Growing Up

Full Circle

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Me (beard) at the bachelor party for the guy marrying the only woman I’ve ever slept with (1981)

1976 – When I first moved to NYC in 1976, as far as the world knew, I was a 24-year-old straight guy, former college jock, and up-and-coming banker. All my friends were straight, at least during my first few years there, and served as my New York “family.” They knew I was gay, but it didn’t matter. We regularly hung out at “Eddie Condon’s,” my dad’s world-famous jazz night club on 54th Street; we shared picnic baskets at summer evening concerts in Central Park; and we threw surprise birthday parties for each other. 

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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.). 

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Pool and Garden Time

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(August 1993)–After a long, hot day on Fowler Beach in South Hampton, my guests and I returned to our backyard pool for a dip and some horseplay in the water.

Gustavo Otto and Bryan Hogan were a handsome, well-built Manhattan couple. Gustavo, a graceful Chilean, graciously posed nude for my camera in our lush garden, while I captured him in various positions.

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Fire Island Virgin

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The Sandpiper in The Pines, Fire Island

1979/1980—My first visit to Fire Island was over Halloween weekend in 1979, long after the resort’s summer season had ended. The legendary Sandpiper, a ramshackle wooden disco that had been the center of Fire Island Pines gay night life for more than a decade, scheduled its closing party for that weekend. I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to use the empty lavish Pines beach home of a friend of my aunt so I could attend it. I traveled there with my two closest gay male friends hoping to experience a taste of the sybaritic lifestyle that Fire Island was known for.

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My David Kopay Story

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I was raised in the arch-conservative Florida panhandle near the Alabama border in the late 1950s and 1960s. In those days, and especially in that location, being gay was the same as being a sexual deviant. In fact, the word “gay” still was commonly used to mean happy-go-lucky. “Queer” was the popular derogatory term used and it implied pervert, deviant, pedophile, and a dozen other terms for depraved. To be queer was also to be an effeminate, cowering “fag.” Real men did not like other men “in that way.”

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Dear Ellen

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Setting: Ms. Matlock’s Seventh Grade English Class. My school is a private Christian middle school. It is 1997. I am 12 years old.

Ms. Matlock: This week we are going to learn how to write a well-structured letter.

Me (to myself): Cool

Ms. Matlock: Each of you is going to write a letter to Michael Eisner. He is the CEO of Disney.

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