It amazes me when people in the LGBT community talk about unity, standing together, bullying, etc.... Then someone sends me an image of someone within our community that has done so much and asks nothing in return. As a general rule, I don't post personal feeling, but when that insult hits really close to home. I have an obligation to defend someone I consider a friend.
Last night the 2016 Southern Decadence Grand Marshal's hosted the annual naming of the 2017 Grand Marshal's. While to some this may not seem unimportant, too many in our community it is. Princess Stephaney named as one of three Grand Marshal's last night, and I couldn't have been more surprised, it is well- deserved. So you can image my shock when I received an image that showed the words "busted" on it.
The image(s) were posted to the snapshot account of Andrew Christian. As someone that is supposed to set an example, Mr. Christian fell short. I imagine that being rich and popular gives him the right to disrespect anyone he wants. Mr. Christian, I find this image repulsive and show's you're just another stuck-up, fake, shallow, vain gay man. This behavior is a complete disgrace to the very community that you peddle your products to.
Isn't here enough hate and shaming in our community; you have just confirmed what so many already think? Remember one thing, it is because of people like Princess Stephaney that have afforded you the privileges you so enjoy.
UPDATE: Andrew Christian to his credit has apologized personally to Princess Stephaney, and made a donation to the LGBT Center in New Orleans.
Images: Taken from the public Snapchat account of Andrew Christian.
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OK, where do I start? I suppose at the beginning would be the best place. I first became aware of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence after the shootings in Orlando; they held a memorial walk through the French Quarter in support and remembrance. I was somewhat taken aback, by their costumes, and to be honest a little confused about who or what they were.
Over time as I began to cover more events in the city I started to see them more and more, and my curiosity got the best of me. When I requested an interview with the sisters I wasn't sure what to expect. I had known from friends that they did a lot of fundraising in the LGBT community, and are very proactive. But to really understand them you have to take the time to get to know them, and that's what I did.
Easter of 1979 three men bored with societies restraints went into the streets of San Francisco; Ken Bunch (Sister Vicious PHB), Fred Brungard (Sister Missionary Position) and Baruch Golden. Dressed in full habits they would proceed to walk the streets of San Francisco and on to the nude beach. While we know the city is used to shocking sights, this would really get the attention of the public. The Sister's are located in 51 cities and in Europe, South America and Australia. As stated by Sister Gloree Bee "we are a global order of 21st Century queer nuns".
I would sit down with four members of The Big Easy Sisters; Sister Gloree Bee, Sister Diarhee En Frank, Sister Prim N Proper, and Guard Buddha Bear at GrandPre's and it was an amazing education about not only the sisterhood, but their personal outlook on being a sister.
So, how does one become a sister; well there are three steps that you have to completed, each with different requirements:
"it's like drag, they embellish and exaggerate women, well we do the same thing with being a nun". Sister Prim N Proper
Now these are the basic's rules, the Sisters explained to me that this process is a personal journey, and each sister must decide if they want to be a part of the order. While we view them from the outside; it's important to them that people understand they are not "making fun" or "disrespecting" any religion; for them it's about having fun, raising awareness, being a part of the community, and just expressing themselves. It's also important to the Sister's and the Order that the public know that they are all inclusive and do not discriminate regardless of sexual orientation.
I have come away with a newfound respect for The Big Easy Sisters. Each are individually unique in their approach to the Order, but their pride not only in themselves but the community is without question. One might be apprehensive to approach them, but as Sister Gloree Bee stated "we are about the community, having fun, being ourselves, but come up to us and get to know us". They are without a doubt a strong presence in the community, valuable for the work they do, and just fun to be around. Where ever they go, you will have a great time. And by all means get a picture with as many as you can.
For more information you can contact the Big Easy Sisters at: thebigeasysisters.org and follow them on Facebook at: facebook.com/thebigeasysisters
Images: Are the property of The Big Easy Sisters, Parish of the Muddy Waters, and cannot be used and/or reproduced without written permission.
Source: "Sistory." The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. San Francisco, CA, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
If you're either a local or visiting our great city, no perfect day is complete without seeing the magnificent Sydney and Walda Besthoof Sculpture Garden. The garden is set among the magnificent live oaks, pines and magnolias and features 64 sculptures.
This world class collections is comprised of modern and contemporary sculptures and presented a natural setting. This project is the collaborative effort of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation.
