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speaking of ridiculous flashbacks - our view in puerto vallarta on vacation two years ago was apparently just a few floors down (right) from where lea michele just went (left). i swear we are not living that ridiculous a life, we just tend to travel off-season (and mid-week) and obsessively hunt for cheap jetsetter deals. we pretty much had the (obscenely amazing infinity) pool to ourselves for three of the days we were there as a result. 


Just a few very on point reactions to The Normal Heart being snubbed at the Emmys


Matt Bomer is truly one of the nicest and most thoughtful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to interview, and at some point I might get over him not winning the Emmy just now. Maybe.

He said a lot of wise, self-aware things when we spoke, but it’s this quote (from outofficial) about what impact coming out might have on his career that I remember most:

“I’m so thankful to have been born in the times that we live in. I felt a responsibility to Simon and to our kids to be able to live with integrity and not have some strange split psychology of This is who my dad is at home, and this is who he is to the public. That trumped any type of professional repercussions that it could have had. And — not by my own volition or choice — I’ve been playing exclusively straight characters for the first 10 years of my career. Whatever happens from this point on says a lot more about the business and society than it does about me.”


A long, long time ago, Benoit Denizet-Lewis and I took a gay history class together at Northwestern, where I remember him being this vaguely skate punk kind of gay guy that was not particularly prevalent in the midwest. I was a cranky queer activist/journalist in training and am pretty sure I was mostly a complete nightmare to everyone around me. (Neither of us ever made it into the still-controversial classroom of sociology professor Michael Bailey, though.)

It’s been great ever since to watch Benoit tackle all kinds of immersive stories about subcultures—mostly communities or behaviors on the brink of getting their moment in mainstream media sun. (Remember teenagers and the “group hang”?) 

His new book is about dog culture in America, but really it’s about people and how crazy we are about dogs (spoiler alert: a lot). I asked him 10 questions for OUT about how he almost quit being a writer to work rescuing strays, whether it’s OK to judge people for not liking dogs, the pushback to his most recent NYT cover story about bisexuality research, and how the lucky jerk is going to have an article he wrote about an ex-gay friend turned into a movie starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto. 

Read it at

This sounds like a great opportunity for Benoit to get the lowdown on Noah and Skunk Quinto. ohhellnoah are you available?


Two months ago I decided to pay forward my Olympics pledging-not-betting system to track and celebrate the thelosangeleskings as they began the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is, I joked, what happens to the daughter of a gambler and a hippie: you are constantly making bets on things, but you mostly just want everyone to be happy!  

Supporting the You Can Play Project, which works to end homophobia in sports, is one small way that I feel better about getting so invested in (and spending so much money on) a sports/entertainment industrial complex that still isn’t all that sure what to do with its lgbtq fans or athletes. 

I decided on the rules I’d originally tried to use for the Olympics before learning the IIHF doesn’t track hits as a part of their box score: a nickel for every save by Quick (or any Kings goalie), a quarter for every hit by Brown, and a dollar for every goal scored by the Kings.

Twenty-six games later, I owe You Can Play $154.85, which is a good deal more than I’d expected—less because I wasn’t sure we could make to the Stanley Cup Final (I said back before we started that if we could actually beat San Jose I thought we had a really good chance to go all the way) than because I don’t think ANYONE expected the Kings to score 88 goals in four rounds. Quick made 708 saves (Jones made 4 in the first game against San Jose). And my favorite resident “bad boy” Captain Dustin Brown, who also donates to charity based on how many hits he records, led the league with 125. (All official counts are based on boxscores from 

I think this is definitely the most excited I’ve ever been to win and/or lose a bet against myself and pay up a good chunk of change. I just love this fucking team, you guys, for lots of reasons. But also I wrote a long piece for THXBUD earlier this year about why Brown is exactly the kind of tender tough guy a gay player would want in his corner, and Alec Martinez, who scored the Cup-winning goal last night (as well as the series-winning goal against Chicago to get them to the final), has also been a vocal supporter of YCP. 

When the NHL made an official partnership with YCP and talked about how they were “inviting” gay fans to join them, it meant something sort of sappy and profound to me—I hadn’t been waiting to be invited, but it mattered all the same that we were. I think there’s still work to do before that official pro-gay league party line is so well-absorbed that a (male) hockey player actually feels OK about coming out (and nothing changes), but we have had so much fun and felt so welcome at every game we’ve attended. 

