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'Gay in America' photographer documents the ongoing struggles of gay men like himself

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Gay in America photographer Scott Pasfield says finishing the coffee-table book "became an obsession and a goal, and I wouldn't stop until I did it."

He traveled all 50 states and photographed 140 men, each with his own story about being a gay man in the United States.

"My dad was very religious, born again, and wouldn't stop condemning me until he died," said Pasfield, 43, of New York City. "It was fascinating to me to see that a lot of the men still struggle and that religion was a common theme for what screwed these people up. For a lot of people, it doesn't get better."

Pasfield is in South Florida for appearances Tuesday at Books & Books on Lincoln Road and Wednesday at Books & Books at Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale.

In the three years he worked on the book, Pasfield was surprised that men in rural areas were more open about their lives than city people.

"Perhaps it's because they have fewer people to talk to," he said.

To protect the men who live in conservative parts of the country, Pasfield chose not to identify any of the subjects in his book by their full names.

"Some expressed a little concern for their safety," he said. "Have you thought about this book potentially become a hit list?"

Some readers have been critical of the book, Pasfield says.

"A lot of people take issues with how I portray these men and how diverse they are," he said. "The A-list crowd, when they saw the book, said no one in there looks like us. When people say, "Uh, I don't see myself in your book, I just find it surprising."

He's not surprised when the complaints come from women, however: Lesbians are not included in his book.

"With the title Gay in America, a lot of lesbians took issue with it. One [news] article was very harsh on me for not doing so," said Pasfield, who stresses that the book is for and about men like him.

"I wasn't going to change the name to appease lesbians," he said. "There's always going to be people who feel left out."

IF YOU GO

Tuesday, November 1, 7pm - Miami, FL
Presentation and signing at Books & Books Miami Beach
927 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-532-3222

Wednesday, November 2, 7-8pm - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Presentation and signing at Books & Books @ the Museum of Art
1 East Las Olas Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
954-262-0255
*6-7pm, VIP Book Club mixer with wines and hors d'oeuvres, $25 per person
To RSVP, please call Gail Vilone at 954.262.0249, or email gvilone@moafl.org.
7pm presentation FREE to the public.

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