Evan and Addison Are Domestic Partners

New York residents Evan and Addison (left and right) recently became domestic partners. Our editor sat down with them to talk about growing up gay in Texas, Devo and how things get slippery…

So, how did you guys meet, first of all?

Addison Smith: We met on MySpace… I had just signed up for a MySpace account.

Evan Hoyt: And so did I. I discovered there was an advanced search feature which you could search by eye color, hair color, who likes Devo?

AS: ‘Who likes Devo’!?

EH: I searched by how many people in Manhattan were six foot four. Not male, not female, not gay.


EH: Just randomly. I was just like, “How many other people are as tall I am?” And so Addison came up at the top of the list. It didn’t say anything about him being gay – the only thing it said was –

AS: Job. It said “gay philanthropy”. Right?

EH: I think it said “queer philanthropy” and I was like, “Huh?” So I emailed him and said, “Hi there, Texas boy. I think I have a stranger crush on you.” Then we emailed back and forth – because I was in Texas at the time for a little sabbatical.

You guys are both from Texas?

EH: Yes. So, I was in Texas with some time on my hands. And we started corresponding for a couple of months, on and off – and then I came back.

AS: I showed pictures of you to my friends and my family and said, “Look, my future ex-husband just wrote me”. I never really thought that I would meet you, which is really cool.

EH: Yeah.

AS: But I called you my “future ex-husband,” which now I hope never happens!

EH: Me too…

EH: So, I came back and met him the first week of January, 2006 and we shook hands at the end of our date. [Laughs] And then made out from 8th avenue to 7th avenue…

AS: That was our next date. I thought you were kind of straight or had some issue, like a small weiner or something.

What did you guys do on your first date?

AS: What did we do?

EH: You orchestrated it.

AS: Oh, yeah! We went – I invited him to meet me at a bar and then go next door for dinner.

EH: The bar that his friend worked at, who he kept getting up to get refills of pints and talking to at length and making me feel embarrassed.

AS: I was really nervous.

EH: Would you have taken me to dinner afterwards if we didn’t get along?

AS: Of course!

EH: Just to be friendly?

AS: Yeah.

EH: Good.

AS: I just thought we were two dudes hanging out.


EH: He really did. And we shook hands on Christopher Street, of all places.

This is Addison and Evan’s nightstand. A piece by their art duo friends Donny and Travis hangs above their light.
When did you guys get your domestic partnership?

AS: What day was it?

EH: November 9th. It was a Friday.

What was the motivating factor? Why did you guys do this?

AS: Well, we wanted to spend the rest of our life together. The domestic partnership in New York is really the only – we’re going to get a ceremony in Texas, but there are absolutely no rights that you get with that ceremony. [Laughs] But in terms of here in New York City, we registered for insurance benefits, which is a big one, hospital visitation – at least in New York state – and the rent stabilization laws recognize it, as well. So, even though Evan’s not on the lease, since he’s my domestic partner – God forbid something happened and I died in an accident or something – the landlords couldn’t be like, “Okay, time to leave.”

EH: And you can visit me in jail.

So, we’ve established that you guys both grew up in Texas. What was growing up gay in Texas like? Which towns are you guys from?

EH: He’s from Austin and I grew up north of Houston in a tiny town with a population of less than a thousand.

What was that like: being a gay boy in a small town?

EH: You know, it was strange because I didn’t really know. We lived in this tiny small town on a farm until I was thirteen and then we moved to the big city of Dallas. But, at the time, I had an uncle who was gay and had a partner –

On which side?

EH: My father’s brother, who I just spent Thanksgiving with: big, gay Thanksgiving. It was wonderful. But, at the time, I thought, “Oh, he’s an eccentric composer who teaches at a private school in the Northwest and comes home to play piano concertos just for Christmas. Who’s this best-friend of his, Robert?”

