Tag Archives: gay

43 LIES I TOLD MYSELF WHILE IN THE CLOSET

The proverbial ‘closet’, a dark place of shame, doubt and fear where almost every gay man and woman begins their journey. We keep ourselves locked deep in that closet, telling ourselves stories about why it’s safer inside than out. We tell these stories until the day comes when we have the courage to see them for what they really are, lies.

This is the list of 43 lies that I told myself while in the closet.

Modern Gay 43 lies I told myself in the closet

The Modern Gay has expanded to YouTube! Please subscribe to The Modern Gay Guide to Life for extended personal content and don’t forget to tweet me @moderngay so that I can answer your questions.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

MODERN GAY ADVOCATE: THE POWER OF SHARING

IDAHOT-Power-of-sharing2

I have always believed that sharing our personal stories is a means by which we can create social change and empower our gay community. I believe so strongly in this idea that it was the impetus for creating The Modern Gay Guide to Life. As a matter of fact, the UN Human Rights Office also believes that sharing our stories can create positive change for our community and so they created a video entitled ‘The Power of Sharing’.

Created for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the emotive video focuses on the impact that each of us can have by sharing our own stories and by showing our support for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex friends, colleagues and family members.
 
“It’s quite easy to hate an idea, harder to hate a person,” said OHCHR’s Charles Radcliffe. “This video speaks to the power we all have within us — to share our own stories and to support our friends and family members in the face of prejudice. For everyone who can do so safely, IDAHOT provides a chance to start conversations within our own families and communities and to challenge the negative stereotypes that fuel homophobia and transphobia.”
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: COMING OUT IN IRAQ

121022115612-gay-middle-east-1-horizontal-large-gallery

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

MEN OF DISTINCTION: BEN COHEN

BEN COHEN MODERN GAY 3

The world needs more positive gay role models, homosexual men and women that LGBTI youth can look up to for guidance, hope and direction. The world also needs more straight allies, heterosexual men and women who take a stand against inequality, bullying and discrimination. The world needs more people like Ben Cohen.

Former English rugby union player, Ben Cohen has developed a global gay following thanks to his rustic good looks and well-formed athletic body but it’s his advocacy work against bullying that has earned him the greatest respect.  In 2011, inspired by his father Peter, who was fatally injured while protecting an attack victim, Ben established The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation Inc., the first organisation dedicated solely to anti-bullying. The mission of the foundation is “to raise awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying and to raise funds to support those doing real-world work to stop it”. As LGBTI youth are often the targets of bullying, the foundation has worked closely with the community by providing grants and assistance to various LGBTI organisations.

On his website Cohen says that “it is time we stand up for what is right and support people who are being harmed. Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy”.

Handsome, distinguished, philanthropic and a straight ally, the world needs more people like Ben Cohen.

BEN COHEN MODERN GAY 1BEN COHEN MODERN GAY 8 BEN COHEN MODERN GAY NAKED 2

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RULE NO.24: FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES WILL HAVE YOU FOOLED

Modern Gay Facebook Profile Marcello Alvarez

If you’ve befriended someone on social media who you think is too perfect to be real, you’re probably right. 

It was five hours before my 3,000 word university essay was due and with 2,500 words left to write, I did what any good student would do, I procrastinated. Somehow I had moved from ‘evaluating qualitative methods for marketing research’ to prowling Facebook. While jumping from profile to profile, I stumbled upon the page of a remarkably good looking Australian boy. His profile picture was typical of those used by many gay men –  he was in his speedos, showing off his perfect, tanned body, somewhere close to the beach. Right away I was enamoured by this beautiful specimen of a man whose sexy dark features were more South American than Australian.  The further I clicked through his pictures, the deeper I fell. With thousands of followers, hundreds of picture “likes” and countless complimentary status comments , it was clear that I was not the only one who had been fascinated by this stranger.

Although on face(book) value, his profile seemed legitimate, my intuition told me that something wasn’t right. There were two observations that made me feel uneasy.  Firstly, the friends featured in his pictures all seemed to be of South American appearance which was strange considering that his current location was set to the Gold Coast, an area of Australia known for its blonde haired and blue eyed residents. Secondly, in the background of one of his pictures I noticed a beach which looked very much like Copacabana in Rio.

Having been inspired by the MTV series Catfish, a show which exposes the real people behind fake online profiles, I decided to do my own investigating. I downloaded one of his profile pictures and just like in Catfish, I plugged the picture into a Google Image Search and waited. Immediately hundreds of results appeared. As you can imagine, the images I saw before me did not belong to the so-called Australian but to straight Brazilian model Marcello Alvarez. It was clear that the Facebook profile, with all of its status updates,  pictures and personal details was indeed fake.