I am just so fucking glad these playoffs are over, and even more glad that we won, and so very happy to watch the entire world of sports changing right before our eyes. 

when we were getting married, my very WASPy, slightly unsure how to act around us aunt asked me, “what kind of activities do you think you’ll pursue as a couple?” we didn’t know then this would be something that become so important and such a passion to us, but it has been a great time. and we really, really, really want to be on the Kisscam.



Very few of the men about whom The Normal Heart was written are still alive to see it come this far. Rodger McFarlane, Kramer’s best friend who was fictionalized as Tommy Boatwright in the film and portrayed by Jim Parsons (returning to his role in the 2011 Broadway staging), died in 2009.  

Rodger was the executive director of GMHC for four years, then helped found/run ACT UP, Broadway Cares/Equity Fight AIDS, Bailey House and later the Gill Foundation, a Colorado-based LGBT civil rights advocacy and policy organization.

Rodger didn’t die of AIDS; he shot himself at age 54, leaving a note that said he didn’t want to become further debilitated from a recent heart attack and the lingering impact of an earlier broken back. (Larry, in his notes about who inspired whom, wrote that Rodger “committed suicide in despair.”)  

Here’s a long interview from 1998 with Rodger reposted by NPR after his death. He talks about having written, with his brother who was then dying of AIDS, a book about caring for loved ones on their death beds:

We form our impressions of dying and death from TV and the movies…it’s like your skin gets rosier, the strings swell, and the camera focus softens… That in my experience is not exactly what life in intensive care and the emergency room—where four out of five of us die—is like. 

Rodger, who was known for being very tall and very direct and foul-mouthed in a somehow sweet and charming way (which Parsons absolutely nails in the film), was particularly clear-eyed and angry at how LGBT politics were so slowly evolving. In a 2006 interview, he said:

"In the past it was we’ve gotta elect a Democrat, we’ve gotta elect a Democrat. And the Democrats haven’t done very well, nor have they responded to our adversaries. I think they’re just scared of our issues. They’re stuck [back] 10 years ago and think this is a negative, when in fact, if you look at the data and if you get on the offensive, it is not a negative. Tim [Gill] has said, passing money through the Democratic Party and letting someone speak for us has not worked. We always end up as the piece that is negotiable – we always fall off the end. Bill Clinton would make speeches that would inspire you to walk across the desert, and then every time we came to getting something out of committee or actually voting on something,we were the ones that were cut.”

David France (the longtime AIDS journalist who made How To Survive a Plague) wrote a moving and beautiful portrait of Rodger for New York magazine:

Rodger always deplored self-pity… “Life is fucking tough, and it’s not fair, goddamn it,” Rodger told me a year ago. “And if you didn’t learn that in the eighties, you didn’t learn anything.”

As Tommy Boatwright, Jim Parsons somehow manages to sound and speak in a way very much like I remember Rodger McFarlane, on whom the character is based. It was uncanny to see the first time, like when you have a dream about a dead friend and for a minute when you wake up you don’t remember they’re really gone.

Rodger and I weren’t really friends, or even close colleagues, but we’d worked together on a number of projects, and because he was a favorite friend of many of my mentors, I always felt like I knew him better than I really did.

The fact is that AIDS killed a lot of people in a lot of ways, and whether it was self-defense for Rodger to take his own life before it could be degraded by illness, as he’d seen happen to so many of his friends, or whether he had simply run out of fight, it seems fitting today to offer this memorial. 

(Source: mrhankey)



There’s fairly explicit sex in The Normal Heart, but what you won’t see is condoms. That much, at least***, is historically accurate.

But in 1981, almost no gay men were using condoms. They weren’t worried about getting a girl pregnant, after all, and though STDs such as gonorrhea or the crabs were a fairly common experience, they were almost entirely viewed as a short-term, easily-treated consequence of sexual liberation. It was an inconvenience and maybe a cautionary tale, but unlikely to change the entire way you went about having sex. 

AIDS—especially not knowing what it really was, how it could be transmitted, and how long it would be until there was a cure—changed that. There’s one scene in the film where Julia Roberts’ character, a doctor, tries to persuade a room full of gay men that they should stop having sex. Just stop. Having. Sex. 

It goes badly. Take that one meeting’s explosive outrage and frustration and fear that both fleeting encounters or longterm relationships were now possibly deadly and multiply it by about 10 years—because that’s how long it took before there was something of a (still debated) consensus that sexually active people should use condoms every time they have sex.

