There are times that I might make an assumption about someone and not truly know who they are. This is one such time! I first heard of Misti when she was named one of the Grand Marshals for Southern Decadence in 2015; until then I had never heard of her, which isn’t surprising since we didn’t move in the same social circles.
I had written a blog posting regarding the naming of five Southern Decadence Grand Marshals, and how I thought it wasn’t necessary and somewhat excessive. It wasn’t until Misti invited me to a fundraising event that I started to get to know her, and she was not only polite, but very friendly. You have to understand that my blog article about Southern Decadence wasn’t very glowing, and yes I was very harsh. But Misti and I became friends over time, and I have come to respect and admire her dedication to the LGBT community in New Orleans.
Misti grew up in a small, conservative town just outside of Monroe, LA. She admits that living in such a small town shaped her views on the LGBT community; however, in 1999 she moved to New Orleans for a job, and it was here that she started to become a part of our community. It wasn’t until 2008 at the request of friends that she developed and conceived the persona of Johnny Passion, a scary move for her, since she had never been involved in the “drag” community. But over time she started to perform as Johnny Passion, in the LGBT community this is known as being a “drag king”, honesty I had never heard the term “drag king”.
In 2011 she would be named one of the Grand Marshals for New Orleans Pride, she described the appointment of this as a “complete honor”. Then in 2015 Misti would not only be named Southern Decadence Grand Marshal, but a Grand Marshal for the Gay Easter Parade. Two events that she states “both were a true honor, and no matter what I’ll always be a part of the LGBT community”, and give her a platform to bring the community together and become exposed to different aspects of our community.
June 2016 can be considered a milestone in her life, after 8 years of being together she would marry her wife Catherine, and in November of the same year would legally adopt their children. As she speaks about the adoption she starts to become emotional, it’s apparent that she loves them very deeply. A true testament to how they raise their children, her oldest son Ethan who is straight works at New Orleans Oz.
I asked her what is most important to her and she stated “respect yourself, respect others and pay your dues”. What I found most surprising is how she feels about people who win crowns/titles and don’t give back to the LGBT community. To Misti if you have won a crown, or hold a title, you have a duty to give back to the community, and to most it’s just about the crown/title and not giving back to the community that helped you win the title. To her that demeans and diminishes the reason you were given the honor.
"It's not just about raising money, or looking good. You have to set an example for the community, give back, and be humble" Misti Gaither
I have to say that over the past year I have come to know and respect Misti, not only as a person in our community, but for her efforts to raise awareness regarding issues affecting the LGBT community, and those that are important to her. To this day I have to thank her for changing my perception about others in the community, and allowing me to a part of her life!
Currently Misti currently the special events coordinator at the Four Seasons Bar in Metairie, and continues to support and raise funds for the LGBT community in New Orleans and surrounding areas.
Images are the property of Misti Gaither and cannot be copied and/or reproduced without written permission.
It's an age old question, do you shave? Or you don't shave? There are a lot of gay men that opt to shave their pubic area. There are several reasons why someone would shave this area; hygiene, interest & novelty, healthiness, sensuality, sexiness, less odor, and more inviting.
Regardless for your reasons, you have to know how to properly shave your groin area, to insure that you are doing it correctly and safely. So, let's get started!
Shaving Your Pubic Hair & Scrotum.
It is important to remember that shaving can affect certain individuals negatively. Red bumps may occur as the hair grows back. If this happens use cortisone cream to smooth irritation. Some shaving cream can affect the pubic area, may try a hypoallergenic shaving cream.
If you've never shaved your genitals before, it might be worth giving it a try. For a summer coolness or maybe fore an extra touch of sex appeal, I swear the benefits just might surprise you!
For some reason there seems to be this aversion for some gay men to never be prepared when they know they're going to be a bottom. I mean really is it so hard to take care of business before you head out and try to get laid.
As a bottom it's important to always be ready, and that mean being clean. Here are a few of my cardinal rules for being a prepared bottom and one should live by.
