Society uses our love to define us as a community, but rarely do we attempt to define the modern gay relationship for ourselves. If there existed one unofficial golden gay rule, it would solely instruct us to shun labels and definitions, especially when it comes to how we express love. But we’ve never played by the rules, and examining the kaleidoscope of gay relationships in the new millennium is of increasing importance. The first nail in DOMA’s coffin has been hammered, and equality is being awarded in a domino effect, slowly but surely, state by state. As the struggle to have our unions recognized across the board intensifies, it prompts us to ask, Who, exactly, are we fighting for?
Some might say that April cover guys Eric Turner and John Odom (l to r), both 30-year-old fitness models/personal trainers living in Houston, are the modern gay relationship personified. The pair met online, share a life domestic (“with four dogs!”) in their Houston home and are engaged with plans to marry in due time.
And it all began with a status update.
Not uncommon for single men with eye-catching profile photos, the two became Facebook friends without having met in person. Then, in the summer of 2010 and with Instinct magazine as the catalyst, Eric, at the time living in Salt Lake City, broke the ice with a flirty message sent to Houston-based John.
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John explains: “My ex was on the cover last year coming out as HIV positive [July/August 2010]. I started getting backlash from people on Facebook wondering why I didn’t tell anybody. So I put up a status that said, ‘Yes, I’m happy for him, but I’m not HIV positive, so stop with the messages, please.’”
“I actually thought John was straight because he had very few pictures on there,” adds Eric. “When I saw his Facebook [relationship] status, my green light went off. I thought he was really cute, so I sent him a message. We met in person two weeks later, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.”
A long-distance couple finding themselves “inseparable” is not only expensive but time-consuming. For logistical purposes, around Thanksgiving Eric left Salt Lake behind to build a personal fitness business—and to move in with John—in economically sound Houston. Aware of the fast track their relationship navigated, the guys jokingly refer to the decision as “very lesbian.”
Read more about our cover boys and the cover question we pose in our April issue, by picking up Instinct at newsstands now!