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LEGACY: TRANSCENDENCE SPECIAL ISSUE 10 F17 W18

GAZE LEGACY Transcendence Special Issue

X NYC ANTI-VIOLENCE PROJECT COURAGE AWARDS '17 MODUS VIVENDI XIOMARA: RISIN' CRIMINAL: THE RETURN (NEW ERA)


LEARN TO ELEVATE GREATNESS ACTIVELY CREATE YOUR WORLD


LIVE EVERYDAY WITH GOODNESS ASPIRE TO BE COURAGEOUS YEARN


“THIS ISSUE IS DEDICATED TO THE DISENFRANCHISED” MAY A STRANGER BECOME YOUR FRIEND


TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments p. 6 Editor's Letter pp. 7 NYC Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards 2017 pp.40-48 The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson (An Open Letter to Janet Mock: Use Your Platform Responsibly) pp. 49-50, 51-53 The Janet Mock Mainfesto: Let's Talk About Reading pp. 54-58 Ryan Murphy Pens New Series: Pose pp. 59-63 Because Everyone Has A Story: The Time is Now pp. 64-70

Stockists pp. 71


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Models

Designers

Modus Vivendi Photographers

Rick Lopez

Make Up Artists ●

Hair Stylists ●

Wardrobe Stylists ●

SPECIAL THANKS: ●

Natalia Pabon

Agencies

NYC Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards 2017

City Model Agency

Public Relations ● ●

Cathy Renna @targetcue Artemis D @modusvivendi

Editor in Chief: Jay Tavarez Creative Director: Natalia Pabon PAGE 6


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NYC Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards 2017 We recently had the privilege to cover the NYC Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards held on October 11, 2017 at the Chelsea Piers. It was a champagne filled gala with attendees dressed to the nines. The men looked right out of GQ magazine and the women looked amazing in gowns, dresses and some in suits. It was really an amazing night. Amongst the recipients this year were Vice President Joe Biden, David France, Victoria Cruz, the cast & crew of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson and Vice.

Courage Awards 2017 Recipient Victoria Cruz & Friends PAGE 40


Presenter Mariska Hargitay spoke passionately about Courage Awards Recipient Vice President Joe Biden. She spoke about his role in creating legislation Violence Against Women Act. Her voice cracked a bit when she said that, “We all have a common thing that fuels us, hope. Hope can come in the form of legislation, funding and/or a person. To act on your own goodness takes courage.” .

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Presenter Mariska Hargitay Joyful Heart Foundation

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Recipient: Vice President Joe Biden Biden Foundation

Courage Awards 2017 Recipient Vice President, Joe Biden was received with thunderous applause. He began by praising actors on how they are able to change the social mores of a nation. He spoke about how actors are able to change culture by exposing myths about the lgbtq community. “Myths that people from the lgbtq are in a fundamental way different.” “Real change”, he believes, “is when people are able to proclaim who they are and then demand to be treated with dignity.” He went on to speak about a caller who phoned in to an anti-violence facility, while he was touring the facility. For the first time, what these people were experiencing became palpable. “Everyone could feel it, they could smell it.” “The consequences of anyone who experiences violence is life long.” “Discrimination against the lgbtq community is the civil rights issue of our decade.” .


Presenter Mariska Hargitay spoke passionately about Courage Awards Recipient Vice President Joe Biden. She spoke about his role in creating legislation Violence Against Women Act. Her voice cracked a bit when she said that, “We all have a common thing that fuels us, hope. Hope can come in the form of legislation, funding and/or a person. To act on your own goodness takes courage.” .

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Presenter Mariska Hargitay Joyful Heart Foundation

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Recipient: Vice President Joe Biden Biden Foundation

Courage Awards 2017 Recipient Vice President, Joe Biden was received with thunderous applause. He began by praising actors on how they are able to change the social mores of a nation. He spoke about how actors are able to change culture by exposing myths about the lgbtq community. “Myths that people from the lgbtq are in a fundamental way different.” “Real change”, he believes, “is when people are able to proclaim who they are and then demand to be treated with dignity.” He went on to speak about a caller who phoned in to an anti-violence facility, while he was touring the facility. For the first time, what these people were experiencing became palpable. “Everyone could feel it, they could smell it.” “The consequences of anyone who experiences violence is life long.” “Discrimination against the lgbtq community is the civil rights issue of our decade.” .


Vice President, Joe Biden went on to speak about the first time he met two men who were members of the lgbtq community as a young man. He looked over to his father, and his father said to him when he seen two men kiss, “Joey, it is simple they love each other.” He believes that people who stand up and spoke out are the reason why change has been possible. The moral arc of this nation has begun to bend closer to justice. Millennials are the most open and progressive generation in the history of the United States of America. We have to change the cultural norm. Violence and abuse of power still persist today.