As far as my upbringing went, we had a very strict Christian, fundamentalist, Southern Baptist way of life that included going to church about three days a week. There was not much fire and brimstone as far as the gay topic went. I think maybe once when I was young it was addressed – very briefly. I remember thinking, “Huh? That doesn’t make any sense.” I had no frame of reference for it. It wasn’t on television. We had maybe two channels that we could actually get, because cable’s impossible when you’re in the middle of a two hundred acre farm. So, I guess I started – No, I do remember: in the fifth grade I had my first crush on a boy. His name was Quentin and I followed him around on a field trip with a disposable camera and they took all these pictures of Quentin.

AS: [Laughs]

EH: He was really cute. But, still, even then I didn’t have a frame of reference for it. I remember being angry with the girls because they were spending too much time with my guy friends and, in retrospect, I probably just had crushes on all them. But, so, yeah, until I was about thirteen or fourteen when we moved to the city, I never really understood that dynamic. It wasn’t a conversation that was ever had in my family or in school.

When did you first meet a gay person who wasn’t your uncle?

EH: Well, I lived with my oldest brother all my life and never knew that until college. My older brother’s gay.

Oh, really? How many kids are there?

EH: There are five of us total. And I wish I could remember – I always had a propensity for the gayness. All my family did theater, so I did theater. I just had all these wacky people in my life growing up. Yeah, I went to theater camp for three summers in the middle of high school. Silly things like that. So I guess there were a few that I knew were gay, but it was never discussed.

What was it like coming out to your Southern Baptist, church going family?

AS: Yeah, how did that go?

EH: That was kind of – horrible.

Evan’s mug says “Faggots to Burn”. It’s filled with hot chocolate he made.

What was so horrible about your coming out, Evan?

AS: Tell him how you came out to your mom.

EH: To my mom? This is the worst story ever.

AS: [Laughs] He has a gay older brother. Who was not out yet.

EH: Who was not out yet, who worked as a flight attendant, who lived in San Francisco, who had an amazing sense of style, but wasn’t out, right? So, all the clues were there, so I just figured, I think I was nine – no, I was twenty at the time. I met my first boyfriend – on PlanetOut.

Ah, the Internet boyfriends!

EH: Well, the first one was, because everyone’s so spread out in Dallas. But, yeah, I did – that was Matt, my first boyfriend of three or four months. So, I was twenty years old, met my first boyfriend, totally fell in love and was like, “This is it: totally gay. That’s the answer to all of my problems: I’m gay.” That was the clearest –

AS: Before you had a girlfriend, but were religious.

EH: Yeah, I covered up my gayness with Jesus. I was full blown Jesus freak. I had a patch on my letterman jacket that said, “Jesus freak” on it. I’m not even kidding. So, I remember I was in the car with my mom, I had been dating this guy for a little while. I had told my brother Ross – the gay one – that I was gay. I called him up in San Francisco and his response was, “Really? Big deal, so am I.” I was like, “Really? Okay.” I guess in the back of my mind I kind of knew, but we never talked about it. So, fast forward a few days: I’m in the car with my mom and it’s just welling up in me. “I have to tell her, I have to tell her, because it’s me. So, I say – Instead of telling her I’m gay, I say, “Mom, I have something to tell you. Ross is gay… And so am I!”

Pictures of Evan’s family smile down upon his desk.
AS: Had your mom been like, “I’m going to fucking disown him,” you wouldn’t have [come out].

EH: I didn’t even think. It just happened so quickly. She was stunned and I think I was the one who started to cry, because I was soooo nervous, it just – So, that’s all of that that I recall. I remember she said something to the effect of “I’m going to have to think about this” or “I’m going to have to process this”. I knew that I didn’t care that much, because I knew it was going to be fine, no matter what. So, then I called my brother – I’d love to hear him tell the story, because he was at a street fair somewhere in San Francisco with his friends and I called him up and I said, “Ross, I came out to mom and I –

AS: “And I brought you down with me!”

EH: And I think he said to the effect of, “Fuck you”. Click. And that was it. I didn’t talk to him for maybe months.

But he forgave you?

EH: Yeah, after a few months. We hung out at Christmas and he was like, “You know, I would have done it eventually”.

What about your dad?

EH: My dad. My dad I came out to –

AS: Last year, right? We both, around the same time.

EH: After I met Addison.

How old are you now?

EH: Twenty-eight.

And you had a boyfriend when you were twenty. And when did you tell your mom?

