Family & Community

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.

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 In November 2017, when I was traveling to Palm Springs to collect other LGBT historical content for Capturing Rainbows, we made plans for me to visit him and meet his husband. 
commentary

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?
news

The Pope Announces That Gays Cannot Be Considered ‘Families’

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Reuters News reports

Pope Francis, speaking to the Forum delle Famiglie on Saturday an Italian lay movement representing Catholic families, stated that only heterosexual families can form a family.

“It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family,” but “the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one,” Francis said in unscripted remarks.

I beg to differ!

Summer Heat

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2005—While most people think of Fire Island at the gay summer escape from the New York City, there were other places just as special and unique. In this case, Andrew Ruth’s annual summer birthday celebration at his home upstate New York. More chill than Fire Island but all equally hot.

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.

Feral Boys

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The Feral Boys were a group of a little over a dozen young gay men in San Francisco who formed a sort of fraternity in the early 2010s. We were all recent transplants to the city, and had moved there for school, or to be a part of the tech gold rush, or to leave small town homes and start a gay life in a gay metropolis. We came to be students, models, artists, DJs, and gogo boys. What we had in common was a love for unbridled hedonism: art, sex, music, parties, and living like we would be 22 forever.

Thankful for Chosen Family

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Thanksgiving used to be a time when I would go home and see family. This tradition ended 6 years ago when I moved across the country in my mid twenties and the distance between California and New York was too much for a long weekend.

When I moved to New York City I became involved with the a project to build an AIDS Memorial in the West Village. This led to a career pivot working for LGBT focused organizations and I then began acquiring a close network of friends from a diverse spectrum of the LGBT community.

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!”

Shot Boy

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2012-2013: For better or worse, bars are the center of gravity in the gay community. We make our friends, find our lovers, express ourselves creatively, and even fund-raise for our charitable organizations and sports teams, in bars. For many of us, walking into a gay bar is the first step we take into living our gay lives. One of the best aspects of being a gay man is the ability to walk into a gay bar anywhere in the country and immediately feel at home.