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Recipient: Vice President Joe Biden Biden Foundation

“This year alone there have been 36 homicides fueled by violence . against the lgbtq community. 25 were transgender, 19 people of color (poc).” “For the first time in history anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and identity were enshrined into federal law with the Violence Against Women Act.” “You are defined by your courage and redeemed by your loyalty. Courage is your greatest virtue because without it you cannot love without abandon.”


This cultural change to end violence. What you are doing matters. It is within our power to change the culture. Every single person is entitled to be treated with dignity. Never walk by anyone. Remember all the people. After Vice President Biden's moving words, the remaining recipients took the stage. Victoria Cruz, David France and the cast of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson and Vice were received with equal enthusiasm. Activist Victoria Cruz cast member of the film The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson, spoke about her own journey and her proud roots as a Puerto Rican woman raised by a Puerto Rican family. She spoke of her veteran father and his love of family and country. She spoke about her families love is a source of strength during these tough political times. Victoria, herself was also a victim of violence and that is how she came to be a part of the Anti-Violence Project. Victoria, became a beacon of hope for a huge part of the lgbtq community with the courage she showed in being a part of this film and also through her advocacy work. Victoria Cruz, said amongst activist Sylvia Rivera's final words to her was a plea to, "Please try to keep our community together because we can be our own worst enemies." Victoria, added, "I made her that promise and I will keep it." She believes, “We make a difference.� Anyone who was in that room on that night, felt just how passionate the people in that room were. You may ask your self why is all of this . important? At the core of everything, we are just human beings. We are all individuals. All created with our own unique DNA, thought processes, ways of moving in the world. The work that the Anti-Violence Project does and so many other advocacy groups do is essential to ensuring that our freedoms are not violated; that our humanity is not violated. The film the Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is more than just a film. It asks that each and everyone of us forget just for a minute about race, gender and class. It insists through its protagonists, that we just look at the human being stripped down in front of us. The person that is in the room with us. We are not to question why they are in the same room. The only thing of concern, of matter is the mere fact that they are human just like us.


The Cast & Crew of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson Courage Awards 2017 Recipients

VIDEO: Courage Awards 2017 Recipients David France, Victoria Cruz, The Cast & Crew of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson & Vice


Courage Awards 2017 Recipient David France The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson

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Courage Awards 2017 Recipient Jennifer Louise Lopez T.R.A.N.S. Network The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson

The work these people do is just mind boggling. Everyone who is aware of what these people do are just blown away by it all. It really takes a special kind of person to do this work. It takes a certain kind of desire to be of service to others. There is a bigger thing being achieved by all of this advocacy work. Beyond making our streets safer, beyond bringing back dignity to the victims, the people who do this work are in essence our protectors. If we see something and do not report it or attempt to intervene in some way, we become just as guilty as the person creating the crime. We must all be more proactive in not allowing these crimes to happen in the first place. We have to send a strong message that this type of violence is not tolerated in our community and this type of crime will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


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Courage Awards 2017 Program Funding/Alex Simmons Guest

The night ended with the various people and companies sponsoring or donating towards different programs and services. When you see all that goes into this you think to yourself once again what an extraordinary and necessary thing this all is. We must begin with things like bullying amongst young people. More has to be done in our schools to create safe spaces. We must be able to have resources in place for students who are at high risk. We must have more institutions like the Hetrick-Martin Institute servicing at risk youth. All it takes to prevent a crime is for one person to say that is not right. For one person to speak up. I believe as a community we are very strong. And we must use our voices to protect each and every person within our community. Silence equals complacency~Vice President Joe Biden


The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson (An Open Letter to Janet Mock: Use Your Platform Responsibly) Photo Courtesy of Vice The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson was released on Oct. 06, 2017 on . Netflix. The day before this film appeared on my new release screen on Netflix, I was at the Christopher St. Pier with my good friend. We were sitting by a circular water fountain. We immediately remembered it as a sitting block we always would congregate at. The only remaining physical structure from our era. We walked around this fountain thinking it was some kind of memorial that was created for us. We were searching for some kind of inscription and/or plaque, however there were none. It was just a circular fountain. For a moment on that night, we closed our eyes and heard the sounds of our youth, radios blaring, cars driving in, people meeting. Tthen we opened our eyes to see joggers and bikers going by. Two girls in workout gear with their hair in neat ponytails, outstretched their legs over the water fountain for a few seconds, while they spoke about their lives. Then after a few seconds continued on with their jog. I felt at that moment these girls have no idea of what any of this means to us. This sacred place, where so many of us found ourselves. A place that now belongs to bikers and joggers. PAGE 49


