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GNIMAG y o u r

l o c a l

h o m o c u l t u r a l

Laverne Cox

m a g a z i n e

Issue 39 Dec 19 / Jan 20 £2.00 / €2.00

Overcoming heartbreak, her inspirations, living the dream, and taking advice from Lady Gaga.

Grace Carter

Turning her life around from ‘angry child’ to pop phenomenon.

GNI Awards

Our 2019 awards proved to be the biggest and best awards yet.

Ding Dong

We get in the festive spirit with some traditional and fun features.

CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / TRAVEL / REAL LIFE


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CONTENTS //

CREDITS //

WHAT’S INSIDE

GO! [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [

12 ] 17 ] 19 ] 25 ] 29 ] 31 ] 35 ] 39 ] 40 ]

LAVERNE COX CALLUM SKEFFINGTON TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS YANNI BURTON ICON - JUDY GARLAND GRACE CARTER ALPHABEAT KWEEN - ROBYN DIAMONDS GNI AWARDS

YOU! [ [ [ [ [

45 ] 52 ] 55 ] 56 ] 58 ]

FASHION - ROMPERJACK MILLION DOLLAR FACIAL FITNESS- NEW YEAR NEW YOU SPORT - MARTIN MURRAY FASHION - WINTER COATS

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Daniel May DESIGN Tony Day EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Callum Skeffington COVER IMAGE: Michael Simon SPECIAL THANKS TO... Laverne Cox / Vic Gerami / Michael Simon / Trudy Scrumptious / Yanni Burton / Grace Carter / Alphabeat / Robyn Diamonds / Santander / Romperjack / Gavin Rennick / Nicky’s Beauty Boutique / Damien Lundy / Martin Murray / OUTtv / Misstique / Delishus O’Tool / Kyle and Barry / Kristen Guy / Martin Kearney / Alternative Fashion Week / Cafe Parisien / AC Marriot / Gavyn Andrews / Scott Smyth

LIFE! [ 61 ] [ 68 ] [ 70 ] [ 73 ] [ 74 ] [ 76 ] [ 78 ] [ 81 ] [ 89 ] [ 90 ] [ 94 ] [ 98 ] [ 100 ] [ 103 ] [ 104 ] [ 108 ] [ 111 ] [ 114 ]

OUTTV - WHAT TO EXPECT MISSTIQUE’S 12 DAYS OF GIFTS CALLUM’S FESTIVE POEM CHRISTMAS THINGS TO DO FESTIVE MOVIE CHALLENGE A DELISHUS CHARITY SONG NEW YEAR NEW WHAH KYLE & BARRY’S BIG DAY SORT YERSELF OUT - AGONY REAL LIFE - BECOMING ME REAL LIFE - GUNCLE MARTY ALTERNATIVE FASHION WEEK SCENE OUT CAFE PARISIEN A DAY IN THE LIFE RECOMMENDED TV & FILM FOOD - AC MARRIOT BELFAST TRAVEL - VIENNA ON REFLECTION

GNI MAG IS PUBLISHED BY... Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 13 Union Street Belfast BT1 2JF www.gnimag.com daniel@gnimag.com

Romeo & Julian P U B L I C AT I O N S LT D

All submissions to GNI MAG are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI MAG 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 Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI MAG are accurate. However we accept no liabilty for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd. Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 2019


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GO!

CELEBRITY, COLUMNISTS, FEATURES, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE


INTERVIEW // LAVERNE COX

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INTERVIEW // LAVERNE COX

LAVERNE COX INTERVIEW: VIC GERAMI | PHOTO CREDIT: MICHAEL SIMON

WITH VARIOUS ‘FIRSTS’ IN HER ALREADY IMPRESSIVE CAREER, THE EMMY-NOMINATED ACTRESS, DOCUMENTARY FILM PRODUCER AND PROMINENT EQUAL RIGHTS ADVOCATE, LAVERNE COX, CONTINUES TO MAKE HISTORY IN HER CAREER AND SIGNIFICANT STRIDES IN HER ACTIVISM. DEBUTING ON THE SCENE IN THE GROUNDBREAKING ROLE OF SOPHIA BURSET, IN THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK,” LAVERNE IS THE FIRST TRANS WOMAN OF COLOR TO HAVE A LEADING ROLE ON A MAINSTREAM SCRIPTED TELEVISION SHOW.