Here’s a little more context from POZ magazine founder Sean Strub’s memoir, Body Counts:

Following decades of shame, the Stonewall riots had presaged an unprecedented explosion of gay male sexuality, which was the environment in which I came out as a gay man. Men who, only a few years earlier, might have committed suicide or stayed closeted in their hometowns had flocked to the safety and privacy of gay urban ghettos. Sex itself had become synonymous with liberation; it was the antidote to oppression, with some men seeking validation and pleasure in the arms of hundreds or thousands of partners.

By the time the first cases of disease were reported, we had elected a handful of openly gay and lesbian candidates to local offices and passed a few municipal nondiscrimination ordinances. We felt like we were on a path toward somewhere better, although there was no sense of inevitability to our struggle, particularly as the religious right emerged to push us back.

Despite the political gains, there were woefully few public venues for gay men to meet except those that were sex-oriented, such as bathhouses, bookstores, and backroom bars. These venues were defended fiercely; they were the only places where many closeted gay men could socialize safely. When public health authorities in some cities sought to have them closed as the epidemic grew, it drove numerous gay men to activism. They were protecting spaces they valued for themselves, as well as the only places where many gay men could be reached for education about HIV and safer sex.

While the post-Stonewall generation of gay men embraced their sexual liberation with gusto, most had been taught little or nothing about sexual health. The relationship between gay people and the medical profession, historically, had been contentious, mistrustful, and highly politicized. It was less than a decade before that homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder, yet many doctors clung to the idea that homosexuality required professional intervention to “cure.”

Systematic oppression, a hostile culture, and self-hatred damaged gay men, and when the ’70s presented a sexual liberation unimagined only a few years before, it resulted in sexual behaviors and environments that created the perfect storm for a sexually transmitted virus to spread rapidly. The lack of knowledge about gay men’s sexual health and access to health care that respected gay sexuality compounded the problem.

In 1983, two NYC gay activists and their doctor published a small booklet called How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, which controversially did not encourage abstinence but rather celebrated all of the emotional reasons that sex plays such a huge part in anyone’s life. And though there was debate still about whether there was a single virus or multiple factors that could lead to infection, recommended condom use (and negotiation/discussion about risk). 

That’s the modern foundation of “safe(r) sex”—the idea that sex is such a powerful and eternal part of human expression that simply telling huge groups of people NOT to do it is likely to be less effective than educating them and arming them with a way to do so that helps prevent new infections. 

It wasn’t until 1986 that the US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop would tackle a similar concept for all Americans. At a time when there were serious suggestions that everyone with HIV be tattooed or quarantined in order to contain spread of the disease, Koop advised:

"Many people, especially our youth, are not receiving information that is vital to their future health and well-being because of our reticence in dealing with the subjects of sex, sexual practices and homosexuality. This silence must end. We can no longer afford to sidestep frank, open discussions about sexual practices -homosexual and heterosexual. Education about AIDS should start at an early age so that children can grow up knowing the behaviors to avoid to protect themselves from exposure to the AIDS virus."

But the next year, when Congress finally appropriated $30 million in emergency funding so states could help provide AZT, they also passed an amendment from Jesse Helms, which banned funding any educational materials about AIDS that “promote or encourage, directly or indirectly, homosexual activities.” 

Irony alert: Here’s what then-NYC Mayor Ed Koch wrote in the NYT about the Helms Amendment:

"We have got to call a spade a spade," said Senator Jesse Helms in offering an amendment to the fiscal 1988 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, "and a perverted human being a perverted human being." Ironic comments, indeed, given the profound perversity of the policy his amendment advances….

Senator Helms may not like homosexuals. But he and those who voted for the amendment should remember that homosexuals - and intravenous drug users - are the sons and daughters of families who love them. They too deserve protection against the gravest public health threat our nation faces.

But Helms’ “no promo homo” rules had a devastating impact on American sex ed, as right wing activists on local school boards routinely attacked any teacher or organization they deemed in violation. The result in most school districts was a sex ed program that may have discussed AIDS but rarely in any meaningful or helpful way.


Got a story about sex ed or safer sex to share? Submit a postsend us an ask, or post your own tagged #normalheart-history.