When I seen the film The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson I could not believe all of the archival footage that was made available through this film. It was the tribute I was yearning for. Filmmaker David France, showed the entire world we were here. Having grown up in this era I felt an immediate affinity with the protagonists in this film, Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Victoria Cruz. They were talking about our world, a world long forgotten by most, except for those of us who were actually there. The Christopher St. Pier changed just about everyone who ever set foot on that pier. At the Christopher St. Pier we asserted ourselves and in most cases created life long bounds with one another. The people who knew one another from the Christopher St. Pier, will always remember one another because we were all changed by one another.

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Marsha P Johnson Memorial Courtesy of Randolfe Wicker https://youtu.be/9Kmv0twbaGM

Through the archival footage we got to know so much about these people that we would have otherwise never have known. Randolfe Wicker, Marsha's roomate had a huge video archive. This video above in particular speaks to me the most. Anyone who was part of this era immediately recognizes the people in this video. The kinship of the people from our era was real. We did not have social media back then. If we knew someone we knew them and if we did not, we did not.


AN OPEN LETTER TO JANET MOCK: USE YOUR PLATFORM RESPONSIBLY On Oct. 7, 2017 a day after the worldwide release of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson on Netflix, this now infamous tweet sent out by filmmaker and activist Reina Gossett reverberated around the world after being amplified by activist and author Janet Mock.

. I do not even know if Janet Mock, realizes how the impact of her words have an effect on her massive 154k social media following. One tweet from Mock and an entire army of Mockonians are unleashed. For the next few days all you would read from any publication was the story of how distinguished filmmaker David France, allegedly stole filmmaker Reina Gossett's, work. People were saying things like, “I am not watching this film because he stole my sister's work�, speaking against France, in solidarity with Gossett. Immediately people took sides without giving it a second thought. In the world of social media if someone tweets something and it is on the internet then by all means it must be true. Janet Mock's, tweets verged on being irresponsible. PAGE 51


What should have been a celebratory time for France, was overshadowed by these allegations brought forth by Mock and Gossett. Mock and Gossett, changed the narrative for France. A film that was being critically acclaimed by all who seen it based off the amount of work that went into making this film was instantly blacked out by a simple tweet. It made me wonder, should people have that much power? Janet Mock, has positioned herself strategically, and has managed to rise to the top of the heap. A great deal of her rhetoric is based on divisive language. She uses race, gender and class as her speaking points. The people in the Mockonian world are unrelentless. One young lady when I made a comment to her that maybe she should give this film a try, her reply was get the “F� out my face. It is really scary how misinformed people actually are. I have never seen anything like it. They look up to social media influencers like Mock, to guide them on making important decisions within their own lives. Social media has changed more than the way people interact, it has changed the way people think. The truth does not matter as much as a person's perception of the truth, unsubstantiated or not. The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson was such an important film. It presented the pioneers of our movement, the lgbtq movement in all their glory. The leaders of our movement were just everyday people trying to make their way in the world. Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera did not have much and what they did have they shared with the world. All those people who stood in solidarity with Janet Mock and Reina Gossett and did not see this film, really could learn something about thinking for themselves and being their own persons from their pioneering ancestors. When Mock, writes articles about . how pretty she is or how people are stealing stuff you realize just how impressionable these young people are. Gossett and Mock, soon moved on to other things, after making their allegations against France. Meanwhile France, was left to pick up the pieces. It was a Thelma and Louise style hit and run. You could make this out to be that Gossett, is really young and probably does not know better. However, there is no excuse for Mock's behavior. Mock presents herself to the world as this worldly all knowing type of person yet her actions do not match how she represents herself. Mock speaks mostly for a certain population and every other population that is not in line with her own views becomes fair game. I cannot lie, I do not have a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. I attended CUNY and got my master's degrees in Business and Film.


