“We Rebuke This Spirit of Homosexuality!”

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Me in South Africa, circa 2000.

I had looked into those blue eyes many times before. When he would jump on me to wake me up whilst still in just his briefs, laughing and pushing his face into mine. Wrestling me to the point that I was unable to move, my eyes would make quick glances over his half naked body. I could feel all of my senses coming to life, but I had no idea what this meant.

A Circle Of Friends

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1964: Growing up in the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s was what they call a character-building experience. For anyone like me, with a deeply hidden attraction to members of my own sex, it involved a constant cloaking of my true nature.

Mark

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2008: I was living at the Russian River and a good friend called me up and said you have to see this astrologer. “He is really cool and accurate, but he has to come to your house to do this reading. He sits at your kitchen table,” he said. It was unusual for Russ to advise this, but I was into it so I invited the guy over. He looked cool and sat at my kitchen table. He began his reading, and most of what I remember—I’ve lost the tape—was he said, “You’ll be moving from here down south.” I figured that was easy enough and I said “Yeah, Palm Springs.” I was at that time thinking of moving to Palm Springs.” No, much further and on the ocean,” he replied. He said a lot of things that now I wish I could remember because his accuracy would later stun me.

A Small Town Boy

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Me, I’d just turned sixteen.

1989: I grew up in a small town in the north of England town called Burnley in Lancashire, which is geographically about 35 miles north of Manchester but in terms of social attitudes was still in the stone age.

Burnley back then (and still to some extent today) is a small town which is slowly dying. It had been at the forefront of the industrial revolution and specialising in textiles, coal and engineering.

Marcus

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Marcus in France, my shoes.

1989—I met Marcus Lutsky at Uncle Charlie’s Downtown in NYC in the Spring of 1989. It was a Saturday night and I was on the prowl. It was late. I hadn’t really met anyone yet, mostly because I had been standing around watching music videos and trying to make eye contact with a bartender who I had a big crush on. Coming to my senses that I was never going to bag the bartender, I sniffed around the bar looking for a more promising catch until I saw him—big, blusterous, laughing and commanding the attention of a group of guys around him. Sufficiently drunk, I waited until he had stepped away from his group, and went straight up to him.

commentary

Another Boy in the Band

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Capturing Rainbows member Brian Hutchison can be seen in The Boys in the Band, currently on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in NYC, through August 11. We asked Brian to share a few words about being in the show. The Boys in the Band is an important part of our history. This latest production is truly stunning.  We strongly recommend anyone in the NYC area in the next month to see it, if you have the opportunity! – Mike and Tom

Charlie Carver Zachary Quinto, and Andrew Rannells during a break in rehearsal NYC.

Watching The Boys in The Band film in my early thirties was brutal—I’m not even sure I made it the whole way through. It felt so sad, so bleak, so unlike my life up to that point, and I wanted nothing to do with that sort of life. I wasn’t ready for it. I was only able to understand or relate to a couple of the characters: Hank, who had left his wife a few years earlier, and Alan, who was so clearly troubled and in denial about his own feelings, and so unable to move past this and toward a more fulfilling life. I wasn’t fully out at the time and seeing this movie confirmed my fears that this was what my life could become.

My First Trip to Fire Island

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Me in Fire Island, 1980

1980—I started going to Fire Island in the summer of 1980. My first time, I was invited by friends who’d rented a house on the island that weekend. All I knew about it was that gays had been going there for decades, creating their own little populace that, by that point, had developed into two thriving gay communities, The Pines and Cherry Grove.

My friends had traveled there on Friday night. I couldn’t get off work until Saturday afternoon, so they instructed me to take the Islanders Bus from midtown Manhattan to Sayville and then hop on the ferry to Cherry Grove. They promised to meet me there on the dock. But, just before I left, they called with a change of plans. They had found a better place to stay in The Pines, the other primarily gay community, a mile further down the beach. So, I should take the ferry there instead. Both ferries left from the same dock in Sayville. Having never been to either community, I was a bit confused, but I faithfully memorized the directions of where they said I should go.

Marking 25 years

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In New York City, in the early 1990s, Gustavo Otto, a beautiful man who’d emigrated there from Chile, became my photographic muse. To be fair, it was hard to miss Gustavo, since he had one of the most beautiful derrieres I’d ever seen! Beyond that, he had a great energy which I loved to capture in photographs.  Over a period of a year or so, he regularly posed for me in different locations, including Central Park, at parties in my Manhattan apartment, and at the beach and poolside in Southampton. Then, sometime in the early ’00s, we lost track of each other.
 
A year or two ago, we were reconnected on Facebook. It turns out that he had moved to California a decade ago, married David Brastaukas and settled in Palm Springs. In November 2017, when I was traveling to Palm Springs to collect other LGBT historical content for Capturing Rainbows, we made plans for me to visit him and meet his husband. 

The Bundeswehr Strategy (1988)

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Publicity photo of me for the LA Herald Examiner in the 1980s.

I started my career as a journalist in 1976 as a news reporter, one of a generation of journalists inspired by the investigative reporting devoted to Watergate. As a young reporter, I kept a careful and solid line of separation between me and my subjects. I got my sources to open up, but never opened up about myself.

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Don’t Let The Parade Pass Me By

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This year’s NYC Pride Parade got me thinking. I’d heard rumblings from others about the new and shortened parade route. And that our more political and radical groups, which normally lead and anchor our parade, were taking a backseat to the mainstream corporate interests now supporting the LGBTQ community. Our acceptance by the mainstream is an amazing step forward for our civil rights and in our fight against discrimination. But, at what cost?