***Unless I was particularly bleary-eyed with tears during that part, this poster appears in the background of a scene in the HBO film that should be set in 1983 or so, despite the fact that the poster wasn’t created by the activist art collective GRAN FURY until 1988, and was part of a larger campaign bringing attention to the growing number of infections among women. The film does not exactly have Mad Men-level attention to historical detail. 

I spent two years working as the press secretary/policy director for San Francisco’s STOP AIDS Project, an HIV-prevention agency targeting gay/bi/trans men. I was supposed to be there two weeks, maybe a month, maybe two. But even though it was 2002, 15 years after the Helms Amendment passed, someone in GWB’s White House decided to make an example of us. How dare we—an organization that had been funded by the CDC to do HIV prevention for over a decade—be talking to adult, consenting men who were already having sex with other men as if they were capable of making a decision for themselves? How dare we use a single penny, a paper clip’s worth, of federal funding to help these men teach each other how to do so more safely?

Two years, three Congressional inquiries or audits or investigations. This was not in the ’80s. (This is why it matters who’s in the White House.) It’s probably the hardest job I’ve ever had. I was 24. I was so fucking angry and spent so long on the phone every day yelling about this ridiculousness that I’d lose my voice, every night. I spent a lot of time explaining to reporters why people might still need to learn about safe sex, as if the exact same type of politicians who’d passed Helms’ homophobic bullshit the first time weren’t still the ones trying to keep literal life-saving information out of the hands of young men who most needed it now. (I did, however, leave there with an engraved lucite award proclaiming me the “Spokesperson for Sodomy,” which is basically the best moniker ever.)

Just, listen to me for a second. Here is what I learned is the most important educational message of all:

Your lives are worth saving. YOU are worth saving. You are worth treating your body and your emotions with care and attention. You are worth learning more, even if you have to teach it to yourself and your friends like it’s 1981 all over again. You are worth doing what you need to stay alive. You are worth more than this country knows, still, but they’re the ones who are wrong. You’re worth saving. Take care of each other.

This is my wife. She is fierce and she is amazing. And the award is heavy cut glass, my dear, not lucite. 


Director Bryan Singer on not really coming out, the queer allegories of superheroes and the power of Ellen Page | OUT, June/July 2014

A little background: I interviewed Bryan Singer in late February and found him smart, intense, intimidating, passionate, candid and self-aware. I was excited to talk to him for OUT because the X-Men franchise is among the biggest movie series ever and has an undeniably queer allegory at its heart. (According to Singer, even Stan Lee agrees with the metaphor.)

This article was originally slated to accompany Singer’s appearance on OUT’s Power List, in the May issue, but got bumped to June/July because of space limitations. The issue was just being finalized when the lawsuit against Singer alleging he’d sexually assaulted a teenager in 1999 was announced. Singer has denied the allegations and declined any further comment to OUT.

These are serious allegations, and there are a lot of conversations to have about Singer’s presumed innocence or guilt, and about the outdated and homophobic language that is being thrown around even now by news outlets covering this lawsuit. There’s an even bigger, and vitally important, discussion that we all need to keep having about consent, sober consent, informed consent, enthusiastic consent, and how it is impacted by the age and/or relative power of the people involved. None of that is addressed in this article, but not because I think we should stop talking about it.

You can read the profile at

I’ve sworn to get off the internet and stop searching for either his name or snarky comments about outofficial (looking at you, Geidner) for the rest of this news cycle, but look. my wife did this interview, with an interesting, weird, and challenging figure. she worked very hard on writing the piece, and conveying what was interesting and queer and relatable about this filmmaker. and then shit got…weird and challenging. I don’t know what to say about it other than that, and that it’s a good piece. 


cc: outofficial



The Bomer Method | OUT June/July 2014

Cover story by Shana Naomi Krochmal 
Photography by Kai Z Feng

How Matt Bomer met Larry Kramer, won his dream role in The Normal Heart, and kept on living his own normal, yet charmed, life.

Read it at

This one means a lot to me. (Related side project: a Tumblr teach-in about the early AIDS epidemic.) I’ll have more outtakes, commentary and miscellany here throughout the week. Extremely HQ cover above, as promised.

As always, hit my ask box with any questions/comments/!!!. <3


Follow the official The Normal Heart Facebook at TheNormalHeartonHBO

Saw this on the side of a bus yesterday! We’ll have more Matt Bomer up at
early next week, by the way. SO excited for everybody to see/read/spaz over what we’ve got in store!