Although the individual behind the fake profile may see his actions as harmless entertainment, I feel that this type of deceit is dangerous. Not only is it dangerous for the audience who becomes fascinated by the show of someone else’s life but it’s dangerous for the real person behind the fake profile. Living vicariously through an invented persona achieves nothing in the long run. All those “likes” do not belong to you. All that attention is not directed at you. Where do you hope this will take you? How will it all end now that you’re in so deep?

If Catfish is any indication of the type of people that create these profiles, then typically they all fit a similar mould. They are social recluses from lower socio-economic backgrounds who suffer from self-esteem issues and look nothing like their imagined online personas. Add the pressures faced by young gay men and you can understand why the internet is such an appealing place. The online world gives these types of people the opportunity to live out their fantasies and escape from their real lives.

I always preach the benefits of being true to yourself, so this type of betrayal worries me greatly. However, instead of being enraged by those who abuse Facebook and other social media platforms, we should empathise with them and try understand the reasons behind their actions. Such extreme behaviour and ongoing trickery is a sign of something much deeper than the need for attention.  While I do not condone lying, playing with people’s emotions or eliciting attention through false means, I understand that sometimes the world can be a harsh place from where we need to escape.

Image Credit: Model Florian Van Bael photographed by Philippe Vogelenzang

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RULE NO.22: THERE ARE TOO MANY BOYS

 Abercrombie Modern Gay Dating

It’s hard to find “the one” when there are so many choices.

There’s a marketing theory that suggests that when we’re given too many choices we experience anxiety and buyers regret. This is called the “Paradox of Choice” whereby more choices leads to less happiness. One would think that the opposite is true, that the more choices we have the happier we will feel but this is not the case.

Lets look at an example. You’re in a restaurant with a friend and there is a huge selection of dishes on the menu. You see many different options that look appealing and finally after much deliberation you make your selection. Your friend chooses the schnitzel while you choose the steak. When your food arrives you instantly feel that you may have made the wrong decision. You look around at all the other tables and see the variation of delicious meals being consumed by patrons seemingly more happy than yourself and  you regret your decision. As you bight into your steak, you wonder “what would life be like if I was eating schnitzel?”.

This theory is ever present in the modern world of gay dating. Through the power of Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr we are exposed to images of thousands of gorgeous men from all over the globe. From the beaches of Brazil to the clubs of Tel Aviv, the internet has created a virtual gay community comprising of men that we never would have known without physically visiting those cities. While its fun to perve on these guys from your phone or computer it has created the “the anxiety of choice” conundrum – more options equals higher regret. Being aware of all these men who appear to be better looking and having more fun than the men in our immediate communities has created this anxiety of choice.  The most troubling thing about this anxiety is that the choice is not real. In a restaurant you can choose your meal from a finite selection and that choice will be served to you. In the online world, chances are that you’ll never meet those men about who you fantasise and yet you compare your attainable options to those which are infinite and unattainable. You might even be waiting for Mr Right who’ll hopefully appear in the form of some American adonis with gorgeous friends or worse still, you might be in a relationship treading water, until something better comes along. Having too many choices, whether they be real or imagined is affecting the way we date.

Couple this with apps likes Grindr and Scruff and you have a selection of 200 men at your fingertips. These apps are supposed to help you find potential mates in your immediate area but when there are so many options, how do you know that you’re going to make the right choice? If you’re like me then you probably keep pressing ‘refresh’ hoping that someone even more exciting than the last will magically appear.

This technologically advanced world has brought the universe to our fingertips and created digital communities which have helped countless gay men seek advice, solace and information but it has also given us too many choices.  In this restaurant of life, with its countless dishes and delicious choices, I wonder if we’ll always keep looking around at what everyone else is eating and never be satisfied with whats on our own plates.

The Modern Gay Guide to Life is a finalist in the 2013 Blogster Awards. Please follow the below link and click the Facebook “Like” underneath the About section to help us win.

Click here to vote

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

RULE NO. 20: YOU ARE BRAVER THAN YOU THINK

Jean-Francois-Carly

Nobody said that being gay is easy. You are constantly confronted by people who tell you that what you are doing is wrong, sinful, immoral and disgusting. You may have faced rejection from people important to you and all because of something that you had no control over. And yet you are still here.

You are much braver than you think.

Before you’ve even had the chance to “come out” you had to confront those daunting feelings inside of yourself.  The feelings of confusion, isolation and shame. You had to ask yourself “Am I normal?”. That took a lot of bravery.  As you grew older you may have been picked-on or bullied because other kids could tell that you were different.  It took inner strength to shield yourself from the taunting and to recover from the physical abuse.

