The Stealth Warrior
By Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Turner is handsome. But not in the twinkish way one stereotypically imagines of much younger husbands. When I meet the couple for lunch, I�m struck by how Turner�s goatee and pensive eyes give him the demeanor of someone older than his 34 years.
Proving that it�s not only the differences but the similarities that make any relationship work, it�s not surprising that Maupin�s new husband is just as passionate about exposing unexplored aspects of gay life to the world. The two met after Maupin saw Turner�s personal ad on Daddyhunt.com�the dating Web site the latter founded five years ago. Now his company, Pantheon Productions, owns another site, HotOlderMale.com, for which he produces porn movies featuring older men.
�I never imagined myself running a company that produces porn,� Turner says. �But a lot of my motivation was political, believe it or not. I wanted to say that it�s OK to be attracted to older guys, and I wasn�t seeing my kind of man being celebrated.�
It�s hard to argue that intergenerational gay romance is simply a niche fetish: Turner�s personals site alone has over 100,000 members. But such relationships are certainly not discussed frequently in gay media. And when they are, they�re often viewed with suspicion.
Turner is under no illusions as to how his relationship with Maupin might be received by those who don�t know them.
�There�s always the assumption that if there�s a big age difference,� Turner says, �the two parties are using each other in some way.�
The discomfort works from the inside out as well. Turner admits that it was a little daunting bringing Maupin home to meet his parents.
�He�s a couple of years older than my parents. It took my dad longer to warm up to him than anyone else. Armistead is the first person that I have ever taken home. I just wanted to get it right before I introduced someone to my whole family,� Turner says, adding that after a short time together, �it really was no issue for anyone.�
Which is pretty easy to believe. For 30 years Maupin has made us all comfortable. Through his Tales of the City characters he�s made many straight people comfortable with fun-loving, flag-waving homosexuals, transsexuals, bisexuals, and �others.� He�s made closeted gay people grow comfortable enough to step out into the world they fear. And now he�s easing a self-obsessed gay youth culture into being more accepting of sexuality among the older generation they will eventually belong to. It�s all in a day�s work for Maupin, essentially.
�Armistead doesn�t try to break ground,� Dukakis laughs when I call him a stealth activist. �He just, as Tennessee Williams would say, �goes forth� and writes about it. And then everyone else calls it groundbreaking.
�When in reality,� she continues after a moment of thought, �what feels so new to us is simply �honesty.� �
Michael Tolliver Livesis published by HarperCollins.
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