Tag Archives: Gay Stories

MODERN GAY STYLE: YVES AND KARL

yves saint laurent karl largerfeld gay

A few years ago I was recommended a book entitled The Beautiful Fall, a true story about the fabulous Parisian fashion world of the 1970’s and two of its most influential characters, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. The book is a captivating look into the interwoven lives of Yves and Karl during that time and recounts tales of parties, drugs, sex, exotic travels, infedelities and feuds between the two designers. Yves and Karl shared similar friends and even gay lovers, albeit not willingly, and were surrounded by the most beautiful and famous people in the world. Each designer created his own mesmerizing universe, so vivid and seductive that people were drawn to the power, charisma and fame, but in the end it was to make them bitter rivals. Their stories created a yearning within me for a time gone by when the fashion world was simultaneously bohemian and excessive, where celebrities and fashionistas weren’t overexposed through continuously updated media channels and where careless youthfulness was embraced and exploited. The author of the book, Alicia Drake eloquently takes the reader from Paris to Marrakech, from the beds of Yves and Karl to the restaurants of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, while respectably and affectionately sharing with us the lives of two of the world’s most famous fashion designers.

Click the link to see more details about The Beautiful Fall: Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris

Now a new biopic called Saint Laurent has been made about Yves’s life during the period of 1967 to 1976 when the designer was at the height of his career. Nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and directed by Bertrand Bernello, the film is scheduled for release on May 8th.

YVES SAINT LAURENT GAY MOVIEKarl Lagerfeld No Glasses YSL Paris gay modelsYSL gay

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THE ONE GUY THAT EVERY GAY MAN NEEDS IN HIS LIFE

MODERN GAY BLOG STRAIGHT LIFESTYLE BLOG

There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life. This type of guy is an essential partner who can make the arduous journey through life that that little bit more pleasant. He will be there to console you during your breakups, dance with you to cheesy diva music on a night out and offer you advice from a completely unique perspective. He is the type of guy that you can talk to about things you can’t with your other guy friends and although you may say, “I love you” to each other, it is a very different type of love. There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life and that is a straight male best friend.

It takes a straight man with special qualities to bestfriend a gay guy. The first quality required is an unwavering comfort in his own heterosexuality. Whether he’s sharing a bed with you on holiday in order to save money or dancing on a podium next to you with his shirt off, doing things that are perceived to be gay does not faze a straight guy who is comfortable in his own sexuality. He will feel comfortable walking down the street with his girlfriend hand-in-hand while you walk next to him with your boyfriend hand-in-hand. He’ll hug and kiss you hello and tell you that he misses you when he hasn’t seen you in a while. He will easily blend into a social situation where he’s the only straight guy, not flinching when your gay friends are being overly flirtatious or affectionate and he’ll relish the fact that you introduce him as your “token straight friend”. For him, being around gay guys is not a threat to his masculinity. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even faze him at all.

A straight best friend doesn’t see sexuality as a defining aspect of your friendship. You are not his “gay best friend” and he is not your “straight best friend”, you are just mates. This is the second essential quality. While some straight girls excitingly seek a gay best friend as some sort of glitzy, novelty accessory, your best mate loves you for so much more than your sexuality. You share similar values and similar tastes in music, sports, humor, books and fashion. Together you can talk about similar experiences in love, relationships, heartache and it doesn’t matter that those experiences are between different genders. Some of these guys may have been your best friends from a time before puberty, when your sexuality was still dormant while others you may have only met after you came out. In both cases your different sexual preferences were never a factor on which your friendship was forged.

Much like with any other friendship, the most important quality that a straight man must possess in order to bestfriend a gay guy is loyalty. It is loyalty that ensures the longevity of any friendship, it is loyalty that helps a relationship survive the ups and downs of life and it is loyalty that binds male friends as brothers. Loyal friends are those who will be there when the club lights are turned on and when the music stops playing. It is during times of personal crisis such as health scares, deaths and depression that a loyal straight friend truly displays his mateship.

