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GNI mag

LOUD & PROUD NORTH & SOUTH

THE SPORT ISSUE January / February 2016 | £3.95 / €4.95

RUGBY LADS meet the BELFAST azlans: Northern ireland’s newest inclusive sports team

CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / FOOD & DRINK


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GNI mag EDITOR Kieran Clarke kieran@lambpromotions.com MANAGING DIRECTOR Tony Day tony@lambpromotions.com DIRECTOR Fred Scott fred@lambpromotions.com FASHION EDITOR Tony Webster PHOTOGRAPHY Tony Webster & Brad McClenaghan BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Daniel May daniel@lambpromotions.com

20

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Christopher Megrath chris@lambpromotions.com SPECIAL THANKS TO The Belfast Azlans / Bert Archer / Jamie Baird / Bliain Fitzpatrick / The GastroGays / Eamon McAuley / Hayden McGehan / Micky Murray / Peccadillo Pictures / David Stewart and the staff at 56 Dean Street / Tid Tidmas / Leon Ward / SJ Wilson

33

GNI MAG is published by: Lamb Promotions Ltd 145 Holywood Road Belfast, BT4 3BE

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Telephone | 028 90654314 Website | gnimag.com All submissions to GNI are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Lamb Promotions or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI are

CONTRIBUTORS

accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that ap-

LEON WARD

BERT ARCHER

pear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to

Leon Ward is a trustee

Bert Archer is the

of the UK sexual

author of The End of

health charity Brook.

Gay (and the death of

@gnimag

He is the UK Young

heterosexuality). For

Ambassador to the

the past 10 years, he

gni@lambpromotions.com

Commonwealth

following any advice offered in this publication. Lamb Promotions Ltd 2015

@

@GNImag #TeamGNI /gnimag

has been travelling and

Youth Council, the author of a best practice guide

writing about what he sees and does for the Globe,

on young trustees and was a trustee of the global

the Washington Post, the BBC, the National Post,

children’s charity Plan UK. He is a keen blogger

the Toronto Star and others. You can follow him

and tweeter. You can find him on @Leonjward.

on Instagram and Twitter @BertArcher.


contents

EDITOR’S letter Style

55 I’ll Be Your Mirror 62 Get The Look

Lifestyle

Intro

66

7 @GNI MAG 8 Preview 11 Tried and Tested 15 Bliaine Fitzpatrick

Features

20 Ben Whishaw 22 Meet the Azlans! 33 Top 2016 movies 40 Gay in the Commonwealth 45 Qatar 48 GNI MAG investigates

65 Dating 66 Travel: Manchester 69 Fitness 70 Food 73 Interiors

The Big Day

75 Tony and Darren

Outro

85 Health 87 Coming Out: Micky’s Story 90 What’s On: Dublin 92 What’s On: Belfast 98 The Valentine’s Day Survival Guide

UE ISS T NEX OUT 20 CH R A M

Well, we did it. We made it through the horrors of Christmas with most of our major limbs intact. We rewatched the reruns. We stood to attention for the Queen’s Speech (Queen Panti, we mean, not the other one). We survived eating enough Celebrations to fill a midsized car. We even pretended to LOVE those novelty socks with the reindeers on that our Nan got us. If you’re anything like me you were blind drunk by lunchtime and singing along to The Sound of Music swaddled in a makeshift kimono made of wrapping paper and tinsel. But enough of all that. Christmas is a distant memory. 2016 is here and it’s time to dust off the credit card, invest in a good pair of running shoes, and get yourself down the gym. Trust me: the sooner you bite the bullet the sooner you will remember what a hellish place the gym is and resolve to never step foot in one again. These days the closest I get to a locker room is browsing the front page of PornHub, but if there is one thing I do love it’s fit sportsmen. So you can imagine my extreme pleasure at introducing you to Northern Ireland’s newest inclusive rugby team: The Belfast Azlans. That’s them looking shit hot on the cover. (Try to resist skipping to page 24 to meet them.) Elsewhere we’ve got Ben Whishaw: Bond actor, certified gayer, all round beautiful human being; we have a special report about life for our LGBT brothers and sisters in the commonwealth; we preview the hottest films out this year; and we investigate the growing issue of ChemSex on the UK scene. This issue is a special one for us here at the glass and steel monolith that is GNI Towers, because the issue you’re holding in your hands is our extra special, extra fabulous 20th edition. So happy birthday us! From our exclusive LGBT wedding directory (to help you make that special day perfect) free with our next issue, to the very first GNI MAG Awards in October, 2016 is set to be our biggest year yet. Kieran Clarke GNI MAG Editor


For further information and bookings: T: +44 (0)28 9023 4888 E: thegreatroom@themerchanthotel.com


@ gni mag TechnicallyRon @TechnicallyRon

GAZ @GazGShore

#CBB it’s that when you think

in and Gemma hugs them, if you

If we have learnt anything from

you’re famous your face tries to reject you.

Celebrity Big Brother is back and we finally have a reason to watch Channel 5 again. We’ve rounded up the best (read: bitchiest) tweets from Twitter’s finest – and Katie Hopkins – for your entertainment, or something.

Dawn French @Dawn_French Gemma’s hair to win! #CBB

Holly Johnson @TheHollyJohnson

All they need is the return of Pete Burns

Matt Johnson @Mattjohnsons

Not going to say anything about

Maloney. He follows me on Twitter

and I’m 65% sure that he could be a part time serial killer #CBB

Everytime a new housemate comes listen carefully you can hear her

whisper “u got any biscuits” #CBB

R-POOZ @Yeloop

Declan Cashin @Tweet_Dec

nan used to keep by the phone for

and you *might* remember me

Jeremy’s tattoos look like the pad my doodles #CBB

#CBB Contestant: “Hello, I’m X from…

Viewer: “I’m gonna stop you right

SATAN @chrismegrath1

Can’t wait for the ‘I’m a bit of a slut

but I want people to see there’s more to me than tits’ girl to go in #CBB

Metro Entertainment @Metro_Ents Ex-mates Chris Maloney and

Daniella Westbrook are both in the

there.”

Jonathan Harvey @JOJEHARVEY

Getting ready to tweet about #CBB

like an athlete in the starting blocks. Then remembered the first bit’s usually seeing the house. Grr

#CBB house and it’s so awkward

Katie Hopkins @KTHopkins

SATAN @chrismegrath1

them. But we couldn’t afford one. So

And the inevitable ‘I can have any

girl I want because I’ve tattoos and

It’s time for another celebrity to join here’s Darren Day. #CBB

go to the gym’ dickhead #CBB

ON THE COVER

#PUgsofinstagram DOUBLE PUGS! Trust PewDiePie aka Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, the most subbed YouTuber ever - to bring us the best in pugs the internet has to offer. Not content with just one pug, Felix has two, the adorable Maya and the adorable Edgar. #greedy Anyone know where we can get this shirt? Asking for us.

Photography by Tony Webster bigbadllama.com GNIMAG.COM | 7


TRIED AND TESTED__ MUSIC

NO MAN’S SKY 18 quintillion worlds to explore, millions of alien species waiting to be found, that’s the promise of No Man’s Sky. This new open-world game from indie studio Hello Games contains a full size virtual galaxy, including stars, planets, and life forms. It’s a game so mind-bogglingly enormous that you’d have to find one planet a second for the next 5 billion years to find them all. Amazin’. No Man’s Sky is out this June on PC and PS4

10 | GNIMAG.com


PREVIEW__ WHAT’S NEW

LIGHTNING STRIKES (A POSE) Meet Lightning, the pink-haired protagonist of the massively successful Final Fantasy XIII series modelling Louis Vuitton. “Lightning is the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life,” said Vuitton’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière. As the face of Vuitton’s ‘Series 4’ collection, Lightning has swapped her trusty gunblade for a signature handbag, pleated skirt and leather jacket embellished with the iconic LV monogram. House Vuitton will collaborate with Final Fantasy designer Tetsuya Nomura for JANUARY 8-31 Out to Lunch Now in its 11th year, Belfast’s boutique arts fest returns for a month of impeccably curated art to banish those post-Christmas blues. Sam Wills aka The Boy With Tape On His Face is a GNI MAG favourite. cqaf.com

JANUARY 24 The X Files This long awaited miniseries pits FBI agents Mulder and Scully against yet more killers, conspiracy theorists, actual aliens, jump scares and Gillian Anderson’s hair. 13 years later and we STILL want to believe! fox.com

their

FEBRUARY 9 Unravel We teased it back in issue 18, now Unravel (the adorable indie puzzleplatformer) finally has a release date. Navigate a snowy Scandanavia with Yarny on PC, Xbox and PS4 unravelgame. com

Spring/Summer FEBRUARY 21 Girls New boyfriends? A wedding? Japan? The return of Adam Driver? There’s a lot to get excited by in the next series of this snarky Lena Dunham comedy. Expect sass aplenty when Girls returns on HBO. hbo.com/girls

2016

collection.

MARCH 4 House of Cards Where would we be without the villainous machinations of Kevin Spacey’s delightfully evil President Underwood? Binge-watching on Netflix ‘til your heart’s content. netflix.com GNIMAG.com | 9


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TRIED & Tested TECH / Movies / music / stage Boomstick £70 This small addition to any set of headphones or speakers will turn your run down low music into a rock concert inside your head or everyone around you. Plugging directly into any phone or computer audio port, this tiny processor boosts volume nearly 100% and adds a truly immersive and clear sound whilst taking up little to no space. Music just got a whole lot louder.

Bragi Dash Wireless Smart Headphones £230 It’s about time we stepped into the future and these compact wireless smart earphones are exactly how we’re going to do it. No bigger than any other headphone, these sit comfortably inside your ear. Its built in sensors allow you to stay away from your phone and still accept calls or change music simply by shaking your head. A huge step up from Bluetooth, these headphones are what dreams are made of.

Mybumper iPhone 6/6s Charging Case £42.30 With Apple releasing a clunky and unpopular charging case, Mybumper decided to bring us the case we’ve waited years for. The slim and lightweight portable charger adds a full 80% more battery life with a dual layer protective design to give your phone the most protection with the best look. No more plugging ourselves into the wall non-stop just to use the iPhone for a few hours.

In this modern age everyone has a phone in their hands at all times, whether it’s modern or outdated, we’re definitely living in a mobile era. All ages have access to smartphones, giving us the world at our fingertips, but sometimes it’s just not enough. This TNT focuses on upgrading your already stellar devices by enhancing product features or making your life a little easier without huge, clunky products taking up space. We’ve decided to focus on mobile functionality and ways to increase not only productivity but entertainment that allows you to push the limits of your mobile to new heights you’d only see 5 years from now if you were to wait for an upgrade. The small accessories are perfect for everyone and will easily make a huge difference to your phone.

GNIMAG.COM | 11


TRIED AND TESTED__ MUSIC

BLACKSTAR DAVID BOWIE

016 1947 - 2

david bowie iso records / columbia This month the world bid farewell to an extrordinary talent. As his alien alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie crash landed in the ruins of the hippy dream in 1972. In his heels and feathers, his eyebrows shaved, with one painted nail pointed down the camera on Top of the Pops, he redefined what it meant to be queer. Bowie was the epitome of what an artist could be. He was a master of reinvention, one of the last great icons of the 20th Century. From ‘Aladdin Sane’ to ‘The Man Who Sold the World’, Bowie produced an astonishing 25 records in his lifetime. 18 months ago he was diagnosed with liver cancer, a fact he kept closely guarded. There were brief remissions, periods when the breaks in his gruelling chemotherapy treatment fuelled a creative overdrive. The end result is ‘Blackstar’, Bowie’s final album. It was released on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. ‘Blackstar’ is an album packed with ideas. The 10 minute title track swings from the theatrical to the downright menacing; it’s difficult to watch the video now without seeing a grim foreshadowing of the Starman singer’s death. The third track (appropriately titled ‘Lazarus’) shows the singer in his sick bed, climbing into a coffin-like cupboard. “Look up here,” he sings, “I’m

in Heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen / I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen / Everybody knows me know.” Bowie gave the world Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and Jareth the Goblin King. He produced albums with the likes of Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Brian Eno, and he will be forever missed.

12 | GNIMAG.COM


TRIED AND TESTED__ MOVIES

THE HATEFUL 8

DEPARTURE

What it’s about:

What it’s about:

Is it any good?

A stagecoach hurtles across the

Elliot (Alex Lawther) is a dreamer. He is a

Andrew Steggall makes his directorial debut

frozen wilds of the Old West. Inside

poet and a wearer of vintage army coats, a

in this gentle coming-of-age drama. Lawther

are bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt

young man uncertain of his sexuality. With

(who charmed as the young Alan Turing in

Russell) and his prisoner Daisy

his mother (Juliet Stevenson) he travels to

The Imitation Game) is louche in the role of

Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh).

the south of France to pack up their holiday

Elliot; he wafts from scene to scene, at odds

Domergue is a convicted killer

home, a casualty of his parent’s crumbling

with the enigmatic Clemént.

with a $10,000 bounty on her head,

marriage. While there, he meets Clemént

a bounty Ruth is determined to

(Phénix Brossard), a brooding bad boy Elliot

is masterfully shot, where every emotion is

collect.

spy’s half-naked one summer day. Clemént is

elegantly captured. It is a sensitive portrait of

Departure is a film in which every frame

more interested in fixing his motorbike than

a family in crisis, and puts a unique spin on

Marquis Warren (Sam Jackson) and

striking up a friendship with the awkward

the well-trod path of queer adolescence.

an ensemble cast of rogues and

English boy, but his arrival triggers a

ne’er-do-wells snowed-in in a cabin

realisation of Elliot’s blossoming sexuality.

Along the road they meet Major

Out March 10

during a blizzard. Do The Hateful Eight have their own plans for Domergue’s bounty? Is it any good? Quentin Tarantino’s fondness for

THE REVENANT What it’s about:

cinematic sentimentality has gone

Fur trapper Hugh Glass

nowhere. Shot in glorious 65mm

(Leonardo DiCaprio)

Ultra Panavision - the same format

leads a hunting party

used for Gone With the Wind and

through a snowy

Ben Hur - The Hateful Eight looks

South Dakota when he

unlike any film you’ve seen before.

is attacked and mauled

Every detail in this ultraviolent

by a bear. Rather than

picture looks otherworldly and

treat his wounds Glass’

beautiful.

companions, including

Is it any good?

the traitorous John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy),

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to the

Performances range from sublime to electrifying, including one

abandon him to die. Glass survives, if only

Oscar-winning Birdman, The Revenant is an

hilarious monologue that tops Pulp

just. Now he is forced to travel 120 miles

honest-to-goodness unashamedly gruelling

Fiction’s gold watch story by miles.

through a brutal wilderness, brave warring

man-against-nature epics yet seen.

tribes of Native Americans, and survive the Out January 8

punishing elements to exact his revenge.

Out January 15

GNIMAG.COM | 13


TRIED AND TESTED TESTED__ BOOKS && THEATRE STAGE TRIED AND | BOOKS

30 JAN – 28 FEB 2016

EDUCATING

RITA Written by

Willy Russell Directed by Emma Jordan Starring Kerri Quinn

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY

TICKETS FROM £10

CHARLIE JANE ANDERS TITAN BOOKS Patricia and Laurence are childhood friends. Drawn together by their mutual oddness, they part ways under mysterious circumstances, only meet again ten years later as adults. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the academy for the magically gifted, while Laurence is the inventor of the two-second time machine. Patricia uses her magic to repair the world’s ever worsening problems, while Laurence is an engineering genius on the cusp of inventing a wormhole. Little do they realise that something much bigger is determined to force them together. All the Birds in the Sky is a magical, subversive, anarchic and darkly comedic novel from Charlie Jane Anders. Charlie Jane is editor-in-chief of the extraordinarily popular Gawker Media site io9.com, and a personal hero of GNI MAG’s own editor-in-chief. All the Birds in the Sky - her debut novel is a moving, lyrically (and at times thrillingly) written examination of life, love, and the apocalypse. It balances an intimate portrait of childhood friendship with a story about scientific advancement and the struggle between saving this world or finding another. Throw in talking animals, lovelorn AIs, and delightful villain and the result is 2016’s speculative fiction high point so far.

