There is no doubt that the LGBT community in New Orleans gives a lot money to various charities; that benefit many people in need. From April to December, members of the community will give thousands of dollars to show their support and compassion for the LGBT community. However, in recent months some people that I know began to ask questions as to why they never could get a receipt for their donation(s) at some of these events. It really is simple and I will use two of the largest events in New Orleans; Southern Decadence and the Gay Easter Parade. Now understand that the statements expressed in the article are my opinions and do not reflect any organization(s) and/or person, other than myself. I also want to state, there are many people within the LGBT community who work hard to raise money for various charities in the New Orleans area, and I'm in no way diminishing their hard work and accomplishments.
You have to understand that there are two different types of non-profit tax exempt classifications; a 501(c)(3) and a 501(c)(4). Under IRS codes many nonprofit organizations are created for the purpose of providing some benefit to the public. Depending on the specific civic purpose of the organization and its anticipated level of involvement in politics, it may be eligible for a federal income tax exemption under sub-chapter 504(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
According to IRS rules, public charities, private foundations and organization that promote a religious, scientific, charitable, or literary purpose may purse a tax exempt classification known as 501(c)(3) status. By contrast, civil leagues, and local association that further a social welfare objective but do not quite rise to the level of a charitable organization and may purse 501(c)(4) status. Another important aspect of these two are under a 501(c)(3) deduction are available to individuals and businesses, and are entirely deductible as a charitable contribution on the donor’s tax returns. While donations made to a 501(c)(4) are generally not deductible.
Got It! It’s really a lot, but important to understand.
So, let’s look at Southern Decadence! This event is listed as New Orleans Southern Decadence, Inc., charter number 41213635N as recorded by the Louisiana Secretary of State. It is also not listed as a 501(c)(3) or (4). Therefore, any donations made to this organization are not tax deductible for any individual or business who gives money. The same can be said for the Gay Easter Parade, book number 57-0205 which according the Louisiana Secretary of State is not listed as a business or nonprofit, but held under Ambush Magazine as a trade mark for printed matter, advertising & Business, and is not listed as a 501(c)(3) or (4).
What about donations I make to Southern Decadence and/or Gay Easter Parade for fundraising event(s)? Well let me give you an example: you give $100.00 (cash) at a fundraising event, unless you receive a receipt that shows the name of the registered nonprofit, date, amount and signature you cannot deduct that from your personal federal income taxes. The same for a check (which can serve as a receipt), it must be written directly to the organization. The organization must be a recognized 501(c)(3) or (4) as outlined by the IRS to accept donations. Sponsorship's are basically the same thing, as a single donation, and the same rules apply as stated in the example.
In the case of Southern Decadence or the Gay Easter Parade, according to the IRS (agent Johnson #10001961**), “if you give money to an organization that is not registered with the IRS as tax exempt you cannot take any deductions, nor can you ask or receive a receipt, it illegal to do so”. Since both of these events are not registered with the IRS, guess what you’re out of luck. So, can anyone take the deductions? Yes. So, if New Orleans Southern Decadence, Inc. writes a check for an amount, they can in theory take the total federal deductions allowed by IRS rules for deductions. The Gay Easter Parade which is not listed by the Louisiana Secretary of State as a nonprofit or business, but held under Ambush, Inc, who could write a check to the charity and in theory take the total federal deductions (I am not implying or suggesting they do).
This seems strange to me, if either Southern Decadence and/or Ambush are taking any federal charitable (at the time of posting of this article neither Ambush and/or New Orleans Southern Decadence responded to requests for confirmation or comment), deductions, hell their getting one sweet deal. I mean the community gives them money throughout the year and they might be taking large deductions on their federal taxes. Another point to make is that they never disclose that donations are not tax deductible (which is a requirement); and if they are in fact claiming the deductions. They only state how much they have raised, and given to the charities after expenses. With regards to the Gay Easter Parade it clearly states to make checks payable to Ambush/gep (sponsorship form), they also claim to have raised $264,784.41 in the last 15 years. Either way the question is; is someone taking large charitable deductions? If so, why? Does it even seem fair that we give this money so that it can assist or help our community, without the benefit of claiming a personal charitable deduction?