Having a straight man as a best friend also provides balance to one’s life. They provide a sounding board on which you can bounce ideas, problems and concerns and receive advice back from a different viewpoint. Often if we spend too much time within our own community, surrounded only by other gay guys we can become caught up in the drama of daily gay life. Having a neutral, outside party with whom we can confer is important for ensuring not only variety but also one’s own sanity. A straight male best friend is also a reminder that in a world where we have been judged, teased and chastised largely by other straight males, there are those in our midst who love, support and care for us regardless of our sexuality.

Image by Olaf Blecker

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: MY COMING OUT STORY

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What would a gay blog be without a personal coming out story? Following on from my post “43 Lies I told myself while in the closet“, in my latest YouTube video I talk about how I came out to my parents and it may not be the way that you would expect.

There is no right or wrong way to come out of the closet. It can also feel like there may never be a right time. While I was out to my friends, sister and colleagues, I still found it difficult to tell me parents. Perhaps it was the fear of disappointing them or perhaps it was the fear of the unknown? It can be scary to reveal a significant part of your identity to the people you care most about but eventually there is a tipping point, a moment in time when keeping it a secret feels more daunting than telling the truth.

Click here to view my story on YouTube or to subscribe to The Modern Gay channel.

Image  by Yiorgos Kaplanidis

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: COMING OUT IN IRAQ

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Coming out of the closet can be one of the hardest and most daunting moments in the life of a GLBTI person. Not knowing how your family and friends are going to react, coupled with the fear and vulnerability that comes with revealing something so personal and intimate can delay or even prevent a person from ever revealing their true self. While there is no right or wrong way to come out or a full proof step-by-step guide, sharing our stories can help others in similar positions. Here is a short story from Amir*, a young gay man from Iraq who asked to use this blog as a platform to share his experience.

This is my story. My mother and father broke-up when I was a child. I have always felt that I’m different and not like other boys. When I went to school I was always the weak boy and all the other boys called me a “fag” or a “girly boy”. My mom and my brother would say similar things. My brother used to hit me all the time, called me a “fag” and told me that I should be with girls. After a few years someone tried to rape me but I managed to stop him. When I told my mom about what happened she said, “you are the reason (it happened), you are the problem and I am so ashamed because of you”. I have always hid the pain inside of me. When I walked down the streets and heard boys calling me a fag, I smiled as if I hadn’t heard anything but I was constantly thinking about killing myself. My two best friends could always tell that I was different and when I told them that I was gay they were very supportive. I always thank God for them. I love them so much. After a few years I fell in love with a boy from my school but I didn’t tell anyone. Then I decided to come out to my family. I knew that I was probably not ready but I had had enough of the constant fear inside of me. I told my sister first. She wasn’t that surprised and she told me that I was too young to know what I like. Then I came out to my whole family. My mom said very horrible words to me and so I decided to kill myself. Luckily my two best friends called me and reassured me that death was not worth it and that there was still a lot of happiness waiting for me. I’ve always told my family that I will leave them one day and that I will live my life in happiness. Despite everything, I’m so happy now and coming out was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Now I’m waiting for my rainbow to shine.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author

To share your story please contact josh@joshvansant.com.

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: A MUSLIM MAN’S STORY (PART TWO)

Modern Gay Guide

In Part One of his story, our author describes his experiences as a Muslim man coming to terms with his homosexuality, dating and the gay scene. In the final chapter we find out more detail of our author’s relationships as well as an incident that he shamefully regrets which was the result of his previous dating experiences.

A few weeks later, I met someone else. We connected over our shared interest in spirituality. It also helped that he was extremely handsome but jaded by my previous experiences, I couldn’t understand why he was interested in me. We hung out, got along and got intimate and it was nice and the attention made me feel special. Obviously, there had to be a catch. He was an escort. While I don’t judge him for his choices, I couldn’t imagine myself being in anything but a monogamous relationship so I ended it.

