I like these these guys. So from the time that I got kicked out of church, to the time that I walked back into one, for the first time was probably about like six years. And I was in rehab, about a year and a half after the raid in Shreveport, Louisiana when I walked back into that church for the first time, but it was never the same. You know, I was carrying a lot of trauma from being kicked out of church that I didn’t know how to deal with and I had not dealt with it. And I didn’t understand at that time how dehumanising it is for somebody to tell you that you cannot be around children because they think you’re going to molest them. And then try to give you conversion therapy and stuff like that. Basically, they were like, We don’t accept you as you are, we would like you to change and then you can stay in so.

K Anderson  23:41 

Which I did. I don’t waste guys well,

DeVannon Hubert  23:43 

right. So it wasn’t the drugs in the street life that pulled me away from God, it was being kicked up church,

K Anderson  23:51 

like so from my own experiences. I’ve never been in a religious family didn’t grow up around religion. But I always knew that I wasn’t accepted in religion. So I was like, Well, I’m just not interested, then fuck you. I’m like, if you don’t want me, I don’t want you like, yeah, get get lost. And what was your reaction then when it was like, you know, we don’t accept you because of who you are. Were you like, please accept me? Or were you then just like, Well, I’m gonna go and figure out things on my own see,

DeVannon Hubert  24:25 

it was I’m gonna go and figure out things on my own. And I’m gonna go into the bars into the nightlife where I know I won’t be judged and they will become my family. And it was a foolish thing for me to have done. But I wasn’t as strong in my faith as I was like, if that sort of thing was to happen that day. I wouldn’t not feel the need to go and find that community elsewhere, because I now have learned how to separate humans from God. And at that point, I didn’t do it. I wasn’t able to do it. And that’s an important thing. For all of us to be able to deal with this, one of the main messages that I preach is for us to, to not put pastors and preachers and worship leaders on these pedestals that they don’t deserve to be on and when they come with the bullshit, and they will, you know, to not let it shake our faith that should not have shaken my faith, because now what did I believe in? I believed in those people more than I believed in my own creator, because it wasn’t God that did that it was those humans who did that. And I let that cause a separation in between me and God for all those years, and I should never have done that. But you know, we grow, we grow, and we learn so.

K Anderson  25:35 

Yeah. And so how did you then learn how to like, what was the moment when you realise that that your faith wasn’t about those people? It was about God,

DeVannon Hubert  25:45 

when I re approached it all those years later, because I did so very gingerly, you know, like, I went to church, I wasn’t trying to volunteer anymore, nothing like that, like I was, I tried even more different religions than I had previously. And just just kind of really, you know, just thought about it and thought about it and thought about it and prayed about it, you know, little by little, and then it just, that’s how it came to me. I’m like, okay, you know, once I sobered up enough to really think clearly, for long enough, you know, I was like, you know, what, this isn’t made, it doesn’t make sense, you know, fuck Lakewood Church, you know, and fuck, you know, everybody who condones that sort of treatment that they gave me. But I don’t have to say, Fuck God, you know, I began to understand why I believe what I believe and be able to identify different categories of things, as opposed to meshing it all together. And so which is a huge thing that we all have to accomplish in life is to actually be able to isolate Why the fuck we’re doing what we’re doing and why. A lot of times, we’re doing it on autopilot. And we don’t know why the fuck we’re doing it.

K Anderson  26:52 

Yeah, or we’re doing it for the shame of not doing it or the way that we think people are perceiving us. And speaking of people being assholes, do you experience any discrimination from within the queer scene? When you talk about your religion?

DeVannon Hubert  27:09 

No, there’s I received discrimination from within the queer scene for not being white. Because they were like, racist, homosexual.

K Anderson  27:19 

Yeah, but I mean, racist. Homosexuals can also be like a whole bunch of other things like a blessed, sexist, and what anti religion?

DeVannon Hubert  27:28 

I know, what’s the word? You know, there’s like gay affirming churches and everything like that, you know, a lot of queer people really, really are trying to get their spirit, right. And so right. I have not experienced that, you know, nobody’s ever been like you believe in this, you know, begone, or everybody is super, that I’ve come across as super respectful of somebody’s beliefs. The thing that I have had an issue with has been, and this is a thing that’s big in Louisiana, you know, as the racism, we get straight people, gay people or whatever. Racism is huge. This is a Republican state. It’s a red state is just the way it is in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama. I will be moving back to California where people make sense, but for now, here, but not everyone. Not everyone, at least 90% They make sense to me. I love Los Angeles. We just got back from LA the other night. So yeah.

