Sweet, Inspirational Stories of Gay Love
The February issue of Out magazine is appropriately titled "The Love Issue," and this year they've collected 26 wonderful love stories focusing on 13 couples. The cover features actors Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, one of the most well-known gay couples—and gay dads—around. These two anchor the issue, but they're not the sole focus. Instead, we're presented with numerous stories from men and women of differing ages, all telling their own stories in their own words about how they fell in love, how they make relationships work, and why marriage matters (or doesn't) to them.
When taken together, these stories present a wonderful mosaic—or homosaic, if you will—of what long-term LGBT relationships are like today.
You can view the whole slideshow and read all the stories on Out.com, but check out six of our favorites here.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS & DAVID BURTKA
What started as a brief encounter between these two men transformed into love, and a relationship, and (eventually) fatherhood. But it wasn’t instantaneous, with the two men working on different coasts and coming from different backgrounds.
As Harris explains, "I initially fell for David harder than he fell for me. I was in love with him before he was comfortable saying it, and I think that speaks to our past experiences… There’s something kinetic about him and his being. He’s classically sexy, yet he’s very much a boy in his energy. It’s a great dynamic. When I see people who are equally attractive, they tend to seem more quiet and kind of Marlboro Man-y, and David’s the antithesis of that. He’s more like Tigger.”
Burtka quickly came around, and says their first three years together “was our honeymoon period. Then you settle into the relationship, and it morphs into just living, breathing. It becomes more comfortable, but it becomes a necessity — something you can’t give up, like an addict.”
Read Neil and David’s story, "When Stars Collide."
Photography by Matthew Kristall
Styling by Grant Woolhead
MICKALENE THOMAS & CARMEN MCLEOD
Mickalene Thomas (left) was in London for the Frieze Art Fair when she saw Carmen McLeod (right) walking down the street.
She’s pretty cute, Thomas thought. That’s probably some Londoner, and I’ll never see her again. But the two met later that day at a party, which led to them reconnecting in the U.S., dating, and eventually marrying.
“Mickey’s actually the first woman I dated,” McLeod reveals. “I had just started the second year of my M.F.A. in painting in Virginia. I think maybe a week and a half after we first spent time together, she called and said, ‘How about I come down to see you this weekend?’ like she was just coming the next city over, not hopping on a plane. That’s how it went. It was a series of questions, and I kept saying, ‘Yes.’"
And the latest “yes” in their relationship? Creating a baby.
Read Mickalene and Carmen’s story, “First Step: Say Yes.”
Photograph by Martien Mulder
KARL JOHNSON & JOSH SEEFRIED
Thanks to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” two Air Force officers went from having secret identities to openly dating.
First-Lieutenant Karl Johnson met First-Lieutenant Josh Seefried at a bar in Philadelphia. Johnson knew who Seefried was through OutServe but hadn’t been particularly political himself. However, Seefried’s influence rubbed off on him and a short time later he started writing about being gay in the military for Time magazine.
And yet during that uncertain time—both in their burgeoning relationship and as gay men serving in the Air Force— the two men attended a party together and Johnson had an epiphany. “We left the party for a smaller place where we could talk with our friends. That’s where I told Josh that I loved him and how much he means to me. At that moment, I saw one of my favorite Josh traits: the biggest and most triumphant smile grew on his face. I knew at that moment, no matter what fate awaited us back on base, we were OK."
Read Karl and Josh’s story, “Lieutenants, With Love.”
Photographed by Martien Mulder on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Wrightstown, NJ
SAMUEL COLT & CHRIS PORTER
Gay porn stars Samuel Colt and Chris Porter met in 2010 on Twitter and now the two men are boyfriends and living together. So how does this couple keep their love and work lives working cohesively? By breaking society's traditional rules.
"The heterosexual view of being faithful is so outdated,” Colt says. “We don’t have to have sex only with each other to be faithful. I’m completely faithful to him, emotionally and with my heart. I can still get gang-banged and want to go back home to him."
Porter adds that they didn’t want a monogamous relationship because it didn’t fit their lives. That said, he adds that they have rules they both follow. "We don’t hook up with someone if we’re in the same city without the other one being involved,” he explains. “But if he’s out of town, I’ll hook up with someone. I’ll call and be like, 'Is that OK?' We’re honest and communicate."
Read Samuel and Chris’ story, "Monogamy Redefined.”
Photograph by Martien Mulder
BJORN AMELAN & BILL T. JONES
Bill T. Jones (right) is a choreographer, dancer, and director. Bjorn Amelan (left) is a sculptor and designer. The two found a second chapter in love after both losing their long-term partners. Jones is most identified with Arnie Zane, with whom he co-founded Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; however, he’s spent the last 20 years living and collaborating with Amelan, who had a long romantic and professional relationship with famed fashion designer Patrick Kelly before he died.
The two men met in Paris and since then have successfully entwined their creative work and domestic lives. But in a gay world where so much emphasis is placed on youth and beauty and physicality and sex, these two men show that love can happen many times and at any age.
"Falling in love is different when you’re in your forties than when you’re in your late teens or twenties,” Jones explains. “First of all, everything at that time has a big hard-on connected with it. Sex! But also, it was like impulse, and appetite. When you’ve had a relationship of 18 years, and that person is over and you’re starting another one, you’re aware of something happening. Oh, what is this? Why do I feel constantly giddy? Oh, this is what they mean by falling in love."
Read Bill and Bjorn’s story, "I Do Thee Wed."
Photograph by Martien Mulder