A few months later I met someone again. By now, I had completely given up hope of dating someone but when it happened, I thought I should have an open mind. We went out for a few weeks and seemed to get along well but then he decided to break things off as I wasn’t “gay enough” for him. I still don’t understand what that means because for me as a man who’s attracted to other men and sees myself in a relationship with a man, that is what being gay is about. What it meant for him though was that I didn’t frequent the scene and he felt that if things became serious then he would never be able to meet my family. I can understand the latter but in retrospect it also showed a lack of empathy. My family comes from and still lives in a very conservative part of the world, which has no understanding of what it means to be gay. Homosexuality as it exists in Muslim cultures currently is not about orientation but sex. In addition, if you’re doing something that is not acceptable to the mainstream, the idea is to do it within the privacy of your home and not publicise it. This is also a culture where even admission of heterosexual pre-marital sex is disapproved so me coming out might not only mean complete rejection but also possibly assault (as has happened to someone I know by their father when he came out). Explaining my orientation and getting them to understand it requires time and patience. While I’m not there yet, I think by slowly coming out to people from my own generation I have made progress and allies for when I inevitably come out to them.

These recent dating experiences had left me distraught and emotionally exhausted. I had also drifted apart from several close friends, and was caring for some other friends who within a few months of each other had lost a loved one. Having no one else to speak to and feeling quite lonely and depressed, I slipped up and found an unhealthy outlet. I still can’t understand how it even happened but I created a fake profile on Grindr to find an escape. It’s too uncomfortable for me to even admit but all the loneliness helped me create an alternative reality quite easily, which I was easily able to sell to others on Grindr. Most of it was nothing more than harmless flirting; but there was one exception. As I admit to this, I am almost in tears. I started chatting with this amazing guy, N.T. and we connected over our love of Trance music. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s so funny, kind and incredibly sweet that my alter ego and him became good friends. I could just unwind, joke and be someone else that I conveniently forgot that this would only cause both him and I pain in the long term.

However, as time went on I couldn’t ignore what I was doing. It was out of character, unhealthy and disgusted me because I was deceiving someone the same way I had been deceived. I sought professional help and it was suggested that instead of telling the truth, I disappear. But my sense of accountability prevailed and I finally came clean to him. Even in his anger and disappointment he was so kind and gracious to me and he listened to me as I tried to rationalise and explain my behaviour.

This is why I have such a heavy heart right now. If I had been less lonely and had the courage to be more open, I probably wouldn’t have done this. Writing this is my way of trying to articulate and explain to him what happened. N.T., I am so sorry that in my desire to forget my problems for a while, I lied to you and hurt you. You’re one of the few gay guys who made me feel like I was more than just my background and while I disappointed you, talking to you made me so happy and allowed me to share our love of music, be lighthearted, funny and laugh again. I can’t thank you enough for that. It couldn’t be more bittersweet and ironic that as you lifted my spirits, I damaged yours.

Sharing my story is also a request to gay culture to be a little more understanding and less harsh on its minorities. Yes, there are people who don’t fit your perceptions but they’re a minority within a minority. After dealing with cultures, which reject them for lack of understanding or tolerance, when they face another blow in what they assume is a safe haven damages their self worth even more.

If you would like to share your story, please email josh@joshvansant.com

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MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: A MUSLIM MAN’S STORY (Part One)

Unknown Gay Man

The Modern Gay Guide to Life is a platform to share ideas about what it means to be a gay man in the modern world. We all have different experiences, come from different backgrounds and therefore have different perspectives. In the following two part true story a gay Muslim man shares his experiences with dating, the gay scene, religion and Grindr. 

I have a heavy heart tonight. I can’t help but feel sad and lonely as I write this but before I get into the cause of my heartache, I’d like to start from the beginning. I’d like to talk about another kind of gay man.