You will find more than 64 sculptures by some of the greatest artist: Kenneth Snelson, George Segal, Antione Bourdelle, Alison Saar, Seymour Lipton and many more. The gardens are a culture destination for locals and visitors and a unique opportunity to treasure the arts.
For more information visit: noma.org/sculpture-garden
Parking is available within City Park at no cost, and the RTA Streetcar (#47/48) will take you right from downtown to the entrance of the Museum, the gardens are located on the right. You should note that there are certain guidelines for more information visit: noma.org/sculpture-garden-guidelines
Images are the property of Squirrel News and cannot be copied/reproduced without written permission.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefill v. Hodges in 2015 would alter the landscape of American society forever, and thus changing the rights of gays throughout the United States to get married. Justice Kennedy stated in the decision that marriage is "a keystone of our social order," and the 5-4 Supreme Court voted effectively prohibited individual states from banning same-sex marriages.
This historic ruling opened the door for homosexual married couples to claim the same numerous benefits awarded to heterosexual couples. Before the U.S. Supreme Court decision there were only 19 states and the District of Columbia that recognized same-sex marriage. In 2013 the Court would declared parts of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional and paved the way for married same-sex couples in these states to claim the same protections and benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. However, the 2013 decision did not require states that did not recognize same-sex marriage to begin doing so.
It's important to understand that by allowing same-sex couples to get married, protections that were once out of their reach were now afforded to them. We don't tend to think these protections are important, but as you will see these benefits can and have a profound impact on our daily lives.
Legal Rights Accorded to Married Couples
According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the benefits provided by the federal government to legally married couples:
Many state-level benefits mirror those that are available at the federal level, but states offer additional rights.
Marriages vs. Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships
Many of the states that did not recognized same-sex marriages before the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decisions nonetheless permitted registered domestic partnerships and civil unions between same-sex couples. It's important to note that these arrangements are not the same as marriage. They often convey limited, similar rights as marriage, but you might find that you don't enjoy the full scope of benefits afforded by the 2015 decision unless you and your partner take steps to legally marry.
Read the full list of legalized marriage benefits.
There are many reasons to get married, you have to understand what legal rights that you have, and remember once married and for some reason it doesn't work out, you just can't "walk" away from the marriage. Gay marriage is not for everyone, and that's OK, it's a personal decision!
Image: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.
Source: Office of the General Counsel. U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO/OGC-97-16. Letter. Jan. 31, 1997
June is officially gay pride month, and for many communities around the country and world we come together to honor the past, live in the present and fight for the future. It is easy to forget how much we as culture has had to overcome in order to live our lives as we see fit.
Gay Pride is a time for us to come together and celebrate life in general. To show our pride in not only ourselves, but also to remember the past, those in history who give up so much so we could hold hands in public, and even get marries. There was a time that being gay (homosexual) was a crime, and the punishments could range from prison to inhuman medical procedures. Several countries around the world have legalized gay marriage, and removed laws that prevent us from being ourselves, however, for many they still struggle to just have basic human rights.
So, as we get out flags and banners, we should be thankful and supportive of our community!
Here is a timeline provided by infoplease that put together a timeline of the gay rights movements in the United States.
The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country's earliest known gay rights organization.
Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, revealing to the public that homosexuality is far more widespread than was commonly believed.
The Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization, is formed by Harry Hay, considered by many to be the founder of the gay rights movement.
The first lesbian-rights organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis, was established in San Francisco in 1955.
The Daughters of Bilitis, a pioneering national lesbian organization, is founded.
Joe Cino, an Italian-American theater producer, opens Caffe Cino. Caffe Cino is credited with starting the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. Six years after Caffe Cino opens, it hosts the first gay plays, The Madness of Lady Bright, by Lanford Wilson, and The Haunted Host, by Robert Patrick.
Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco.
The Stonewall riots transform the gay rights movement from one limited to a small number of activists into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance. Patrons of a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, fight back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots.
The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
Harvey Milk runs for city supervisor in San Francisco. He runs on a socially liberal platform and opposes government involvement in personal sexual matters. Milk comes in 10th out of 32 candidates, earning 16,900 votes, winning the Castro District and other liberal neighborhoods. He receives a lot of media attention for his passionate speeches, brave political stance, and media skills.