- Condoms (make sure they are not expired or the package isn't open)
- Toothbrush & Breath Mints
- Baby Wipes (to clean effective areas)
Being on top about being a bottom will insure that you are worry free and that nothing embarrassing will happen during or after sex. ALWAYS REMEMBER to get tested for HIV and STI's and practice safe sex, or not your choice!
At one point in our lives we come across someone that changes your life, is positive, motivating, and honest. If we're going to be honest, it's rare and very difficult to find. Being in the gay community you mostly come across vain, shallow, and fake men. Their only goal is to move forward their own agenda. There is nothing worse than investing your time, honesty, and self, and you're screwed over.
For me I am very direct, and I have found that most gay men can't take someone that is honest, and very direct. They always take it personally, and for some reason they just want to hear what they want to hear, and for me that drives me crazy. So here are a few qualities that think makes a good friend. I know that a true friendship doesn't start instantly, and that strong one takes time to build. So, here I go!
Now we all have different requirements for our friends, and some reason for being friends change over time. There are friends that you know socially, but the true friends are there no matter what, you can laugh and cry, disappoint or be criticized. Regardless you have to work at a friendship and in the gay community you learn quickly that some only want something and a true friend well that's for life.
Let me preface this with saying that my relationship with straight women are quite dynamic. To be honest I have very few straight girlfriends, and have never had a relationship with one that was very close (not including family). That's why I never understood why some women were called a "fag hag"? Most women I know are strong, independent, direct, and will not take any crap from anyone. So, what is a fag hag (god I hate even using the word), and why do we refer to women like that? Or maybe the term is antiquated and out-of-date? I had to ask several people I knew so that I could understand why it's used and is it still used. To my surprised three of my friends say that the term is still used and they have no problem using the term "fag hag".
So, as I understand it a "fag hag" is a women that tries to avoid romantic entanglements with men, and dedicate their energy into relationships they have with gay men. It's like the affections they receive fills some void and maybe feels like "the real thing." They can even harbor deep feelings about their gay friends - a fact that is sometimes alluded by both parties, just never discussed.
This is what was told to me by one of my friends, picture it this way - "a narcissistic gay man who is just being a dick to his number one "fag hag" who has no backbone. Thy gay guy uses her to feel beautiful and inflate his over the top ego; while she has little self-worth and feels somewhat special just being in the presence of a gay man".
I've never had this type of relationship and quite honestly it doesn't interest me; it's seems like a bullshit premise of a friendship. There is an argument that that the gay man/straight women relationship has some moments of co-dependency, like Will & Grace. There is no doubt that any friendship can get to a level of intensity that at times become uncomfortable, but that might just be a by-product of a close friendship, and isn't exclusive to gay men and straight women.
Most of my aversion to this type of friendship is based on annoyance and frustration. I mean at some point in our lives we have had a girl tell you "Oh my god, you're gay. I need a gay friend, and you're so funny. Can we hang out?" It's almost as if they are being progressive by befriending a gay man, but to be honest it could be offensive.
What I find more offensive is that some gay men really feed into it. They're more than willing to go along and be the "the gay best friend", which I've never completely understood. Homosexuality in our current culture have complicated the sexual identity of gay men. It's like there are certain expectation for us on how we're supposed to act and dress. We try to fight this stereotype, but we sometimes fall into the typical roles that we're expected to play. I can be honest, there have been times that I'm guilty of being somewhat bitchy out of some misguided sense of obligation.
I can say that I'm proud that any straight women I know are not "fag hags". They are very strong women, with stable relationships, and trust me none of them want to have sex with me or make silly remarks like "I wish you were straight!" While my sexuality is a defining part of my identity it isn't the reason why I have certain friendships.
Growing up in the gay community body image is a major factor in today's health-conscious world. Since the start of social media, we have been sharing just about every aspect of our live, not just with our own network of friends, but colleagues, acquaintance, as well as with thousands of total strangers.
Let's be honest with each other, most gay men don't like their bodies very much, which might seem surprising giving the amount of time gay men spend at the gym. Gay men probably devote more time and effort cultivating a physical since than any other demographic group. I appears that gay men tend to dislike their physical appearance are gay men.