Regardless of how you feel about this subject, I think it’s wrong to not have full disclosure. The community should be informed that our donations are not federally tax deductible, that you will not receive a receipt for your donation. To some in the community this issue isn’t important and I respect that, but for some who give large amounts of money throughout the year it is important.
Image: istockphoto.com purchased for commercial use.
Exemption Requirements - 501(c)(3) Organizations
Exemption Requirements - 501(c)(4) Organizations
IRS Publication 526. Catalog No. 15050A. Dept. of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. 2016
IRS Publication 557. Catalog No. 46573C. Dept. of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. 2017
IRS Publication 1771. Catalog No. 20054Q. Dept. of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. 2016
It has always been my opinion that perception is everything when dealing with how people look at one and another. Being gay this is even more important. General society has a wide and varied looked at how we live our lives. When talking about circuit parties that are very popular within the LGBT community, understand that I am not placing everyone in the same "boat", however to deny that sex and drugs run rampant at most circuit parties would be a lie.
I began to think about this topic quite by accident. While talking about circuit parties with a good friend (who travels to many of the circuit parties) we were on the topic of drugs and sex and he stated "I don't think you realize how expensive circuit parties are, how much sex and drugs are available at most of them. It's not something to idealize." What he told me had me thinking, how bad could it really be? You have to understand I live in New Orleans, and one of the South's largest circuit parties is Southern Decadence. Some will yell and scream "it's not a circuit party? Or "You don't know what you're talking about?" Regardless this is my opinion, you don't have to agree or like it, but then ask me if I care?
So, having frank conversations with friends who routinely travel to party weekends like Up Your Alley in San Francisco, the White Party in Miami, or Southern Decadence in New Orleans. I realized that my friends were mostly urban, white, and sexually adventurous. These events bring together sex, music, travel, and the unspoken promise of party drugs. Most circuit parties give a percentage of their funds to LGBT organizations. But if seen as a business - which they are - these events drive a global industry catered exclusively to gay men with deep pockets. The LGBT organizations have no problems accepting the money raised. I do understand that for most this is a major source of money. However, when you try to teach and preach safer sex, HIV education; you in my opinion become a hypocrite.
In the United States, the general public has embraced the monogamous, family oriented image of gay men. But the homophones of American who opposed anything gay just have to glace behind the "black curtain" of these parties and see hundreds of gay men engaging in different "cultural traditions - one that would surely affirm all their ugly prejudice. For example during Southern Decadence you want sex, it's not hard to find. A few of the bars/clubs have no problem with men having sex there, just spend your money. I mean the police at one bar are no more than 20 feet.
These parties can be overwhelming. You discover that party drugs have a nasty habit of increasing sexual risks, you realized that you have paid large fees to get in only to be disappointed., you come to understand that your need to be around other gay men has been manipulated and banked on.
"I remember the last time I stumbled out of a circuit party in New York City at 6 in the morning, trembling and sweating, so fucked up I could hardly speak and walk. In that moment, I felt like a child playing a man's game - or, more accurately, a man being childish". Personal Quote
For example a federal study last year of 6,000 men who attended circuit parties (Southern Decadence, Folsom Street Fair, Hustlaball) found that 95% took at least one illegal drug, 68% reported to having unsafe sex with someone they did not know, 89% abused alcohol, 74% used "poppers", 52% admitted to having a "gang bang", 33% reported they blacked out.
Regardless of how you feel about circuit parties the fact that they raise large amounts of money for LGBT organizations, and have a huge impact on the local community. Many cities report that they have very few issue with party-goers, and don't see a increase of crime. According to local law enforcement they will see an increase in hustlers, drugs, and rape. Local hospitals might see a spike in ER visit; mostly for alcohol, and drug overdoses.