San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appoints Harvey Milk to the Board of Permit Appeals, making Milk the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk decides to run for the California State Assembly and Moscone is forced to fire him from the Board of Permit Appeals after just five weeks. Milk loses the State Assembly race by fewer than 4,000 votes. Believing the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will never support him politically, Milk co-founds the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club after his election loss.
Activists in Miami, Florida pass a civil rights ordinance making sexual orientation discrimination illegal in Dade County. Save Our Children, a campaign by a Christian fundamentalist group and headed by singer Anita Bryant, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history, 70% vote to overturn the ordinance. It is a crushing defeat for gay activists. [Read More]
Source: "The American Gay Rights Movement: A Timeline." Infoplease. Sandbox Network, Inc., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
Images: Grey Villet. Gay Rights - Early Days of The Movement 1972. Time Magazine.
When it comes to dating there are so many options. Do you prefer the flashy guy with a smooth smile or the nerd in the corner typing away on his laptop? There are reasons why gay men appear to be attracted to the nerdy type.
While nerds (geeks) can tend to be awkward, they are well-meaning. I mean that jock is usually worried about one thing and it's not you. Most nerds idealistic, and tend to be more emotional by nature.
They're useful. I mean in this tech-savvy world, it's always nice to have a boyfriend that can get your laptop working again, and let's be honest anything electronic working like it should.
They're more romantic than they're given credit for. Their idea of romance might be to make up a spiffy web-page with all the reasons they love you, but hey it will last longer than flowers. There are many reasons why gay nerd men make better boyfriends, lovers and husbands. Here are just a few good reasons, according to people I've talked to. Remember this is just my opinion and isn't meant to be typical stereotype of gay men in general.
Because of their scarcity nerds really do have it harder in the LGBT community when it comes to dating or having boyfriends. Now these are my observations, there are plenty who are into sports, concerts, race cars, clothing; they do come in every shape and size, interest and nerds are considered to be quite, which in my opinion are the most sexually adventurous.
So the next time you see that good looking nerd sitting alone, take a chance and talk with him!
image: istockphoto.com Purchased for commercial use
For most gay men the perfect body is everything, and we as a culture are obsessed with how we look. However, not all of us are muscle chasing gym bunnies. But judging from the abundance of selfies and shirtless pictures of gay men all over social media, it's clear that a significant proportion are. Obsession with physical appearance isn't merely confined to the virtual realm. For example go to any club or circuit party and trust me you'll see more skin than clothing.
Therefore, it's not a surprise that the gay culture places a premium on the male body, after all men are naturally wired to care more about physical appearances as compared to women. Couples with the fact unlike straight guys, our attractions to the same sex means that we judge how we look based on how we judge the looks of other men. Hence, we tend to be harder on ourselves than our straight counterparts when it come to our physical appearance.
Statistically, we suffer from higher levels of stress and anxiety over how we look, one study has shown that when compared to straight men, we are more likely to report feeling pressured from the media and social media to always look attractive and are more conscious of how we look throughout the day.
"In accordance with the law of diminishing returns, many of us will continue to feel dissatisfied with our appearance in one way or another, irrespective of how many times we lift a dumbbell at the gym." Brian Moore, Personal Trainer
One study shows that gay men are much more likely to desire undertaking cosmetic surgery as compared to straight men (not saying anything inherently wrong with plastic surgery). However, when results show that nearly 50% of gay men would gladly sacrifice one year of their lives to attain the "perfect body", then to men something is very wrong. I mean the same survey revealed that 10% of gay men would agree to die more than 11 years earlier if they could have the ideal body right now. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!
For some of us we are more concerned about how we look over how we live is quite disheartening. Indeed, a lot of this has got to do with the media's constant hyper sensationalism of gay culture, particularly from social media platforms like Instagram.
Because of this an increasing number of gay men feeling pressured to achieve a level of aesthetic that they perceive is championed in the gay scene so as to up their desirability. This creates the perception that the social hierarchy in the gay community is defined by one's level of physical attractiveness. Failing to look a certain way will relegate to being at the bottom of the social ladder.
So what is the answer or how do we fix our anxieties over how we look? Sadly there isn't a straightforward answer to this given how appearance drives the gay scene. But we can being to fix this issue by seeing our fellow gay peers as a sum of their qualities rather than on just the sum of their "perfect parts".