(Source: thenormalheart-movie)





So you know what I don’t get? Why people repeat words. (x)

Grammar time: it’s called “contrastive reduplication,” and it’s a form of intensification that is relatively common. Finnish does a very similar thing, and others use near-reduplication (rhyme-based) to intensify, like Hungarian (pici ‘tiny’, ici-pici ‘very tiny’).

Even the typologically-distant group of Bantu languages utilize reduplication in a strikingly similar fashion with nouns: Kinande oku-gulu ‘leg’, oku-gulu-gulu ‘a REAL leg’ (Downing 2001, includes more with verbal reduplication as well).

I suppose the difficult aspect of English reduplication is not through this particular type, but the fact that it utilizes many other types of reduplication: baby talk (choo-choo, no-no), rhyming (teeny-weeny, super-duper), and the ever-famous “shm” reduplication: fancy-schmancy (a way of denying the claim that something is fancy).

screams my professor was trying to find an example of reduplication so the next class he came back and said “I FOUND REDUPLICATION IN ENGLISH” and then he said “Milk milk” and everyone was just “what?” and he said “you know when you go to a coffee shop and they ask if you want soy milk and you say ‘no i want milk milk’” and everyone just had this collective sigh of understanding.

Another name for this particular construction is contrastive focus reduplication, and there’s a famous linguistics paper about it which is commonly known as the Salad Salad Paper. You know, because if you want to make it clear that you’re not talking about pasta salad or potato salad, you might call it “salad salad”. The repetition indicates that you’re intending the most prototypical meaning of the word, like green salad or cow’s milk, even though other things can be considered types of salad or milk. 

Can I make love to this post?… Is that a thing that’s possible?

i just had a linguistgasm.

and here we have the linguistic explanation of the infamous “gay gay.”

(Source: gifmethat, via blurintofocus)



Nice, France

Hah. It’s like “nice, France! well played!”



Meet OUT’s June/July cover boy. You may also know him as Matt Bomer. You may now attempt to go about your Monday like nothing interesting has happened, but you will be so, so wrong. 

Here’s an excerpt from my cover story:

Bomer, whom Murphy had cast in guest roles on Glee (he played Darren Criss’s older brother) and The New Normal (as Andrew Rannells’s ostentatious ex-boyfriend), campaigned aggressively to play Felix. “Matt, out of everybody, fought the hardest for it,” Murphy tells Out. “It was that same passion that I had used to persuade Larry Kramer to give me the rights to the play.”

Murphy told Kramer they’d found their Felix. “I said, ‘I really believe in Matt Bomer.’ And Larry said, ‘But he’s so beautiful! Is he too beautiful?’”

Murphy arranged a meeting between the two men. “I was pretty starstruck,” Bomer says. “It was like meeting one of the Beatles. He was so central to my understanding and development. We talked for a really long time.” Kramer emailed Murphy immediately after: “He’s the one.”

Because Bomer knew the part would require a production break during which he would have to lose a substantial amount of weight—40 pounds—part of his original lobbying effort for the role was extensive, specific research into how, in 1984, a man dying of AIDS would see his body change. His transformation— especially in contrast to Ned and Felix’s vigorous sex scenes earlier in the movie—is a painfully, hauntingly accurate time capsule.

“I think Matt felt the ghosts,” Murphy says. “I think he felt all the shame and humiliation and degradation of all those brothers who have died of AIDS. It was a very beautiful, spiritual thing to witness.”

Filming such demanding material over the course of five months employed Bomer’s years of classical training, and it took him back to that wide-eyed 14-year-old who first read The Normal Heart. “You’re really lucky as an artist if you get a role that changes you as a person,” Bomer, now 36, says earnestly, on the brink of tears. “It taught me how to access myself on a completely different level as an artist. And it blew my mind in terms of the level of unconditional love between Ned and Felix—my goodness, if these people could incorporate this into their lives, under their circumstances, why can’t I?”

My full interview with Bomer, some adorable outtakes and more AMAZING photos will be up next week. In the meantime, as always, feel free to hit my ask box with questions/queries/exclamation points.

I’m so very lucky to get to read these things (usually) before anyone else does. I sometimes send back her drafts with word suggestions, minor corrections, or the rare frowny face in the margins. This is my favorite “celeb profile” she has written yet, by far, because it came straight from the heart. You can read her heart, and Matt’s, right there in the words, and those needed no corrections.