November 4, 2010
by Larry Lazzari/Special for TRT
Scott Herman is best known for flexing his muscles on MTV’s Real World and on his weekly YouTube workout videos. But the blonde Adonis is now strengthening up for a new fight for gay rights.
Growing up in New Hampshire, Scott remembers words like “gay” and “fag” being part of the everyday vernacular. “When you’re a kid, you don’t realize the hate behind the words and how hurtful they can be to a whole community of people.”
“Living in the Real World house opened my eyes,” he continues. The season introduced not one, but three LGBT members to viewers including Katelynn, a transgender woman, who had the most impact on Scott.
“I had gay friends before, but during the show, Katelynn and I worked with The Center in New York City. It was the first time I really became aware of the struggles of the LGBT community. When I heard the stories of Sean Kennedy and Matthew Shepard, I knew I had to do something.”
Scott is leading a charge to recruit straight allies to the gay rights movement. In addition to lending his celebrity to gay organizations including Trevor Project, HRC, and GLAAD, Scott is calling for straight men to prove they are real men by standing up for gay rights.
Larry Lazzari: Why is a straight man taking on gay rights?
Scott Herman: I have always been a seeker of truth and an advocate for justice.
LL: You sound like a superhero.
SH: I grew up knowing what it felt like to be left out of the crowd and picked on. I idolized the superheroes in my comics and thought that if I could be more like Superman or Captain America, I could one day make a difference in the world.
LL: Why is it important that heterosexuals take on the gay cause?
SH: We live in a monkey-see, monkey-do society. One person standing up can inspire others. My nickname as a kid just happened to be Monkey.
LL: As a result of your stand, you’ve faced some discrimination yourself.
SH: Some wonder why a straight guy would fight for the rights of the gay community. They assume I must be gay.
LL: Are you ok with that?
SH: It doesn’t matter to me what people think because true equality means we don’t look at people as straight or gay, just people.
LL: In your opinion, why do heterosexuals have such a problem with homosexuality?
SH: The media portrays the gay lifestyle negatively and as a result, a lot of people have the wrong impression of the community. Even some young LGBT kids in the beginning process of coming out have the wrong idea of what it means to be gay.
LL: Were you ever opposed to homosexuality?
SH: When I was a kid I thought it was wrong only because no one was telling me it was right. I was never exposed to gay people.
LL: Was the Real World house your first exposure to the gay community?
SH: No, I met my first gay friends around 18 when I started working at a gym in New Hampshire. I even went to my first gay club around that time.
LL: What did you think when you first learned you would be living with a gay man?
SH: I thought it was sweet because gay men always have the cutest girl friends.
LL: Did you have any fear that he might try to seduce you?
SH: Not at all. Whenever a guy hits on me, I smile. I’m thankful to be good looking enough to attract a gay man. They’re ten times pickier than woman.
LL: Were you nervous changing clothes in front of him?
SH: No, JD was a cool dude. Being gay doesn’t mean you are going to be creepy.
LL: You also lived with Katelynn, a transsexual. Had you ever known a transsexual before?
SH: The only time I had ever heard of a transsexual was when Mr. Garrison became Mrs. Garrison on South Park. Even then, I thought it was a million dollar procedure that most people couldn’t afford. I didn’t realize the operation was so common.
LL: How did you relate to Katelynn?
SH: We were friends the instant we met. The show never really dove into the bond we had.
LL: What did you have in common with her?
SH: A lot, actually. We spent hours talking about mixed martial arts, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Dragon Ball Z, xBox, and other things that only comic book dorks like us would know about.
LL: What is your relationship like today?
SH: We play catch-up every few weeks. Katelynn is getting married next year! I can’t wait to go to her wedding.
LL: Why do you think you have become so popular with the gay community? Is it because of your looks?
SH: I think that just like in any relationship, it began with looks. But as relationships go on, looks matter less because there are plenty more good looking dudes out there. I think the reason the LGBT community continues to support me is because they know my advocacy is legit. The same blogs who at first referred to me as a “hot piece of ass” now write thoughtful posts about me because they know I am genuine in my cause.
LL: Your Youtube workout videos have become quite a sensation with close to a million views on many of them!
SH: The secret to my YouTube success is consistency. When people get involved in fitness, especially in the beginning, they need constant support. I post a new workout every Tuesday, three new individual exercises ever Saturday, and a weekly update on Sundays.
LL: It sounds like you’ve built a fitness community.
SH: That’s exactly what it is. Anyone can go to the Facebook community page and ask questions to get the help and support they need. Right now there are over 31,000 Hermanites ready to support you on your fitness journey.
LL: What percentage of Hermanites is gay?
SH: 93% of the community is male, however when you sign up for YouTube or on my site, your sexuality doesn’t come into question. Based on comments and posts, I would say I have a pretty even split of straight and gay community members.
LL: Is it really possible for anyone to get a body like yours?
SH: Yes, all it takes is consistency and determination.
LL: What do you suggest people do to get started on the path to fitness?
SH: I suggest a goal board. Visualizing your goals is the best way to stay on top of them.
LL: Do you provide a mean plan?
SH: For sure. What you eat is going to make up the foundation of your results. A weak foundation will collapse once you start building on it.
LL: Do you love showing off your physique?
SH: I have spent fourteen years sculpting my body. Just like a sculptor enjoys showing off his work, I do too. I also know that others are inspired by my photos. I was inspired by the physiques of the guys in my gym.
LL: And you’re ok with gay men viewing you as sex object?
SH: It doesn’t bother me. We all have our fantasies.
LL: Would you pose for Playgirl?
SH: Posing for playgirl isn’t on my agenda. I am fighting for equality, not attention.
LL: What message do you have for your gay fans in light of the recent attacks and suicides?
SH: The recent attacks and suicides are examples of what happens when people who can do something don’t. We all need to stand together and fight for change. We can’t allow these right wing fanatics to deny the community its basic civil rights. Justice needs to and will prevail.
For more information, visit Scott atwww.facebook.com/ScottHermanFitness