Last week was my birthday, and I turned 70. In “gay years,” that is about the age of Methuselah. But rather than pout about my advancing age, I thought I would make a birthday wish. And with 70 candles on my cake I figure, I get a really good one — or maybe 70 good ones! So here goes.

I want my pre-COVID life back in general. I wish to be able to travel again — on airplanes or trains, with or without wearing a mask and without having to put up with those who refuse to wear one complaining about it.

I wish to be able to go to the theater again — a real live performance, a musical, an opera or even a small avant-guard play.

I miss seeing theater and sharing the experience with an audience.

I wish to be able to go out to the movies again — to sit in the dark with my partner, holding hands and laughing or crying together with several hundred other moviegoers.

I wish to be able to hug friends again — to embrace them and not dodge their faces.

I wish to be able to go to church again — to sit in the Leather Pew with my partner and friends and experience a worship service with all the joy, reverence, singing and music and fellowship afterwards, complete with mediocre coffee and donuts.

I wish to be able to hang out at a coffee shop and read while the hustle and bustle of others makes a reassuring background murmur.

I wish to visit with friends over a dinner at a restaurant, not just dashing in to retrieve take-out orders and then back home to eat from paper containers.

I wish to someday not smell hand sanitizer every time my hand is near my face. I wish to not need moisturizer cream to keep my hands from cracking since I wash them a dozen times a day.

I wish to go out to Dallas Eagle — or any other gay bar — and see my friends from a distance closer than six feet; to shake hands and not just bump elbows; to share stories on the patio and maybe even smoke a cigar.

I wish to see my friends who work in healthcare looking bright and happy instead of worn and exhausted, to talk with them again over stories that don’t involve people on ventilators and crowded ICU floors.

I wish to return to my office and have real face-to-face meetings over a real conference table where I don’t have to make sure I am not “on mute” or frozen in a tiny window because of bandwidth issues.

I wish to turn on the news and not see yet another endless word salad from the man in the White House.

I wish to open Facebook and not see another “karen” video of some over-privileged woman demanding to see the manager for whatever reason it is this week — and that goes for “ken” videos as well.

I wish for no more horrific videos of Black Americans being abused by police because police have learned that every situation does not require a SWAT team and paramilitary tactics.

I wish for racists to once again be disempowered, to understand that their hateful views are not considered acceptable in our country anymore.

I wish for LGBTQ kids to no longer fear being bullied in school because our schools have pledged to be safe havens for everyone.

I wish to see a delightful news report on that Tuesday evening in November when the map of states used to track electoral votes looks a bright shade of blue.

I wish a landslide of votes makes it abundantly clear that the “experiment” of having a reality TV personality as president is finally over.

And finally I wish for a big chocolate chip milkshake — ’cause it’s my birthday dammit!

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at