Mike Balaban

Co-founder of bammer.co. See my Instagram page: @bammer47. Former international financier and cross-border consultant with a focus on Greater China. Serial non-profit board member and LGBTQ/political activist.

Mike Balaban's Stories

A Tribute to Jackie Yordan

Jackie Yordan was, according to many who knew him, an “incredible sweetheart and an amazing person… He was truly one of the biggest heartthrobs of the period in New York. The thing about him was that he had no attitude at all and he couldn’t have been sweeter. So, everybody loved him. “And, he was […]

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The Barbarian and the Gay

1998-1999—In 1998, my investment bank offered me a position heading up a group in its Tokyo office. I was reluctant to go, but it was the only way I was likely to remain on my career path, so I agreed to move there for several years.

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Full Circle

1976 – When I first moved to NYC in 1976, as far as the world knew, I was a 24-year-old straight guy, former college jock, and up-and-coming banker. All my friends were straight, at least during my first few years there, and served as my New York “family.” They knew I was gay, but it […]

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A Typical Manhattan Evening

1981—After my intense three-month affair with Bill Masi, a successful male model, had run its course in early 1981, we became “friends with benefits” and then morphed into just being friends. During that middle phase, he also became friends with a guy from New Jersey, a teacher also named Bill, who was married to a […]

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Guilty Pleasure

August 1972: I chose this photo for a reason. It was taken one month after, at 20 years of age, I’d had my first sexual experience with another man (In it, in August 1972, I’m dangling my legs in a pool in Panama City, Florida.). 

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A Brazilian New Year in Hong Kong

1999 – For New Year’s Eve 1998, I found myself in Hong Kong, visiting my best friend from grad school and his family. I stayed with him, his wife, and daughter in their fancy three-bedroom ex-pat apartment, which was a huge cost-saver for me in that ultra expensive city. On New Year’s Eve, my friend […]

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Greek Fraternity or Gay Fraternity?

June 25, 1978: In December 2017, I reconnected with a younger fraternity brother I hadn’t seen since Gay Pride in NYC 35 years earlier. I’d graduated from Brown in 1974, while Bill Barnert didn’t arrive in Providence until the fall after I’d left. Still, we’d met during my visits back to Phi Delt house parties […]

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No Queens

My first boyfriend, Jim Fragale, was turning 40 and I was 27. It was 1979. He’d moved to NYC from West Virginia in 1963 at 24. When we began dating, I couldn’t believe he’d lived in NYC for such a long time. I remember saying to him “I hope I’m not still here after 16 […]

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In Search of (Gay) America

In 1979 and with no gay life to speak of, I scrimped to save a few thousand dollars, negotiated my departure from my firm, sublet my Manhattan apartment, and took off for California in my little Toyota Celica. In retrospect, I had to leave NYC to “learn to be gay.”

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The Bodyguard

1985 – During a solo vacation in Ibiza in September 1985, I met a muscular hunk, traveling with his younger boyfriend, who professed to be Freddy Mercury’s bodyguard.  It was the first indication I’d received that Mercury was probably gay.  And, I remember thinking, “Boy, he has good taste in men!”

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