STORY GUS KENWORTHY & MATT WILKAS
P HOTOGRAPHED BY ROGER ERICKSON FOR OUT
C ON T E N T S F E B RUA RY 2017
Fe a t u r e s
Fo r e g r o u n d
62-79. THE 2017 LOVE PORTFOLIO Eight couples share their stories of love’s labors won. Photography by Roger Erickson
9. BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN Christina Ricci, crazy in love (and fully exposed) as Zelda Fitzgerald 12. THE GAY AGENDA The 15 things in pop culture you should be talking about right now
80. GAY OCD Yes, it’s a thing, and tens of thousands of Americans suffer from it.
21-22. TRENDING Watch yourself in reflective duds and saddle up to kinky suits.
S y m p o s iu m 41. A DIFFERENT BATTLE A married couple fled Poland in WWII, but couldn’t escape the husband’s truth.
24. MOOD BOARD Looking fly 26. GROOMING Your genderless essentials
47. A BLANKET STATEMENT Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt
28. THE GETAWAY Bali: your new-year palate cleanser
49. ARMOND WHITE’S MOVIES Broken Blossoms and the original gay film hero
34. DESTINATION Tea and whiskey in Taipei
50. LOVE IN BLACK AND WHITE Confronting sexual racism in the modern age
38. NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH Why Greenpoint is the coolest spot outside Manhattan
57. ARE YOU A SLUT? Only you know the answer
39. FITNESS A cheeky guide to getting great glutes
58. FREE RADICALS Penny Arcade and Justin Vivian Bond on art, post-Trump 59. CHRISTINE BARANSKI’S GOOD FIGHT The actress gets meta in her political TV spinoff.
ON THE COVER: Gus Kenworthy and Matt Wilkas / Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli photographed by Roger Erickson for Out. Styling by Julian Jesus and Michael Cook
66 Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli photographed by Roger Erickson. Styling by Michael Cook. Wiley: Dress by Bottega Veneta. Morelli: Dress by Louis Vuitton
S u r ve i l l a nc e 85. FROM A TO ZZZZ An Out guide to all things sleep DEPARTMENTS 6. Contributors and Feedback 87. Store Info 88. 4,000 Words Two married soldiers share their love with the world.
On Kenworthy: Tank top by Bottega Veneta. On Wilkas: Sweater by Versace. On Morelli: Dress by Christian Siriano
FEBRUARY 2017. Volume 25, Number 6 Out (ISSN 1062-7928) is published monthly except for double issues in December/January and June/July by Here Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 241579, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Telephone: (310) 806-4288. Entire contents © 2012 Here Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher are strictly prohibited. Periodicals postage paid at Los Angeles, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Subscription rate: $19.95 per year (10 issues). Annual subscription rate outside the U.S.: $54, payable in U.S. currency only. Postmaster: Send changes of address to Out magazine, P.O. Box 5236, New York, NY 10185. Out is distributed to newsstands by Curtis Circulation Co. Printed in the United States of America.
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So Long, 2016
Though his lofty dreams of being able to sing and dance like Michael Jackson didn’t come to fruition, Roger Erickson is still mesmerizing us. The native Californian’s work on this month’s Love Portfolio (page 62) makes us thankful he chose a life of photography. “It was very beautiful and inspiring to photograph couples who are so deeply committed and supportive of one another,” he says. “I marvel at the joy they have for each other.” Erickson’s work can also be seen in GQ, Mexican Vogue, and Entertainment Weekly.
JEFF RIEDEL Jeff Riedel, who photographed actress Christina Ricci for this issue (page 9), decided to turn his childhood obsession with picturetaking into a career while covering a coal miners strike in the Appalachian Mountains at the age of 19. While developing shots in the kitchen sink of his tiny apartment it struck him. “It was like a magic, lifted-veil, lightbulb-turned-on kind of moment,” he says. “I knew what I was going to do for the rest of my life.” The Brooklynite has also shot for Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker.
H. ALAN SCOTT After meeting the grandson of his subjects in Israel, Los Angeles writer H. Alan Scott (“A Different Battle,” page 41) knew that the story of Ruth and Roman Blank, exiles from Nazioccupied Europe, was one that had to be told. “I responded to it as a gay Jewish man,” he says, “but I became invested in it because of what it represents: that love, in every way possible, is complicated.” Scott has also contributed to Vice, Fusion, MTV, and Newsweek.
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
How do you follow Barack Obama? That’s the question so many people in this country are anxiously asking each other, and it’s one we had to ask ourselves when putting together 2016’s Out100 issue. In 2015, Obama was our Out100 cover star, highlighted not just as our commander-inchief but as our chief ally. In the 12 months that followed, we lost some of our most beloved icons (including David Bowie and Prince), saw our community suffer the deadliest mass shooting in this nation’s history, and watched as many Americans rallied around a presidential platform that promoted intolerance, hatred, and fear. For us, the only sensible thing to focus on was togetherness, and this past year’s Out100 honorees collectively embodied our community’s best values: Resilience. Grace. Unshakeable will. An eagerness to be a positive force for the future. That’s how you follow Barack Obama—with the people he’s helped to inspire. When Attitude shared our 2016 portfolio, it focused on the inclusion of the Pulse survivors, counting them “among the great and good of the LGBT community.” Meanwhile, in her profile, Ellen DeGeneres, one of our four cover subjects, opened up about hitting “rock bottom” after publicly coming out in 1997. Yet ABC’s Good Morning America recently hailed her as the “queen of comedy,” strengthening our hope that 2016’s ills will stay behind us. If there was ever a time we needed to remind ourselves of the adage “it gets better,” that time is now.
Parts of the Whole
The perennial challenge of the Out100 portfolio is to capture the limitless diversity of the LGBT community through only a handful of representatives. While 100 honorees may seem like a lot, it’s
really only a small cross-section of our increasingly varied movers and shakers. Reflecting diversity isn’t just about including the “right” number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender honorees. It’s about acknowledging different ages, occupations, races, and classes—different journeys and different walks of life. From Broadway breakout Javier Muñoz, an HIV-positive cancer survivor (and additional cover subject) who wants to be a “new face people see is HIV-positive and healthy,” to the barrier-breaking MMA fighter Amanda Nunes, our extensive list was an earnest effort to span the queer spectrum and expand visibility. After picking up our Muñoz cover story, Gay Star News wrote, “The Hamilton star knows that appearing in the hottest musical in New York not only gives him a higher profile as an actor, but also as an openly gay man living with HIV.” We couldn’t agree more.
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Beauty in the Breakdown CHRISTINA RICCI, CRAZY IN LOVE (AND FULLY EXPOSED) AS ZELDA FITZGERALD BY MICHAEL MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF RIEDEL Photographed at the 11 Howard Hotel, New York
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“When I was younger I thought that at a certain point I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I was like, Oh, gosh, so at 40 I’m going to have to go away.” through facades. She didn’t have a lot of self-control and burst a lot of bubbles. She was a very self-aware young person, in the middle of this world, not from this world, who was able to judge it. Maybe she didn’t always have the best time, because she didn’t buy into the bullshit. She was smart enough to know when people were full of shit.” For Ricci fans, this may sound familiar. “I related to it, so I was certainly able to put my perspective on things,” she says. “I think probably because I was a child in a very surreal world, I try to find the normalcy in everything in life, in every situation. Where’s the human thing amid the craziness?” She specifically related to Zelda’s mental state. “When I was younger I thought that at a certain point I was going to have a nervous breakdown,” says Ricci. “I really thought that was part of life, because every woman I read about was put away at some point because they were too difficult to deal with. I was like, Oh, gosh, so at 40 I’m going to have to go away. Even my grandmother had nervous breakdowns and was put in asylums. I think it’s just how they dealt with difficult women back then.”
Early episodes of Z breeze through the Fitzgeralds’ courtship, then establish the tension in their marriage. They also feature Ricci’s first fullfrontal nude scene. “It doesn’t really bother me,” she says. “I’d never worn a merkin before. I was sort of excited about that. There aren’t that many firsts for me anymore, so I was like, ‘This is exciting! How do we make this?’ In the old days they’d make you wear a nude thong and your dresser would cut it. I once had a funny experience with an assistant in a bathroom: ‘You’ve got to stick it in the middle of the crack!’ ” There’s the old Ricci, that beloved renegade. And although she rues those impish interviews of her youth— “They were hilarious, but so ridiculous, and I paid a price for them”—she doesn’t regret her long-standing, almost genetic tendency to rock the boat. “I’ve always considered gay men to be my people,” she says. “I’m very upfront and unapologetic, and I find that’s what gay people respond to. I think that’s something that’s appealing for people who’ve had to fight really hard to be who they are. And I just can’t be any other way.”
S T Y L I N G BY K A R E N L E V I T T. H A I R : M AT T H E W M O N Z O N FO R J E D R O OT. M A K E U P : G I TA B A S S FO R S TA R WO R K S . P R E V I O U S PAG E : J U M P S U I T BY AG E N T P R OVO C AT E U R . B R AC E L E T BY C H A N E L . T H I S PAG E : D R E S S BY C D G R E E N E
CHRISTINA RICCI rushes into a Williamsburg brunch spot, a bit flushed and flustered, and apologizes for being late (which she is not). “I just got in from SoulCycle,” she says, “and I have to go pick up my kid in an hour!” The former wild child of indie cinema—who once eye-rolled her way through interviews, shooting from the hip with incendiary statements such as suggesting incest is “natural”—is now a clock-conscious, multitasking mother of a 2-year-old, happily married and living in a Brooklyn brownstone. It might seem a world away from her various snarky, sinister personae (Wednesday Addams, Lizzie Borden, the home-wrecking teen tart Dedee Truitt, from 1998’s The Opposite of Sex), but Ricci, now 36, hasn’t lost her edge (or, for that matter, her cherubic looks—she looks a decade younger). She has, in fact, just wrapped one of the richest, most intriguing, and, it must be said, most naked roles of her career. In the new Amazon series Z: The Beginning of Everything, Ricci plays Zelda Fitzgerald, wealthy flapper wife to The Great Gatsby author F. Scott, Jazz Age proto-feminist, and the original party girl. The couple wedded young, sparred often, and drank more. Ricci describes them as “two young arrogant narcissists who got in over their heads,” and as Zelda, and as Zelda, she is a saucy, coquettish Southern belle—half Blanche DuBois, half Blanche Devereaux. Anyone familiar with the Fitzgeralds’ story, though, knows Zelda’s dark fate: The freespirited socialite and novelist spiraled into alcoholism and madness, literally driven insane by the restrictions placed on her by society and her husband. (She eventually died in a hospital fire.) The performance would be a full meal for any actress, but Ricci produced the series, too, adapting it from a biography she discovered. “I feel like Zelda is the most realistic, wellrounded, fully fleshed-out, and fully explored person I’ve played,” says Ricci. “Also, I’ve never played a romantic lead—ever.” She continues, “Zelda was someone intelligent enough to see
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BRYAN SAFI, TV’S NEW KING OF SHADE
...a good kind of psycho in a new kind of superhero show Elaborate dance sequences may not seem like a draw for Marvel fans, but Dan Stevens, who stars as mutant David Haller in FX’s Legion, can assure you they’ll pop up in almost every episode of his new series. These impromptu musical numbers—like the one in a psychiatric hospital that interrupts the show’s brilliant, chaotic pilot—are just one of the many ways that Legion, helmed by Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley, subverts its superhero genre. “We’ve all been picking our brains as to how it will be received, because it has such an unusual shape to it,” says Stevens, known for his previous roles in Downton Abbey and High Maintenance, in which he played a cross-dressing stoner. Indeed, the series fluctuates in tone, from exuberant and cheeky to deeply disturbing, as it follows David, the schizophrenic son of X-Men’s Charles Xavier, in his struggles to parse reality while others try to harness his violent, unpredictable powers. Stevens believes the constantly destabilized state of his character echoes a larger, more foreboding trend today. “Legion is so bonkers, but it’s such a bonkers time on the planet,” says the British actor, who was shooting the series as Brexit and the U.S. presidential election were unfolding. “There’s something about this terrifying post-truth moment that David seems to slot right into.” Meanwhile, Stevens has had his own coping mechanisms for these trying days. “I’ve been reading A Christmas Carol for a film I’m doing,” he says. “I’ve really just been trying to focus on the goodness of humanity. It is there. I’m positive it’s there.” MIKE BERLIN
2. NPH Turns Sour From Hedwig to Lemony Snicket Neil Patrick Harris has entered his dark period. After years of chasing a laugh track on How I Met Your Mother, the actor is following roles in Gone Girl and American Horror Story with Netflix’s new Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the classic children’s books. In the new super-stylized series, Harris stars as the villainous Olaf, who becomes the guardian of three orphans solely to abscond with their fortune. “I’m drawn to puzzles and darkness,” says Harris. “The
1 2 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
Alfred Hitchcock–y vibe is something I’ve been into since I was kid, and I loved Gene Wilder’s take on Willy Wonka and Bridge to Terabithia.” Aside from being just plain rotten, Harris’s alter ego is also a rotten aspiring musical-theater actor—basically, a much crappier, much uglier version of himself. “Playing someone so miserable makes things hard to complain about,” says Harris, who spends two and a half hours having prosthetics applied for the role. “I can ingest my annoyances and use them.” MICHAEL MARTIN
WENDY WILLIAMS “She speaks the gospel exactly according to her, whether it’s fact-based or not. She really is living in a post-truth world.” Shade: None. WICKER FURNITURE “I really like it. There’s something ‘1980s status symbol’ about it. But what a weird trend. It’s just braided wood. It’s basically a quilt—just hard.” Shade: WESTWORLD “There’s nothing interesting about touching someone’s breast and saying, ‘Oh, but it’s not sexual because they’re actually a robot.’ Why does the robot need boobs?” Shade: KANYE WEST’S POLITICS “Him saying he’d vote for Trump is so boring. It’s just weird contrarian dumb shit. It’s like saying, ‘Good morning,’ and then having someone go, ‘No! It’s afternoon.’ ” Shade:
M I C H E L L E FAY E / F X ( S T E V E N S ) . O P E N C L I PA R T ( PA R A S O L S ) . A P / E VA N AG O S T I N I / I N V I S I O N ( W I L L I A M S ). KG C -195 / S TA R M A X / I PX ( W E S T )
1. Legion’s Dan Stevens...
Since 2011, comedians Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson have been treating LGBT and women’s issues with, in their words, “much less respect than they deserve” on their irreverent podcast Throwing Shade. Episodes often conclude with “Shade or No Shade,” a segment in which guests pass judgment on everything from Van Cleef & Arpels to applesauce. To celebrate Shade’s leap to a late-night slot on TV Land (the show premieres January 17), we asked Safi to sound off on some of today’s most pressing topics. MB
F O R E G R O U N D T H E G AY AG E N DA
Scott’s Star Power
“COTTON IS A HUSTLER,” Amiyah Scott says of her character on the new Fox show Star, director-producer Lee Daniels’s musical follow-up to Empire. “She knows how to get things done.” In the pilot episode, the savvy salon receptionist—who works for the “godmother” (Queen Latifah) of the title character (Jude Demorest) and her girl-group bandmates (Brittany O’Grady and Ryan Destiny)—empowers the aspiring trio to venture into a gentlemen’s club, their only direct route to a major talent manager (Benjamin Bratt). “The girls look to Cotton as a big sister, and the way her story unfolds is gonna break down so many barriers,” says Scott, one of the few trans actresses on television playing a trans character. “I’m anxious to see this light shined on a community that hasn’t really been pushed to the forefront.” Born in New York and raised in New Orleans, Scott made headlines last year following her departure from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, a move that sparked media speculation about producer clashes and trans exploitation (the 28-year-old claims the reports were “exaggerated” and that she forged “great relationships”). Despite Daniels’s camp leanings, Cotton feels far from exploitative, and Scott was grateful to be a part of telling her community’s stories, especially the tougher ones—in that same episode, Cotton is a victim of a hate crime. “I’ve been very close to individuals who’ve been harmed or killed,” Scott says. “Thankfully, I’ve never been harmed terribly, but I look at trans people as one. And though I haven’t dealt with what some of my sisters have, I’m fighting the same fight.” R. KURT OSENLUND
PHOTOGRA O PUHT Y OBCYTTOOBM ER M Y2 0G1A6R C17 IA
F O R E G R O U N D T H E G AY AG E N DA
…BACK ON SUNSET BOULEVARD—AS IF SHE NEVER SAID GOODBYE In the 1990s, the musical got small, but Glenn Close was big. Playing delusional former film star Norma Desmond in the 1994 Andrew Lloyd Webber tuner Sunset Boulevard, she delivered a commanding, full-throttle diva performance that earned her a Tony. Now, after an acclaimed West End production last year, she’s returning to Broadway to give Norma a second look. We checked in. ADAM FELDMAN
People may not know that several of your early roles were in musicals. In 1980 you played the title character’s wife in Barnum. Barnum was a great experience, but also a lesson for me, because my character was the party pooper. She wore a gray dress in a show full of color. I worked my ass off trying to make people believe in their relationship and blah blah blah, but ultimately I was wearing a gray dress! At least you won’t have that problem in Sunset. I’m wearing my original fabulous costumes! They’re 22 years old. I mean, my figure’s not the same, and we’re making some pieces simpler to get in and out of. And I don’t wear as many turbans. I wanted 1 4 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
to get away from that feeling. But I have my 22-year-old wigs that have been refronted! Norma is about 50, and you’re older than that now. Does that change how the character registers? I think you’re more aware of the strange older woman–younger man relationship thing that [Norma and would-be writer Joe Gillis] fall into. Joe has a line, “Nothing’s wrong with being 50 unless you’re acting 20.” Everybody knows I’m not 50, so we thought, Should we change the line? But no! It’s set in 1950, and back then 50 was way over the hill. It meant a woman was done, especially in Hollywood.
In Hollywood, isn’t that still true? There are more parts now because of Netflix and Amazon and other cable networks with a voracious need for content. However, truly great parts will always be at a premium. There are independent films, but they can be hard to finance. I was lucky to be in Guardians of the Galaxy, but in the studio movies, there are very few parts with real strength and interest for women my age. So, as far as that’s concerned, Sunset has not lost any of its potency. Sunset Boulevard opens February 9 at New York’s Palace Theatre.
C O U R T E S Y O F N I C K WA L L
Has your approach to Norma changed? I think so. Before I played her as somebody caught back in the 1920s and trying to maintain that look. She was sort of a gorgon. I was inspired by Carol Matthau, who was married to Walter Matthau. She’d been a great beauty, but as she got older she apparently put on so much white makeup that there was powder everywhere. [Laughs] This time around I think Norma’s more human, and of her time.
