Two years ago, I started interviewing people in the theater world about the problems within that community.
All the subjects of the interviews remained anonymous to encourage people to speak directly and plainly without worrying that there would be consequences down the line.
(Of course, even then, some people felt like outing themselves and getting in hot water, but we're going to leave that water under another bridge.)
When I decided it was time to bring the series to a close, it was partly because I thought it had run its course, and partly because I had a new topic I wanted to tackle.
While I've had my issues with theater and the people who do it, I've never felt like I didn't belong there, whereas from the moment I came out, I've never truly felt like a part of the gay community.
To be clear, that probably has way more to do with me than the community, but it's something I wanted to explore, and I knew how I wanted to do it.
The theater interviews were always conducted with people who didn't live anywhere near me, and there was a reason for that. We like to think that if we can attach a problem to someone we know, we can fix the problem, and I've never found that to be the case. Problems within systems are not caused by any one person, but the system itself. That's the case in theater, and I believe it's the same for the LGBTQ community.
So I picked a city far from my own, and I started reaching out to gay men in that city. I spent a few months following as many of them as I could on social media, and then I began asking if I could interview them. The goal was to see if we could address some of the issues of the modern gay community and get to the heart of those issues while hopefully find some solutions.
Today I'm going to be speaking with Lucas and Mason. My last interview with a couple got a little contentious, but I didn't see a way to split up the interview since I wanted to get both their perspectives at the same time. If you haven't read last week's piece, please go--
Here's the interview:
ME: Lucas, I saw on Instagram you got your shot today. Congratulations.
LUCAS: Thank you!
ME: Was that the first or second?
LUCAS: That was the second so in two weeks--
ME: You're good.
LUCAS: I'm good.
MASON: My second shot is in two days.
ME: It's an emotional experience.
MASON: I cried when I got my first one.
LUCAS: He was embarrassed. I said 'Why are you embarrassed.' Like you said, it's emotional.
ME: It is.
MASON: I haven't seen my grandparents in person and I'm excited to see them so we have a trip planned back to [Name of City] in two months.
ME: I'm glad to hear that.
MASON: Thank you.
ME: Has anyone ever mentioned that you two look exactly alike?
MASON: People think we're brothers all the time.
LUCAS: It's like, 'If you're looking for the best, just look in the mirror.'
MASON: He's my mirror.
ME: I'm almost scared to go on.
LUCAS: (Laughs.) I'm cute. Why be with someone--I know I'm cute. I want to be with someone as cute as me. But I've dated guys who haven't looked like me. I just didn't like it as much.
ME: How long have you lived in this community?
LUCAS: I grew up about an hour away from here, and he grew up a little more far away, um, than that, but we both met when we moved here for work. I think I met him on my third or fourth day of work at the store where I work.
ME: You met at the store?
LUCAS: We met--
MASON: He met me at a bar here.
ME: And when was that?
MASON: That was nine years ago.
ME: Wow. Congratulations.
LUCAS: We met nine years ago, we got married six years ago.
ME: And you have a group of friends that you're close with in the community?
LUCAS: We have, um, a lot of people that--Everybody knows us here, because we've lived here for so long now, but, um, we have people that we're really close with and then people that we hang out with if we're out, when we would go out, but um--
ME: Sorry--are you nervous?
LUCAS: (Laughs.) A little.
ME: Why are you nervous?
LUCAS: Um, I read your other interview.
ME: With Scott?
LUCAS: That one and the ones before that.
ME: All of them?
ME: Thank you for the clicks, I guess.
LUCAS: (Laughs.) You know that we know Porter.
ME: From the second interview.
(You can read that one at The Community and the Comments Section )
ME: So you're nervous I'm going to yell at you?
LUCAS: (Laughs.) Yes.
ME: I won't yell. I don't usually yell; I just come across very loud.
MASON: We do too.
ME: Then we'll be all right. What did you think of the Scott interview?
MASON: I thought he misrepresented what happened at the party.
LUCAS: How he made the party sound is not right either.
ME: What do you mean?
LUCAS: He made it sound like we were having a big orgy at the pool. It was just a barbecue. I think he was exaggerating--and I know you weren't there, so you don't know, but to let him--and I know you're not using our real names, but everybody here is going to read these, and, people already are, and, people know who you're talking about, and, we have jobs. We have lives. This isn't a game where you can say people are having sex parties at their house and my husband and I are--This was a private party and people are entitled to their privacy. For him, for Scott, to walk in, and he's there for five minutes, and he thinks he knows what's going on there, and he asks us if we're--I'm not even going to repeat what he said, but, um, he was very rude to us. He says we were rude to him, I don't believe that's true, I think if we walk up to you, and you think we should introduce ourselves to you, you could also introduce yourself to us. We knew everybody there. He didn't. So he could have taken that, um, chance to introduce himself. That's how I feel.
