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October 16th, 2002 Byron Beck | Queer Window
 

THE TWINK DEFENSE

     
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A now-famous writer once scrawled in my high-school yearbook: "Don't let anyone take nude pictures of you, they'll return to haunt you in forty years when you're sitting on the Supreme Court."

I wanted to share that astute bit of advice when I had the opportunity to interview 24-year-old Jeremy Ferguson.

Jeremy, a smart kid who grew up in Everett, Wash., says he was the first person to come out publicly at his school. When he wasn't managing his local Taco Bell, he was active in local politics. Hell, he even took a dude to his prom. "I was a gay poster child," he says.

Now a computer geek living in San Francisco, Jeremy has also made a name for himself as a nude model for photographer Howard Roffman (whose series of nude-boy books take the Abercrombie ideal to its expected climax). His sweet ass is prominently featured in Roffman's latest photobook, Friends & Lovers.

In the book, Jeremy and his buddies look much younger than the legal age of consent. Homos have a word for this genre of jail-baiters: "twinks." Usually reed-thin, good-looking and queer, twinks fill the pages of more than a half-million gay porno websites. And with little to no biographical information about the young guys in Roffman's book, it's easy to dismiss the 5-foot-6-inch, 118-pound, pink-skinned twink Jeremy as one more vehicle for child pornography.

But Jeremy doesn't see it that way.

"I'm not a little cheap porn trick that Howard found on the street," says Jeremy. "I'm a real person who opened up and shared some of the intimate moments of my life for other people to see. I suppose there are people that aren't going to enjoy this book. You know my mother doesn't really want to see it."

And why should she?

These little Lolitos (my friend calls them "pinkies") are popping up in enough places already, from the deepest recesses of the Internet to steamy fashion ad campaigns. But Roffman's book goes further. He shows these "kids" in soft-core sexual situations. And although the photos are beautifully shot, it's a guilt-ridden pleasure to look at boyish men cavorting in the raw. There's nothing wrong with getting a twinky fix, but just by picking up the book I feel I'm feeding into the misconception that all gay men are pederasts.

However, Jeremy sees it with freshman eyes.

"I feel very strongly that the book represents people who are having real relationships and that are in love with each other," says Jeremy. "It's hard for me to say this looks childlike. To me, it's just me living my life. It's not about pornography at all."

I'm not on the Supreme Court, so who am I to judge? It may be empowering to Jeremy, but not every young man has that luxury. All I know is my friend was right--I'm glad there are no pictures of me like that out there.


Friends & Lovers
By Howard Roffman (Bruno Gmuder Publishing, 176 pages, $39.95)


Gay Reading
David Nimmons' The Soul Beneath the Skin will be the featured reading at this week's "Because It's Time!" event. Barnes & Noble, Lloyd Center, 295-0845. 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 16.


Skervy-Queer to the Bone
Uniforms are the outfit of choice at this week's queer shindig.
Billy Ray's, 2216 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 287-7254,www.dejanvier.org/skervy . 10 pm Friday, Oct. 18.


The Adults Only Cabaret
Portland Gay Men's Chorus gets down and dirty for one night only.
Kaul Auditorium at Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., 226-2588. 8 pm Saturday, Oct. 19. $15.
 
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