A Day in Gay America, 2010

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com July 12 2010 3:00 AM ET

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What does it look like to be gay in America in 2010? There are some people who insist that if you don’t look like a stereotype, you’re just not doing it right. But the truth is that our gay lives are simultaneously as mundane as those of our heterosexual peers and more wildly varied than even we acknowledge at times. This documentary project, for which we asked our readers to submit photos of their own lives on one single day—May 21, 2010—is the first of a kind for The Advocate. And the results speak beautifully for themselves. Each picture serves as a reminder—to ourselves and to others—that we are undeniable, we are unique, and that no one has the right to tell us who we should love or how we should express ourselves.

This portfolio includes the 35 images from the print issue of the magazine. Check back Monday, July 19 for part two of our four part series.

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7:15 a.m., Miami. Gregory Abplanalp (left) and his partner, filmmaker Reed Cowan (8: The Mormon Proposition), make a morning photo-op visit to the beach with sons Asher and Kai. “We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the twins’ adoption,” Cowan says, “and wanted a photo book for the birth families who chose us—a gay couple—to raise these amazing children.” 

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7:36 a.m., Grass Valley, Calif. Tony Fairchild of the Wild Blackberry Springs Ranch, which he owns with his partner, gives orphaned goat Red a morning feeding.  

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8:05 a.m., Chicago. Richard Johnson gets his day started with a morning ritual that men have faced for centuries—the shave before heading off to work. 

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9:45 a.m., Richmond, Va. Christian singer-songwriter Jennifer Knapp heads for her departure gate at the Richmond International Airport. “It’s rare when I get an escalator to myself,” she says. “Usually, I am one of the many anonymous in the transient crowd. But this captures how solitary being on the road can often feel.” 

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10:09 a.m., somewhere in Connecticut. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow hits the road, “sick, missing work, and driving home to Massachusetts.” 

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10:18 a.m., Los Angeles. Corey Saucier meets with his physician, Juan Carlos Ricaurte. “My three-month checkup has become part of my norm,” Saucier says, “just another point on the itinerary of this HIV-positive man.”  

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10:59 a.m., New York City. Jon Paul Buchmeyer, author of the memoir Alphabet City, on Fifth Street and Avenue A in the East Village. “This sums up what I think of my gay life,” he says. “It’s me with an optimistic attitude, like Mary Tyler Moore, thowing my hat in the air.”  

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10:20 - 10:55 a.m., New York City. Scissor Sisters front man Jake Shears works out by the Christopher Street Pier near the West Side highway in Manhattan.

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11:18 a.m., Raleigh, N.C. Hans Bernhard (left) and partner Mitch Null make some family time in Umstead Park with Null’s parents. “My partner and I are adopting a baby,” Null says, “and my parents’ support assures me that our child will grow up in a loving, nurturing family.” 

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11:55 a.m., Virginia Beach, Va. “This picture means a lot to me because I love my partner so much,” Beth Brooker (right) says of Cheri Danner. “We have a great life together, and she makes me so happy! We just wish we could get married. We are, after all, just normal people.” 

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12 p.m., New York City. Actor Nick Adams, now appearing in La Cage aux Folles on Broadway, takes advantage of Manhattan’s spring warmth so he and 8-year-old Lady, adopted by Adams in November, can stretch their legs. 

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12:09 p.m., Evanston, Wyo. Jeannie Crewson traveled from Tempe, Ariz., with a friend “who had some family business to take care of and didn’t want to go alone.” And the day of their trip, she says, “happened to be my birthday.” 

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1:26 p.m., San Diego. William Ryan reviews some of his day’s work as a pathologist at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center.  

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2:15 p.m., Los Angeles. Pam Garcia, James Ray, and Jon Luskin prep gear for the seven-day AIDS/LifeCycle, which ended June 12. Photographer Robert Blackmon says that “2,500 people embarked on the journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It’s quite the event.” 

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2:36 p.m., New York City. Conductor, composer, and arranger Steven Reineke—the newly appointed music director of the New York Pops—gets a moment to run through some music in his Manhattan high-rise apartment before a meeting with a colleague. 

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3 p.m., San Francisco. Anthony Loverde, who was kicked out of the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell” after 7½ years of service, drives his personally decorated car across the country, he says, “to help tell our story of service members who have been discharged.” 

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3:14 p.m., Los Angeles. Kim Klein (left) and Shirley Delovich snuggle with 2-day-old Sullivan and Samantha at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. “Kim was able to carry and give birth to the twins, thanks to an embryo adoption,” Delovich says. 