K Anderson  28:27 

So at what point then, did you start telling people about your HIV diagnosis?

DeVannon Hubert  28:33 

When I begin to resurface around 2013 ish, and then I got back on social media and one of the first things I did was to do a super long post explaining what happened. This from the beginning, I was, I was like, Alright, if I’m going to have a second chance at life, let’s be transparent. This time around. I did this whole long post about what happened, HIV and everything like that, because I and that’s when it began. That is when it began.

K Anderson  28:59 

So take me back then to the moment when you hit post on that message, what was your What were you thinking?

DeVannon Hubert  29:07 

That’s probably I mean, I was nervous. I was trembling, but I also felt like I owed it to people because a lot of people had wondered what the fuck happened where I went, you know, I was super social. I was everywhere all over fucking Houston at this party, that party this event, this opening this gala this function, everything to like and nothing overnight, and I had explained nothing to no one. I think most people just thought I was just bad off on drugs and another statistic and up but they didn’t know about any of the health things going on behind the scenes at all. I felt like I owed an explanation to people. And then you know how the hell you go and disappear for years and then show back up like, Oh, hey, girl, how even you know, you gotta come with something more than that. It was very, very scary to hit post. I didn’t know how it would be written. See that judged or whatever, but all I got was love, you know, and affection and open mindedness and open arms from people and, and it really, HIV hasn’t been a whole terrible thing. Like I hadn’t made it up in my head to be all I’ve ever gotten from people has been loving acceptance across the board 100%

K Anderson  30:20 

Ah, oh, that’s really nice to hear. And what was the conversation like with your parents?

DeVannon Hubert  30:27 

Oh, well, you know, my parents don’t do conversations, you know, because they’re Southern, and they don’t like to talk about certain things to this very day. And that’s just the way they are. We never talked about it. Um, when I was there, homeless, and they came and got me a hotel room, my mom was just like, Are you on drugs, I was like, No. And of course, I was like, 100 pounds. It was sucked in skinnier than Whitney Houston was and I was like, now I’m not in any dry and so whatever. Totally lie. And that’s about as far as the conversation went. And they never said anything, you know, my parents are more like, let me see what we can do to help. But they don’t want to be transparent talk. That’s just not what they do. They have their own issues that they haven’t fixed, that I can tell is their shits not resolved. Because you know, when you have when you resolve your issues, man, and you can talk about it easily, you know, when you want to, that doesn’t mean you have to write a whole book and everything like me, but that is you won’t be uncomfortable. They are not comfortable talking about things that they went through to this day, and they’re over 70 years old. And some people are never going to get to that point. It’s not for me to try to force that on them. So we never talked about it. You know, they let me go through my process and everything. They did what they could to help, but there was never again, let’s come to the table and have a chat. You know, it didn’t go that way. Not my family.

K Anderson  31:47 

But But you You have told them.

DeVannon Hubert  31:51 

At some point, they figured out that I had HIV. I think I told them, they’re in the hotel room at that day. And you know, and other than that, that was it. It’s never been spoken of.

K Anderson  32:03 

Is that something that you like? Accept? Because that is just the way your parents are? Or is it something that you battle with?

DeVannon Hubert  32:11 

No, I mean, except that it is what it is. They have their own perspective and their own history, their own reasons, their own trauma, their own past, I can’t force that. And there’s nothing for us to talk about at this point, you know, I did what I did, is done. And you know, you know, now and now we get to heal and rejoice in the fact that I’m still alive. And God brought me out no matter what. And so that’s what we focus on. Yeah, if it were up to me, then we would have had a whole river up to me than they would have actually taught me about sex and drugs growing up, and I would never have had to learn it from the street, which is another huge thing. And then when problems happen, and we would always had a set down, you know, moment, always, you know, because I’m very communicative. But it’s not up to me. I’m not the leader of the family. I’m not I’m the youngest child, and not even the elder sibling. So me being the youngest child, I have like, zero fucking clout and ability to do to say and do anything like that.

K Anderson  33:11 

Yeah, yeah, I’m just kind of thinking about my own experiences as well. And my parents, you know, don’t don’t want to talk about things. And I wouldn’t say I was like, regretful about that or upset about that, because it’s just something that I have learned to do, like, just learn to get on with that. That’s just the way they are, like, like with your own parents. But it is, it is interesting to see other people who have these really good relationships with their parents, and just how, how does that?

DeVannon Hubert  33:48 

Yeah, they’re like, Oh, my God, I talked to my mom about everything all the time.

K Anderson  33:52 

Yeah. So strange.

