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Today is National Coming Out Day. Here is my story.

National Coming Out DayHappy National Coming Out Day! Here’s my coming out story. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this before, but here goes. When I was 20 and studying in Japan, I was basically in love with my best friend… who, unfortunately, was straight. And a fundamentalist Christian. That in itself led to a particularly thorny couple of years involving a ex-gay ministry, which I’ve already written about in case you’d like to read it (see http://huff.to/1yXDCaY). But what I didn’t mention in that article is that before I came out to my best friend, I’d written a letter to a man I’d never actually met.

His name was Todd, and when I was in high school, he spoke to our entire class during a special assembly. He was a teacher at a neighboring high school — he taught English, if I remember correctly — and although he told us his last name, he told us just to call him Todd. He was the first openly gay man I’d ever really heard speaking about his experiences at length. He started the lecture by asking people to shout out any derogatory names they’d heard for gay people. Most of them I won’t repeat here; if this story ever makes it to Facebook, I’m afraid I’d be banned because Facebook’s anti-hate-speech engine doesn’t understand context. But suffice it to say, there were the usual suspects: “queer,” “f–got,” “fudge packer…” I even remember one person saying “square donut,” which drew a laugh from the assembled crowd. But then Todd turned it around, and asked us to imagine what it would feel like if those same words were hurled at us as insults, or even threats. It was a very powerful moment. The whole speech was very moving, and at times touching… like when Todd related coming out to his grandmother, who replied, “Well, sweetheart, even Jesus didn’t have any children.” I was closeted and rather terrified of coming out at the time, so I didn’t have the courage to speak to him afterwards, but the entire experience stuck with me and I’ve never forgotten it.

Fast forward three years, and I’m back in Japan, in love with my best friend who couldn’t love me back in the way that I longed for. I was wrestling with those feelings of loneliness and fear that we’ve all experienced at some time or another, compounded by the isolation of being 7,000 miles from home. So before I came out to my friend, I wrote a letter to Todd and addressed it to him at his high school. My tone was at once lonely, desperate, and oddly apologetic. It was a bit clinical as well: I remember using the word “homosexual” instead of “gay” (I used phrases like “I’ve suspected I was a homosexual since I was 12 years old”). I repeatedly asked Todd if there was something wrong with me. If I was normal.

About a month later, Todd’s response arrived by airmail (this was 1993, and email wasn’t particularly prevalent yet). It was handwritten. It took me about a week to open it, because part of me believed that the letter would confirm my worst fears: that I was, in fact, damaged. I half-expected the letter to contain punishing language, chastising me for what I assumed was my deviant soul. The reality, of course, was the opposite. The best word I can use to describe Todd’s letter is “soothing.” He reassured me that being gay is in fact okay, and even better, that there’s a huge network of support out there. He sympathized with my loneliness, and while he didn’t know of any support groups in Osaka, he gave me a phone number for an LGBT support line back home in Boston. He encouraged me to hang in there until I came home, assured me that things would get better, and told me that if I ever needed to reach him, he’d be there for me and do whatever he could.

Sadly, I didn’t write back.

If you haven’t read the Huffington Post article I linked to earlier, here’s a quick summary of what happened next. I wasn’t quite able to hang in there. I continued to fall head-over-heels for my friend, to the point of trying to convert to Christianity just so I wouldn’t feel so damn alone. I tried as hard as I could, but in my heart of hearts knew I was wasn’t being true to who I really was inside. The conversion therapy didn’t work — it never does — and I spent several years recovering from the effects that the ex-gay ministry had on me. I’d chosen the wrong path… but the right one was still waiting for me, and I’m now happy to be out and proud and comfortable with myself, even if it took me a few extra years to get there.

Anyway, that’s my coming out story. Maybe a few of you can relate, or are in a situation now like I was back then. I also just want to say that Todd was right, you’re not alone, and there is tons of support out there. You can read other coming out stories and find your local LGBT peer group by visiting the It Gets Better Project website at ItGetsBetter.org. And remember to love yourself, stay true to yourself, and above all, trust your heart.