EH: I think I was about twenty-one.

So, your father didn’t know for over five years.

EH: Right. Exactly. But, in all fairness, we don’t talk about much that’s super personal. It’s very – weather, job. As I was getting older I thought of him, I guess, more of as a person that I actually did want to share everything in my life with and so I told him – it was during the debate in Texas when they were about to vote about including the gay marriage ban in the state constitution. I remember we were sitting there, talking about the situation and about my uncle David and my uncle Robert and I think said, “You probably already know this, but…I’m gay.” My dad’s a very thoughtful, easygoing guy, and he’s like, “Okay”. It was really no big deal at all. It was really strange. He immediately asked about – I think I told him about you – I told him, “His name is Addison. He’s from Texas.” And he said, “Oh, really. Do you guys have a lot in common?” So we started talking about Addison and he said, “I’m glad you found happiness. That’s all I want for any of my kids: is to be happy.”

And how about you, Addison?

AS: Um, what?

Growing up in Texas, being gay and shit.

AS: I thought I was pretty – I think I just thought I was asexual. I don’t know if I had it figured out.

EH: Tell us about your girlfriend.

You had girlfriends?

AS: I had a girlfriend in college for a little bit.

Was she pretty?

AS: Yeah. So, I had a friend in high school and we started to fool around once and I kind of freaked out because it was like “Oh my God”. I don’t know. I was freaking out, “I can’t do this. I’m asexual”.

EH: Yeah, that’s why Jesus was a good out for me: no sex until marriage. All you have to do is kiss a girl here and there.

AS: It’s obviously more complicated than that, but – I didn’t – when I jacked off and stuff, I would think about guys, but I’d think about girls, too. It was weird –

Do you have siblings?

AS: Yes. Two sisters. Let’s see – coming out. I didn’t really come out until I was in – or realized that I like men or I was sexually attracted to them until junior year of college, I guess, when I got my first boyfriend and it was all over after that. Seduced by a Colombian!

And how did you come out to your family?

AS: That was more recently. It was one of those things – I’ve worked in gay philanthropy for four years and I’ve always told my parents that’s what I did. I came out to my mom maybe five years ago, but it was several years after the fact. I was already living with my last boyfriend. It’s not that I thought she would react in any weird way. I think I just didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to just talk about it when it at some point when it was just a foregone conclusion and it was just a ten minute conversation. I didn’t really say “Dad, I’m gay” until probably a year ago…

EH: It was around the same time that I told my dad.

AS: Like toward the beginning of last year? I came out to my dad around last April. Easter.

EH: Yeah.

AS: So, I think it was February when you did it.

EH: And how did your dad react?

AS: It was fine. The only thing that he’s weird on is when I was like, “Yeah, we’re planning on having kids one day, too”. He was just, “I don’t know. That’s too much, I don’t understand.”

Where are you going to get these kids?

AS: I don’t know. We haven’t – We could just be uncles or something, who knows?

You like kids?

AS: He wants to be a stay at home dad.

You’re the one who works in finance, you should be going to work!

EH: I have six nephews and they’re a blast and I can see myself doing that one day.

Would you stay in the city if you have kids?

AS/EH: Nooooo.

Where do you want to go?

EH: Texas.

AS: Home state.

EH: Austin: the only liberal pocket.

EH: What’s weird is that – I haven’t done a lot of research – I know there’s a legal foundation there specifically for gay couples – or is it gay families – it’s gay couples.

AS: Oh, you mean Atticus Circle?

EH: It was started by a straight woman. They do advocacy for gay families. Whenever I see gay families on the street, to me it’s like seeing Bigfoot. I just – I don’t know any. I know a couple.

AS: There’s a lot of lesbians out in the desert raising kids.

EH: But I want to know them. I want to get out there and just – more than just the ad you see on a billboard or in the news. I want to know these people.

When you guys were little and imagined your futures, did you imagine having wives or did you not even think about it?

AS: I don’t know that I thought about it.

EH: I don’t know that I did, either.

AS: I thought about Star Wars.