14 | GNIMAG.COM

EDUCATING RITA

THE BODYGUARD

LYRIC THEATRE, BELFAST

GRAND OPERA HOUSE,

January 30 – February 28

February 3 – February 13

In this reimagined version of the 1983 Willy Russell

If there was ever a movie we wanted to see get

BELFAST

classic starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters in

the musical treatment, it’s this. The Bodyguard is

her big screen debut, Kerri Quinn sparkles as Rita.

a multi already award-winning musical based on

In a departure from Walter’s brassy Liverpudlian

(you guessed it) the blockbuster film. It transfers to

tones, the accents (and the drama) have been

Belfast’s Grand Opera House fresh from its smash-

relocated to the mean streets of Belfast. Rita is a no-

hit West End run as part of a sold-out UK tour. Stuart Reid plays Frank Farmer, a former Secret

nonsense hairdresser. She is tired of her job, tired of

Service agent turned bodyguard who is hired to

her prospects, her husband and her life. With a dream of achieving the middle-class life

protect one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Alexandra

she’s always longed for, Rita enrols on an English

Burke plays Rachel Marron, an Oscar-winner with

Literature course at the Open University. It’s here

a demented fan. Former X-Factor star Burke has

that she meets Frank (played by The Archer’s

some surprisingly acting chops, with an as-close-to-

Stephen Kennedy). Frank is an alcoholic, a divorcee

perfect Whitney voice that anyone could ask for.

and a jaded university lecturer who works solely to

This romantic thriller features a host of

fund his drinking habit. Eventually he finds Rita’s

Whitney’s greatest hits, including One Moment in

enthusiasm for learning and her working class

Time and I Wanna Dance With Somebody. From

attitude refreshing. Together they make an unlikely

her pyrotechnic opening number Queen of the

pair, with Frank showing Rita the way to a better

Night to her note-perfect rendition of I Will Always

future.

Love You, the stage belongs to Alexandra Burke.

5 steps of brit Award chaos

Will end up iconic or hillarious

ADELE 2011

Superstar but will still do shots in spoons

Will punch you for talking shit

SPICE GIRLS 1997

Working off community service

OASIS 1996

Likely to be unsure of where they are

RUSSELL BRAND 2007


COLUMN__ BLÍAIN FITZPATRICK

UBER IN BELFAST All we need now is a Pret on every corner and we’ll know we’ve made it LUTHER Please, please can we get a full series now @BBC? STAR WARS Still reeling from that ending. So good we had to see it twice CBB I mean, who doesn’t enjoy throwback celebrities arguing Netflix Our favourites have release dates for new seasons! Yaaaas queen etc.

LOVE HATE 2015 Well thank fuck that’s over. War. Terrorism. Strife. One year closer to our gay pensions... CELEBS DYING First Cilla, then Bowie, now Alan Rickman. Can you all stop dying please?! GEORGE R.R. MARTIN Still no Winds of Winter? We. Are. Fuming. THE X-FACTOR ENOUGH ALREADY. THE SINGLE BOMBED. POST CHRISTMAS DIETS So hangry we could straight up murder somebody. BEING SKINT Lend us a tenner?

A clean slate is a chance to start again

Blíain Fitzpatrick New beginnings are something that

Think about it for a second. How many times

most of us play with at the start of a new year.

have you been running late for a meeting, or

A clean slate is a chance to start again, and a

wrong. Your taxi is late, you can’t find your wallet

We all love of fresh start, and who wouldn’t?

chance to put the ugliness of the previous year behind us. But what does a fresh start actually look like? Obviously we all have the usual

resolutions: lose weight, get a better job, solve world hunger etc etc. Generally the idea is to

become a new you, or at least a better version of who we reckon we ought to be. Right?

For me, those aforementioned ideals are

a waste of time. Who wants a watered down

late to work, or to the club. Everything is going anywhere, you’re pretty sure that pimple is the

size of a small island-state and everyone is going to notice. Then you look up only realise you’ve

suddenly run into a friend you haven’t seen for years. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. I can’t

help but wonder how things might have gone if

everything had gone to plan. (It’s like that movie Sliding Doors but not all 90’s and horrible.) There are many fine arguments that go

version of the same old resolutions every other

against this idea, and I’m not saying that my

stick to each new year? Not me. This year I plan

my own personal philosophy and that’s fine by

young gay millennial sets themselves and rarely on tackling 2016 a bit differently.

As years go 2015 wasn’t all that bad. I rebuilt

some friendships, I moved up the career ladder, and I fell madly in love with a wonderful man. These events weren’t anything like the joys I thought they would be, but they happened

way of seeing things is necessarily true, but it’s

me. This year the only goal I’m setting myself is

to expect the unexpected. So I’m going to make

some changes, vary up my routine, and see if life

really is what happens when we are busy making other plans. I like to think it is.

My advice, really, is don’t let yourself get too

and I’m grateful they did. As a bonus, I wasn’t

focussed on making those resolutions happen.

did it was something of a pleasant surprise.

then good job. Be that better person you want

expecting these things to happen, so when they (I should add that the sceptic in me who

thinks that fate is a load of old nonsense is

slowly being persuaded to think otherwise; it’s

easy to see why so many people believe in some mystical force that decides the path their life will take. I’m not religious, but at the risk of

sounding mystical I do think the universe has a

If you make one resolution (or two, or twenty) to be. And if you don’t make a resolution then

that’s cool too. But if you do, don’t forget to keep an eye out for an even better opportunity that you might’ve had no idea you wanted until it

falls straight in your lap. It’ll happen the second you stop looking. I practically guarantee it.

So don’t cancel the gym memberships just

plan for all of us.)

yet. Make it your goal to look at things a bit

is great for giving us some much needed

as another opportunity for happiness. When it

Setting goals at the beginning of the year

motivation to get through the post-Christmas slog. My main concern with resolutions is

that we put too many challenges ahead of us. It becomes too easy to get distracted – and

probably forget – all about them. This year I’m going to try and get to where I want to be by taking an unexpected route.

differently for a change. Try to see everything

happens it might not look the way you expected, but that’s the wonderfully frustrating about life. Go with the flow. Take a risk. Fall in love. Get knocked down. Get back up again. Make 2016 yours.

BLÍAIN

GNIMAG.COM | 15


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M

Y

D I G R Y B

Strength has a greater purpose Lyndon Court Belfast BT1 6EF 07724 705216

hybridfitnessni.co.uk


COLUMN__ HAYDEN McGEHAN

#BULGE

Out vs Stealth. Round one. FIGHT.

Hayden McGehan Meeting new groups of people as a

exhausting in their own ways, but being out is

Questions come at you from every side. Will

soul can breathe easier. You didn’t spend all that

transgender individual is never straightforward. they gender me correctly? Will they question

themselves after correctly gendering me? Will

they talk about me? Will they even care? Should I even care? Does any of this even matter?

My girlfriend and I are traveling at the

moment, and over the 15/16-winter season

tradition alive. Last month he treated his 140,000 Instagram followers to the most bulgetastic selfie imaginable.

knew me prior to transition. Originally this

sounded epic. Fresh faces. Fresh environment. the true me. But I was afraid of losing touch

with my trans pride, and during Transgender

Awareness Month I got really involved with the internal conflict of being out versus stealth.

Landing that new job or meeting those new

friends of friends are all times when transgender individuals are likely to find themselves in the same headspace I am in right now. Of course,

Dressed in nothing more than a pair of white Calvins, the cheeky snap triggered the greatest wave of heart eyes and eggplant emoji use that has ever been seen before. Tagged #mycalvins, the pic has already been liked more than 15,000 times, with comments ranging from the inspired ‘Fuck me!’, entreating our favourite diver to come to the dark side, to thirsty wondering just what he gets up to in the changing room with his diving partner Jack Laugher.

this isn’t true for everyone. But that decision is still there, whether consciously or not.

I have a heart full of trans pride, but being

stealth doesn’t leave a lot of room for displaying how proud you are of your identity. Firstly,

because these people don’t/can’t know I am

hits of thirst inspiring tweets, where you can follow him at @mearschris93. Roll on Rio 2016!

refreshing; it’s freedom.

Society’s understanding of transgender

is a work in progress. And because of this,

supportive environment it should be. Coming

to, ahem, “the middle of buttfuck nowhere”, as

my boss likes to put it, didn’t inspire me to feel

like I was safe. And it was my need for safety up against my need to own who I am that sent me headfirst into this pool of self-doubt.

Every trans person should have pride, but

every trans person should also be safe. Pride vs safety inevitably becomes out vs stealth, and

who knows where you might go from there. It honestly isn’t something I have entirely

figured out yet, but I wanted to share a little of my internal dialogue. I’m living in limbo

somewhere on the spectrum between out and

stealth, and proud of the (trans)man I am, but

I’m just not ready to shout it from the rooftops. I am not here to tell you that how I’m

trans and secondly because showing pride in a

handling things is the right way. Just like your

to do with you might give you away. However,

entirely circumstantial, and has many variables

community that supposedly doesn’t have a lot

there are benefits to being stealth: It’s easier to

get on with it, you’re safe, and you feel validated

living full-time in the gender you know you are. The downside is that, more often than not,

being stealth comes at the cost of low energy Chris’ Twitter feed reads like a greatest

you and living openly as your authentic self is

not everywhere is going to be the safe and

2015 was the year the shameless celeb

the human race – is keeping this proud

not mean something in the long run. Knowing

packed with meeting new people who never

Fresh start. It was an opportunity to fully own

frustratingly heterosexual member of

navigate life in your newfound identity for it to

individuals, and the community as a whole,

CHRIS MEARS old diving prodigy, member of Team GB,

time discovering you and figuring out how to

we are working at a small ski resort in Eastern Ontario. The past couple of months have been

bulge shot. Now Chris Mears – 23-year-

less exhausting than the alternative because your

and mental fatigue. Fake backstories don’t

come so easy. You are constantly making sure you aren’t displaying traits of the opposite

gender. You feel guilty, as though you are lying to everyone. Being stealth and being out are

identity, it is something only you will know. It’s you need to consider. First and foremost is your safety, so please make that your top priority.

Every question is a part of the journey. Every discussion you have with yourself is a part of

the bigger picture. And there’s no such thing

as a wrong decision, because there is always an opportunity for you to make another. Hayden

lllads.tumblr.com

GNIMAG.COM | 17


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COLUMN__ SJ WILSON

HERO OF THE MONTH

ngs

What it means to be a straight ally

SJ Wilson For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m

Scott Wilson. Call me SJ. I’m happily hetero,

happily married, and an avid supporter of equal

anyone else), a believer in the right to freely

gay community turned away every straight ally

and be loved by whoever your heart desires, a proponent of free speech, a hater of political correctness, and a huge geek.

Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, I want to

ngs

Every gay guys wet dream, Gus Kenworthy is physically impeccable. Not only winning everyone’s hearts, the free-style skier knows his way around a halfpipe and took home his

first medal, a bronze, at the X Games in France and the silver medal in 2014’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Gus came out on October 2015 through

ings

Twitter saying, “I am gay. Wow, it feels good to write those words. For most of

my life I’ve been afraid to embrace that truth about myself. Recently though,

I’ve gotten to the point where the pain of holding onto the lie is greater than the fear of letting go, and I’m proud to finally be letting my guard down.”

Rescuing and adopting several adorable puppies from Russia, Gus can do no

ings

wrong by us. ____________________ IMAGE: ESPN

Does this mean I’m not allowed to change

my way of thinking? Does this mean I’m not

identify as your chosen gender, the right to love

GUS KENWORTHY

mentality I want my children to have.

rights. I’m an advocate of religious freedom (so long as nobody tries forcing their lifestyle on

ngs

was the mentality I had as a child; this is not a

worthy of supporting the LGBT fight? If the

who once upon a time uttered a slur they would never dream of using now then the community wouldn’t have many allies left. People change. I’m happy to say I’m one of them.

I have seen some people react to hetero

draw attention to something that’s happened me

support of the equality argument in a way that

of my local gay bar. More than once has

approved before their support is allowed. How

a few times whilst exploring the dark underbelly someone come up to me to ask, “Why do you

write for gay magazine when you are straight?” To this day I don’t know if they were attacking my articles, or attacking the fact I have clearly

broken some unwritten rule that says you have be part of the club to want to support LGBT rights. It was as if I had done the most taboo

thing possible and now had to answer for my

crimes. Straight allies supporting the gays, can you imagine? The cheek of it all!

Situations like this are (thankfully) few and

far between, and nor has it stopped me from

being a vocal supporter my local LGBT scene. Just because I’m not gay doesn’t mean I can’t

suggests their straight allies should have to be absolutely absurd is that? With those people in charge, people like me would be expected

to fill in forms, sit before a panel of gay judges, and defend my beliefs and support. That isn’t

how equality works. It’s understandable to be cautious, but not to the point of excluding likeminded people from the fight.

So why do I support equal rights? It’s simple:

I don’t want my children to grow up in a world where they have to defend who they are, who they love, or to force them to go through the

ordeal of coming out just to explain their sexual preference to the world.

If the time ever comes when my children feel

support and fight for LGBT equality or have an

the need to tell me they are gay, lesbian, bisexual,

me for a while, but I can understand why a gay

of those spectrums, all I will have to tell them is

ulterior motive for doing so. It has stuck with

person might not be able to comprehend why a straight person like me – someone who doesn’t directly benefit from more LGBT equality

transgender, or that they fall somewhere on any that who they love is their business. I hope that makes them happy.

I support LGBT equality because I want a

– would want to see more of it. The reason is

more equal future, not a future of special rights

largely heterosexual society isn’t always positive.

means. So the next time you meet someone you

because the gay community’s experience of a

I wasn’t always accepting of LGBT people.

When I was younger I had no understanding of what it meant to be gay. I thought then (a very

long time ago now) that the only thing gay men wanted was to turn all straight men gay. This

for special people. That’s not what equality

think might be straight in a gay club or at a rally, remember not to treat them differently. We need all the support we can get. SJ

GNIMAG.COM | 19


INTERVIEW__ BEN WISHAW

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME WORDS | TID TIDMAS

20 | GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW__ BEN WISHAW

2015 marked the launchpad for Ben WHishaw’s career. Best known for his role alongside Romola Garai and Dominic West in The Hour, and his affecting lead role in Lilting, Wishaw’s career has gone from strength to strength. WHishaw has proven himself time and again to be one of the finest actors of his generation, be it trading quips with Daniel Craig in SPECTRE, oppressing Carey Mulligan in Suffragette, or fawning after Eddie Redmayne’s Einar in The Danish Girl. Did we mention he is also gorgeous? His latest role is in BBC spy thriller London Spy. Initially, it may sound like a familiar formula for a show. However, this five-part series by novelist Tom Rob Smith is a far cry from the world of Aston Martins, martinis, and scenery chewing baddies. Whishaw plays Danny, a hedonistic young man trapped in a cycle of dead-end work and clubbing. Everything changes when he meets Alex, the titular spy played by Kingsman actor Edward Holcroft. Just as they discover how perfect they are for each other Alex disappears, plunging Danny into a hidden world of espionage and murder.

How did it feel reading the

which he does not understand at all.

script for London Spy?

I also think that Danny has a few

It felt incredibly fresh and I didn’t

surprises up his sleeve. He’s a

know what on Earth was going to

complicated person and there are

happen - or what sort of a story I was

parts of him that are revealed slowly

in, even.

over the course of the five hours. It’s

I think it’s a fascinating story - a

all part of this world that Tom has

fascinating series, because although

created where you aren’t quite certain

I think it is a thriller, it doesn’t really

of anything.

conform exactly to what you expect a thriller to do. It creates its own version

What’s the relationship

of that genre.

between Danny and Jim Broadbent’s character

What stood out about London

Scottie?

Spy for you?

Danny and Scottie have been friends

I’m amazed by how Tom Rob Smith

for a very long time, and in a way

has written a story for every single

it’s the central relationship in the

character that features in the drama,

series. That’s another thing I love

and there are many characters that

about London Spy - it features this

Danny encounters along this journey.

friendship between two gay men, one

It’s unique and exciting because it

who is in his sixties and one who is

happens so much in Danny’s head -

in his twenties - so two very different

it’s a very subjective story and all the

generations.

more exciting for that, I think.