– Jesse

P.S. Todd, I know it’s a long shot, and I don’t know how to reach you anymore, but if you happen to be reading this: THANK YOU. You gave me hope when I needed it most, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Me and Dirk at NYC Pride in 2015

Me and Dirk at NYC Pride in 2005

 

You never know what you’ll find inside a Bible…

I’m used to seeing my pics turn up on Twitter or Tumblr, but here’s something… different. When Dirk and I were up in Montreal a few weeks ago, I logged into Scruff* (as one does) to find a rather, um, unusual message from a fellow Bostonian who was also up for the weekend. It read:

openquoteHey mister! Fellow Flag footballer from Boston here, just curious and sorry for the forwardness, but is this a pic of you in my hotel bible?!”

And then I opened the attached photo and started laughing:

Okay… I know there’s a first time for everything, but this is pretty amazing. I can honestly say that I never, ever thought I’d be tucked away inside a Bible, let alone a French one. J’aime Montréal!

I’ve posted the rest of my conversation with the guy from Boston, whose name is Steve, below. He’s a cutie! By the way, I correctly guessed the name of the hotel that he and his friends were staying in, but I know that a lot of Americans stay there when visiting Montreal, so it was a little more than blind luck.

I can’t help but wonder where I’ll turn up next!

*Scruff is an app, similar to Grindr, that finds other guys in your area (or globally) who are interested in chatting, meeting for coffee, hooking up, etc. Dirk and I have met some amazing guys on there, and had more than a few mind-blowing hookups. But mostly we just use it to chat with good folks from around the world.

How not to take off like a hot air balloon when getting a blow job
… and other creative uses for sandbags

After I posted all those behind-the-scenes pics from my new movie Rent last night, a reader of my blog named James asked a very interesting and funny question:

openquoteJesse, if you get a second, could you explain to me the purpose of those weights on your feet during those seated-blowjob stills? I’m sure there’s a technical reason, but the only thing I can think of is ‘Bruce’s cocksucking skills are so amazing, they’re afraid you’ll take off like a hot-air balloon.'”

I like that idea, James! And actually there’s some truth to that… Bruce Beckham has skills. But the reality is that those weights are sandbags. When we’re shooting still photography, we often use one particular pose that makes our abs really pop: We sit on the very front edge of a chair, extend our legs in front of us in a “V”, then lean back and exhale… all while trying to look natural and keep our hard-on (hence the need for frequent fluffing sessions):

It’s one hell of an abdominal workout… but let me tell you, it feels great when it’s over…

… and I gotta say the resulting photos look pretty sweet, don’t ya think?

Hope that answers your question, James!

Titan members can watch and/or my 38-minute scene with Bruce here. Not a member? Watch a free 4 minute NSFW clip here, then become a member and get instant access to this and thousands of other scenes for as little as 38 cents a day.
 

This Saturday night… it’s Jocks for PAWS, part 2!

Jocks for PAWS

Dirk and I will be back in Albany, NY this Saturday night (February 27) to once again raise money for a great cause… PAWS! “Pets Are Wonderful Support” provides services and financial support to pet owners living with HIV and AIDS to ensure that they are not separated from their animal companions when they need each other the most. In 2015, over 100 clients and 150 pets in the Albany area received veterinary and in-home care, treats, litter, and almost 6 tons of pet food. Dirk and I had a great time raising money for this fantastic organization last year, and are really excited to be participating again in 2016!

The “Jocks for PAWS” fundraiser — which I hear will include a jockstrap auction — will take place at Rocks, located at 77 Central Ave. in downtown Albany, this Saturday night starting at 10 pm. Admission is $10, and proceeds will benefit PAWS ($20 VIP tickets are also available, which includes a meet-and-greet session with me and Dirk at 9 pm). For more information, visit the official PAWS event listing. Please come out and help support this great cause!

Here are a few pictures from last year’s event. Woof!

Jocks for Paws II

Watch Out… big things ahead

Watch Out...

I haven’t written much on the blog lately, but I’ve got a very good reason… I’ve been working on a big secret project that’s on deck to be announced early next week. I can’t wait for the secret to come out… I really think we’ve hit a home run with this one!

Stay tuned…