DeVannon Hubert  33:56 

I choose to focus on, you know, what, what does work? toward my parents, they’re great parents, they love to provide stuff is just that they themselves are not accessible and available.

K Anderson  34:10 

Yeah. Yeah. And I should say the same thing about my parents, like they are great parents. They just don’t want to talk to me. That came out wrong. But you know, you know what?

DeVannon Hubert  34:21 

They don’t want to talk to you about them. They just don’t

K Anderson  34:24 

want to know. No, they don’t want to know about like, most thing. Yeah. Anyway, this is about you. This isn’t about me. Sorry. I’m just uploading now. And so you said that you kind of just completely dropped out of the scene. And you were worried about like stigma and what everyone would think about you. When did you start going back out again?

DeVannon Hubert  34:47 

Once I moved back to Baton Rouge, and I was on probation and I shouldn’t have been going out. You’re not supposed to be at the crowd when you’re on probation.

K Anderson  34:53 

But did you have an ankle brace or an

DeVannon Hubert  34:56 

ankle bracelet? No, it wasn’t on house arrest. I was on probation. I had never been in trouble before?

K Anderson  35:01 

glamorising this like, oh, did you have an ankle bracelet? That’s not the right thing I should be asking. Sorry. So say you weren’t on house arrest?

DeVannon Hubert  35:09 

No. But honey probation is not really being free. You know, you can’t leave this this state without permission from your probation officer, you got to report every month, you got to pay fees. You’re not really free. You got to pay fees. Yes, you’re not, you’re not you’re not fee free.

K Anderson  35:26 

What do you have to pay fees for?

DeVannon Hubert  35:28 

I’m pretty sure I had probation fees. If I didn’t have probation fees, and I had to pay the court costs. And that was a few $1,000 per charge. I think I had to pay for like the SWAT team knocking the door down. I think they roll that in there. And then other than that so yeah, like they they’re gonna get the money out of you. And so I mean, theoretically speaking financially, it’s smarter to have people on probation, because then they’re not in jail consuming taxpayer dollars, you know, they’re out paying the system money, and then also having to pay for themselves. Yeah, but, but you don’t really feel free, there’s no ankle bracelet, but you’re very much reminded that you’re as is still a ward of the state. And you can’t come and go as you please.

K Anderson  36:18 

But still in amongst us, you managed to go out clubbing? Oh, yeah,

DeVannon Hubert  36:22 

fuck all that I went to the club. Like, I didn’t like, you know, broadcast that shit too much. But, you know, I had to start to try to feel like a human again. And so that meant. And of course, now I had to get dropped off by my parents at the club, or picked up by a friend, if I could pretend, you know, once I found people, you know, to drive me to the club and everything. You know, I you know, just very gingerly approach to life. Like, let me just stick one till out and see how this goes. Let me go to a club. And remember what it’s like to be among the people and not feel dirty and filthy. And so I just tried it once. And then I didn’t die. And that then blew up. But it was it was a process it was I had to be sure that I could emotionally handle being around a club full of people again.

K Anderson  37:14 

And and could you

DeVannon Hubert  37:17 

for that? Because it’s this is a small dive bar. So yes, this that it worked. And I begin to feel alive again, I didn’t, you know, run away or nothing like that this time. You know, I didn’t go every night. You know, not at first, eventually I did start to go like every night. But but it took a while, you know, it took a while, you know it took some time?

K Anderson  37:39 

And what was it like trusting people again?

DeVannon Hubert  37:45 

Well, this time, I’m smarter about it. You know, I’m not I don’t trust this every fool that I come across on the street, you know, and I pay attention to people’s reputations to an extent, as opposed to just discarding, you know, the things that I would hear about people because people warn me about the people I was hanging around before, which led to my rest in stuff like that. So now, you know, I kind of pay attention to people’s reputations, and I read the tea leaves, you know, with people and stuff like that, you know, because, you know, I want to be accepting and trusting of everyone and I want everyone to be my friend. And you know, and then we could just like have all kinds of orgies and then pray together and whatever we want to do. But it’s just not like that, because people are going to be envious and jealous. You know, I’ve accepted the reality of the rudiments of this world, as opposed to the flowery glossy rose coloured glasses that I was looking at it through when I was not even country and gullible. And so I don’t mind trusting people. I think it’s a privilege to do so. But it took a long ass time for me to go into the club was one thing, trusting people and finding people who I felt like I could. years, years, years, years, years, years, years years, and it’s

K Anderson  38:55 

this weird catch 22 situation, isn’t it? Like, if you don’t open up to someone, then they won’t open up to you. And so there’s this kind of weird dance where you’re just not letting each other in?

