Billy Bean Like You’ve Never Seen Him

Billybeantr01_1In the issue of Blue magazine on newsstands now, you’ll find a juicy article about former pro-baseball player Billy Bean, written and photographed by the all-around talent and friend of Towleroad Lewis Payton.

You’ll notice this jock has spent a bit of time letting his hair grow out — I think it looks great.

It’s also Billy Bean’s first nude photo shoot!

There are quite a few chewable quotes in the interview on the relationships he had to hide while a pro baseball player, what made him decide to come out of the closet abruptly in 1999, and his efforts to get young gay athletes to do the same.

On realizing his sexuality late in life:

“I’d never had sex with a guy, so how would I know I was gay? Looking back I ask, ‘How did I not know?’ but I had led a truly sheltered life in the suburbs. I never saw a gay porno magazine, I didn’t even think such a thing existed. It sounds naïve but this was the ‘70s. There was no Internet, no Will & Grace, I didn’t have any gay relatives. My parents were very conservative, my stepfather was a cop and a Marine Corps veteran. It wasn’t like I grew up in a diverse artistic world.”

On how the closet affected his relationship with his parents:

“I squandered most of my opportunities running like a fugitive in and out of my gay shadows. I exhausted so much energy trying to be the perfect son for my parents and ultimately the only way I could do that and sustain it was to run away and lie about my real life. All along I thought I was going to disappoint them or that they would reject me and yet in the process of trying to avoid that separation, I actualized it.”

You’ll have to check out Blue for the rest of the story. The article will catch you up on this jock’s life but the real star here are the photos — relaxed and very sexy, and well, somewhat more revealing than these. Thanks, Lewis, for letting me share a few of them.

Click photos for larger versions.

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Posted August 11, 2005 at 4:39pm ETC by Andy Towle
in Photography, Sports