WINTER 2011 Issue #5
CHOREOGRAPHER / TV PERSONALITY / RECORDING ARTIST / ACTOR / DIRECTOR
IDOLS My Body made him gay
HRC STRIVES TO END DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT CITIZENS AND REALIZE A NATION THAT ACHIEVES FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY FOR ALL.
HRC SEEKS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF LGBT AMERICANS BY ADVOCATING FOR EQUAL RIGHTS AND BENEFITS IN THE WORKPLACE, ENSURING FAMILIES ARE TREATED EQUALLY UNDER THE LAW, AND INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT AMONG ALL AMERICANS THROUGH INNOVATIVE ADVOCACY, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PROGRAMS. HRC WORKS TO SECURE EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LGBT INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AT THE FEDERAL AND STATE LEVELS BY LOBBYING ELECTED OFFICIALS, MOBILIZING GRASSROOTS SUPPORTERS, EDUCATING AMERICANS, INVESTING STRATEGICALLY TO ELECT FAIR-MINDED OFFICIALS AND PARTNERING WITH OTHER LGBT ORGANIZATIONS. WWW.HRC.ORG
Gay Wedding Directory Gay Wedding Events & Partners US Gay Marriage Laws Wedding Music
A place for same-sex couples to plan their dream wedding. Gay wedding planning. Gay friendly proffessionals
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CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Shelly Straub
from the editor
ART DIRECTOR Lucia Camarda ADVERTISING Bernadette Maher (315) 380-6883 CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Aaron Scott UKMCBO Photography Joseph Smileuske CONTRIBUTING WRITERS C. Antonio Christopher de la Torre Charlie Rockafort Terry Angel Mason Jennifer N. Smedley RESEARCH ASSISTANTS Marissa Straub Lillie Burke Read Connextions Magazine online or purchase your print edition through our website at:
www.connextionsmagazine.com WRITE TO US: Do you have a question or comment regarding this issue or future issues of Connextions Magazine? We would love to hear from you! Email responses, press releases and future event listings are always welcomed... firstname.lastname@example.org All submissions become the property of Connextions Magazine. The views and opinions stated throughout this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of staff at Connextions Magazine. Connextions Magazine publishing office is located at 8601 Tartan Drive North, Cicero, New York 13039. Connextions Magazine will not knowingly publish or advertise text which is fraudulent or misleading. The publisher reserves the right to edit, limit, revise, or reject any text without cause. Connextions Magazine assumes no financial responsibility for typographical errors. If any errors are found, please notify Connextions Magazine immediately. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2160-4347 (print) ISSN 2160-4355 (online)
s the holiday season begins, my heart is overjoyed with gratitude. Not only am I thankful to be celebrating Connextions’ one-year anniversary, but I am also elated to share that our publication is now available in stores throughout America! While this is a milestone for Connextions Magazine, it is one small but inspiring step for the entire LGBT community, in our effort for full equality nationwide.
“For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way.” – Oprah Winfrey
With that being said, our Connextions journey wouldn’t have been possible if not for our LGBT ‘founding fathers’ such as Steven Dansky, Perry Brass & John Knoebel in an exclusive stonewall retrospective [pg 31]. Our deepest appreciation goes out to those that paved the way for our freedom, both Veterans of Stonewall and Veterans of Armed Forces! We traveled to the northern region of the buckeye state and who knew we would find so much excitement? From the coaster capital of the world to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, along side of rich architectural history throughout the state, the possibilities in Ohio are endless. Features in this issue also include a special focus on advertising the art of music. From choreographer and now pop sensation Glenn Packard [pg 8], to up & coming Ohio idol pop stars [pg 14], as well as a lesbian hip hop artist and a bisexual rapper from Maryland, there’s a taste of musical artistry in this issue for everyone to enjoy! Be sure to check out Adam Hoover and his social media movement that’s attracting attention all over America [pg 42], as well as our special editorial that questions whether Occupy Wall Street is a protest or a movement [pg 50]. Thanks so much for taking the time to browse the pages of Connextions Magazine. Your comments and feedback are always welcome! We look forward to connecting with you in Issue 6, featuring fabulous gay-friendly travels in Florida! Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Shelly Shelly Straub
Be sure to connect with us on Facebook & Twitter!
Facebook.com/Connextionsmag Twitter.com/Connextionsmag Cover photo: Glenn Packard pg 8
AUG 2011 Issue #4
7 Reasons LGBT FamiliesRock Canada’s New Gay Getaway
The Unspoken Truth
“Still Right Here”
ue #5 2011 Iss
Y/ SONALIT R / TV PER OR / DIRECTOR GRAPHE / ACT CHOREO ING ARTIST RECORD
IDOLS ade My Body m him gay
COMING SOON to Barnes & Noble NATIONWIDE
8 Glenn Packard
“Live Your Adventures”
10 Jewelry What’s Hot
11 A Transgender Victory Chris Tina Bruce
Aiden Leslie and Emii
19 Restaurant Review
Danny Boy’s Italian Eatery
20 Featured Accomodation The Victorian Tudor Inn
24 Coaster Capital of the World Cedar Point
8 pg ard
14 Ohio Idols
n en Gl
12 Area of Attraction
28 Lesbian Hip Hop Peggstarr
28 Bisexual Rapper Imani the Misfit
November 2011 Issue #5
42 Teen Rebel
48 Unplugged, yet Connected Camping...Creekside
50 Leaderless Together To “Occupy” or not
52 In Review
Books, mags, film
54 Future Diversified ISDIP & OSU Merged
56 My Body Made Him Gay
Inside the mind, outside the sheets
60 Prayers for the Bullied LGBT Youth at Risk
62 Professional Directory
Why O hi
46 Website Highlights
CHOREOGRAPHER / TV PERSONALITY / RECORDING ARTIST / ACTOR / DIRECTOR Watch out Brooke Hogan; Looks like you’re not the only one who knows best when it comes to music. On October 31st, Glenn Douglas Packard, Vh1 star, released the video for his first official single "Love Dance.” This marks the first time that Glenn has produced a record, directed a video, & is being staged as the "center guy". The single features double platinum artist BEU SISTERS and is available on iTunes. Glenn says, "As all of you know I released my first single "LOVE DANCE" it was something I told myself I would do this year, &
Glenn Douglas Packard Victor Borbolla Javier Perez Hair & Makeup. Ilde Goncalves Styling by Joey Rolon / FunkySexyCouture UKMCBO PHOTOGRAPHY - www.ukmcbo.com
on the production of the mini-movie itself, along with the sexy and provocative pop video packed with energy that makes you want to get up and do the “Love Dance!” Along with promoting and performing "LOVE DANCE" around the world, Glenn is the face and celebrity endorser for bullyingacademy.org. The Bullying Academy program was created to help students and educators recognize the dangers of bullying and cyber bullying. Their primary emphasis is to inform students of preventative measures related to bullying as well as to develop effective communication strategies. The program generates data, which can be compared by class, school, or district in an effort to monitor effectiveness of bullying prevention education. During conversations with Glenn, it was evident to me that he takes great pride in being able to share his experience about being from a small town where homosexuality was not discussed. Glenn shares the importance of talking with the kids face to face and how much of an impact it makes when the TV personalities that these children see as role models, actually come to their school.
Glenn Douglas Packard, proudly born and raised on a farm in Michigan, is an Emmy nominated Choreographer to the stars and TV personality. His choreography for some of the biggest artists in the industry, include; Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Usher, Missy Elliot & Pink. He recently finished working on two new films as an actor/choreographer in "LITLLE HERCULES" & "MOVE: The Film", as well as being internationally recognized for his role on Vh1’s hit show, "Brooke Knows Best."
I’m one of those types of people when I dream it, I make it into a reality. After I released it, a lot of people and fans asked if there would be a music video. So because "I CAN" is in my vocabulary I got right on it." The extended version music video for “Love Dance” begins as a mini-movie. It reminded me of the first time I watched “Thriller,” back in 1984. I knew I was waiting for a music video to start but at the same time, I was anxiously wanting to know what happens to the five best friends on their road trip. Kudos
At the age of 19, Glenn suffered a tragic tractor accident that almost took his life. After recovering from a broken back, nearly losing his leg, and spending over a year in the hospital, Glenn wasn’t about to let anything stop him from fulfilling his dreams. It is Glenn’s wish that not everyone has to suffer through a tragedy in order to find their passion and live the life they desire. Christie Beu noted, "I had never met anyone so driven, so inspiring, so lovable and full of life in all my years. Being around Glenn reminds you simply to live, to laugh, to love, and to dance!" Glenn developed an international following as the outrageous but real gay character that has inspired an audience to "live your adventures, be yourself, & never be ashamed of who you are". With nearly 400,000 YouTube views, Glenn has set his mark as an international gay entertainer. Search TattooedAngelsTube on YouTube to find Glenn’s latest release! www.glenndouglaspackard.com
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t h g i l t o p S y r l e Jew
Do you believe in equality, diversity and tolerance? Well, that’s the mission at LoveandPride.com. Their jewelry collections include engagement, commitment, wedding and anniversary rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, watches and other accessories for women and men. Sometimes romantic, sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical… always captivating. Love and Pride is the creation of Udi Behr, one of today’s most exciting and original jewelry designers. Udi has won acclaim everywhere from The New York Times to People Magazine for his iconic Love and Pride jewelry. His unforgettable designs have adorned such stars as Pam Grier, Gwen Stefani, Cyndi Lauper and Sharon Stone. Proceeds from all sales are donated to non-profit organizations supporting equality and civil rights.
www.LetLoveOut.com The Let Love Out Campaign was born at the dawn of 2011, out of one family’s wish to honor their brother, uncle, and friend, Chris Priolo, who died of AIDS in 1989. In the wake of a raging fight over gay marriage in California and across the country, escalating violence towards gay youth, and continued discrimination of people with HIV/AIDS, Priolo and Co. Co-founder and Designer Carl Priolo set out to capture an image of hope and healing that would serve both as a tribute to his brother and a symbol of change. “Chris had more energy than the entire family
http://iamenoughbracelets.com Tell the world… Tell yourself… “I am ENOUGH!” As featured on the NBC Today Show, the pewter plated leather bracelets come in five different affirmation messages: Unconditionally Loved, Blessed, Treasured, Warrior, & the trademarked "I am enough®.” Jan Thomas, a single mom from California, with her two daughters by her side, states that these message bracelets were born from a simple idea: to create powerful, concrete support between mothers and daughters. These bracelets help to create self-esteem awareness and a sense of empowerment in the individuals who wear them! Bracelets are skillfully crafted in the USA!
combined. He was passionate, vivacious and magically gifted. He moved people with his music and was beloved by all – his family, students and colleagues. But he felt he could only succeed in his career by hiding who he was. I was devastated by his death and am still today deeply sad that he could never let love out. There are so many struggling, just like Chris, “ explains Carl Priolo. Priolo created the Let Love Out Campaign emblem, an interlocking heart and infinity symbol to honor Chris and to be worn by everyone in solidarity, as a way to show their love and support.