Images: istockphoto.com Purchased for commercial use.
All women face certain health risks. However, sexual minority women, such as those who identify as lesbian or bisexual as well as women who have sex with women, have some specific health concerns.
Although your individual risks are shaped by many factors beyond your sexual orientation and practices — including family history and age — it's important to understand common health issues for sexual minority women and steps you can take to stay healthy.
SAFEGUARD YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Minority women are at a higher risk or depression and anxiety. Also, youth who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender have a higher risk of depression and attempted suicide.
Contributing factors include social alienation, discrimination, and rejection by loved ones, abuse and violence. These issue might be more severe for sexual minority women who are not "out" to others and those who lack social support. If left untreated, depression can lead to risky sexual behavior and a downward of spiral of emotional, behavioral, health, and possible legal and financial problems.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS
Sexually transmitted infections (STI's) such as human papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis can spread between women. Oral sex and sexual behavior involving digital-vaginal or digital-anal contact, particularly with shared penetrative sex toys, can spread infections as well.
Sexual contact is also a possible means of contracting HIV. To date there is no cure for HIV/AIDS and many sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV and genital herpes. The best way to stay healthy is to always practice safe sex.
TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS:
Make routine health care a priority. Some sexual minority women struggle to find a doctor knowledgeable about their specific health issues and with whom they feel comfortable discussing their needs and concerns. The website for the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association is one place to find referrals for doctors.
Look for a doctor who is curious, emphatic and respectful of your specific needs. Share your sexual orientation with you provider, and ask about routine screenings recommend for women in your age group; such as blood pressure, and cholesterol measurements, and screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
If you're not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, schedule regular screening for sexually transmitted infections (STI's). Share any other health concerns you might have with your doctor as well. Early diagnosis and treatment helps promote long-term health.
Image: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.
Source: Conhran, Susan, Ph.D. "EPublications." Lesbian and Bisexual Health Fact Sheet. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 16 July 2012. Web. 01 May 2017.
So a friend and I recently agreed that one way to differentiate gay men from straight men is by the number of selfies gay men take, she has a point! She stated that it's been her experience that "if he take more selfies than me, I automatically assume that he is gay". Now, I haven't done some huge research project to determine if this is true, but one fact is that gay men tend to take more selfies of themselves, and are not shy about showing everything.
This conversation got me to start thinking. I know that her statement is based on a general stereotype that doesn't necessarily apply to every gay man out there. But I have agree as a gay man that gay men tend to take a lot of selfies than their straight counterparts. I mean, everyone, and I do mean everyone with a cell phone has taken selfies at one point or another. In fact, selfies have become so prevalent in our modern culture that someone actually made a hit song about it.
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with taking selfies, the question is why do gay men seem to take so many? And no, it's not because our gay genes make us naturally more narcissistic than straight men, nor is it because we all suffer from low self-esteem.
The main reason for me to think that we take so many is because we are judged heavily by our online personas!
At one point in order to meet other gay men you had to get dressed and go out to the local bar/club. However, since the discovery of social media app's like: grindr, growlr, adam4adam, scruff, etc...We can just browse men like we're at a meat market. This means that online profiles (pictures) matter a lot more to a gay man than they would to a straight guy. First impressions count a lot and for gay men, the first impression that other gay men form of us is usually highly dependent on our online personas. I mean if you don't have a hot profile picture of ourselves no one is going to want to talk to us. Therefore in an effort to improve our online profiles, we perfect the art of taking selfies and spam our masterpieces on our social media platforms.
“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask... with nothing beneath it?” Jodi Picoult
This just causes a culture of selfie taking. For most gay men their social circles tend to comprise primarily of only gay men. So, when the majority of their friends flood their social media feeds with countless selfies, this become the social norm for the gay community. This leads straight people too deem as to many selfies, however, this is pretty normal to gay men.
Someone once told me that for straight men the only people in their social circle taking selfies are girls and so, taking to many selfies can be perceived as being a feminine thing. Now, this doesn't mean that there are straight men out there taking plenty of selfies, there are plenty. The point being that straight men are very protective of their masculinity, and most just don't take large numbers of selfies.
Well there you have it, my opinion on why gay men take too many selfies, and my thoughts on our social environment, which encourages us to do so!
So now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go practice my selfies taking skills, and step up my selfie game.
Images: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.