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3:23 p.m., Burbank, Calif. Ross Matthews checks in with contacts from his office at NBC studios, he says, to create “another ridiculous idea to do on The Tonight Show, where I’ve been a correspondent for over eight years.” 

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3:40 p.m., New Orleans. In a “sumptuously designed” home on St. Charles Avenue, actor, designer, and author Bryan Batt is “hard at work on my second book, Mad for Design, editing photos and other transparencies. It will be a coffee-table design book featuring beautiful rooms I love and why. It’s not far off from my other business, Hazelnut, a fine gift and home-accessories shop that I co-own with Tom Cianfichi, my partner of 21 years. Yes, that’s right; we met in kindergarten.” 

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3:50 p.m., Washington, D.C. Joe Novotny, the first out reading clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives, executes one of his duties—“to deliver engrossed and enrolled bills to the Senate. I truly love what I do, and I always remind myself how fortunate I am to work in the Capitol.” 

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3:56 p.m., New York City. During filming of the forthcoming Logo reality show Real Socialites of New York, actor, model, and reality-show winner Reichen Lehmkuhl breaks for a late lunch on the High Line, an old elevated freight railroad that’s been transformed into a park. 

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4:04 p.m., near Rapid City, S.D. Clad in his racing gear, 17-year-old Wyatt Maki shows off his 2010 Honda CRF250, “which I just bought recently,” he says. “I’m an avid racer and thought it would be interesting to show a young, out (and proud) athlete.”  

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4:10 p.m., Holyoke, Mass. Patrick Getty is a 31-year-old paleontology doctoral student studying dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Footprints Reservation. “One of those tracks,” he says, “can be seen at the bottom of the photo.” 

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4:15 p.m., West Hollywood, Calif. Playwright Del Shores says, “I loved this day, directing my new play, Yellow, on our beautiful, unfinished set at the Coast Playhouse.” 

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5:45 p.m., Bernalillo, N.M. Aaron Calderon snaps a memento with his mother on the night before his graduation. “I am the senior class president,” he says, “and the first gay one at Bernalillo High.”  

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6:15 p.m., Los Angeles. Actor Rip Taylor undertakes his daily routine—whether doing a play or not, he says, adding, “I can’t be seen in public without the chin strap and braces. What wig?” 

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6:18 p.m., Palm Springs, Calif. Leo Gonzales (left) and friend Earnest pose poolside at their desert getaway while “enjoying the comforts of an all-gay, all-male resort.” 

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6:20 p.m., Burlington, Vt. Heather Kohser (left) and Madaid Lopez grab a moment together during a typically out-of-sync work day. “Heather works nights as a pediatric nurse,” Lopez says, “and I work days as an animal nurse. There are days when the only time I get to see Heather is when we meet on the causeway—she on her way to work, me going home.” 

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6:27 p.m., New York City. Sylvia’s Place staff member Kristen Lovell looks in a mirror while her hair is styled. A program of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York, “Sylvia’s Place was one of the first shelters for homeless LGBTQ youths,” says photographer Lucky Michaels. 

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6:45 p.m., New York City. Tony Award winner Levi Kreis runs a sound check before a performance as Jerry Lee Lewis in Broadway’s Million Dollar Quartet.

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7:36 p.m., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Tim Seabridge kisses Timothy Holderman at Seabridge’s prom. “It was an amazing moment because his school is so accepting of gay people,” Holderman says. 

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8:44 p.m., Seattle. Twenty-eight-year-old Ronke Akanni smirks as best friend Alisha whispers to her at Seattle’s gay prom. “I didn’t get to go to my prom in high school,” she says, “so when Seattle decided to do a gay prom, I finally got a chance to go.” 

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8:50 p.m., San Francisco. Photographer John Arsenault waits outside a Castro theater for his date. “I was just capturing a very special moment of my day,” he says. “I was excited to see a movie, and it was great. And it was a great date too, by the way.” 

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8:58 p.m., Las Vegas. Bernard Gaddis (left) and Ross Gibson stretch between their performances in Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère, which is running at the Treasure Island hotel and casino. 

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10:02 p.m., Nashville. Musician Daniel Cartier shaves his head before a video shoot for one of the songs off his new album, Redemption, which was released June 1. “We moved to Nashville to record it,” Cartier says. “We’re filming a video for every song on the album. Some will feature me, and some will feature other people. It’s going to take all summer! My partner, Joe McGinnis, took this picture.” 

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11:40 p.m., Palo Alto, Calif. RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Jujubee prepares for a performance at Illusions nightclub, sponsored that night by Club Fuz.