MASON: I have a question for you, actually, Kevin.
MASON: Do you think it's appropriate if you're at a party to look at two people you don't know--
LUCAS: Three people, [The Host of the Party] too.
MASON: Yes, [The Host] too. Do you think it's appropriate to look at three people and say--'Are you all going to have sex? Are you having sex?' Is that right? We don't even know this person.
LUCAS: That's not how he said it either.
MASON: He knows that. I just don't want to say--
LUCAS: Right, but I want you to have all the facts.
MASON: I really want you to answer that question.
ME: Okay. Well, first off, do you two not like sex?
MASON: That's not the point.
ME: I just want to get a sense of--Do you think that talking about sex in and of itself is inappropriate?
MASON: It's about time and place.
ME: So you thought, in that environment, it would be inappropriate to talk about sex?
MASON: Yes, we do.
ME: Were there kids there?
MASON: There don't need to be kids there.
ME: So you think, even at a party with nothing but adults around, talking about sex--
LUCAS: It's not just talking about sex. It's the language he used--
ME: So the word 'f******' offends you?
LUCAS: If you just come out and say it like that--
ME: I just--The people reading this blog don't know who you are and they haven't done the homework I've done, but you're making yourselves sound like shrinking violets, and I don't think that's--
MASON: What do you mean?
ME: Very shy people.
LUCAS: I wouldn't say we're shy. We are private.
ME: You'd say you're private people?
ME: Okay, I'll come back to that.
MASON: If you know us, and you're spending time with us, and we're friends, then we can let loose, but to somebody we've never met--
LUCAS: That's why--
MASON: Lucas, hang on. I'm talking.
MASON: If we've never met you, and you want to act like you can crack jokes about us sleeping with our friends, that's not okay.
ME: Do you think the atmosphere at the party, even after five minutes of taking it in, could lead somebody to believe that it was the type of event where talking about sex would be acceptable and even welcome?
ME: Can I ask about some of the things that were happening at the party when Scott got there?
MASON: Things you heard from Scott?
ME: And from other people?
MASON: What other people?
ME: People who live being private.
MASON: But how do we know--
ME: You can say something did or didn't happen. That's why I'm asking you about it. I want to get your version of it.
ME: Were people swimming naked?
LUCAS: I don't know if we should talk about this.
ME: There are also photos.
MASON: There aren't photos.
ME: I can show you the photos.
LUCAS: We weren't allowed to take photos.
ME: You weren't allowed to take photos at a party?
MASON: Lucas, we weren't--we could take photos, but nobody was taking photos of people swimming naked in the pool.
ME: So people were swimming naked in the pool?
MASON: There were a couple of people swimming naked in the pool.
LUCAS: We really can't talk about whether people were swimming naked or not.
ME: Mason just said there were though.
LUCAS: I just don't want to talk about what other people were or weren't doing at the party.
ME: What could they be doing that was so bad? You said it was just a barbecue.
LUCAS: People were also drinking and there were some things going on.
ME: What kinds of things?
LUCAS: People were having fun.
MASON: You have photos of people swimming naked in the pool?
ME: Someone posted photos of it at the time and the photos were saved.
LUCAS: Are we in those photos?
ME: The photos of swimming naked in the pool? Were you swimming naked in the pool?
MASON: I don't know why we're talking about this.
ME: Because your version of the party is--Scott shows up, total stranger, to a PG-rated barbecue and starts yelling the 'f' word. His version is, people were naked, people were having sex in the pool and in other parts of the house--
LUCAS/MASON: That's not true./No.
ME: Nobody was having sex?
ME: At no point as that party was happening--
MASON: Lucas, wait, we don't know if people were having sex at the party. The party went until three in the morning. Nobody was having sex when Scott got there.
ME: You sure?
MASON: Not in the pool. The pool is outside. It was broad daylight.
ME: There's a fence all around the yard.
LUCAS: Nobody was having sex.
ME: Also, we should point out, your interpretation of what Scott said was 'It was a sex party.' He said 'It wasn't a sex party when I got there.'
LUCAS: It was never a sex party.
ME: He said the atmosphere had a lot of sexual tension in it.
