Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Steven Saylor (Aaron Travis)

Steven Saylor (b. 1956, photo above) is a Texas-born gay author of popular historical novels about ancient Rome. He studied history and classics at the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with honors in 1978. From 1979 until the early 1990s he wrote heavy S/M gay erotic fiction under the pen name Aaron Travis. Fourteen of the Aaron Travis books have been re-published in e-reader formats. One of the short stories, “Blue Light”, a psychological mind-bender, has become an S/M classic. Every gay man should acquaint himself with this 35-page tale of erotic seduction fantasy; this story will remain in your head for days and weeks: still just $.99 in Kindle format.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0076F14KC/stevensaylorwebsA

In the early 1980s, following a move to San Francisco, Saylor became an editor at Drummer magazine, a popular gay S/M publication at the time. He explained in a later interview that the erotic fiction he wrote in his twenties emphasized the seriousness with which he undertook the task, stating, “I probably did more actual rewriting on those stories than anything I've done since, because for me, writing erotic fiction is like writing a piece of music, because if one note is wrong, you lose the audience.”


His porn writing is highly intelligent and atmospheric, but also brutally sadistic at times. His characters come together not just for intercourse, but to play mind tricks on one another (as well as on the reader). He dives into your subconscious, grabs hold and completely wrings it out – a rape not of the body, but of the mind.

In his short story “Eden”, a young man has a fantasy about a reunion with a classmate named Bill. Even this short sample indicates that Travis is head and shoulders above the average male porn writer:

“Bill would open the door, smiling. I would step inside and throw down my duffel bag. Then he would take me in his arms and kiss me – for the first time, because we had never kissed. He would undress me, and when I was naked, he would push me to my knees. I would look up at his face, so happy to be back – he would take out his cock and tell me to suck it. I could close my eyes and see it. After such a long time apart, he would want to reclaim my ass. I could tell him, honestly, that no one else has had it, as I walked naked to his bed to lie face down, spreading my legs for his cock....

It wasn’t really Bill’s cock I was lusting for. It was Bill. His cock was just the part of him that he gave me to love.”

“Blue Light”, the BDSM tale mentioned above, is a story in which a top loses control of a scene; it's a psychological terror, the equal of an Edgar Allan Poe horror story. Proof that Saylor/Travis could wrote porn of high literary quality lies in this description of a penis from “Blue Light”:

“It hovered over me, white and thick. It was perfect, like the rest of his body. Alabaster white and enormously thick, tapered slightly at the base. The head was huge. The skin was pearly white and translucent, as smooth as glass, showing deep blue veins within. The circumcision ring was almost unnoticeable, the color of cream. The shaft looked as hard as marble, but spongy and fat, as if it were covered by a sheath of rubbery flesh. I could feel its heat on my face.”


The Aaron Travis erotic novel “Slaves of the Empire” gave glimpses of his later (non-erotic) historical novels published under his own name. The best known of them is Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa series of thirteen novels set in ancient Rome. The first was published in 1991, and the most recent in 2016. The hero is a detective named Gordianus the Finder, active during the time of Sulla, Cicero, Julius Caesar, and Cleopatra. He has also written two epic-length historical novels about the city of Rome: Roma (2007) and Empire (2010). These books have been published in 21 languages and have earned numerous awards, including Lambda Literary Awards, the Crime Writers of America Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, the Herodotus Award from the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society, and the Hammett Award of the International Association of Crime Writers.

Saylor has lived with fellow University of Texas student Richard Solomon since 1976; they registered as domestic partners in San Francisco in 1991 and later legally married in October, 2008. The couple shares residences in Berkeley, California, and Austin, Texas.


