First Times

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The Changing Face of Pride

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Go go boys on the Roxy Nightclub float in NYC’s Gay Pride parade on June 27, 1993.

When I first arrived in NYC in 1976, the LGBTQ Pride Parade was a half dozen years old. In those days, it was just called the gay march. It was all about gay liberation—the freedom to be different.

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Hotlanta Hotmen

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HarryBartel & Brian Landeche,m owners of Splash Bar in NYC, recording the good time (Aug. 1992)

August 1991/1992: One of the more enjoyable phenomena to emerge from the 1980s, a challenging decade for gay men to say the least, were “circuit parties.” These were organized weekends taking place in various cities around the country and revolving around a specific theme party or event. For a few days, they provided gay men with a needed escape from the burgeoning AIDS crisis, or simply from their routine and closeted lives.

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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.

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Group Travel, Rio–1990’s style

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1989 to mid-1990s– My husband, Ron Oyer, had a travel business in the 1990s that catered to gay men, geographically mostly from California and New York, though also from many other states. Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Mykonos (Greece), and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), were the most popular destinations.  The groups featured handsome men looking for excitement and fun.  As you can see from the following pictures taken during 12 different trips to Rio for Carnival, they found what they were looking for in that fascinatingly “alive” city populated by some of the handsomest men in the world.

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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.

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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 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.”

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Trip to Toronto

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July 1983—I was seventeen years of age when I first met another gay person. My dad was an executive with a company in Ireland, which was owned by a Canadian multinational headquartered in Toronto, and each year he’d head away to the AGM. The night before he was to leave, something urgent came up at work, so he asked me “how would you like to go to Canada tomorrow?” That was a no brainer, and next morning, not having slept all night I left Shannon with an older colleague of his called Kevin. Dad would join us in a couple of days. His advice was not to discuss Northern Ireland or politics with anyone there because Toronto was mostly Protestant, and things in the Northern Ireland were pretty bad just then.

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First Love

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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.

Werner napping in the warm sun of Cote d’Azur. Funny but I have no photos of us together, guess it was because selfies were not a big thing then.

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The First Happy Gay Film

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1974—We’ve just bought tickets to see “Love Simon,” the new, gay coming of age film that we expect to make us happy. The first such film I saw was in 1974, called, “A Very Natural Thing.” It was about a gay seminarian who leaves his priesthood training, and goes to New York in search of self. I remember it being very uplifting.

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A Typical Manhattan Evening

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Bill Masi and Bill #2 chatting at a corner on the Upper West side sometime in 1981.

1981—After my intense three month affair with Bill Masi, a successful male model, had run its course in early 1981, we became “friends with benefits” and then morphed into just being friends. During that middle phase, he also became friends with a guy from New Jersey, a teacher also named Bill, who was married to a woman and had a teenage daughter.

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