"These parties are creating (HIV-positive) clients," said Troy Masters, publisher of LGNY, a gay newspaper in New York City that has opposed the parties. "You wouldn't find the American Cancer Society throwing a smoking party". A number of charities and public health officials are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with what has become the "dark side" of circuit parties: widespread drug use and random, unprotected sex the very issues they try to discourage. These concerns have lead major HIV/AIDS service organizations to try and detach themselves from the controversy by allowing the parties to be run by promoters, who take a cut of the proceeds and send the rest to the charities, and in some cases charities are worried about the public perception that they support and condone the behavior, and therefore, trying to remove themselves from the party entirely.
For some in the LGBT community circuit parties are a source of great fun, can be liberating, but they do come at a price. Is that cost worth it? We make our own choices and decisions regarding our lives and how we live them. For me personally, what other people do with their life is their own business, if it doesn't concern me I don't care. But you can't pretend or ignore that circuit parties have a darker side, it's just a fact.
Images: istockphoto.com Purchase for commercial use.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2014; vol. 26.. Published November 2015. Accessed 14 Apr. 2017.
Mattison, Andrew M., Michael W. Ross, and Tanya Wolfson. "Circuit Party Attendance, Club Drug Use and Unsafe Sex in Gay Men." Circuit Party Attendance, Club Drug Use, and Unsafe Sex in Gay Men. Journal of Substance Aguse, 01 Sept. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2017.
Weidel, James J., Elias Provencio-Vasquez, and Janet Grossman. "Sex and Drugs: High Risk Behaviors at Circuit Parties." American Journal of Men's Health. Mens' Health Network, 22 July 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2017.
Machismo, an aggressive pride that is commonly found in a number of cultures, the pressure many men have sex with other men, but refuse to identify as being gay. The tension between identity and reality can be incredible detrimental to the Latino community. In fact it can be quite deadly.
For most Latino gay men there life is a series of contradictions, and secrecy; which can cause depression and isolation in closed men. They have to compartmentalize their lives, which causes barriers within themselves as welll as between them and their loved ones. "It causes confusion for their families It also exposed them to risks." according to Dr. Juan Manuel Castillo of Hospital General de Mexico. He also states "Some men may take out their frustration by abusing their families, it's an endless cycle."
In the Latino culture passive partners are often derisively called puto, jot and maricon (all roughly translate to "fag"), while active partners are called mayate, chichifo, chingon ("penetrator", "male prostitute", "fucker"), these labels are derogatory but less stigmatized. Passives are seen as having "abdicated their masculinity," while active often still consider themselves to be straight.
It is not uncommon for these gay Latino to go to a "gay bar", which appears as honest-to-god exploration of their sexuality, with a certain timidity to it. They's go into a gay bar, pick up men to perform sex acts on them--but wouldn't perform acts [themselves], this way they could tell themselves they didn't have this identity. This is especially true for closeted married men, it becomes a trauma to live a double life, to feel different but not being able to express themselves.
"Comprender que la sexualidad es tan amplia como el mar. Entiendo que su moral no es derecho. Entiendo que es usted. Entiendo que si decidimos tener sexo seguro, más seguro o inseguro, es nuestra decisión y no tiene derechos en nuestro hacer el amor." Derek Jarman Film Director
This machismo-ism has been instilled through generations, it can be traced back to the church, which is one of the most important aspects of any Latino culture, and as we know the churches view on homosexuality. This has caused generations of Latino's to repress or deny their sexuality. Men are taught to be strong, don't cry, protect yourself, and that homosexuality is wrong on any level, and when this idea has been passed down from generation to generation, it's hard to change the mindset.
Ideally, there should be a dialogue about different forms of sexuality; which would have to include mandatory sex education, appropriate youth outreach. By doing this boys in their formative years, might be able to come to terms with their sexuality and prevent repression of their sexuality. There is also a health aspect that needs addressing. Central and Latin American have some of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world; failure to use condoms, talking about sex, their self-esteem, and the ability to come out have all directly impacted the HIV/AIDS rates in several Latin countries.
Regardless of how we feel, there are few cultures in the Western Hemisphere that experience cultures that pushes gay Latino men away by not acknowledging the full spectrum of male sexuality - or human sexuality for that matter. Painting anything that does not conform to the heterosexual norm as being evil, sinful and bad. The insidiousness of machismo is manifested when individuals feel them must lie to themselves, their families and society. In this situation in my opinion everyone suffers.
