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by Cilantro Che Guevara

HOP Against Homophobia

The trio of boyfriends who manage CockyBoys were recently interviewed by loyal CockyBoy fan and blogger, Klee Klein, for a new article as part of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. While IDAHO was May 17th, it was only the jumping off point for HOP Against Homophobia and Transphobia (HAHAT) — a 10-day celebration organized by writers of erotic gay male fiction to not only help spread awareness of homophobia and transphobia, but also as a way for writers to stand together as a community against discrimination of their works.

CockyBoys has a huge following in the M/M writing community — our very own Jake Bass even modeled for the cover of JP Barnaby’s Aaron last year — so Jake Jaxson, RJ Sebastian, and Benny Morecock welcomed the idea of being interviewed for Klee’s blog, Chaos in the Moonlight.

As three men in a wholesome relationship with each other and owners of a popular adult website, you might not realize that each of them have experienced harassment and discrimination throughout their youth and adolescence just like everyone else. Their story is also unique in that their age differences expose hurdles to different generations of gay men and women. What’s important in the end is that they’re happy right now, even if the journey was a little rocky, and this interview sheds light on some issues to those of us who may still be trekking.

Hey Jake, Benny, R.J. welcome to Chaos in the Moonlight. I really appreciate you stopping by. First off, would you mind telling us a little about yourselves? Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? Basically anything you’d like to offer up would be awesome.

Jake:
I was born at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was put up for adoption as a baby. I was the class clown and could talk my way in and out of anything. Because of that, I seemed to slip through the cracks at school, and did not learn to read until the fourth grade. Even today, I would rather talk than write and listen over reading. I was a theater geek all the way.

I went to a performing arts school and played the lead of Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. My mom cried every night during the wedding scene of that production—she knew that was the only time she would see me get married…to a girl!

My work merges elements of traditional pornography with reality TV, documentary, and non-linear storytelling. I like to think I create what I call “guilt-free porn.” My current work has been described as a new genre of homoerotic pornography and erotic-docs, and that makes me very proud. My goal now is to continue this guerrilla approach to producing and directing. I hope it will push the limits of sexual understanding, art, and commerce into a new porn paradigm.

Benny:
My early years, from four to six, were spent in the Philippines living with my sister and grandparents. After that, I grew up in Arizona and lived there for most of my childhood and adolescence. I was always a passive observer, and somewhat of an awkward kid, when it came to school and social situations.

However, you could say that my junior year of high school was my “coming out” in the social sense—where I became comfortable in my own skin and my identity. That was the year I embraced that I was different. I dyed my hair blue, turned into a “punk” kid, collected friends and really thrived socially. I loved school, enjoyed learning, but never did my homework so of course my grades were awful. Despite that, I joined every club that I could—Speech and Debate, Shakespeare club, German Club, Academic Decathlon, Science Club. I really thrived and it’s my first recollection of really wanting to grab the world by the horns.

R.J.:
Growing up Mexican in an all macho household, I was usually teased and made fun of so I tended to stay on the sideline, and not draw any attention to myself. But I did start delving into the arts in school, but was always very worried about what my classmates would think or say since I was called fag every day. I grew up with a constant voice in my head that always says, “there is something wrong here.” This voice is still there to this day. I just know now it is just that…a voice. And I can choose to realize it is not real.

As I’ve explained a little above, this hop is working in conjunction with the International Day Against Homophobia to spread the word about hope for a prejudice-free world—specifically regarding homophobia. Can you tell me how homophobia affected you in your younger years, perhaps when you were coming out or whether the place you grew up was conducive to doing that? Do you still continue to be affected by homophobia now?

R.J.:
Growing up, I remember my dad saying, “If any of my kids are gay, I’ll kill them”.
So that set the tone for me always being very shy and quiet, trying to keep off anyone’s radar. All through my schooling, I was called “faggot”. Didn’t matter what school I went to or how much I tried to fit in or change myself, I heard it once a day, every day. I still walk into places and have the same pit in my stomach when anybody looks at me. My first gut thought is, “they are calling me a fag or judging me because they know I’m gay”. Then I stop myself from thinking it and move on.

Homophobia completely shaped me to be who I am…I do have thick skin, but I still do entertain those old thought patterns. The difference now is I choose to stop them once they start. To a degree I also have been very guarded when it comes to acting/modeling because there is a stigma, once casting knows you’re gay. They assume you can’t be anything else….and I believed that…so much that I would get auditions and if the character description said “macho jock”…. I would doubt myself and stop myself from actually auditioning because I was convinced I could never be that because I was gay.

Benny:
I wouldn’t say that my younger experiences were more homophobic than the next kid. There was always that fear and awkwardness when I began to develop sexually, and I found that I was attracted to my male friends, and more importantly the realization that that feeling isn’t normal. As a kid, you learn to hide those feelings before you even realize exactly what they are—before you even know what “gay” is. And there were instances where I was made fun of for being a “fag” before I even knew what that was. And I don’t even think they knew what it meant either. Kids just sensed a “differentness” about me that wasn’t their perception of natural. And it’s just the nature of bullies in school to prey on that.

It was junior year of high school that I was able to have the internal dialogue of, “I am gay”. It’s harder to be able to come to that realization than you can ever realize. You understand the concept of “gay” when you’re young, but you spend so much of your childhood hiding that from everyone else, that you also convince yourself that that’s not you. It’s a weird psychological game that can really fuck you up—denying your most basic identity, and the fear of being found out for who you really are.

