I don’t know if this story has gone national yet, but it’s all over the papers and TV here in Florida; even one of the just published gay weeklies in Lauderdale where I’m at made it its cover story.
Ryan Uhre, a cute, 23 year old legislative intern in our state capital, Tallahassee, and Lauderdale native who had missing since Super Bowl Sunday was found dead Wednesday in an abandoned building just a short walk from the sports bar in Tallahassee where he had last been seen watching the big game.
From what I’ve read, Ryan sounded like one of those gay young men who didn’t flaunt his sexuality. A championship wrestler in high school and Florida State University grad, he had just told his parents he was happy with the way his life was headed. Security cameras covering the alleyway adjacent to the abandoned building in which he was found show him alone in that location the evening of the Super Bowl. He had also visited Grind’r, the popular phone app hook-up site that same day.
So, since his wallet with money still inside it, watch and phone (oddly broken) were found by his body, ruling our robbery; with autopsy results still not released; and assuming drugs did not play a role:
Who or what killed Ryan?
Was it a tragic accident in a decaying building where posted signs clearly read, “no floor.”
Or was there a more sinister scenario?
Like many smaller cities, Tallahassee – despite being Florida’s capital – has a somewhat closeted gay scene, so it’s no surprise given that reality and Ryan’s age that if he wanted to hook up, a phone app would be the perfect place to look.
Or did he happen to meet a guy at the sports bar who inferred he was gay but in reality was a homophobic gay basher, or worse, homophobic gay man?
What lesson can be learned from this, a lesson sadly few of us follow?
Those of us gay men playing the scene are living a dangerous game.
The hot, personable guy you meet in the bar that everyone else wanted may actually turn out to be another Jeffrey Dahmer.
Or, if contact is initially on the internet, hook-up sites afford the perfect vehicle for guys to hide their true identity.
Either way, sometimes when you’ve realized you’ve made a horrible mistake, it may already be too late.
Is it any wonder then that more and more men – young and old – are taking the convenient, safe way out and have their sex virtually?
I didn’t know ya, Ryan, but all the same, rest in peace. Wanting sex with another man shouldn’t leave you dead.