My Savior Max

Nigeria Gay Life

Dad and Me

Soothsayer

A Circle Of Friends

Growing Up

The Bundeswehr Strategy (1988)

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Publicity photo of me for the LA Herald Examiner in the 1980s.

I started my career as a journalist in 1976 as a news reporter, one of a generation of journalists inspired by the investigative reporting devoted to Watergate. As a young reporter, I kept a careful and solid line of separation between me and my subjects. I got my sources to open up, but never opened up about myself.

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.

A Double-Edged Sword

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1974—“I’m like you,” the hand printed and hand delivered note said. “My name is Jimmy. I live on this street. I am 12. Will you meet me behind my house tonight at 5?” In the small mailing envelope there was a picture of Hercules, cut from a book. When I was Jimmy’s age, I’d wait until no one was around, and then pull out the “H” volume of the World Book Encyclopedia, and stare at the picture of Hercules.

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!”

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. 

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.). 

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.

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.

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.”

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.