LAVERNE HAS EARNED NUMEROUS HONORS AND AWARD NOMINATIONS FOR HER WORK AND ADVOCACY, FROM BEING FEATURED ON THE COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE, TO AN EMMY NOMINATION FOR “OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES,” TO A SAG AWARD FOR “OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES.” AN ADVOCATE WITH AN EMPOWERING MESSAGE OF MOVING BEYOND GENDER EXPECTATIONS TO LIVE MORE AUTHENTICALLY, SHE WAS ALSO NAMED AS ONE OF GLAMOUR MAGAZINE’S 2014 WOMEN OF THE YEAR, ONE OF THE GRIO’S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICAN AMERICANS, ONE OF THE TOP 50 TRANS ICONS BY THE HUFFINGTON POST, AND HONORED WITH THE COURAGE AWARD FROM THE ANTI-VIOLENCE PROJECT, AND THE READER’S CHOICE AWARD FROM “OUT”

MAGAZINE, AMONG OTHER ACCOLADES. RECENTLY, LAVERNE HAS PARTNERED WITH THE BAND-AID® BRAND, JOHNSON & JOHNSON, AND (RED) TO #BANDTOGETHER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS. EVERY PURCHASE OF (BANDAID®) RED BANDAGES IS ENOUGH TO PROVIDE A DAY’S WORTH OF LIFE-SAVING MEDICATION TO SOMEONE LIVING WITH HIV. I INTERVIEWED LAVERNE AT WEST HOLLYWOOD ANDAZ HOTEL’S RED SUITE. SHE EXUDED CONFIDENCE, FRIENDLINESS AND AUTHENTICITY, AND THAT MADE THE INTERVIEW EVEN MORE SPECIAL. SHE MADE ME FEEL VERY COMFORTABLE, SO WE CHATTED FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND TOOK PICTURES TOGETHER. SHE IS BEAUTIFUL BUT MODEST, ON TOP OF HER GAME BUT IN GRATITUDE AND GLOWING WITH STAR POWER.

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INTERVIEW // LAVERNE COX

MY FIRST ONE I ASK EVERYONE, IT’S THE SAME, AND YOU CAN INTERPRET IT AS YOU WISH. MODESTY ASIDE, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? Oh wow! It depends on the day. Today, oh my God! I guess I don’t think about this much. I like to call myself an artist, there was a moment I went to the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Alabama, and I started studying dance when I was in 3rd grade, but I didn’t study ballet until high school, so when I auditioned for the Alabama School of Fine Arts, I needed to get a scholarship and I didn’t think I would be able to get the scholarship if I hadn’t ever studied ballet before. Because, it was a ballet only dance program, so I had been writing a lot, and so I submitted myself as a creative writing major, and got in, and got a scholarship, and the very first piece I wrote at the Alabama School of Fine Arts had the recurring line, “I would like to call myself an artist”, and I think that has been the through line of my life, that at every point when I feel a drift or unsure, uncertain of myself for my direction, something artistic gets me back on track, - and even now, at this point in my life, I am so blessed, this year has been so transitional in so many ways with orange ending. I started the year feeling like this is a transitional year, I don’t know where I am transitioning to and where I am at now, is the art. Where I am at now is like I have always gone to acting classes or singing voice lessons or dance classes, and just being in process, it is the process of getting better that I feel most connected to myself, as in a voice lesson yesterday, and I was like yeah this is right. And communicated with my acting coach, I had some stuff coming up, but it’s not even about the job, it’s about refining my process as an artist - so that it really goes back to the craft. I remember, it’s a long answer, I remember one time I co-hosted ‘The View’ and Lady Gaga was on with Tony Bennet, and you know she was singing with Tony Bennett faze and it was probably a year into me being famous and I think it was end of 2014, and I asked her, as I asked so many people, I was like, you know I am kind of famous now, how do you deal? And she is like, it is about coming back to your craft, always about coming back to the craft. And you see her doing that, and that feels like the truth to me, as I navigate multiple aspects of the brand that I have, that is about me being an artist in the work of sussing out a character, of

