I often joke with friends that the best example of irony I can think of, as both an openly gay man and an openly die-hard fan of the New England Patriots, is the fact that I associate gay bars with rejection and ostracization and I associate football games with love and acceptance. You may think that it feels weird to lump these two seemingly opposite activities into the same category but really, whenever I find myself surrounded my men, shouting, and booze, then chances are that I'm either at a gay bar or a football game. So I associate them pretty closely. I vividly remember my first experience at a New York City gay bar, having moved there in 2010 as an NYU grad student at the age of 22. Giddy about finally being able to experience and join one of the largest, most historic gay communities in the world, I shared my excitement with every man who talked to me that night. Here's what I was expecting them to respond to me with: "Welcome! Make yourself at home. We're all here to support one another, and we thrive on making meaningful connections with one another, so if you do end up sleeping with a guy tonight, please feel free to develop feelings for him." Yeah. That didn't happen.
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