A Transgender Victory San Diego’s own transgender bodybuilder and fitness guru, Chris Tina Bruce returned to the bodybuilding stage on October 29, 2011 at the Scottish Rite Center in San Diego. With a goal to demonstrate equality, she was the first open Transgender bodybuilding competitor to compete in her new gender. She will also be the first bodybuilding competitor to have competed both as a male and a female. The 6-foot, 3-inch Bruce dropped 40 pounds for the event, and while the organizers were OK with a former male competing as female, she admits she was nervous about the reaction her participation would engender. Although she ended up coming in second in her event, Bruce says she still feels like a winner. “I came in second and I understand why they couldn’t give it to me, but I was treated with respect. People, including the other contestants, asked to take pictures with me.” Chris Tina Bruce says, “The reaction from the crowd and participants was warm and accepting. It reinforced to me that I need to keep going forward.” Bruce has sights on future contests, in addition to building up her personal training business, hoping to attract the attention of the perfect celebrity client: Chaz Bono. Find Chris Tina Bruce at: www.DiscoverHealthandFitness.com
Up to 40 percent of homeless youth in New York City identify as LGBT. Until now, these vulnerable young people who often experience alienation, harassment, and violence had no permanent place they could call home. True Colors Residence represents an important new step in confronting the crisis of homelessness among this profoundly underserved population. True Colors Residence is New York City’s first permanent, affordable housing residence with on-site support services specifically for formerly homeless LGBT youth. Here, residents will find a safe, supportive community in which they are able to achieve true self-sufficiency.
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hat started as a road trip with no specific destination, turned into a scenic drive through Northern Ohio, with more things to do than we were able to fit into one extended weekend. Who knew? Cleveland is home to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame! The 150,000 square-foot, extremely unique building design captures your attention from the highway. And the museum itself, with its seven floors, five theaters, and ever-changing exhibits, is filled with iconic artifacts from musicians throughout history. My jaw dropping moments however, were at the Women Who Rock exhibit and gazing at all the outfits worn by 70 of the most influential women in music. Rolling Stone says “A stunning collection of artifacts.” The Huffington Post says it’s “A must-see” and The Wall Street Journal quotes the exhibit as being “thoroughly entertaining.” If architecture is your passion, a visit to Ohio most certainly needs to be on your to-do list. Akron, Ohio (dubbed as “Rubber Capital of the World”) is home to the Stan Hywet Estate (Old English for stone quarry.) In 1898, F.A. Seiberling founded The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, naming it after Charles Goodyear, the
inventor of the vulcanization process for rubber. Between 1912 and 1915, he and his wife, Gertrude, built their country estate. The short-lived American Country Estate building boom began to decline in the 1920s, and by the 1960s many of the most elegant homes ever built in this country had been lost to the wrecking ball. Stan Hywet remains as one of the most important historic estates to endure from this bygone era. Above the Manor House entryway, the crest bearing the motto Non Nobis Solum (Not for Us Alone), still welcomes guests as it did a century ago. This 65-room manor with original furnishings, including 18th-century British portraits, 15th-century French and Italian furniture and priceless antiques is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in the United States. Amusement Parks galore! From Splash Zone in Oberlin and Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora to Cedar Point & Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, there’s fun for the whole family no matter what time of year you visit. With such a rich history and plenty to keep busy, Ohio surprisingly flourishes with something for everyone, no matter the age or interest.
ohio spread Rock n Rocll Hall of Fame
I return home, I’m always reminded how kind people are”, says Cincinnati-raised out music artist Aiden Leslie from his Manhattan apartment. “It’s a much slower pace there than it is in big music cities like New York and Nashville. People are much more welcoming at home.” Emii, who grew up in Youngstown, Ohio but calls Los Angeles home now, agrees. “Not that I didn’t appreciate them back then, but being away has made me think more fondly about my family and friends.” Aiden Leslie and Emii are part of a growing number of young Ohio artists leaving their small-town homes to pursue their big-time dreams of fame and fortune on the gay dance floor. “My ultimate mission as a performer is to share my story and experiences,” explains Leslie. His new single, “Trying to Leave Now”, releases this month. Penned by Leslie, the song is about salvaging what is right in a relationship before losing everything. It is the follow-up to his “World’s Away”; a song that nabbed the #1 spot on LOGO-TV’s “Click List” countdown show for four consecutive weeks. “I aim to inspire people to look closer at their lives and strive to be better,” he says. “I also hope they’ll dance their asses off.” “I was mesmerized by Elvis as a child,” he remembers. “My parents were huge fans and would always play his records. One morning I told my parents I wanted to be a singer like Elvis and they said I could do anything I wanted. Their belief encouraged me.” He attended a rigorous performing arts school in Cleveland that he says thickened his skin and prepared him for what was ahead. Six days after graduating, at 18, he moved to New York City and was introduced to an underground music world he didn’t know existed. It wasn’t long before he became a fixture in the New York nightlife circuit. photo courtesy Aaron Scott
Singers Aiden Leslie and Emii Pursue Their Pop Star Dreams
by Charlie Rockafort
Emii “I saw dance and the underground club scene as another form of theatre”, he explains. “Unscripted and self-expressive; an art form in stark contrast to the strict structure of the traditional plays I was performing in.” The one element he found to be lacking in dance was the presence of strong male vocalists. “A lot of DJs are simply not open to playing male artists on their dance floors. I think it’s time that has changed. I want to be a part of the movement to bring more guys to the floor.” And he has. The Junior Vasquez remix of Aiden’s “Love to Hate You”, a remake of the Erasure hit, ignited floors around the world and introduced Aiden Leslie as a formidable talent. Leslie describes his sound as Hip-Pop with a strong dance influence. It is a true reflection of his life, he says, but admits it wasn’t always. In fact, the follow-up song to his successful debut was a song that Aiden describes as “unauthentic to his true self ”. It led to him taking a two year absence from music.
“It was not the direction I wanted to go in musically,” he admits. “Coming off ‘Love to Hate You’, so many opportunities were being offered and I was taken in by it all. Right away, I knew it was a mistake and I learned a hard lesson from it. A fat paycheck is nice, but it’s not worth losing your integrity and your voice.” The release also coincided with the hardest loss Aiden Leslie has ever experienced in his life: the unexpected death of his older sister. “She was my only sibling and the primary care-taker for my parents, who were both ill.” Aiden returned to Cincinnati to care for his parents. He also began work on new music. “I’ve learned that in life there are hills to climb,” he says. “Its how you manage the fall down and the climb up from the hills that is key.” “Life is bittersweet,” he continues. “We all have a purpose to find. I am grateful to have found my purpose in music. Being given a second chance to share it with the world is a gift.”
Emii, too, believes she has found her life’s purpose and knows that in order to obtain it, she must pay her dues in Los Angeles. “Performing is fun, but if I was just doing it for myself, I'd do it in a basement and no one would hear. I miss home but L.A. is where I need to be right now.” Emii started singing at five and, against her parents' wishes, began fronting bands in her early teens. “Music is in my blood,” she says. “I really can't see doing anything else.” While her friends picked out their prom dresses, Emii perfected her studio recordings. She would shuttle back and forth from Youngstown to New York City for auditions and open mic gigs. The dual life ended the day Emii turned 18 when she bolted to The Big Apple. In Manhattan, Emii wrote, recorded and lived the bohemian life, performing in dark, seedy venues and collaborating with other underground artists. Two years ago, she re-located to Los Angeles to record with major label artists. Her new song, “Mr. Romeo”, is a high powered dance romp that features a rap by one of the original partiers of hip hop, Snoop Dog. “I am no Juliet,” she admits, reflecting on the song’s title. “I am strong hearted, fierce, and independent.” Ask Emii about her musical inspirations and she’ll rattle off a litany of female frontrunners and rock n’ roll legends. Though she grew up singing their songs, Emii’s potent blend of pop, rock and dance photo courtesy Joseph Smileuske
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produces a sound all her own. She belts out lyrics about life, love, and relationships with intense, gut-wrenching emotion.
Songs like “My Zombie Boyfriend” unleash Emii's angst over falling for the wrong guy, while “Magic”, a song released two summers ago but still playing strong on gay dance floors across the country, is a fun, sexy tune that begs the timeless question: Is he the right one for me? “I’m thrilled Magic has found a home on gay dance floors,” she says. “Gay boys get me because they share my passion for losing yourself on the dance floor, meeting someone, and then continuing the journey at home.” “Sometimes we fall too far,” she cautions. “But baby, love is worth it.”
She likens romantic love to her love of the big city. “The moment I arrived, it was my second home. Any negative experiences while transitioning from my small town were drowned out by my passion for music.” Aiden Leslie agrees. “It's hard to explain, but I never had a question in my mind about moving to New York City. It was right.” Still, he says he’ll always have a place in his heart for Ohio. “You never can erase your history or where everything begins for you. I feel grateful every time I think of where I came from.” Emii agrees. “Home is a source of inspiration for me. Whenever I feel discouraged, or harbor doubt about whether or not I will one day reach my dreams, I can look back on my time in Youngstown and feel pride in how far I've come.” For more information, visit www.emii.net and www.aidenleslie.com.
ion it t e p m o C & s Audition Reality Show
The US arm of the Mr. Gay World competition announced the audition dates for the 2012 competition. This year, the Mr. Gay USA competition will be transformed into a reality series of the event. On January 21st gay men from across the country are invited to audition in the New York City area to become finalists in the Mr. Gay USA competition--with callbacks on January 22nd. The auditions will be used to select the top 20 finalists, all of whom will be invited to compete in the first round of the competition before 10 men will be eliminated. The remaining 10 men will be invited to move in to NYC-JC Guest Suites from January 27 - February 4 for a weeklong competition that will ultimately lead to the selection of Mr. Gay USA 2012.
Michael Billy & Jarl Haugedal photo courtesy Robin Souma
This year, TV personality and founder of Mr. Gay USA, Jarl Haugedal, has teamed up with film producer and television personality, Michael Billy, to turn the week long competition into a reality series that will capture the daily contests and the process for selecting the man worthy enough to be called Mr. Gay USA 2012. “It’s an honor to be involved with this competition that represents a cause very dear to me,” commented Michael Billy, “I hope that my production and television background will help turn this competition in to something the world can watch unfold as we shine light on how the competition is not only fun, but encourages men to use their gay for good”. Each day, the finalists will be put to the test to show they have what it takes to represent the US, participating in a variety of challenges--from runway competitions, to cooking contests and political debates--as Haugedal, Billy and other special guests serve as judges. The judges will be looking for the man who shows an interest in the world and people around him; displays patience; has a compassionate and considerate nature; embraces change, things, and people different from his own frame of reference, experience, or cultural background; can articulate his thoughts and conduct an intelligent conversation; has a basic innate charm and sparkle; has poise; and is secure with himself. Ultimately, one man will be announced the winner of Mr. Gay USA and sent to South Africa from April 4-8, 2012 to represent the USA in Mr. Gay World. “I’m thrilled to have Michael Billy join the Mr. Gay USA team as we search for the best man to represent our country in this competition
in support of human rights,” commented Jarl Haugedal, Mr. Gay USA Founder, “It’s exciting to take the US arm of the competition to the next level and offer another strong candidate at the Mr. Gay World competition”. Last year marked the first official Mr. Gay USA competition using social media as a platform,
competitive swimmer and philanthropist Michael Holtz was named Mr. Gay USA 2011. He went on to the Philippines to compete in Mr. Gay World, where he was named First Runner-Up.