There are unspoken feelings from Scottie towards Danny, but over

What was filming like?

the course of the story we realise

It’s been wonderful to work on a

that Danny does in his own way

really fantastic piece of writing - of

reciprocate those feelings of love and

new writing that’s not based on

tenderness towards Scottie, who is a

anything else. It’s contemporary and

wonderful, wise and humane person

challenging. The vision that director

with a core of sadness in him.

Jakob Verbruggen has brought to it,

Jim is an incredible actor, and it’s

the visual style and the energy, I think

impossible to say how he does what

is a defining quality of the series.

he does. He’s got an incredible range as an actor, so he can inhabit vastly

Tell us a bit about your

different people.

character, Danny. Danny is the central character who

What do you hope audiences

falls in love at the beginning of the

will get from the series?

story with Alex, and they have a

I really hope that it is as an exciting,

very intense, deep connection. The

moving and layered experience as

relationship ends abruptly. Danny

I found it to read. I think there is

doesn’t really understand. Alex then

something about watching a character

dies in mysterious circumstances.

go to the limits of an experience - to

From there, the story follows Danny’s

watch a character get dragged over the

journey to try and understand what

coals and plunge into something very

happened to his lover.

dark and painful- and to come through

At the beginning, Danny doesn’t know he is in a spy story; he doesn’t

that experience, it’s really powerful for an audience to watch.

know he is in love with a spy. He doesn’t know anything about the

This interview reproduced with kind

world of spying and he is in a world

permission from the BBC. London Spy

that is quite alien to him, the rules of

is available now on BBC iPlayer

GNIMAG.COM | 21


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

The Lion, the Witch, and the Locker-Room of Gorgeous Men. We get comfy with Belfast’s newest inclusive rugby team... 22 | GNIMAG.COM


MEET THE AZLANS WORDS: KIERAN CLARKE PHOTOGRAPHY: TONY WEBSTER

>>>

GNIMAG.COM | 23


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS The Rugby World Cup may be over (at least until Japan take the

Steelers. “It seemed like the right time,” he tells us.

reins in 2019) but the world of rugby remains as popular as ever.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The sport has a reputation as being the preserve of the elite and of

Numbers have increased steadily since their first meeting, with

hot-blooded human battering rams of the heterosexual persuasion

clubs like Dublin’s Emerald Warriors - Ireland’s first primarily gay

who all seem to sound like minor members of the Royal Family.

rugby team - pledging to play them. Currently the Azlan’s players

We’re glad to say that times have changed. These days you’re just as likely to find the bloke next door playing rugger for his nearest club, while rugby matches are as common a fixture in your local

all come from all walks of life, with sexuality, age and ability being no barrier to getting involved. “In rugby there is very little place for beginners,” Kevin explained,

gay bar as the Eurovision semi-finals. While other sports continue

“and there is still a lot of resistance to players who are gay or bi - or

to lag in their less-than-progressive stances on players being open

who are perceived to be gay or bi - being open about their sexuality

about their sexuality, the far more inclusive world of rugby has paved the way for host of inclusive teams at home and abroad. (And with no small thanks to a number of high-profile rugby players outing themselves over the years.) During last year’s World Cup two new gay and inclusive clubs were welcomed into the fold. The Glasgow Alphas became Scotland’s second inclusive club after the Caledonian Thebans when their team was founded just a month shy of the games. Less than a month later, and much closer to home, gay rugby made its welcome return to the shores of Northern Ireland with the founding of the Belfast Azlans. The Azlans took up the reins of the Ulster Titans, Belfast’s previous gay rugby team who disbanded in 2010, making

in sport in general. It’s even the case in rugby,

“The joy of the club comes from more than learning to pass the ball, or the how to execute a tackle. It’s about feeling a part of something, something that many gay men have felt out of reach”

the Azlans the 65th inclusive rugby club in the world and the 12th in total in the UK. The team is the brainchild of Kevin Bartlett, who is the team’s

which is one of the main supporters and movers in promoting openness and fairness and equality. “The Azlans is a team where people can come and learn how to play rugby from scratch. The joy of the club comes from more than learning to pass the ball, or the how to execute a tackle. It’s about feeling a part of something, something that many gay men have felt out of reach. The idea of team sports for many gay men can seem alienating and foreign, Azlan’s try to counteract that.” “We are actively breaking down some of the negative gay and rugby stereotypes to forge a new kind of game,” Bartlett explains. “Along with our 76 brethren teams we hope to build on this and continue to positively impact people that we meet. Our ambition is to one day compete in and win the Bingham Cup, which is essentially

the gay rugby equivalent of the world cup. We are dedicated to

coach and referee. As well as being a seasoned pro and passionate

the sport and committed to the idea that any man, be they gay or

sportsman, Kevin competed in the Gay Games in Vancouver in

straight, can come along and be part something great.”

1990, representing England, where he won gold in the athletics. After being approached about the idea to rekindle the interest

For more exclusive images of our Azlans shoot visit gnimag.com

in gay rugby in Northern Ireland, Kevin says the idea got stuck in his head. 2015 just happened to be the 20th anniversary of the

To get involved with the Belfast Azlan’s search ‘Belfast Azlans’ on

founding of the first ever inclusive rugby club, the King’s Cross

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

24 | GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

ALEKS Age: 27 Height: 6’4 Position: Flanker Day Job: Media exec What advice do you have for anyone joining the team? watch as many rugby matches as you can, that way it’ll be easier to recognise the techniques we train to do. Don’t be insecure and don’t worry if you aren’t experienced, most of team never played rugby before starting. It’s the job of the coaches and the rest of the team to make sure everyone can play.

GNIMAG.COM | 25


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

STEPHEN Age: 27 Height: 5’10 Position: Flanker Day Job: Colour technician Which sportsperson do you admire the most? I would have to say Sam Stanley. I think it’s great to see leading sportsmen find the courage to come out in the spotlight. The more athletes who come out publicly the easier it will be for people to be open about their sexuality in sport.

26 | GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

SEAN Age: 23 Height: 6’3 Position: Flanker Day Job: Diagnostic Radiographer Which sportsperson do you think has done the most for lgbt visibility in sport? Tough question, but I’ve got to go with Ben Cohen. The guy has achieved an incredible amount throughout his Rugby Union career and he constantly advocates for raising awareness of LGBT rights in sport. It’s important that we have as many voices in the public forum shouting in our favour. Sport is for everyone, regardless of their sexuality.

GNIMAG.COM | 27


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

KEVIN Age: Web age 40 (real age 54) Height: 5’9” Position: Coach, scrum half, Director of Rugby Day Job: Employment support officer for people with disabilities, parttime sports therapist How would you tackle homophobia in sport? I tackle homophobia in sport everytime I step onto the pitch to referee. I was lucky to be able to compete in the Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990. I’m a passionate sportsman, I’m just a sportsman who happens to be gay. As I referee I don’t hesitate to penalise players for using homophobic language.

28 | GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

DANNY Age: 26 Height: 6’4” Position: Buy me dinner first Day Job: Charity Worker Why did you get involved with the Azlans? people always asked me if I played rugby, but I would always tell them I wasn’t interested. The truth is that I was afrid to get involved. Then I heard about this new inclusive rugby team and the rest is history! I’ve been overwhelmed by how kind and genuine my teammates are. Conversations go from lifting techniques, to RuPaul, to nights out. No one judges you, you’re just one of the guys. It’s great.

GNIMAG.COM | 29


FEATURE__ MEET THE AZLANS

GARY Age: 27 Height: 6’ Position: Open-side Flanker Day Job: Business analyst in the financial sector Do you have any good locker room stories? I would love to share, but as per the rugby code of honour, what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room!

30 | GNIMAG.COM


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TOP SIX OF 2016

FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

2016 is shaping up to be the best year of new movies we’ve had in ages. We’ve rounded up the best of the best. From Batman V

Superman to Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters to The Jungle Book the drama stakes have never been higher...

FINDING DORY

Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, Ed O’Neill as Hank Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures

What it’s about:

The Forecast:

In this sequel to the hugely successful 2003

Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes

most successful picture to date. What we

Pixar movie Finding Nemo, audiences will

audiences back to the extraordinary

know for sure is that Andrew Stanton (who

finally discover why Dory (Ellen DeGeneres)

underwater world created in the original

directed the original) is back as writer and

was all alone when we first met her. Now

Finding Nemo for Pixar’s 30th anniversary.

directer, so fins crossed.

the time has come to reunite everyone’s

Finding Dory takes place about a year

Of course, no Finding Nemo film would

favourite royal blue tang with her long lost

after the first film, and features a cast of

be complete without the vocal talents of

parents. From the Pacific ocean to the kelp

returning favourites like Marlin, Nemo and

Ellen DeGeneres. The trailer promises the

reefs of California, Dory will need all the

the Tank Gang. The story will also welcome

same loveable Dory we fell in love with

help she can get.

a host of new characters, including a few

back in 2003. We won’t lie, we are already

who will prove to be an important part of

expecting to have our hearts broken.

Along the way Dory stumbles upon a martine rehabilitation centre where she

Dory’s life, including ones voiced by Willem

meets an octopus called Hank (Ed O’Neill),

Dafoe, Diane Keaton, and Eugene Levy.

a whale-shark who thinks shes a shark

Plot details are sparse, which is no

named Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) and a beluga

surprise given the famously secretive

whale called Bailey (Ty Burrell).

Pixar and with Finding Nemo being their

GNI MAG | 35

Do Say: Just keeping swimming… Don’t Say: … right the way to the bank. Released June 17

GNIMAG.COM | 33


FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

THE JUNGLE BOOK Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Neel Sethi as Mowgli Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

What it’s about Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is raised in the jungle by the wolves Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) and Akela (Giancarlo Esposito). When the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens his life, Mowgli must leave his home to set out on a journey of self discovery. Guided by Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), the black panther, and Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), Mowgli is forced to contend with a whole jungle full of animals - from the hypnotising python Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), to the smooth-talking King Louie (Christopher Walken) - if he is ever to make it back to the human world. The forecast Confusingly, there are now two The Jungle Book movies in the pipeline. This one is directed by Jon Favreau (the other by…) Proving that anything is made instantly better when it includes Idris Elba, this remake of the 1967 original surrounds newcomer Neel Sethi with an impressive troupe of the finest voice actors around (and Scarlett Johansson who makes no attempt to do anything other than her usual voice). From the trailers The Jungle Book it looks to offer a seamless blend of CGI and live

What it’s about Set a few years after the super powered

action elements, with 12-year-old New Yorker Sethi playing the movie’s only human.

grudge match that was Superman (Henry

Unusually for a remake of this type, The Jungle Book looks set to retain at least some of

Cavill) versus General Zod, the tide has

the original musical numbers that made the original so memorable.

turned against everyone’s favourite

We won’t lie: we find it hard to imagine Ben call-me-Sir-Ben-you-fucking-fuck

Kryptonian. Kal-El may have saved the

Kingsley replacing Sebastian Cabot as the charismatic Bagheera, or Bill Murray’s doing

day, but Zod’s defeat and the destruction

his best impression of Phil Harris singing ‘The Bare Necessities’, or Christoper Walken

of Metropolis have lead many to

singing ‘King of the Swingers’ but stranger things have happened...

question if Superman could be a threat to humanity. Fearing the actions of a god-like

Do Say: I wanna be like you-ou-ou.

superhero left unchecked, the Bat of Gotham

Don’t Say: King of the swingers, eh? Sounds dodgy.

(Ben Affleck) takes on the Superman of

Released April 15

Metropolis and DC supervillain Doomsday.

34 | GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman Warner Brothers Pictures and DC Entertainment

The forecast This big-screen pairing of DC’s greatest

joining the already super-powered lineup.

Wonder Woman in an outfit that looks…

heroes has been decades in the making.

Oscar winner Ben Affleck is an inspired

less than sensible.

Bats and Supes have had plenty of first

choice for an older, angrier Bruce Wayne.

meetings over the years thanks to reboots

This is a Batman at the end of his career,

franchise on one film. Fingers crossed it’s

and alternate realities. Fun fact: The true

a battle-scarred vigilante with a personal

not be Kryptonian sized car crash.

meeting between the Man of Steel and the

grudge against the last son of Krypton.

Dark Knight was in 1952’s Superman #76.

Hollywood stalwart Jeremy Irons replaces

Do Say: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a $200m

Michael Caine as Alfred, Wayne’s loyal

gamble!

Zack Snyder is back in the director’s chair for this one, having proved himself

butler. Game of Thrones star Jason Mamoa

capable of delivering an entertaining – if

channels his best Dothraki as Aquaman,

controversial – romp in the shape of Man of

while Israeli actress Gal Gadot makes

Steel. Round two sees a bunch of new faces

the long awaited debut as Diana Prince /

Warner Bros are staking their superhero

Don’t Say: Batfleck, really?? Released March 25

GNIMAG.COM | 35


FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

(Clockwise from right) Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision. Marvel Entertainment

What it’s about

The forecast

Set a year after the murderous AI Ultron

Things have taken a turn for the worse for

Just when you thought these movies

levelled half of the Eastern European state

the Avengers in this followup to 2014’s

couldn’t pack in anymore big names,

of Sokovia, public opinion has turned

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The

several new characters will be making their

against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They may

political fallout from Ultron’s devastating

big screen debut in Civil War. Chadwick

have saved the day, but Captain America

attack on Sokovia continues to reverberate

Boseman will be introduced as T’Challa, the

(Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr)

in this thirteenth instalment of the Marvel

warrior prince of Wakanda known as Black

and pals are forced to shoulder the blame.

Cinematic Universe.

Panther. And if Civil War didn’t already

In the wake of this destruction, the US

It goes without saying that Civil War

feature enough big hitters, some kid called

government decides the time has come to

will bear almost no resemblance to the

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is due to make

regulate all superhero activity. A resolution

mammoth crossover event on which it is

his long awaited return to the Marvel fold.

is drawn up - The Sokovia Accords - to make

loosely based. This means no New Warriors,

We won’t spoil how Spider-Man fits into the

a binding agreement that all costumed

no malfunctioning Thor clone (you read

Civil War story, but let’s say it’s a doozy.

heroes have to agree to or else face

that correctly), and definitely no X-Men.

imprisonment. The Accords fractures the

What we will see is Cap’s search for his

Do Say: ???

Avengers into opposing teams – one led by

old pal Bucky Barnes complicated by the

Don’t Say: Still no Thanos?

Tony Stark, the other by Captain America.

divisions between the remaining Avengers,

But who will come out on top?

and Iron Man’s quest to track him down.

36 | GNIMAG.COM

Released May 6


FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

GHOSTBUSTERS Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan, Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates, Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert, Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzman. COLUMBIA PICTURES.