I was born in Pakistan to an orthodox Muslim family. My childhood was typical; I had a loving family who provided me with everything. I was like every other kid, but as I grew older I noticed my attraction to men. Something, which I didn’t understand because homosexual orientation as it exists in the West is not understood at all in my culture so there was no one to speak to. I didn’t think much of it until in high school all I heard was boys talk about girls but I couldn’t relate. I rationalised it to myself by saying that I was raised by a strong maternal figure and had close female friends so I looked at women more for their personality than their looks. I did, however, explore my sexuality a little thanks to online groups and met guys who were going through the same thing (even if such guys were hard to find since most Pakistani men, like other men seemed to be using such groups for quick sex).

When I was 19, I moved to Australia to study at university. Living away from home and everyone I knew gave me the chance to explore my sexuality but my social and cultural indoctrination got the best of me and I remained closeted. I did, however, meet someone and fell in love (or what I thought was love). He had a similar background but was older, more open and confident than I was, which I couldn’t help but admire. It was unrequited love though and while he enjoyed the attention he wasn’t honest enough to tell me up front that nothing was going to happen.  Obviously, it ended in heartbreak, shook my confidence and I retreated back into my own world and explored my feelings once again discreetly through the Internet. At that time, I was still convinced that I was bisexual and still dated women but it never went anywhere. I end up seeing a counselor at unviversity, who provided me with a space to explore my thoughts on my orientation, especially what it meant for someone who was Muslim. I went through periods of rejecting either my Muslim or queer background but with her help I was able to realize that I could be both, I just had to find a sense of balance within the two.

Around that time, I discovered an American organisation called Muslims for Progressive Values, that works on various issues such as the lack of support for LGBT Muslims, which is where I found my spiritual home. Listening to these people (even if they’re a minority) and striking a friendship with a prominent Imam, Amina Wadud, and hearing her thoughts on equality for queer Muslims helped me reconcile my faith and sexuality. I took baby steps and I came out to my brother, a few cousins and friends. The reactions I received varied from total support to severed relationships. My brother and my cousins while not entirely supportive evolved and tried to understand my position. I am still grateful for their response as they grew up in a conservative and sheltered environment where they never had to deal with an openly gay person. My Australian friends who I came out to couldn’t understand my need to be discreet because of my Muslim background but were supportive nonetheless.

That also gave me the boost to go out in the scene and try to make gay friends. In my naivety, I thought it would be easy and that for a minority, gay guys would be quite open-minded and accepting of each other. However, I didn’t realize how superficial the scene was and how I wasn’t considered “worthy” to befriend because being a person of colour and “unfit”, I didn’t fit the image of a desirable gay man. Some guys laughed in my face at the idea of me trying to be friends with them because of my looks. I was also ridiculed because I followed a faith most of them did not understand and considered violent and archaic. My experience in gay settings was almost entirely negative because I found guys to be cliquey, bitchy, shallow and snobby. I still persevered for a while and tried to make gay friends. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful. Slowly, I realized that I didn’t need to be a part of the scene and while gay friends would be nice, they didn’t have to be a priority. I have since met a handful of really nice gay guys through work and friends who have become good friends.

Eventually, I met guys who were interested in dating me but it still hasn’t been easy and at 28, I find it slightly disappointing that the longest I’ve been with someone is a couple of months. My first substantial dating experience was only in September last year, when I started talking to a guy on Grindr. He was intelligent, witty and funny and I couldn’t help being attracted to him. We got along well and started dating. Things, at least in my head, were going well and I could see myself being with this person long term. However, I didn’t know that he had a secret of his own. A couple of months later I realized how interconnected we all are. I was out with a few friends and met someone who was talking about his boyfriend who seemed suspiciously similar to my current flame. The similarities were so striking that the next time I saw him I mentioned it to him. He initially was in shock but then admitted everything; he had been with this guy for 5 years and while he still loved him, he also had strong feelings for me and wanted to explore things with me. Disgusted by the dishonesty and hating myself for being the other one, I ended things.

Stay tuned to The Modern Gay Guide to Life for Part Two when our author bravely admits the lengths he went to in order to try find love and the consequences of his actions.

To share your story please email josh@joshvansant.com

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