Once you decided to share your feelings with another person you had to find the coverage to expose yourself, to be absolutely vulnerable without certainty of how they would react. That took courage that heterosexual people will never understand.  You then had to deal with the consequences of your coming out. This may have meant rejection from family, losing friends or being shunned by your community. That too, called for immense inner courage. And all the while you had to forge your own path with little empathy, guidance or direction from anyone else.

With all of the other crap that you have to deal, it’s important that you pause for a moment and realise the bravery and courage that you possess to have made it to this point. You are much braver than you think.

Image by: Jean-Francois Carly

Tagged , , , , , , ,

RULE NO.16: YOUR BOYFRIEND IS A REFLECTION OF YOURSELF

 Patriota Twins Moden Gay

Is who you date a reflection of who you are?

A friend of mine once admitted that he was sexually aroused by the sight of himself naked in the mirror. Instead of other forms of visual stimulation, he openly admitted that when it came to special “alone” time, his own reflection was enough to do the job. There are two things you need to know about this friend: 1. he’s extremely handsome by most people’s standards and 2. he makes Narcissus look like Mother Theresa. I’ve watched the string of boyfriends that have come and gone through his life and although they’ve been of different ages and nationalities, they’ve all had one thing in common – they look identical to him. This made me think about boyfriends and whether or not one’s boyfriend is a reflection of one’s self.

Have you noticed those cute gay couples who look like they could be brothers or father and son for the matter? Sure, some may argue that couples begin to look and act similar over time, much like dogs and their owners but I would suggest that who you choose to date is in fact a reflection of yourself. The short-buff-gym-dude dates other short-buff-gym-dudes much like the narcissistic model dates other narcissistic models or the blondes date blondes etc. So then what does it mean if you’re like me and you date people who are polar opposites? Is this the reflection of  subconscious self-love issues? Maybe. But I would choose to think that it is because you are attracted to people who have qualities that complement your own (whether physical or not).

I’m not assuming that everyone who is attracted to someone of a similar aesthetic or nature is narcissistic, I’m simply discussing extreme examples of the phenomena and trying to draw conclusions. From a more positive perspective, dating someone who looks like you may be a sign that you are comfortable with your inner self. A few years ago I broke up with a boyfriend because he liked things about me that I hated about myself so clearly there was something wrong with him. Now I realise that you can’t truly be open to love if you haven’t accepted yourself, although this realisation hasn’t changed the types of men I date.

There are obviously other factors involved in the subconscious attraction process (like LOA – Read Here) but it’s much easier to look at the superficial reasons so I would love to hear your feedback on the observation that who you date is indeed a reflection of yourself. 

Photo Credit: Patriota Twins by Rick Day for FantasticMag

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

MODERN GAY STYLE: PRINTS

Sean O'Pry - Schon Magazine

“Welcome to the jungle, we’ve got fun and games” – Guns ‘n Roses

As the Northern Hemisphere emerges from winter, it’s time to update your wardrobe with summer prints. Perhaps this is the summer that we’ll replace cut-off jean shorts and revealing singlets with more sophisticated options? Perhaps not.

Whether you live in the north or plan to travel to Europe (hello Mykonos!), here’s model Sean O’Pry showing you how summer fashion is done in a new editorial entitled “Jungle Fever” from Schon! Magazine styled by Andrew Holden.

Sean O'Pry - Schon Magazine

Sean O'Pry - Schon MagazineSean O'Pry - Schon MagazineSean O'Pry - Schon Magazine

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

MEN OF DISTINCTION: NATE BERKUS & JEREMIAH BRENT

Jeremiah Brent, Nate Berkus Modern Gay Couple

Recently engaged interior designer couple, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are in my opinion the world’s most stylish gay couple. The announcement of their engagement in April 2013 caused universal disappointment amongst single gay men throughout the world who were hoping to snatch one of the two for themselves (myself included).

It truly is wonderful to see two talented men who are in the public eye, openly displaying their love and affection for each other (pictures in the gallery below). Although these pictures show a very happy couple, Nate has experienced devastating loss in the past. In 2004 Nate’s partner, photographer Fernando Bengoechea was killed in the Boxing Day Tsunami while the two were holidaying together in Sri Lanka. Nate has publicly spoken about the intense sorrow that he endured for months after his partner’s death.

Outwardly I wish the couple all the best and thank them for their demonstration of what gay, successful, famous, “out” couples can look like. Inwardly, I wish they would break-up and that Jeremiah would come over to my place so we could “redecorate”….

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,