What it’s about It’s this year’s most eagerly anticipated reboots to arguably the finest sci-fi comedies ever made. Fans and filmmakers have been clamouring for a third Ghostbusters for more than 20 years, but with the third volume less than six months away the plot details are surprisingly scant. A few things we do know for certain. Melissa McCarthy plays Abby Yates, a paranormal researcher and ghost catcher. Kristen Wiig is Erin Gilbert, a particle physicist, academic firebrand, and spectral warrior. Kate McKinon plays Jillian Holtzman, a nuclear engineer, munitions expert, and proton wrangler. They are joined by Patty Tolan’s Leslie Jones, a ghost tracker, historian and (we quote) “metaphysical commando.” (We don’t know what it means either.) This cast of some of the finest comedic talent America has to offer will be taking on a host villainous ghosts from eras past, including old-time gangsters, sailors and even some Revolutionary War spirits. The Forecast Six months out and still not so much as a teaser trailer? Our nostalgia for the two original movies is keeping a lot of our love for this sequel-cum-reboot alive. The announcement that this reboot would feature an all female leading cast came in for dollops of hot and frothy fanboy nerdrage, which is exactly why this kind of progressive casting is so badly needed. These four leading ladies are as kick-ass as they are hilarious. This ladies-first spin on ghostbusting is a fresh take on reviving a franchise that (pardon the pun) was dead in the water. But wait! There’s more! It’s not just the brand new crew to look forward to. Nearly the whole line up of the 1984 original will be making as yet undisclosed cameos. Series veterans Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson are along for the ride, but sadly without Harold Ramis who died before production could begin in 2014. Bill Murray won’t be reprising his iconic role as Dr. Peter Venkman, but the current speculation is that he will at least make an appearance as a ghost. Do Say: Who you gonna call? Don’t Say: Bill Murray’s agent. Again. Please! Released July 15

GNIMAG.COM | 37


FEATURE__ WHAT TO WATCH IN 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange. Marvel Entertainment

What it’s about

So where does Strange fit in the wider Marvel universe, we hear

Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant but

you ask? You see that glowing amulet around Strange’s neck? It’s

egotistical doctor. His career comes to an abrupt end when a car

called the Eye of Agamatto and it’s his signature tool. With it he

crash shatters the bones in his hands. Strange searches desperately

is able to manipulate all manner of things, including - wait for

for a way to restore them, scouring the remotest regions of the world

it - time. You see, every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

in a bid to cure himself. Unable to operate because of a permanent

thus far has been part of a decade long march towards something

tremor in his hands, Strange finds his career in ruins. He travels

pretty huge. It’s been teased here and there, but it’s no secret that

to the Himalayas where he locates a shadowy figure known only

everything has been indirecty leading to the big bad purple villain

the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), a mystical being whose strange

that is Thanos and the big play he has panned for Avengers: Infinity

powers might do more than simply save Strange’s broken hands.

War. Four of the six stones have already appeared in the Marvel movies, and now we may have found the fifth. Strange’s new time

The Forecast

travel abilities makes the Eye of Agamatto a likely candidate for the

By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, it’s the Sorcerer Supreme! That

Time Stone (leaving the Soul Stone still waiting to be revealed).

beard. That cloak. That magic! This has to be Marvel’s most faithful

Doctor Strange will also feature a wealth of British acting talent.

rendition of a beloved character since we first met Tony Stark in

Cumberbatch is ideal for the role of the egotistical Strange, a

the bad old pre-Avengers days of 2008. By the looks of it, Marvel’s

brilliant doctor brought to ruin before his *spoiler alert* triumphant

costume pixies are pulling out all the stops to make the master of all

rise to Sorcerer Supreme. He will be facing off against Chiwetel

things mystical really live up to his name.

Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo, a former pupil of the Ancient One gone

Doctor Strange is the first time Marvel has incorporated its

rogue. Little is known about the roles played by already mythical

magical mythos into the cinematic universe. Now that they have

Tilda Swinton or Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen, but with a trailer

supremely cornered the galactic angle with Thor and Guardians

due any day now we can’t wait to find out.

of the Galaxy, the potential for wonderment, magic, and mystical hand waving is high. And did we mention it stars Tilda Swinton

Do Say: The Doctor will see you now

as her umpteenth ageless immortal? You can probably tell from

Don’t Say: Ooh, Matron!

the picture above that *obviously* Strange winds up as an almost entirely different character altogether.

38 | GNIMAG.COM

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FEATURE__ GAY IN THE COMMONWEALTH

Every day, a quarter of the earth’s population faces imprisonment, torture, violence and discrimination because they are LGBT. In some countries being gay is a ‘crime’ punishable by death. We ask why isn’t the British government doing more to protect LGBT people in the Commonwealth WORDS | LEON WARD IMAGES | STONEWALL 40 | GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE__ GAY IN THE COMMONWEALTH

In December, eleven men from the West

ambassadors from all of the Commonwealth

the plight faced by LGBT people throughout

African nation of Senegal were arrested

nations, and the Youth Forum had

the Commonwealth. She spoke movingly of

for alleged same-sex sexual activity. If

over 150 delegates. It is the role of the

the power of light to triumph over the dark

convicted, these men could face up to

Commonwealth young leaders to prepare

in a year that she says has seen “moments

five years in prison. This sad case reflects a

a communiqué to present to the Heads of

of darkness”, but made no mention of the

growing trend of increasing homophobia,

Government. It is the only such forum that

growing struggle against homophobia. A

anti-gay rhetoric, and draconian anti-LGBT

has this level of access to those in power. As

month before no less than Elton John said

legislation throughout the developing

a British delegate it is my job to carefully

he intended to press the Queen to “change”

world. Of the 34 African countries to

push the rights of LGBT people across the

anti-gay laws in Commonwealth countries,

criminalise homosexuality, 30 still use laws

Commonwealth.

insisting that Britain could use its influence

that were enacted when those countries

to “push a little bit harder” for LGBT rights.

were sovereign colonies. In the case of

The Commonwealth Charter reaffirms its

British Commonwealth – countries like

commitment to the Universal Declaration

“These laws come from the

Malawi, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan,

of Human Rights, including the right for

Commonwealth,” he said in an interview.

Ghana and Nigeria – many continue to use

a person to be free from discrimination on

“These laws can be changed very easily by

laws to prosecute same-sex sexual activity

the grounds of sexual orientation; and yet

the Queen saying, ‘change the law’. These

that were implemented during the British

it remains illegal to be gay in 42 of the 53

can be changed, and the Queen could do

rule of India, laws that criminalise activities

Commonwealth member states.

that with one wave of her hand.”

The Commonwealth is a collection of

Unfortunately this is not how the law

Essentially, the British Commonwealth is a

extremes. The smallest member has just

works. The Queen has no constitutional

collection of 53 nations. These nations have

13,000 inhabitants, while the largest, India,

power to force any member of the

a combined population of 2.2 billion people,

has 1.2 billion. These extremes also extend

Commonwealth – or indeed any member

which is roughly one quarter of the world’s

to equality legislation. Whilst it is illegal to

of the Commonwealth Realms where she is

population. These are countries that are free

be gay in the majority of commonwealth

Head of State – to change its laws.

and equal sovereign states, and which were

states, at the other end of the spectrum a

once part of the British Empire. Every two

small nation like Malta has some of the

Edwin Sesange, who is the director of the

years delegates from these 53 nations meet

most advanced LGBT legislation in the

African LGBTI organisation the Out and

to discuss issues and make commitments

world. Malta is ranked by the International

Proud Diamond Group has spoken at

to addressing all sorts of issues, be it the

LGBTI Association as number 1 of 49

length on this issue, saying, “Most of these

interests of small island states, to human

European countries for LGBT rights. It was

countries inherited their anti-gay laws from

rights, to the protection of LGBTI people.

the first country in the European Union

Britain when it was their colonial ruler.

“against the order of nature.”

to add recognition of gender identity as a

They are a colonial hang-over. The existence

I am the UK Young Ambassador to the

protected category to its constitution. In

of these anti-gay laws over the last century

Commonwealth Youth Council. The

2015, Malta also became the first country

has created a climate where many people

CYC is the officially recognised voice

in the world to outlaw invasive surgery

believe that homophobic attitudes and laws

of the 1.2 billion young people of the

on intersex people. The progress made by

are a part of their cultures.”

Commonwealth. The council works for

the Maltese government puts other states,

and represents the voice of all young

including the UK, to shame.

people within the 53 Commonwealth

This presents an obvious challenge to a collective group based on colonial history

nations. In November 2015, we met for a

Last month this issue was brought into

like the Commonwealth to then challenge

week in Malta, which was the host nation

focus when Queen Elizabeth, the current

those colonies on their laws. Essentially, we

of this years Commonwealth Heads of

head of the Commonwealth, failed to

are criticising what we left behind. So, what

Government meeting. There were young

mention in her annual Christmas message

can be done to change things?

>>>

GNIMAG.COM | 41


FEATURE__ GAY IN THE COMMONWEALTH

worst of the commonwealth

The Commonwealth’s newly appointed

position would have been reversed, with a

Nigeria

top diplomat, Baroness Scotland, hopes to

mere 20% of delegates standing up against

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill

convince Commonwealth nations to alter

such blatant discrimination.

2013 was signed into law by President

their policies when the Commonwealth

Goodluck Jonathan in 2014. This

heads next meet in the UK in 2018.

Throughout my time in Malta it was my privilege to learn that real Commonwealth

imposes a maximum prison sentences of up to 14 years on those found guilty

“What we have to accept is that

change is delivered by citizens, charities,

of involvement in gay organisations.

[decriminalizing homosexuality] is

and pressure groups. What’s interesting

Public displays of sexuality can lead to a

something that will depend on consensus,”

is that even in that space I still found

ten years sentence.

she said. “We do not have the right or

myself being asked the same questions I

opportunity to force states, but we can

get asked in the UK. “When did you know

start a really good conversation to work with them so they understand the economic issues in relations to human Uganda Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni passed an anti-homosexuality bill in 2015. Under this law homosexual offences carry a life sentence in prison. President Museveni previously rejected the bill, before a group of medical ‘experts’ claimed “homosexuality is not genetic but a social behaviour.”

rights and make the change. The one thing I have to do is to build consensus and trust and I can hope it will [be on the next Commonwealth Meeting agenda].” During our

you were gay?” and

Most of these countries inherited their anti-gay laws from Britain when it was their colonial ruler. They are a colonial hang-over. The existence of these laws over the last century has created a climate where many people believe that homophobic attitudes and laws are a part of their cultures

negotiations, the

so on. When you work through those questions those individuals asking those questions come to the realisation that LGBT people are just like everyone else. That isn’t to say that dealing with that line of questioning isn’t frustrating (it really is difficult to engage with people who think you’re an abomination)

representative from

but the real change

Tanzania presented a motion to remove

happens at the dinner table; when you are

sexual orientation from being explicitly

all disarmed you discover that much more

listed as a minority group. Rather than

unites than divides you.

intervene, I let other countries do it, Malaysia

countries like India and Sri Lanka, both of

We changed the hearts of minds of any

whom presented very progressive stances.

number of young people during that forum,

Gay Malaysians face imprisonment,

As a white, gay, British man, standing

young people who are hailed as leaders

corporal punishment and deportation.

before the delegates of the Commonwealth

in their own communities. These young

According to Malaysian criminal

and arguing that the UK hasn’t got things

people are the agents of change, who can

code – which has not been changed

right yet sends a powerful message of

go on to change hearts and minds in their

since the colonial era – sodomy and

friendship, diplomacy, and understanding.

own homelands. We have come so far as an

oral sex between heterosexuals and

The motion that Tanzania presented was

organisation, but there is still plenty left to

homosexuals is punishable with fines

quashed after only gaining support from

do. We have to work with the countries that

and up to 20 years in prison.

20% of the other delegates. This is a huge

introduce draconian legislation, not lecture

leap forward; even ten years ago this

them.

42 | GNIMAG.COM


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FEATURE__

hooking up in qatar

using hookup apps in qatar, where gay sex is punishable by death WORDS: BERT ARCHER

>>>

GNIMAG.COM | 45


FEATURE__

I

hooking up in qatar

was in Doha, the capital of Qatar,

to the death penalty. As far as Qatar is

these sorts of people, my sorts of people, were

with bits of four days to spare and an

concerned, I’m lost anyway, soul-wise. I’d

the government to want to do that sort of

empty hotel room with the promise

just get put in prison, maybe tortured, I’m

thing. Saudi Arabia, just a few kilometres

of a constant supply of clean sheets

guessing raped, and then deported. But if

west, has been accused of doing just that.

and towels, so I figured I’d check out

you’re Muslim, the law says death, or at least

And the first couple of guys I messaged

the hook-up sites and apps to see

imprisonment and 100 lashes. And these

back—apologies, guys—were asked more

what was up.

guys popping up on my screen with their

questions than I usually ask about where

endearingly displayed body parts all looked

they were and who they were and could

pretty Muslim.

they take an incriminating picture posed just

I travel a lot, and in addition to talking

to bookstore clerks about who the big local writers are, seeing what the latest

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that sex

like I say so I know it’s you and not some

architecture looks like, and trying out cool

trumps death. It’s the same penalty for all

be-robed cop using stolen porn to reel in the

new boozes, talking to and having sex with

forms of extramarital sex in Qatar and several

unwitting unholy.

the locals is one of the things I like most

other countries. People have fucked through

about travel.

plagues that killed a third of the known

with the exception of the one guy in the

world and the more recent one that seemed

polo shirt and basketball shorts who didn’t

first stridently religious Muslim country I’d

engineered to specifically kill the world’s

have more than two or three words of

ever tried any of the apps or sites in. I’d heard

most enthusiastic fuckers. I once had sex

English (or at least didn’t offer more than

the emirate, still far more traditional than

with a guy who told me he climbed into his

that to me), I did talk with them. I really

its frantically Westernising UAE cousins to

young wife’s hospital bed and they fucked,

like postcoital get-to-know-you talk, with

the south, was slowly liberalising on the

joyously, memorably, and I’m guessing

its combination of intimacy, honesty, and

road to its 2022 World Cup. Women with

painfully, just days before she died, and just

stakes-free carelessness that seems to lead

off-the-shoulder dresses were no longer

weeks before we fucked.

to conversations that mostly sound pretty

But maybe Qatar was different. It was the

being hissed at in the streets, for instance.

Except it is surprising, because this is the

I didn’t always get their names, but

honest instead of fabricated, which would be

But I’d also heard there were plans afoot to

non-secular Muslim world, and everything

somehow identify gays at the border, and

we’ve been thinking for about the last 14

gay publications, as well as the now ex FIFA

years points to a monolith, a medieval set

personal details here—all but a couple were

chief Sepp Blatter were already warning

of values and choice of punishments, not

Muslim and most were Qatari and so would

football fans about maybe not kissing your

just among the crazies in the ruins of Homs,

be candidates for the chopping block—so I’ll

boyfriend after a big goal.

Aleppo, and Palmyra, but in millennia-old

make some up to obfuscate.

I’d looked into the laws about such things, as I always do before traveling to a new place. In Qatar, the maximum penalty for

civilisations and enthusiastic economic and military allies of the West.

just as easy. I want to be careful about the guys’

There was the bodybuilder who lived with his boyfriend, whom he considered

This is one of the many powers of travel.

his husband, or the guy with the sprung,

same-sex sexual activity (or any extramarital

A place never looks the same on the ground

rabbit-like body, all nervous energy, who

monkey business between anywhere) is

as it does from the height of Google Earth

got impatient with my leisurely approach to

death. I could see how that could put a

or the arm’s length of even a responsible

fucking him, and flipped me in what must

damper on the hook-up scene.

news report. This emirate is as against men

have been a practiced wrestling move and

with other men’s penises in them as they

got most of the way into me—which I’m fine

may be a direct neurological link between

are against calling their Prophet a naughty

with but dude, roll on a condom—before

empty hotel rooms and sex drive. Someone

name. But, look at this glowing screen.

I kicked him over and restored order. He

should look into it. Anyway, despite the pall

Look at those hopeful, horny, possibly

worked for a big Qatari corporation. Our

of death, I logged in, and within about a

brave, mostly young men, erupting out of

conversation was much like it has been in

minute, I started hearing those familiar little

this tiny desert nation with Goldblumian

other hotel rooms in other cities, talking

moist-sounding electronic pops.

inevitability. Life will find a way.

about home, other trips, other sex. I asked

I’m no Ben Carson, but I think there

“Hey”

I had meetings and lunches and suppers

him if it was tough having sex with guys

“Hi”

and drinks, but amid those, in the early

here with the laws so strict and scary. He

“Hey”

mornings, late nights, and occasionally

laughed a laugh I’ve grown accustomed

“Hey”

stolen hours in between when the thing I

to on the road, the oh-you-stupid-foreigner

You gotta love it. The human sex drive is a

was doing happened to be in the lobby of

laugh. No, he said, it wasn’t tough. There’s

mighty and hilarious thing, and these apps

my own hotel, I had some sex, and learned

a quotation inscribed in the entrance hall

and sites are the gateway through which this

a thing or two about the religious Muslim

of Doha’s grand Museum of Islamic Art

veritable force of nature is released across the

world in the process.

from the 13th-century historian Rawandi:

planet. I should point out that I was not subject

46 | GNIMAG.COM

At first, I thought vaguely that these sites and apps would be a good way to track just

“He should be aware of his enemies, like a chess player who, while observing his own


FEATURE__

hooking up in qatar

move, watches over his opponent’s.” These

words to place you, place themselves, pick

plugged the words Doha, souk, gay, and

guys seem to have gotten the hang of it.

up a story or two, the talk about pent-up

police into Google.

