Dealbreaker: He's the Only Gay Boy I Know

I liked Stephen because he was gay.

In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

I liked Stephen because he was gay.

Stephen and I attended the same high school in suburban Maryland. We worked on the literary magazine together, but I only really took notice of him when a mutual friend told me he had come out of the closet. Stephen was now one of three openly gay guys in school, and the sole one with whom I had ever had a conversation. In the view from behind my closet door, that made him my closest chance at a high school boyfriend, which promoted him to daydream-level-attractive.

One evening, at a high school arts event, I found him at a lunch table, drawing a picture of dragons and castles. I hadn’t expected to see him there, but as chorus kids serenaded us on the cafeteria stage, I figured I had stumbled upon my first step toward actually making out with another guy. I wasn’t the fantasy genre type, but whatever—I could roll with this. I complimented him on the drawing. He said something like, "I love dragons, wizards, and secret powers.” I said something like, We all have secrets, Stephen." I was out, and suddenly, I was in.

I barely knew Stephen, and we staggered through the proceeding conversation. He was an aspiring interior designer with progressive politics and a deep interest in Wicca; I was an aspiring writer with neoconservative tendencies and no sincere spiritual connection. He was a budding gym-gay with respectable coiffure; I ran an 11-minute mile and parted my hair in the middle. He had Pride, and that scared me, both in him and myself.

A year after I came out to him over a dragon illustration, Stephen and I hadn’t unearthed any additional common ground. Still, he was gay. I knew him. And while I still wasn’t out at school, I had come out to my parents in October of my senior year of high school, which found me a little braver in my pursuit of male-on-male romance. Shortly after telling my parents about my sexuality—of which they were supportive—I wrote Stephen a love letter.

“Dear Stephen,” I wrote. “Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, ‘I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires.’” I asked him if he would hang out that Friday, where I planned to deliver the note. I didn’t know what would happen after that, though I imagined it would involve a couch and some light groping.

We set off for my default hangout place—an Annapolis Barnes & Noble—and grasped at the shelves for possible conversation aids.“Oh, look here,” I said. “W.H. Auden. Great gay poet.” He pulled out another title, one with ripped bodies and—yes—fangs on the cover. Of course Stephen was a fan of gay vampire erotica. We browsed further.

Stephen picked again, gleefully revealing the cover of some book featuring boys in tight jeans gently but erotically touching one another. I looked away. I had barely set foot out of the closet, and I was still embarrassed to be seen paging through anything less than the most literary of gay reading materials.We proceeded to the periodicals, where Stephen spotted the XY photo issue. XY was a magazine for gay kids replete with pictures of frosted-tipped twinks, silly sex tips, and copious use of the number “69.” Stephen had given me an issue a few months after I came out to him. It struck me as seamy and... liberated. I read it once, then stashed it in a shoebox under my bed, occasionally retrieving it when I felt like re-engaging with some version of gay identity aside from the one I was forming from my own interests and experiences. Every time I took out that issue of XY, I decided I didn’t want to think about that version of gayness any more. So I stood next to Stephen as he pawed through XY.

We must have both have sensed something coming between us, because we turned around to find another member of the XY demographic standing in front of us. He extended his hand. “My name is Dyson Bird. My friends call me Dice,” he told us. “You may have heard of me.”

We hadn't. Dice sat us down on one of the benches in the magazine section and told us why we should know him. He started the first Gay-Straight Alliance at his high school. He touted himself as a ubiquitous presence on the XY Baltimore website. And he had run for student council president. His slogan was "Nothing’s going to stop me from flying.” He was sort-of goofy, sort-of incredible; the kind of guy who makes you re-evaluate your crushes. Dice was also a physical manifestation of the rift between Stephen and I. Like me, Dice was a politics nerd. But like Stephen, he actually liked being gay. It was fun for him.

“What about you?” Dice asked me.

“Andy’s not out of the closet,” Stephen told him.

"Well," I said defensively. “It’s a conservative town.”

Stephen returned his attentions to XY. He and Dice took turns pointing out their favorite models, but I could only stare at so many photos of twinks. “I actually don’t like that magazine,” I said finally.

“Why not?” Stephen asked.

“It’s—exploitative,” I said. “Like, it says the only way to be gay is to be blonde, and with a hairless chest.”

That comment didn’t bring Stephen and I any closer, but it did open up the conversation between Dice and I. Stephen wandered off to the Religion/New Age section to peruse the Wiccan selection while Dice and I discussed future plans to help out fellow LGBTs. I soon learned that Dice was into student government for more than the resume-building; he was actually interested in making real social change. Dice discussed the benefits of political power, while I, an intrepid high school newspaper editor, extolled the advantages of controlling the press. Our power-fantasy bonding was only broken when we heard a British voice announce: “Never be afraid to show who you really are.”

Stephen was standing a few aisles over, gazing enchantedly at a woman at least twice our age. She had something of a friendly witch-next-door look about her. “I practice with a circle of fellow Wiccans in Annapolis,” she told Stephen. “Want to join us on Halloween?”

Stephen did, and the pair spent the remainder of my first gay outing discussing spells, crystal rituals, and tree correspondences. Dice and I chatted between ourselves, occasionally listening in to take in the magic. Eventually, the woman left, Dice and I exchanged phone numbers, and Stephen and I were alone again.

On the drive home, the most memorable part of our conversation concerned directions. I dropped him off. We shook hands.When I got home, I put the love letter I had written him through my parents’ paper shredder. I had officially spoken to another gay boy. I could call him when I wanted. We actually had something in common. I envisioned another couch, more groping. I was done with Stephen. I could have Dice.

It never happened. Dice and I chatted again over the phone a few days later, but the relationship never advanced to the couch cushion stage. I haven’t escaped the closet entirely—I’m not sure I ever will—but I have learned that I don’t have to settle for the first guy who knocks. Stephen taught me that I was capable of going on a date with another boy. Dice taught me that I was allowed to experience dating as it happens—not just through the idealized version I had constructed in my own mind.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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