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Ed throws Ryan a welcome dinner with a dozen of his closest friends. "I don't mean to be rude," Ryan says, "but it's, like, 12 gay guys?" Things only get more awkward at the restaurant. "No right or wrong answer," one of the men asks Ryan, "but Bush or Kerry?"

"I agree with Bush that marriage for homosexuals is wrong," Ryan answers. "… This is about the most uncomfortable conversation I've ever had."

Things don't get any easier for Ryan as the days progress. Strolling the streets of San Francisco, Ryan realizes that he is the minority. "So right now I'm standing in the gayest place on earth," Ryan says from his position in the city's famed Castro district. "I'm definitely the oddball here. I'm the outcast."

Ryan's rigid views gradually soften as he spends more time around gay people. At the beginning of the experiment, he felt that sexual orientation is a choice. "Throughout that experience and learning process," Ryan says, "there was so much stuff that I learned, and that's not something that I exactly have a firm belief on right now. I don't know if I would still take the stand that people [choose to be gay]."
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FROM: Gay for 30 Days
Published on October 20, 2005

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