The one thing I would imagine someone would learn in Journalism school is journalistic integrity, right? I believe that is something they teach. How do you then go about writing irresponsible pieces about privilege and only about things that align with your own personal views and biases. Isn't the job of a journalist to speak to a broader audience? To reach out and uplift as many people as they can? Janet Mock, lives in Janet Mock World. Mock, is no better than any other fear monger out there today. She incites fear in people and makes people turn against one another. The factions within the lgbtq community are strained as it is. You would think that someone with her power, would use her power for good and not to further divide us based on what part of the population we belong to. I do not think there is any hope for Mock. She is too caught up in her own existence to see past her own nose. Being an advocate for one group as you tear down another group is not being an advocate at all. A true advocate stands up for all people not just people that look like they do. The film the Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson is more than just a film. It is an opportunity for us to all see one another as we are. Not everyone is a polished beauty queen ready to take on the world. Some of us have a hard time just getting enough energy together to make it through our all encompassing and demanding lives. To people who have the time and

luxury to be flawless everyday more power to you. That is not however everyone else's reality. Viewing Mock's world through the looking glass has left me feeling like it's a world with a great deal to be desired. She speaks about things as if she knows things. . Mock, truly has no idea of what it was like growing up in a world before social media and if she did she surely buried that knowledge deep in the far recesses of her mind. In the real world nobody truly cares how big your hair or smile is. I wish Mock, would align what she says with what she does because there is a huge disconnect. I hope she takes some time to reflect on

her own abuse of power. Maybe a better hash tag for Janet Mock, to begin using would be #humanlikeus


The Janet Mock Manifesto: Let’s Talk About Reading Janet Mock rose through the ranks using deception, trickery, misnomers and misinformation. She is the Evita of LGBTQ social media smh. Furthermore besides being a fraud, she is also a coward, and her irresponsible reporting and divisive tactics are very damaging to our community and to our culture. I hope someday someone sets her straight. Until then I will use my voice to speak for myself in saying Janet Mock does not speak for me. I do not agree with her system of classifying people. I believe what she is doing is setting us backwards and is actually quite dehumanizing in all honesty. Backwards, demoralizing, rhetoric coming from someone who knows nothing about NYC. I am not a brown gay cis underprivileged male. I am something so powerful and so special that Janet Mock in her pea sized brain will never understand. I am so much greater than any category that someone creates, any box someone calls by my name. You have a huge following of lil kids that think you are the bees knees. Lil kids that do not know the power of their own voices. And also people who are not so bright. People who believe every word you utter is gospel. However, you have not fooled everyone. Some of us are grown adults and we are onto your BS and we calling you out by your name. Do not be fooled. Janet Mock is extremely SHADY and so is her lil mini me protege Reina Gossett. Mock, has an endless zombie army ready to do her bidding at a moment’s notice. Mock’s army does not put fear in my heart.~ At some point today I want Janet Mock with her 90k+ audience to explain to me .what category she fits into. We all are brown and black cis gay trans underprivileged. I wonder if she is privileged or underprivileged. Janet do me a favor and explain what class you belong to? Please. Where in your labeling system you created (the food chain) do people end being underprivileged? How many checks do they need to acquire and how big their audience must become before they enter the world of privilege? I really would like a response from you. With all the trouble you make. According to this you are a member of white privilege. Social Class privilege checklist. This list is based on Peggy McIntosh’s article on white privilege. These dynamics are but a few examples of the privilege which people from upper social classes have. On a daily basis as an upper social class person…

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1. I don’t need to worry about learning the social customs of others. 2. The ‘better people’ are in my social group. 3. It is likely that my career and financial success will be attributed to my hard work. 4. People appear to pay attention to my social class. 5. When I am shopping, people usually call me “Sir” or “Ma’am”. 6. When making a purchase with a check or credit card, my appearance doesn’t create problems. 7. When I, or my children, are taught about history, people from my social class are represented in the books.. 8. I can easily speak with my attorney or physician. 9. There are neighborhoods I can move to where I feel ‘at home’. 10. There are places where I can be among those exclusively from my social class. 11. I can deny Social Class Privilege by asserting that all social classes are essentially the same. . 12. Experts appearing on mass media are from my social class and that welcome me or my child. 13. There are stores that market especially to people from my social class. 14. I can protect myself and my children from people who may not like us based on my social class. 15. Law enforcement officials will likely assume I am a non-threatening person once they see me and hear me. 16. Disclosure of my work and education may actually help law enforcement officials perceive me as being “in the right” or “unbiased.”


