August 2012-September 8, 2013—For a lot of closeted gay men, the Internet, social media and smartphone apps offer an excellent opportunity to explore sexuality in a space where your identity remains hidden. Unfortunately, the Internet also allows vulnerable populations to be ridiculed, harassed and “outed.” Stories of 13-year-olds hanging themselves after being bullied online have become a common trend.
Jackie Yordan was, according to many who knew him, an “incredible sweetheart and an amazing person… He was truly one of the biggest heart throbs of the period in New York. The thing about him was that he had no attitude at all and he couldn’t have been sweeter. So, everybody loved him. “And, he was “the hottest guy… top of the ‘in’ crowd.”
1978—Werner Seelig and I met in the South of France. He was twenty-one and from Indiana. I was twenty, a hippy from California. We were both staying in a commune up in the mountains of the Languedoc. I was immediately attracted to him and over the course of a couple weeks of exploring the wilds of the countryside together, we became inseparable buddies.
August 1972: I chose this photo for a reason. It was taken one month after, at 20 years of age, I’d had my first sexual experience with another man (In it, in August 1972, I’m dangling my legs in a pool in Panama City, Florida.).
June 25, 1978: In December 2017, I reconnected with a younger fraternity brother I hadn’t seen since Gay Pride in NYC 35 years earlier.
I’d graduated from Brown in 1974, while Bill Barnert didn’t arrive in Providence until the fall after I’d left. Still, we’d met during my visits back to Phi Delt house parties while I attended grad school in nearby Boston. Getting together with him last week reminded me of this photo, which has been sitting in one of my albums, but which I’d regularly overlooked.
NOTE: Viktor Carrasquero, a young Venezuelan emigre in Hong Kong, is unable to join Capturing Rainbows at present, but has authorized us to share the following story from his early life.
Back in 1998, I first had direct contact with Luis Llovera, one of my neighbours back then. He was a year older than me, so he must have been 13 years old. I was cycling around town and I got a flat tire, as I was getting closer to my house. Luis saw struggling little me and hurried to help me. This wasn’t the first time I noticed him, anyway. I’d seen him ever since I was a little kid, and for years I’d created all sorts of mythologies about what his personality was like. Nothing really happened in this encounter: I was still too shy to say anything beyond ‘thank you’, and I was too nervous to put thought into articulate words. This was, however, the beginning of years of encounters.
During my first few years in NYC, I only had one foot out of the closet. I had my gay friends, and I had my straight friends and coworkers which I neatly compartmentalized. I don’t think it was really a conscious effort on my part to separate my gay life from the rest. I simply didn’t know when to bring up my sexuality in conversations with straight friends and co-workers.