The Seven Wonders, a prequel to the Roma Sub Rosa series, dates from 2016. Synopsis: In the year 92 BC, Gordianus has just turned 18 and is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a far-flung journey to see the Seven Wonders of the World. Gordianus is not yet called “the Finder” – but at each of the Wonders, the wide-eyed young Roman encounters a mystery to challenge his powers of deduction. Gordianus travels to the fabled cities of Greece and Asia Minor, then to Babylon and Egypt. He attends the Olympic Games, takes part in exotic festivals, and marvels at the most spectacular constructions ever devised by mankind – encountering murder, witchcraft, and ghostly hauntings along the way.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Rex



UPDATE: Rex died in late March, 2024, in Amsterdam.

When the artist known as Rex began working in New York City in the mid 1960s, his erotic pointillist style drawings gained immediate notoriety. At the time, photographic erotica was still illegal, but drawings and stories were protected by U.S. Supreme Court Free Speech rulings. His art was showcased in various gay magazines, such as Drummer, Straight to Hell, Honcho and The Advocate, and for a brief time his work illustrated S&M and leather-themed paperback erotic novels.

In addition to his hardcore illustrations, Rex produced poster art for gay venues in NYC and San Francisco. A famous series of iconic posters, calendars and T-shirt designs were commissioned by the legendary New York sex club, The Mineshaft. However, it was his depraved, hardcore fetish drawings in a series of self-published portfolios circulated underground that cemented his reputation as a leading artist of homoerotica. Rex was to illustration what Mapplethorpe was to photography.

A numbered limited edition hard cover portfolio of his drawings was published in Paris in 1986, and Rex Verboten, a retrospective hardcover volume on his work, was distributed by the German publishing house Bruno Gmünder.

As a creator of hyper-masculine, sexually perverse and psychologically disturbing imagery, his subject matter fell victim to the political correctness and self-censorship that intimidated gay media during the Reagan era. For this reason, Rex relocated to Europe, where he lived and worked (Amsterdam) until his death last month (March, 2024).
 
Among his contemporaries, Rex’s work stands out for its challenging content. His art continues to be confrontational and controversial as he dares to produce images of marginal and perverse sexual urges that many of his viewers may not ever want to admit to but nevertheless find savagely erotic.

Because this blog does not contain hardcore adult content, it was difficult to find examples to illustrate this post. Enter "Rexwerk" into a search engine, however, and mind-blowing examples of his art will sear into your mind. Amazing, singular stuff.


Saturday, April 20, 2024

Chad Griffin

 
Chad Griffin was president (2012-2019) of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

Since joining HRC as president in 2012, Griffin steered the organization into a fervent era of the fight for equality. He spearheaded investment in the 2012 elections that enabled victories from coast to coast and led advocacy around the Supreme Court’s rulings striking down Proposition 8 (which in 2008 barred recognition of same-sex marriages in California) and the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. He also sat on the board of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation New Orleans, which builds houses for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina.

At age 19 Griffin became the youngest-ever member of a presidential staff while working for Bill Clinton. He dropped out of college to take the job. After leaving the White House, Griffin graduated from Georgetown University and went on to forge a career in political strategy. At a private dinner with LGBT donors in 2012, Griffin asked Joe Biden the question, “What do you feel about us?” The dinner was held at the home of a gay male couple and their two children, and  Biden answered, “I wish every American could see the look of love that those kids had in their eyes for you guys. Then they wouldn’t have any doubt what this is about.” President Obama announced his own support for same sex marriage a few days later, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so. 





Griffin is passionate about extending HRC’s work to millions more, especially to young people in states like Arkansas, where Griffin (now age 43) was born and raised. He was named one of The Advocate’s people of the year, and has been regularly featured on Out magazine’s Out 100 and Power 50 lists of influential LGBTQ Americans. The Washington Post named Griffin one of the most influential "out Washingtonians".

Chad began dating longtime friend Charlie Joughin in 2015, and the couple walked the red carpet together at the September 2016 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, DC. For five years Joughin served as national press secretary for HRC.  As of this posting, the two are still very much an LGBTQ "power couple".

Primary source – HRC web site