When your brother shows you Inches and Honcho

I showed up to my brother’s apartment in Brooklyn, excited to spend the Summer in the big city. I walked through the door of his tiny apartment (he was an struggling artist, trying his best in a tiny rent controlled monastic cell in a tower), put down my bags, and immediately he wanted to show me something. He had a stack of magazines. I remember Inches and Honcho featuring prominently in the selection.

“This is what I like” he explained, clearly having trouble just directly saying I am gay. It broke my heart, not to hear he was gay, which was pretty evident to me, and certainly something I was supportive of. It broke my heart because here was a man, a beautifully articulate man who wrote fiction for his livelihood, and showing me this stack of porn mags was the only way he could find to make his point. It really showed me how difficult it must have been to live a lie of silence.

I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him. We went out for lamb chops. It was a wonderful Summer. Since, I’ve always tried to be open to people with difficult secrets to share. No matter how brave, funny, witty, or strong those around you appear, you just never know who is dealing with fears that may be getting the best of them. God bless you Honcho for giving my brother the voice to speak his truth, however indirectly.

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