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making artistic choices that will get me better. Long Answer. YOU SEEM TO BE ON TOP OF THE WORLD, WITH YOUR CAREER, COMING OFF ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, ALL YOUR OTHER PROJECTS, A FILM COMING UP, COVERS OF COSMO, TIME AND BRITISH VOGUE. The interesting thing about perception is that it is complicated. This means, you said, that it seems like I am on top of the world and there are so many things that are quite wonderful about my life and my work, so many dreams have come true. I am really living the dream in so many ways. But at the moment, I mean I am being quite honest, I broke up with my boyfriend, or he broke up with me, I should say at the end of June. We were dating for almost 2 years, and I was madly in love, and I am still heartbroken. So, my career is kind of wonderful right now in so many ways, but I am also heartbroken, so it is complicated. So, yes, I am living a dream that a lot of people I think would like to live. WELL YOU JUST HUMANIZED IT. BECAUSE THE PUBLIC SEES THE OUTSIDE FOR THE MOST PART BUT MIGHT NOT REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CHALLENGES. It almost feels like this, you know I had a moment, especially after my Emmy (award) nomination, I was like, I have an Emmy nomination and then the British Vogue came out, and it was my first Vogue cover. And I am like I am on the cover of Vogue and this Emmy nomination and I am like heartbroken. I end up waking up crying, you now, because I miss him, I mean I miss us. I think it is for the best, you know the spiritual part of me knows that things happen for a reason and there is a plan bigger than my understanding. But the grief process is the grief process, you know that when you have been in a relationship with someone for 2 years and have healed so much trauma and shame in that relationship and all of a sudden, it’s over, it’s devastating. So yeah! It just sobers the whole experience of what it means to be on top of the world. YOUR IMMENSE SUCCESS IS NOTABLE AND IMPRESSIVE, BUT IT’S EVEN MORE SIGNIFICANT WHEN ONE FACTORS IN THAT YOU ARE A TRANSGENDER WOMAN

OF COLOR. HOW WOULD YOU REFLECT ON YOUR CAREER WHEN NOTING ALL THE GLASS CEILINGS THAT YOU HAVE BROKEN? I think we have to because there is a case going to the Supreme Court, where the question is just titled “seven cover the LGBTQ+ community” a woman, a Trans woman named Amy Stevens, who was fired from her job for being transgender. Her employer concedes that is why he fired her, and the Supreme Court may decide that is legal to do. We have to keep talking about it because transgender people are banned from serving openly in the military, we have to keep talking about it, because this current administration wants to discriminate against us in homeless shelters and in health care. We have to keep talking about it because trans people are being murdered in record numbers and 78% of trans youth are bullied in schools., that is why we have to keep talking about it. SO, WHEN ONE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW YOU ARE TRANS AND ASSESSES YOUR CAREER, IT’S LIKE WOW. BUT WHEN WE FACTOR THAT IN, IT’S INCREDIBLE. SO, HOW DO YOU REFLECT ON THAT? I just think it feels like a miracle, it feels like a miracle, and I think because I have always dreamed of having this kind of career, but I never saw someone openly trans have this kind of career before me. That I am wondering if I was crazy, wondering if it was actually even possible right before I moved towards OITNB, I was going to stop acting and go to graduate school and get a job. It feels just remarkable, but it also, what I am very clear about is that I believe this happened to me when it happened to me because I was ready to be of service and I could be of service - and I have tried to take care of myself and not have my whole life to be of service, and to you know, to feel up my cup first, and have the overflow be for everyone else. But I think it’s really about being of service and that is why I partnered with Band Aid and RED on this incredible campaign that is really about continuing the work RED has been doing since 2006 of making sure that folks in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to medication to prevent the spread of HIV, medication to keep their viral load un-detectible if they are HIV positive, to keep mothers from transmitting the virus to


INTERVIEW // LAVERNE COX

their babies if they are HIV positive, condoms, all the incredible work that RED has been doing. And I often feel powerless in a lot of my work as an advocate, particularly, when it comes to violence against trans people, I feel like I have been talking about that for years and years and it keeps getting worse, and I am like what can we do? With this partnership with Band Aid and RED, there is something we can do to end HIV and AIDS - and we can just buy this, and this one box can contribute and make possible for a day’s worth of life saving medication for someone living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. We can actually end AIDS and HIV in our lifetime. It is possible. There is no reason why people should be dying of HIV and AIDS still in 2019. So that piece of getting to be service, I believe, I really believe in my spirit, that its partly why I have been given the opportunities by the world, by the universe, by those I partner with, so I can be of service. And I think that is why, I know that is why I get to enjoy

this wonderful life. IN ADDITION TO YOUR REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENTS AS AN ACTRESS, YOU ARE OFTEN ESTEEMED AS THE PINNACLE OF SUCCESS IN THE TRANS, NONBINARY, GENDER NOT CONFORMING COMMUNITIES. HOW DOES THAT PART FEEL? IS IT TOO MUCH PRESSURE TO LIVE UP TO THAT? As things shift for me, and I rethink the advocacy work that I am doing and where I want to focus my energy, and there is so much work that needs to be done, I get guilty, I feel like I can’t be everywhere and I can’t do everything. It’s just not possible and continue to try to build a career as an artist, it’s not possible. And so, where I am at now, I just saw my dear friend, Angelica Ross on women on the conversation on her network. And she just was so brilliant in the way in which she had

the conversation, with the black women in the black community about trans lives. I was just so, I mean I could cry, I was so inspired and moved by everything that she said. And she said it so much better, and I was like oh this is wonderful, Angelica got that, she’s got it and I don’t have to do that. And then I saw India Morse’s insanely moving speech at the Fashion Media Awards a few weeks ago and she wore these beautiful earrings that had a picture of a different Trans woman who had been murdered this year. And she made this incredibly moving speech that was just dead on, and smart, and nuanced, and I was like, and I should use ‘they’ pronouns because India identifies as non-binary. So, India was just so brilliant, and I was like Oh yes, India’s got this, I don’t have to do that. I see my trans siblings out there with platforms as big as mine doing the work. And then I see fans on the ground doing grassroot activism and handling that so beautifully,