Anyway, it was when I really accepted myself, and who I was, that the world changed for me. I was no longer fearful, but the exact opposite. I saw possibility where there was none before. If I experienced homophobia after that, it didn’t affect me because I didn’t care. I learned that I could create reality for myself, and choose who I accepted into that reality. So I created a world that accepted me, and people that didn’t accept me—well, it didn’t matter because they weren’t valid to me.

Nowadays, I don’t experience any homophobia. But I’m lucky enough to live in a socially progressive city, and I’ve surrounded myself by people that support me.

Jake:
Growing up in southern Louisiana was not exactly conducive to being gay. Since I also grew up in a very religious family—sex was taboo and gay sex was a sin—I was closeted (that is, as closeted as a quirky, skinny boy who loved musical theater could be). And because I feared that my lie would be discovered, I was also at times part of the problem. I picked on boys who were “obviously gay” in hopes that no one would think I was also “that way.”.

My work now is directly influenced by that time in my life—it’s a celebration of gay love and sexual expression. My film, The Haunting, produced with my partners, R.J. and Benny, is the story of two young men who were torn apart by religious intolerance and ignorance.

One of the boys is killed in an alleged “hunting accident,” and that part of the film was directly inspired by a moment in my young adult life. While on a hunting trip with my Boy Scout troop, we were in a duck blind and the conversation turned to jokes about how Rock Hudson died after “eating a bad wiener” and then about a kid named Shannon who we all called “Sharon” and joked was gay. One of the guys in the blind said if “Sharon” was here, he would “fuck him up the ass” with the shotgun he was holding and “pull the trigger as he came.”

At that moment, I experienced a fear that took me years to overcome. At that moment, I buried my “gay self” so deep inside me that uncovering it would take years of lies, self-hate, and reinvention.

Today I am blessed and so grateful. I am a polygamous pornographer! And my deep love and respect for my partners and the young men and women that work for me is my shield against that past. And I have more respect and admiration for my immediate “porn family” than I do the bankrupt moral crusaders, politicians, and religious zealots who often do not practice what they preach! I often say—the ones who are screaming the loudest about the sins of others are the very ones up to their eyeballs in sin and hypocrisy. To me, they represent that ignorant boy with the shotgun in that duck blind 30 years ago.

Family seems to be very important in your lives and according to Jake’s bio, you have your own pack of dogs (and I’ve seen pics – they’re all adorable). Have you always been animal lovers or have dogs always been your preference? Are they spoiled rotten (remember I’ve seen pics)? Tell us about Raif, Sebastian, Jackson, and Bailey.

Benny:
I’ve always had a dog for my entire life—I love them and I’ll always be a dog person. I can’t imagine not having an animal companion by my side for my entire life. They’re pretty much spoiled rotten. They fly with us wherever we go, and my dog Bailey even rides on my bike with me.

R.J.:
I hated dogs. I was bitten by a dog when I was 19. I still have the scar, right by my nose, and my first thought was, “now I’ll never be a model”. Jake has always had and loved dogs. We would go to Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles during what we called “doggy rush hour” which was at about 5pm after work, and we would watch dogs on our hike and be like, “oh look at that one” or “if we had a dog, that’s what we would want”.

We finally went for it and got Sebastian. Jake and I went into the pet store (I know, we were not educated back then on what pet stores really meant for animals) and we saw Sebastian. He was with another little grey and white Italian greyhound. They were 3 months old, and Sebastian was shy while the other one was a crazy and excited puppy.
We chose Sebastian, the all-black one.

Six months later we mentioned to a friend where we got Sebastian and our friend mentioned he had stopped by that pet store and had seen a grey and white Italian greyhound. Because he was older, they had mentioned to him that if no one bought the dog they would end up having to put him down. That week I went back to the pet store thinking it couldn’t be the same dog from seven months before I thought. When I walked in my heart broke. It was the same dog, but bigger and crazier than before. I took him out in the play area and I soon realized why no one had taken him home. Aside from the hefty price tag for a purebred, he started to pee and mark the entire playroom.

I called Jake at work and said, “you have to come right now—I’m taking this dog home”. And that’s how we “rescued” Raif. I admit I still have guilt over not taking him home with us when we took Sebastian, but in the end it was meant to be. He is my King and I do everything I can to make his life perfect now.

Another aspect of your family is that the three of you are in a loving, committed relationship together—something not common in today’s society, at least not that people are aware of or admit. Can you tell me a little bit about your partnership? How long have you been together? (Benny was interviewed for NYmag with regards to their “throuple” relationship. You can read it here http://nymag.com/news/features/benny-morecock-throuple/ It’s an awesome article.)

R.J.:
Jake and I have been together for 15 years. We met through our mutual trainer at Crunch Fitness in LA…so typical. We knew each other for about a year, but I was always traveling as a dancer and had just shot a commercial when we really started to see each other.

From our first date, we never stopped seeing each other. It’s not all roses, I’m a devil, I’m stubborn, I’m selfish and I’m an incredibly negative person at heart…but Jake has really worked and fought tirelessly for 15 years to get me out of a lot of these habits. I thank him, and am grateful to have such a positive forward moving force in my life. I realize that not everyone is blessed to have this in their own life.

Benny:
I met Jake when I was an apprentice at a salon, he was a client there and I washed his hair. He’d always seen me there and had a crush on me, so when we finally talked we hit it off and exchanged numbers…the rest is history.

For the second part of the interview, head on over to Klee Klein’s blog. And feel free to discuss your own thoughts below on homophobia, transphobia, or just what it feels like to grow up different.


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