17. I can easily speak to my child’s college professors. 18. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my social class. 19. I can be sure that my social class will be an advantage when seeking medical or legal help. 20. If I wish to my children to private schools, I have a variety of options. 21. I can find colleges that have many people from my social class as students.. 22. If I apply for a prestige job competing with people of a lower class, my social class will be to my advantage. 23. The decision to hire me will be related to my background and where I went to school. 24. When I watch TV or read the papers I can see people of my own class represented well. 25. The “Newsmakers� are like me. 26. I deserve my status because of my accomplishments. 27. .If I get offered a job over someone with more experience, it is because I deserve it. 28. My elected representatives share a similar background with mine. 29. Chances the person in charge in any organization is like me or is sympathetic to my status. 30. My child is never ignored in school, and if there are problems, I am called by the teacher or principal. 31. People are usually careful with their language and grammar around me


18. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my social class. 19. I can be sure that my social class will be an advantage when seeking medical or legal help. 20. If I wish to my children to private schools, I have a variety of options. 21. I can find colleges that have many people from my social class as students.. 22. If I apply for a prestige job competing with people of a lower class, my social class will be to my advantage. 23. The decision to hire me will be related to my background and where I went to school. 24. When I watch TV or read the papers I can see people of my own class represented well. 25. The “Newsmakers� are like me. 26. I deserve my status because of my accomplishments. 27. If I get offered a job over someone with more experience, it is because I . deserve it. 28. My elected representatives share a similar background with mine. 29. Chances the person in charge in any organization is like me or is sympathetic to my status. 30. My child is never ignored in school, and if there are problems, I am called by the teacher or principal. 31. People are usually careful with their language and grammar around me.


24. When I watch TV or read the papers I can see people of my own class represented well. 25. The “Newsmakers� are like me. 26. I deserve my status because of my accomplishments. 27. If I get offered a job over someone with more experience, it is because I deserve it. 28. My elected representatives share a similar background with mine. 29. Chances the person in charge in any organization is like me or is sympathetic to my status. 30. My child is never ignored in school, and if there are problems, I am called by the teacher or principal. 31. People are usually careful with their language and grammar around me. PDF Class Privilege Checklist Courtesy of MIT.edu http://www.sap.mit.edu/content/pdf/class_privilege_checklist.pdf

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JANET MOCK IS A MEMBER OF WHITE PRIVILEGE


Ryan Murphy Pens New Series: Pose

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Five transgender actors have been cast in lead roles in Ryan Murphy’s “Pose,” as well as three additional actors in recurring roles. Top (l. to r.) are MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson and Hailie Sahar and bottom (l. to r.) are Angelica Ross, Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllon Burnside. (GETTY IMAGES, AP, TWITTER)

Ryan Murphy, begins to pen the latest 90s era themed series and this time it is a juxtaposition between the have and have nots. Latinos and blacks from the 90s ballroom culture will have their stories told alongside those of a more affluent group, the upper class. Signed on amongst the writers is Janet Mock, trans activist and author. Amongst the consultants are Hector Xtavaganza, Skylar King and Sol Williams. Leiomy Maldonado and Danielle Polanco have been brought on to choreograph the vogue dances. Twiggy Garcon Pucci and Michael Robertson will also be acting as consultants and populating scenes from the ballroom community at large. PAGE 59


My biggest concern about all these 90s era retelling of stories is that the people who were not there really do not know what it was like. They take a slice, a sample of the population of that time and highlight it, showcase it. How truthful can you be about this era? Truthful to the point of speaking about the incredible poverty that existed amongst the blacks and latinos of this era?

The 90s were not this joyful and frivolous era, that everyone makes it out to be. There was nothing pretty about the 90s. A huge percentage of the young people of that era were sex workers. Many died from aids, drugs and/or violence. It is not pretty, all that happened. Janet Mock, says on a twitter post, “Pose is gonna be lit.� That kind of showboating and energy is disconcerting to me because young people are watching. That mentality of diving into the pool head first thing proved really dangerous back in the 90s. People have no idea what happened in the 90s. They romanticize it as a period of luxury, glitz and glamour. A generation that came of age, against huge disadvantages and beat the odds (not entirely). I would say more than half of our generation disappeared. We are talking about people that did not see their mid 20s in most cases. In 2017 we have to be more careful about how we tell stories, especially to young audiences, that are loosely based on real events. According to the CDC, As of December 31, 2000, 774,467 persons had been reported with AIDS in the United States; 448,060 of these had died; 3542 persons had unknown vital status. The number of persons living with AIDS (322,865) is the highest ever reported. Of these, 79% were men, 61% were . or Hispanic, and 41% were infected through male-to-male sex. Of the black AIDS cases, approximately one third were reported during 1981--1992, 1993-1995, and 1996--2000 (Table 1) https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5021a2.htm#tab1 This does not include the statistics on deaths related to drugs and homicides. So yes what happened in the 90s noone is speaking about. The 90s were not this joyful and frivolous era, that everyone makes it out to be. There was nothing pretty about the 90s. The word erasure is the new buzz word of many. It comes up a lot, especially from people of color (poc). Just because you put a person of color on a screen does not mean you have combated erasure. Combating erasure begins, when you tell a story truthfully. I fear this new social media generation will never know the gravity of the loss of our community, the plague that was everything 90s. Anyone who survived the 90s is a true hero.