EH: I think I tried to convince myself that I would, but deep down I probably knew it wasn’t going to happen and if it did, it would be really tortuous. I think that was my intention or psychology behind dating girls was “I can make this work” or trying to see if it was really a possibility, but at the end of the day, it was like, “Nope, it’s not going to happen”. One of my ex-girlfriends, Tara, who I’m still good friends with, she was in town this last weekend and she came up to me and said, “You always knew you were gay, right?” I admitted to her, “Yeah, I kind of did.”

I was just reading this book by a Rutgers University professor, Dr. Jaspir Puar – Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. In this book, Puar talks pretty negatively about gay marriage. She’s not talking about every arrangement, but she does write: “Gay marriage…is not simply a demand for equality with heterosexual norms, but [is] a demand and reinstatement of white privileges and rights – rights of property and inheritance in particular…” Have you guys ever heard any arguments like that?

AS: Oh, yeah, of course. In terms of – at least for me – it’s something that we want to commit ourselves to each other and just have the ceremony before friends, but it’s not – I don’t think [that’s] exactly what we’re looking for. I’ve definitely heard that argument. I don’t know. How do you feel about that, Evan?

EH: I think, at least from my own personal experience, it’s not in any way tied to anything but the idea that you’re committing your life to someone. It’s not in anyway tied to –

AS: And we wanted to have a party with our friends.

EH: Right.

AS: And just be like, “Be happy for us” and such like that.

EH: True.

AS: In terms of things that we’re interested in fighting for, I mean, obviously the only parts of it are income – basic – property rights. There’s a host of rights that we would want, but in terms of the things I’m concerned about for the gay community, marriage is not the top. At all.

What is your main concern?

AS: I mean, there are just so many other things that are – gay immigration issues, trans issues, the way the whole ENDA thing went down – there are so many other things that are fracturing the community that I think that [Puar’s] argument stems from the fact that – you were just talking about – gay people kind of woke up and a lot of them being white and male and once they realized they couldn’t get married, that was the first time in their life they’d been told, “No.” But they also vote for Republicans and vote for all these other things that are extremely detrimental to every other part of the gay community.

Every house needs flour and crushed tomatoes.
What do you guys think of Giuliani? It’s because of Giuliani that you got your domestic partnership.

EH: Yeah…

AS: And that we live in this neighborhood. Hell’s Kitchen was where, basically Giuliani was instrumental with getting all the strip clubs out of town square.

EH: I think he’s done a lot of good.

Do you guys feel like you’re part of the gentrification of New York?

AS: Of course, yeah.

How do you feel about that?

AS: [Laughs] I don’t feel good about it, but, I mean, whatever –

EH: It’s difficult to say not knowing personally who you’ve displaced… Will people really vote for Giuliani?

AS: No. He doesn’t stand a shot in hell, does he? Although, people didn’t think Bush had a shot in hell, though. I remember my friend saying “No one would vote for someone just because their last name is Bush”. And I was like –

EH: That’s why people voted for him!

How has moving in together changed your relationship? Has it at all?

AS: It’s better, because you don’t have to plan to see each other, like “Should I come out to Jersey City?” I’ve actually been going home to Texas a lot since – I’ve probably spent two of the last five months in Texas, essentially.

EH: I love it. It’s so much more convenient.

AS: And this place is big. It’s not like we get in each other’s face.

EH: And we get along so well, anyway.

AS: I like to get in your face.

EH: Yeah. I don’t think – we’ve had one argument that I can recall. It wasn’t even an argument. And it was in South America. I was –

AS: [Laughs] Oh, the South America argument of 2006.

EH: It wasn’t an argument. It was you. You don’t remember? I basically wanted you to take off your clothes and get in bed. You were like, “Sorry, I was in the sauna earlier”. I remember I was just like, “God damn it!” I didn’t talk to him for about ten minutes. That was about it.

AS: It was about sex.

Do you guys have sex with other people?

EH: Nooo.

You were in the sauna, Addison…

AS: Oh! God, no!

EH: No, I’m sorry – I wanted him to have sex with me and he had jerked off in the sauna.

AS: I get slippery!

It happens.

EH: It does.
Many a thanks to Zach Golden for the photography!