F O R E G R O U N D T H E G AY AG E N DA
KNOW THY BALDWIN In the new documentary I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck examines one of James Baldwin’s unfinished works—a book that would have chronicled the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.—to present a moving, all-too-timely analysis of race in America. But before you see it, brush up on these classics that the trailblazer did finish, chosen by four famous writers and Baldwin fans. François Nambot and Geoffrey Couët
6. Théo and Hugo
C O U R T E S Y O F WO L F E V I D E O ( T H É O A N D H U G O) . B O B A D E L M A N / M AG N O L I A N P I C T U R E S ( BA L DW I N ). I A N K E N N E T H B I R D ( D I O R H O M M E )
In the intimate French gay drama, talk and sex go hand in hand. “A life without talking is unbearable—about politics, about our desires,” says a clerk at a late-night Parisian kebab shop in Théo and Hugo. The clerk, an immigrant from war-ravaged Syria, is addressing his customers, the eponymous couple, and his words gently speak to the spirit of the film itself. Evoking the slow-burning conversational works of Richard Linklater and Andrew Haigh, Théo and Hugo, the latest from writer-directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau, won the Audience Award at the 2016 Berlinale’s Teddys. It is, in many ways, a story about peaceful protest, and about our world’s current dire need for personal contact and discourse— be it about carnal acts or strife overseas. Even in the opening scene, a 20-minute orgy in the basement of a gay nightclub, a hush falls over the neon-lit mass of writhing bodies so that Théo (Geoffrey Couët) and Hugo (François Nambot) can connect and have sex as if no one else exists. “It felt like we were producing love,” the poetic Hugo says afterwards. “I think we made a good contribution to world peace.” Later we discover Hugo may have given HIV to Théo, and while it ignites a scramble for damage control (an ER visit; a heady rundown of preventative treatment), the events aren’t shown through a lens of queer punishment. Conversely, the news brings the men closer together in a night of courtship and understanding. In these times, when fear can trump love and tweets can trump real talk, this feels like a political act in itself. R. KURT OSENLUND
GIOVANNI’S ROOM (1956) “I was still too young to drive a car when I read it. I thought nothing would ever compare to Romeo and Juliet, but Baldwin’s story of ‘the night that is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life’ became the saddest love story I know.” —John Irving THE FIRE NEXT TIME (1963) “Basically the finest two essays I’ve ever read. Baldwin refused to hold anyone’s hand. He did not seem to write to convince you. He wrote beyond you.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates THE DEVIL FINDS WORK (1976) “This book-long essay is part memoir, part homage to cinema, and also an exploration of the ways corrosive ideas seep into the collective imagination.” —Carrie Brownstein JAMES BALDWIN: THE LAST INTERVIEW (2014) “This powerful and prophetic black gay writer should be an essential presence in our lives. These last words of his are heartbreaking.” —Larry Kramer
12. Dior Homme’s Rebel Yell If there were ever a time to shake up the Establishment, it’s now. This awards season, Dior Homme artistic director Kris Van Assche applies that mantra to the red carpet, unveiling what he calls “extreme interpretations” of men’s formalwear. Inspired by an ongoing fascination with ’80s new wave, his Black Carpet capsule collection bears the label’s trademark elegance while harking back to an era defined by irony and whimsy. Smoking
jackets are slashed, slippers are sequined, a white suit is embroidered with lilies of the valley. The best pieces, however, are literally the splashiest: slim-cut tuxes in wool houndstooth and Prince of Wales check streaked with vibrant hues, and black shirting with paint blots in the form of velvet flocking. Risky? Yes. Over the top? Sure. But as any Oscar-toting diva will tell you, you’ll never win playing it safe. HILTON DRESDEN O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 1 5
F O R E G R O U N D T H E G AY AG E N DA
Adventures in Clubland Robyn and the XX, back on the floor
Austra’s Katie Stelmanis
ANATOMY OF AN ALBUM: AUSTRA’S FUTURE POLITICS Austra’s third full-length, Future Politics, lives up to its name, setting ruminations on religion and economic disparity to dark, propulsive beats. Here, the Toronto synth-pop project’s queer frontwoman, Katie Stelmanis, reflects on the influences—from Massive Attack to a recent stint in Mexico—that helped bring her vision to life. STEVEN J. HOROWITZ
R E N ATA R A K S H A ( A U S T R A ). E R I K A DA M S S O N ( M R . TO P H AT A N D R O BY N ) . L A U R A J A N E C O U L S O N ( T H E X X )
MASSIVE ATTACK “I’d never really listened to their music, but then I saw them play at some little festival in Belgium. It just made me nostalgic. The ’90s were a time when many bands were overtly political. I decided that’s something I wanted to do with this record.”
LATIN-AMERICAN PRODUCERS “I got into a lot of them when I was living in Mexico. Chancha Via Circuito, from Argentina, is one of many producers mixing traditional indigenous music with modern techno beats. I found that really inspiring.”
E.E. CUMMINGS “I’d never been into writing lyrics, but I decided this time around I wanted to focus on it more, so I started reading a lot of poetry. I was really inspired by how e.e. cummings romanticizes nature, and the spirituality around nature.”
Consider it a late holiday gift: This month, two of pop’s premier innovators return. Robyn struck gold with her last proper album, 2010’s Body Talk, and while the Swedish darling has yet to drop her next great solo record, her new collaboration is the most intriguing thing she’s done in years. On Trust Me she’s teamed with fellow Swede Mr. Tophat for a trio of sprawling disco cuts that recall Donna Summer at her late-’70s zenith. And for anyone still doubting her status as the indomitable dancing queen, she’s enlisted none other than ABBA drummer Per Lindvall for the beats. But if Robyn is basking in the glow of the mirrorball, the XX remain in the club’s darkest corners, observing the crowd and plotting their next move. I See You, their first LP in nearly five years, sees the British threesome fully embracing producer Jamie XX’s penchant for brooding house music and clever sampling. Like any good night out, the result is wistful and euphoric. Case in point: the standout track, “On Hold,” which interpolates the Hall and Oates classic “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).” JASON LAMPHIER Mr. Tophat and Robyn
“An accelerationism manifesto inspired this album’s title. It claims that technology will free us from capitalism, because we’ll no longer need human labor. With no need for human labor, there’s no need for money. It’s this idea technology will free us from our oppressors.”
“I felt the colors in the city. Growing up in North America, where everything is bland and gray, and then going to Mexico, where everything is in color, and learning about its cultural history—I feel like it really brought me back to life.”
“In my ideal world the futurist female movement is more about blurring gender lines than the idea of the woman being ‘above.’ I think it’s more significant to eradicate gender binaries. That’s something Judith Butler has always advocated for.”
O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 6 17
WHAT IS ODEFSEY®? ODEFSEY is a 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older. It can either be used in people who are starting HIV-1 treatment, have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, and have an amount of HIV-1 in their blood (“viral load”) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL; or in people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. These include having an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL) for 6 months or more on their current HIV-1 treatment. ODEFSEY combines 3 medicines into 1 pill taken once a day with a meal. ODEFSEY is a complete HIV-1 treatment and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. ODEFSEY does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking ODEFSEY. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body ﬂuids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body ﬂuids on them.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about ODEFSEY?
ODEFSEY may cause serious side effects: • Buildup of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large and fatty. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking ODEFSEY or a similar medicine for a long time. In some cases, lactic acidosis and serious liver problems have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.
• Worsening of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. ODEFSEY
is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking ODEFSEY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking ODEFSEY without ﬁrst talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.
Who should not take ODEFSEY?
Do not take ODEFSEY if you take: • Certain prescription medicines for other conditions. It is important to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with ODEFSEY. Do not start a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. • The herbal supplement St. John’s wort. • Any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection.
What are the other possible side effects of ODEFSEY?
Serious side effects of ODEFSEY may also include: • Severe skin rash and allergic reactions. Skin rash is a common side effect of ODEFSEY. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get a rash, as some rashes and allergic reactions may need to be treated in a hospital. Stop taking ODEFSEY and get medical help right away if you get a rash with any of the following symptoms: fever, skin blisters, mouth sores, redness or swelling of the eyes (conjunctivitis), swelling of the face, lips, mouth, or throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, pain on the right side of the stomach (abdominal) area, and/or dark “tea-colored” urine. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you: feel sad or hopeless, feel anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself. • Changes in liver enzymes. People who have had hepatitis B or C or who have certain liver enzyme changes may have a higher risk for new or worse liver problems while taking ODEFSEY. Liver problems can also happen in people who have not had liver disease. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with ODEFSEY. • Changes in body fat, which can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to ﬁght infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking ODEFSEY. • Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking ODEFSEY if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems, such as bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. The most common side effects of rilpivirine, one of the medicines in ODEFSEY, are depression, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and headache. The most common side effect of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, two of the medicines in ODEFSEY, is nausea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ODEFSEY?
• All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare
provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, mental health (depression or suicidal thoughts), or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and overthe-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how ODEFSEY works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe to take ODEFSEY with all of your other medicines. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if ODEFSEY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking ODEFSEY. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.
Ask your healthcare provider if ODEFSEY is right for you, and visit ODEFSEY.com to learn more. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see Important Facts about ODEFSEY including important warnings on the following page.
ODEFSEY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.
ODEFSEY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day HIV-1 treatment for people 12 years and older who are either new to treatment and have less than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood or people whose healthcare provider determines they can replace their current HIV-1 medicines with ODEFSEY.
IMPORTANT FACTS This is only a brief summary of important information about ODEFSEY® and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.
(oh-DEF-see) MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ODEFSEY
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF ODEFSEY
ODEFSEY may cause serious side effects, including:
ODEFSEY can cause serious side effects, including:
Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/ or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. ODEFSEY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking ODEFSEY. Do not stop taking ODEFSEY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months.
You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking ODEFSEY or a similar medicine for a long time.
• • • • • • •
Those in the “Most Important Information About ODEFSEY” section. Severe skin rash and allergic reactions. Depression or mood changes. Changes in liver enzymes. Changes in body fat. Changes in your immune system. New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Bone problems.
The most common side effects of rilpivirine, one of the medicines in ODEFSEY, are depression, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and headache. The most common side effect of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, two of the medicines in ODEFSEY, is nausea. These are not all the possible side effects of ODEFSEY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking ODEFSEY. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with ODEFSEY.
BEFORE TAKING ODEFSEY
ABOUT ODEFSEY •
ODEFSEY is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years of age and older who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and who have an amount of HIV-1 in their blood (“viral load”) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL. ODEFSEY can also be used to replace current HIV-1 medicines for some people who have an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/ mL), have been on the same HIV-1 medicines for at least 6 months, have never failed HIV-1 treatment, and whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain other requirements. ODEFSEY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others.
Do NOT take ODEFSEY if you: • Take a medicine that contains: carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®, Tegretol-XR®, Teril®), dexamethasone (Ozurdex®, Maxidex®, Decadron®, Baycadron™), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant®), esomeprazole (Nexium®, Vimovo®), lansoprazole (Prevacid®), omeprazole (Prilosec®, Zegerid®), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®), pantoprazole sodium (Protonix®), phenobarbital (Luminal®), phenytoin (Dilantin®, Dilantin-125®, Phenytek®), rabeprazole (Aciphex®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®), or rifapentine (Priftin®). •
Take the herbal supplement St. John’s wort.
Take any other HIV-1 medicines at the same time.
Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or have had any kidney, bone, mental health (depression or suicidal thoughts), or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical condition. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with ODEFSEY.
HOW TO TAKE ODEFSEY • •
ODEFSEY is a complete 1-pill, once-a-day HIV-1 medicine. Take ODEFSEY with a meal.
GET MORE INFORMATION •
This is only a brief summary of important information about ODEFSEY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. Go to ODEFSEY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 If you need help paying for your medicine, visit ODEFSEY.com for program information.
ODEFSEY, the ODEFSEY Logo, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: March 2016 © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. ODEC0026 06/16
S T Y L I N G BY M I C H A E L C O O K
Watch Yourself This season, take some time to reflect—not on all your life choices (sure, if you must), but with your clothing. Designers have turned to flashes of silver to make bold statements in winter wear: Mirrored moments come in coats from Calvin Klein, pants from Versace, accessories from Dior Homme, and sneakers from Louis Leeman. Are people checking you or themselves out? Either way, you’ll be the fairest of them all. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COAT BY CALVIN KLEIN, $2,395. PANTS BY VERSACE, $1,295. JACKET BY DIESEL BLACK GOLD, $325. SHOES BY LOUIS LEEMAN, $795; SUNGLASSES BY ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, $440; WALLET BY DIOR HOMME, $360.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIEVES ANDERSON
O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 2 1
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC WHITE
S T Y L I N G BY M I C H A E L C O O K . G R O O M E R : C A I T L I N WO OT E R S U S I N G O R I B E . M O D E L : R O M U LO AT W I L H E L M I N A M O D E L S
Kinky Suits Bondage is a loaded word. But it is possible to practice a little, um, restraint in your wardrobe (and do so without looking like you stumbled out of the Folsom Street Fair). This season, designers saddle up to BDSM but turn the volume down a tad. Dior keeps things tight with its leather chest harnesses, while Louis Vuitton has brought dog collars out of the shadows. So strap in, buckle up, and get ready to cruise the room. Youâ€™re sure to dominate it.
CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE PAGE : VEST, PRICE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST, PANTS, $750, AND COLLAR, $400, BY LOUIS VUITTON. DUNGAREES AND HAT, PRICE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST, BY RAF SIMONS; SHORTS, COAT BY TOMMY$760, BY KENZO. SHIRT, $650, AND HARNESS, $2,600, BY DIOR HILFIGER, $799HOMME. SHIRT, $150, BY COACH 1941; HARNESS, $295, AND SHORTS, $295, BY CHARLIE BY MATTHEW ZINK
COAT BY COACH 1941, $1,600
O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 2 3
Foreground MOOD BOARD
M A R K E T E D I TO R : M I C H A E L C O O K . TO U KO L A A K S O N E N ( F I N N I S H , 1 92 0 -1991 ) , G R A P H I T E O N PA P E R , © 1987 TO M O F F I N L A N D FO U N DAT I O N ( TO M O F F I N L A N D, U N T I T L E D)
Our centuries-old obsession with the skies continues to fuel us. But if soaring to great heights requires bravery, it also calls for panache—a look that says, “I own the stratosphere.” Channel your inner pilot with a classic MA-1 bomber jacket from Alpha Industries (introduced by the brand in the 1950s and relatively unchanged since), then pair it with that ultimate aero accessory, aviator sunglasses. Feeling more adventurous? Splurge for some updated camo pieces, and elevate your attitude to match the altitude.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: NECKLACE, $225, AND PENDANT, $650, BY DAVID YURMAN; TOM OF FINLAND, UNTITLED (1987); SCARF BY HERMÈS, $455; SUNGLASSES BY CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTION, $345; SHIRT BY DRIES VAN NOTEN, $550; JACKET BY ALPHA INDUSTRIES, $165; PANTS BY BOTTEGA VENETA, $1,298; WATCH BY VICTORINOX, $2,350; JUMPSUIT BY RALPH LAUREN, $3,495
2 4 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIEVES ANDERSON
The Beautiful Ones Top shelf, from left:
Bottom shelf, from left:
FETISH POUR HOMME by ROJA DOVE, Eau de Parfum, 1.7 oz., $325, available at Bergdorf Goodman, BergdorfGoodman.com; BROW GEL COMB by TOM FORD, $45, TomFord.com; NOURISHING BEARD GROOMING OIL by KIEHL’S, 1 fl. oz., $27, Kiehls.com; BOOSTER ENERGY by CLARINS, 0.5 fl. oz., $39, ClarinsUSA.com; GLYCOL LACTIC RADIANCE RENEWAL MASK by REN, 1.7 fl. oz., $55, RenSkincare.com; EYE CREAM by NUXE MEN, 0.52 oz., $28, US.Nuxe.com; L’ENVOL by CARTIER, Eau de Parfum, 3.3 oz. (refillable), $132, available at Nordstrom.com; HYDRATE LIGHTWEIGHT MOISTURIZER by PESTLE AND MORTAR, 1.7 fl. oz., $74, PestleAndMortar.com; ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH by QUIP, $65, GetQuip.com
FICO DI AMALFI SHOWER GEL by ACQUA DI PARMA, 6.7 oz., $52, available at Barneys New York, Barneys.com; GENTLE CLEANSING GEL WITH TROPICAL RESINS by SISLEY, 4 fl. oz., $95, Sisley-Paris.com; SHAVE OIL by REFINERY, 1 fl. oz., $44, available at C.O. Bigelow, BigelowChemists.com; CLEAR DIFFERENCE SPOT TREATMENT by ESTÉE LAUDER, 0.14 oz., $35, available at Macy’s, Macys .com; RESCUE WATER LOTION by LAB SERIES, 6.7 fl. oz., $36, LabSeries.com; REVITALIZING GEL by CLARINSMEN, 1.7 fl. oz., $40, ClarinsUSA.com; ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH by QUIP, $65, GetQuip.com; FUSION COMPACT SHAVING SET by THE ART OF SHAVING, $215, TheArtOfShaving.com; SOFT WATER POMADE by BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA, 2 oz., $20, BaxterOfCalifornia.com
2 6 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIEVES ANDERSON
P R O P S T Y L I N G BY J U L I E N S A U VA L L E
Gone are the days of the metrosexual. The thoroughly modern, aesthetically conscious, gender-fluid members of our generation don’t need to place labels on themselves—or the grooming products that keep them looking their best. Here, sophisticated must-haves fit for any bathroom.
mugs & kisses Come in-store to get your free stuff and start your married life together.
CUT COUPON ALONG DOTTED LINE
come get your free stuff today! Bring this ad into your local store to get your free stuff * and the undivided attention of an expert registry consultant. 444100312319
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appointment info: DATE STORE LOCATION
FO R EG R O U N D TH E G E TAWAY
Bali High The intoxicating Indonesian island is the perfect new-year palate cleanser. WHETHER IT’S WARRANTED or just a by-product of pop-culture buzz, Bali evokes a strong sense of place in our collective consciousness. The setting of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Love” canto— immortalized in her best-selling Eat, Pray, Love—the island has long been revered for its transformative nature. Gilbert’s titular love was a coda detailing her blossoming romance with her future husband, which followed eight months of her nursing her wounds in India and Italy (she recently moved on to pursue a relationship with a woman). But for many, Bali is the first 2 8 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
place people seek out, especially those wanting to unplug and gain a newfound trust in the universe. While it’s situated in a vast archipelago home to the world’s largest Muslim nation, the shimmering emerald island holds its Hindu roots dear and remains socially liberal by comparison. Its reputation as a destination of great healing began in ancient times; its locus, Ubud, is a derivation of the word obad, which means “medicine” in an old Balinese dialect. Ubud hides deep in the inland jungle, pulling travelers away from the island’s sandy beaches. Some come for the yoga and meditation; others are simply drawn in by its indescribable forces. Locals explain that Ubud sits atop a reservoir of incredible energy— one of the earth’s chakras—providing generations of practitioners with
the cosmic tools to perform healing methods that defy Western medicine. Their connection to the land runs so deep that their powers are known to dwindle when they stray too far from the island. Over the past couple of decades, many resorts have sprung up along the churning jungle rivers serving as conduits between Ubud and its visitors, but none do it as adeptly as Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve (RitzCarlton .com). Taking design cues from the traditional wooden towers and stone relics that dot the island, Mandapa’s suites have rolled every virtue of luxury into painstaking attempts at authentic Balinese style. The villas, deep in the valley below, come with private lap pools and beautiful murals depicting scenes from ancient holy texts. A stone path leads
C O U R T E S Y O F M A N DA PA ( V I L L A PAT H ) , R I T Z C A R LTO N ( P O O L ) . C O U R T E S Y O F B R A N D O N P R E S S E R
Left: Villa path; Mandapa. Above: A fish vendor at the fresh market in Ubud. Right: A stone deity at the Mandapa Spa. Below: The pool at Ritz-Carlton
guests to the in-house spa—the heart of the resort. Each day, healers from the village gather there to perform sessions with the guests. Some, like Ketut Mursi, a blind healer who inherited her veritable sixth sense from her father’s father, perform energy manipulation and cleansing, while other practitioners put a Balinese twist on more commonplace treatments like massage. But the property’s dedication to local pursuits extends beyond the walls of the preserve. Guided sunrise market tours shine a fascinating light on homegrown produce and the conventions of the Indonesians’ dinner table, while visits to the ancient water temple are solemn reminders that, despite our globalizing world, the way of life in Ubud hasn’t wavered much from the time when Earth’s inhabitants
Locals explain that Ubud sits atop a reservoir of incredible energy—one of the earth’s chakras—providing generations of practitioners with the cosmic tools to perform healing methods that defy Western medicine.
lived in closer harmony with their planet. Beyond the mysticism of the jungle, Bali provides a more digestible dose of wellness: the beach. Mandapa’s sister property, Ritz-Carlton Bali, claims a massive oceanfront acreage in the purpose-built area of Nusa Dua along the island’s southern shores. Dedicated to the art of rest and relaxation, the
resort takes all the tenets of a luxury beach holiday and dials them up a notch: dozens of swim-up suites, champagne brunches, expansive menus featuring everything from floppy-fresh sushi to Indonesian staples (don’t miss the soto pesmol sari laut, a creamy seafood soup), and a devoted events team that throws parties in the property’s stunning modernist chapel. And just when you’d pegged Bali as a could-be-anywhere paradise, a gentle prayer glides along the breeze at sunrise, the resort’s priest kneeling on the beach to perform a soulpurification ceremony for guests. A Hindu-Balinese tradition marking the beginning of a new journey, it’s the perfect send-off before you return to the grind you left behind. Only this time, you’ll be armed with a new perspective. —BRANDON PRESSER O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 2 9
Foreground D E S TI N ATI O N
The Sipping Point Tea and whiskey in Taipei
THERE’S SOMETHING downright civilized about Taiwan, a country that runs, blissfully, on its own terms. Within minutes of strolling the streets of Taipei, its capital, one feels at ease. Those streets are swimming with pedestrians (Taipei is home to more than two and a half million people, after all), but they are less dense than those in Tokyo, which exhibits a sort of thick, fish-school vibe. Meanwhile, behind the space-age metropolis sits a lush, mountainous landscape: Taipei is surrounded on three sides by hills. But the city and its surrounding area are more than just sanctuaries of refreshing zen-ness. They also host some of the finest street food, aged teas, and stiff drinks in existence. Here, a short guide to one of the coolest, chillest spots of the East. —SCOTT HOCKER
An hour and a half from Taipei, up and through the mountains to the southeast, is Yilan County, home to Kavalan Distillery (KavalanWhisky .com). In most parts of the world, whiskey production comes burdened with centuries of folklore and generations of families passing on the rules of the trade (“this is the right way to make whiskey because that’s the way it’s always been done”). Not so at Kavalan. Under the direction 3 4 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
of its master blender, Ian Chang, this distillery is a technician’s fantasy. No folklore—just testing and measuring. It may not make sense compared to the way other countries make whiskey, but in just 11 years Kavalan has managed to craft its own world-class version of the stuff. Because the climate in Taiwan is considerably hotter than it is in, say, Scotland, the whiskey ages faster. Yet Kavalan’s offerings are deep, nuanced, and very drinkable (almost too drinkable). Four new bottlings have just been released in the States, each aged in a different style of sherry cask: Amontillado, Manzanilla, Pedro Ximenez, and Moscatel. Find them at a reliable liquor store near you—and see for yourself how science can sometimes trump romance.
WISTARIA TEA HOUSE
You can nurse the oldest tea you’ve ever had at Wistaria Tea House (WistariaTeaHouse.com). Located in Taipei’s tony Da’an District, the Japanese-inspired structure was built in the 1920s and renovated in 2008. You’ll find usual suspects like verdant green teas and sophisticated oolongs such as the Chen San Ling Shou, with
Clockwise from top: Taipei City; Kavalan Distillery; Humble House; Jin Feng; Wistaria Tea House
its orchid aroma. But the vintage puerh teas are not to be missed. There’s a gentle dark one from 2004, and one from the 1960s that is smooth, supple, and knotty, like an ancient olive-tree trunk. The latter is said to mollify the effects of Taipei’s sticky summer heat.
T H O M A S T U C K E R / U N S P L A S H ( TA I P E I C I T Y )
THE STREET FOOD
Taipei is dotted with several different night markets, and each has its detractors and proponents. Still, no matter which market you visit, you must try the stinky tofu. Some people like it fried; some like it stewed. Either way, it is intense—a funky, deepflavored kind of intense. Locals also suggest the lu rou fan at Jin Feng. It’s one of Taiwan’s national dishes, a simple, homey stew of pork belly and soy sauce served over rice with a side of
bitter melon. Sounds inconsequential? It’s actually exquisite. HUMBLE HOUSE
After sipping your way through the city, wind down here. Located in Xinyi, in downtown Taipei, Humble House (HumbleHouseHotels.com) is equal parts breezy and futuristic. The lobby and its accompanying lounge and Italian restaurant are colored with warm earth tones, and its 235 black-and-white rooms feel modern, spacious, and just indulgent enough, with silk velvet bathrobes and, in some cases, a superb glass-walled shower. But the highlight is the outdoor pool on the seventh floor, whose backdrop is the colossal skyscraper Taipei 101. It’s a sight so spectacular, you’d rather freeze than ever leave the water. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 3 5
Say I Do In Key West Now that marriage equality has arrived nationwide, we can openly share our love with our partners anywhere in the country. Key West, an island that has served as a welcoming destination for LGBT people for decades, welcomes you and your loved one with open arms, pearl-white sands, and beachside alters. For a place that has always been a respite for the community, there is no better way to solidify its importance in queer history than to get married on its shores. Key West offers a variety of wedding options for any couple. From an intimate gathering on Fort Zachary Taylor Beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, to a secluded sunset sail with you, your spouse, and a handful of close family and friends. If you’re looking for a more public celebration, simply rent a brightly colored Jeep to drive you and your partner down Duval Street, where Key West locals and visitors are sure to cheer you on. Once the ceremony is over, you don’t even need to jet set for your honeymoon—Key West is known as a vacation paradise for a reason. Book a newlywed suite at an LGBT exclusive resort for a private experience, or stay at a bed and breakfast location that welcomes all. Just remember, Key West is here to make your day everything you want it to be: special, unforgettable, a welcoming home for all kinds of love.
You may now kiss the groom.
It may have taken a while, but the rest of the country has fi nally embraced the open-minded attitude that Key West has been committed to for more than a century. fla-keys.com/gaykeywest 305.294.4603
Foreground N E I G H B O R H O O D WATC H
Greenpoint, Brooklyn The primo hipster brand remains intact in the coolest neighborhood just outside Manhattan.
21 Greenpoint Fresh produce dictates chef Sean Telo’s daily dishes, but they come without the culinary snobbery often associated with the locavore movement. Expect playfully named items like “Ugly Vegetable Snack,” an herbaceous cocktail menu, and rich mains like the creamy steak tartare served on a shank of roasted marrow. Cap your dinner with an obligatory high-five from owner Homer Murray on the way out. (21Greenpoint.com) Hail Mary With a Del Posto pedigree, co-owner couple Ham and Sohla El-Waylly riff on “mom-and-pop chic” in a reclaimed
space plastered in adult-coloring-book wallpaper. The menu is full of diner staples, from gooey mac and cheese to the spicy fried chicken drumstick, with the claw left on (eat it, or take it home and prank your roommate). Be sure to try a triplesized slice of confetti cake, a gourmet twist on the Betty Crocker classic. (HailMaryBK.com) Sauvage Maison Premiere’s baby brother makes good on its name, with dishes foraged from the surf (black bass, line-caught cod) and the turf (strip steak, pot-aufeu chicken). The cocktails and raw bar are top-notch, and the atmosphere is Art Deco meets brasserie, opening out onto McCarren Park in warmer weather. (SauvageNY.com) Brooklyn Barge Come for the killer views of the Manhattan skyline and stay for the salads and sliders, water sports, and a unique community engagement program. (TheBrooklynBarge.com)
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Ovenly Greenpoint’s best café is a tiny bakery minus the percolation pretension but with an adorable boulangerie-style ambience. (Oven.ly)
Wolves Within At this eclectic, family-owned fashion flagship, you’ll find everything you need to assemble your hipster uniform, from woolen Japanese socks to handcrafted USA-made sunglasses. (WolvesWithin.com) Home of the Brave This home-goods spinoff of Wolves Within sells all of your nesting essentials, from ceramic mugs to batik pillows. (HomeOfTheBraveNYC.com) Word It’s the neighborhood bookstore par excellence, offering plenty of personal touches like staff picks and regular readings. (WordBookstores.com) The Box House Hotel A boutique alternative to the warehouse-to-condo standard, Box House provides playful, industrialinspired lodging to temporary Brooklynites. (TheBoxHouseHotel.com) PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON PRESSER
C O U R T E S Y H A I L M A RY
A FAR CRY from the wasteland of millennial narcissism featured in Lena Dunham’s Girls, Greenpoint promises the OG Brooklyn cool that’s been replicated across the globe. While the borough’s other hoods are pricing out the tapped-in creative types, essentially stripping away the character that once made them so coveted, our favorite area (far) off the L train proudly waves the banner of the anti-corporate, villagein-a-city Brooklyn brand we love. Here, nine reasons to go there now.
Foreground FITNESS 101
Bubble Butt Basics
Then, of course, there’s Shakespeare, who famously asked, “Shall I compare thee to dem cakes, tho?”
A cheeky guide to getting great glutes JOYCE KILMER once wrote, “I think I shall never spot a poem lovely as a bubble butt.” And wasn’t it Faulkner (or maybe Joyce) who brilliantly observed, “Bubble butt, bubble, bubble, bubble butt/Turn around, stick it out/Show the world you got a...bubble butt”? Then, of course, there’s Shakespeare, who famously asked, “Shall I compare thee to dem cakes, tho?” We kid, but, ample junk in the trunk has had timeless appeal, at least for women. For men, however, the focus on what’s happening on the other side of the jeans is relatively new, and a bubble butt is especially popular and desirable among the gays (thank heavens). In the spirit of God’s work, we asked two booty experts to help lift your spirits and your butt to poetic heights.
“DESCER NA BASE” (“GET OFF BASE”)
Start with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart to allow for a very deep squat (butt below knee level) and your hands in front of your heart. Place your right hand outside your right foot, moving your left leg all the way back in a long reverse lunge. Return to the initial position, then place your left hand outside your left foot, moving your right leg all the way back in another long reverse lunge.
Spread your feet apart, squat, and place your hands on your knees to support your back. When you rise, lift your right leg behind you, reaching your arms out and leaning your upper body forward. Return to squat, and repeat with your left leg raised behind you in an “arabesque” motion. Keep your chest lifted and your knees behind your toes when squatting; when lifting your legs, keep your abs tight and hips square. This exercise can also be done using a cable machine or on the floor using ankle weights.
“The glute muscles act as a powerhouse for the body, providing a base of stability from which power is generated and transferred,” says Bryan Jarrett, group fitness manager at TMPL Gym in New York City. “They also play a vital part in optimizing lower-limb function to help prevent injury.” Practical uses aside, Jarrett says glutes have “taken on a much more aesthetic role,” and here he offers his own two ways to bootysculpt using dumbbells and bands.
“There are two very important things to consider in order to get a bubble butt: lifting your butt and making it rounder and fuller,” says Leandro Carvalho, creator of Beachbody’s Brazil Butt Lift. He recommends these two exercises for a powerful posterior:
S H U T T E R S TO C K
PLIÉ SQUAT (A.K.A. SUMO SQUAT)
BRYAN’S BIGGER AND BETTER BOOTY
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width and slightly externally rotated. Grab a heavy dumbbell and hold it from the top with your arms extended for added weight. When performing the plié, make sure your knee is tracking over your toes and that your upper body stays engaged and upright to maintain correct form. Actively squeeze your butt at the top of the movement on each rep. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. REVERSE LUNGE WITH RESISTANCE BAND
Step into the center of the band and bring the handles up to your shoulders. Maintain the handles at shoulder height while stepping into the reverse lunge. This maintains resistance throughout each direction of movement, providing an excellent burn to those glutes. Make sure the band is long enough to stretch to your shoulders and heavy enough to provide adequate resistance. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 full-range-ofmotion reps, then hold at the bottom of the lunge and pulse for eight to 12 counts. —LES FABIAN BRATHWAITE OUT FEBRUARY 2017 39
Symposi um D I S PATC H E S FR O M T H E FR O N T L I N E S O F C O N T EM P O R A RY CU LT U R E
Ruth and Roman Blank on their wedding day in Germany, 1948
A Different Battle THEY FLED THE HORRORS OF NAZI-OCCUPIED EUROPE AND MARRIED SOON AFTER. BUT THERE WAS NO ESCAPING THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
COURTESY OF ROBERT BLANK
By H. Alan Scott
AT AGE 94, Ruth Blank, a Jewish American who escaped Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II and now lives on the west side of Los Angeles, saw a psychiatrist for the first time in her life. To their family, Ruth and her husband of more than 60 years, Robert “Roman” Blank, both now 96, were deeply in love. They raised two daughters and had a successful chain of hair salons. To all appearances they were the definition of immigrants who fully realized the American dream. “Watching them on the dance floor at weddings and bar mitzvahs, they were like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers,” says their younger daughter, Lili Gross, 63. “The look on my mother’s face—she was literally in heaven being held and swept off her feet by my father’s lead.” But a very different story boiled
beneath the surface. Since 1953, the Blanks have kept a secret. One night that year, in their Brooklyn apartment, Ruth, tending to their two young daughters, confronted Roman about where he had been when he came home late. That’s when Roman told Ruth he was gay. “I was brokenhearted all those years,” Ruth, who now lives on the west side of Los Angeles, says in a video interview recorded by the family in 2016. Though she’d once been the vibrant, life-of-the-party type, soon after that recording, she became bedridden and uncommunicative. But her gray hair is dyed the platinum blonde of her heyday, and her nails are painted vixen red. She accessorizes in shiny jewelry atop sweatshirts and tracksuits. “I sacrificed my life for my children,”
she says in the video. “I had the children, I want them to have a father, we stuck together. Now at this point, we are 96, we love each other, we live together 65 years—65 years I live like that.” Ruth and Roman grew up in neighboring towns in central Poland, surrounded by pine trees and bitterly cold winters. Their families knew of each other but were not close. Roman’s father was an Orthodox Jewish scholar who died when Roman, one of four children, was still young. Ruth’s father also died young, leaving her, her mother, two sisters, and a brother impoverished. In 1939, both Germany and the Soviet Union occupied Poland. It’s unclear how Ruth and her family ended up in a Siberian work camp, whether they fled there for asylum or were arrested and deported. According to their children,
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time, there was a girl that I knew from my hometown. She said to me, ‘Do you know Ruth is looking for you?’ ” he says, sitting in the living room of their apartment, where he also sleeps, and where he had been reading a Polish dictionary. Roman is bald, pale, and thin, with an energetic personality that belies his frail body. He speaks matter-of-factly, often pausing for emphasis or dramatic reflection. His accent, like Ruth’s, is a bouncing and musical combination of old Europe and Yiddish. “I sent a telegram, telling her I was coming,” he says. “That was the biggest mistake I made in my life at that time. But I had no choice. That was the way the world dictated: either you live or you die. So I see her and decided to get married. This was against my better belief, against my nature. Why? I don’t understand it. But that was the urge to live. And of course, very shortly after that, we decided to get married.”
Immediately after the Holocaust, those who fled and survived married each other at high rates. Dr. William Helmreich, a sociologist at the City University of New York, studied this trend among survivors. He told The New York Times in 1992, “In interview after interview, [these people] said how they appreciated that their spouses could understand their sense of loss and their anxieties.” “I hated the way she was born normal,” Roman says of Ruth’s being straight. “I hated normal people, like they hated us.” He pauses for a moment, and a deeper melancholy sinks in. “I should have been buried with my mother,” he says. “To be gay was a crime, and you were condemned to choose either suicide or life in a closet. I decided to live.” During World War II, Germany and its occupied territories were subject to a law known as Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexuality. It’s estimated that between 1933 and 1945, some 100,000 men were arrested for homosexual activity and between 5,000 and 15,000 of them sent to Nazi concentration camps. For those who were not killed, the Nazis believed homosexuality could be cured through humiliation, torture, and medical experiments. Despite the imminent danger, Roman acted on his sexual impulses. He recalls his first experience with a man, in Poland, describing it as “heaven on earth.” “I was about 11 or 12, and I was already sexually aware. There was a dance club. They were dancing—older people. Kids were not allowed inside, but we were allowed in the hall. So there were about 50 to 80 kids. This guy was so close to me. He was all the time rubbing me. That’s where it started. We lived in the same town. We used to go out at night in the fields, near the cemetery. I was so afraid, but he wasn’t. He was the son of a policeman. I can see him now.” His tone grows angry as he considers the life he might have had. CREDIT TK
TK C OTUKRTTKETSKY O F R O B E R T B L A N K
they fled on a train, but details are fuzzy. Within the two years of Soviet occupation of Poland, hundreds of thousands of Poles ended up in the gulags, or forced-labor work camps, in remote areas of the Soviet Union. At that same time Roman and his brother obtained visas to Russia, leaving his mother and two sisters, who were unable to obtain passage, behind in Poland. Six years later, when Allied forces liberated the concentration camps, Roman and Ruth, separately, returned home. In the Siberian work camp, Ruth’s family avoided the concentration camps; Roman’s sisters and mother, he was told, had been buried in the town’s mass grave, slaughtered either before entering a concentration camp or after their release from the camps during the pogroms, anti-Semitic uprisings and mass murders that took place throughout Poland following the war. Like many Jews, they found that their homes in Poland were gone, either sold or destroyed by the Third Reich. Although the two barely knew each other, Roman learned that Ruth had survived the war. They belonged to the same pro-Zionist political organization and both lived in displaced-persons camps in Germany. Roman wrote to Ruth in Stuttgart, where she was living, and soon traveled there to ask for her hand in marriage. Today the couple share an apartment on one of the upper floors of an elegant nursing home near Beverly Hills, the grand hallways clad in gold-tinted walls and filled with abundant fresh flowers on stately end tables. “He was so happy that he found me,” Ruth says in the video, recounting their courtship, her voice shaking with emotion. “He asked my mom to give me permission to marry him.” She jokes about telling her mother that she “slept with Roman,” because she kept a photo of him under her pillow. “And so it was in January [of 1948], very cold in Germany, we married.” Roman, on the other hand, looked at their marriage as more of a means to an end than true love. “In the camp where I was living at that
Left: Roman in Poland in 1939, before the war. Bottom: Ruth and Roman celebrate their 60th anniversary in 1997 on a European cruise with their family.
Symposium Ruth in Poland in 1938, before the war.
In exile in Russia, Roman was able to act on his impulses to be with men, albeit secretly. He had a gay next-door neighbor in the apartment building where he lived. “I knock on the wall, he knocks, I knock back, he came in,” he recalls. “I loved him so much. The son-of-a-bitch [government] took him away [to the army]. In the war, he probably got killed. You never can imagine such a sweet face, such a sweet body.” Shortly after his marriage to Ruth, Roman’s cousins sponsored the newlyweds for citizenship, and they settled in Brooklyn. Soon, their first child, Susan, and second child, Lili, were born. Ruth took care of the children, and Roman worked as a jeweler. Roman had many lovers in New York. “Not that I loved—I call it a lover,” he says. He would tell Ruth he was getting a massage at the bathhouse so that he could meet up with the men. On that night in 1953, Ruth called up the bathhouse to speak to Roman. “They said I wasn’t there. I came home,” he says. “Of course I told her. What else could I do? She made up her mind, she had no choice, because the kids were number one. She kept it together.” “We made up our minds that we are going to try to be happy. It came to the point we should have split,” Ruth says, in tears, in the recorded interview. “We go through life the best we could, we love each other—I’m not talking sexually. Love each other like sister and brother. But I suffered plenty. I was a young woman, you know?” They moved to Los Angeles when their daughters were young. According to the girls, there were no signs of any problems between Ruth and Roman. “Our house was the go-to place for all our friends,” says Gross, a striking, vibrant woman with gray and pink hair. “My parents had an open-door policy and made every one of our friends welcome. My friends loved my parents.” Ruth and Roman did everything together. In hindsight, it was because “[Ruth] had to keep an eye on him,” says Susan Cohen, 66, their elder daughter, whose neatly coiffed dark hair, fair complexion, and bright red lipstick mirror her mother’s yesteryear glamour.
She describes her father as having always been “very animated,” adding that he “loved to sing and dance. Everybody loved him.” During the 1970s, once their girls had moved out, Roman frequently disappeared for weeks on end. He’d have affairs, then return to Ruth after a lover left him, or robbed him, or both. He says he could never find what he was looking for in these men; he could never fall in love. “Always something in between. There was always an obstacle. That was my life,” he says. Ruth would grow anxious without Roman and become mentally unstable. For decades they teetered on the edge, worried the truth would be revealed, but they always reunited to maintain appearances. For Roman, this period was particularly dark. He says many men were just after his money. “Most of them were using me. I was used to it. I wasn’t even hurt.” During the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Roman quit having sex with men altogether and became resigned to living in the closet, until two years ago, when his daughters noticed Ruth behaving strangely. They suggested she see a psychiatrist to get medication. She did, and almost immediately she revealed her husband’s sexual orientation to her therapist. Gross says it amounted to Ruth hitting a wall. “She couldn’t deal with the secret anymore. The truth really set both of them free.” That day, when Cohen asked how therapy went, Ruth flatly proclaimed that Roman was gay. The family spiraled into disbelief. Everything they’d known had been a lie. But after a million questions were asked, acceptance settled in. “The news definitely changed my relationship with my father in that I wanted to know everything about him now,” says Gross. “I wanted to know the father that he hid from us. I loved so much that he didn’t take this secret to his grave. I love that both my parents were brave enough to disclose this truth so that
“I had no choice. That was the way the world dictated: either you live or you die. So I see her and decided to get married. This was against my better belief. Against my nature.” we could better understand their plight in life.” Cohen recalls, as a young woman in the 1970s, judging her mother for not being more of a feminist. “I used to think of my mother as weak, needy, and clingy to Roman,” she says. “But now I see how strong she was. She did all this for her family. Now I apologize to her, apologize for not recognizing just how strong she really was.” “I love her as a person—that’s something different,” Roman says of Ruth. “I feel she is the most wonderful person in the world, her nature, her behavior, her love, everything. I can’t picture any woman going through what she went through and going on.” Roman continues, “She suffered, and she still suffers, to this day. But she’s so much in love with me, no matter what I would do, you know? I never saw anything like it in my whole life. I don’t know of anybody like that. This is what hurts so deep. Why live like that? Would you live like that? No, nobody would.” O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 4 3
YOU MATTER AND SO DOES YOUR HEALTH
That’s why starting and staying on HIV-1 treatment is so important.
What is DESCOVY ? ®
DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. DESCOVY combines 2 medicines into 1 pill taken once a day. Because DESCOVY by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1, it must be used together with other HIV-1 medicines.
DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking DESCOVY. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body ﬂuids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body ﬂuids on them.
What are the other possible side effects of DESCOVY? Serious side effects of DESCOVY may also include: • •
Changes in body fat, which can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines.
Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to ﬁght infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking DESCOVY. Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking DESCOVY if you develop new or worse kidney problems. Bone problems, such as bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.
DESCOVY may cause serious side effects:
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DESCOVY?
What is the most important information I should know about DESCOVY? •
Buildup of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Serious liver problems. The liver may become large and fatty. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; light-colored bowel movements (stools); loss of appetite; nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking DESCOVY for a long time. In some cases, lactic acidosis and serious liver problems have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking DESCOVY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking DESCOVY without ﬁrst talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.
All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how DESCOVY works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe to take DESCOVY with all of your other medicines. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if DESCOVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking DESCOVY. If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/ medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Important Facts about DESCOVY, including important warnings, on the following page.
Ask your healthcare provider if an HIV-1 treatment that contains DESCOVY® is right for you.
IMPORTANT FACTS (des-KOH-vee)
This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY® and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DESCOVY
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF DESCOVY
DESCOVY may cause serious side effects, including:
DESCOVY can cause serious side effects, including:
• Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.
• Those in the “Most Important Information About DESCOVY” section. • Changes in body fat. • Changes in your immune system. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Bone problems.
• Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking DESCOVY. Do not stop taking DESCOVY without ﬁrst talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking DESCOVY or a similar medicine for a long time.
ABOUT DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years of age and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others.
The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea.
These are not all the possible side eﬀects of DESCOVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking DESCOVY. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with DESCOVY.
BEFORE TAKING DESCOVY Tell your healthcare provider if you:
• Have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical condition. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-thecounter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with DESCOVY.
GET MORE INFORMATION HOW TO TAKE DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a one pill, once a day HIV-1 medicine that is taken with other HIV-1 medicines. • Take DESCOVY with or without food.
• This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. • Go to DESCOVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit DESCOVY.com for program information.
DESCOVY, the DESCOVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. GILC0265 10/16
A BL A NK ET STATEMENT Queer activist Cleve Jones recalls the skepticism and resistance he faced when he first presented his concept for an AIDS Memorial Quilt. “THAT’S A DUMB IDEA—no one’s gonna do that!” Dennis Peron took a deep hit on the fat joint that was being passed around his kitchen table on 17th Street and shook his head. “It’s too complicated, and what’s the point? And besides, nobody knows how to sew.” I could see it so clearly in my head, and it was starting to make me crazy. All I had were words, and apparently the words I had were insufficient to paint for others the image in my brain: the National Mall, covered in fabric stretching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. But whenever I began to talk about it, I was met with blank stares or rolling eyes. Even the word had power for me. Quilts. It made me think of my grandmothers and great-
grandmothers. It evoked images of pioneer women making camp by the Conestoga wagons. Or African slaves in the South, hoarding scraps of fabric from the master’s house. It spoke of cast-offs, discarded remnants, different colors and textures, sewn together to create something beautiful and useful and warm. Comforters. I imagined families sharing stories of their loved ones as they cut and sewed the fabric. It could be therapy, I hoped, for a community that was increasingly paralyzed by grief and rage and powerlessness. It could be a tool for the media, to reveal the humanity behind the statistics. And a weapon to deploy against the government—to shame them with stark visual evidence of their utter failure to respond to the suffering and death that spread and increased with every passing day. My friend Joseph and I started making quilt panels. The first was for Marvin; I painted it in the backyard. It wasn’t very good, and I fear Marvin would have disapproved. He would have wanted something suitable for the Museum of Modern Art, or at least for a display window at Barneys on Madison Avenue. Joseph and I made a list of 40 men we felt we had known well enough to memorialize and began painting their names on
Above: Some of the thousands who came to view the AIDS Quilt on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on October 12, 1992.
I imagined families sharing stories of their loved ones as they cut and sewed the fabric. It could be therapy, I hoped, for a community that was increasingly paralyzed by grief and rage and powerlessness. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 47
4 8 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was unfolded at dawn with 1,920 individual panels, representing just a small fraction of the more than 20,000 Americans who had already lost their lives to AIDS. It took hundreds of volunteers, who came from all over the country to work with the core group, and the many others who had walked away from careers and families, to create the Quilt. Later, Mike Smith and I stood on a cherry picker 20 feet above the ground and watched as hundreds of thousands of people walked the canvas walkway grid that contained the squares of quilt panels. Only the reading of the names and the sound of people weeping broke the silence around us. We were exhausted and overwhelmed by the beauty of the Quilt and the horror it represented. It was my 33rd birthday. On the flight home out of National Airport a few days later, the jet flew over the Mall. I looked down from my window and saw that the Park Service bureaucrats had been right. Despite Representative Nancy Pelosi’s assurances, the canvas walkways of the Quilt had left behind a haunting afterimage of the grid on the lawn on which the Quilt had been unfolded. This is an edited excerpt from When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones (published by Hachette).
Above: Cleve Jones sits in front of the last quilt left to be packed in San Francisco on March 29, 2001.
Only the reading of the names and the sound of people weeping broke the silence around us. We were exhausted and overwhelmed by the beauty of the Quilt and the horror it represented.
A P P H OTO / E R I C R I S B E R G ( J O N E S ) . A P P H OTO / S T E P H E N R . B R OW N ( WA S H I N G TO N , D.C . )
3-by-6-foot blocks of fabric. We both remembered that night on Castro Street and talking of how much land would be covered if the bodies of our dead were laid out head to toe. Each panel was the approximate size of a grave. For over a year, activists from around the country were working to organize a mass march for lesbian and gay rights to be held in October 1987 in Washington, D.C. I was determined to unfold the Quilt on the Mall at the march. By June we had several dozen panels created. As the annual Gay Freedom Day celebration approached, we asked [San Francisco] Mayor Dianne Feinstein for permission to hang the first five squares from the mayor’s balcony at City Hall, overlooking the main stage and Civic Center Plaza. To our surprise, she readily agreed. We had a new Member of Congress representing San Francisco, and I asked her for help with some trepidation, having campaigned for her opponent in the election. Nancy Pelosi agreed to help, but she was skeptical. “Cleve, I actually know how to sew and enjoy it, but do you really think people will find the time to do this?” She, Leo T. McCarthy, and Art Agnos hosted the first fundraiser at her posh home in Pacific Heights. The Castro Street Fair was organized as a nonprofit, and we began to operate under their auspices. We had a name now: the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Almost immediately we came up against two bureaucracies. The organizers of the national march didn’t like the idea of us draping a couple of blocks of the Mall with fabric, and neither did the National Park Service. Nancy Pelosi met with the Park Service officials. They expressed concern that the fabric would kill the lawn. Pelosi told them we could “fluff” the Quilt every hour to let the grass breathe. It was an utterly ridiculous promise to make, but the Park Service bought it and issued the permit. Ken Jones and San Diego activist Nicole MurrayRamirez helped persuade the march organizers to not oppose our presence. On Sunday, June 28, 1987, over 200,000 attended the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade and celebration. The day was dedicated to the memory of people who had died from AIDS. Everyone in Civic Center Plaza could clearly see the multicolored Quilt sections hanging from the mayor’s balcony. I finally had more than words to describe my vision. People could see it now. Across America people began to sew. On October 11, 1987, the second National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights drew approximately 500,000 people. The first display of
ARMOND WHITE’S MOVIES
THE FIRST QUEER How D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms originated the gay film hero MOST QUEER FILM HISTORIANS cite the 1919 German movie Different From the Others (Anders als die Andern) as the first gay cinematic landmark, but released that same year was an American movie, Broken Blossoms, by the legendary D.W. Griffith, that captured a gay essence. It was in sync with the understated discretion of the times but, today, reveals a wealth of telling and affecting emotional detail. It starts with an outsider, Cheng Huan (played unforgettably by Richard Barthelmess), a Buddhist who leaves China and travels to the West “to take the glorious message of peace to the barbarous Anglo-Saxons, sons of turmoil and strife.” Sensitive Huan, in his flowing robes, is contrasted with a gang of “jackies”— roughhousing sailors who resemble Tom of Finland and Bruce Weber hunks. In London’s impoverished Limehouse district, he encounters crude machismo in the alcoholic boxer Battling Burrows (Donald Crisp) and then beholds fragile, enchanting beauty in Burrows’s teenage daughter Lucy (Lillian Gish). These virtuous-brutishvirginal types might seem corny, but they’re actually poetic ideals. Griffith’s silent films used sentimental archetypes found in Shakespeare plays and Charles Dickens novels. That’s what enables our modern sophistication to recognize the codes that make Cheng Huan a gay paradigm. Barthelmess’s Huan is both a pacifist response to World War I and the first on-screen instance of the Sad Young Man, that solitary figure whose misunderstood gentility and loneliness hid his elegant taste and discreet eroticism. Barthelmess exquisitely mimes Huan’s delicate personality. The iconic image of him huddled on a London street corner with his languid, slanted eyes, and his long and shapely fingernails and left knee crooked to steady himself (almost a concubine’s stance), is the farthest thing from a racist caricature. Who can doubt that Griffith knew exactly what he was doing while pushing male portrayal this far toward femininity? Griffith’s empathetic vision is reflected by the purity of Huan’s infatuation with Lucy. This is an interracial love story not in the sexual sense but
in terms of gender identification. Huan rescues Lucy from her hellish home life and builds a shrine to her. Intertitles tell us “The beauty which all Limehouse missed smote him to the heart. The child with tear-aged face.” It is cinema’s first instance of pansexual empathy. No matter the controversy of Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, the filmmaker knew more about the practice of racism than today’s smug hindsight will admit. Huan adores Lucy (nicknaming her “White Blossom”) as much as European colonialism insists on Third World servitude. But an enlightening change comes with the intensity of a male’s identification with a female— and Griffith’s unmistakable objection to bigotry and cruelty. More intertitles carry a timely lesson: “We may believe there are no Battling Burrows, striking the helpless with brutal whip—but do we not ourselves use the whip of unkind words and deeds?” In this movie, Griffith and Barthelmess originated the Hollywood industry’s sympathy for vulnerable young men that eventually enshrined Dickie Moore, Brandon DeWilde, Sal Mineo, Anthony Perkins, and Elijah Wood. Film buffs esteem Broken Blossoms for its artiness—dreamlike, fuzzy images project us into the exoticism of other states of being. It heightens our response to effeminacy while critiquing Battling Burrows’s masculine threat. Crisp’s macho sneer is on a behavioral continuum with Gish’s fragility (her fright hiding in a closet was repeated in Brian DePalma’s modern sexual gothic Carrie) and Barthelmess’s ethereal, idealized compassion. The man and girl’s idyll is crushed (“The spirit of beauty breaks her blossoms all about his chamber”), and no contemporary gay-bashing would be more heartrending. “His love remains a pure and holy thing,” Griffith’s titles read, but we also know this mutual sensitivity is what used to be called “the love that dare not speak its name.” With its exquisite message, why hasn’t Broken Blossoms been remade?
Film buffs esteem Broken Blossoms for its artiness— dreamlike, fuzzy images project us into the exoticism of other states of being. It heightens our response to effeminacy while critiquing Battling Burrows’s masculine threat.
O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 4 9
Love in Black and White IN THE WAKE OF A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT SEEMS TO HAVE REVIVED AMERICA’S HISTORY OF WHITE SUPREMACY, FIVE QUEER WRITERS OF COLOR OFFER THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON MODERN SEXUAL RACISM.
—Les Fabian Brathwaite and Zach Stafford 5 0 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
TO LOVE OURSELVES IS TO LOVE ALL OF OUR PARTS One of the first guys I hooked up with was a white stoner barista who lived in Toronto’s main Chinatown. We were friends with benefits, and those benefits for me included not only orgasms but also shit he stole from work. Sometimes it’d be mugs with our city’s name on it; other times, bags and bags of whole roasted coffee beans. Many nights I’d watch Golden Girls reruns on his bed while he’d surf the Internet. Once he beckoned me over to his monitor to show me his MSN Messenger list, pointing out which of his friends on there were Asian—and which ones he’d slept with. It was a weird thing to do. Was it boasting? A sort-of social proof that my people found him desirable? Or was it a veiled threat that I could easily be replaced? I nodded, told him “cool,” and climbed back into his bed. I knew this marked the beginning of the end for our convenient, reliable sex. A few years later, I went out with a friend for New Year’s Eve. My first serious relationship had ended, and I was ready for a fresh start. I wasn’t prepared when a man began flirting with me by introducing himself in Mandarin. He looked disappointed by my confusion, so I explained that my family spoke the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. The man, who was white, barely
acknowledged it before launching into stories about his exotic travels around China. Approaches like these happen more often than I’d like—enough to make me reflect on why they’re so ineffective on me. It wasn’t just that the barista sought out and exclusively slept with Asian men, or that the man at the party felt his fluency in Mandarin should win my interest; it was their presumption of who I was based solely on my skin color. The question I often ask is: What do we really know about someone based on their race? For men interested in only Asian men (or black men or white men or Hispanic men), what are they expecting— and how do they react to those who don’t fit those expectations? Are they more absorbed by their ideas of Asianness or Chineseness than by the actual person in front of them? An ex-boyfriend loved the shape of my eyes, and sometimes in bed he’d run his fingers along my brow down to the outer corners. Other men have commented on the shape of my nose, which sometimes
S H U T T E R S TO C K
THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP last November may have caught some Americans by surprise, but for many people of color it was just a reminder of the country in which we are living—a country that has validated white supremacy since its inception, and one that continues to do so in both insidious and overt ways. In the already marginalized LGBTQ community, white supremacy exists by default—as if whiteness is an aegis against that marginalization, cherished and rested on like ill-gotten laurels by those who possess it; sought after and exalted by those who don’t. But whiteness is an illusion, because race is an illusion. Race doesn’t determine who you are or what you’re capable of; those are simply products of the perception of race. So racism, is, at best, an excuse, and a lazy one, to question and diminish the humanity of other people. Among gay men, race is often used as a qualifier, or disqualifier, as much as body type, height, or hair color. For men of color seeking companionship, these biases are not merely obstacles but often complete deterrents, a betrayal of the supposed community we share as LGBTQ people, and a source of intense animosity cum hatred for those who perpetuate and justify these so-called preferences. Here, five queer writers of color share their experiences and perspectives on dating, race, and their contentious relationship to whiteness.
This harsh new world created a dangerous fantasy for young boys of color—that sex and the potential promise of white love could keep us safe.
throws them off when they’re wondering if I’m Japanese or Korean. I also get comments about the fullness of my beard, which is now considered a feature rather than a bug. The shape of our faces, like the color of our skin, is part of who we are. To love ourselves is to love all of our parts. And for others to love us includes their loving of our parts. You can—and should—love the shape of Asian eyes or the darker features of black men, but that affection becomes a disservice when those parts take on the role of symbols, when they represent preconceived ideas around an entire race. To fetishize race is to give power to stereotypes, and a race fetishist keeps the men in his life on a leash, never to stray too far from the concept he’s built in his head of what someone of that race should be. The great irony is that race has no genetic basis. You cannot look at blood and know what “race” someone belongs to. You cannot examine DNA to figure it out either. When you fetishize race you fetishize something that doesn’t exist. —Jaime Woo
BLACKNESS IS ALWAYS MORE THAN ENOUGH Some of my friends like to joke about me ending up with a white partner in the future. I’m not sure why they find this so amusing. I haven’t considered the possibility for some years, and I can’t imagine anything altering my conviction. But perhaps what makes it such an interesting topic for them is an underlying disbelief that a person would make their love life so unwaveringly political. But I have not made my love life political. It just is. And so is yours. To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong about being black and dating a white person. I am well aware of the fact that race is a construct, and therefore it can be reconstructed. But money is also a construct. And constructs have power, which is why they are embraced. White people have overwhelmingly embraced their whiteness—the same whiteness that is a constant threat to me and my well-being (as the determining factor in gentrifying neighborhoods
and weaponizing the police against my community, among many other things). There inevitably comes a time when every white person I come across proves they have invested in whiteness in ways that would be detrimental to me in a partnership. A white progressive friend of many years recently stopped talking to me because he was upset by the way I refused to shame people into voting. I have been organizing and calling attention to the violence against black and brown queer folks for years, but when he finally felt unsafe as a gay man in Trump’s America I was, irrationally, the one to blame—though there was no comparable regard for my oft-expressed unsafety. Meanwhile, his entire white family voted for Trump. For white people, white comfort trumps black safety almost every time. Because of this, a white person having as great a concern for my struggles as they demand for their own is nearly impossible. A large part of my conviction not to date white people is the understanding that we live in a society where whiteness, thinness, and able bodies are idealized, at the expense of everyone else. I cannot refuse to consider how these unquestioned attractions to a societal ideal are part of what makes the world unsafe for those who continue to be ignored. So I commit to questioning them. As queer people, we have a history of sexual prohibition that is often used to reject politicizing sexuality, but the opposite of prohibition isn’t indiscretion O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 5 1
since my race was listed on Grindr as “mixed” that I must be black. I can only guess as to the type of reality black queer people have experienced and will continue to in this new era. There is a growing conversation on social media from LGBTQ people of color, calling for us to stop seeking white love. One of my outspoken friends put it best: “We need to shut down our own borders, baby. We need to close up our bussies and not let inside us white men who want to see our demise.” —Randall Jenson
BOYCOTTING WHITE D No one ever told me that sexual racism is also about sexual violence. Growing up in St. Louis, I learned that racism, if ever discussed, mostly affected black folks. My family, my schools, and our communities discussed race along a black/white binary. I didn’t really know any other Latinos, so I presumed that light-skinned people of color didn’t experience much racism—low melanin and keen features would protect me from hate, judgment, and violence. Still, I had a pretty rough childhood, and my interracial parents were in a violent marriage. At 10 years old, I would witness my Mexican mom being chased around the house by my alcoholic white father. During arguments, he’d often threaten to kill her father, calling my grandpa a “dirty old spic,” and then proceed to beat us in our home when we talked back. Our suburban white neighbors would congregate at night and watch us through their blinds when the cops arrived, their police lights illuminating our entire block. We were clearly different, and these jarring moments contradicted my parents’ pretense of seeming “normal.” As a teen, I became homeless shortly after coming out. Kicked out of my private high school, I left my all-white world to live in shelters full of youth of color and bounced around to different people who offered to take me in. I started growing conscious of a different way to understand racism. 5 2 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
Sexual racism kept me alive and relatively safe, while my new friends— homeless, gay, black teenage boys— disappeared into cars and alleys. They were forced to use their bodies to make $5, $10, or $50 for handjobs, blowjobs, and sex with wealthy white men who would travel in from the suburbs to prey on their vulnerable bodies at the 24-hour Coffee Cartel. This harsh new world created a dangerous fantasy for young boys of color—that sex and the potential promise of white love could keep us safe. As an adult, I’ve navigated gay communities looking for friendship, family, and love. I’ve met many amazing people, but there’s still this ingrained idea that my worth is determined by the level of interest a white man shows me. These men, their profiles declaring “No Blacks, No Fems, No Fats,” remind me that I’m not enough—and I’ve learned that I am only worthy when they reply back. On November 9, 2016, another reality sunk in: President Donald Trump. Since the election, I’ve changed my social media apps to a profile pic declaring “White Dick Not Welcomed.” Many white men have messaged me with unsolicited questions or statements— ranging from distancing themselves from other white people to outright anger. I wonder if these same men message their peers to challenge them on why they actively exclude in their profiles. The most sobering experience occurred only three hours after I uploaded my prohibitive pic, when a white man declared me unworthy and called me the N word. I guess he assumed
LOVING MYSELF WAS A RADICAL ACT He was interested in me until he found out I was Puerto Rican. He doesn’t do Hispanic men, he said—so casually you would have thought he was telling me he didn’t have a taste for broccoli. It wasn’t me, but it was. It’s a privilege afforded to me as a light-skinned Latino man—I’m not dark enough to be immediately turned away, at least online. My ethnicity is ambiguous enough that you can’t quite place me in photos, which can work to my benefit. I have more luck on the apps if I keep my ethnicity out of it. It’s a lie, if only by omission. Yet I shouldn’t have to hide my background. I’m proud of where I was born and where I come from. It wasn’t until I was told to be ashamed of my skin color and heritage that I began to feel ashamed. It wasn’t just the queer men I found attractive who told me to be ashamed, but in many ways, it was communicated through various aspects of LGBT culture. There isn’t a single gay magazine that hasn’t made people of color feel ugly. Without fail, the gay men embodying what is attractive are built like a god, masculine to a fault, and almost always white. They don’t even have to be into men to be put on a pedestal. Straight white men who play into homoerotic subtext get more notice than actual queer men of color. When I was younger, I would bastardize the pronunciation of my name to make it easier for non-Spanish speakers to pronounce it. I straightened my hair to get the curls out and would CREDIT TK
TK S H TUKTTTKETRKS TO C K
but discernment. Though it would be dope to live in a world where “love is love” and no one’s sexual pleasure has any effect on another’s suffering, that is not the world in which we live. It is not an impossible world, but if we are to create it, white people have the responsibility to divest from whiteness, something most are unwilling to do. My friend probably avoided the same tense conversations with family about their support of racism during the holidays that he had avoided before the election. As he is the type of “white ally” I may once have considered dating, I can only imagine how many bullets I have dodged. —Hari
avoid aspects of my culture that would paint me as an “other.” I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be white. Because being white meant you were desired. The self-loathing came easy. Learning to love myself was harder. Not just accepting who I was, but celebrating myself in all that I am—that took time. It also wasn’t a singular moment but an everyday journey. I choose daily to reject a narrative that says I am less beautiful because of my ethnicity. Instead, I recognize part of my beauty comes from my olive skin and how I roll my r’s. I choose to embrace not just my beauty but the beauty in others of all shapes and colors. There wouldn’t be beauty if there weren’t diversity. I will never let a white man make me feel less than what I am. I’ve worked too hard in acknowledging my self-worth to be brought down by someone who is too narcissistic to see beauty outside of their own whiteness. I, too, am beautiful, and in loving myself I perform a radical act against a culture that tells me otherwise. A guy on Grindr told me he wanted to fuck me before Trump got rid of me. I stared at the screen absorbing his words, before smiling at his idiocy. He didn’t realize that by being Puerto Rican I’m an American citizen. He didn’t understand how fetishizing my body wasn’t funny in a time when many in my community were terrified of a president vowing to break families apart. He didn’t understand why I wouldn’t respond to his messages or why I didn’t allow myself
to be subjected to his sexual racism in exchange for the three minutes of sex he could provide. He didn’t understand that I’m too valuable for that. —Eliel Cruz
WE ARE MORE THAN OUR BODIES At a time when our nation has elected a demagogue as its 45th president, now more than ever black people must ask themselves, “How do we get free?” How do we prevent the hatred of us that literally built this country, and still permeates it, from destroying our peace of mind, our sense of self-worth, and our spirits? There are many ways to get there, but companionship feels like a temporary fix—something that may feel good in the moment but ultimately is a distraction to the fight that matters most. A conversation about equality focused solely in the context of attraction is as appetizing to me—a black country boy from the South—as unseasoned chicken. A debate about racial progress tied mostly to interracial relationships feels as fruitless as ordering a virgin daiquiri at a taqueria. Love is beautiful, but it is far more limited than many seem to recognize. That is not to sound insensitive to the pain that comes with being rejected for no other reason than the hue of your skin. Nor does it suggest that those who have to contend with sexual racism should just shut up and move on. By all
means, put folks in their place about their preferences. Point those who only seem to see beauty in whiteness to a racist bias. But know this: We are more than our bodies. We are bigger than our desires. We need to find value in ourselves independent of others, especially those who have no idea what it’s like to be us. Our community is as polarized along racial lines as is nearly every other sect of society. So the sight of interracial couples in media, entertainment, or our lives is warming but not necessarily the kind of equality many of us clamor for. Because sometimes, those interracial couples include one minority looking for validation in the eyes of one part of the majority. Loving v. Virginia invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage nationwide, but it did not end racism in America, just as an influx of LGBTQ interracial couples wouldn’t end our division. It can be helpful, but it also stymies the battle by reducing it to the superficial. I don’t need a white man to make me feel whole, so I don’t care about the racism behind his choice not to date me. The same goes for the one who fetishizes me but considers me beneath him. Should I meet a non-black man, and there is a spark, may it last as long as it’s supposed to. But I need to know he sees me as his equal. Because I live in a country that’s long shown its contempt for me, I don’t want another man’s validation. I want to be free. —Michael Arceneaux
© R E N H A N G / C O U R T E S Y TA S C H E N
THE SNAKE IN THE GR ASS Transgressive Chinese photographer Ren Hang, an avid chronicler of erections and other earthly delights, finally gets his own monograph. There’s an element of symbiosis between humanity and nature in Ren Hang’s work. His images feature braids of hair entwined with blades of grass, snakes and octopi wrapped around people’s faces, and roses framing erect genitalia. His art stands out in China’s fight for creative expression, emulating the raw, sexual style of Terry Richardson but with somewhat biblical undertones. His subjects—his own friends—reveal an undeniable sense of trust. Penises, penetration, and piss play are just a few of his taboo specialties on display in Ren Hang (Taschen, $49.99), which spans the artist’s entire career, and includes never-beforeseen photos. –Glenn Garner O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 5 3
What is TRUVADA for PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)?
uYou may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems
TRUVADA is a prescription medicine that can be used for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection when used together with safer sex practices. This use is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This includes HIV-negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex, and malefemale sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to prevent getting HIV-1. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
Who should not take TRUVADA for PrEP?
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about TRUVADA for PrEP? Before taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: uYou must be HIV-negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are conﬁrmed to be HIV-negative. uMany HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. If you have flu-like symptoms, you could have recently become infected with HIV-1. Tell your healthcare provider if you had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP or at any time while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: uYou must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. uYou must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. uTo further help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1: • Know your HIV-1 status and the HIV-1 status of your partners. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months or when your healthcare provider tells you. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV-1 to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior. • Have fewer sex partners. • Do not miss any doses of TRUVADA. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. uIf you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. TRUVADA can cause serious side effects: uToo much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. uSerious liver problems. Your liver may become large and tender, and you may develop fat in your liver. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, lightcolored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain.
if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. uWorsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and take TRUVADA, your hepatitis may become worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without ﬁrst talking to your healthcare provider. If your healthcare provider tells you to stop taking TRUVADA, they will need to watch you closely for several months to monitor your health. TRUVADA is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you are HIV-1 positive, you need to take other medicines with TRUVADA to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you also take lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) or adefovir (HEPSERA).
What are the other possible side effects of TRUVADA for PrEP? Serious side effects of TRUVADA may also include: uKidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking TRUVADA for PrEP. uBone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. uChanges in body fat, which can happen in people taking TRUVADA or medicines like TRUVADA. Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP are stomacharea (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRUVADA for PrEP? uAll your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you
have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. uIf you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRUVADA can harm your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking TRUVADA for PrEP, talk to your healthcare provider to decide if you should keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Pregnancy Registry: A pregnancy registry collects information about your health and the health of your baby. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take medicines to prevent HIV-1 during pregnancy. For more information about the registry and how it works, talk to your healthcare provider. uIf you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. The medicines in TRUVADA can pass to your baby in breast milk. If you become HIV-1 positive, HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. uAll the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRUVADA may interact with other medicines. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. uIf you take certain other medicines with TRUVADA for PrEP, your healthcare provider may need to check you more often or change your dose. These medicines include ledipasvir with sofosbuvir (HARVONI). You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see Important Facts about TRUVADA for PrEP including important warnings on the following page.
Have you heard about
TRUVADA for PrEP ? TM
The once-daily prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 when used with safer sex practices. • TRUVADA for PrEP is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV through sex. • You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA. Ask your doctor about your risk of getting HIV-1 infection and if TRUVADA for PrEP may be right for you.
IMPORTANT FACTS (tru-VAH-dah)
This is only a brief summary of important information about taking TRUVADA for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. This does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medicine.
MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF TRUVADA FOR PrEP
Before starting TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: • You must be HIV-1 negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are conﬁrmed to be HIV-1 negative. • Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include flu-like symptoms, tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP.
TRUVADA can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “Most Important Information About TRUVADA for PrEP" section. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Bone problems. • Changes in body fat.
While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: • You must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. • You must stay HIV-1 negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • Tell your healthcare provider if you have a flu-like illness while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. • If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. • See the “How to Further Reduce Your Risk” section for more information. TRUVADA may cause serious side effects, including: • Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. • Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have HBV and take TRUVADA, your hepatitis may become worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without ﬁrst talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time.
ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP (PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS) TRUVADA is a prescription medicine used with safer sex practices for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection in adults at high risk: • HIV-1 negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex. • Male-female sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. To help determine your risk, talk openly with your doctor about your sexual health. Do NOT take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: • Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. • Take lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) or adefovir (HEPSERA).
TRUVADA, the TRUVADA Logo, TRUVADA FOR PREP, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and HEPSERA are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: April 2016 © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. TVDC0050 09/16
Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP include stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. These are not all the possible side effects of TRUVADA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP.
BEFORE TAKING TRUVADA FOR PrEP Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical conditions. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you become HIV-1 positive because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with TRUVADA for PrEP.
HOW TO TAKE TRUVADA FOR PrEP • Take 1 tablet once a day, every day, not just when you think you have been exposed to HIV-1. • Do not miss any doses. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • You must practice safer sex by using condoms and you must stay HIV-1 negative.
HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE YOUR RISK • Know your HIV-1 status and the HIV-1 status of your partners. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months or when your healthcare provider tells you. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV-1 to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior. • Have fewer sex partners. • Do not share needles or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them.
GET MORE INFORMATION • This is only a brief summary of important information about TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more, including how to prevent HIV-1 infection. • Go to start.truvada.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit start.truvada.com for program information.
ARE YOU HAVING ENOUGH SEX? It’s a question only you can answer.
S H U T T E R S TO C K
By R. Kurt Osenlund
SINCE I BECAME SINGLE, my mother has often asked me if I’m a slut. In the beginning, I’d respond with a blunt “no,” but more recently, I haven’t had an answer for her. “Define ‘slut,’ ” I’ll say. “If ‘slut’ means going from one guy’s place to the next in the same weekend, and then not having sex for three weeks, then sure, I guess I am.” I’m not trying to offend my mom, who’s in fact quite understanding; I’m just trying to deconstruct a word and idea that have caused so many different people to feel “less-than.” My initial reaction to her question says it all: In my life, I’ve been conditioned to associate sex with shame, so it’s natural to get defensive when being accused of having too much of it. There’s a flip side to this. Since leaving my ex of seven years, I’ve met countless gay men who shy away from discussions about sex, apparently for one reason: They don’t think they’re having enough of it. “I wanna chime in,” they’ll say, often privately, “but I don’t have much to contribute.” Their inverse shame is a micro version of society’s macro standard: While the greater population has promoted sex-shaming for years, the gay community has imposed its own expectations, making any man or woman who isn’t regularly bringing home trade feel like they’re doing something wrong. I’ve never used Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, or any other dating or hookup app. (I made a Grindr account once, but after two no-shows, I deleted it.) Sharing this information with other gay men has been met with an almost equal mix of the two types of sex-shaming instilled in gay Americans. Some will say, “That’s admirable” or “Good for you,” while others will throw me an inordinate amount of shade, as if not having a yellow mask on my phone’s home screen somehow makes me deficient. Both parties, in my opinion, have it twisted. One of my colleagues once wrote that if you want to “order in” via Grindr, that’s perfectly fine, and I agree. Likewise, if you’re gay and haven’t had the urge to have sex in months, there’s no reason to feel like a pariah.
I have one friend who’s a porn star, one who claims he’s slept with more than 500 people, one who’s been celibate for more than a year, and another who recently had sex for the first time in as long as he can remember. All of these men have their insecurities, but as long as they’re protecting themselves, communicating with their partners, and upholding their own standards of self-worth, I don’t think any of those insecurities should surround how they are (or aren’t) getting off. Regardless of what may happen in Trump’s America, right now—today—most of us queers are fortunate enough to find all kinds of fulfillment. None of this is to say I don’t identify with the needs and pressures of sexual validation. (The number of semi-clad selfies on my Instagram would cause anyone to call “bullshit” on that.) I want to be desired, and I want to know that I am. But I don’t want to surrender to anyone’s expectations but mine. There are nights when I’ll go out dancing with friends, and hunting for someone who’ll keep me busy in bed for hours isn’t on the agenda. There are other nights when sex is most definitely my goal, or when I’ll text someone who I know is a sure thing and wrap my plans around him. If he’s not available, I might text someone else. It’s up to me. Does that make me a slut? Rest easy, Mom—it doesn’t.
The gay community has imposed its own expectations, making any man or woman who isn’t regularly bringing home trade feel like they’re doing something wrong.
O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 5 7
THE REVOLUTION STARTS IN THE CR ACKS Iconoclasts Justin Vivian Bond and Penny Arcade discuss the role of art in the era of Trump. By Aaron Hicklin
GREAT ART SUBVERTS, drawing attention to what is wrong and corrupt in society while forging communities that draw strength from their collective outrage. The spiraling anxiety that many of us have felt since the election on November 8 is familiar territory for artists who were around in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and the rise of the Christian right coincided with the emergence of AIDS, creating a vibrant countercultural space. Here, two veterans of New York’s performance-art scene, Justin Vivian Bond and Penny Arcade, reflect on the current crisis.
5 8 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
JVB: As artists we have to become destinations for community, so that while they are at our performance they are seeing who else is there— who else they need to get together with. PA: That’s the way [my play] Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! functioned all over the world: Communitybuilding. It’s vitally important. We are in a very Weimar era. We are in 1929. It’s very, very, very scary. As far as being an artist, one can only do what one has been doing if one has been creating work that encourages individuality, that has an interest in looking at what’s behind the curtain. JVB: What’s shocking is that the people who are doing this are actually in the minority—the people that they promise to disenfranchise is the majority. People can’t even recognize who their enemies are. PA: In 1990, at the peak of the NEA/Jesse Helms censorship crisis, there was a point where all of the theaters downtown wanted their artists to sign statements to say they’d never used drugs. So there have been precedents, not even that long ago, where fear [of losing funding] overcame the notfor-profit theaters. People have to have the courage of their convictions beyond their career needs and demands, and that is very hard. I’ve watched people capitulate under less strenuous situations than the ones we may be finding ourselves in. JVB: Someone contacted me because they were getting all these artists to do this PSA, and the first line was, “We’re scared.” And I texted her back and said, “I’m not scared, and I don’t want to be part of that message. I’m concerned, I’m angry—anger is my comfort zone—but I’m not scared.” And she said, “Maybe we should change that. What should we say?” I said, “It should say: Fuck You, Assholes.” I don’t think they’re going to change it, though.
“Trump is a narcissistic, chaotic, demented figure, but the people who have put him in power have a very clear agenda, and those people are among the most frightening people on the planet.”
C O U R T E S Y O F T I M OT H Y G R E E N F I E L D - S A N D E R S
Justin Vivian Bond: As a young person in the 1980s and early ’90s, I found that the AIDS crisis gave me a trajectory. What was created during that time was a template, and now it seems more relevant than it has in a very long while. Penny Arcade: I’ve been so angry about the lack of justice in the country for decades, but what’s different from Reagan or Bush is that we’re looking at the fruition of 50 years. What is going on right now is unprecedented. This is the new world order—Trump is a narcissistic, chaotic, demented figure, but the people who have put him in power have a very clear agenda, and those people are among the most frightening people on the planet. JVB: People like us, who are predominantly only seen performing live in urban areas, have an audience that wants to hear what we have to say, so the challenge is to figure out a way to find audiences that aren’t in our urban liberal areas. PA: The Internet had such promise in the early ’90s, for being a way for people to access communities, and now the algorithms have made it so hard. I would Google something and get 200 options—now I get the same seven options. I’m ready to go on the road. I’m ready to go on a revival tour of America. JVB: Let’s do it. That’s what Trump did! PA: It’s pretty devastating—the power of disinformation is not just some Russian think tank in a basement somewhere putting out lies about Hillary Clinton selling arms to ISIS. These people are funded at an extraordinary rate. They are outspending anything that we can do, so we have to find other ways. Traditionally the way culture has operated ever since rock ’n’ roll has been to do it through the cracks—that’s what revolution is. Radical art has a way of magnetizing people, pulling them out of their lulled existence, firing them up.
DIA NE LOCK HART VS. THE WORLD In The Good Fight, Christine Baranski finds herself in free fall—just like the rest of the country.
COURTESY OF CBS
By Aaron Hicklin
BEREFT FANS missing the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, which charted many of the political and social upheavals of the Obama era with eerie prescience, can rejoice. A spinoff, based on Diane Lockhart, the longtime mentor (and sometimes nemesis) of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), the titular wife of the original show, hits our screens this month, with a powerhouse cast that echoes one of The Good Wife’s greatest strengths: putting women front and center. Cush Jumbo, who joined the final season as a welcome new character, Lucca Quinn, and Sarah Steele (who plays Ari Gold’s funny, caustic daughter, Marissa) are both on board, as is Rose Leslie (of Game of Thrones fame). This time around it’s Lockhart’s fortunes that take a tumble, following a Madoff-like scandal that wipes out her savings. “You watch the bottom completely drop out of her life,” says Christine Baranski, who played Lockhart across seven seasons of The Good Wife as a queen of the icy stare and a shrewd champion of the underdog. “She has to go back and look for work, and the only place that will take her is an African-American firm, so she is in a distinct minority.” Fans may recall that Lockhart had been plotting to open a women-only law firm, so she gets her affirmative-action wish after all. Sort of. The show’s creators, Robert and Michelle King (or should that be Michelle and Robert King?), love these kinds of sly subversions. They also love to create setups with built-in conflict, in which messy compromise almost always beats out simplistic moralizing. The Good Wife was that rare legal show in which lawyers might often find themselves helping the bad guys to win, and The Good Fight seems set to follow suit. In the opening episode of The Good Wife, Lockhart’s affinity with Hillary Clinton was established with a portrait of the two women hanging in her
office. That same portrait poignantly reappears in the first few scenes of The Good Fight, which was filmed the night before the election. “I’m packing all my things, and the shot starts with a close-up of that photo, and you see me look at it and pack it up,” Baranski recalls. “I told my director, ‘When I play that scene, I gain strength because she will be president of the United States tomorrow. Lockhart probably thinks, She has gone through so much and had to pick herself up so many times. She remains an inspiration.’ ” They were still filming scenes for the pilot the following night when Trump was announced as the projected winner. Baranski saw the news on her iPhone between takes. “The mood on the set got very quiet and funereal,” she says. “In subsequent days we were all in shock while shooting some of the most emotional stuff in the pilot, so there’s a poignancy and contemporaneousness about the episode that is spooky.” To accommodate the new political reality, the Kings rewrote parts of the pilot, and the series will channel much of the turbulence that’s followed in the wake of Trump’s victory. “Everything seems to be shifting and falling away, and in the main character you’ll see someone dealing with the same thing psychically as the country,” says Baranski. Just don’t expect happy endings. The Good Wife closed with Lockhart slapping Florrick in a gesture that summed up the show’s overarching themes of professional and personal betrayal. “There are consequences when you just keep compromising yourself morally and doing anything you can to survive, and you transgress other people’s lives
and don’t take into account how you’re affecting other human beings,” says Baranski. “And the Kings did not want to close the season with Alicia running off with one guy or another—the audience is not going to accept that.” She pauses, before adding, “Maybe from Downton Abbey, but not from The Good Wife.” Ouch. As it happens, Baranski frequently found herself in Emmy head-to-heads with Maggie Smith for the latter’s performance as the Dowager Countess in the PBS frocks-and-foxes period drama. And though the shows were wildly different, a neat symmetry exists in the fact that both actors were playing women of commanding authority and strength. “I was always so grateful to play a woman of that age with that level of intelligence and dignity and integrity,” Baranski says. “God knows she had flaws, but you always saw her picking herself up and trying to find her equilibrium, and that’s what we all have to do now more than ever—we have to find a moral center in a world that is spinning out of control.” The Good Fight premieres February 19 on CBS and airs in full on CBS All Access. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 5 9
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THE LOVE PORTFOLIO 8 COUPLES SHARE THEIR STORIES OF LOVE’S LABORS WON
Gus Kenworthy + Matt Wilkas AS THE OLYMPIC FREE-SKIER WAS PREPARING TO COME OUT IN 2015, HE WAS QUIETLY COURTING AN ACTOR ON INSTAGRAM. As told to Aaron Hicklin
Gus Kenworthy, Freestyle Skier and Olympic Medalist: I grew up in Telluride, Colo., the kind of town where if something happens in your family, or you hook up with someone, everyone knows before you do. It’s a very liberal town—forward-thinking and accepting—but I was way too scared to come out in high school because there were hardly any gay people, and certainly no one I knew. Matt Wilkas, Actor: I grew up in Camden, a little town on the coast of Maine. My father passed away when I was 12, so that was a really hard part of my childhood, and I was somewhat effeminate and never really fit in. I was probably only conscious of being gay because it was pointed out to me so much by everyone else. I tended to hang out with girls more, and I was very much a mama’s boy—I loved decorating, drew a lot, and was obsessed with old movie musicals like Carousel— all the clichés of a young gay child. Kenworthy: I figured out I was gay at about the age of 5. If I was watching a movie, I was always fixating on the male lead and not the female lead. I found dirty magazines under my older brother’s bed, and I remember staring at the guy in it and thinking, This is kind of crazy. My closest family friend was a girl, and I was always excited to go to her house and use her Easy-Bake Oven and play with her Barbie dolls—all the things I wanted to have, but I had Tech Decks and G.I. Joes. I remember asking my mom for a Barbie when I was young and my brother telling her, “You cannot get him Barbies.” Wilkas: I started to do theater after my father died, and it just fit. People started to see my talent rather than all my flaws, 6 2 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
Gus Kenworthy (left): T-shirt by Calvin Klein Matt Wilkas: T-shirt by Ermenegildo Zegna XXXX (LEFT) AND XXXXX
and I grew happier and found my group. My mother was very religious, but she was very loving and didn’t care that I wasn’t like the rest of the boys. With theater I felt I’d found someplace I belonged.
Kenworthy: When I was in high school I realized, Oh, I’m actually really into guys and want to hook up with them, but that was not an option at all. I’d just turned pro in skiing, and I was traveling, so there were girls at events, and they’d get pushed on you, and it was hard to circumnavigate that. Then,
Photography by ROGER ERICKSON
when I was 18, I met my first boyfriend, Robin, who was also involved in the ski industry, working in film and photography. He didn’t know he was gay, he didn’t know I was gay, and we became friends. Then, after a night of drinking, I decided to make a move. I set it up so that if he freaked out, I would just say, “I’m so sorry, I drank too much,” but he reciprocated, and that was the start of a five-year relationship. It was completely in the closet—we presented ourselves as friends. We’d get hotel rooms with two beds when we were at ski events. He’d stay in another room at my parents’ house. It was sad.
“I got to a point where the pain of holding on to it became more than the pain of letting it go. It was damaging to be in the closet, damaging to not hold my boyfriend’s hand if we were in public, damaging to be thinking, Oh, God, what does that other person think of me right now?” O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 6 3
Wilkas: I ended up going to Boston University’s theater program because they gave me a complete student-aid package. It was my first time living outside of my family home. I was surrounded by all these young creative people, and students were coming out of the closet, and that was shocking and exciting, and then it was my time to do that too—very dramatically. Every Friday there was a three-hour class in which, one by one, everyone gets up and performs something, and I got up and free-spoke about how I was gay. Kenworthy: I never thought I’d come out while I was skiing. I was sure that my industry was homophobic, so I decided I’d have my ski career, and then come out to my friends and live with my boyfriends or get married, but it would be a separate thing. But I got to a point where the pain of holding on to it became more than the pain of letting it go. It was damaging to be in the closet, damaging to not hold my boyfriend’s hand if 6 4 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
we were in public, damaging to be thinking, Oh, my God, what does that other person think of me right now? That’s when I realized I was being a wuss, and that I had to stand up for myself and let everyone know. Robin and I were on the rocks, and I just decided that if I was ever going to meet somebody else, I needed to be out. Wilkas: Gus reached out to me on Instagram, and he was very sweet. I think he said he really liked my sense of humor and thought I was funny, and I thought, Who is this guy? I didn’t know what free-skiing was. I’d just come out of a relationship and was going to therapy and wasn’t really in the right place, so when he asked me out, essentially on a date, via Instagram, I couldn’t do it.
Kenworthy: I’d written him a message on Instagram while Robin and I were on a break—I’d seen Matt in the movie Gayby,
S T Y L I N G BY J U L I E N J E S U S . P R O P S T Y L I N G : C H R I S TO P H E R S TO N E . G R O O M E R : M A H F U D I B R A H I M FO R E XC LU S I V E A R T I S T S
Kenworthy: Tank top by Bottega Veneta. Pants by Coach. Wilkas: Tank top by Calvin Klein. Pants by Coach
“I could feel his heart beating and sensed his energy, and he turned to me and said, “I want to tell you something, but I’m scared,” and I just totally hijacked it and said, ‘I love you.’ ” and he’d popped up on my Instagram with these videos he makes, and I watched a few of them—he used to do these ones with a silly chick who wiggles when the sun hits her, and I thought they were really funny. I followed him, he followed me back, and I wrote him this really long message on Instagram. I said, “Hey, I think you’re really funny, and you seem really sweet, and I’ve been enjoying following you on Instagram, and actually I’m in the closet right now, and I’m coming to New York in a couple of weeks if you want to get a coffee or something.” He got back to me to say that he’d love to get a coffee. We did not get a coffee—I texted him the last day I was in New York, and it didn’t work out, and I thought that it was probably for the better.
Wilkas: A year later, when Gus reached out again for a drink, I thought, OK, I’ll do it. Look at his picture—he’s adorable. Why not do this? But I was very nervous and insecure—he was much younger than me, and then I found out we were going to dinner on his birthday. He was on a trip with his mom and friends. Kenworthy: We went to [the restaurant] Westville. He was already drinking—I think it was a blueberry mojito—so I got one too. The conversation was really easy, and we kissed outside the restaurant after dinner, and then he walked me back to my hotel and went on his way. We texted throughout the night, and the next day he came to the hotel to hang out again. I was actually there with my mom—but she was out wandering around, so Matt and I hooked up for the first time. Then we had a drink with my mom, and she invited Matt to join us for dinner, and he said, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t impose myself like that,” but she forced him to join us. My mom’s amazing, so funny and cool. She loved Matt right away. Wilkas: Last year I was shooting a film in Maine, and Gus came to visit for a couple of weeks. That would have been an opportunity for him to meet my mom, and I said, “Mom, I’d really like you to meet Gus,” and she said, “No, I really can’t.” So that was really upsetting, but I think he’s more empathetic and upset for me than upset that he can’t meet her. Kenworthy: His mom is very religious and not very approving of the homosexual lifestyle. She’s never met any of his boyfriends—she’s never met me. It’s sort of tough on me because I know how hard it is on Matt. I think he’s gotten to the point where he thinks it’s her loss because she’ll never really know him, but he has two sisters—I had Thanksgiving with them, and they’re so great, just like him. We played board games with the nieces and nephews, and Cards Against Humanity when the kids had gone to bed. Wilkas: Gus likes surprising me. He showed up at my door in Hartford, Conn., where I was doing a play, a few months after we met. In the 24-hour period before that he was being very elusive, and I got the sense that he wasn’t interested in me anymore. I was weirdly upset, and then he showed up. We were
on the couch kissing, and I’d been sitting on the words for a long time, the feeling of it, and I just said, “I have something I want to say, but I’m really scared to say it to you,” and I started crying.
Kenworthy: I was visiting him in Connecticut just before Christmas, and we were lying on the couch watching TV, and I could feel his heart beating and sensed his energy, and he turned to me and said, “I want to tell you something, but I’m scared,” and I just totally hijacked it and said, “I love you.” And then he said it back, and he was crying, and I was crying. It was really sweet. Wilkas: He’s such a sporty boy—he plays basketball with his friends, and he’s super competitive, even when we’re playing a board game and nothing’s at stake. He’s also extremely charming and so funny and goofy, and he has a really sensitive softy heart. He’ll cry watching a video of some underdog on The X Factor. We love going to movies—I think I’ve seen more movies with Gus than I’ve seen in a lifetime—and we get to travel so much together. I think that’s one of the best things about Gus, that he’s an adventurer and explorer. He’s not a homebody at all. I’ve never been a homebody—I’d rather walk out in the cold rain than sit at home. He took me to Hawaii for my birthday last year. Kenworthy: For the first five days, we stayed at a couples-only resort that was really fancy and beautiful, and for the second half, some friends flew out and I got a condo in a clothingoptional gay resort. We weren’t walking around naked the whole time. There were a lot of people that were, the kind of people I was hoping wouldn’t be. But we went to a nude beach a couple of times, and then we took our friends—we were all naked and skinny-dipping, laughing on the beach. It didn’t feel weird. It was uninhibited and fun. Wilkas: For me, being apart a lot of the time is a good thing, but I don't think Gus feels that way. He doesn’t really want a long-distance relationship. I don’t either but think time apart is valuable and can work. We’re currently in the longest stint of time apart and that is challenging—there has to be some understanding of what the limit of our time apart should and should not be. Kenworthy: All relationships take work, and we’ve definitely begun to realize that. I’m traveling and skiing and training and competing. He lives in New York—he can’t really live in Denver. Also, I was in a relationship from 18 to 23, and I still haven’t really experienced that much sexually. I wouldn’t want to ever sacrifice my relationship with Matt just to go out and get that out of my system, but we’ve also talked about that and he doesn’t want to deprive me of experiencing anything while I’m still young. I don’t necessarily know what that means. We’re not in an open relationship and we’re not breaking up. But we’re also not getting married. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 6 5
Samira Wiley (left): Dress by Christian Siriano Lauren Morelli: Dress by Christian Siriano 78 O C TO B ER 2015 OUT
S T Y L I N G BY M I C H A E L C O O K . G R O O M E R : M A H F U D I B R A H I M FO R E XC LU S I V E A R T I S T S . M A K E U P FO R W I L E Y: T I M M AC K AY. H A I R : M A H F U D I B R A H I M FO R E XC LU S I V E A R T I S T S . P R O P S T Y L I N G : C H R I S TO P H E R S TO N E .
Samira Wiley + Lauren Morelli A RAP SESSION DURING THE FILMING OF ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SET THE SCENE FOR A TRUE-LIFE TALE OF LOVE, LOSS, AND NEW BEGINNINGS. As told to Jason Lamphier
Samira Wiley, Actress: We met in December 2012. We were both working on Orange Is the New Black, our first big jobs in the industry. The cast would get every script to read, and with every new script came a new writer whom they’d fly out from Los Angeles to meet us. Lauren wrote episode six of the first season, one of the first scripts really featuring my character, Poussey. We spent four days in a row working together. Honestly, I thought she was gay the first time I met her. Lauren Morelli, Writer-Producer: I’d already seen Samira’s audition tape and immediately had a crush on her—the complication being that I was married to a man at the time. I came to New York to shoot my first episode. I was on set, sitting in front of the monitors, and she and Lea DeLaria, who plays Big Boo, walked up to me. Our set is like a lesbian utopia, and I remember thinking, They’re flirting with me. For that episode I had to write these raps for Samira and Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, and I was so nervous because I was this little white girl. Wiley: Lauren is an amazing rapper, but I kept coming up with questions to find a way to talk to her—bullshit like “I don’t know if I’d rhyme this word with this word.” I was trying to impress her, but I can’t rap. [Laughs] Then we were sitting in the prison cafeteria for a scene, eating some stale noodles, and like a kindergartner, I came and put a noodle on her ear—anything to see her smile. Morelli: I had started questioning my sexuality as a result of being in the writers’ room and talking about all the themes on the show. I was still very confused, but I knew the attraction between us felt magnetic. We spent a couple of weeks together before Christmas on that first episode, and then I came back to New York in February. On set it’s a bunch of women, so everyone’s hugging and touching. It’s a very affectionate place. I’d fallen into this alternate universe, but I thought I’d go home and it’d disappear. But Samira was still so present for me. Wiley: I found out she was married—I assumed to a woman. It was a little dagger in my heart. I remember this whirlwind of
me falling in love in those four days. I was also bartending, and I told my coworkers. They said I was crazy. She went back to L.A., and I thought I’d forget about her, but that Christmas I found myself talking to my mother about it. I never talk to her about anything like this, but I was completely open about how lost I felt. That was the real indicator for me: me talking to my mother about Lauren. Because Lauren was finding out who she was, I became a confidant to her. We’d talk on the phone, me sharing my own coming-out story and her talking about things she was discovering. My parents are pastors, and I have a real sense of the “right way” of doing things, so I was really cognizant of the fact that she was in a relationship. I loved her as a friend first, but after a while it was clear it was more than that.
Morelli: I was very open with my husband and told him. That turned into a year of going to couples therapy. It felt like my whole world was falling apart. I had a few queer women around me, but not many I could talk to about such a huge, vulnerable thing. Samira became my outlet, and through that process I fell in love with her. But I thought, This will be the one that got away. Being with her felt too good to be true. Wiley: I was scared to be the first to say “I love you,” so I did a little pussy version. I said, “I heart you,” which actually ended up in one of Lauren’s Orange scripts. I believe Alex says it to Piper. It felt safer than using the L word. It’s hard to step out on that limb. I thought I’d just be one of those people totally in love with her friend. Morelli: I’d finally separated from my husband and gotten my own place, and Samira and I had officially started dating. I remember walking down the street in New York and finally being able to hold her hand, and how huge that felt. Walking to the date was more romantic and mattered more than wherever we were going or whatever we were about to do. I’m very aware of being visible and how important that is. Even being in a liberal, safe place like New York, holding her hand while walking down the street still feels like a political choice. It had been such a journey to discover my sexuality, and to claim it in this public way was incredible for me.
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Wiley: Shirt and pants by Lanvin. Morelli: Sweater by Lanvin. Pants by Bally
Wiley: Maybe a year after we were officially together, we went on our first trip. We are so opposite in how we operate, so we’d bicker. We showed our true selves—maybe the ugliest, nastiest parts. We were out of our comfort zones. We were in Thailand riding elephants. We always say it’s amazing we survived that trip, but however horrible it was, it helped me know I want to be with her—because she could see all these parts of me and still want to be with me, and I could see all these parts of her and still want to be with her. I would rather have the worst day with Lauren than the best day with someone else. Morelli: The trip was a total disaster. It just exposed everything. I’m so neurotic, and Samira could not be more laid-back. But now it’s such a joy to laugh about me having a panic attack in the middle of the train station in Bangkok and Samira having to calm me down. And I have all these amazing pictures of her on 6 8 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
top of an elephant looking petrified. She rode those elephants for me ’cause if I was doing anything in Thailand, I was riding an elephant.
Wiley: Right before Thailand, I flew to L.A. to see Lauren after she’d moved into her own apartment. It was the first time we could really be together. She got me a ring, which I now wear around my neck, and a card that said, “Will you be my girlfriend?” To sit in a house that was hers and have her give me that ring and card… I’m crying right now thinking about it. It felt like something that would never come. Morelli: Being able to write words for someone as talented as she is, watch her perform what I write, and then go to bed with her is the best thing. Last year, police brutality against black people in our country was something we were talking about a
“Even being in a liberal, safe place like New York, holding her hand while walking down the street still feels like a political choice. It had been such a journey to discover my sexuality, and to claim it in this public way was incredible for me.”
pulled a ring from behind the couch. Lauren has been married before, so I wanted her to tell me she was ready, her to be the one to propose. I didn’t know she was as ready as she was. I was completely shocked. I was crying uncontrollably and kept backing away from her. I asked her after, “Who knows about this?” and she said, “Oh, everyone. Your parents know.” We didn’t tell anyone else for a few days. That was really important to us—to have some time where it was just ours.
Morelli: One of the good things about her no longer being on Orange was that she didn’t have to permanently be in New York anymore, so she moved to L.A. to be with me. We were coming up on our three-year anniversary, and I was like, I will wait until we have our three years and then propose. Then I thought, What am I waiting for if I know I want this woman to be my wife and I want to spend my life with her? I knew we were gonna be apart for a while—I was in New York shooting for Orange, and she was in Toronto for her new job on The Handmaid’s Tale—so we’d planned this trip to Palm Springs as a light at the end of the tunnel. I realized I could propose right before and then we’d have the weekend there to celebrate. I found a ring, and they shipped it to me, and it was as if someone had handed me a ball of fire and said, “Here, tend to this.” I was so nervous and terrified she knew it was coming, but she was so shocked that I couldn’t get her to stop crying. She was hyperventilating. I thought, Oh, this is not good. This has gone too far. She was very clear she’d wait for me to be ready, so to give her something I knew she wanted so much was incredible. It was the most magical day of my life. lot. It felt really important for the show to address it. Also, we hadn’t had this heartbreaking tragedy yet, and when Jenji [Kohan, Orange creator] came into the fourth season, that was her mandate. I was obviously honored to write the episode in which Poussey is killed. When I sat down to write that scene and typed the part when she dies, I just started sobbing. I called Samira sobbing so hard that I couldn’t get the words out. I’d never had the experience of not only killing a character, but killing a character played by my girlfriend.
Wiley: We’d planned this weekend in Palm Springs. I’m pretty laid-back: If it’s five in the afternoon and Lauren wants to beat the traffic, I’m just hanging around. That day, I wanted to be good and get my packing done. She got home and was just not ready to go, and I was confused. She asked me to sit next to her. Then she got me up, and we started dancing together, and she
Wiley: There’s this Sara Bareilles song we love called “I Choose You.” For so long in our relationship, I wasn’t “the one.” I was just waiting and being supportive of Lauren’s journey. To see her embrace her sexual orientation the way she has is like that song: “I choose this life as a gay woman, and we choose to spend this life together.” I think—I know—I would not be where I am without Lauren. When I was first being thrust into the public eye, I wouldn’t talk about my orientation. Being with Lauren taught me self-love. Morelli: She’d always tell me jokingly that she was just trying to get “chose.” She’d do the dishes, and I’d go, “Oh, thank you, that means a lot to me.” And she’d go, “Just tryna get chose, bae. Just tryna get chose.” So when I proposed, I made that the theme of the proposal: “I choose you.” O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 6 9
Parson James + Ryan Austin FOR THE SINGER AND HAIRSTYLIST, A LONG COURTSHIP LED TO LONGER HARMONY. Parson James, Singer-Songwriter I met Ryan through my best friend. She does makeup, and he does hair, and I kept hearing about this guy “@ryaustinhair.” That’s his Instagram name. He became this figment of a person—someone I kept hearing about but never met. At the time I was homeless—just writing and vagabonding and traveling. It was before anything big was happening with my career. Eventually there was a birthday dinner for a mutual friend, and Ryan was there. He’d recently broken up with his boyfriend. I thought he was so attractive, and he kept staring at me and flirting with me. I didn’t imagine it could amount to anything, but I left that dinner thinking, Am I in love with @ryaustinhair? A few weeks later, at the [New York] party Westgay, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Ryan. My nerves kicked in and I fled, but I got a Facebook message from him the next morning. [While chatting] I said something like, “I smell like tequila and sweat.” And then he said, “I love boys who smell like tequila and sweat.” We set up a time to hang out, and we never stopped hanging out. I spent every day with him. And we weren’t sexual at first. Spending time with him was enough. Our approach to the relationship taught me how to build a strong emotional foundation with someone. You couldn’t separate us. We were together for about seven months when I got signed, and everything changed. I had all this money, I had this song out [2015’s “Stole the Show”], and the prospect of me traveling a lot at the beginning of a relationship was a little scary. But if I’m experiencing the world, I wanna do that with someone I love. Ryan got his first passport because of me. The first place we traveled to was this small town outside Munich. I had a show. Then I did a lot of press in London. He stayed with me everywhere. He’s my biggest cheerleader, and I’m his. And we communicate—everything crumbles without communication. If you’re saying everything you’re feeling to your partner when it’s happening, you’re never gonna miss a beat. Ryan Austin, Hairstylist I remember meeting him at Westgay. I recognized him and went up and introduced myself. Then I sent him a Facebook 7 0 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
message about liking boys who smell like whiskey, or something like that. I thought he was really cute. He has beautiful eyes. And I remember him singing in a cab, before any of the career stuff happened, and me thinking, Damn, this guy has a really good voice. I didn’t want to commit to him in the beginning. I’d just broken up with someone and was going through a lot. But I really enjoyed his company, and I loved him as a friend. So while I was a little resistant, eventually I gave in to it and let it happen. He’s very good at sweeping me off my feet. He likes to do and experience—he’s always looking for something new— and being with him has always felt fresh. And it didn’t really feel any different after he got signed. I took a year off work to travel with him and support him, and I just freelanced, but
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: RYAN AUSTIN, PARSON JAMES, DOLLY PARSONS, AND PRESLEY
I don’t look at him as a celebrity—even in the really exciting times, like when me and his mom first heard him on the radio at a gym in Norway. I think we balance each other out. He does a lot of social things, and I’m more of a homebody. I need to get out more, and he encourages me to do that, while I encourage him to stay home sometimes—he gets me out of my shell, and I help put him back in his. This past Thanksgiving, he came home with me and met my family. He charmed everyone. My cousin was playing the piano, and he was singing, and my whole family was sitting around watching. I’m a bit older than him, I’ve worked around a lot of celebrities, and I’ve been in a couple of relationships. He hasn’t. But he connects with his emotions in a way I’ve never seen before.
“I need to get out more, and he encourages me to do that, while I encourage him to stay home sometimes—he gets me out of my shell, and I help put him back in his.”
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Elliott Sailors + Olimpia Soheve FROM EMOTICONS TO MILAN TO BREAKFAST IN BED Elliott Sailors, Model We met on Instagram. I thought she was beautiful and incredibly stylish. Then we finally met in person at a little bar in Milan, and after that we had sushi and went out to a Punks Wear Prada party. But her friend was with us all night, so it wasn’t really a date. She asked to bring me to Lake Como that weekend with friends, and we had an amazing time! Our first kiss was after Lake Como. She dropped me off at my hotel, and when she touched my face I just melted. It was just days after meeting that I told her I was falling in love with her. I definitely said “I love you” first. Olimpia is not the first woman I’ve been with, so I was not apprehensive, but I do think Olimpia was—not because I’m a woman, but because of our pasts. Olimpia is a photographer and has a great deal of experience in the fashion industry, so she understands what I do. Sometimes we even get to shoot together. The evening we met, we actually arranged our first job together, shooting Elle Serbia. She helps manage my career, and I do everything I can to support her art. We are each other’s biggest champions. I think making love includes so much more than just sex. It’s the many elements of creating and re-creating love that keep us connected. Keeping our relationship the safest space for us makes that space the most inviting place to be. Olimpia Soheve, Photographer We met on Instagram in January 2014, and after a few months of emoticons, “likes,” and smart comments, we had our first date in Milan in May. We met in a bar in my neighborhood and ended up having dinner with a friend of mine. Elliott was sitting next to me with this stoic aura. I was feeling studied and tried to impress her with my recent work, and then we went to Punks Wear Prada. I remember taking her hand to walk her through the crowded room. That was the first time I touched her, and I liked it. I danced all night, feeling her eyes on me. The day after, I asked if I could bring her to Lake Como. We
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spent a marvelous day by the lake. At sunset I felt her stare getting under my skin, and I lost my words, afraid of feeling her breathing too close. When night fell, I drove her back to her hotel and parked in front of it. I did not want her to leave, so I started putting random sentences together. She leaned in. I kissed her. A relief. She told me “I love you” first, the same day she was supposed to fly. I was terrified. I thought, Don’t give me what you can’t leave here with me. Don’t leave. But I couldn’t say it. I didn’t want to get my heart broken. She didn’t take the flight—she stayed one more week. I’d never met anyone in an open relationship, and I had no idea she was married until she told me the day after I met her. I was afraid of getting hurt, but I chose to love her because that’s what my heart was telling me. I met her husband when I came to visit her in New York. We liked and respected each other. It hasn’t been easy for any of us, but living on opposite sides of the ocean somehow made it more bearable for me. Each one of us had to face our own fears to get through it. They’re separated now, but he loves Elliott very much, and all I want for her is to be surrounded by people who love her. And today I can call him my friend. The way to maintain a relationship? Always picture the future. Share a dream and build it together. Bring breakfast in bed. Read beautiful books. Step beyond your world to understand another one. Travel together. Surprise them. Kiss often. Be there.
“I was terrified. I thought, Don’t give me what you can’t leave here with me. Don’t leave. But I couldn’t say it. I didn’t want to get my heart broken. She didn’t take the flight—she stayed one more week.”
ELLIOTT SAILORS (LEFT) AND OLIMPIA SOHEVE
Coat by Burberry Prorsum. Shoes by Miu Miu
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JAVIER PEREZ (LEFT) AND VICTOR BORBOLLA
Javier Perez + Victor Borbolla THE HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS HAVE WEATHERED STORMS TOGETHER—INCLUDING ON THEIR WEDDING NIGHT. Javier Perez, Artist We met in an all-boys Jesuit high school in Miami. Being gay was so new, but when I found out he was gay, too, I started thinking he was adorable. He was the only one who wore long sleeves with his uniform—everyone else wore short sleeves. Our first official date was on Election Day in 2008. Obama. We had sushi. Afterwards, in a car in the school parking lot, I kissed him, and it was just...bliss. I’ve always loved Victor's confidence. Even back then, he would blast Ashlee Simpson from his pickup truck. I think the moment I fell in love with him was after our breakup during college—I wanted to have a single life and go out and be promiscuous. It was Christmas, he’d gotten into a small car accident, and he was so frazzled. Consoling him made me realize, I wanna do this for the rest of my life. I’ve been so immature. I have what everybody’s looking for right in my arms. 74 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
We got married last October on a rooftop, and of course it rained. But our wedding coordinator got someone to buy about 150 umbrellas, and everyone just huddled around us with them while we read our nuptials. It felt so intimate. Over eight years, we became best friends, then lovers, then boyfriends, then husbands.
Victor Borbolla, Actor We sat at the same lunch table, but we’d only see each other at a few social events. When we started to hang out more, we knew we had a mutual attraction without explicitly telling each other, which I guess is representative of our relationship today. We used each other for support without needing to actually say anything. Our first date was probably the first time we acknowledged we were not hanging out as friends. And it was effortless. At that point, I think we really shared what we’d been holding back for so long.
For college, I moved to Florida State, in Tallahassee, and we broke up for a month. It was the worst month of my life. We weren’t in contact. I think he needed that month to realize he made a big mistake. At different points in our relationship, like when we first moved to New York together, we’ve had anxiety, like we were missing out on the lifestyle of a single gay man. But then I remember we have something many people strive for. Everything I know about sex and chemistry, I learned and developed with Javi, and I think that’s awesome. The wedding ceremony reminded me of Javi’s proposal—he had such a tough time getting his words out. There’s a photo of me grabbing his arm, which is exactly the moment when I was telling him, “It’s gonna be fine—I’m still marrying you.” I love that he loves me no matter what. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll always be there for me, and that’s sexy.
MICHAEL FISHER (LEFT) AND MICHAEL MACCARI
Michael Fisher + Michael Maccari A STYLISH COUPLE’S JOURNEY FROM STRIP CLUB TO SEAMLESS COMMITMENT Michael Fisher, Stylist, Perry Ellis There was this strip bar downtown, the Pussycat Lounge. I was there with friends, and Michael was on a date he didn’t quite know was a date. We locked eyes. My first thought was Italian stud. I went over, and his friend asked how old I was, because I was 29 and Michael was 11 years older. I was a little drunk and swung around and said, “Why, you wanna have a threesome?” That was the end of that friend. So then we made out for a while and left the club. He had reservations because I was much younger. He didn’t want to relive his 30s. But now it’s been 14 years. We’re not married. We got engaged early on, like everyone did when it became official in New York. I had my grandfather’s ring refurbished and was going to give it to him for Christmas, but then I was like, Why am I sitting on this fucking ring? So I proposed to him in Paris on Valentine’s Day. He got a little mad I did it first. He has this tough exterior, but he’s such a softy.
Sex is great on the weekends, hotel sex is better, Monday-night sex is eh. You have this other, more intense intimacy, which is about knowing someone so thoroughly. We like to hang out. We like to work together. Since he’s been appointed creative director, I’ve styled every show. He’s the only guy with whom I’ve felt I could be myself.
Michael Maccari, Creative Director, Perry Ellis That first night was fun, and the next day we were still super into each other. He was supposed to move to London, so I
“He surprised me with his proposal—I was supposed to do it. I was older, the daddy. Everyone was running to the altar and getting married like lunatics."
wasn’t expecting much. Then his job fell through, and it was like, “Now we have to deal with this.” He surprised me with his proposal—I was supposed to do it. I was older, the daddy. Everyone was running to the altar and getting married like lunatics. People get married and have kids, but I think there’s got to be another way: our way, through the middle. I kind of pushed him into styling. He’d stay over at my apartment and the next day grab my clothes and put them together in a completely different way. I sat back and said, “What about styling?” We work together on shows and campaigns. I think in the beginning everyone thought that’d be a problem, but it’s pretty seamless. He’s very much a gentleman. I’ve always said his mother raised him right. He gets up, pulls the chair out, holds the door. He’ll do it for me, but I appreciate it most when he does it for other people. I’ll immediately think, I should have done that. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 7 5
ELISE KORNACK (LEFT) AND ANNA HIERONIMUS
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Elise Kornack + Anna Hieronimus HOW A NIGHT IN A CUBBY HOLE LED TO A MICHELIN-WINNING PARTNERSHIP Elise Kornack, Chef and Co-Owner, Take Root I was finishing my shift at La Bottega at New York’s Maritime Hotel very late one night, and my best gay friend, David, wanted to get a drink, so we went to the Cubby Hole. There was no one in the bar except a few people at the back, and one of them happened to be Anna. David grew up with her in Baltimore, so he recognized her, and she and I went back to my apartment that night. And that was it—never a moment apart since. Anna is beautiful and also very relaxed. I don’t like being around bubbly female energy. I don’t find it attractive. She was just very chill and confident, and that was just a nice change from the usual. Part of what is so special about our relationship is that I felt immediately accepted, idiosyncrasies included, by her and her family. She’s very caring and nurturing. She has two dogs, and I was really blown away by that—it takes a lot of effort to take care of anybody or anything other than yourself, so for me it was a testament to this person’s ability to juggle a lot and still remain calm. That was something I needed in my life, because I’m not very calm. I asked Anna to marry me twice. The first time, I was semidrunk—it was in the rain in the West Village, and it was really amazing. I used a straw wrapper to propose, as I didn’t have money for a ring, and she said yes, but the next morning we woke up and said, “Maybe that’s too soon.” But we actually only waited three more months. I was working at Aquavit in midtown Manhattan, and I kept the ring in the safe there because I didn’t trust myself. Then one night I was like, This is the person I want to marry, so I biked over from midtown and brought her some flowers on the way. When I arrived, she was like, “Why are you acting weird?” We kind of have this way about us—it’s like we were meant to be together, almost to our detriment sometimes. Because there’s not a lot of spontaneity to these things. We already know they will happen.
“I’m actually a good swimmer, but there was a strong riptide and I almost drowned. Her brothers had to come and rescue me on a boogie board, and it was all very dramatic. The whole beach got to its feet.”
Anna Hieronimus, Co-Owner, Take Root Elise is very intense—she is an artist and a workaholic, and I think I was one of the first people to bring a sense of calm to her life. When we met, I didn’t really have a job—I was in this place of doing a lot of relaxing, basically. So I think I taught her that it’s OK to take a day off, and I think that’s why we ended up with the model of restaurant we have with Take Root [a few tables, a set menu]. Ours is a very taxing business, typically. The first time we went away together was to Nantucket, where Elise’s family has a small house. It’s where she spent a good portion of her childhood summers. I picked her up, and we drove through the night, straight to the beach to meet her family. I’m actually a good swimmer, but there was a strong riptide and I almost drowned. Her brothers had to come and rescue me on a boogie board, and it was all very dramatic. The whole beach got to its feet, and Elise was standing on the shoreline with a close family friend, who said, “Well, this is it: Either this seals the deal, or Anna is going to leave you tomorrow.” I was pretty serious right from the get-go. It was funny because I hadn’t had any serious relationships with women, but as soon as I got together with Elise there was really no question. Within the second week I told her to cancel all her future dates or say goodbye to me. We met right before Pride weekend—and it was kind of a blur because the first few weeks of a relationship are always fun and exciting—but I realized that this was going to be a change in my lifestyle. Elise is a pillar of strength. Unbelievably strong. I have a hard time making decisions and feeling confident about those decisions, and one of the things I love in Elise is that if I’m unsure about something, I feel I can trust her to make the right choice. We’re very much on the same page about things, but she’s very brave, and that makes me feel safe. The first time she proposed to me, I’d had a few too many beers. We were back at the Cubby Hole, and eventually she was down on one knee in the West Village, with this little paper ring, and people were cheering and clapping. The next morning I said, “Maybe we need to take another month or two,” and then about a month later she bought a ring. She wanted to find a perfect time to propose, but instead, she got so excited that she proposed to me at our apartment a few days later. Of course, being Elise, she proposed to me on April Fools’ not realizing Coat byDay, Burberry Prorsum. it. When we told our parents they didn’t believe us. Shoes by Miu Miu
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Darryl Pinckney + James Fenton WHEN TWO WRITERS WERE INTRODUCED BY SUSAN SONTAG, IT WAS THE START OF A STORY THAT’S STILL UNFOLDING. Darryl Pinckney, Author and Essayist: James and I met in Berlin in 1990—Susan Sontag introduced us at the Paris Bar. She was so generous and interesting and fun, and when she was in your life she was really in your life. We met almost every night at the same table for dinner, and one evening she said, “I can’t have dinner with you because I’m having dinner with James Fenton.” The next evening, she said nothing about her meeting with James, and then suddenly she said, “You know what he did? He read a newspaper.” Later, I found out that he was just trying to oblige Susan to talk to a young Filipino photographer he was traveling with who worshipped her. Anyway, as we were eating, she said, “There he is.” I looked behind me and to my right, and saw his osprey eyes and hairy hands. The next night we met for dinner again, at a party at a table, and I figured something was up because when he said goodnight, he kissed my neck. Then we saw each other the following evening, again at the Paris Bar, and again at a similarly long table of happy people, but this time he slowly moved down the table in my direction as people departed until he was directly across from me. Susan finally took off, and we were alone. He left for Prague the next morning and then phoned every day. And then he asked me to meet him in Paris, and I did. James Fenton, Poet and Journalist: It was quite clear from the word “go” that we’d hit it off, and so we made that the basis of our lives together. I don’t remember kissing him on the neck, but it sounds like a very appropriate thing to do—I’m glad I did! We met up in Paris shortly after, and that was it, really. Somebody once said to me that if you’re not sure whether you are in love or not, then you’re not, and I would go along with that. Love feels like a kind of certainty. 7 8 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
JAMES FENTON (LEFT) AND DARRYL PINCKNEY
Pinckney: James is very English. Some of his snacks make me think of 1950s austerity Britain, and my heart breaks: Marmite on crackers that you can’t imagine wanting to taste. And sometimes, when I’ve been away and come back, he’s had things that he can’t have around me, like game and oxtail and offal—English things. And you think of these sad heaters that you have to put these heavy coins in that you see in black-and-white films—that gray dampness. And then the stoicism is just maddening. Fenton: I don’t eat a lot of Marmite! Darryl thinks it’s weird to eat cheese. He has a very special take on truth. The only thing that recommends cheese to him is if it’s completely processed, as in cheeseburger cheese. But if it’s a cheese
“Now that we’re both beginning to lose our hearing, there’s a lot of ‘What did you say?’ But we never argue. I have displays of bad character, but we don’t argue, because he’s always right. That’s very annoying.”
of merit, he hates it, and soft cheese is particularly horrible to him.
Pinckney: You don’t get psychodrama from James, which is also very English, but he has a very faithful and reassuring presence. He takes in knowledge all the time and doesn’t forget anything he’s read. Now that we’re both beginning to lose our hearing, there’s a lot of “What did you say?” But we never argue. I have displays of bad character, but we don’t argue, because he’s always right. That’s very annoying. Also, I’ve not used a dictionary in 26 years—I just ask him. This is life in James-land. We’re the luckiest people alive. O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 7 9
Iâ€™M N O T G A YI J U S T H AVEOCD
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HOMOSEXUAL OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER IS A THING, AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS SUFFER FROM IT. BY CHADWICK MOORE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ETHAN HILL
AT THE AGE OF 13, Olivia Loving considered coming out as a lesbian. It was not a happy thought. Only the year before, she had developed her first crush, on a boy, and it had filled her with the same nervous excitement of any preteen girl in love. She fantasized about holding his hand, maybe even kissing him. But now Loving was plagued by graphic sexual fantasies about her female classmates. It began in September, volleyball season, with her obsessing over thoughts of grabbing their breasts. She was overwhelmed with crude mental images of performing oral sex on them. And at the same time her brain rattled with other disturbing thoughts about committing violence against people, harming children, and murdering her mother. She retreated into her Catholicism, believing it was the only way to control her dark thoughts, and prayed each night that she wasn’t gay, and that she wouldn’t kill anyone. “I think so many people, especially kids, are suffering silently across the country,” says Loving, now 24 and a writer who works at New York’s Strand bookstore. “It’s not that I was afraid to be gay—when I was 10 years old I wrote a paper supporting gay rights—it’s that I was resigned to a life I felt I would get no pleasure out of.” At 18, Loving finally told someone the detailed nature of her violent and sexual thoughts. She attended a private, conservative high school in North Palm Beach, Fla., and confided in a teacher with whom she was close. Fearing she was a threat to students’ safety, the teacher reported the conversation to the school’s administration. (Loving says the school had also, at the time, banned an LGBT club from forming.) Loving was suspended, but allowed to return to school days later with a note from a therapist. Three years later, while she was living in England, Loving learned that she was neither homicidal nor a lesbian. She had just been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and during a Google search she came across a strange acronym: HOCD, or homosexual obsessive-compulsive disorder, also called gay OCD, or SO-OCD, as in “sexual orientation OCD.” In the United States, about one in 40 adults and one in 100 children—roughly 1% of the population—suffers from OCD, a condition characterized by debilitating obsessions and mental and physical compulsions that consume at least one hour a day, and often more. The public’s misconceptions of OCD are staggering, largely due to the way the condition is treated in popular culture—the highly organized neurotic, the obsessive hand-washer. And although there are no hard data, some suggest that HOCD and other sexual obsessions are common types of OCD. According to Dr. Fred Penzel, a psychologist on Long Island, N.Y., and author of the book Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, it might afflict as many as 10% of OCD sufferers. “OCD, in the 19th century, used to be called the ‘doubting disease,’ and that’s really at the heart of many people’s OCD: extreme doubt and uncertainty,” says Penzel, who has treated
OCD for 35 years and is a leading specialist in HOCD. “OCD can also make people doubt their sexual identity. It’s a real phenomenon that affects a lot of people, and no one has any idea how many people are affected by this. I get e-mails from India, China, Saudi Arabia, Africa—all over the place. The overwhelming majority of e-mails I get are on this particular type of OCD.” For a 26-year-old California man, who asked to be identified only as Michael, it began at age 16 while he was sitting next to another student in class in high school. “The thoughts I think I had were, Why is my leg so close to his leg?” he says. “And it just spiraled from there.” At the time, Michael says, he was homophobic and began to compulsively search the Internet for coming-out stories and anecdotal online quizzes that test “How gay are you?” He evaluated his attraction to women constantly. He soon developed an out-of-control obsession with watching gay pornography to check if it could arouse him. He says it did not, but the uncertainty remained and became so extreme he considered suicide. He adds that, once or twice while watching gay porn, he did have an orgasm. “That was a terrible, terrible choice on my part,” he says. “I gave OCD a massive weapon to fight against me, and I suffered for it. I went further down the rabbit hole. I knew I always wanted to go back and look at women. Women got me more excited than men did.” This behavior is known as “checking,” which is essentially no different from the person who flips the light switch repeatedly. Michael never attempted to have sex with another man, but, like watching porn, many experiencing HOCD do engage in sexual activity as a form of checking, behavior that throws their doubt into overdrive. Even if a person is certain they didn’t enjoy the sex, the relief is short-lived, and doubt soon creeps in that, perhaps, the next time will be enjoyable, or the next. When psychologist Dr. Monnica Williams moved to Kentucky five years ago, she says she was the only mental health practitioner in the state who specialized in OCD. She opened the Louisville OCD Clinic, one of only a handful of outpatient clinics in the country specializing in OCD. Until fairly recently, some online forums for OCD prohibited people from posting about HOCD because of the overwhelming skepticism as to whether it was real. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding,” Williams says. “Some folks say, ‘It’s not really OCD—these people just need to come out of the closet.’ Others say, ‘[Treating HOCD] is no different than reparative therapy.’ It was really hard to combat some of the criticism because there was nothing in the scientific literature about this form of OCD.” The most common criticism is that those who obsessively worry about being gay must actually be homophobic. “That’s not really the case,” Williams says. “Some people are homophobic, because of their religious concerns or how they O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 8 1
This page: MarkAmeen Johnson. Previous spread: Olivia Loving
were brought up. But we see plenty of people who don’t have anything against being gay—they just aren’t gay. Yet they keep having these unwanted thoughts about it. I think a lot of people commit suicide. I’ve had a number of people tell me, ‘I was getting ready to kill myself before I found you.’ ” In a paper published in 2008, which she says was the first of its kind on HOCD, Williams interviewed an unnamed young man. “I have been diagnosed with OCD for a while now. The therapist I was seeing told me that I should try to be with a man, and that everybody is bisexual,” he says. “It really freaked me out, and I was suicidal for five months thanks to what she said. The thoughts grew even stronger. Eventually, I couldn’t be with any person of the same sex alone in the same room, watch TV, read the newspaper, or listen to music with male voices. I’m amazed that I’m still in this world after that experience.” Dr. Richard Montoro, a psychiatrist at the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre in Montreal who specializes in helping LGBT people come to terms with their sexual orientations and gender identity, saw his first case of HOCD two decades ago; a man came to him convinced he was gay because of the shape of his eyebrows. By the end of the session it was clear to Montoro the man was suffering from OCD. Since then, he’s seen only a handful of similar cases at his clinic. “We might encourage them to spend a night in the Gay Village here in Montreal, or have dinner with same-sex-identified people—that intervention would be to reduce the anxiety around the possibility of being gay,” Montoro says, a technique that would coincide with other therapies. “You need to undo the avoidance. The checking behavior usually isn’t about other gay people, it’s about the individual.” Therapy proved successful for Michael, the 26-year-old Californian who learned to control his HOCD. He considers himself an ally of the LGBT community, namely because of this experience. “I think it’s important to know that anxiety or emotion is like gravity,” he says. “What goes up must come down.” But from time to time he relapses into other types of sexual OCD, including, and among the most anguishing forms, pedophile OCD, or POCD, characterized by a debilitating fear of harming or molesting children. “There’s been almost nothing written about pedophile OCD,” Williams says. “People who have it are very frightened. I had a patient who was suicidal, and when his spouse brought him to the emergency room and he opened up to a clinician about what he was experiencing, the doctor called social services and he wasn’t allowed to be around his child.” It is unknown why people with OCD develop the obsessions 8 2 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 O U T
they do, but most are characterized by intrusive negative thoughts. Gay people, however, are also proportionately affected by what might be called straight OCD, consumed by thoughts they might be heterosexual—Penzel has treated several such patients, including one lesbian who had a wife and children and came close to ending her marriage. In all cases, symptoms tend to develop rapidly, triggered by a precise moment, such as seeing an attractive actor in a movie, having bad sex with your spouse, reading a news item about gay rights, or learning of a friend or family member coming out of the closet. Paradoxically, psychologists believe increasing acceptance and an explosion of LGBT people in media and pop culture are making HOCD harder to treat. Many well-intentioned but uninformed therapists, believing their patients are merely in the closet, will encourage them to get out there and try it. “I’ve seen people sent through all sorts of inappropriate therapies to help them explore and discover their true sexual identity when, in fact, it was never the case,” Penzel says. “It makes the person even more doubtful and does a lot of damage. Some people have this thought that they’ll never know their true sexual identity, and it can affect their ability to have
relationships. They become reclusive.” OCD occurs on a spectrum of severity. For most, a mixture of cognitive and behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment because it forces patients to mentally engage with their fears until reaching the point where those fears begin to feel benign. Antidepressants and SSRIs are often effective in treatment. In the most severe cases, brain surgery may be required. So-called gay-reparative-therapy camps, which have been outlawed in some states, may be getting a spike in business from youth and adults suffering from HOCD, many of whom come from conservative, religious backgrounds. MARK-AMEEN JOHNSON, 51, an openly gay man and an English-language professor at New York University, has experienced many types of OCD, beginning in childhood, that included naturaldisaster OCD, extremist-religion OCD, and health OCD. “The wackiest one is when I assumed something was wrong with my brain because, without any training, I should be able to read Latin,” he says. “This makes no sense. People with OCD are aware it makes no sense, but it feels real.” We’re sitting on a bench in New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, and Johnson tells me that on his way over, his OCD crept in. What if he doesn’t show up? he thought. What if this is all a joke? Before sitting, he checks the bench for bedbugs. “But that one is not really unreasonable,” he says. In 2004, while searching online for a support group for gay people with OCD, he stumbled upon a message board where users relentlessly questioned their sexual orientations. He found the posts odd, and then it struck him: This looks like OCD, and this is what they are obsessing about. He wrote a response along the lines of “I’m a gay man, and I have OCD, and it doesn’t sound like you’re gay to me.” He received a dozen replies, and people continue to contact him today. He estimates he’s written to at least a thousand people, the vast majority with undiagnosed HOCD, and only three or four who were actually gay and wanted to come out. He’s clear he’s not a psychologist and only gives people information about the disorder and links to resources. “It’s as if there’s one man and one woman writing to me because they all say the exact same thing,” Johnson says. “I say, ‘Here’s how I can tell this is HOCD. You told me when this began—six months ago, you saw a movie, and a character came out, and suddenly you were afraid, What if I’m gay. A real gay person doesn’t suddenly turn gay in a second. The person has always been gay.’ ” One Muslim woman in the Middle East was nursing false
fears of being a lesbian. “She was a student in gynecology, so now she’s looking at women’s private parts all day—not the best thing for her to be doing,” Johnson says. Another man’s gay paranoia began while he was using a public restroom in which he overheard two men talking. Looking down, he noticed a small amount of pre-cum and jumped to the conclusion that it was induced by the men’s voices. “A lot of people have dreams about their OCD content,” Johnson says. “I definitely do. So what do you think they dream about when they have HOCD? Oy vey!” The case that affected him the most was a high school football star from the Deep South who moved Johnson to tears over the course of their long correspondence. “He would say, ‘How can I be gay when I’m a football player?’ I didn’t want to tell him there was a gay football league, because that would have been the worst thing for his HOCD.” At one point, the young man’s mother contacted Johnson to say her son was crying every night, locked in his room. At Johnson’s encouragement, the man sought therapy and overcame his HOCD. The two remain friends. “Finally, he’s over his HOCD, and how does he celebrate?” Johnson asks. “He has a threesome with two women.” O U T F E B R U A R Y 2 0 17 8 3
Sur ve il l an ce
THE OUT GUIDE TO LIFE’S DEEPEST MYSTERIES
Sweet Dreams To sleep, perchance to dream, blah blah blah. Yes, sleep is awesome— and many of us don’t get nearly enough of it. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a third of Americans are getting fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, which is not good for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that it can increase your risk of obesity and lead to, um, an early death. Also, you’ll never find your Prince Charming with bags under your eyes. Follow this primer and you’ll soon sleep like a baby.
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Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, but we should, as a rule, aim for seven hours. Here are 9 tips for a better slumber.
TAKE A SLEEP AID.
Sleeping pills may work for you, but the jury is out on how effective they are. Some researchers have even suggested a link between sleeping medications like Nytol and Alzheimer’s. So try something more old-fashioned like a cup of hot milk (which contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you sleep) or a cup of tart cherry juice, which studies show can lead to a modest improvement in sleep.
BANISH CELL PHONES AND COMPUTERS FROM THE ROOM (AND PICK UP A BOOK INSTEAD).
Keeping your phone on your bedside table is a terrible idea. Also make sure you leave at least 30 minutes between checking your email and turning in for the night. Light emitted by our gadgets adversely affects our melatonin levels, which affects sleep. By contrast, reading lowers stress levels faster than any other common activity—and it will help you escape the worries of real life.
KEEP THAT CLOCK OUT OF SIGHT.
Seeing it from your bed can induce anxiety: Only five hours until the alarm goes off! Turn it away so you can’t see it. If you can avoid having to set an alarm at all, even better.
EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST— AND A SMALLER, EARLIER DINNER.
This is the hardest one for many of us, trained as we are to eat and run in the morning, but try to find time for a proper breakfast— and go easy on food late at night. No one wants to sleep on a full stomach.
PLAN OUT YOUR DAY WHEN YOU WAKE UP.
This will help induce a calmer mind, ready to tackle what’s ahead. While you’re waiting for your coffee, just write out the five or six things you plan to do and in what order.
MIND YOUR BREATHING.
Try meditation every morning for 10 minutes. A few simple breathing exercises should do the trick, maybe with the help of an app like Headspace.
DRINK LESS ALCOHOL, AND MORE WATER.
You really don’t need us to explain why. We’ve all had to deal with the consequences of a boozy night.
TIDY UP YOUR BEDROOM.
The room in which you sleep should only be the room in which you sleep. It’s not your office or your TV den. A cluttered bedroom is like a cluttered mind —it can make you feel distracted and anxious. Keep floors and surfaces as clean as possible. In feng shui terms, you shouldn’t even place anything under the bed—energy should circulate.
INSTALL BLACKOUT CURTAINS OR WEAR AN EYE MASK. For those who live in cities, in particular, light pollution can have a profound effect on our ability to sleep well. Take the time and money to install window treatments that really shut out the ambient light, or get an eye mask. It might be strange to adapt to it at first, but it’s a whole lot more practical, and cost-effective, than moving to the country.
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INVEST IN A NEW MATTRESS Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to buy one. We tried out three new models, and these were the results:
TUFT & NEEDLE TuftAndNeedle.com Price: $500 (Full); $600 (Queen) Daehee Park and JT Marino founded Tuft & Needle in 2012 after the newlywed Marino, shopping around with his wife, realized there was an opportunity for a reasonably priced and comfortable mattress. Pros: Great value. Foam mattresses can feel excessively hot, but by experimenting with a two-layer instead of a three-layer foam, Tuft & Needle have created a mattress that can breathe a little more easily. Cons: It can still be hot.
SONNO SonnoBed.com Price: $760 (Full); $875 (Queen) One of the latest entries into the foam mattress category, Sonno was created by Dino Corella and has a unique claim to fame: Each side of the mattress can be customized, so you get two levels of firmness, choosing from soft, medium, and firm. Pros: Easy to flip over, thanks to the handles on each side. Cons: The firm side could be firmer. Plus, five layers of foam—two for each side and one for the center—made the bed a little too toasty.
HELIX’S MADE-TO-ORDER MATTRESS HelixSleep.com Price: $800 (Full); $900 (Queen) Helix specializes in customizing mattresses, and found a mattress with firmness, sink, and support based on our answers to its comprehensive questionnaire on sleep habits, body shape, size, and weight. You can upgrade to a mattress with different zones for each partner too. Pros: The mattress arrives in under a week in a box compact enough to carry up a few flights. Difference in sleep quality is immediate. Helix also offers a cooling mattress that works well all summer, and a 100-night sleep test period, so if you’re not satisfied, they’ll refund your purchase and pick up the mattress. Cons: The instructions suggests that the mattress, once unwrapped and unrolled, takes its full shape after about 45 minutes. For us, it took half a day.
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From A to Zzz
Accessorize Your Snooze
STORE INFO Agent Provocateur AgentProvocateur.com
THE EYE MASK You could reuse one of those cotton eye masks you get in first class, but if you want to go all out this Bottega Veneta leather version in the label’s signature weave is something special. Pity you won’t get to see yourself wearing it. $250, BottegaVeneta.com/us
Frank Underwood Pajama by Sleeper. Who knew? The Ukrainian brand does nightwear proud with this classy, cozy pair of pajamas in pale and navy blue. They’re perfect for idling away your weekend morning. $255, The-Sleeper.com
Alpha Industries AlphaIndustries.com Bally Bally.com Bottega Veneta BottegaVeneta.com Burberry Burberry.com Calvin Klein CalvinKlein.us CD Greene CDGreene.com Chanel Chanel.com Charlie by Matthew Zink CharlieByMZ.com Christian Siriano ChristianSiriano.com
Egyptian cotton, with a 500-thread count, Snowe’s sheets are breathable and cool on the skin. A nine-piece set (fitted and flat sheets, a duvet cover, four pillowcases, and two pillow shams) is money well spent. $460, SnoweHome.com
Coach.com David Yurman DavidYurman.com Dior Homme Dior.com Dries Van Noten DriesVanNoten.be Ermenegildo Zegna Zegna.us
THE WATER CARAFE There’s nothing worse than waking in the night with a parched throat. Keep water on your bedside table with this elegant, practical pitcher from Riedel. $59, RiedelUSA.net
Hermès Hermes.com Kenzo Kenzo.com Lanvin Lanvin.com Louis Vuitton LouisVuitton.com
COURTESY OF BRANDS
THE SLIPPER These hand-cut, vegetabletanned leather slip-ons with a wool felt insole are inspired by a Civil War-era design and made by New York leather designer Andrew McAteer. $119, Kaufmann-Mercantile.com
Raf Simons RafSimons.com Ralph Lauren RalphLauren.com Versace Versace.com Victorinox SwissArmy.com
4,000 WO R D S
Love Is a Battlefield
Above: Nayyef Hrebid (left) with his husband, Betu Allami
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NEARLY 13 YEARS AGO, Betu Allami and Nayyef Hrebid fell in love in Ramadi at the height of the Iraq War. Hrebid, an interpreter for the U.S. Marines, and Allami, a soldier for the Iraqi Army, kept their affair hidden for five years, as same-sex relations in the military—and in the Middle East— were not socially sanctioned. Fast-forward to 2014, and the couple’s situation became vastly different. The dangers of combat far behind them across the Atlantic, they were married in Canada. They now reside in Seattle, their life together a complete 180 from when they first met. “I always tell him, ‘You’re the air I breathe,’ ” says Hrebid. “I can’t live my life without him.”
C O U R T E S Y O F N AY Y E F H R E B I D
After ye ars in hiding, these marrie d soldiers are sharing their stor y with the world.
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