Forty Under 40: Media

Ariel Foxman heads up an impressive list of out media professionals that includes Ariel Levy, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, Air Shapiro, Josh Rubin, and Rachel Maddow.

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 05 2009 11:00 PM ET

1027 BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS 40 UNDER 40 X390 (GRAHAM SMITH) | ADVOCATE.COM

Benoit Denizet-Lewis | Writer | 33 | Boston

Forty years ago it would not have been possible for a young journalist to make a name and a career for himself by writing about gay life for a mainstream news publication. But Benoit Denizet-Lewis, a contemporary journalist and author, has done just that, writing seminal articles for T he New York Times Magazine like "Double Lives on the Down Low."

"Being openly gay certainly didn't hurt my career," says Denizet-Lewis, who grew up in San Francisco not five minutes away from the Castro. As a young man in denial about his sexuality, he says he might as well have been 500 miles away. "As a kid I changed buses on the corner of Castro and Market, oddly enough, and I looked around and it was a lot of leather, and in my mind I didn't relate to that." Nevertheless, it makes him angry when he hears young people acknowledge that they're gay but then say that they don't relate to gay culture. "Their knee-jerk reaction [is to say] 'I am gay, but I am not like those girly guys,'È‚f;" he says. "I always try to get people to understand that those drag queens were a lot braver than those [straight-acting] guys who are often too chickenshit to come out." Denizet-Lewis's book America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life came out earlier this year, and early next year he will publish a collection of his writing about gay and youth culture titled American Voyeur: Dispatches From the Far Reaches of Modern Life.

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