Images: istockphoto.com> Purchased for commercial use.
Sources: Serna, Albert Jr. & Tigerino, Adolfo. Gay, Latin and Macho. The Huffington Post. 11 August, 2015. Web.
HIV and Latin & South America Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention. Static Report. 2 February 2017. Web.
There are certain things in one life that you can count on without question. A best friend who is always going to be there for you without question, one that loves you without question, wants to be apart of your life, and regardless what happens is 100% loyal.
No, I'm not talking about your two legged friends but your dog. There is no doubt that my dogs are very important to me. First there is Rudy, who has been through thick and thin with me, and Sadie who has her own independent streak, but will lick your face until your soaking wet. Don't get me wrong I love my husband without question, and we both spoil our dogs.
But why are gay men especially more loyal to their dogs and vice versa? There are a few key factors making dogs grateful for they gay owners: 1) Within the gay "family" dogs usually don't have to play second oboe to two-legged children. 2) Dogs are, by nature, greedy. They don't like to share their meals, toys or their owners, and lets face it gay men can be just as greedy, however, we will share our toys with men if they buy us a meal. 3) Dogs love to be the spoiled "kids" of any gay couple - two incomes and all the baubles and nylon bones that money can buy.
So, what is the difference between gay dog owners and straight one? Regardless of sexual orientation, any sensible, responsible person can make a great owner. There are horrible gay and straight owners, and there are wonderful ones as well. A sensible, responsible gay man will commit to a dog, the dog becomes his family, his kid, and truly important part of his world. The dog is not a rite of passage to a future husband, two kids, and a second home in Nantucket (just saying, and it might assist you in finding this fantasy life).
I've heard that when breeders, rescuers, or shelter-dog adoption counselors see a potential dog owner who is gay, they tend to jump for joy, figuring that dog will enjoy a great, pampered life. Is there truth in this stereotype? It's a known fact that gay men tend to spoil their dogs, treating them like true family and giving them high priority. For most gay men dogs exist as substitutes for lovers, children, close family, and maybe even good friends, and unlike most lovers, dogs truly enjoy being used and don't panic when they decide that you're devoting too much time to them. Dogs believe in commitment and are defined by their loyalty. Secretly, I would think most gay men wouldn't mind being a dog, even when they're standing.
"The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love unconditionally as a dog." - M.K. Clinton (Author)
Acceptance, tolerance, unconditional love... These are things dogs give everybody, but gay people haven't always been the beneficiaries of such gifts from their fellow humans. Are gays especially appreciative of that canine love - more, perhaps, than someone who's never experienced intolerance or prejudice? I mean dogs are not judgmental, they will sleep with you any night you come home, even if you reek of another dog. Dogs will accept you for who you are, they don't care whether you sleep with a men, women, or stray cats. In fact, they'd prefer you share your bone with someone as long as they're not left out in the cold.
According to Dr. Sheldon, DVM "Many gay men feel a disconnect with their own families. Dogs live to connect, and the unconditional love a dog offers when he raises a paw or rubs his noes in his new owner's crotch maybe the first moment of "family" a gay man experiences".
One of the great takeaways of any dog, is the idea that commitment doesn't have to hurt anybody. Is a gay man quicker to give his whole hear to a dog? "I don't see gayness having much to with how open you are to giving of your heart or yourself", states Dr. Sheldon. "He also stated there are plenty of gay men who wouldn't expend the energy to water a Christmas cactus, much less care for a needy dog."
But it's fair to say that gay men are unafraid of exaggeration, moved by strong emotion and passion, and tend to go a wee bit over the top for their dog(s). For myself and most gays we live for our dogs, we give our whole hearts to everything we love, and our dogs are on the top of the list, and at times right above our partners, parents, friends, and personal trainers.
Image: istockphot.com Purchased for commercial use./ Robby Robinson used with permission
Source: James, Dale & Small, Ellen.The Two of Us: A Book About Dogs and Their Owners.Andrews, McMell Publishing. Nov. 6, 2012.Electronic.