All men interested in attending the Mr. Gay USA auditions on January 21st and 22nd, 2012 should go to www.MrGayWorldUSA.com
Danny Boys! In October 2011, we visited the Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack themed restaurant, Danny Boy’s Italian Eatery, in Sandusky, Ohio. At first glance, the décor was what we had come to recognize in Northern Ohio. With old 45’s and guitars hung on the wall, the rock n roll theme was almost expected. As we intensely read the menu aloud, we were unexpectedly surprised by the array of unique dishes offered. Although originally designed as a neighborhood pizza joint, this restaurant offers much more! The ‘Bada Bing Buffalo Chips’ are mouthwatering! These warm and crunchy homemade kettle chips are drizzled with Chicken Philly & Fries Pie
Bada Bing Buffalo Chips
buffalo sauce and topped with fresh crumbled blue cheese and then baked with a perfect layer of pizza cheese. The first taste was as delicious as the last bite! We are grateful to our server for the recommendation. Edmond A. Hoty, Owner of Danny Boy’s Italian Eatery, says: “We don’t have a microwave in our kitchen thus everything is made fresh to order. We use the finest ingredients, offer generous portions, and treat everyone who enters the restaurant as a special guest. We have a lot of tourists that visit the restaurant and have started coming back year after year because of the service they received. Bring your significant other for a romantic night out, with a candle on the table and some Frank Sinatra on the radio!” From the chicken pecan salad and Tony Soprano’s spaghetti meatball sub, to specialty pizza pie’s such as ‘The Clevelander,’ our experience will not be forgotten. We thank the staff at Danny Boy’s for spectacular service and an outstanding meal!
www.dannyboys.us facebook: /dannyboyssandusky
The Victorian Tudor Inn A welcoming stay with Richard Stegman in his breathtaking Bed & Breakfast.
Richard Stegman, Innkeeper at the Victorian Tudor Inn. Richard was driven to return to his hometown of Bellevue, Ohio after achieving several college degrees and accomplishing a prestigious 28 year career in higher education, including 12 years at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island as Dean of Students & Chief Student Affairs Officer, and most recently Dean of Students at the University of Wyoming.
Tucked away on a residential street in the small town of Bellevue (Northern Ohio), is the picturesque Victorian Tudor Inn Bed & Breakfast. We were greeted at the door by Innkeeper Richard Stegman and his warm welcoming smile, then taken on a grand tour of this more than 7,500 square foot historic English tudor, built in 1906. Each of the delicately designed guest rooms are filled with antiques and collectibles, gathered and purchased by Richard over the years. Richard mentions that there were so many antique pieces he found that spoke to his heart, he knew he could not re-sell them… they would eventually have a resting place. Relaxing in the living room after a long drive, with a glass of wine in hand, we had tantalizing conversations with Richard and some of his other guests. Mary and Jane, out-of-towners who frequent the B&B often, tell us: “The Victorian Tudor Inn is like a journey back in time. A perfect anecdote to the fast paced world…a step away from the rat race.” “We feel welcome and at home in a way that we don’t feel at other accommodations.” Richard is what some would call, a ‘fascinating miracle.’ One month after purchase of the Victorian Tudor in 2007, a literal run-in with a train put him in the hospital for six weeks. Lucky and grateful to be alive, physical therapy came easy since Richard had several thousand square feet of house to renovate and decorate. With so many tokens of history placed so neatly throughout the 2 living rooms, dining room, exercise room, treat room, hot tub room, 5 bedrooms (each with their own private bath), grounds and even the hidden garden, it’s difficult to keep the eyes from wandering, no matter the conversation. The morning after our arrival, the aroma of fresh, local bacon frying danced in the air enticing us to seek out the kitchen. The fresh fruit, cinnamon French toast and juices welcomed us to the table. Cooked to order hot Belgian waffles, extra large country eggs or omelets, served with vegetables and cheeses of choice were just minutes away. This delectable breakfast made for a king, or queen, is the perfect start to anyone’s day! Richard’s warm personality and optimistic charm made us feel as if we had been on an overnight visit with our own family. Our only regret was not having had the opportunity to meet Richard’s husband who was out of the country …we wish him a quick return back to the states. From newspaper boy in Bellevue to Dean of Students, then back to Bellevue 32 years later, welcoming friends new and old, Richard has come full circle. http://www.victoriantudor.com
of the W l a t or i p a
Big... Just Got Bigger!
For the 14th consecutive year, Cedar Point amusement park/resort in Sandusky, Ohio, was named as the “Best Amusement Park in the World” in the prestigious Golden Ticket Awards presented annually by Amusement Today newspaper. In addition to winning the highly coveted award for the world’s best amusement park, Cedar Point’s Millennium Force roller coaster was also named as the “Best Steel Roller Coaster” for the second consecutive year and the sixth time since its introduction in 2000. “Not only is our park and our roller coaster named as the best in the world, but Dick Kinzel, who has been a mentor and trusted friend to many of us in the industry, has been recognized for his many achievements. It is a very proud moment,” said John Hildebrandt, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point.
Cedar Point 26
O? I H O n i s Park i c i s s a r u J Dinosaurs Alive! on Adventure Island, a prehistoric themed attraction is scheduled to arrive at Cedar Point next summer. This $1 million dollar attraction will be located on four acres of wooded island in the lagoons. The journey into Dinosaurs Alive! will be multi-sensory and interactive. Guests will be able to see approximately 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs that will roar and move. Each will be handcrafted and covered with skin-like materials that will replicate almost every feature. Four of the dinosaurs will have interactive consoles that will allow guests to guide their movement to create an up-close look at how these dinosaurs moved their arms, tail, eyes and mouth. “We are extremely excited about introducing Dinosaurs Alive! to our guests next summer,” says John Hildebrandt. “Our guests will have the opportunity to visit the Jurassic Age up close and see some of the amazing creatures that called it home.” From the Ruyangosaurus that will stand nearly 40’ tall and 72’ long to the smallest…an Angustinaripterus that will only be 2’ tall and 8’ long.
Other dinosaurs include the vicious Tyrannosaurus Rex, Irratator, Baryonyx and Spinosaurus, the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs. A plated Stegosaurus and three-horned Triceratops will also inhabit the island. The half-mile-long path will feature more than a dozen themed exhibits and displays and will veer underneath several of the larger dinosaurs providing a very intimate encounter with the prehistoric beasts. With many more surprises such as an excavation site and paleontological dig, who would guess that admission is only $5 per person? Located on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point is one of the most popular family vacation destinations in the country. With 75 rides, including 17 roller coasters, the park has more than any other in the world. Built in 1870, Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park in North America. Learn more at www.cedarpoint.com
Long Island Lesbian Hip Hop Strong Island Records introduces PEGGSTARR and her debut album “Look What My Mama Made,” which releases on November 29, 2011. DJ, Tattoo Artist & hip hop performer, Peggstarr, features artists such as Tone Kapone of Def Squad, BK & Swanny River, while she reveals her explosive personality and raw lyrics in this debut album. With titles such as “Do 4 Luv,” “Crash The Party” & “Ruckus,” her music add a sexy hip hop tone to a ‘Gaga/Pink’ style within the lyrics. PEGGSTARRS new album will be available on iTunes, Napster & all online music stores, as well as hard copy CD via shop.strongisland.com Facebook.com/peggstarrsfanpage YouTube.com/PEGGSTARR Twitter.com/PEGGSTARR Gaymusicrevolution.com/PEGGSTARR
The Bisexual Rapper from Maryland Imani the Misfit, being dubbed as the bisexual rapper, is an internet celebrity, entrepreneur, record producer, singer- songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor and model from Maryland. With a growing 59,000 friends, he may be best known for his internet presence on Myspace. With his controversial rap artistry, Imani’s latest release “Question Authority” has a tough exterior with explicit lyrics, he relays powerful messages such as: “you deserve what you allow” and “if you want to make a change, you gotta be a born leader not a slave” “cuz every legend that this world has ever seen has been perceived as a threat to society.” myspace.com/misfitradioone twitter.com/imanithemisfit
Imani the Misfit
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Before the Stonewall Riots of 1969, social revolution for most LGBT people meant winning the empathy of “average” Americans. Following the riots, however, it became a matter of breaking away from traditional assumptions of sexuality. Where one model depended on perceptions from the outside, the other drew on thoughtful introspection and a deeper understanding of self.
STONEWALL Urban Molecule presents
in retrospect The angst in Manhattan’s West Village had been percolating for some time. The massive wave of riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. the year before may have inadvertently set the clock for our own initiation into chaos. Widespread unrest in Europe and the Middle East and a senseless war raging in Southeast Asia aggravated the situation further. The summer air was ripe for rebellion.
The first organization to form following the riots, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), was considered radical. Only by revolting against sexism, patriarchy and capitalism simultaneously could negative attitudes toward women, lesbians, gays and other minorities be changed. The revolution would require, according to founding GLF member Steven Dansky, “a shift in perception of reality so persistent that it radically altered assumptions about gender and sexuality”—a calling so ambitious it would demand at every turn a fierce devotion and lasting cooperation between seemingly disparate groups—if it hoped to succeed.
In The New York Times piece benignly titled "Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader", Jeremy Peters writes, "The gay movement has always had a problem of achieving a dignity or moral imperative that the black civil rights movement had, or the women’s rights movement claimed. Because this movement is fundamentally about the right to be sexual, it’s hard for the larger public to see that as a moral issue" (2009). But how much of the revolution was about sexuality? And how much was about the prejudice that surrounded it? These questions led me to an inspiring group of activists. What I found was more than a history lesson. The fact that the LGBT community has made remarkable progress in the years since Stonewall is a testament, not to the resilience of one leader, but to the solidarity and perseverance of many. These excerpts are taken from my conversations with founding GLF members in the summer of 2009, forty years after a group of fearless and determined youth took to the streets of Gotham in search of freedom.
STEVEN F. DANSKY
formative GLF member Longtime political activist Steven F. Dansky was a formative member of the modern gay liberation movement. His work has been cited in nearly every book on early gay liberation, spanning more than three decades, from The Gay Militants (1971) to American Social Movements: Gay Rights Movement (2003). Dansky had been involved during the HIV pandemic for more than 15 years.