Then there was a builder who re-upped his

unspeakable things as much an attraction

annual contract more than half a dozen

for some as the sex. Most of these guys

occasionally pick up foreign workers caught

times instead of going back to his home

weren’t trapped here by any means—they

in compromising same-sex situations and,

country. I went to his apartment, which

could fly to Berlin or New York whenever

in exchange for not arresting and deporting

he shared with one other guy who seemed

they wanted to—so the restrictions were

them, turn them into bait. The rights of

to be out. I asked him about the working

contingent, fungible.

foreign workers are not highly developed

conditions I’d heard about on the news. “It’s

On my last night in town, I took a walk

The first three results told me that police

in Qatar, and this seemed to fall right into

not good,” he told me as he walked around

through the souk. It’s new, but looks old,

line with other stories of passport and wage

the room toweling the cum off his belly

and even has intentionally run-down bits

withholding. I’d noticed my guy texting a

and picking his clothes up off the floor—he

where the spice and fabric shops for the

few times as we walked, and when I came

wasn’t much of a cuddler, this guy—“but it’s

foreign workers are. I’d wandered around

out of the hotel, he was texting some more. I

better than at home.”

for about 10 minutes when a tall, broad,

told him I’d changed my mind, and he left.

I asked another quiet, serious guy, about

beautiful man fell into stride beside me

So, that was either a close call or a missed

whether there was any way to meet people

and asked where I was from. I told him,

opportunity, but whatever the case, the

in Doha offline. He said there was a hotel bar

and angled into a gift store. He followed.

episode—as well as the whole atmosphere of

he went to. Qataris aren’t officially allowed

His English was vestigial—he was from Sri

these meet-ups, secret but not secretive, the

in hotel bars, but it turns out that if you’re

Lanka—but he was persistent, friendly, and

guys more furtive than frightened—called

not wearing your thobe, you aren’t assumed to be Qatari. I went to the bar later to see for myself. It certainly wasn’t a gay bar, but there were single, young, brown men who ordered drinks they didn’t drink and stood at the bar making the same kind of anxious, hungry, hesitant eye contact I’ve read about in novels and memoirs that describe the North American scene five and six decades ago. There are many different sorts of what we might call sexual miasmas in the world. There’s the confident cruising of catching someone’s eye on a street at a time and in a place where catching someone’s eye is playful instead of dangerous, or the

As a foreigner I was not subject to the death penalty. As far as Qatar is concerned, I’m lost anyway, soul-wise. I’d just get put in prison, maybe tortured, I’m guessing raped, and then deported. But if you’re Muslim, the law says death, or at least imprisonment and 100 lashes

pressurised pick-up in a club where the

to mind not the secret police of East Berlin or whoever enforces Iran’s codes of conduct, but someone I met a couple of weeks ago in DC. He was in his 60s, and told me about how things were there when he was a teenager. There was a wooded area just outside town where guys would wander and meet at night. And every once in a while, he said, there’d be a big search light that would sweep through the trees once, twice, and then out. He never saw the police come in and make any arrests, though everything the guys were doing was at least three kinds of illegal. The cops just wanted you to know that they knew you were there, and that they’d let you do all those things you were

whole reason to be there is to find someone

hot, so we talked and we walked, and he

doing as long as you didn’t step out of line

so not to at least try is basically failure, and

offered to show me his favourite spots. He

and force them to do anything about it.

there’s the desperation of that same club

told me about his work, and how he lived

or party as the crowd starts to dwindle and

in a dorm with five other guys, but that it

but it’s not being thrown off tall buildings

you’ve got no one on the line. There are more

was OK, because the room was free, and

either, and it’s not the way I’d gotten used to

extreme miasmas, like window shopping

he was making more here than at home.

thinking about life in the religious Islamic

in a bathhouse, the mash-up of a group

After another five minutes, he grabbed my

world. The news gives us triumphs and

thing, or what I assume is the basically RPG

little finger with his and squeezed. Four or

disasters; everyday life, by definition, isn’t

approach that takes over in prison.

five minutes after that, he led me into an

news. But for what it’s worth, everyday

alleyway, grabbed my crotch, and asked if

life for a man-fucking man in Qatar, citizen

felt distinct. The closest thing I can come up

I had a place where I could fuck him. We

and guest-worker alike, seems un-dramatic,

with is what I imagine a lumber or oil town

walked around a little more while I figured

un-frightening, operating on much the same

might have been like a few decades ago.

out whether this was a good idea. Deciding

principles as it does anywhere else in the

It had that kind of avidity, an enthusiasm

it totally was, we headed to my hotel. I asked

world with internet connections and selfies.

just this side of desperation, a focus on sex

him to wait outside while I made sure it was

to the exclusion of any consideration of

OK that he came in. A last-minute twinge

relationship or friendship, but with an

made me want to check something. So I

This article was originally published in VICE

abiding interest in at least some shared

got to my lobby, hooked up to the wifi, and

Canada and is republished with permission

Doha felt like none of those things. Doha

It’s not a happy and healthy gay-for-all,

GNIMAG.COM | 47


gni mag investigates__ chemsex

“Originally sex and drugs were two separate things, but somewhere along the line they became one and the same. So you’re no longer having sex without drugs, and you’re no longer having drugs without sex” GNI MAG investigates... the rise of ChemSex WORDS | KIERAN CLARKE ADDITIONAL REPORTING | CHRISTOPHER MEGRATH IMAGES | PECCADILLO PICTURES / VICE

“I pretty much slam every day, four slams a day. [It costs] about

The film poses a number of difficult questions, namely: What is

£400 a week. That’s not so much. I’m not like a proper drug addict.

the scale of the ChemSex problem, how many people are affected,

Like, to some people it would seem that I am…”

and what are the potential long-term effects? The answers are

“What’s a proper drug addict?’ a voice off-camera asks. “I don’t know. Probably me.” Welcome to the world of ChemSex, a new documentary from

often as brutal and shocking as they are revealing. “The decision to turn a camera on this subject came from seeing first-hand how this community were starting to respond

VICE which delves into the hidden underworld of drug abuse,

to this crisis,” Gogarty tells us. “From anonymous voices on social

addiction and unprotected sex on the UK gay scene. Its directors

networks to an NHS sexual health clinic creating the first ever

William Fairman and Max Gogarty describe the film as “a

position for a drugs worker on premises, it became clear to us

confessional show-and-tell,” a film “about a secret world where

that ‘chemsex’ was pushing people’s physical and mental health

people hide their addiction in plain sight, living in a cycle of

to breaking point, not to mention the resources of those on the

extreme pleasure and pain, validation and isolation.”

frontline trying to stem this epidemic. The film, we hope, touches

Chemsex tackles what could be the biggest health crisis facing

upon wholly universal notions of internalized shame, cycles

the gay community since HIV/AIDs. The film charts the rise of

of self-destruction and eventual redemption through this very

what has become an explosion of days-long parties fuelled by

modern and little known health emergency.

intravenous drug use, sex with multiple partners, and all in a world that can be openly welcoming of HIV-positive sex.

48 | GNIMAG.COM

“What started as a look into a ‘healthcare emergency,’ soon evolved into a complex revelation,” Fairman explains. “It wasn’t


gni mag investigates__ chemsex

GNIMAG.COM | 49


gni mag investigates__ chemsex

the sex or the drugs that shocked. Neither was it the danger or

as the result of a ChemSex weekend.

the consequences. It was the realisation that, for the majority of

“We have an issue with sex. If you don’t believe me, go to your

people, it was intimacy and not lust nor hedonism that was the

local sexual health clinic and you will see hordes of gay men self-

driving force behind their behaviour.”

medicating their way through complicated sexual identities and

Of course drug-fuelled parties aren’t a phenomena that are new to the gay scene, but mobile-phone apps such as Grindr and websites specifically designed to appeal to that subculture have brought them within easy reach of the average gay man. One of the main interviewees in Chemsex is David Stuart, who

experiences with really harmful drugs. The average number of partners is between 5 and 15 people per weekend. “In my day you’d get asked out in a bar,” he explains at the outset of the film. “These days, you’re 16, you leave your home in Hertfordshire, you come to London to find your gay life, and

is the Substance Use Lead at 56 Dean Street, an NHS sexual health

you find Grindr. And within perhaps four conversations you’ll be

clinic based in Soho, in the heart of London. It was the first clinic in

introduced to chems. Within eight conversations on Grindr you’re

the world to have an on-site Infinity machine, allowing patients to

going to be introduced to injecting, or ‘slamming’ as it’s called.

know their HIV test results within six hours. David Stewart is the only substance abuse lead specialising in ChemSex in the UK. “Five gay men are being diagnosed with HIV every single day in London, that’s a huge number. At 56 Dean Street there was one weekend where 33 gay men showed up for PEP. 31 of those were

50 | GNIMAG.COM

“There is no handbook on how to be a safe gay man in modern times, in a changing healthcare world, in a changing app world, in a hooking-up technology world.”

GNI MAG spoke to David shortly before Chemsex was released on DVD. One of the first questions we asked him was just how


gni mag investigates__ chemsex

prominent a problem ChemSex is in the UK. “There is no evidence at all to inform us how

“You’ve got fuck all in common with them,” he adds. “You don’t know anything about

prevalent ChemSex is in any region,” he told us.

them. But the drugs let you think you do have

“Though sexual health and HIV clinics are very

something in common with them, and that you

good at asking about drug use in sexual settings,

do really feel for them. For days you get to feel

the data collection on this form of drug use is

like you’re worth something. You’re important

only beginning to be addressed now, as more

at least to the person who’s fucking you or who

anecdotal reports of ChemSex behaviour are

you’re fucking. You’re important to the people

coming to light.

whose house you’re at, and the gay scene can be

“At times of new trends emerging, where

such a lonely alienating place that you can see

research is lacking, we have a public health responsibility to listen to the calls from community organisations, voices in affected communities, calls for awareness from community press, and of course, the very loud calls for support from front line staff in GUM/HIV settings. “Ten years ago, ChemSex was mostly practiced amongst longterm HIV positive gay men, many of whom had been out of work or education for some time, in many cases due to HIV related poor health and [who were] caught up in the ‘welfare/benefits cycle’. “For many of these people, sex was the favoured and easiest way to seek and enjoy social engagement and friendships.

the function that that sex serves.”

“There is no handbook on how to be a safe gay man in modern times, in a changing healthcare world, in a changing app world, in a hooking-up technology world.”

Nowadays, ChemSex is widely

Another difference is the stigma attached to ChemSex. “Crystal meth and ‘slamming’ have become highly stigmatised,” David explains during the course of our interview, “while those sniffing mephedrone, shooting GBL at

themselves from the word ChemSex, and avoiding any stigma the term has attached to it.” The issues around stigma are highlighted throughout. “We’re tarting it up with new names to make it sound acceptable,” says Dick, who is 32 and from Watford. “We’re not injecting drugs like the heroin addicts; we’re slamming, and using pins, not needles. ‘Do you fancy using five month old

syringes to get off your face and not know what you’re doing?’ doesn’t sound like a very

age groups, economic groups, demographics,

tempting invite,” he laughs. “‘Do you fancy a

ethnicities and HIV status.”

ChemSex session?’ Oh, yes please!”

GHB/GBL Known as: G, Gina, Liquid ecstasy Appearance: A clear liquid This class C drug causes reduced experience of pain during rough sex. Other effects include euphoria, increased energy and feelings of invincibility

From all the data that has so far been

connection can be short lived, another

collected on, it is possible to say that ChemSex is

contributor explains. “Suddenly you find

a growing problem. According to The Chemsex

yourself in a group of six, seven, people,” he

Study, which is the most comprehensive study

admits, “you’re having fun, having a great time,

on ChemSex in Britain to date, the practice is

and hardly any of these people become real

mostly limited to London and outlying areas,

friends, but they can fill a void on a Friday or

but its influence is spreading.

Saturday night when you would have been

Effects include euphoria and sexual stimulation. Side effects include anxiety, paranoia, and heart and problem. It is a class B drug illegal in the UK since 2008

settings prefer to disassociate

networking and is prevalent amongst varying

This feeling of chemically induced emotional

Mephedrone Known as: Meow Meow, MCAT Appearance: White powder

chill-outs and having sex in those

practiced, easily accessed via online sexual

alone all weekend…

THE NEED TO KNOW

We spoke to James Copeland, the Sexual Health Development Officer from The Rainbow

Crystal methamphetamine Known as: Crystal, Tina Appearance: Ice-like crystals Usually smoked, snorted as a powder, injected, or administered rectally, Crystal meth can cause severe sleep disruption, depression, paranoia and exhaustion

GNIMAG.COM | 51


gni mag investigates__ chemsex

IMAGE: 56 DEAN STREET

Project, about the potential ChemSex impact in Ireland. “At this point in time people are very, very unsure what

“We can have between 10 and 30 PEP presentations on a single day at 56 Dean Street, even higher numbers after a Bank holiday

ChemSex is,” he tells us, “and what actually constitutes ChemSex,

weekend. It’s an easy estimation based on clinic experience, that

because there are drugs people will take and then go on to have

more than half of these are Chem-related. We do know that many

sex, and that isn’t ChemSex. ChemSex uses drugs that specifically

guys miss the three-day window for accessing PEP, because of

enhance sex.

comedowns, longer benders, ignorance about PEP, or shame about

“The community here knows very little about ChemSex. We aren’t prepared for the problems it’s going to cause in Northern

the risks they’d taken.” Writing about drugs is always a difficult topic. We risk

Ireland, and when it does hit, it’s going to hit hard. So the Rainbow

stigmatising guys who use drugs which is far more likely to make

Project is very worried by ChemSex.

things worse.

“If we take a disaster scenario, ChemSex has the potential to be the next sexual health atom bomb. It’s potentially as big as HIV.” One of the main issues surrounding ChemSex is the

“The gay community is emerging from a really complicated past, there are vulnerable gay men with issues around sex, and new drugs that tap into that problem rather well, and changing

disinhibiting effects of the drugs; this usually leads to no condom

technology. It’s a perfect storm. In nearly every case I’ve ever seen

use which, given the fact that these sessions can often last for days,

there is an explainable reason why these guys are using drugs. Gay

means that access to PEP will be too late to have affect.

men, who have grown up isolated, are looking for a disinhibitor.

When we broach the topic of condom use among those

They’re looking for something that enables communication

engaging in ChemSex David goes on to say, “Our data shows that

with other people, a connection with other people, to be part of a

condom use is very poor amongst those engaging in ChemSex, the

community, and the drugs enable that in a big way.”

nature of the high makes it very difficult to resist the temptation of the erotic moment. Our data also shows that those diagnosed HIV

If you want help with a ChemSex addiction contact The Rainbow

positive, and on treatment, are very good at adhering to their HIV

Project in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry ((028) 9031 9030),

medicines, meaning they are least likely to be contributing to HIV

or glen.ie in the Republic of Ireland

transmission rates. Our concern is the undiagnosed HIV positive

Chemsex is available now on DVD and at

men engaging in ChemSex.

peccapics.com/peccadilloplayer

52 | GNIMAG.COM


candle is inserted carefully into the outer ear and the flame is allowed to burn down to within a short distance of a marked red line, when the candle is removed gently and extinguished in some water. The practitioner then massages gently around the ear, using draining movements down the neck.

REFLE

Reflexology therapist wor feet, hands, a The theory b Rej uva l a s e B e a u t yreflex points B e a u t y glands in the points with fin in those orga TIME TO UNWIND WITH GREAT OFFERS ON HOLISTIC TREATMENTS energetic pat

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The procedure is repeated with the other ear, and then the patient lies on his/her back for gentle drainage massage on the face.

