Clayton Paterson

Posted by Lori Tan on

This Pride Month, 2(X)IST is turning up the volume on confidence and authenticity with its Spotlight campaign. By hosting an open casting call, we sought to highlight the vibrant personalities within the community, reinforcing our commitment to universal existence and self-expression.

Among the standout talents is Clayton from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At 65, Clayton is redefining what it means to step into the spotlight. “How do I put myself in the spotlight? I think I’ve done it. I’m modeling for 2(X)IST and I’m 65 years old and they’re having a boomer do this! Yeah... I think I’m in the spotlight,” he says with undeniable swagger.

The Pride of Confidence: A Q&A with Clayton

Q: What does Pride mean to you?
Clayton: Pride means the joy, honor, and comfort that I feel being a part of the amazing and vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. I am able to live my truth openly and joyfully because of the effort and sacrifice of those who came before me. I am proud!
Q: When did you first hear about 2(X)IST?
Clayton: I saw some promotions that included George Dellinger, an acquaintance of mine who was much more mature than the standard underwear model. It left me with a wonderful feeling about the brand.
Q: Why did you choose to be a part of the campaign?
Clayton: I wanted to show that an older man, in my case a baby boomer, was just as capable and deserving as any younger model of being an underwear model. I was hoping that 2(X)IST would believe in the strong message of inclusion that including someone my age would convey. And, to their credit, they did.
Q: When was the first time you took the spotlight? How did you embrace it?
Clayton: The first time I really felt the spotlight shine on me was when I came out, in my late 50s, as an openly gay man. It can be a time of great anxiety, doubt, and loneliness. All of a sudden, I was the center of attention without a full understanding of how others, including my family, would react. I felt that spotlight shining right on me as I announced to the world that I am an out and proud gay man. But, to my relief, I was embraced by my family, friends, and by the larger LGBTQIA+ community. I felt loved and accepted, and the spotlight thankfully shone elsewhere as I simply lived my life. Well, perhaps the spotlight has briefly returned as I may be the oldest underwear model ever. But this time, no anxiety, doubt, or loneliness—just a feeling of immense pride and confidence to model underwear for the iconic 2(X)IST brand. Thank you for that brief spotlight.
Q: How has your journey been from a married straight man raising four children to an out and proud gay man?
Clayton: This wasn’t easy. It really made me think and reflect back on this amazing journey from a straight man, married to a woman, together raising four children, to an out and proud gay man. People are incredulous when I push back that my authentic self was indeed a straight man for those many years and that it was in my 50s that I embraced my 'new' truth as a gay man. We all have our unique journeys. Mine has been amazing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you to everyone involved in this campaign for this amazing opportunity.

Clayton’s narrative is more than just a story; it’s a celebration of individuality and the diverse paths that life can take. His journey from a married straight man to an out and proud gay man in his 50s is a testament to resilience, authenticity, and joy. At 2(X)IST, we are thrilled to have Clayton as part of our Spotlight campaign, celebrating the confidence and spirit of our community.

Through Clayton’s story and many others, 2(X)IST continues to inspire confidence and a sense of belonging. Here’s to standing tall, shining bright, and proudly embracing our true selves.

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