In the beginning of a new potential romance, both individuals make an attempt to always put their best foot forward. It’s always with the purpose of dazzling you dinner date, usually focusing on dreams of a family, or how witty you can be, or just your excellent taste in music. This would be so perfect if it existed outside of a vacuum, but in today’s drunken status updates, unwanted photo tags, and checking in at the trashy bar that claim you do not go to, your best just might mean you are covered in social media shit.
Let’s be honest if you didn’t Facebook-stalk the many you made Friday night plans with, you are certain to do so after the date. Looking at the recent update that are posted, the photo’s he takes, who he likes. All of these things combined have become just as important as the words that come out of his mouth on a date. For example you might pull up an app on you cellphone to illustrate the story you’re telling, or a visual of your best friend who is just too fabulous for words to describe. It seems like social media is just another way to get to know someone, but in reality, most social media applications portray a distorted, disjointed and imaginary version of the people we are.
There are social media offenses that can lead your senses astray when evaluating a potential mate. It could be that your date has perfected the art of portraying himself as a lover of travel or has even pictures of him carrying the cutest kids you’ve ever seen. It has become easy to fall in love with a “catalog husband” that seen on your computer screen. The main problem with falling in love with someone’s two-dimensional social media profile is that you never really know what lies beyond that perfect picture or pictures. I mean after all, his photos might just be the most exciting thing about him, and maybe that’s why he travels by himself?
Then there is that archaic method of meeting someone face-to-face and getting to know them. Let’s say he makes you laugh and is charming, and leaves you wanting to know more about him. In most cases if you have trolled him on social media, you do right after the date, and in most cases you don’t find him very photogenic. Then all of a sudden you begin to question the connection you had with him because you have having trouble picturing you wedding photo. Or his status updated leave a little to be desired. All of a sudden that wit and charm go flying right out the window. And why? Because you’re in most cases vain and shallow, oh and then you not so sure if you’re going to accept another dinner date.
This is just small example of numerous ways that social media can undermine a would-be relationship, then of course online profiles, new “friends” and unwanted notifications can lead to unnecessary problems on a relationship begins. Gay men are famous for wanted to look through each other phone to find something that would lead to a problem or break-up. Heaven forbid should you have an old picture of a flame on your social media site. Like most insecure gay men, you start with feelings of jealousy, all because of some old stale image(s) from long ago.
Content and character of a possible love needs to be revealed in layers. It takes trust, honesty, effort to develop a meaningful relationship, and yes it’s possible to reach a level of depth with a person by meticulously parsing his Facebook self.
You have to understand that a person’s life will never give you an accurate representation of reality. We create an image that we want to convey on social media; it’s much easier to convey the “reality” that we want to portray on the internet than to live it in real life. My own Facebook profile portrays a person, which in real life is more complex. How easy would it be to choose a boyfriend or future husband based on the information from his social media profile, however, the truth of the matter is the longevity of a relationship resulting from such matchmaking techniques would be about equal to you iPhone’s battery life.
Of course social media can provide supplemental reading why studying a person’s qualifications as a potential plus-one, but you are in my opinion wasting your time if you use things like Facebook and Instagram to learn about the content required to answer all the right questions.
So, just close you social media, take the time to learn about a person, engage with them about what they like and dislike, what they are looking for in life and a partner. Don’t be quick to judge a person based solely on their social media profiles. When it comes to dating and mating, maybe it would help to unplug form the internet and really connect.
Image: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.
I never understood why some straight men engage and have a sexual relationship with gay men. I mean if you’re sucking dick, and get fucked to me you are gay, but that is not always the case. There are several reason this behavior might happen. Circumstances that cause one to have gay sex are varied and unique to each person. Now I am not here to judge or make assumptions about anyone lifestyle choices.
To better understand this I have researched and asked questions of men that I know who are straight, but have had gay sex. Their reasons are interesting and to be honest has made me look at the situation quite differently.
So, here are the top main reasons that I have found. However, there could and I’m sure more. But for the purpose of this posting I narrowed it down to these. I am not making judgements, just saying.
