We are joined by Vinnie Potestivo (45) from Brooklyn, New York for a fun second interview in today’s episode. Today’s discussion is about the similarities and differences in the sexuality of a straight man and a gay man entitled “straight talk with a gay man”. Todd reminisces about his estranged older gay brother and how he looked up to him growing up and misses his sense of humor and uniqueness. While he misses his brother, Todd desires to have a conversation with him and chose Vinnie to be sort of a “blind surrogate” for this experience. Vinnie remarks that the change in societal acceptance has changed dramatically over the decades and the importance of “safe spaces” to meet others of like mind.
Todd believes gay people really have their shit together and wonders why. Vinnie explains that as a gay man, he had to adapt and evolve in society to “fit in” and prosper. Vinnie grew up as a Baptist which evolved into a Unitarian and then Lutheran faith. He recalls how as a young person he desired to connect with others in a positive way. This was a mode of survival.
Vinnie shares the story of the “Stonewall Riots” in New York and its impact on the gay community in the late 60s. Marsha P Johnson was among the first black trans people who became the face of the gay community. During that time, “free love” was for the straight community more so than the gay community. Vinnie discusses the impact of the AIDS virus on the gay community and how gay marriage impacted the lifestyle of the gay person. We all matter. He shares that gay people “live in their truth” and how he discovered and evolved his.
Every word, every syllable, and syntax in communication matters, Vinnie shares. He discovered his voice early on in life but used to hide his sexual identity. He reflects how when he worked at MTV certain programming was restricted until after 10 pm, for example – Michael Jackson, simply due to his race. As he learned to separate himself from his work, Vinnie discovered a healthy balance between his existence and social impact. His desire to expand conversations with others revolves around the concept of communicating in relatable ways with others who may be from different backgrounds and life experiences.
Todd reflects on his estranged gay brother’s professional life and success in business and life. He always admired this about him and wanted to learn from him, but never had the opportunity to do so. Vinnie discusses how sexuality and gender play a role in society. He recounts working on many popular television shows on MTV and the impact of celebrities on society. Vinnie shares that community comes from culture and culture comes from vocabulary and the power of words in the world.
We discuss “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” & why neither of us has watched an entire episode. Vinnie shares that the gay community’s inclusivity is about connecting with everyone. Hence the LGBTQ+ moniker. He reflects on how he made the choice between being authentic with his sexuality or hiding it in society. His focus on work consumed him and left little room to explore his sexuality. He was a steward to others. He looked for ways to “show up” where he “doesn’t show up” and what that meant to him.
Vinnie gets flustered. lol We talk about masturbation, intercourse, and differences between straight and gay people’s experiences. He reflects that the emotional component was key in his intimate relationships and how fear of AIDS played a role. Vinnie shares insight into trans people, pronouns, and the first amendment. Todd believes we aren’t so different, after all. Vinnie concurs.