UM: Explain the Gay Liberation Front. SFD: Within weeks of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was founded. It was the first post-Stonewall Uprising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) organization. Although homophile rights activists had been organizing for decades, the Stonewall Uprising ushered in a new militancy. The entrance of GLF was onto the most turbulent stage in this country’s history, within a historical continuum, an era marked by a vigorous civil rights, an emergent second wave of feminism, and at the height of aggressive anti-Vietnam War movement. The wellspring for a LBTG movement was overflowing, and GLF was poised to develop from sexual urgency to political activism. GLF forged the roots of activism with particular audacity, staging activist demonstrations in Times Square and Greenwich Village; at sites of institutional bigotry such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral; against media
“I don’t care about the homophobia. I’m coming to speak to the staff to make sure we get the care we need.”
homophobia at the offices of Time and The Village Voice; at dehumanizing porn palaces; and the group Radicalesbians staged a Lavender Menace challenge to the women’s movement. In addition to activism, a great deal of queer theory began with GLF thinkers and writers who compelled a shift in perception of reality so persistent that it radically altered assumptions about gender and sexuality. UM: 1969. 2009. What’s changed? What hasn’t? SFD: The progress in forty years is unimaginable and extraordinary. The right to assemble guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution was violated by the State with bar raids and arrests, which ignited the Stonewall Uprising. Remember, in 1969 same-sexuality was illegal and punishable in many states. In 1986, in Bower vs. Hardwick, the U.S Supreme Court upheld a Georgia anti-sodomy law allowing criminal prosecution for private homosexual acts. This ruling was overturned by the Court in 2003. Scalia warned in his dissenting open that this would lead to opening the floodgate for same-sex marriage. Only in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association reversed its designation of same-sex relatedness as pathology. It became known as the quickest “cure” in history.
I was married in 2004 in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on the first day that same-sex marriage became legal, and now in addition to MA, there is Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut with Maine, Maryland, Washington, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York considering same-sex marriage. And let’s not forget there are 18,000 legal same-sex marriages in California. This is extraordinary progress in 40 years from pathology and legality to front-ant-center in the global human rights debates. UM: You’re described as an avid profeminist, and have done considerable work with HIV/AIDS. The bond between the Gay Rights Movement and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been central to the gay American identity since the early days of Larry Kramer activism and the creation of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York. You write that “during the 1980s, the pandemic was about inevitable death, with few exceptions,” explaining how you “attempted to transform loss into a moral lesson, aligning with the body of literature that demonstrates our pathos as nurturers and caregivers.” With regard to the pandemic and the early gay rights movement, how did the need for health care affect activism? And did it help shape the identity of the movement?
SFD: My political trajectory completely changed in the 1980s with the HIV/ AIDS epidemic. I became a caregiver, as well as an activist. I learned caregiving helping to raise Blake Morgan. And activism from Gay Liberation Front. So many of us were helpless in the face of an unknown and fatal retrovirus. I remember a brief telephone conversation with Larry Kramer in 1986. I was a social work intern at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, and Kramer was going to give a lecture at the hospital. As it turned out, I was unable to attend, but I telephoned Kramer and said, “I can tell you a lot about homophobia at this hospital.” I believed that homophobia, whether unconscious or not, affected the delivery of quality health care to patients with HIV/AIDS. Kramer said, “I don’t care about the homophobia. I’m coming to speak to the staff to make sure we get the care we need.” You see, all activism became focused on health care. And ActUp was the most audacious gay group in the history of the gay movement, taking it’s tactics from GLF and GAA in its confrontation of any institution that was homophobic. I’ll always remember ActUp for the human scaling of the walls of the FDA in Washington for its lack of attention and urgency during the first phase of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Perry Brass was born in Savannah, GA, but reborn in New York City in November, 1969 when he joined the Gay Liberation Front and the GLF newspaper Come Out! He has since published 14 books including How to Survive Your Own Gay Life, his work has been included in 25 anthologies, and 50 of his poems have been set to music.
UM: How would you compare the GLF, back in the day, to the modern gay rights movement? How much of the GLF’s original vision, would you say, has survived? PB: I think that the gay movement has evolved somewhat evolutionarily: it has adapted to the times, which is a good thing in some ways and a terrible, ugly thing in other ways. One thing that most people don’t take into consideration, and that we, as gay liberationists from GLF understood from the get-go, is that almost dyed-in-the-wool prevalence of internalized homophobia, that insidious repugnance queer men, especially, feel toward each other. No other minority group has it to the degree we have, and for good reason. As Harry Hay said, “Because our parents rejected us, we reject each other.” Therefore, we now see a gay movement (and I don’t say “gay liberation movement,” because I feel that gay liberation pretty much died about 1974) infected with celebrity worship, that denies the real importance of LGBT leaders who come out of the movement (in other words, we must be recognized by the straights before we’ll recognize each other), that is totally money oriented, that goes from crisis to crisis with very little history or foundation behind it. GLF had none of that. We wanted to create an authentic gay culture, a real gay media, and a gay world that was part of the bigger world and yet distinct enough from the mainstream for us to survive intact in it.
founding GLF memeber
What has survived from GLF? An understanding that gays are a natural part of human existence; that we can heroically work with each other (GLF proved that, before GLF this idea was ridiculed. As Mart Crowley said in The Boys in the Band, “Show me a happy homosexual and I’ll show you a gay corpse.”); that there is a real foundation to homophobia that is not predicated on our being sick, sinners, or whatever: homophobia is a useful tool of a society that crushes people for being different; that patriarchy and its main product, sexism, can be seen, defined, and understood — so we can work against sexism.
What did not come out of GLF? An understanding of what is the male role in society and life, and how that role can be enriched, be made more wonderful to participate in. Also, GLF had a poor understanding of transgenderism. That would come later. UM: Tell us about your involvement with the GLF publication Come Out! PB: I joined GLF because of the paper, truly. I had been writing gay material before, and had finished a gay novel when I was 19 years old. I was told there was no way in hell I could get it published. Which was probably the truth. So when I heard about GLF and the paper, there was this instant attraction to me. I joined the paper in its 3rd issue, and published poetry in it under the name Mark Shield, although my name appears on the masthead. By the 4th and 5th issues, I was writing regularly for it. At the end of the 5th issue, the paper had to find new leadership and a new “office.” Our office had been a bedroom in an apartment in the East Village. So I agreed to publish the paper out of my Hell’s Kitchen walk-up apartment, and became, basically, the leading force on the paper, keeping it together and both guiding it and taking a lot of heat, since the paper was always extremely controversial. We published the next 3 issues from my apartment. Here is a brief excerpt from a talk I’ve given about Come Out! It says a lot about the paper and my involvement with it: My first intention on joining GLF was to work with Come Out! the first paper with a political mission of gay liberation in the world.
I officially joined the paper in its third issue. It was then being produced out of Lois Hart and Suzanne Bevier’s loft on 6th Avenue near 38th Street, across the hallway from Sue Nagrin’s Times Change Press, another “movement” publisher. The guiding light of the paper at the point was Lois, who is now deceased. Although the paper was conceived as a collective, Lois was purely its leader, and Lois definitely had a point of view from that period of that first wave of lesbian feminism. I got along fairly well with her, and she used to refer to me as her “favorite male chauvinist.” To Lois, all men were male chauvinists, and all men oppressed all women. Lois came from a Catholic background, and this became the guiding catechism of the collective. It did in fact, alienate her from the
“...homophobia is a useful tool of a society that crushes people for being different.” street queens, or the STAR girls whom Lois thought aped women without being them, and some women found Lois to be rather heavy handed and bridled against her. But she had a huge passion for the paper and she used every resource she had to get it out. She and Suzanne had a house painting business, and we used their van to pick up the bound copies of the freshly printed paper from the Movement printers who often printed Come Out! on the sly, after their regular jobs at commercial printers were done. One of my favorite stories was the whole collective coming out in the van to pick the paper up at 1 o’ clock in the morning after it had been run on very clickety off-set presses in Brooklyn by a team of hippy printers who to make “bread,” or money, ran advertising circulars during the day. We had to jump over fences to get into the back of the print shop, and finally, by 3 AM the paper was piled up in the back of Lois’s VW van. On the way back to Lois’s loft, where we would bring the bales of Come Out! up 4 flights of stairs, Lois announced that all of the printers had been tripping on LSD while they printed Come Out! Aw, those were the days!
Items from Andriote’s “Victory Deferred Collection” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History were featured in the museum’s 2011 exhibit marking the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. The Archive Center’s display featured interview notes, photos and correspondence from the collection. The museum’s 2009 exhibit marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising also featured materials from Andriote’s collection. Andriote’s many interview subjects include AIDS activist and author Larry Kramer. From the book jacket of Victory Deferred: “Andriote, who has been at the center of national advocacy and AIDS politics in Washington, is judicious without being uncritical, and his account of the political maturation of the gay community is one of the most stirring civil rights stories of our time.”
UM: How did you end up devoting your career to writing about HIV/AIDS? JMA: It was sort of the perfect storm. Friends of mine were starting to get sick and die from AIDS. I was 26 years old. As a journalist, I was reading five newspapers a day (this was before the Internet, of course), along with magazines; I was keeping up with what was going on in the world. [AIDS] was a big unfolding story in 1985. Rock Hudson announced he had AIDS, people were terrified, there was a lot of hysteria. It hadn’t yet exploded in terms of the understanding that this was a global issue. Africa had been written about, but it wasn’t
journalist and author
nearly on the scale of the pandemic it later became. AIDS affected me personally. It was affecting my community. And I had engaged as a journalist. It sank its teeth into my imagination. And so it was worth pouring myself into. And because of that I became very aware of injustices people with AIDS were experiencing. That’s the first time I discovered my passion about social justice—about fairness and unfairness—so it captured me on a spiritual level as well. UM: Flash forward a bit. When compared to other movements like Black civil rights or women’s rights, the gay rights movement seems fundamentally different. But it seems like the LGBT community is trying its hardest to conform to society. Why?