DeVannon Hubert  39:07 

It is but there was no impetus for me to let someone in order for them to let me in and there was no rush and weighing gone away. We could just let this thing take its time and I’m talking about just like friends. I wasn’t interested in too much sex or trying to have boyfriends because I was still trying to feel comfortable within myself just with the basics. But I would say maybe five or six years after moving back to Louisiana, I started to immerse myself in the art scene and I met you know, like good friends in the art crowd and stuff like that. You know, who who are usually all very open minded, just really relaxed people who, who facilitate safe spaces and that’s what they do. And so that that really helps to bring me the rest of the way out of the shell that I was in with art and my dreams, my dreams returned to me During this time as well,

K Anderson  40:03 

and so f bar closed in 2017. But you were long gone from Texas at that point. Did you hear about it closing down,

DeVannon Hubert  40:14 

bars close and open in Houston all the time. That wouldn’t be noteworthy,

K Anderson  40:19 

sir, it wasn’t something that you cast your pearls when you found out of oil.

DeVannon Hubert  40:23 

I did clutch my pearls because it’s such a fabulous establishment. But I didn’t find that out until we went back earlier this year in March to film the documentary for my memoir, and we went by f bar, and it was no longer f bar called something else. At that time. Then I was like, Oh my gosh, oh my goodness. So I you know, I had a moment with IV Li. That’s what that was one of my two favourite bars in the whole state of Texas, if not the favourite, because you could really like dance. The bass was so loud and you could really have a fun. Oh my God, it was just so amazing and classy, which is a Hard Mix today. But great, like hip hop and r&b music and a dash of techno house. And still you can put on like a fucking vessel to tie and fit in. It was so nice in the drag shows and everything. And the chandelier is I’ll never forget.

K Anderson  41:19 

Why would you have a chandelier? You just you need to dust it. There’s just so much work.

DeVannon Hubert  41:24 

Because it sparkles. And when you walk through the doors, if it looks like this angels dancing in the sky, they have workers, the desk all of that shit at bars.

K Anderson  41:35 

Well, I’ve been to many bars where they haven’t had anyone clean the chandelier for example. Maybe maybe we go to different places you sound like you are much more upmarket places than me. And this question is really cheesy. So apologies in advance. If you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself. At the point the first time that you ever went to the F bar, what advice would you give?

DeVannon Hubert  42:05 

I would tell myself I would I would tell myself to to stop and reconnect with God then and not to wait for catastrophe

K Anderson  42:18 

Do you think it was catastrophe?

DeVannon Hubert  42:21 

It was it was all very catastrophic. What happened? You know, that like that life ended, like that whole life ended I didn’t physically die but everything ended I mean, I was close to death, but I was you know, everything’s ended even that’s all when it gets that bad. It’s over. It’s just all nice burn burn up in flames. You have to start brand new from scratch all over. It was catastrophe. But I welcome the disruption because that gave birth it’s like when you burn down the forest or you uproot a garden bed you know, you just go in there and destroy everything because there’s nothing else is going to come of it. But now you get fresh new growth from it. It is devastating say to a garden bear to go and rip it all up by the roots to turn the soil over because it was settled like it was but now you have to destroy it if you want have a new crop and a new harvest. And so yeah, it was catastrophic. I wouldn’t change a thing because I love who I am today and I accept every aspect of me. However it is it may be judged I don’t care I love everything about me. And that’s something that is that is a statement you would have never heard me say back in those days no matter how vain I was a matter of any clothes I had no matter how much money I made. I you would have never heard me say that I love myself through and through. I never said it

K Anderson  43:50 

and how many pairs of underpants do you have now?

DeVannon Hubert  43:53 

I have rebuilt my collection. And not only have I rebuilt my collection but I take better care of things now after I lost everything which

K Anderson  44:05 

How many pairs do you have? Oh, we’re

DeVannon Hubert  44:08 

back up into the two 300 Maybe going on 400 range and I keep them all on skirt hangers on my underwear are individually hung. Because I can fit more that way because a skirt hanger could fit six pair and then I have like many of them in my closet and everything like that. And so that way I can go through the racks and see what colour material I’m feeling

K Anderson  44:35 

do you have any memories of f bar or clubbing from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you do please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories. Go to law spaces podcast.com and find the section Sherry lost space and tell me all about what you got up to You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as lost spaces pod. Lots of ACES is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the next year. You can hear the first single well grim boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening to lost spaces