Gay Founding Fathers Posts

Official MISTER
February 4, 2014
Category: Gay Culture

If you’re a football fanatic (or just like watching beefy athletes in Spandex pat each other on the butt), chances are things got a little rowdy in your living room as you watched the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in this year’s Super Bowl. But no matter how raucous the hooting and hollering got over bad calls, botched plays, and, of course, those crazy commercials, it still paled in comparison to the uproar that was heard from football fans back in 1975, when retired gridiron great David Kopay told a newspaper reporter something no other professional athlete had ever said before: “I’m gay.”

The pigskin hit the fan. Back then, the idea that a macho, muscled football hero who was named an All-American running back and had played for five NFL teams, including Vince Lombardi’s legendary Washington Redskins lineup, was unthinkable. Outraged fans flooded the newspaper that published the story with hate mail, Kopay’s post-retirement football opportunities evaporated overnight, and his former coaches and teammates all but abandoned him.

But the deafening reaction to Kopay’s historic coming-out confession was about to get even louder. In 1975, he published his groundbreaking autobiography, The David Kopay Story: An Extraordinary Self-Revelation, a warts-and-all account of an athlete...

Read more
Official MISTER
January 16, 2014
Category: Gay Culture
Gay Founding Fathers: Alan Turing

From email to Amazon to XTube to reading the blog you're on right now, computers have become so essential to our day-to-day that it’s rather mind-boggling to imagine life without them. So, who exactly do we have to thank for this game-changing gadget? Bill Gates? Good guess. Steve Jobs? Think again. The actual man credited with inventing this game-changing gadget is the original tech titan of the 20th century (and this week’s Gay Founding Father), British mathematician Alan Turing.

Born in London in 1912, Turing’s early years appeared to follow the standard narrative of the classic overachiever—academically driven, introverted (a chronic stuttering condition often left him feeling self-conscious), head constantly buried in a book. But by the time he became a teenager, it was clear this smartypants was something special. His remarkable ability for picking up and deciphering advanced mathematical and scientific concepts (even without ever having formally studied them) attracted attention, and upon graduation, he enrolled at the prestigious King’s College at Cambridge University, where he gained first-class honors in mathematics.

His intellectual acuity in top form, Turin’s reputation for being an original thinker soon solidified with the release of a number of high-profile papers, including a 1935 dissertation on the central limit theorem that earned him a fellowship at King’s (practically unheard of for...

Read more
Official MISTER
November 29, 2013
Category: Gay Culture

Welcome to "Gay Founding Fathers," an exclusive series that goes back—sometimes way back—through queer culture to introduce you to gay men who made a difference, made history, made us swoon, and just plain made us be proud to be who we are.

Showbiz is a notoriously tough game for actors, especially if they’re not willing to play by the rules. Image is everything, and one misstep can turn even the Hollywood royalty into box-office poison faster than you can scream, “Cut!” But this week’s entry in our Gay Founding Father series, actor turned interior designer Billy Haines, managed to buck that trend with a career second act that was even more successful—and honest—than his first.

Born on Jan. 2, 1900 in Staunton, Virginia, Haines became fascinated with movies as a child and spent a great deal of time watching silent films at the local theater. Recognizing his homosexuality at an early age, he ran away from home with a boyfriend to the bigger city of Hopewell, where the two opened up a dance hall. But Haines knew there was more out there waiting for him, so like thousands of other young men with big dreams, he moved to New York City, working odd jobs, modeling, and becoming a presence in Greenwich Village’s burgeoning gay community.

He soon struck pay dirt. Spotted by a talent scout, who was taken by the 20-year-old’s handsome good looks and silver screen appeal, Haines signed a $40-a-week contract with mega movie producer Samuel Goldwyn. His career started small with a string of small supporting roles in less-than-memorable films, but...

Read more
Official Daddyhunt
September 9, 2013
Category: Gay Culture

Welcome to "Gay Founding Fathers," a new series that goes back—sometimes way back—through queer culture to introduce you to gay men who made a difference, made history, made us swoon, and just plain made us be proud to be who we are. First up: actor Sal Mineo.

With his soulful brown eyes, thick Italian hair, and shy lips that always seemed to quiver as if they were about to ask the prettiest girl in school to the prom, Sal Mineo didn’t just fit the mold of a teen idol, he was the mold. Along with James Dean, his co-star in the classic film Rebel Without a Cause, Mineo  helped usher in a new kind of screen idol: the brooding but sensitive heartthrob. The kind of guy who’d defend his girlfriend’s honor but who’d just as easily turn around and cry on her shoulder over the injustices of the world. It was a personality-trait match made in teenage girl heaven, and it helped make the Bronx-born actor one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s.

Unfortunately, it also led to his career downfall. By 1960, Mineo, now 21 years old, was too old to play the types of roles that made him famous, and despite winning a Golden Globe and a second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Exodus (1960), his Hollywood shelf-life had run its course. Mineo was baffled by his sudden loss of popularity, later saying, “One minute it seemed I had more movie offers than I could handle, the next, no one wanted me.” For the remainder of his life, Mineo continued to appear occasionally on television and in low-budget films (including the homoerotic cult...

Read more