About Mike Gerle
Celebrating the intrinsic nature of gay men to connect sexually, and leveraging that energy to deepen our spiritual and emotional bonds, is what motivates my work as a podcast host, a writer, a community facilitator, and a gay Elder.
The urge to merge with other men is the one singular thing all gay men have in common. That simple fact is why I start my community building by addressing sex. By facing the delights and dangers of the sex we have with each other, we create opportunities to harness the primal and spiritual energies that deepen our heart-centered connections.
It is heart-centered connections that transform our group from a loose association of sexual partners into one of sustained, edifying, brotherhood.
During my lifetime, I have experienced heart-centered connection in many ways: through religion & boy scouts, through professional ballet, through the plague of AIDS, through addiction & recovery, through vanilla sex, through human potential programs, through rituals in the fetish community, and through teaching yoga & meditation.
All have revealed to me an ancient truth. The holy grail of happiness is found in a man’s ability to connect with his intuition and follow the wisdom that source provides.
I have become an expert on gay sexual connections. It’s a sexual career that started in my late teens in a bowling alley, persisted during AIDS, kept me sober, provided cash for rent, celebrated my kinky side with the title of “International Mister Leather”, had me touring bathhouses and dark rooms in several countries, gave me experience in two different polyamorous relationships, and, most recently, has me noticing the effects of age on my 55-year-old libido.
I am exploring new ways for gay men to connect, ways that transcend sex while thanking sex for bringing us together.
I grew up with a Mormon family in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho; then moved to San Diego in 1985 hoping to become a professional ballet dancer. AIDS and drugs derailed those plans and landed me in West Hollywood in 1991.
Hitting the gym and getting sober launched me onto a path of exploration that led to a 23-year job I loved at West Hollywood City Hall, a chance to expand my sexual identity, and a nagging realization that, against all odds (I was told I would die in 1987), I am becoming an Elder in my community.
In 1997 I began a 23-year career working for the City of West Hollywood.
I have the honor of being chosen as International Mr Leather 2007, a process that ripped the closet door off one of the last hidden parts of my sexual identity.
The next year, I started a fraternal alumni group of leather-men called the LA Band of Brothers that is still thriving today and has chapters in several cities.
At West Hollywood City Hall, Councilmember D’Amico’s office sponsored my idea to start a gay men’s discussion group. I call it “TRIBE Gay Men’s Discussion Group.” February 9, 2011, was our first meeting and it met every month for seven years. I facilitated the group for 5 years before I turned it over to a non-profit to continue.
My career in local government gave me experience developing and running two City Academies called Community Through Engagement (CTE). These 9-week trainings gave residents the opportunity to learn how their local government works so they could be more effective at getting what they wanted.
Before retiring from the City of West Hollywood in April 2020, I worked as a Special Events Coordinator, overseeing the permitting process for hundreds of events, huge and small, that took place in businesses and public spaces throughout the city.
I published my first memoir, Drama Club, in 2017. The book was a labor of love. The process of writing it was essential to making sense of my life on planet earth.
This year I launched the GerleMen Podcast with my business partner Garrett McClure. It’s another labor of love intended to help gay men and anyone else who feels like “the other” strengthen their own dignity, get closer to their chosen families, and identify the special gifts they have for general society.
Sexual energy has been pathologized by modern society. I am convinced that the authentic expression of any human being, especially a gay male human being, must mindfully embrace our intrinsic sexual proclivities. We must ponder our preoccupations that are sexual in nature so that we may know ourselves completely.
In the Evoco community, we will fully embrace and articulate the effect our sexuality has on our individual and collective consciousness – while respecting the power it has to devastate our community if not shown the respect all dynamic forces require. We will look directly into it so that we might leverage the awesome power it has to connect us to our intuition, to our Source.
I want heart-centered (love-centered) connections with people, especially my gay brothers. That is why I am dedicating this chapter of my life to providing language, skills, and community for other men who feel the same way.
I live with my boyfriend Dennis in his condo in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles.