Adam, in his own words:“I wrote an essay for The Gay Men Project in 2012 about the importance of setting one’s own benchmarks and expectations. I was and still am an impressionable young man living in a very dynamic city, so I continue to stress over this principle each day: How will my encounters and experiences affect my priorities? Can I set new, ambitious goals without discrediting a humble and sincere foundation?
My project The Prospectives is an attempt to exorcise some of these concerns. It is a serialized story about a group of friends, most of them succeeding professionally and feeling comfortable in their own skin. Despite having sound minds and direction, each person’s identity is affected by many variables: ambition, romance, family, friends, expectations. Motives evolve and peace of mind feels elusive.
I hope you find The Prospectives as relatable as The Gay Men Project. At its core is the examination of identity and the celebration of hard-earned happiness. I write it to remind people that we have as much potential as we allow for ourselves, and that peace of mind is far less elusive when our feet are planted on the very foundation from which we grew.
Han, in his own words:“For me, being gay, especially in this generation, has a very specific meaning. I have to constantly remind myself that the only reason why I am able to walk down 9th avenue holding my boyfriend’s hand is because of those who came before me, the gay men who fought the fight in hopes that one day, other gay men can show affection in public without being worried that they might get arrested or beaten up. Most NYC gay men in my generation do not have to deal with any of that. We don’t need fag hags standing next to us at clubs. We don’t need to have sex in secret worrying that if we were caught, our pictures would be all over the news. So for me, being a gay man living in New York City, it’s a balance of understanding where we came from and appreciating those who came before us, but also enjoying what we are able to have and remembering that we are the ones now that have to continue this fight and this march so that hopefully the generation after ours will have even less to worry about.
For a long time, I resented being a gay man in this generation. When I first started learning about the gay culture in the 60’s and the 70’s, I felt incredibly out of place. I felt like I had missed out on the “gay golden years”, missed out on the sexual revolution, the riots… I mean it was the height of the gay liberation movement, and it felt like I had missed out on an important experience as a gay activist. I wanted to be there leading the march, fighting the police, cruising the west side piers…. Then one day, I was having this conversation with a good friend of mine, and she reminded me that despite how meaningful and glorious I think those years might have been, I have to remember that it was incredibly difficult being a gay man, far more than it is today. She reminded me that those men fought for my rights, fought hard so that one day people like me didn’t have to go through what they had to go through. Larry Kramer’s story wasn’t a play back then, it was reality. So sure, there are parts of gay culture that I wish I could’ve experienced, and that’s a shame, but some of it… we shouldn’t ever have to see again. And for that, I am grateful. The fight is far from being over, but the history that we get to write today is far less painful than it was 40 years ago. A lot of it is actually quite beautiful.
I would tell my younger self two things: 1. Get out there and love hard. 2. Stay away from tequila.”
Jeremy, in his own words:“To me, being gay has always been about a connection I’ve felt with men. It’s not that I’m not physically attracted to women. It’s just that I know that I can understand men in a way that I can’t understand women. It’s entirely possible that I just haven’t given myself the chance to even try, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it!
The biggest challenge was growing up in rural Minnesota. The amount of ignorance that I’ve encountered in my life is crippling. People fear what they don’t understand, and I was something that Hutchinson, MN could not wrap their minds around.
The gay community in New York is scary. I can’t walk down the street without seeing a buff dude strutting his perfectly toned body with his perfectly toned boyfriend. When I first moved here I was worried that it took the washboard abs to thrive as a gay man in New York City, but I’m beginning to realize that even if it’s true I just don’t care. I really love myself at this current juncture of my life.
I don’t really have a coming out story. I never struggled with my sexuality. I’ve always known I was gay even before I knew what being gay was. Although, I do remember when I was little I was playing video games with my mom’s boyfriend, and I told her I was going to marry Captain America, and she responded “Yes you are baby!”. That’s probably the earliest conversation I had with my mom about my sexuality!
(Advice I’d give my younger self) Flaunt it! Flaunt it like you don’t give a damn because in most cases you really shouldn’t. Also buy a pair of leggings right now!