JMA: That’s a fundamental issue that’s never been resolved to the satisfaction of Joe Six Pack— whether or not being gay is a choice. Even if it is a choice, why shouldn’t it be protected? Protected like so many other choices, like which religion you practice or if you don’t practice any religion? Those are choices. And if you do see being gay as a choice, there’s this thing about how you play the hand you’ve been dealt. Do you want to get married and have children? Do you want to have a similar life to what’s considered the norm for heterosexuals? What does it mean to be gay? It hasn’t been satisfactorily answered. UM: And it’s a catch 22, because as traditional labels dissolve people forget about the people
“Kramer says sex is a strange thing to base a community on...” behind those labels. Then the “we” behind the LGBT community begins to dissolve as well. JMA: And when we talk about “we” who exactly are we talking about? Larry Kramer has been a critic forever about that idea of “what does it mean to be gay?” and for whatever reason I find myself agreeing with him. Kramer says sex is a strange thing to base a community on – this sort of priapic brotherhood. That goes back to the 70s—this whole idea about gay liberation as sexual liberation—the freedom to have sex wherever, whenever and with whomever you want. Not all people who consider themselves gay are comfortable with that idea, certainly not with that public representation of what it means to be gay. I’m not comfortable with it. UM: How so? JMA: From the time that I came out in the early 80s (I was in my early 20s), I was very aware of those gay men who were affluent and upper-middle class—the ones who lived in nice apartments, went to Rio, had nice clothes and rented a house on fire island in the summer. That, to me, was a very specific experience of being gay. Often after dinner parties the same men would put on their leather and go to the Mineshaft . There was this juxtaposition of upper middle class, St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, Episcopalian respectability, but also this raunchy
and promiscuous side of gay life. I had very mixed messages coming at me as a young gay man about what it was to be gay. hadn’t necessarily related to either one of those things; neither sat well with me. I’ve always felt that tension within myself. What does it mean to be gay? What do I mean by it? I mean, I didn’t come out of a closet and embrace my homosexual nature in order to fit into another closet other gay people define for me. UM: You interviewed Larry Kramer. JMA: My interview with him was so many years ago. I recently contacted Larry about interviewing again, actually, for the revised paperback edition of Victory Deferred that I’m working on now. The first interview for Victory was back in 1995. Meeting
with Kramer—going into his apartment on Fifth Avenue, right next to Washington Square—is a momentous thing. Historic things took place there. The meetings that led to the founding of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) took place there. Larry had recently reconnected with this man who he demonized in his 1978 novel Faggots as “Dinky”—the boyfriend who couldn’t be faithful because he was caught up in the whole sexual subculture. The Fred Lemmish character (the Kramer character) wanted to move on from that. Well, Dinky and Lemmish reconnected years later and they’ve been together ever since as partners. The New York Times in 1995 had just done a story about Larry called “When A Roaring Lion Learns to Purr”—that was the headline (it was fantastic)—so one of my questions [to Larry] was, “is it true you’ve learned to purr?” [laughs] For a man who was notorious for being a “roaring lion”—for blasting people in high-decibel pitches, in histrionic terms—one-on-one, sitting in his living room, he was more like a purring cat than a roaring lion. I think that I wrote how he seemed kind of sad. That’s the part of Larry people have missed. They only hear about the histrionics—the anger, the outrage. They don’t look beneath that to realize why he’s been so angry—the terrible loss, the disappointment, the disillusionment that he’s
experienced as he’s lost so many people, as he’s watched the U.S. government and its scientists not doing everything it seemed they could do—and it was affecting his friends. It affected him in a personal way. As we’ve seen with ACT UP (which Larry was instrumental in starting and inspiring with his speech at the gay and lesbian community center in New York), is that when people are afraid and grieving, it’s a very vulnerable thing to show the world your sadness an grief. So anger and rage and hostility are put out there as a shield to protect your broken heart. That’s what people haven’t wanted to see. Just how deeply his heart’s been broken. They don’t see the man. That’s what I was interested in and ultimately that’s what changed how I thought about Larry.
founding GLF member An active member of the Gay Liberation Front beginning in November 1969, John Knoebel eventually founded the Effeminists, a group of gay men who opposed sexism, and co-authored “The Effeminist Manifesto” with Steven Dansky and Kenneth Pitchford which originally appeared in Double F: a Magazine of Effeminism (published from 1972 to 1976). Knoebel is currently the Vice President of Consumer Marketing for the nation’s two largest LGBT magazines: The Advocate and Out. UM: GLF convened a meeting with Black Panther co-founder and leader Huey Newton at Jane Fonda’s penthouse. You were there. Give us the scoop. JK: Shortly after his release from prison in 1970, Huey Newton released an important essay entitled, “A Letter from Huey Newton to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters about the Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements,” which is considered the first pro-gay, pro-woman proclamation to come out of the black civil rights movement. In it, Huey Newton asked Panthers to confront their prejudices and re-examine their attitudes towards women and homosexuals. He stated, “We [Panthers] have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.” Later in the letter, he said, “there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.”
"Huey arrived shirtless, still drying himself with a bath towel.” These were powerful sentiments to come from a leader of the Black Power movement at this time. GLF’s support for the Panthers had long been a contentious issue within GLF, ever since a consensus of sorts to support the Panthers in November of 1969 had been largely responsible for the split off of GAA. The essay received wide attention among gay liberationists after its release in August of 1970 and was highly influential in providing a perceived new basis to work more closely with the black movement, despite the known homophobia of so many Panther members. In New York, the Panthers had a highly influential spokeswoman in Afeni Shakur (future mother of rap artist, Tupac Shakur), who was responsible for developing a genuine rapport between the Panthers and GLF at this time. In September of 1970, Afeni contacted GLF with the news that, while he was in New York City to do press engagements, Huey Newton would like to meet with members of GLF to discuss possible joint demonstrations with gay liberation. Some GLF members objected to the meeting, either doubting its sincerity or questioning the idea of an alliance with the Panther movement. Others were interested in attending, but could not do so on such short notice. In the end, GLF put forward three members to go: myself, Nikos Diaman and a transgender journalist, Angela Douglas. We were not particularly qualified to go, but we all were well aware of GLF’s politics, past history with the Panthers and its generally positive attitude toward Huey’s recent letter. The meeting was to take place in connection with a press conference being held at Jane Fonda’s Upper East Side penthouse, and we were told to get there on the early side. Books now say that Jane Fonda and Huey Newton were
having a brief affair and the location that day was no accident. When we arrived, the elevator opened directly into Fonda’s apartment and we were greeted by her daughter, Vanessa, who was screaming, three years old and innocently naked. Jane Fonda herself appeared, gave us a gracious hello and quickly pulled her daughter back into a further room to get dressed. Afeni came out to host us for the rest of the event. Camera crews arrived and we sat in the back of the large, very crowded living room as Huey Newton gave an eloquent speech, answering questions from the national press corp. As the cameras were being broken down, Afeni told us to be patient, as Huey wanted to speak with us after he took a shower. Within minutes, Huey arrived shirtless, still drying himself with a bath towel. I remember him as a very attractive individual, well-built and with particularly striking eyes. We wondered later if he’d been intentionally showing off. The conversation wasn’t long. Huey clearly had a few things he wanted to tell us. First off, he referred to his recent letter concerning gay liberation. He said that while in prison he had become acquainted with gay brothers who had talked to him at length and were largely responsible for a change in his thinking about gay people. He said that when he returned to Oakland, he intended to move the headquarters of the Black Panthers to Harlem, as he felt they should be located in the historic home of urban black Americans. Finally, as Afeni had alerted us, he proposed that we organize joint demonstrations between GLF and the Panthers in the months ahead. We then spent a few more minutes commenting on his letter, asking for more details about how he saw us working together. We tried to ask more about his experiences in prison, but the conversation wasn’t easy and Huey excused himself rather quickly. Not a whole lot had been accomplished. The move
to Harlem never became a reality and, after his return to Oakland, Huey quickly became involved in trying to regain some of the leadership role that had been taken over by others during his stay in prison. None of the proposed joint demonstrations were ever held in New York. Nonetheless, our reports of this meeting did a lot to further positive sentiment within New York GLF to accept the Panther’s invitation to participate in the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention — a Panther-inspired idea for radicals from many different movements to gather to write a new people’s constitution. Two sessions were held, the first in Philadelphia in early September 1970 and another over Thanksgiving weekend in Washington DC. I estimate a group of 40 or so New Yorkers attended the first session in Philadelphia. We were joined by dozens of other gay and lesbian GLF delegates from cities across the nation, including many from Boston, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Chicago, Lawrence KS, Tallahassee FL, and other places in between. In fact, an important side outcome of the Philadelphia convention was the opportunity it provided for what was in effect the first national gay liberation gathering. The weekend convention was poorly organized, and so included many hours waiting for Panther events. As a result, GLF members had large meetings with long discussions of gay liberation politics that energized the movement in the months to follow. In Philadelphia, the seemingly omnipresent Afeni Shakur again acted as the Panther’s main representative to GLF and provided logistics around meetings and events connected to the convention held at Temple University. I attended sessions where our group prepared a position paper on behalf of the “male homosexual
STONEWALL workshop” for inclusion in our section of the proposed constitution. A discussion ensued when Afeni unexpectedly told the behind and deal with Panther sexism on gathering that, before we could present our statement, we would have to vote as group to approve the statement that “the Black Panthers were the vanguard of the revolution.” Some GLF members felt offended to have to vote for a revolutionary pecking order. Dan Smith from New York was particularly eloquent in describing the revolution as a multi-pronged movement with many groups working towards a revolution in equally important ways. In the end, a spirit of pragmatism prevailed and the group voted for the statement, just to move ahead with the process. Elsewhere, the lesbians from GLF were not fairing as well. Incidents between the women and individual Panthers ensued. A long-scheduled lesbian workshop was dropped from the Panther agenda at the last minute. After more of the same, the lesbians departed telling us to stay our own. The men of GLF did get to read their demands on the convention floor and an enthusiastic coterie of GLF delegates who had somehow managed to squeeze into the vastly overcrowded hall, greeted the gay speakers with cheers and gay power chants. Ove r T hank s giv ing w e e k e n d i n Wash ingt on, D. C. , th e w o rk o f th e convention proceeded. Although originally scheduled at Howard University, it was instead held at several smaller churches, including St Stephen’s and Trinity Church. GLF held long sessions to finalize our plank, which had morphed into a platform from the Third World Gay Revolution caucus. On Saturday night, a delegation of 15 or so GLF members, under leadership of third world members, went to St.
Stephen’s church to attempt to present our 16-point program to the Panthers, but the chaos and crowd at the church made any such presentation impossible. We left the weekend with a sense of frustration. No one was quite sure how much further we would be involved in this process. Once again it seemed that the most productive outcome of the weekend for GLF were the vigorous sessions we held among ourselves to discuss gay liberation issues. Perhaps another small side incident, however, would prove to be a little more interesting story of that Washington weekend. I was part of a large contingent of about 75 of the GLF members from around the country. We were housed for the weekend under Panther protection at the chapel on the grounds of American University. Security for convention delegates was much more in evidence in Washington, as there was clearly a larger perceived threat of violence against the convention by police in the nation’s capitol. Intimidating, probably armed Panthers, all of whom seemed to us particularly tall and burly, patrolled the grounds around the chapel where we were bedded down on the floor for the night. I recall the group made some attempt at discussions about the next day’s sessions until around 10pm, but we were all rather subdued as they told us we could not leave the building until the next morning. Then at about 11pm, Panther guards came in and announced that, due to a change of plans, someone they called “Big Man” would need to stay at our facility that night. A rumor went around that this was possibly the editor of the Black Panther newspaper. In any event, we were given 20 minutes to go through our belongings and hand-in any drugs or weapons we had in our possession “to avoid any potential problems with the police.”