MASON: That would be how he took it in. Maybe he has a sex addiction. I don't know.
ME: You think he might have a sex addiction?
MASON: For him to think a party had a sexual atmosphere to it--
ME: But later on, it became a sex party.
MASON: It did not.
ME: Mason, I want you to listen me and not wonder if I know what I'm talking about, because I know what I'm talking about--Later on, it became a sex party.
MASON: I'm telling you it didn't.
MASON: People having sex at a party is not a sex party. People have sex at parties all the time.
ME: You're making the distinction that a party where sex happens is not necessarily a sex party?
ME: Where does a party cross the line from being a party to a sex party?
LUCAS: That's like if people are--The whole house is naked people walking around--
ME: How many people?
ME: How many people would need to be having sex at a party for it to be a sex party?
MASON: This is a dumb conversation.
ME: I agree. Give me a number.
LUCAS: If you're talking about twenty people all having sex, yeah, not six or seven people.
ME: So were six or seven people having sex at the party?
LUCAS: I'm not going to answer that.
ME: Question--separate from how many participants you need to make a barbecue an orgy--what if the host of the party tells everyone that, at some point during the party, everybody is going to have sex? Would that make it a sex party?
MASON: Nobody would do that.
ME: Text from [The Host]: Please send me your preferences, if there is anyone at the party you would not like to connect with later on in the night, and updated photos.
ME: Now, I don't want to cast aspersions, but that almost sounds like he's planning an orgy.
MASON: I don't know that he actually sent that text.
ME: What are you talking about? You're in the group text.
MASON: I don't remember that text.
ME: You responded to it. You said--
LUCAS: Who sent you those texts?
ME: Are we good to label this a sex party now or no?
MASON: What we were saying is that this person has no tact.
ME: You mean Scott?
ME: Tact, okay. Tact meaning--
MASON: When it's appropriate to bring up--
ME: There were naked people in the pool. You walked up to [The Host] grabbed his ass, Lucas was kissing his neck--
LUCAS: No, no, no--
MASON: You never grab your friend's ass?
ME: You're saying it was a joke?
MASON: We're friends.
ME: What about Lucas kissing his neck?
LUCAS: Like, what are you even getting at?
ME: Both of your profiles--all your profiles--have photos of you and [The Host] and your other friends with photos of you nearly naked, all over each other, with these wink wink captions, and now you're sitting here being like--Huh? What? Sex with friends?
MASON: We're not allowed to post photos with our friends?
ME: But what you're doing is, you want people to think you're having sex with each other, because you want people to be jealous of the fact that you're all having sex with each other, but you also want to come across as young professionals who are just a little bit naughty instead of what you perceive to be really naughty and somebody coming along and just stating the obvious threatens to knock you off that tightrope you're trying to walk. I think that's why you all freaked out on Scott that day.
LUCAS: We didn't freak out at him.
ME: Mason, did you call him 'trash?'
MASON: I might have.
ME: Trash for just acknowledging that three people might have sex later?
MASON: I think that's trashy.
ME: Trashier than calling someone trash for asking about something that did, in fact, happen later on?
LUCAS: We didn't have sex later on.
ME: Yes, you did.
MASON: Don't accuse us of things.
ME: Don't say you didn't. It's fine. It's legal for you to have sex. You can have sex with forty people if you want to. That's not the issue. You can even be private about it if you want to, but somebody getting death threats because they asked about the thing you don't want to talk about--
LUCAS: We didn't send anybody death threats.
ME: Do you know people who did?
ME: Do you know [Name of Man]?
MASON: We know [him].
ME: He sent a message to Scott saying--
MASON: I don't want to talk about him if he's not here.
ME: All right, but he did send a death threat. He sent three actually.
MASON: We don't know what the other side of that is.
ME: I can read you the whole conversation.
MASON: I don't need you to.
ME: But do you believe he sent the messages?
MASON: He might have. We don't really want to get involved in that.
ME: So you don't actually disapprove of it?
LUCAS: Yes, we do.
ME: If you not approving of something is 'We don't like somebody doing that in theory, but if someone we know does, we won't do anything about it--'
MASON: What would you like us to do?
ME: Are you comfortable being friends with--
MASON: What do you want us to do, Kevin?
ME: Are you comfortable being friends with someone--
ME: I'm talking. I'm not your husband. Don't try to handle me, Mason.
ME: Do not try it. I will say what I have to say. That's how this works.
MASON: You say how this works?
ME: I do. Are you comfortable being friends with someone who sends messages like this?