So why does this happen? Social media has made our culture a sexualized subculture that places a premium on physical beauty, and the media appears to bombard us with images that reflect and impossibly high standard on physical beauty.
Research has shown that second only to women, gay men suffer from dysmorphia - a preoccupation with some imagined defect in appearance when the person involved is actually very "normal looking". Places where gay men socialize especially bars, gyms, or sex clubs, often emphasize physical attributes or make those the first criterion for checking someone out. It’s difficult for someone who is older than a certain age or different from the prevailing cultural standards of beauty to catch someone’s eye in a bar or club. This has the sad and unintended consequence of leaving some gay men in the social binds most familiar to teenage girls – obsessed about their appearance and feeling like their locus of control lies completely outside of themselves.
If you have trouble accepting your body, there are steps you can take to improve the situation. First, take the concern seriously. Don’t confuse who you are with how you look. Develop a sense of identity based on all of your attributes and on your values. Put your body back together. Consider stretching, yoga and massage as ways to help yourself feel like more than just “skinny legs” or “love handles.” Indulge in body pleasures – long baths, massage, good sex, a walk in the park on a sunny day. Make your own list.
Learn to appreciate body types in all shapes and sizes. Stop trashing men who don’t conform to the “buffed” image. Seek alternative role models. Don’t emphasize body size or shape as an indication of a man’s worth or his identity as a man. Learn to value the person inside. Pay attention to the images used to promote products in our community. Notice the way physical beauty is used to push sales or manipulate us. Talk about this with your friends, too.
And finally, confront homophobia, including internalized homophobia. Don’t accept being treated as a second-class citizen by straight society or by other gay folks.
The majority of the gay population are into anal sex. According to Gregory Underwood, author of Gay Men and Anal Eroticism, states "that 3/4 of gay men have had anal sex at one time or another. Assuming that these men continue to have anal sex that leaves a quarter of gay men that neither have tried it or they no longer have anal sex. So, why is that? What are the basic possible reasons some gay men don't have anal sex or don't like having anal sex?
There could be several reasons this happens:
Personal Taste. While some guys may have tied anal, and discover that they find little or no pleasure in topping and/or bottom. For some gay men this will most likely happen after their "first bad experience", and some have just never tired anal sex and have no desire to participate, either by choice, anxiety or stigma.
Stigma. In our general society there is a stigma associated with men who have anal sex with other men. A top is generally thought to be the dominant, while the bottom is considered more submissive; this isn't always true. This could cause a problem with let's say a bottom who doesn't want to be perceived as the "weaker" or "less dominate" man. Then there is the view that a bottom in society commonly seen as the "female" role in the relationship.
Anxiety. The risk of contracting an STI, from most that can be treated to those that are incurable, this causes quite a bit of anxiety. Anal sex can lead to several fears; so for many this leads to just abstaining from anal sex. For many they will prefer non-penetrative sex as a substitute.
Feelings. Anal sex is considered one of our closest physical connections. Form many there are feelings associated with that level of closeness. Many gay men will abstain from anal sex unless there is an emotion connection with their partner. The emotional physical connection is to some the best way to enjoy and experience anal sex; this may lead to barebacking or anal sex without a condom.
Regardless of what some reason may be, we have to conclude that sex is very personal, and will vary by preferences, pleasures, wants and needs, and desires.
It's important to understand that there is nothing wrong with not being into anal sex. For many gay men they appear happy to live their lives without ever experiencing anal intercourse. Anal sex can be replaced by non-penetrative sex like frottage or intercrural sex. Then again there is oral sex and many other sexual fetishes that do not involve anal penetration. It's about feeling an emotional bond, and having fun with your sexual partner.
How much would you be willing to bare, with regards to sex? Barebacking is not always black and white, especially when situations and/or individuals involved change. If you're having anal sex with a regular sex buddy, or a steady partner, chances are you've been faced with this decision to either bareback or not. The choice to have unprotected anal sex can have lasting effects on your life and future, and can increase your chances of contracting or transmitting HIV or numerous SDI's (STD's).
