This Instagram Account Full of Studs Also Provides a Powerful Gay History Lesson
Instagram is full of thirsty content. Many users on the popular image sharing social media platform have discovered the quickest way to get more followers and likes is to show some skin. (We’re not complaining.) Once and a while, though, there’s an account that combines thirst with meaningful content, and that’s what you have with Mike Balaban. His account @bammer47 offers up a much-needed (and fun to take in) gay history lesson.
Over the years Balaban’s feed has amassed more than 10,000 followers and is growing as more and more people stumble upon him. His beautiful photography is paired with powerful captions that capture his gay experiences from years long gone.
Nostalgia paired with beefy men in short shorts is a recipe for Insta-success.
Through his eyes, viewers pay witness to an important piece of queer history through his retelling of one-night stands, trips to far off places and friendships with men who later lost their lives to HIV.
Balaban also has a website, Bammer.co, where he’s documenting first-person stories and images from LGBTQ people all around the world, from Istanbul to Nigeria. The site also allows members to chat with one another about the content and organize meet-ups and events in real time.
What is often left out of the history books are the small moments that have also given color and form to our community — stories about how we brought ourselves out of the shadows; and stories about our families which were most often bound, not by blood, but by camaraderie, friendship and love. From Greenwich Village and the Castro, to Fire Island and Provincetown and a thousand places in between, we have created loving homes, safe havens and cultural crucibles for LGBT people and their friends.
It is so easy to let these memories about LGBT life that have made being open possible fade away. They only re-emerge when we reminisce about the past with friends, but they are never written down and will never be known by younger generations of LGBT people.
Balaban explains that now more than ever it’s important for us to experience the gay history lesson he offers, and to remember our community’s journey that came before:
Now, more than ever, as we see a rise in bigotry, discrimination and hate across the world, we need to remind ourselves of our journey and teach those too young to remember our struggles, our celebrations, and our achievements; and to ensure that our place in today’s society is neither taken for granted, denied or diminished.