Early-Childhood Sexual Abuse – Also known as “homosexual imprinting”. It refers to heterosexual men who are not generally homosexual oriented. They don’t desire, or are they aroused by other men. But will reenact childhood sexual abuse by male perpetrators through their sexual behaviors with other men. In broader general terms a heterosexual boy is molested by another male, may want to “return to the scene of the crime”, this is to defuse his emotional pain or desensitize himself to it. Typically when he deals with the trauma of sexual abuse he ceases the behavior. It’s never about gayness, it about the abuse.
Sex Work or Escorting – Heterosexual men who will voluntarily engage in sexual behavior with other men for a financial gain. They do lack the desire for other men and usually are aroused by the sexual behavior, and not by the man himself. It’s a common factor and known in the porn and sex work industries that some straight men will have sex with other men and are paid more than if they would have sex with a woman.
Seeking Arousing, but Shameful Experiences – Men who are strongly interested in various sexual experiences that many people would label as “homosexual.” This will usually involve penetration by a dildo or bondage, so to avoid being labeled as homosexual, they tend to seek out men, which they perceive as nonjudgmental.
First Sexual Experience – Some straight men will experiment with other males sexually. This usually takes place in adolescence or young adulthood (up to age 25), and for their own curiosity.
Opportunity/Availability – Men with really high sex drives and who are aroused easily, will have sex with men for physical sexual release. These encounters are quick and easy, this allows them to avoid having t engage on an emotional level.
Sexual Orientation to Men, but Romantic/Emotional towards Women – Men who are attracted to women on a romantic level and are partnered with women as well. They have a sexual attraction with the women they love, but are aroused and driven by desire for sex with other men.
Narcissism – Straight men who are totally self-absorbed and have need constant attention and acceptance. Sex with men is because they need to be worshiped and adored.
Father Hunger – They crave affection and attention from their fathers and seek sex with men as a way to getting that nurturance and acceptance they didn’t form their father.
Cuckolding – Straight men that enjoy the fantasy of their female partner having sex with other men, either in front of them or nearby. This involves them knowing about when and where it occurs. They can get aroused by feeling humiliated that the female is being pleased by another man; who they perceive as being more potent and better endowed. They will in some cased engage in sexual behavior with the man, but their female partner must be present.
Sexual Addiction – A sexual addiction cause some men to have sex with other men, their need for sexual release allows them to forgo who they are having sex with, as long as they get off. Even “cured” they may still feel attracted to men.
Exhibitionism – These are straight men who enjoy and get off by being looked at by both men and women, as long as they are admired for their bodies. Most will identify as body builders or are muscular; they just enjoy the attention of gay men and at times will flirt with them to encourage more admiration.
Sexual Release in Prison – This is straight men who engage in sexual behavior with other men in prison. Their sexual release with another person occurs with men only because they don’t have access to females. However, once released from prison, they tend to no longer engage in sex with other men.
Now this is not an exhaustive list of reasons that some straight men might engage with other man. It’s really important to give each man who has sex with men information about homosexuality/bisexuality, and the coming-out process, sexual abuse, sex addiction, mood disorder that might contribute to the desire to have sex with other men. At the same time ever once-in-a-while sex with another man is something that they want to do and mean nothing, other than sexual release. PERIOD!
Image: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.
Sorce: Psychology Today. Sexual Behavior of Straight Men. June 2014.
Believe it or not, not all gay men are the same. I mean we don’t all enjoy Broadway music, the latest fashion, or worried about social status. There are some gay men that don’t turn their noises up in disgust at sporting events, outdoor activities or even manual labor. The LGBT community is a cornucopia of men that each have different interests, body types and tastes. It is completely ridiculous to assume that every single person within a particular culture is representative of the culture as whole.
Within the gay culture gay men at times will use terms and classifications to identify other groups within their own that at times confuse our straight friends. One such sub-group are the bears, and within that are subcultures each with different classifications of bears, with their own unique taste, looks and attractions. Now not being a bear myself, I had to ask some friends to clear up the misconceptions of who they are and what attracts them to each other. The definition of a Bear: Are men within the gay community who have hairy bodies and facial hair. Most are stocky and/or muscular (larger in mass than any other classification of gay men in the community I might add). Often they portray themselves as the epitome of masculinity through their rugged appearance and demeanor.