Urban Molecule began in 2008 as an urban art series created by New York City-based writer Christopher de la Torre. UM has since explored prominent modes of counterculture, including art, literature, film, pedagogy and cyberculture. Other original works in the Stonewall series include exclusive interviews with Founding GLF Member Karla Jay and Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart, and original works from Photographer Ellen Shumsky (also founding GLF member), Author Kevin Kopelson and Activist Brandon Wallace. View these interviews in their entirety and the complete series online at stonewallrebels.wordpress.com. photos | page 31: Come Out! Poster, taken from the 1970 photo by Peter Hujar. page 32: Self-Portrait, 1970; photo by Steven F. Dansky. page 34: Perry Brass, 1971; photo by J. Larue. page 36: John Knoebel, Sheep Meadow NYC, 1970; photo courtesy John Knoebel.
l e b e R Adam en Hoover will Change the World
Don't know the name? Remember it. This 17-year-old from Ohio wants to change the world. Someday he might even land in the Oval Office. For now, he’ll take Facebook. Harrison, Ohio. 7:30am. Adam Hoover starts his day. First it's on to William Henry Harrison High School where he'll hang with friends, learn political science and daydream about taking down social injustice. Then it's onto one of a number of other activities, which these days include spending time with family, running a charity for the less fortunate and, his latest project, building a local movement from scratch. "I went to the gay pride parade in Cincinnati. I finally figured out it's okay to be gay. It made me want to do something." Coming out brought this 17-year-old the support of friends, family and his (mostly Republican!) community. So he decided to campaign for marriage equality in Ohio. Over the course of two weeks, 15,000 supporters flooded several congressional offices, including John Boehner's, with phone calls in support of a marriage equality bill. Success in Ohio would add Hoover's home state to a growing number that now recognize marriage for same-sex couples. Hoover says social media took an important role in making his campaign dream become real. "Facebook is the easiest way to connect people," he says. "We have about 275,000 supporters across our pages." The Facebook page,
Support Gay Marriage in Ohio, has alone attracted nearly 200,000 "likes" and the protest, held in Cincinnati's Fountain Square on November 5, hasd hundreds of attendees and gained media attention from local TV and radio stations. So what made this teen ditch underage parties and World of Warcraft for activism? It's easy; Hoover says everyone should be free. That, and he wants to be able to marry his boyfriend, Tyler. His mom is supportive and his friends think it's amazing how much he's able to do. He thinks the world is too judgmental but says it's finally starting to turn around with respect to gay rights. He also realizes how his cybermovement needs to happen offline, too. "Ohio marriage equality, that's the goal.
o t y a k “...it's o be gay...” It won’t happen without media attention. If we can get people to talk about it, we will bring around change. If the adults won't give it to us we will have to get it ourselves." Having the legal right to love who you want seems as good a reason as
any to start a local revolution. And these young Ohioans have joined a grassroots movement that's spread like wildfire across the globe. Clearly, people just want to be people. Once Hoover moves on from homeroom and dodging study hall paperclips, he hopes to attend college in Miami where he can learn more about the dos and don'ts of politics. Until then he's got Ohio marriage equality to attend to. With his family, and a few thousand of his closest friends. “I want to be like Martin Luther King, Jr.,” he says. “I know it sounds stupid because he fought for Black rights, but he stands for everything I stand for. Gay people should be equal and free, and protected the same as anyone else.” Adam, that’s probably the most hopeful thing we’ve heard in a while. To RSVP for upcoming Ohio Marriage Equality Demonstrations on Facebook, go to the event page, “Ohio Street Protest for Gay Marriage!” For more information and to support Adam Hoover’s campaign, visit the Facebook page at: facebook/MarriageEqualityOhio
C.Antonio writes about social movements and social media. Contact him at CAntonioWrites@gmail.com picture: (L) Tyler Folke (R) Adam Hoover
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www.theketubah.com ke tu bah –A contract that states the obligations within Jewish marriage. New York-based artist Stephanie Caplan is a genuine pioneer in making marriage contracts for everyone. She hand-designs the ketubah… a marriage contract and a work of art, signed just before the wedding ceremony. It is then framed and hung in the home, reminding the couple about why they love each other...especially in the middle of a fight! The ketubah has become the newest must-have wedding component. Stephanie is single-handedly reshaping the ketubah for the 21st century. She insisted on inclusiveness long before it was fashionable, being one of the first ketubah artists specializing in the ketubah for everyone: Jewish, interfaith, alternative, same sex, and non-Jewish couples with ketubah envy. One of the most respected ketubah artists in the world - and now a Huffington Post wedding columnist - she is also one of the only ketubah artists still working by hand. (She is first and foremost a calligrapher, employing her own lettering, not a font.) “I bring elegant, clean design to an ancient art form.” - Stephanie Caplan. Stephanie and theketubah.com have been featured by the most respected wedding media, including Martha Stewart Weddings, New York Magazine’s Weddings, and the New York Times.
www.evolution-man.com NAIL VARNISHES & NAIL PAINTS, FOR A FLAWLESS MAN-ICURE EVOLUTIONMAN introduces a sophisticated product that will provide men with an essential step to grooming...the MAN-icure. Men can now reap the benefits of a more resilient natural looking nail with a product that promises to strengthen weak, bitten, or brittle nails. Not only innovative in its palette, but also in formulation, these paints are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate free. Nail Varnishes are guaranteed to protect men’s nails from environmental damage, while providing a polished MAN-icure any guy is sure to love. Varnishes and paint colors include: Pure Matte, Pure Bling, Alter Ego, Stand Out, and Pavement. EVOLUTIONMAN Nail Varnishes & Paints (SRP: $14) are available this November in select retail locations, and online at evolution-man.com
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Unplugged, yet Connected
he cascade of colors cover the mountain side like a fine made quilt, as though each color carefully chosen and placed precisely in the perfect spot. Deer graze in a picturesque setting that one could only dare to imagine and only hope to see at least once in a lifetime. Cascading water travels down the creek kissing the rocks as it passes by, serenading the forest with a lulaby of relaxation and calm. Going to Allegany State Park for the first time was like stepping into an Ansel Adams photograph and leaving the technological insanity of everyday life behind for moments of peace. Small cabins tucked away amongst the trees in little communities gives you the opportunity to ground yourself back to what life truly is about – living, breathing, nature and beauty. Without this annual “outing,” I would not be able to respectfully appreciate myself for what I am. What we all are. We are living creatures amongst this planet, just as the trees, the lakes and the animals that inhabit them. We get so caught up in the mainstream of today’s society and “keeping up with the Jones’,” that we have forgotten how to just stop. “Stop and smell the roses.” Take a little time for ourselves, for our family, for our friends without the persistant robotics of today keeping us wired to devices that, guess what… we CAN live without. You will be amazed, mesmerized and pleasantly surprised by how much enjoyment you and a group of loves ones will have. Whether hiking, biking, fishing, boating, exploring, or cooking in the cabin… the list goes on, or just sitting by a fire conversating, there surely is no disappointment to be found here. But don’t shake your head if you are not the tent pitching, camping type. These cabins come in all different styles. Some even with electricity! There are options for your accommodations at Allegany State Park to help ease your mind. And if you ‘must’ pick up your communication device at some point, a short ride to town will once again get you “connected.” Once you take the small step into this breathe taking landscape of living, you will be saddened to have to leave and will absolutely count down the days until you can return. In 2010, Allegany was one of several State Parks in New York to be closed due to funding. Gather your friends for an annual inexpensive memory making trip… doing so also keeps our parks alive!
Leaderless Together by C.Antonio
he big topic: Occupy Wall Street. With so many opinions coursing through cyberspace, on TV and in the papers, it's hard to get a clear sense of what's really going on. And most of us are being truthful when we say we're still not sure how this will all pan out. Is Occupy a protest or a movement? Do these events symbolize an imminent new world order? Will we be capitalist, socialist or communist? And what exactly does "corporate fascist" mean? The point of this column is that these questions really don't matter. What matters isn't what Occupy means to the dysfunctional world that created it, but rather what the people who make up the movement mean to each other. What started as the product of a brainstorming session at an anti-consumerism magazine has, in a matter of months, transformed into a worldwide movement. The Canadian Adbusters team had little to do with the idea post-conception and since, Occupy is picking up where various world revolutions left off and sparking new protests in cities destined to join its legacy. Whatever this movement is, it’s now clear that Occupy Wall Street is but one part of what the world’s greater population is trying to say.
Most of the confusion around the movement comes from an apparent lack of leadership, which isn't exactly a bad thing. On "Real Time With Bill Maher," Former New York Governor David Paterson said: "The reason that I think this is happening is that nobody has protested anything in this country for 30 years, so the problem is that we forgot how to do it. Let's just remember there was a ragtag protest that started at my alma mater, Columbia University, in the mid-60s. Within a year it forced the President of the United States not to run for re-election because of the opposition nationally to the Vietnam War. So the style may not be perfected, but the substance is there, the complaints are real..." Paterson did a lot for gays and lesbians when he used his political authority to fight for marriage equality in New York. His efforts paved the way for the victory handed to us this year, so if he says something adamantly I generally hear him out. Douglas Rushkoff, the original "hacktivist" and one of my personal heroes, didn’t mischaracterize Occupy when he called it "the first true Internet-era movement". What he basically meant was that, much like the Internet itself, the movement has no defined endpoint, no spokesman or leader to speak of, and an as-of-yet undetermined checklist of social improvements to be made—the "list of demands" most big media journalists
keep squawking about. The question is, do we really need all of that? Haters hate when they can't understand or contain, so it's no surprise when the lies and proverbial laughter descend from the screen. To me, a "movement with no end" is as good a counter force as any for a "war with no end", and remaining leaderless only protects us against being co-opted by groups that might sell us out later—pretty much how Republicans handled the Tea Party. Most social movements start out a bit disorganized. Being denied equality isn't exactly like planning the marketing campaign for a summer blockbuster, which is most-likely why big media still tries to play it cool when really it looks more like a chicken running with its head cut off. Gay activists know what it's like to be labeled "disorganized" by a largely dismissive status quo. The gay movement is still thought to be leaderless by haters who would rather steal some steam from progress than give us a head nod to lasting so long on our own. But let's not believe everything we hear or read without doing a bit of research first. Occupy is different. Where other movements stake their claim by dwelling on differences, this new global consciousness is bringing attention to how we are all alike---through good times and bad. Along with countering exclusion, Occupy's no-end-in-sight dynamic is forcing us to consider sustainability. Our habits are clearly in need of change. But don’t fear. If you’re scared or unsure of the fact that we still have no leader, you can look forward to developing your own individual leadership skills as we reach a unified and collective consensus of where this new movement should take us.
C.Antonio writes about social movements and social media. Contact him at CAntonioWrites@gmail.com
We are the voice & bridge of LGBT business in the NYC area. As the first gay/lesbian Chamber of Commerce in NYC, we are here to assist businesses obtain SBA Certification, NY State Certification, and loan processes.
NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce Rev Carmen Hernandez is the CEO/Founder/Outreach/Pastor at Stratford Community Services, Inc. As an activist in the Soundview section of the Bronx for the past 25 years, Rev. Carmen Hernandez has helped empower at-risk inner city kids. The Rev has proved to be a vital part of the South East Bronx community.
Contact Rev. Carmen Hernandez President/Founder (347) 547.6300 Email: email@example.com Website: www.nyclgbtcc.com
The NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce Inc. is a not-for profit 501 (c) (6) whose purpose is to assist and facilitate in economic development opportunities for LGBT and minority businesses.
In Review The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrasing, Repulsive by Vanessa Libertad Garcia Synopsis: a collection of poetry and short stories about a group of addicted gay & lesbian Latino club kids destroying themselves throughout the course of the 2008 elections. The book focuses on how they affect and are affected by the national politics happening around them. This ‘modern day’ work of art is a simple glance at the inner thoughts of the constantly turning wheels inside the brain. I was impressed by the honest tone and ‘today-society’ language used to portray the characters thoughts and emotions. At first glance, the underlying message I received was that of despair and darkness, but ultimately the collection is about living for today, not giving up on your dreams, and knowing that life’s possibilities are endless in this ever changing world.