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It is then important for the patient to haveTO UNWIND WITH GREAT OFFERS TIME HOLISTIC TREATME SPECIALON OFFERS! 25% off Reflexology and When done b a drink of water and lie still for about 15 Rejuvalise Holistic Theparist Deirdre Hopi Ear Candling this month.those in out s McCabe tells us all about Hopi Ear minutes before he/she stands up. Candling and Reflexology relaxing treat If you’re looking for the ultimate in relaxation, why not try one of the holistic 25% off Reflexology and felt througho What are the benefits? therapies on offer at Rejuvalase Beauty HOPI EAR CANDLING & Laser Clinic in Belfast? Our holistic Hopi candles can be used for many For our latestHopi Ear Candling this mont therapists are experienced in delivering a range of treatments which will have you The therapis conditions including deafness caused by offers like us on feeling wonderful in no time at all. And this We are always bringing in different deals so make sure to like our Fa that include excess wax, congested sinuses,month irritation tw of our popular treatments have page and call into our salon so you don’t miss out on our fantastic oh Facebook JAN 28th THE SSE ARENA BELFAST 25% off. Tempted? You should be! kneading, rot in the ears, ringing or noises in the ears, JAN 29thtinnitus, THE HELIX-MAHONEY HALL headaches and migraines. As the should feel a rhinitis, glue ear, colds,DUBLIN flu, so gentle, they are particularly sui HOPI EAR CANDLING JAN 30th THE HELIX-MAHONEY HALL DUBLIN children.

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What are Hopi Candles?

What are the effects?

Hopi Ear Candles are hollow tubes made of cotton, soaked in beeswax, honey and herbs. When lit, the candle acts like a chimney, causing the warm air inside it to rise and creating a vacuum at the bottom. This vacuum gently stimulates the ear, facilitating removal of excess wax and impurities.

In most cases the treatment is extremely soothing and relaxing, leaving the patient with a sense of well-being and reduced pressure in the ears or head. A little warmth is felt, and hissing and crackling noises are heard, with a little popping. Most people say that it is a very pleasant experience! The initial effect can be an improvement in hearing or freer nasal breathing and an improved sense of smell. However, improvements can continue occurring for a day or two.

How are the candles used?

JAN 31st FEB 2nd FEB 3rd FEB 4th

The patient should lie in a comfortable position on his/her side with the head supported on a pillow. A small cotton towel or flannel should cover the hair. The lit candle is inserted carefully into the outer ear and the flame is allowed to burn down to within a short distance of a marked red line, when the candle is removed gently and extinguished in some water. The practitioner then massages gently around the ear, using draining movements down the neck.

REFLEXOLOGY Whatwhere arethethe effects? Reflexology is a treatment therapist works on “reflex points” on your In most cases feet, hands, and head (especially ears). the treatment is ext The theory behind reflexology is that these soothing and relaxing, leaving the reflex points relate to specific organs and glands in the body, and stimulating thoseof well-being and red with a sense points with finger pressure promotes health pressure the ears or head. A litt in those organs and glands via thein body’s energetic pathways. is felt, and hissing and crackling n When done by a skilled practitioner, heard, withlike a little popping. Most p those in out salon, reflexology is a deeply relaxing treatmentthat with benefits can be pleasant experienc it is that a very

NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE WEXFORD What are Hopi Candles? Hopi Ear Candles are hollow tubes made UCH LIMERICK of cotton, soaked in beeswax, honey and herbs. When lit, the candle acts like a THE EVERYMAN THEATRE CORK chimney, causing the warm air inside it to rise and creating a vacuum at the bottom. THEATRE ROYAL CASTLEBAR This vacuum gently stimulates the ear,

Rejuvalase Beauty & Laser Clinic, 448 Newtownards Road, Belfast 028 9046 9447 or 084 3886 9497 Email: rejuvalase@o For tickets and more info visitTel: www.takingcareofelvis.co.uk The procedure is repeated with the other ear, and then the patient lies on his/her back for gentle drainage massage on the face. It is then important for the patient to have a drink of water and lie still for about 15

before he/she stands up. facilitating removal of excess minutes wax and What are the benefits? impurities.

Hopi candles can be used for many conditions including deafness caused by excess wax, congested sinuses, irritation in the ears, ringing or noises in the ears, tinnitus, rhinitis, glue ear, colds, flu,

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felt throughout the body.

The initial effect can be an improv in hearing or freer nasal breathing The patient should lie in a comfortable an improved sense of smell. How position on his/her side with the head improvements can continue occur supported on a pillow. A small cotton towel day orBT4 two. Rejuvalase Beauty & Laser Clinic, 448 Newtownards Road, Belfast, Antrim, 1HJ or flannel should cover the hair. The litTel: 028 9046 9447 or 084 3886 9497 Email: rejuvalase@outlook.com candle is inserted carefully into the outer ear and the flame is allowed to burn down to within a short distance of a marked red line, when the candle is removed gently and Reflexology is a treatment where extinguished in some water. The practitioner therapist works on “reflex points” then massages gently around the ear, using feet, hands, and head (especially 249 Castlereagh Road - 028 90 450281 249 Castlereagh Road - 028 90 450281 draining movements down the neck. The theory behind reflexology is t reflex points relate to specific orga procedure is repeated with the other glands in the body, and stimulatin We Repair Phones && Tablets We Repair Phones Tablets The ear, and then the patient lies on his/her back points with finger pressure promo Screens, Liquid damage, charging problems, Screens, Liquid damage, charging problems, for gentle drainage massage on the face. in those organs and glands via the energetic pathways. Battery replacements && more Battery replacements more It is then important for the patient to have a drink of water and lie still for about 15 When done by a skilled practitione minutes before he/she stands up. those in out salon, reflexology is a relaxing treatment with benefits th We Repair laptops & Desktop PCs We Repair laptops & Desktop PCsWhat are the benefits? felt throughout the body. Hopi candles can be used for many Upgrades, Virus Removal, Hardware Diagnostic, Upgrades, Virus Removal, Hardware Diagnostic, The therapist will use various tech conditions including deafness caused by Charging port replacements, Screen Repairs Charging port replacements, Screen Repairs that include holds, finger pressure excess wax, congested sinuses, irritation kneading, rotation and rubbing an in the ears, ringing or noises in the ears, should feel an effect through the e tinnitus, rhinitis, glue ear, colds, flu,

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The therapist will use various techniques that include holds, finger pressure, kneading, rotation and rubbing and you should feel an effect through the entire body.

REFLEXOLOGY

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FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR Photography by Tony Webster Styling by I’ll Be Your Mirror Models: Jenna McMenemy & Jamie Torrance Make up by Debbie Morrison Hair styling by Byers & Birrell Location: Habib Home Looks available from: sofiajuanne.com

GNIMAG.COM | 55


FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

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FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

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FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

GNIMAG.COM | 59


FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

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FASHION__ I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

GNIMAG.COM | 61


get the look HIS

IN THE KNOW...

Alternative never looked so good, especially with the effortlessly simple and edgy paving its way into fashion. A dark t-shirt with the classic grungy red checked shirt complement each other all year around. Tan chino trousers break up the darker look with the navy suede boots tying everything together.

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62 | GNIMAG.COM


get the look Hers

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IN THE KNOW...

Elegant and light but still fashion forward with an urban twist, a khaki tunic paired with a white undershirt is an amazing look by itself. Finishing the bold look with cream accessories such as sunglasses, shoes and backpack the festival inspired look is perfect for the carefree chick in all of us.

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GNIMAG.COM | 63


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YOUR DATING PROBLEMS ANSWERED__

Holiday dramz and messy boyfriends Dating expert Eamon is here to help. How quickly you’ll be able to stop thinking about a partner after a breakup varies for everyone. Time really is the only healer of a broken heart. Bottling up those emotions could be what is stopping from you moving on

Hi Eamon. I’m on the wrong side of 30 and middle-aged spread is starting to set in. My boyfriend likes husky guys but I’m worried my weight is starting to become an issue for him. I work crazy hours so the gym is out of the question, and I try to eat well but usually end up eating rubbish. I’ve wanted to get back in shape for ages but having a boyfriend is making the pressure worse. Any advice? Liam, Drogheda First things first: if you want to get back in shape it has to be for you and you alone. If the only reason you are doing this is because you think your weight is an issue for your boyfriend then – in my experience – you aren’t likely to achieve your goal. The more pressure and stress you feel the less likely you are to enjoy it, and it’ll be all the easier to quit early. Have an honest conversation with your boyfriend and let him know your concerns and how you have been feeling. His support and encouragement could be the start of the motivation you need to kick start a new healthy you. If you are lucky the new regime that you introduce could become something that you can do as a couple. I’m not a fan of diets, but would advise eating regular, smaller, healthy meals throughout the day to combat your snacking. If you can’t make it to the gym ask your boyfriend to start exercising with you in the evenings. Never be afraid to have an open and honest conversation with your partner. Bottling up your problems only leads to further issues further down the line.

Dear Eamon, my girlfriend and I are planning a holiday this summer. It’s our first holiday together and I want everything to be perfect for her. The only problem is we are very affectionate, even in public. I want to be sure we pick somewhere where we know we will be accepted. Somewhere warm with a beach, please! Sinead, County Tyrone Hi Sinead. The first holiday together is always exciting. There would be nothing worse than if you both felt uncomfortable and unable to be yourselves. I would advise doing plenty of research before

choosing a destination. Use the likes of Trip Advisor, which has a gay travel section and which lets you read the experiences of other couples. Have you considered asking friends or coworkers? You will trust their advice more than you will probably trust mine!

Hey Eamon. I’ve been single for most of my life. I’ve had two relationships, only one serious, which ended more than two years ago. I still think about him every single day and it’s killing me. Emotionally I feel like I moved on a long time ago. So why can’t I get him out of my head? It’s affecting my mental health and I would be very happy to never think of him again. We don’t have any contact and anything that reminds me of him is stored away in boxes where I don’t have to think about them. What do I do to stop myself thinking of him? Daniel, Belfast How quickly you’ll be able to stop thinking about a partner after a breakup varies for everyone, because it takes into account a lot of other factors, for instance: Is this your first serious relationship that has come to an end? How much interaction did you have which is no longer there? Time really is the only healer of a broken heart. It’s important to have distractions for those moments when you do still think about him. Find a friend to vent to who won’t make you feel bad for being upset so long after the relationship came to an end. Bottling up those emotions could be what is stopping from you moving on, especially if you have no outlet to process those feelings. Over time these thoughts and memories will pop up less and less frequently until one day you’ll wake up and realize you haven’t had one in a long time.

If you want Eamon to answer your dating problems email dating@lambpromotions. com GNI MAG reserves the right to publish submitted material in whole or in part.

GNIMAG.COM | 65


Travel__ Manchester

MAN CHES TER WORDS | GASTROGAYS

66 | GNIMAG.COM


Travel__ Manchester

Affectionately dubbed Warehouse

Fine Dining

City (and maybe less affectionately as

Though the city keeps missing out on

‘Madchester’), Manchester has followed

Michelin stars, shining examples of

London’s lead over the past few decades -

cutting-edge culinary talent include

bedecked with glass-fronted skyscrapers,

Manchester House (manchesterhouse.

destination restaurants, a buzzing culture

uk.com), The French (the-french.co.uk),

punctuated by art, foodie pop-ups, and a

and Australasia (australasia.uk.com)

voracious nightlife. Manchester rightly

in Spinningfields. Entry-level fine

rivals Brighton, Edinburgh and London as

dining can be found nearby at Ibèrica

one of the UK’s must-see cities.

(ibericareatauraints.com), Hawksmoor

Few other cities have as devoted a gay

(thehawksmoor.com) and The Alchemist

scene as Manchester. It’s vocal, it’s visual

(thealchemist.uk.com). Slap-up breakfasts

and, above all, it’s proud. The epicentre

and Sunday roasts are a necessity once

is the Gay Village (as it’s locally known).

you’re up north and Gorilla, located

Canal Street is a strip of the city centre that

underneath the arches of Manchester

runs alongside the Rochdale Canal, and

Oxford Road station, will see you ship

is tightly stocked with bars, restaurants,

shape for breakfast (always better with

nightclubs, hotels and, of course, no

added booze from the fantastic bar). The

shortage of gay bars.

Blue Pig has one of the best-value, best-

Revelers spill out onto large terraces, both when the sun comes out and when

tasting roasts in the city, ensuring Sundays are nothing short of sensational.

it goes down, and the lively atmosphere is boundless. Where other European

CHEAP EATS

cities’ gay scenes linger within the souls

Comfort is king at Home Sweet Home,

of dispersed premises, coming alive once

a mismatched, modern milk bar located

a year to celebrate Pride, Canal Street is a

on Edge Street. The biggest draw is the

year-round celebration of LGBT life.

wide selection of camp cakes at the deli

Each summer Canal Street becomes the

counter, all bedazzled with over-the-

beating heart of Manchester Pride, one of

top icing, garish glitter, and some even

the UK’s biggest gay pride festivals, which

adorned with Barbie’s, fondant characters

this year celebrated its 25th birthday.

and classic sweets. No mere bakery, the

First the gays made their mark, then the

big and bold American-style menu is

‘fag hags’ – used endearingly – followed

well worth sampling for a casual dinner

suit. The hen parties landed soon after,

or a mighty weekend brunch. The cookie

and today even straight couples and

dough skillet, served all oozy and melting

heterosexual singles trickle into the Gay

direct from the oven, is a triumph.

Village to enjoy raucous nights in this funfilled part of town. Gay Manchester has had a number of

Soup Kitchen delivers exactly what the name promises: a no-frills lunch that’s seriously satisfying and insanely

high profile appearances in the media,

affordable, from hearty soups, deep-filled

most famously in the iconic cult series

sandwiches and comforting favourites

Queer as Folk, and more recently in

with distinct Jamaican inspiration like

Channel 4’s Cucumber. Here’s what to see,

jerk chicken or curried goat. Laid-back

do and eat in Manchester.

service, communal benches and high bar

GNIMAG.COM | 67


TRAVEL__ MANCHESTER

stools keep things casual. The space also

Canal Street is a year-round celebration of LGBT life. Each summer it becomes the beating heart of Manchester Pride, one of the UK’s biggest gay pride festivals, which this year celebrated its twenty-fifth birthday

Oi Polloi is a dreamy curation of fantastic

doubles as a live music venue and club

menswear pieces (arguably the best in

night with great music and a brew selection

the north of England) and has recently

to rival the best pubs in the city.

ventured down south, so it’s well worth

The Richmond Tea Rooms (whose dining

a lengthy browse. Magma stocks a wide

room looks like something out of a Tim

selection of unique, rare and limited-run

Burton film) caters to the community and

magazines as well as gifts, quirky novelties

allies alike. It offers a selection of afternoon

and books. Around the corner you’ll find

teas from the Gentleman’s Tea, with sausage

Fred Aldous, a three-floor emporium of all

rolls, eccles cakes and mini fish ‘n’ chips, to

things art, craft, novelty and stationery.

the more traditional Queen’s Tea of sweets cakes, scones and sandwiches.

STAY Whether you opt for elegance at The Lowry,

NIGHTLIFE

go designer at the newly opened Gotham,

Velvet, one of the beacons of Canal street,

camp out in a former shipping warehouse

comprises a restaurant, bar and boutique

at The Victoria Warehouse, or keep it cosy

hotel. Kick-start the night at one of their

and casual at boutique hotel The Abel

happy hours, where cocktails are almost

Heywood in the Northern Quarter, hotels

too affordable to not overindulge. The new

abound in this sprawling metropolis.

kid on the block is Kiki – the gay children’s

Travelling on a shoestring budget? One of

slang for gossip – where theme nights and

the best value hostels is Hatters on Newton

great music are the order of the evening.

Street. Set in a former bowler hat factory,

Taurus was a stalwart of the Gay Village for two decades until it closed abruptly

Hatters offers cut-price accommodation with free breakfast and Wi-Fi included.

in 2015, later reopening under new management. This popular venue has been

GETTING AROUND

stripped back to its industrial roots, inspired

Metroshuttle operates a free bus service

by the trendier areas of the city, with a

around the city centre every day, running

heavy focus on casual eating and drinking.

on average every 8 – 12 minutes. Metrolink

Taurus Bar & Kitchen (as it is now known) is

connects the central city to many of its

fresh-faced, cool and contemporary.

suburbs, including Eccles, Bury, Rochdale

Trof in the Northern Quarter is fantastic for casual drinks and acoustic sessions. The

and MediaCity. Virgin trains connect to the capital

Deaf Institute is a favourite of the trendy

several times a day in a speedy 2.5 hours.

student set thanks to the cheap drinks and

The slower National Rail connects

live shows.