Despite their appearance most are friendly, polite and easy-going. They tend to be some of the kindest, if a bear were to accidentally step on you at a bar; they would be the first to apologize and feel awful for potentially hurting you. Now don’t mistake that kindness for being weak; when provoked and prodded they can be as aggressive as any straight man. I men their size alone would be enough to take down an entire gaggle of gays. Bears tend to travel in packs and stick together. One would be surprised to learn that they have a wide verity of interests. Most bears enjoy beer, it seems to be the drink of choice (just note that it’s not always the case), I mean you don’t see them sitting around drinking a Cosmo or calling themselves a vegan. They tend to indulge in the simpler pleasures of life such as camping, fishing and even hunting.
These men are not slaves to fashion, therefore, you will find them mostly wearing flannel shirts, jeans, t-shirts, baseball hats, combat boots, or tennis shoes. Don’t get me wrong when the situations calls for formal wear; trust me they come out in their finest and lord knows they know how to fill out a suit. But for the most part tend to be at home wearing lose fit, extremely casual clothing.
So you understand the term Bear does not apply to every hairy gay man. The fact is within the subculture you can a slew of different classification. Here are just a few that I managed to find out about, it was an eye opening experience to say the least.
Before I start with these descriptions, please don’t take any offence. Like most outside I may not know all of the terms used and how they might be applied. This is a general description of a subculture.
Bears come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and interest. If you really want to learn more I would suggest you find a Bear, and befriend him. Trust me you’ll be glad you did.
Image: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.
Source: Wikipedia/Bear/Gay Culture
What is an open relationship? Can they be successful? So, before I tell you about open relationships, it’s important to understand that it’s not cheating. Cheating is when you step outside of your relationship and violate the rules that you have set with your partner – simply put having sex with someone else without your partner’s knowledge and approval.
While an open relationship can sometime be hard to define, and only because they can mean different arrangement’s according to each couple. However, an open relationship is one where you are emotionally monogamous but sexually non-monogamous, and done with both parties being aware. Now there can be variations on this, but most fall under this definition. Common open relationships include swingers, threesomes, or when each partners has sex with someone outside of their relationship.
In recent years Polyamory has become very common among the younger generations; this is a committed relationship with two or more people involved. The difference is that it is implied that you are both emotionally and sexually committed to more than one person at the same time. But for this posting I will focus on the typical open relationship.
There can be several reason why a person might decide to have an open relationship. You also have to understand that this type of relationship is not for everyone, it’s a personal choice and involves a lot of trust on both sides. So, Why? Well maybe sex has become monotonous, mismatched libidos, or a loss of interest. Some couples want to experiment with someone else, try a new fetish, kink, or desire a sexual activity that your partner cannot fulfil.
Before getting into an open relationship here are five steps that I think are important to consider:
Communicate – You have to absolutely discuss having an open relationship with your partner. Find out how each feels about the situations. If you don’t have the guts to bring up the topic then clearly an open relationships isn’t for you.
Create & Set Boundaries – You have to decide what type of open relationship you’re going to have. For example; some insist on threesomes, others allow sex with other people. Remember to compromise and stick to the boundaries you have set. You’ll also have to think about how much you’re going to share with each other. Will you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement or will you share the details. Just have an agreement about sharing, this is depended on how much you’re comfortable with knowing.
Make Rules – This is a MUST, no exceptions. Before starting an open relationship remember there are no exceptions on the established rules. Now these rules will vary from couple to couple, but you have to discuss them. Here are a few common rules for an open relationship.
Make your Partner a Priority – The time you spend pursuing sex should never interfere with the time and obligations you have with your partner. Your partner is still your top priority and should be treated that way. Being aware of this will go a long way to alleviating potential jealousy and resentment in an open relationship.