Available at Amazon.com
“A Fairy Tale” by Steven Tyler O’Connor This short film portrays the anxiety of prom night…to go or not to go, especially when you are gay and have no date. Main character Jack (Steven Tyler O’Connor) magically meets fairy Godmother Rose (Sherry Vine), who comes to the rescue and puts a comical spin on the familiar fairy tales of Jack and Jill & Cinderella. I smiled, chuckled, and certainly related to the witty euphemisms. In 10 short minutes, Steven Tyler O’Connor brings to life the uncomfortable young adult moments we wish to forget, as well as the moments we will remember for a lifetime! I suspect that writer, director and actor Steven Tyler O’Connor will be making waves in the LGBT community as well as the ‘movie-making’ industry!
Info: www.facebook.com/afairytalemovie; Website: www.StevenTylorOConnor.com
Profiles in Diversity Journal, now in its 13th year, is a bi-monthly magazine focusing on diversity/ inclusion in business, government, non-profit, higher education and military settings. The focus of the Journal is on senior leadership, best practices, workforce diversity strategies, and recognition of employee contribution. Blue Cross And blue shield of north carolina pg. 23 Ohio University Opens the Gateway to Diversity pg. 40 Q&A: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell pg. 46 National American Heritage pg. 58
This beautifully designed, full color, glossy magazine (available by subscription) is packed with special features celebrating diversity, including: CEO leadership, women, black history, Asian, native American, & Hispanic heritage, recruitment, supplier, and education, as well as awards for employees with disabilities. www.diversityjournal.com
“How can you tell if an Amish man is gay?” The Literary Party: Growing Up GAY and AMISH in America
a collection of poetry by James Schwartz Synopsis: A provocative and eye-opening account of growing up gay and Amish in America. James Schwartz combines a mixture of poetry and short stories to describe family troubles, lost love, religion, and what it's like to take a horse and buggy to a gay nightclub. The Literary Party is an emotional, touching book with implications that extend to any religion or culture where intolerance is prevalent. James Schwartz captures readers with his honest emotions and raw poetic truths. From heartbreak to comedy and actual photos throughout the book, this touching collection portrays the struggles of ‘coming out’ in a close-minded environment. I especially enjoyed the humor and thought it to be touching that Schwartz dedicated the book in memory of Matthew Shepard. An excerpt: “How can you tell if an Amish man is gay? He likes his men at night. Get it? Mennonite?”
Available at Amazon.com
A Woman of Heart by Marcy Alancraig Both a surprising and delightful work of the heart bringing the unseen into light. When the family secrets are revealed to Shoshona by her Grandmother Rheabie, Alancraig goes right to the core of what is longed for...validation. Added intrigue with ghosts and guardians imtertwined with a complex family dynamic “A Woman of Heart” grasps your attention, pulls you in and does not let go. Within a world of chicken farmers that most of us know little to nothing about, the emotions are easily reflected, magnified and related to.
Available at Amazon.com
LIVING ADOPTION – GAY PARENTS SPEAK presented by Photosynthesis Productions and the Human Rights Campaign
Photosynthesis Productions, in association with the Human Rights Campaign, have created this inspirational, moving and honest documentary of gay and lesbian individuals who chose to become adoptive parents. The 21-minute video gives insight into all facets of the adoption process, from the beginning thoughts of being a parent to the struggles of raising a teenager, as well as societal issues and racial concerns. Each of the parents, with their honest and well spoken feelings, share their challenges as well as the joys of their journey. This documentary is informative and educational and comes highly recommended for ALL parents. Our 14 year old Assistant ‘Editor-in-Training’ enjoyed the feature so much, that she chose to watch the bonus scenes as well. When I asked her what she learned from this video, she said “It’s a great reminder of how racism, in all forms, affects so many families.” DVD available at: www.photosynthesisproductions.com; www.hrc.org; www.amazon.com
d e i f i s r e iv
D e r u t u F
The First Diversity & Inclusion Lending Library Comes to Ohio State University by C.Antonio
ight now, the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals (ISDIP) is about 200 "likes" strong on its Facebook page, and with any luck that number is about to get a lot bigger. The first comprehensive global association for the diversity and inclusion field has made impressive steps since it first dropped on the social network as a think tank for professionals wanting to diversify their world. On November 9, ISDIP will open the first-ever Diversity & Inclusion Lending Library on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus. A stride, considering the society was founded in April. As one of the nationâ€™s most populated universities, OSU makes an ideal partner for ISDIP, and the perfect location for the societyâ€™s new library. Itâ€™s an alliance both organizations hope will help achieve broader diversity in the state.
As diversity is a necessary ingredient for academic quality, the OSU Leadership Center is making concrete steps to rival other universities with more prominent minority populations. In 2010, minorities comprised 14% of the OSU student body, or about 10,000 of the more than 64,077 enrolled during that year. "This partnership allows us to further support greater understanding on how we can build on our similarities and common goals rather than differences, says OSU Leadership Center Director Jeff King. Finding commonalities is a good thing. OSU provides LGBT students with self-defense courses and
institution will provide value-add for all members. Housing the first ISDIP Diversity & Inclusion Lending Library on Ohio State University’s Columbus campus is a win-win for existing and prospective ISDIP members, as well as for those who might be considering the field. Membership to the library comes with a $50 annual fee, which is waived for current ISDIP members. Our suggestion to grad students wanting to join: become an ISDIP member before grabbing your Lending Library membership. Where memberships normally cost $149 a year, graduate student membership to the ISDIP is only $49 a year, and includes other useful benefits like mentoring programs, workshops, and access to an online forum where members can interact around hot topics in the diversity and inclusion field—a great way to affordably take advantage of all the trimmings, not to mention the training materials, books, videos, games and other resources the library will have to offer.
features an array of LGBT health services where students are encouraged to know their status and increase their awareness of sexual violence. The university also facilitates academic research around important issues—ensuring accuracy in LGBT population-based data collection, for instance—and explores controversial topics, including the intersection of religion and sexuality. ISDIP Founder and CEO Dr. Cassandra D. Caldwell, PhD on the partnership: [block quote] Thanks to our strategic partnership with the OSU Leadership Center, we're helping to fulfill the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals' mission by elevating the diversity and inclusion field. The OSU Leadership Center has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and our strategic partnership with this like-minded
The ISDIP started—as most great ideas start—small. In 2009, a group of professionals started an informal professional support group on Facebook where issues around diversity and inclusion could be discussed and developed. Great ideas are bound to grow. In 2011, ISDIP addresses all industries in both private and public sectors with initiatives that range from organizational development and supplier diversity, to workforce diversity and community engagement. The society is preparing for its inaugural conference that will be held in Puerto Rico next year. The society's vision, "to be the leading professional association that increases competence and promotes excellence in the diversity and inclusion field globally," is certainly ambitious, considering how interconnected commerce and education are these days. As technological innovation and social change roar deep into the century, diversity and inclusion will no doubt become increasingly crucial for success. Which means Dr. Caldwell, et al. should be in business for quite some time.
C.Antonio writes about social movements and social media. Contact him at CAntonioWrites@gmail.com 55
My Body Made Him Gay (and Other Myths) He did it on a Monday afternoon in late June. I had just gotten back the night before from a weekend Christian retreat which had left me in a wonderful mood. It had been nine months since we broke up; we had a short four-month relationship, but the friendship that we had for years before the relationship made it that much more meaningful, as well as the friendship that we continued after the breakup. He did it online while we were chatting (this may have been cowardly on his part, but it doesn’t matter anymore). We got into an argument and I accused him of it once again, which for months had been my principal insult. This time, though, he didn’t deny. He simply said yes, Jen, it’s true. And my world fell apart. I would then spend the next six months in a deep, dark self-hatred. The two of us went off to separate colleges and never really spoke or saw each other again. Even without him, I couldn’t let it go. I just couldn’t. No amount of counseling could make me consider moving on without figuring this all out, which there was no easy answer to. I took my first gender studies class the next semester after I had numbed myself up enough to know not to think too much or feel too much, especially when a topic like this came up. It was during this semester, though, that I learned how the system of homophobia worked. More questions came up in my head than I wanted to think about. In an email to my intro professor, I proposed my questions that were, and still are, unanswerable to some. Is it possible that racism affects more than just people of color? Isn’t it possible that xenophobia can have an effect on more than just undocumented workers? And most diligent in my mind, can homophobia affect more than just the LGBTQ community? And the answer is yes. Yes it can.
by Jennifer N. Smedley, Sophomore Student at IUPUI
I didn’t recognize it then, but when he told me that he was gay and in a relationship with another man, I had a message imbedded in me from this sick homophobic society, that it was my fault. I was brainwashed to think that being gay is a horrible illness, and since I made him that way, I should be punished with a profound self-hatred. My female body was just so disgusting that it “made him switch sides.” I’ve even been told, by straight men, that I specifically “turned him gay.” Something that I did, or rather the way my body looked, made him into a gay man and both of us should be punished. I’ve never felt so much shame in my entire life. Not only that, but this systemic homophobia I had for so long told me, if he’s gay, then there’s no way he could have loved you. Think about all those times that he saw your body and imagine what it did to him. Every time he touched you, or especially your body, he was sickened beyond belief and there’s no way any of what he ever said or did meant anything. He never loved you. He never loved you. He never loved you. I had no idea until I learned about systemic oppression how much homophobia and patriarchy had played into this. Why is it that straight men were the ones that told me that I turned him gay? Why is it that I believed them? Why is it that their opinion, although it was in fact wrong, made me repulsed by my own body? And every time I opened a magazine and saw stories and pictures about heterosexual couples, the fact that I had made the man that I love a homosexual man means there’s no way my body could ever be attractive to other men. No way. And that, my friends, is pretty screwed up. Now, at nineteen years old, I’ve realized that I’ve had to grow up faster than most of my peers. I relate more to older women who know what I’m talking about and have told me, reassured me, that someday a straight man will be deeply in love with both me and my body. Unfortunately, the myths of homophobia had played a huge part in my growing-up process. I now believe with all of my heart that the man I loved, did love me too. I know the way he looked at me. I know the way he touched me. And I know that he thought my body was beautiful, even if he preferred a man. Because we had been friends for so long before we dated, I knew that he loved me as a person. And I’ve felt his fingertips on my skin, and I know that for a short time, he did love my body. He loved making me feel good and telling me that I was beautiful. I know he did. The shame that I felt for “making him gay” only added to the shame that he felt because he is gay. I didn’t know, my dear. I didn’t know. While still rebuilding the six months that have turned into a blur, I’m proud to call myself an ally of the LGBTQ community. I’ll fight for them and then fight even more. Because darling, I’m not just fighting for them. I’m fighting for us.