Manchester to London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham and

SHOPPING & CULTURE

environs. Manchester Airport is a 20-minute

Oldham Street in the heart of the Northern

journey by car, bus or train from the city

Quarter is where you’ll find Piccadilly

centre. FlyBe and EasyJet connect Belfast

Records for music, Oxfam Originals for

and Manchester with daily flights, whilst

vintage finds, and Afflecks, an eclectic

Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly from Dublin.

arcade of alternative stores, ever-changing boutiques and pop-ups.

68 | GNIMAG.COM

Follow Gastrogays on Twitter @gastrogays


FITNESS

FITNESS__ HYVOLUTION SPECIAL

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sport, powerlifting, boxing and

Hyvolution is the ultimate

physique competitions and they

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Why is it so good?

composition.

Its great value for money, great quality content during the

It’s a 16 week Programme, A Four

programme. The instructors are

week preparation phase which

highly qualified and have a broad

includes a movement screen,

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introduction to barbell training.

kettlebells (strongfirst), barbells to

Learning drills to help improve

nutrition. Competing in kettlebell

flexibility & mobility. We also cover

sport, powerlifting, boxing and

the programme and nutrition for

physique competitions and they

the course. The Preparation Phase

bring that knowledge to the

is perfect to let us assess the client,

programme.

choose the right exercises to suit the client so we can deliver the best

Where?

programme. It allows the client to

Hybrid Fitness

prepare themselves mentally for the

32-38 Queen Street

workload ahead in the 12weeks.

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Who Should do it?

BT1 6EF

Anyone can do the Hyvolution

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programme albeit if they pass the

Email: info@hybridfitnessni.co.uk

required screening process. We

Telephone: 02809311626

assess our clients through the FMS (Functional Movement Screen). This allows us to see possible limitations or implications our clients might occur during training thus reducing the risk of injury. Why is it so good? Its great value for money, great quality content during the programme. The instructors are highly qualified and have a broad range of discipline’s, from FMS, kettlebells (strongfirst), barbells to nutrition. Competing in kettlebell

GNIMAG.COM | 69


FOOD & DRINK WORDS | GASTROGAYS

SPICED FRENCH TOAST For the French toast

dish (a lasagne dish will do just fine). Place the

plums. They don’t quite get the kudos they

1 croissant loaf/brioche, sliced thickly

plum slices into the mix and leave to soak for

deserve but, when cooked, magical things

3 large free-range eggs

about five minutes on each side.

Let’s have a moment of appreciation for

happen. Plums are a tried-and-tested Tinder match for mulling wintery spices such as cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and so forth. It works so well you’ll wonder why they ever needed to look elsewhere for love.

60ml full fat milk 2tsp vanilla extract

4. Toss a layer of flaked almonds on a dry

1 tbsp Speculoos spices (Cinnamon will do too)

frying pan and heat on a medium heat until

30g butter (and a drop of oil for frying)

golden.

50g caster sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon Flaked almonds, toasted

Now let’s make it even better: French toast

5. Melt the butter on a gentle heat in the same frying pan and add a splash of

made with all-butter croissant loaf coated

1. Halve and quarter the plums. The size

flavourless oil. Time now to cook the egg

in Speculoos-spiked sugar and served with

difference is desirable as some will retain their

soaked bread. It can befloppy, so a spatula or

shape and others will begin to break down

a fork allows easy transferring from the dish

juice and topped with sliced toasted almonds.

while cooking, offering a difference of texture.

to the pan. Fry as many slices as you can fit

This recipe is pretty hefty on the sugar front,

Keep the stones in when cutting – they’re far

on the pan, turning once they have become

easier to remove once cooked.

golden brown.

2. Cover the fruit and spices with warm

6. Remove the bread slices from the pan. You

For the plums

water. Slosh in a little crème de cassis and

can dunk them in a mixture of caster sugar

400g plums, some in halves, some in quarters

heat on high until just about bubbling, then

and cinnamon for extra sweetness if you like.

2 tbsp crème de cassis

turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow

Half a stick of cinnamon

stewing for ten minutes. Pop off the heat,

7. Serve the toast with the stewed plums in

Two star anise

clamp on a lid, and leave to warm.

syrup, and scatter over a handful of toasted

stewed plums swimming in sweet cassis

so definitely a rare treat-me brunch at the weekends.

1 tbsp ground cardamom 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

70 | GNIMAG.COM

almonds. A sprig of fresh mint goes extremely 3. Beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla

well with this dish, adding a touch of herby

extract, and spices, then pour into a shallow

freshness to an otherwise sweet treat.


Lifestyle__ food & drink

RESTAURANT REVIEW

KNIFE & FORK Despite working just around the corner from Malone Lodge Hotel for just shy of four years, this writer had never been to the elegant, luxurious and chic Victorian Town House Hotel, the Malone Lodge, never mind its delectable restaurant, Knife and Fork. The Hotel itself has Victorian charm in abundance from the outside, but inside is as elegant and contemporary as you could hope for from a modern four star hotel. Knife and Fork boasts an award winning team of chefs who are dedicated to producing high quality, seasonal and locally sourced dishes all year round. For a Friday evening, the restaurant was unexpectedly quiet, but the warm ambience, scents of exquisite dishes and attention from their friendly staff made diners feel right at home. A view of the kitchen allows guests to feel a part of the action while the luxurious mix of contemporary and traditional surroundings complete with angled mirrors, dark woods and amber lighting allowed them to relax in decadence and style. The eclectic menu appealed with something for everyone, with appetisers beginning at £4.50 and main meals stretching to £28 complete with side orders. The variety of local produce was impressive, incorporating red meats, seafood, poultry, vegetarian options and game. To begin with, we was treated to some amuse bouche in the form of a delectable liver paté complete with freshly baked bread, red onion jelly and tangy tapenade. This was followed by an appetiser of a duo of pulled pork spring rolls, served with delicious apple and celeriac coronation coleslaw and Knife and Fork’s own BBQ sauce. The gentle balance of spices in the portion complemented the pork exquisitely, and after a short wait which offered just enough time to digest, main course was ready. Based on our waiter’s recommendation, our writer ordered the Knife & Fork Signature “Tomahawk” Steak which was a platter suitable for sharing with his date for the evening. The meal arrived served by a team of waiters, with an abundance of side orders, including chunky chips, creamy mash, onion rings, seasonal vegetables and peppered sauce. The star of the main was of course the Tomahawk;

an enormous kilogram of ‘on-the-bone’ steak which had been cooked and seasoned to perfection before being sliced by the head chef before their very eyes. Everything was exquisite; from the succulent meat to the delicious sides, as much attention to detail had been given to the preparation, production and presentation of the food as you would expect in a fine piece of art. Portion sizes were more than ample, allowing diners to take their time with the meals and enjoy the break between courses rather than being left wanting more and feeling impatient. The food was full of flavour and each mouthful gave a taster of the care and dedication that had gone into the dishes. The turnaround between courses was, as they say in Belfast, ‘spot on’, and guests were able to enjoy their meal, take their time, savour the flavours and digest their food comfortably. Desserts followed, each with a special twist allowing guests to sample something different. We sampled a tangy orange cake and a banoffee pie. Both options were to die for and the dessert menu had something for everyone – a feat which is lacking in many local restaurants. Instead of a succinct offering of just three or four desserts, the Knife and Fork offered an exceptionally generous seven desserts as well as a cheese platter. The choice was excellent and the sweet flavours finished off the meal nicely. The service, food and surroundings of the Knife and Fork in Malone Lodge Hotel each outdo the other. If you’re looking for somewhere new to try, we couldn’t recommend it more and whether it be for meeting with friends, treating someone special or for the elusive first date, this restaurant will impress in every aspect. Meal for two, including wine and service: £75 Words by Daniel May

60 Eglantine Avenue, Malone Road, Belfast BT9 – 6DY T: 028 9038 8000 W: malonelodgehotelbelfast.com

GNIMAG.COM | 71


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THE BIG DAY__ TONY & DARREN

The Big Day

GNIMAG.COM | 79


THE BIG DAY__ TONY & DARREN

Tony and Darren booked their big day following the death of one of their friends. It was the kick up the bum they needed to make the leap, get married and legally protect themselves as a couple. They booked the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan for an emotional, fun-filled day for their guests. Four

groomsmen and four groomsladies accompanied them down the aisle, and their son Parker “gave them away”. Their daughter India and Darren’s brother Hugh did the readings.

The ceremony was full of musical surprises, with ‘Anthem’ from the musical Chess being performed by a choir. During the ceremony Darren surprised

Tony by leaving the alter and taking his place at the grand piano to perform a rendition of Gary Barlow’s Forever Love. Their close friend Conleth Kane closed the ceremony with a performance of ‘Everything’ by Michael Buble, along with some surprise musicians scattered amongst the guests (Love Actually style). The guests mingled in the oppulent surroundings of the Dali Orangery at the Hillgrove Hotel while the room was prepared for the

reception. Guests were treated to a freshly prepared meal before getting ready to put on their dancing shoes.

The marriage was made legal three days later which was when the new same-sex marriage legislation was introduced in the ROI. So tell me how you met. Were you

single for a long time before you met?

heading to Dublin for work that afternoon.

Darren was doing a concert in

DARREN

Ballymena, we met that night when

April 2009. I had dated a little

into my kitchen, I offered him toast,

We met online on Gaydar in

but working in a church made it difficult to be openly gay. TONY

I’d been single for a few months

before we chatted on Gaydar. I was

working in an office in Millisle and

we both finished work. He walked and the rest is history.

How long after you started dating

DARREN

to make the leap. We’d thought

falling for Tony though it took us 6

but we never seemed to have the

I knew after a few weeks that I was

1/2 years before we got married. We have certainly had a few rough and tumbles along the way.

Two head strong men trying to

live together certainly took some

about doing it a few years before

money. It came to the point where if we didn’t just do it, regardless of

whether we could actually afford it, it would never happen.

getting used to!

Tell us about your wedding day?

question?

TONY

in scale? Was it perfect? What about

have any stumbles along the way?

and a half years before we decided

did it take your other half to pop the Was it an immediate yes? Did you

We’d been together for about five

What was it like? Was it big or small the reception? Did anyone give any embarrassing speeches?

>>>

GNIMAG.COM | 77


DARREN

It was amazing. It was a large affair in Monaghan and I had lots of

my musical friends and colleagues

contribute to the ceremony to sing and play for us, which was just

perfect. I tried to surprise Tony by

singing a song during the ceremony but I think he had an idea I was

going to do it, nevertheless that was emotional and special for both us. The Hillgrove Hotel were

incredible hosts for a wonderful

reception and the speeches were probably a little embarrassing

for both of us. I’m pretty sure I

mentioned Tony being naked in the corridor of a hotel in the middle of the night in mine! TONY

We had our wedding in the

Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan with around 220 guests celebrating with us. Because it was a bit of a drive

away we invited all of our guests to the full day.

The speeches went well, Darren’s

friend put on a slide show with a

few embarrassing pix of him, and my cousins speech mentioned my many fabulous erections (in lego).

What about the food and drink?

The entertainment? Did you have a honeymoon, and if so where to? DARREN

Again the Hillgrove gave us an amazing meal being one of the

few hotels to offer Silver service

and I think everybody loved the entertainment. We had a bit of a cabaret show with the fabulous

Roisin Starkey and Robert Brown and then Trudy Scrumptious and

Cherrie On Top brought the house down with their songs and antics! Company B were fantastic giving

everyone 80s hits and the wonderful Kenny Kane was our DJ into the

early hours so the guests were very entertained. We couldn’t afford a


THE BIG DAY__ TONY & DARREN

honeymoon so had a little break

then Kenny Kane took to the decks

couples to get married under the

Amsterdam after Christmas.

small hours before heading to the

a bit frustrating and disheartening

the week after and took a trip to

TONY

so we could party into the wee residents bar in the hotel.

There was entertainment from start

How are you enjoying married life?

he put together a mini-choir to sing

DARREN

my favourite musical Chess.

guys with kids and a mortgage and

to finish. Darren works in music, so us down the aisle to Anthem from During the ceremony Darren

surprised me by getting up and

performing ‘Forever Love’ at the

grand piano, then Conleth Kane sang us out of the ceremony to

‘Everything’ by Michael Buble.

It’s much the same. We are normal

new legislation in the ROI. It felt

that literally two hours after doing the legal bit, when we were back

in good old Northern Ireland, that

our marriage wasn’t recognised as a marriage. Things will change here though.

jobs but it’s lovely to have celebrated

Are you into the same things?

officially and legally. Hopefully

different? Is this an issue for you? Do

our love publicly and declared it

Northern Ireland will recognise our marriage status soon!

What interests do you have that are

you do everything together or do you like to keep independent?

The evening entertainment was a

TONY

DARREN

Robert Brown and Roisin Starkey,

much has changed. Still the same

with friends over a few drinks,

cabaret show, starting with songs by followed by a drag show with Trudy Scrumptious and Cherrie on Top. After that the band Company B

started their set with our first dance song (‘Photograph’ by Ed Sheeran),

Our life is pretty boring so not

routine of work, kids and lazy nights on the sofa. We actually completed

the legal part of our marriage on the Tuesday after our wedding.

We were one of the first same-sex

We both enjoy eating out, socialising movies and travel. But probably my work being music related takes me

into areas Tony isn’t so interested in like choirs and classical music but that’s not an issue. It’s healthy and

GNIMAG.COM | 79


THE BIG DAY__ TONY & DARREN

good for us to enjoy things apart too.

TONY

Darren and I have our own friend

groups and different interests – this

is great because it allows us to retain a bit of independence. Darren

is more into musical culture and eating out, and I’m more KFC

and getting drunk. But it works, opposites attract and all that.

If you want to feature you big day

here please contact kieran at kieran@ lambpromotions.com

80 | GNIMAG.COM


   

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LIFESTYLE__ QUITTING SMOKING

sMOKEY JO When Jo Venus was 11 years old, she and a friend found 10 cigarettes and a box of matches hidden under a bush. She smoked five and her friend smoked five. It was something to do and a way of fitting in with her friends. It was 15 years before she made the decision to quit, a decision trigger by a terrifying asthma attack. Jo explains, “I started smoking at 11 to fit in with my friends. There were also smokers in my family, so I guess that influenced me too. When I was a teenager, though, I was only smoking about 10 a day. As I got older, and started to go out more, that increased to 20, especially on a night out. By the time I was in my early 20s, I was smoking a packet a day. “A lot of the time I used smoking to relieve the stress of work and study – and juggling both at the same time. I am in my final year studying youth work at Ulster University. I also works for FASA working

Jo (RIGHT) began smoking at 11 years old

with young people aged 12 to 25 years old. “Over the years I thought of cutting down or quitting. I was fully aware that it was bad for my health – everyone knows that nowadays – but I never got round to stopping. “When I was 24 though, I started to have breathing problems. I’d never had any problems growing up but when I went to the doctor I was diagnosed with asthma. Again, I thought about quitting but only cut down a bit. “I no longer smoked in the house as my partner doesn’t smoke herself and didn’t like me smoking. That helped me reduce the number of cigarettes I’d have, especially in the evening. “Then in December 2014 I had a really bad asthma attack. We were out for the evening, and I didn’t have my inhaler with me. It was really scary. My partner didn’t know what to do and she was very

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frightened too. We both just panicked “And that was it. I decided to quit. “I used e-cigarettes but just for

Smoking and Stress Jo, like many smokers used to think that smoking helped her deal with stress, but one day she

one month and then stopped

heard someone say that it is the act of breathing deeply that calms you, rather than the cigarette.

those too as I found that they

So what is the truth?

made my chest tight. But the

When you inhale, within 7 seconds nicotine is transported to the brain where it releases

e-cigs weren’t really how I quit.

endorphins and dopamine, which reduce the feeling of anxiety and pain. In addition to this, the

I quit because I finally realised I

action of breathing deeply gives a feeling of relaxation.

had a choice to make. For years,

However, the nicotine also releases adrenalin which increases your heart rate, blood pressure and

I knew in the back of my mind

your breathing, which are not relaxing for the body.

that I could and should quit, but

So overall smoking does not really have a relaxing effect on your body. It actually has the

I didn’t. Then suddenly, after the

opposite effect by speeding up your heart rate. You can test this for yourself by feeling your pulse

asthma attack, I was faced with

before and after a cigarette.

a choice between my health and

You know the phrase “take a deep breath and count to ten”? Well, the part of smoking that does

smoking. It was a choice between

relax your body without harming it is the deep breathing and inhalation. So if you feel stressed,

fitting in with others and doing

instead of reaching for a cigarette, just breathe deeply in the same way as you do when you

something for me.

smoke and you might find that this gives you a feeling of calm too.