So the question to ask is why men would have unprotected sex? There are several possible reasons:
Now one could argue that there are benefits to having bareback sex, such as increased sensation in the penis, closeness to a partner(s), or increased spontaneous. Regardless of your personal view, it's a personal choice, and anyone who is going to engage in unprotected will do so regardless of the risk.
But what if both partners are negative? Well, this is a personal choice. You might want to look into the use of PrEP, this might be a good choice for both partners to use. The downside of using PrEP is that it's expensive (covered under most insurance and medicare plans), there could be side effects, and long-term kidney or liver effects as well. It's important that you consult with your personal physician. Only a certified physician can prescribe the drug, and you should have routine checkup.
Always remember that keeping open and honest communication is important in any relationship. Get tested regularly and together. And remember that other pesky bugs beside HIV, so get tested for other STI's as well. Be clear about each other's expectations, and for the sake of your partner(s) always be honest and open about your status.
So regardless if you're in a relationship or not, you enjoy "playing the field", engage is risky sex practices; these are your choices, and no one should have the right to decide for you what is safe or not. Just be aware of all the risks and get tested!
KNOW YOUR STATUS: GET TESTED TODAY!
Every once in a while you come across someone that changes your perspective about how other’s live their lives and an understanding that while they may seem different, in fact you have more in common than you think. I first met Princess Stephaney as she was fawning over my husband, to be honest I didn’t know how to judge the situation, and yes I was somewhat upset about the situation. But what I learned is that she has this wicked since of humor, and it’s not reserved for just one person, it’s her way to engaging with people.
Princess Stephaney has lived in New Orleans for 25 years, and since moving here she has become an important and beloved part of the LGBT community. She is not a “drag queen”, but identifies as a transvestite. To her this means at work she is in “drag”, but performs as a “drag queen”. Now some of you may not understand this logic, and in reality it’s not anyone’s place to judge or make assumptions; it’s how she views her life.
I asked her where she gets her wicked since of humor she stated “Mae West”, and “I would watch all her moves, and write down all the one liners”, but she also admires Phyllis Diller and Cher among others. It was the comedian in each that she was drawn to.
Princess Stephaney was crowned Miss. New Orleans Pride 2017, and stated that she was “surprised and honored”. I have to say that she has earned the title; while some believe that maybe she shouldn’t have won, I ask why not? She gives of her time and passion to the LGBT community and is always there to help raise awareness for the LGBT community. She does this without looking for gratitude or thanks.
“I want to be all inclusive with my platform, wishing our community that is rich in diversity and ethnicity that we embrace our Latino and Asian sisters and brothers to become more visible. All year.” Princess Stephaney
Two years later I have a profound respect for Princess Stephaney, I admire her ability to just want to have fun, enjoy life, and be herself. It’s a rare quality to have and one that has been earned though just being herself. Thanks for being you Princess Stephaney!
Images are the property of Princess Stephaney and cannot be copied and/or reproduced without written permission.
This past week two transgender women were murdered within days of each other. I have to say that it caused me to pause and wonder how in such a liberated city this could happen. It wasn't until I was going through my Facebook Group page that I realized that not many people within the LGBTQ community were even talking about it.
When as a community did we start turning our backs on any member of the LGBTQ community in New Orleans, why would we even consider doing this? It's been my experience that transgender members of the community are commonly looked down upon. Oh, we will never admit it to ourselves, but just look at how we treat each other; judging, criticizing, or putting others down.
Tonight I went to a candle light vigil for Chyna Dupree Gibson, a transgender woman who was murdered this past week. The show of support from those in the LGBTQ community seemed sparse, if down right non-existent. I mean was she not worthy enough to have those within the community to show their support, not just to her family but to show unity that we as a community stand together and will not tolerate this behavior. Because you write a check or have some title doesn't make you a supporter of the LGBTQ community; in my opinion you have to engage, become involved and speak up.
Now I am sure there were some from the LGBTQ community there, and to them I commend your belief that all lives in our community matter. I took the time out of my schedule to make it a point to be there. I wanted to know who the young lady was, and most importantly see firsthand the pain and grief of those who knew her best.