70 million people are living with HIV/AIDS 35 million people have died from AIDS Compared to the holocaust 6 million Which was the true holocaust of our generation?

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Global situation and trends: Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.7 million [30.8–42.9 million] people were living with HIV at the end of 2016. An estimated 0.8% [0.7-0.9%] of adults aged 15–49 years worldwide are living with HIV, although the burden of the epidemic continues to vary considerably between countries and regions. Sub-Saharan Africa remains most severely affected, with nearly 1 in every 25 adults (4.2%) living with HIV and accounting for nearly two-thirds of the people living with HIV worldwide. http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/


I hope Murphy, takes a moment to tell the stories that really impacted our community. I do have major concerns with the retelling of a period piece that relies heavily on a NYC that no longer exists. I look forward to seeing what Murphy, does with all of this. I hope he tells the stories truthfully and does not go the route of sensationalizing it to appease a social media audience. From what I know about Murphy, appeasing audiences is not his style, so I hope he does not do that with Pose. There are maybe less than a handful of people that care anything about what really happened. Those people who think for themselves, those people who cannot be bought, are our core audience,our 50k readers. My hope is that you continue to be unpopular. That you continue to know that you matter. That you always believe and never question how important your voice is. When someone tells you to shut up, clap back tell them to go screw off. People will try to impede your progress and you must not ever allow that to happen. You must march onward no matter who and/or what steps in your path, in your way. Time is a construct, that lives within the recesses of our minds. It is not a physical, palpable thing you can touch or feel. Time is not tangible. No matter how many stories people make about the 90s, or any other era, none of it will ever matter again. I will end this with one of my favorite lines from Angela Chase, Claire Danes, from the revolutionary My So Called Life series 1994-1995. A series that was hailed as a pioneering series, using real storytelling. After a long night of clubbing, fighting, getting picked up by cops Angela, on the following morning, looks at her best friend Rayanne Graph, played by A.J. Langer, and says to her with full sincerity, “We had a time.� That is life in a nutshell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swjj7QEyr1g Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic [Pilot 1994]

Remembering things that happened, acknowledging them and then moving on to the next thing. As a teenager this is how our generation dealt with life. I always hear Angela's voice, when I see how our present day youth and some adults also, postulate and POSE so much. Angela: It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with yearbook - it's like, everybody's in this big hurry to make this book, to supposedly remember what happened. Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book.


I hope that what happens with Pose, is that people begin to see the best and the worst of themselves in these characters. I hope they learn the true lesson of what my generation learned and are still learning; that seeking out a life of excess more often than not comes at a very high cost (npi). How people acquired things really did not matter in this world of excess, the world of the 90s. The means never justified the ends. What mattered to most people back then in some cases still matters to some people today. It is a huge misconception to believe that if we can acquire the same material things that wealthy people can, we are equal in class status. By having expensive things, we somehow feel better about ourselves. We believe we will be more readily accepted by our peers. We even falsely feel somewhat superior to others and empowered. We have never been wealthy and probably never will be. We are at a very important point in our history. With all this attention being given to our generation, it is a perfect time to send out a message of healing. The first thing we must do, is admit that we have been fraudulent, POSE-ing. Being fake has gotten people this far in life, so why stop now, right? They have invested way too much energy in creating these falsehoods about themselves. How many of us have expensive things, that really have no value or serve no purpose whatsoever? Things that sit in a closet, things that just take up space. Space that fills some kind of void in our lives. What happens when we run out of space for these inanimate things? We create more space. We surround ourselves with expensive things to cover up for the fact that we belong to a lower class. We could live in shacks, yet when we step out onto the street we pretend we live on Park Avenue. We create these fake personas, personas that cover up and hide who we really are because it is way easier than speaking the truth. Fake . it til you make it, if you ever make it. And if not GOD help you. We continue to project our insecurities onto others, we deflect, we obliterate, we point fingers, we shame, we ridicule, we gang up on and worst of all we silence people, who have different points of views or opinions . We change everything about ourselves. The way we speak, the way we interact, the way we think. Everything about us is premeditated, precontrived to illicit a set response. I find myself more than ever questioning so many things that are presented to us, about us and informing us to aspire to be like the images we are viewing. The type of images that taunt us until we give in and assimilate. Our lives become forever changed by chasing the unattainable. Be very careful about what you accept as a reality. The amount of work it will take to reverse, the damage done, will take an entire lifetime to fix. It is never too late to become what you might have been, start now. Things did not work out too good for my generation and I doubt it will work out any better for yours. Do not idolize us. We are nothing to idolize.


BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A STORY

WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE PAGE 64


THE TIME IS NOW I decided the time was now to share my story. With so many people trying to take ownership of our stories, it propelled me to create this piece entitled, Because Everyone Has A Story. At first I thought I just wanted to give a quick summary of my experiences. I began by writing about my youth in the mid 80s. I began to discuss briefly how that time was the beginning of me being able to come into myself. I realized that I was glossing over, skipping over a lot of information. Information that might be of use to someone or at least make for an interesting read. What I have been realizing lately is that noone gets to where they are accidentally. We are at the place we are through a succession of events that occur in our lives. In my close to decades long work now of doing media, I have tried to incorporate a piece of me and my life experiences into my works. I am beginning to understand that if you do not speak for yourself, someone else will speak for you. With this new issue that we have entitled “LEGACY: TRANSCENDENCE” we wanted to do something different. I began to feel unfulfilled with the works we were previously doing. I felt as if people were not committing 100% to the projects and the work was suffering. I began to feel that we were only telling half the story. Working at 50%, just phoning it in. I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to stop making people comfortable and begin to maybe make people a bit more uncomfortable. Disrupt the usual stream of consciousness, that is always seeking the next thing. Scrolling mindlessly, from thing to thing. Rewarding each event on their timeline the same amount of credit. . In storytelling you have to sacrifice “TIME.” Stories do not just tell themselves. Time is probably our most valuable commodity. When I started writing on our Xiomara project, I watched as our project slowly fell apart. A project that started out strong. At the heart of it people were struggling with finding the “TIME”, to make the project work. So we went into a hiatus. Coming out from hiatus is a scary thing because we are well aware of the time commitment involved in telling stories. When we way the options, either let other people tell our stories or tell them ourselves, it really gives us the courage to find the time, make the time. Everyone who is directly associated with our publication and with our social media, knows first hand all that occurred recently with the war between David France, Janet Mock and Reina Gossett over the rights to the film The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson.


For me personally, the strangest thing that came out of all that, was how irresponsibly people use their social media platforms. People always complain when someone who is CIS gendered and white makes a story about our community, the lgbtq community. They speak about privilege and an unfair system that is set up to favor people of a certain race eg: white and hold back (POC) people of color. I do not know where this people live, on what planet, because POC make films all the time.

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MY STORY BEGINS: BASED ON A TRUE STORY My story begins with me trying to recollect how I first got to the CITY. I think everyone's story begins in sort of the same way. You come from a place where nobody looks like you and then enter into a world where everyone looks like you. As far as I can recall, I first learned about a leather bar, The Eagle from a back page ad in the Village Voice newspaper. I had a fake ID from Times Square, that said I was 18. I must have been maybe 15 at the time. So I put on some shoes, a shirt with slacks and a jacket with playboy bunnies on it. Put some gel in my hair. I gave myself a once over and at around 7pm was on my way to The Eagle. After a short train ride, I arrived at the Eagle. I had enough money in my pocket to pay the cover charge and round trip train fare from Brooklyn. The bouncer took one look at me and was like, no kid be on your way, this is not the place for you, have a good night. I took my fake ID and feeling defeated turned around and headed back to my train to Brooklyn. It was in that moment that I seen the first person that looked like me or better still like a more imaginative version of me. The person I seen was named Chrissy. Chrissy, was a very young tall white queer male. He had his hair up in a blown out pompadour style mohawk, a bunch of bangles on his wrist, eyeliner and lipstick. What I remember most was. that he wore this bright neon green outfit. I think it was that neon color green that I noticed first. He was right on the corner of Astor Place and Ave D. I became fixated with him. I somehow knew that wherever he was headed there was an answer to whatever it was that I was trying to find. So Chrissy, began walking west and so did I. Eventually I had the courage to go up to him and ask him, if he knew of any clubs in the area to go to. He said, “yes, come with me.� And so I did. We continued walking down on Christopher St. and Chrissy, began introducing me to everyone, he seemed to know everyone on the street. Coming from Brooklyn, I looked like some of these people I was meeting and I also didn't. I was still very much straight appearing as they would say. So in contrast, many of these somewhat effeminate young men I was meeting that night were somewhat attracted to me. We ended up walking to a place called the Bullet Bar, a dive bar right at the edge of the pier. I remember feeling a