LUCAS: We're not even really friends with him.
ME: You went on vacation with him. Many vacations.
LUCAS: He's friends with [Name of Man] and we're friends with him.
ME: But you spend a lot of time with him?
LUCAS: When we go away together, yeah.
ME: And you go away together, because you're all on the Guest List?
MASON: We don't know what that is.
ME: You're saying there's no Guest List?
MASON: There isn't.
LUCAS: We had never even heard of that until we read what Scott said.
ME: Okay. Do you think he's been harassed?
LUCAS: Clearly he's been harassed and that's terrible and we didn't take part in any of that.
ME: Have you spoken out against it?
LUCAS: We haven't.
ME: Why not?
LUCAS: We just--We don't want to get involved.
ME: So the bullies would need to be bullying people you like for you to get involved.
ME: But that's what's happening.
MASON: We don't like Scott. We think he brought a lot of this on himself. So, we're not going to defend him, because he gives as good as he gets.
ME: He's not giving death threats back.
MASON: But he keeps stoking the fire. Talking to you is stoking the fire.
ME: You're talking to me right now.
MASON: To try and set this straight, because you're starting all these problems where there weren't problems.
ME: You mean there weren't problems for you?
ME: I'm very happy to be a problem for you if you'd like me to be.
MASON: You don't want to be my problem, Kevin.
ME: (Laughs.) Really?
LUCAS: You have so many people mad at you. You don't even know.
ME: Wait, so does that mean I'm not invited to the next hot dog party?
MASON: We came here with the intention of giving you our side of the story--
ME: But it's not true.
MASON: It is.
ME: You just changed the story five times in ten minutes.
MASON: Because some of this is not your business.
ME: You didn't have to talk to me.
MASON: It was that or just let you have all these people lie about us.
ME: I can back all of this up.
MASON: We don't know that.
ME: Because you won't look at anything I have.
MASON: I don't need to see anything you have.
ME: Let's talk about what I hope to get out of this conversation.
ME: Scott is willing to apologize to you for making you uncomfortable by saying what he said at the party.
LUCAS: He is?
ME: He is. And you're going to apologize for flipping out at him.
MASON: I can't apologize. I didn't flip out.
ME: You called him trash.
MASON: I'm not apologizing for that.
ME: I think you will.
MASON: I'm not.
ME: I think you're going to apologize, and I think you both are going to post something on social media denouncing what [Name of Man] has been doing regarding sending the death threats.
LUCAS: We're not going to get involved.
ME: You are going to get involved. If you don't want to be involved with [Name of Man] after that, that's up to you.
ME: I'll give you two days.
MASON: Now you're threatening us.
ME: Not with death though.
MASON: (Laughs.) You're a joke.
ME: Am I?
MASON: Yes, you are.
ME: I have a Google Drive with your name on it, Mason.
MASON: No you don't.
ME: Listen very carefully. I have one for you and I have a separate one for Lucas. It is true that many people where you live don't like me, but it's also true that even more people there really don't like you and they like that stupid f***ing Guest List even less, so my inbox filled up pretty quick. Now, I don't want to get you fired from your job or get you arrested, but Scott can't even go into a bar in your area without feeling unsafe, and that doesn't work for me. I believe in equity. So I can use what I have to make you feel as unsafe as he feels unless you start working towards fixing this--with an apology and with [Name of Man] being uninvited to all your parties from now on. I want him benched. Right away. You want to say nothing, you're siding with him, and I start posting from the Drives. Any of that sound funny to you?
MASON: Blackmail is a crime.
ME: I went from a joke to a criminal pretty fast, huh?
MASON: You are committing a crime.
ME: I think you'd have a really hard time proving that, but we can find out if you want. I have a really good lawyer. He specializes in shutting down predatory movie stars, but I'm sure he'd love to have a go at you.
LUCAS: I'm okay with saying I don't like what [Name of Man] is saying. We're not friends, so I don't care. He's a piece of s***.
ME: Great. Also, does [The Host] still not want to talk to me?
MASON: No, he doesn't.
ME: I hope he changes his mind. It really would be in his best interest.
LUCAS: We'll let him know.
ME: Sounds good. This has been fun, boys. You really do look exactly alike. Good thing we have these little name banners on Zoom or I wouldn't know which is which.
MASON: Is that a compliment?
ME: I guess that depends on you.
Mason posted his apology an hour after the interview wrapped up. Lucas and Mason put up a joint message denouncing the death threats against Scott.