Dad and Me

First Love

commentary

Coming Out

Coming of Age

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Life was good for a 19-year old kid. I was a Division 1 athlete, attending the same top tier university as my grandfather and uncle. I had made it out of my small rural hometown—where holding down a 4.2 grade point average, competing year-round in sports, and serving as student body president all came too easily. Getting out of this mediocre environment made me proud and excited. I was now attending classes taught by some of the brightest professors in the country. And when it came to my sport, water polo, I was playing for one of the top programs in the country, being coached by two Olympians and competing against many players who would go on to represent the United States in Beijing, London, and Rio.

Alabama M4M

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1999: I stumbled into this “chat room” innocently enough thinking how cool it was that I could talk to other people in my small part of the world right there on my work computer. AOL literally changed my life.

We found each other in this “room” and arranged to meet at a busy Shell oil station late one afternoon. I rationalized in my head that I was not getting the sex I needed at home. After all, my wife and I had one toddler keeping us busy and another kid on the way. Her feet were swollen, her back ached, and all she wanted from life was mashed potatoes and a good night’s sleep. Having sex with a man was not cheating. And, I was not gay because it was just a blow job.

The Lavender Line – Quarter Stories 11

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Sunday was my favorite day to go out. Friday and Saturday shifts were over. I could go out on my own down to the Quarter and hang with one or two of the bartenders. We’d hang in the part of the Quarter below the Lavender line, a boundary of sorts at St Ann Street where the straight bars ended and the gay bars began. If straight men crossed this line, then they were fair game.

Unlimited Possibilities

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March 1976: The year was 1975 and I was 23 at the time, living in D.C. I was working in the U.S. Treasury Department for a Republican administration and hiding my attraction to men from others, as well as from myself.

A Tribute to Jackie Yordan

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Jackie, flexing on a boardwalk in Fire Island Pines at dawn (summer 1980)

Jackie Yordan was, according to many who knew him, an “incredible sweetheart and an amazing person… He was truly one of the biggest heartthrobs 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.”

Making My Grandmother Cry

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I make my grandmother cry.

I come out to her and her fists close and her eyes fill up. She is silent for the longest moment and then, speaking through the tears, she astonishes me.

“It’s that gym where you go, that’s where they all are!”

The Barbarian and the Gay

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1998-1999—In 1998, my investment bank offered me a position heading up a group in its Tokyo office. I was reluctant to go, but it was the only way I was likely to remain on my career path, so I agreed to move there for several years.

Guilty Pleasure

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Me at a pool in Panama City, Florida (August 1972), a month after my first gay sex encounter. (at 20 y.o.)

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.). 

Greek Fraternity or Gay Fraternity?

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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.

Luis

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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 neighbors 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.