Keepin’ It Real

MTV’s Real World star Danny Robert’shosts short film collection

“In gay culture, there is a lack of role models,” says Danny Roberts, host of Boys Briefs 2, a video/DVD of short films about gay teenage lust. Best known for his stint on the New Orleans edition of MTV’s The Real World, Roberts, however, has worked hard to fill this void. Contacted by Picture This! Entertainment about hosting Boys Briefs 2, Roberts accepted the opportunity it provided him, what he calls “a test run for future projects.” The episodic introductions, which were filmed at Laguna Beach, California, feature the occasionally shirtless Roberts sunning it up on the beach, despite having the flu on the day of filming, he says. The short films in the video all send “gay is good” messages. Yet, some, like the Spanish entries Doors Cut Down and Backroom, announce this more explicitly than others. Both feature young boys having frank sexual encounters with strangers in public venues as a means of developing their pride. “People are so repressed when it comes to showing their affection,” Roberts says. “Gay or straight–there should be more [affection] in our culture. It’s not so taboo.” However, he also acknowledges that all teens, hetero or homo “have sex too early. [They] get the message that it’s not only all right, but also expected.” Roberts blames the media for this, and cites that “MTV is very guilty,” in this regard. Now a frequent guest speaker at colleges and universities he conducts “candid conversation about sexuality and coming out in America.” In addition, Roberts continues to work on his website, which provides a forum for gay teens. “It’s an honor to be in this position,” he says about being a role model. “I never would have imagined this. Somebody should have been doing it already.” Roberts’ own experiences with queer lust began in high school, “I first started experimenting with my best friend. It was pretty whack. After a year, we realized what we were doing was gay as hell,” Roberts remembers. He stills stays in touch with the guy, who, by the way, is straight. Roberts also admits that he first fell in love in college. “My boyfriend scared me so bad,” he recalls, “I was so in love with him, I quit talking to him.” Similar issues are examined in the Boys Briefs 2 collection. In the German film, Breakfast, one boy loves his best friend who is instead interested in sleeping with other people. The tension between these characters is quite palpable as they work out their love. Likewise, Chicken, from Ireland, examines the silent bond between two teens, neither of whom is able to verbally expresses their fears or desires. Roberts feels it is important for teens to develop “an identity outside of a gay identity,” citing that his life with Paul—his boyfriend of three years—is very healthy. (Real World viewers will recall Paul was in the military and while they were dating; the show could not film his face because of the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy). “He’s happy-go-lucky, and it’s nice to be with someone who has their shit together and is not bothered by the odd situations and people in my life.” Furthermore, Roberts is happy to stay out of what he describes as the “gay clone” scenario: “If you are gay, you have to mold into the ‘gay identity.’ That’s lame as hell,” he says adamantly. “I hate the gay club music. Gay clubs are all about hooking up. They are nothing but trouble.” Instead, Roberts prefers the outdoors, and he loves travelling—he has been all over America and Africa, as well as to Mexico, Canada, and France. Comfortable in foreign countries, the Boys Briefs 2 host hopes that audiences will respond to the international shorts, and not be put off by the few entries with subtitles.