moment of triumph after entering through the doors. Finally, I was in a gay bar, mission accomplished. The bar was practically empty. In the far corner of the bar there were small video screens. My eyes were instantly fixated on the pornographic images and sounds playing on the screen. We sat at the empty bar counter and ordered a Heineken beer. Chrissy, offered me a cigarette and without thinking I took the cigarette. Even though I had never smoked a cigarette before I was able to successfully present myself as a smoker. I inhaled and exhaled the smoke of that cigarette like a pro. Chrissy, said to me at the end of the night, “I guess I will see you tomorrow.” And I said, “Yes, will see you tomorrow.” The following night it was a bit more of the same, meeting people drinking and smoking. On that second night I ran into the person that would become my first “boyfriend.” This person was a big deal, he walked with an air about him. He was very stylish. When they introduced me to him he had two names, a first and a last name. For the sake of this article we will call him Max. He was a very famous member of the Iconic house of Xtravaganza. The house of Xtravaganza was led by Angie and Hector Xtravaganza at the time. Xtravaganza were and still are mostly a latino house that represents style, grace, beauty and fashion https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Xtravaganza Max, for me was sort of a protective shield for me. He was one of the only people that seen me as a person. He seen deep beneath this veneer of a so called straight looking guy. Slowly as the month's went on under Max's tutelage the real me began to take shape and emerge. I quickly learned from Max, how to develop my personality. I learned from Max, how to be me. Around that same time I had entered City As School, an alternative High . School for youth having trouble assimilating in a standard public school system. It was there that I met my two best friends, who we will call Derick and Carla, for the sake of this article. This was an amazing time for me. Through my relationship with Max, I learned how to express myself. When I met my two best friends it was like my life had begun. Max and I, would inevitably go our own separate ways. Seeing each other throughout the years, always remembering those earliest memories. Max, will always be regarded as a special person in my life, who helped inform the person I became. In the midst of all that was going on, something I did not mention was also happening. The AIDS virus was ravaging our community. I had met my second boyfriend who we will call Sonny. I remember the first time I met Sonny. It was one of those moments you see in the movies. Time stood still, the earth shook, and I came out of my body. It was really that scene at the dance when Tony,


meets Maria. Sonny was killed by law enforcement in 2003. I believe Sonny played a big role in protecting me as well, in some way. For some reason I was always looking for people to protect me. Protect me from what? I am not 100% sure. When Sonny died, I cried for days on end, until I became so sick that I had to pull myself together before I myself would end up in a hospital. In a couple of weeks we will be visiting Sonny's grave and documenting our visit. It has been about 10 years since our last visit to his grave. This time his sister will be joining us and visiting her brother's grave for the first time. When Sonny, died I knew my life would be forever changed. I said at that time to my best friend Carla, “my life has changed.” Around that time I went back to school as an adult and finished my degrees. I also met my third boyfriend. I had created a new life for myself. I met a man who was not from the world I knew. I met a man who was distinguished, well to do, successful. And he was interested in me. I think by this time in my life I really no longer was a child. That child that needed protection so many years ago, was a distant memory. I think that child, that innocent child died, the day Sonny died. I realized that the world was a very tough place and that noone was safe. I learned that I needed to take care of myself. It is ironic, the thing Sonny, would always say to me was those exact words, “take care of yourself.” The years after Sonny's death were a difficult time of transition for me. It was not until I met my third boyfriend who we will call Darius, that the turmoil I was experiencing subsided. Darius, encouraged me to seek out things in the professional world. He was the first person that encouraged my photography. Darius, and I have remained friends. He said to me, “we will always, be friends.” After 10 years we also went our own separate ways. . GAZE Magazine has been so many things to me. It has been a platform to assert myself, which seems to be something I have struggled with all my life. GAZE Magazine has been a vehicle for me to express myself. A place to share with people. A place to celebrate people. I do not know what it is about life, that makes you want to live it so hard. With this issue, we are asking people to remove their veneers. Let us stop pretending to be so cool and so great. Let us show more of our humanity. Strip the layers. Show the things that bind us instead of those that separate us. Everyone has a story. Every voice matters. No one voice has more weight than the next. Treat people with dignity because you do not know a person's story. Because you see a person standing before you does not mean you know anything about their life. We hope to bring you many new stories in this issue. We want to share the voices of as many people we can. We want to amplify their stories. To anyone


who has ever felt as though their story was not being heard, know that you have a home here at GAZE Magazine. We will never and have never discriminated against anyone. Bias just does not exist in the fabric of who we are. We have never forgotten all the people who have come into our lives. And this issue is a celebration of just that, people. May, you never stop opening your heart mind and soul to one another. And may you always continue to challenge those who seek to oppress another human being. LEGACY: TRANSCENDENCESPECIAL ISSUE 10

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LEGACY: TRANSCENDENCE Special Issue 10 F17W18  

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