My Gay BBS Legacy

My Gay BBS Legacy
The story or Rick's 23+ year legacy...

Back in 1981 after graduating from Computer Processing Institute as a Mainframe Computer Operator I (known as Rick Sande back then) always had interests in small computer systems but being on a tight budget I could never afford the thousands of dollars needed to buy one for myself.

So I went to my local Toys-R-US and got me a $99 Commodore-64 which I later learned how to program and even took a structured basic program course at a local community college when I lived in Connecticut.

I was recovering from an ugly divorce with my ex wife and living with my male partner who suggested that I take all my skills and put them to good use for others. So I bought a book and wrote my first Bulletin Board system in BASIC. A Bulletin Board allowed people to call a phone number using a modem and post messages that could be read by others and replied to. It gave the visitors the chance to learn that they weren't as alone in the world as they thought and it also gave them a chance to learn that they weren't some kind of defective reject because they liked other men instead of women.


Over time, me and other BBS operators had monthly get-togethers where members could actually meet face to face. In time, I became a gay activist and was a busy guy involved heavily in ACT-UP New Haven with George Buchelli and his sister Zoyla fighting government issues to provide better health care and drugs to my friends who were suffering deaths of AIDS. Around this time, Wynn Wagner in Texas wrote and and released a PC BBS system called OPUS.

When I put the BBS online I needed to invent a name for it.. I thought and thought and wanted to find something that was unique and gave an indication that it was about matters that weren't part of the norm. But I didn't want to call it something sexual either like "Butt Fuckers" or something that would instill fear in others.

I wanted it to have a special sense of security, offer education as well as entertainment. Other sites were focused on charging users for access and because I was focused more on human rights and education, I refused to do the same just so some guy today could read M4M sex stories on the net. So I got out a dictionary and scanned page after page because I wanted to find one word that would suit me best and I came up with the word RisQue' and so RisQue' BBS was born.

In time, I moved to southern California and reinvented the system calling it M.A.C.H.O. The men's american coastal hideout, but sadly it was more guys interested in quick sex instead of activism or education.

Later, when I moved back to Connecticut, I rebuilt it again and it was called Lifestyles BBS with multiple modems and phone lines which catered to all the different lifestyles of others providing online chat, messaging, files and more.. Later, it was moved to Texas when I hooked up with my partner of 14+ years Wynn Wagner, and moved to the internet as MAN'S COUNTRY offering thousands of files to share with others. It was then that the internet connectivity charges each month was starting to take its toll and I asked all the visitors to donate one dollar. Just one lousy dollar and in three months time and over 10,000 access hits later, I got a grand total of 3 dollars to help pay my expensive bills. That was when I decided to pull the plug, say "Fuck It" and move on...

From there, I designed a community system called UncommonRealm for the gay pagan community with several other people in the area but things fell apart, friendships dissolved for reasons that don't need to be listed here and I put all that work on a shelf knowing that I would one day go back to it again.


Just a few years ago, having a lot of extra time on my hands and dealing with disability and recovery issues from my motorcycle accident I decided to revive the old dog and beat some new life into it. This was a form of therapy for my long-term memory and best of all it was the ability to share my success and achievements with others knowing full well that the internet is flooded with queer cock-sucker sites. But to me, it was a challenge to get everything working on a wireless laptop. (Yeah, you heard right, it's just a dinky little Sony Laptop with a WiFi connection)

Things I've learned over the years, is that there's far more "SPONGES" interested in taking, than sharing in return. Worse, I've even seen a few sites that charge access to their members that republished things that I wrote and gave out to others free. I guess my philosophy on "Community Spirit" was a lot different than others here today and it saddens me to wonder what will happen when people like me are no longer around to give free shit to closeted guys who can't even come to terms and be honest with themselves let alone their families.

As a young person I was taught by my family to always take responsibility first and foremost for my actions regardless weather I fucked up or not. Today, our society seems to have taught kids to get away with as much as they can without being caught. Not getting caught seems to be the main focus these days even though there are some people still like me around there's more looking for a quick fix and I continually wonder what it's going to be like for these "Fake" people when they're older, uglier, and nobody want's to associate with their miserable untruthful ass because they were too busy trying to impress others instead of developing their own sense of identity to love and be thankful for.

I'm thankful that I still have a powerful spirit and the ability to teach and share my talents, caring, love, and abilities with others hoping that this same spirit lives on with other guys too.