Reevaluate your Situation – From time to time you will have to reevaluate how your relationship is doing. Are you both happy and satisfied? Are you emotionally connected? Is this arrangement working for you both? Changing the rules is ok, as long as you both agree. All relationships change over time, it’s normal to have mixed feelings in any relationship, just be open and honest about how you feel, if you can’t express your feeling openly, then you might have to reevaluate the situation.
An open relationship may fix a small portion of your relationship, but if there are problems that extend beyond sexual compatibility, an open relationship isn’t going to work or even solve your problems. Just remember don’t be forced into any situation that makes your uncomfortable, and never force your partner into an uncomfortable situation as well. Making an open relationship work takes some effort, trust, respect, and open communication. Without these core principles it will never work out.
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Kevin D. Donahugh and I meet at a social event for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence of New Orleans. I remember his as a kind, respectfully man who gave so much to the LGBT community of New Orleans. On March 13, 2017 he passed away from bone cancer. The Sister's and the community came out at Mag's to remember his life and celebrate him as an amazing person. In true Southern fashion, we celebrated with a second line.
Kevin was a well-known member of the LGBT community; both as an entertainer (Cathy Fox) and a member of the Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. He served as a board member of New Orleans Pride, and served as Grand Marshall in 2010. He was also a member of the Lords of Leather, and represented the Krewe as Miss Louisiana Pride in 2010. He was the founder of the Big Easy Sisters, Chapter of the Muddy Waters, Sisters of perpetual Indulgence, and would serve as Abbess.
His work in the LGBT community in New Orleans is without question. He worked to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS, safer sex, for the growth of New Orleans Pride, and preservation of gay culture. Kevin will be deeply and sorely missed; however, he leaves behind a legacy that will not be forgotten.
SECOND LINE VIDEO
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As I get older I find myself looking back on my life and I begin to wonder, what if? Or maybe I should have? Regardless it’s not easy to reflect on my life and not have some regrets. However, I’ve learned to always move forward, learn from my past. As the baby boomers move to midlife or “golden years” we as a culture tend to forget about the sacrifices they made so we could enjoy the very freedoms we have now. That because of them we are able to hold hands in public, travel as a couple, live together, and even marry.
How many times have we’ve been out and look at someone who is older and make rude comments, say they’re just to old, I would never be with someone that old? Anyone in the LGBT community who say’s they’ve never behaved this way, I would have to call bull shit.
In a recent study conducted by The Gill Foundation for SAGE a national organization that advocates for seniors in the LGBT community indicated that LGBT elders more often live alone, are childless, have smaller social networks, and have financial concerns. Another major concern is the fact that LGBT elders are being forced back into the “closet” as they enter long-term care facilities, mostly out of fear of being mistreated; and their fears are based in reality. Another study by The Williams Institute found that many LGBT elders face a wide range of treatment in long-term senior housing; such as pricing, requirements, and availability. It is a very sad fact that those of the Stonewall generation are being forced to go back into the “closet”, something they have fought. It is not only unacceptable, but a wakeup call for everyone in the LGBT community and those who support our community.
I came across an organization while at New Orleans Pride a few years ago, and was impressed that there was an organization dedicated to the senior members of the LGBT community. NOAGE strives to bring awareness and understanding to the community; by providing social and educational events, legal services, and health education to professional providers.
“TWe are here to provide needed services across the generations; regardless of their sexual ordination”. Jim Meadows, Executive Director, NOAGE
NOAGE’s goal is to provide a safe environment for the elderly members of the LGBT community to socialize and access needed services. It’s important to know that they strive to reach out to the entire community as a whole. Established 5 years ago, NOAGE has quickly grown into a major resource for the community.
I believe it’s important to honor and respect the senior members of the LGBT community, to listen to their stories and cherish the past. As I stated before it’s a fact that some within the community tend to degrade and pass over them without giving a thought to what they had to endure so that we could live as we do now. Just remember that once their gone, their perspective of the past go’s with them and are forever lost. So, I challenge you to put your preconceived notions behind you and let them know they are still valued.
NOAGE which is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit relies on the public's support and donations go directly to the services they provide. If you would like to join NOAGE there is a $25.00 membership, become a volunteer, or for event information contact NOAGE, call (504) 517-2345, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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