“I must admit that sometimes night out, but that is all. The

Smoking – the Stats

improvements in my health have

In 2012, the Rainbow Project released a report called “All Partied Out? Substance Abuse in

been so noticeable that I don’t

Northern Ireland’s LCB&T Community”.

want to go back. I love walking,

The survey looked at smoking and found that:

I still have a cigarette on a

especially with my dog, Co-Co, but before I quit I could never

• A total of 44% of LGB&T respondents smoked cigarettes compared to 24% of people

go out walking in the winter

in Northern Ireland as a whole. (2012 figures – 22% of the overall population now smoke.

because my chest got so tight.

• 69% of LGB&T people who smoke want to quit.

Now I can walk all year round than I could before. I just feel

How to quit

better!

It is not easy to quit smoking but there is help available. Ask your GP or pharmacist for

and I can walk much further

“I spent over half my life as

information on nicotine replacement products. Many local hospitals run smoking cessation

a smoker. Giving up has been

clinics and there are some GPs and local pharmacists who also provide the service.

the best thing I have ever done.

You can contact the Health Service for their Smokefree Want 2 Stop Quit Kit on 0808 812 8008 or

I feel there is a herd mentality

by visiting www.want2stop.info.

when it comes to smoker and it is

Once you have decided to quit:

easier to continue if your friends

– Work out your smoking habits and be ready to change your routine to avoid the triggers and

and family around you are also

situations you smoke in.

smokers. I would encourage

– Set a date, tell family and friends and stick to it.

people to realise that they have a

– When you feel the urge to smoke, distract yourself.

choice and it is really up to them

– Put the money you save in a jar so you can see it building up.

personally to decide whether or

– Ask your doctor or pharmacist for help and support. You are 4 times more likely to quit

not they want to smoke.”

successfully if you get professional help and nicotine replacements.

www.nichs.org.uk

LISTENING UNDERSTANDING ADVISING SUPPORTING WE’RE ON YOUR SIDE


Coming Out__ Micky’s story

Micky Murray is a well known face around Belfast. He is an LGBT advocate, the Chair of the Alliance Party’s LGBT group, and an all round great guy. This is his coming out story...

Tell us a little about yourself? I’m 23, soon to be 24, and I’m from Belfast. I work in a homeless hostel as a project worker specialising in alcoholism. I also work in The Brook, which is a sexual health clinic for young people. I’m on the board of a youth organistion Public Achievement. I am Chair of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland’s LGBT group, and the Vice-Chair of the North Belfast PCSP, and obviously a workaholic.

until I was 22 that I made an effort to talk to my family about my sexuality and my activism, which is strange because anyone that knows me knows how open and public I am about it all. I remember going for a drink with my dad in the Duke of York in April of 2014 and trying to get the courage to tell him. Right before we left I took my chance, his reply was just “I’m your dad, I’ve known you’ve been gay for years.” I couldn’t understand why it had taken me so long.

When did you first realise you were gay? I first realised I was gay when I was quite young, maybe around eight or nine. I didn’t really know what it was though; I just knew I was different from the other people in my class at school. It wasn’t until I was about 12 that I actually had a word for it, when you hear people throwing the word “gay” about and actually understanding what it meant gave me a word for what made me different.

How did people react when you told them? No one was shocked. It was a bit of a letdown actually!

Tell me about your coming out experience? I’d pretty much came out to myself since I was young. It wasn’t until I was about 14 I came out to some close friends. I had a pretty liberal group of friends. I came out as bisexual first because for some reason I thought this would lessen the blow, but really I think it must have been me subconsciously safeguarding myself incase I was wrong about my sexuality. After a few months I started telling people I was gay and not bisexual, but no one was very shocked. When I was sixteen I remember phoning my mum on New Year’s Eve and telling her. Well, I started to tell her, but I wasn’t able to say the words so my friend took over. We never talked about it after that. Having quite a conservative family it was awkward to bring it up. Over the next few years I was becoming more and more involved in the LGBT rights movement, attending protests, being a member of the Belfast Pride committee and joining the Alliance Party and becoming firstly the deputy chair for the LGBT group and now the Chairperson of the LGBT group. I never really told my family about my activism work. It wasn’t

0808 808 8000

Was coming out a big deal for you or did it feel natural? For me it was a very natural process. I’ve never believed as LGBT people we should have to come out to other people, but now I’ve came to the conclusion that if we want to break this taboo of coming out and to make it public and normalise it then maybe we need to give into the taboo in order to break it. How else did your family react to the news? My auntie, who i’ve been very open about it all for years has been great, everyone has, no one has been shocked or angry or happy, everyone’s just acted like normal, like they should be. Life after making your sexuality public is just that, it’s public, people think that they have the right to voice their opinion on your life, and some people can be really, really horrible. At the same time people can really over exaggerate and be really happy and excited about it and expect you to be stereotypical, flamboyant, and super gay. It can be really annoying actually, just treat me like any of your other friends! Has anyone’s opinion of you changed since you first came out? In 2009 I put up a Facebook status, just four words, saying “In town supporting Pride.” It got hundreds of comments, some congratulating me and wishing me to have a great day, and others that weren’t so nice.

Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000

www.lifelinehelpline.info


Coming Out__ Micky’s story

COMING OUT

MICKY tells his story. 0808 808 8000

Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000

www.lifelinehelpline.info


Coming Out__ Micky’s story

Did you ever feel the need to seek professional help after coming out? Nope, I have a really close circle of friends who are really supportive and if I ever needed any type of counseling that’s who I would go to. Where do you live? How accepting are people there of LGBT people? I live in North Belfast, in an area where I wouldn’t say people are very accepting of LGBT people. As a community it can be quite intimidating. I’m already the long-haired hippy of the community, so throw in being a Christian and being gay and an LGBT rights activist too and people don’t really know how to take me. What are the most important things in your life? The most important things for me in life are my friends, family, equality and the perception I give out. A lot of people say they don’t care about what people think of them, I tend to come at it from a view point of, if people see me and see what I’m doing and they have a negative opinion of me then why am I giving a negative opinion of myself out? What am I doing that could be construed as negative, so I try to stay as positive as possible at all times, even when campaigning for LGBT equality. I sit down

and talk with politicians, some who have said really nasty things about LGBT people and I sit down and I always ask them first to tell me why they don’t support LGBT equality and let them explain to me why and then I have a conversation with them about what it is exactly that we want and why we want it and how it will effect society. What are your plans for the future? I love working in the homeless sector. Homelessness is something I’m really passionate about, and I want to do as much as possible to better the services we have in Northern Ireland. I also plan to keep doing LGBT work both independently and as the Chairperson of Alliance LGBT. I love any sort of work that enables me to empower and advocate for others, so I really don’t have a plan other than keep going forward and doing what I’m doing and take all the opportunities that come up. I’ve been all over Europe working with Public Achievement and have spoken publically all over the country at protests and in schools and I’ve had some amazing experiences, being living in a church for three months with two homeless people, to lobbying at Westminster. I never really plan anything. I just deal with whatever comes my way in the best way I can.

0808 808 8000

Textphone 18001 0808 808 8000

www.lifelinehelpline.info


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The what’s on guide__ belfast

Monday Kremlin – Closed

Union Street – Monday night show with Trudy Scrumptious

Maverick – Motor Mouth Mondays, Comedy Night with Gemma Hutton. Free entry

Tramp. Free entry

Union Street – The Sunday Sessions; local

party with DJ Ricky C. All drinks £2

mix of original and classic favourites.

Boombox – Now You’re Talkin’! Weekly pop Sunflower – Manouche Gypsy Swing 5.30pm, Sunflower Folk Club 8pm

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex

Sunflower – Open Mic Nights, 7pm, Free

– Now open until 4am

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex

Friday

– KJB Massage 2pm – 5pm

Kremlin – Weekly Themed Nights with DJ

Tuesday

Union Street – Glitzy Glamour hosts her

bottle of beer for every performer

Kremlin – Klub 180, All drinks £1.80 all night, 10pm – 2.30am

Union Street – Grannie’s Fun Factory 9pm, All drinks from £2

Maverick – Lipsync for your Drink, with Rusty Hinges and Roxy Tumbledryer

Sunflower – The Dandy Horses Unplugged, 7.30pm

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex

Gareth Woods. Open until 3am

own evening of cabaret. 9pm - 1.30am

Maverick – VAGABOND with DJ Marion

Union Street – Okie Dokie Karaoke hosted by Trudy Scrumptious and Robert Brown

Maverick – Contdown with Contessa Von

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex – Hard Up Sundays, free buffet & concessions & under 26 years old

Bubu @ The Shoe Factory - First Friday of

Sunflower – Boxing Hare Wood Fired Pizza Traditional Session 8pm

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex

Grannie’s Time Tunnel 9pm – Late

Kremlin – Deuce, £2 entry, £2 drinks

Gramophone Club from 8pm

drinks £2.50

Maverick – Open Mic Wednesdays with

Thursday

Sunflower – Traditional Session 7pm, Sunday

month

Kremlin – Revolution, 9pm – 3am

– Now open until 4am

with Gemma Hutton & DJ Lady Luck

Rewind @ Kremlin – First Friday of every

Saturday

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex

Boombox – Sunday Service, drag spectacular

HOtel MOtel last Friday every month. All

Kremlin – Closed

Roxy Tumbledryer, & DJ Kenny. 10pm – 3am

Maverick – R&R with Rusty and Roxy 5pm

Boombox – Downtown with DJ Jordan,

Wednesday

Boombox – Bitch Please! with Rusty Hinges,

8.30pm

Regular Nights

– KJB Massage 2pm – 5pm

Cherrie On Top. Free entry

The Shoe Factory - The Sunday Bingo Show

Hawkes from 9pm

– Now open until 4am

Union Street – Tina’s Stop the Clock

singer/songwriter Peter Sumadh provides a

Union Street – Tina’s T’Okie 5pm – 8pm, Maverick – HIJINKS with Lady Portia Di’Monte from 6pm

Boombox – BOOMBOX Saturdays DJ

Ciaran Boylan, Sassie Longshaft and Paulette Stiletta 10pm – 3am

Sunflower – Boxing Hare Wood Fired Pizza 5pm – 11pm in the Sunflower Garden, Appalachian Session 8pm Sunday Kremlin – Industry 10pm, Admission free

every month (men only)

MOTN @ Queens Cafe Bar – Last Friday of every month (men only)

The White Mansions @ The Sunflower First Friday of every month

Pub Quiz @ The Sunflower – First Tuesday of every month

Duke Special’s Gramophone Club @

Sunflower – Last Friday of every month

Hotel Motel Residency @ Boombox – Last Friday of every month

Room Service @ Boombox – Bi-monthly

The Pipeworks Gay Men’s Leisure Complex – First Friday of every month – Bubu Afterparty


The what’s on guide__ belfast

Belfast

© Jamie Baird 2015

out in...

1 - Union Street/Shoe Factory

6 - Queens Cafe Bar

A - Grand Opera House

E - Ulster Hall

3 - Maverick

8 - Boombox

C - City Hall

G - Albert Clock

2 - Kremlin

4 - Sunflower Bar 5 - Kelly’s Cellars

7 - El Divino

9 - The Pipeworks

10 - Whites Tavern

B - The MAC D - The Fish

F - The Waterfront


The what’s on guide__ Dublin

Monday

Pantibar – Joystick, DJ Dr Beat plays quality

Copper Alley – Mother, the home of synth

The George – Win, Lose or Drag with Phil T.

80s music

pop and electro

Gorgeous and Bunny from 8.30pm.

Break for the Border – Meat Street with

Admission free all night with drinks!

Friday

international guest hosts, DJs and live acts,

Pantibar – Pints and chats

The George – Glitterbomb with DJs Ger

from 11pm

and Mo, hosted by David D-Pole and his Tuesday

Glitterati Dancers, Drinks promos, Free

Sunday

The George – The Dolly Grip Experience

shots, Admission free before 10pm, €5 from

The George – Bingo with Shirley Templebar,

The Front Lounge – Davina Devine’s

10 til midnight, €8 after

from 9.30pm. Admission free before 10pm,

Casting Couch, Karaoke from 10pm

The Front Lounge – DJ Conor Behan

€5 entry after

Pantibar – Pints and chats

playing dance floor fillers from 10pm

The Front Lounge – The big Gay Brunch

Pantibar – DJ Steobar and Our Perfectly

Club from 12pm

Wednesday

Preposterous Drinks Specials

Pantibar – Panti’s Tea Dance

The George – Space N Veda with Veda

The Hub – SweatBox, Classic House Regular Nights

Beaux. Cabaret, Drag and Live Music Pantibar – Pints and chats

Saturday

Pop Rox Indie Night @ The Dive Bar (Turk’s

The George – SaturGays with DJ Sean John,

Head) – Fortnightly Saturdays, €5

Thursday

Davina, Veda & guests with Beauty Spot

Crush Girlclub @ Lafayette Club – Check

The George – Davina Devine hosts Thursty

Karaoke from 10pm. €10 after 11pm

listings for events

Thursdays until 2.30am

The Front Lounge – Brunch with DJ Terry

The Front Lounge – 2 for 1 cocktails

from 10pm Pantibar – The Panti Show from 10pm. Cruisin’, Music, Dancin’, Chattin’

Map Key 1 - Panti Bar

7 - The Hub

A - Parliament Square

E - Gaiety Theatre

3 - The Front Lounge

9 - The Dive Bar (Turk’s Head)

C - Dublin Castle

G - Olympia Theatre

2 - Nealons

4 - Copper Alley 5 - The George

6 - Lafayette Club

8 - The Boilerhouse

10 - Break for the Border 11 - 4 Dame Lane

B - Temple Bar

D - The Needle

F - Grafton Street


The what’s on guide__ Dublin

Dublin

© Jamie Baird 2015

what’s on in...


The GNI MAG valentine’s survival guide

1

WARN IN

Happ y cou

ples

G

frolic

king

DO NOT VENTURE OUTDOORS – THE SIGHT OF HAPPY COUPLES IS LIABLE TO INDUCE FITS OF VIOLENT FURY

7

3

5

6

8

9

GET OFF FB UNLESS YOU PLAN ON POSTING A RANT RAILING AGAINST ALL THOSE WHO HAVE EVER HURT YOU

(JUST KIDDING ABOUT THAT LAST THING. YOU ARE A TREAT. A TREAT!)

REALISE YOU ARE HOPELESSLY, NO… PAINFULLY SINGLE

4

2

DON’T DIG OUT OLD VALENTINE’S CARDS. THESE PEOPLE HAVE FORGOTTEN YOU EVER EXISTED

REALISE THAT 8 HOURS OF YOUTUBE CAT VIDEOS IS THE IDEAL ALTERNATIVE TO A ROMANTIC MEAL

OWN YOUR FREEDOM! BOYFRIENDS/ GIRLFRIENDS ARE HARD WORK!

YESTERDAY’S PANTS & AN OLD T-SHIRT ARE PERFECTLY SUITABLE ATTIRE FOR THE DISCERNING SINGLETON

REMEMBER THAT GETTING DRUNK IS JUST STEALING HAPPINESS FROM TOMORROW

Happy Valentine’s day, our address is at the front of the mag so you can get our cards to us ;0)

98 | GNIMAG.COM


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S I X T E E N

C O M I N G S O O N

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