America: This Is How You Do Gay
Despite all of our diverse and tangled complexities, society still views gay men through a stereotypical lens: lispy lips, flaming queens, the twink, his hag and her wardrobe.
Regardless of which stereotype we're talking about, each one decreases our chances of making things our own. Each one reduces our lives to a single landscape even though our differentiating nuances and vantage points tease some of the most sweeping horizons of any community.
Within lies the sprawling, expanding vistas that surround everyday men of every background, color, religion, size and shape in the good ol' USA. Proof we really are greater than the sum of our parts.
More photos after the jump.
"I am an openly gay man with a pioneering spirit and I'm living the life I've always wanted to lead. As a young man in Michigan I dreamed of coming to Alaska. I wanted to be Jeremiah Johnson. I was just this odd gay man who felt stuck in the wrong time; I wished I were born a hundred years ago."-Tom, Palmer, AK
"I grew up in a very straight world. I had straight friends, played sports, had girlfriends. I was an Eagle Scout and was involved in all sorts of outdoor activities. Growing up gay in my Alabama town wasn’t an option."-William, Gulf Shores, AL
"At thirty-one, I told my wife I was gay. She didn’t believe me. So instead of rocking the boat, I stayed in a unhappy situation. As the years went on I grew to become one of the top horsemen in the country, as well as one of the most award-winning hair stylists. Finally the anger and guilt took over and I knew I had to be true to myself."-Bob, Scottsdale, AZ
"Abi is very fond of telling me how he first observed me, long before we actually met, paddling my kayak upstream on the American River, which flows through the community where we currently reside. We have lived together since we met on the disco dance floor in 1976, where we were both inventing our own moves and steps."-Jacques and Abi, Sacramento, CA
"I was fortunate to live in Israel for many years and my ultimate goal is to go back. I have reconciled my faith with my sexuality; both are very important to me. I was surprised by the reaction of the Jewish community here to the fact that I am gay. Most said, “So what?” I am overwhelmed by their acceptance."-Amos, Little Rock, AR
"Boulder County has been without a gay bar for many years, and there's no special designation for social hubs. Some people see it as a good thing, others don't. As it turns out most friends in our social circle are straight, and many of our friends feel threatened by this. Some even misinterpret it as us turning against the gay community-something we find difficult to understand. From our perspective, we both expand awareness simply through the outward expression of our love. We have never tried to hide who we are. Accommodating the limitations of others isn't our style."-Jim and Larry, Longmont, CO