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Confidential

Coming Out With a Glossy Quarterly for Gay Teen Boys

March 02, 2000|BOOTH MOORE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Being a teenage boy is hard enough (I'm told), but being a gay teenage boy can be excruciating.

Jerry C. Dunn, a 22-year-old UCLA grad, created a new magazine called Joey, on stands around the nation this week, to help end the isolation so often felt by young homosexuals and bisexuals.

"For some reason, young kids are deciding it is OK to come out. They are confident enough to find a support network, and I'm taking advantage of that," said Dunn, editor and publisher of the quarterly glossy.

Originally, he wanted to target gay men ages 18 to 25.

"Then it occurred to me that kids are coming out at age 13, 14 and 15 now and that there is no magazine for them," Dunn said.

The premiere issue looks pretty good. It features a "spring break" photo layout shot on the Venice boardwalk, a profile of "Rent" star Anthony Rapp, a feature about gay comic book characters and trend items about henna tattoos and nail polish on men.

Readers share their coming-out stories in essays (culled this month from contributions to the magazine's Web site, http://joeymag.com), and doctors answer questions about sexually transmitted diseases, bodybuilding and depression.

The magazine is named after a fictional boy.

"Joey is young and cute," Dunn writes in his first editorial. "He likes guys. He doesn't need to make a big deal about it--even if other people try to."

A Frequently Asked Questions box tells readers how to rent a post office box to subscribe to Joey without tipping off parents, although Dunn hopes no one would need to do that.

"I look at other gay magazines, and I am totally out, and I see things I would be embarrassed for my parents to see," he said. "I wanted to make something kids could take home and have on the coffee table."

*

Meanwhile, in the land of the flaming heterosexuals, Playboy's April issue proposes (tongue in cheek, of course) some truly amusing twists on the old college tradition of TV-based drinking games:

A quaff contest based on NBC's "E.R." would have competitors drinking a bottle of Zima every time a paddle-wielding doctor shouts "Clear!" and prepares to defibrillate.

"Sex in the City" buffs could suck down oyster shooters whenever panties are mentioned or shown, and viewers of "The Sopranos" could down a "cement mixer" shot (Baileys and lime juice, which curdles the Irish Cream into a sludge as you shake your head back and forth like a human blender) anytime a character utters a particular four-letter word.

I wouldn't try these at home, though, or you might not make it through the season with any brain cells left.

*

Wendy Pawelek, 32, who rides her bike as much as three hours a day around Skokie, Ill., could never find undergarments that fit quite right. Thongs were uncomfortable, she said, and briefs bunched up.

So she did what you might expect any newly minted MBA (which she is) to do: She invented a new product--in her case, a jockstrap for women.

Having trouble picturing that?

It resembles a high-cut brief in the front, with the usual double straps, attached at the crotch and waistband.

Her company, Jox Body Gear, hopes to make the product available on its Web site, http://www.joxbodygear.com, later this year.

I'm not sure this is progress, but women will no longer be excluded from the time-honored male sports ritual of jockstrap snapping. Hoo-rah!

Booth Moore can be reached at booth.moore@latimes.com.

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