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AUG 2011 Issue #4
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The Unspoken Truth
My Body made him gay
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U.S. troops in the Middle East befriend local animals as a way to cope with the emotional hardships they endure while deployed in a war zone. Yet, it is against regulations for service members to care for an animal or bring it to the U.S. using military resources. Operation Baghdad Pups helps our troops safely transport their companion animals home. It is a logistically challenging program, but it does more than save animals – it also brings comfort, peace of mind and relief to our U.S. soldiers who have served overseas and helps them readjust to life back home after combat.
SPCA ANSWERS This program serves as a hub for information and as a referral resource for animal lovers throughout the world. SPCA Answers connects people with local shelters, helps initiate cruelty investigations, assists animal advocates throughout the world in the fight against cruelty, offers individual support for people dealing with unique situations, and much more.
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LAWRENCE, TYLER, COLLE, ASHER AND COUNTLESS OTHER LGBTQ YOUTH WERE ERED AND BULLIED TO DEATH
BUT THEY DIDN'T CALL A PRAYER MEETING AND NO ONE SIGNED A PETITION! by Terry Angel Mason, GlobalÂ Author and Intl. Columnist
It has only been a few months since I boldly
marched into the KJLH radio station in Los Angeles, CA to be interviewed by Pastor Xavier Thompson, senior minister of Southern Missionary Baptist Church. This would prove to be one of the most talked about interviews on the internet since it was the result of an article that I wrote about this very charismatic minister's controversial City Wide Prayer Meeting to reverse SB 48, a bill recently signed into law by Governor Brown. What prompted me to write the article was my complete dismay over the fact that several members of the Jordan/Rustin Coalition (an LGBTQ advocacy group) who attended the event to present an open letter to the pastor that had been written to all faith leaders in the black community regarding SB 48, were ousted from the meeting. Members of the coalition explained to the newscaster, while at the event, that they were told that if they did not leave voluntarily, they would physically be removed from the premises, if necessary.
a headline that read: Southern Fights SB48 with City-wide Prayer Meeting, written by the Religion Editor. After learning of this, I thought to myself, "I cannot believe this! This is exactly what I was referring to in my last article entitled: The Tragic Consequences of Being an Anonymous Minority Statistic, when I wrote, "Black newspapers ignore and overlook the importance of pertinent issues that impact the lives of gay African-Americans, they tacitly approve and condone acts of hatred and homophobia. Black publications depend heavily on financial support from religious institutions, and indirectly these papers must shoulder some of the responsibility for the spread of the virus because an innumerable amount of anti-gay sermons have been preached from their pages." Immediately after my article was published denouncing what appeared to me to be the ultimate insult against the LGBTQ community, I was immediately contacted by Rev. Thompson via email to
He further explained that the guards had been hired because once it was made public through the media that he was planning the event, he immediately began to receive death threats and was advised by the Los Angeles Police Department to hire security officers to prevent any violent attacks of any kind while the event was in progress. He admits that the security officers did not receive the proper orientation prior to the meeting and overreacted as a result of a heightened sensitivity in an effort to ward off any potential danger. As I sat next to Pastor Thompson in the radio studio, he publicly apologized to the Jordan/Rustin Coalition and has since then reached out to them to coordinate a reconciliation meeting and he claims to also want to form alliances with other LGBTQ groups and organizations in the city. In attendance at the radio broadcast were his lovely wife and other enthusiastic members of his congregation. During the taping, Rev. Thompson expressed to the listening audience that both he and I were passionate and unrelenting about our positions, but were not at odds with one another personally and that we had simply agreed to disagree in spirit of respect and civility - and this is true! I do respect Rev. Thompson's constitutional right to disagree with my stance and I am not even going to call him a "HATER or BIGOT" for doing so! I even applaud him for the fact that he boldly stated to thousands if not millions
Terry Angel Mason is an internationally renowned author, columnist, keynote speaker, poet, singer, songwriter, minister, and Civil Rights activist who currently resides is Southern California. He is the author of three popular titles, Love Won't Let Me Be Silent, They Say That I am Broken, and The Dream Keeper, set to be released in 2012. A revered leader and global change agent, Terry Angel Mason's mission is to inspire, educate and empower millions around the world, and promote love and acceptance for all people. A highly sought after author and activist, Mason has been featured in The East County Magazine, Five (5) Magazine, Whosoever Magazine, SGL Weekly Magazine, Outword Magazine, The NBJC Newsletter, The Advocate, Frontier Magazine, Broadway World, The Windy City Times Newspaper, New Pittsburgh Courier, New England Informer, Our Weekly Magazine, Out Impact, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, The San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, ME Magazine, POZ Magazine, The New Civil Rights Online Magazine, A&U Magazine, Religious Tolerance, Marriage Equality International, Homorazzi, BN&S News Commentary, Real Health Magazine, Q Magazine, MSNBC News Vine, ILGA, Out Military Online Magazine, Proud Parenting Web Magazine, Fuse Magazine, Echelon Magazine, The Bay Area Reporter, Connextions Magazine, and in many other publications. WWW.TERRYANGELMASON.COMÂ
As I sat quietly in my living room and listened to members of the coalition express their dismay about what had just happened to them, admittedly I became extremely angry. But what I did not know was that prior to the prayer meeting, the Los Angeles Sentinel had published an article announcing the prayer meeting, complete with a huge photo of Pastor Xavier Thompson splattered across the page with
which I promptly replied. After speaking with him several times, we arranged a time to meet. During the meeting, Rev. Thompson stressed to me that he had nothing against the LGBTQ community and that he was totally unaware that the members of the Jordan/Rustin Coalition had been asked to leave since he was inside of the meeting conducting the prayer rally.
of listeners that he didn't believe that all same-gender-loving people were hell bound - something most black evangelical ministers would never do! But there is one question that came to mind as I glanced through the many photos posted on Rev. Thompson's Facebook page from the event. I would like to ask Rev. Thompson and every person that attended
that meeting to repeal SB 48, why is it that no one called a citywide prayer meeting with the same passion and zeal when 15-year-old Lawrence King (a gay child) at E.O., Green School in Oxnard, California was killed in class by a fellow student? Newsweek has described the shooting as "the most prominent gay-bias crime since the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard", bringing attention to issues of gun violence as well as gender expression and sexual identity of teenagers. Why is it that it did not weigh heavily on anyone's heart to call a citywide prayer meeting to express their outcry and outrage when a Cal State Long Beach transgender student, Colle Carpenter, was cornered in a campus restroom by an assailant who carved "It" on his chest or when Tyler Clementi's roommate illegally streamed a video of him being intimate with another male student, outing him for the entire world to see, and as a result, killed himself the next day? Where was the legislative passion necessary to guarantee the safety of our children? You know; the same children that the religious right (the opponents of SB 48) claim to be so concerned about protecting when Asher Brown, an eighth grader at Hamilton Middle School in Harris, TX was bullied and taunted by classmates on a daily basis so horribly and consistently until he decided to end his own life, just days after coming out to his parents. Oh, but I get it. These children are not worthy of protection or any safe space because they are perceived by the local and national religious community as being demon possessed, mentally deranged, or bewitched by the white gay community because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Yes, Pastor Thompson, I looked at the hundreds of hands lifted heavenward in the photos of parishioners and community leaders from all over the county who were in attendance at the SB 48 City Wide Prayer Meeting. As I glanced through the photos, I could see how they were piously petitioning and invoking God's power to omit the contributions of the LGBTQ community from history books. But, I also know that what may appear to the naked eye to be just courageous community
activists and spiritual leaders making an urgent heavenly petition, to me, is just another proposed Ugandan Gay Genocide, only cleverly disguised and dressed up in American religious legalism. And, you can count on all the grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, church mothers, fathers, deacons, trustees, pastors, priests, bishops and evangelists who were in attendance to pray in agreement with you that the bill be overturned, that is at least until one of their grandchildren, or extended family members is brutally murdered at the hands of some desensitized homophobe who felt completely justified doing so because he reasoned that if we devalue the historical contributions of the LGBTQ community and consider them unworthy of even documenting historically -- then certainly, their human lives couldn't be of any value either! What saddens me all the more is the hurtful and hypocritical attitude of the churches that is still prevalent today as mentioned in this article. When will they realize that God considers all of His children's lives precious and sacred including the aforementioned LGBTQ youth who were murdered, tortured, and even bullied to death? When will the church and its members realize that Christ's admonishment, "Whatever you do to the least of them, you also do unto me!" is a divine indictment against such uneven applied Christianity? Furthermore, when will they realize that the teachings of Christ exhort us to demonstrate love and compassion to all of God's children, not apathy and indifference! Until they understand the consequences of their misdirected religious actions, then I guess they will continue to hold citywide public prayer meetings to advocate for their intolerance and ignorance, while Heaven awaits for more truly Christ-loving and Christ-centered churches to pray for and advocate for Lawrence, Tyler, Colle, Asher and the thousands of other LGBTQ youth who were murdered and bullied to death!
Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus PO Box 2495 Columbus, Ohio 43216-2495 www.cgmc.com Equality Ohio 61 Jefferson Ave Columbus, OH 43215 614.224.0400 firstname.lastname@example.org www.equalityohio.org
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Healthy Dog Project www.healthydogproject.org Human Rights Campaign Civil Rights for LGBT 1640 Rhode Island Avenue Washington DC, DC 20036 202.216.1500 www.hrc.org International Conference on Stigma www.whocanyoutell.org NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce Rev Carmen Hernandez www.nyclgbtcc.com OAC (Ohio AIDS Coalition) 4400 N. High St-Suite 300 Columbus, OH 43214 1-800.226.5554
GLAAD Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation www.glaad.org
Ohio Department of Mental Health 30 East Broad Street, 8th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215-3430 614.466.2596 www.mh.state.oh.us/ Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation 993 East Main Street Columbus, OH 43205 www.ohiospf.org
Old Lesbians Organizing for Change 888.706.7506 email@example.com www.oloc.org PFLAG Dayton PO Box 3721 Dayton, OH 45401 937.640.3333 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pflagdayton.org PFLAG Cleveland 216.556.1701 email@example.com www.pflagcleveland.org Plexus PO Box 91697 Cleveland, OH 44101-3697 1-888-PLEXUS9 (753-9879) firstname.lastname@example.org www.thinkplexus.org The Colors Residence NYC housing residence for formerly homeless LGBT youth www.truecolorsresidence.org The Columbus Women’s Chorus Celebrating life through the power of music PO Box 141542 Columbus, OH 43214 614-378-8087 www.cwchorus.org The Greater Dayton LGBT Center PO Box 1203 Dayton, OH 937.274.1776 http://daytonlgbtcenter.org The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland 216.651.5428 info@LGBTcleveland.org www.lgbtcleveland.org/ SPCAI Advancing the safety & well-being of animals www.spcai.org
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District of Colum bia
Featuring photos and information from every annual pride celebration in the U.S. A wonderful historical account for LGBT community members to browse and a useful tool for businesses to tap in. Order your copy at
36th A nnual Pr ide Cele bra
Date: June 1-12, 2011 Attendees : Vendors: 250,000 300 Special guests/En Tony Awa tertainme rd-w nt: Holliday, join inning star Jennifer ed by DJ to the producer, stars and Ton www.capi y Moran talpride .org
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