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INTERVIEW // LAVERNE COX

and so I want to lift up that work when I can, but then I am like OK, I don’t have to bear the weight of all this. And I never had to, but when there were fewer of us with this level of visibility, it was a different kind of weight. And so I don’t know if the weight is lighter, the load is lighter, but I just feel so lifted up by other trans folks, who because of visionaries and gate keepers that they have these wonderful platforms as well and are even more articulate than I am on some of these issues. I mean Janet Mock, Oh God! How can I forget Janet Mock. THANK YOU FOR THAT. LET’S SWITCH TOPICS AND TALK ABOUT YOUR FILM, ‘JOLT,’ THAT YOU JUST SHOT. TELL ME ABOUT THAT Oh My Gosh! Jolt is an action-comedy starring Kate Beckinsale, who I just adore, and I have been a fan of hers for years, and they were like you want to do a movie with Kate Beckinsale and Bobby Cannavale, and I was like YEAH! You sort of say yes even before you read the script, because it’s a dream for me to work with an actress of that caliber, I mean that is the company I would like to be keeping. So, Jolt is about, I forget what’s been in the press, so I am trying to like sort of not give things away and just sort of talk, you know talk press release about the film. This is a woman who sort of has impulse control and the therapist has given her this suit, when she feels a murderous urge, she presses the button and it kind of gives her an electric jolt. And she has trouble meeting men, and she meets a guy and then he ends up dead. So, it becomes her trying to figure out who killed him and my character, I play this police detective while I think she killed him. And so, it’s just a wonderful road that we had a blast shooting, I had a blast shooting in London and then Bulgaria, never been to Bulgaria before. We were in Sofia, Bulgaria, running around and I got to chase Kate Beckinsale around. HOW IS IT WHEN A FAN RECOGNIZES YOU IN PUBLIC? It depends on a lot of things; it depends on if I am in the space to receive it. I think I have gone very careful about where I go now, because I have been in situations often with fans, where I was not in the place to receive the love that they wanted to give me. Because I have been distracted or just wanting to sort of not be on. I just wanted to go about my daily life as a normal person, whatever that means and so I

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think it depends if I am in the space where I can receive it and I try not to be out in the world now that can’t receive it which is a weird thing, honestly. I try to go out like incognito if I am not able to receive that energy. But if I am and I meet, let me think of the last interaction it was somewhere recently. I was out for lunch with a friend with some sort of business/ he is a friend, but we were talking business as well and someone came up and she was quite lovely, and I would say thank you so much. I was able to receive it, I was. So, when I meet people at meeting greets, I can look them in the eye and I can hear them when they talk to me about whatever it is they need to say - and I can be present for whatever they are saying. But being present sometimes means, if they are crying, I am crying with them, and it means that I might hear a story about them thinking about committing suicide and shooting, and then deciding not to because the saw me on television and that is really intense and that is a lot to kind of take in. I HAVE LOOKED UP AT SOME OF THE CHARITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU HAVE WORKED WITH. JUST GIVE ME A FEW OF THE HIGHLIGHTS, THE ONES THAT ARE CLOSE TO YOUR HEART RIGHT NOW, OBVIOUSLY THE BAND-AID RED CAMPAIGN. Yeah, so excited about this, just as I already said that it just feels like we can make a difference, and it’s just like wow – that feels like such a weird thing. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but we are doing #BandTogether, that when those go to CVS and buy their RED band aids, we are encouraging them to post photos of themselves on social media with their Band Aids with #BandTogether. And what I am doing, I hope they are okay with it, is encouraging people to have conversations with their followers, with their friends and family about what they know about HIV and AIDS, and there is still so much stigma and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS, and I think that needs to part of the process. So that all my friends who are living with HIV and AIDS don’t have to continually deal with stigma around it, like this is not a death sentence, like you are not going to transmit the virus. All these things, I feel that people should know, but they still don’t know and there is so much fear around … So, band together, #BandTogether. I’m super excited

about that.

MY LAST QUESTION IS ALWAYS THIS, TELL ME A SECRET, AND MAKE IT A GOOD ONE. I have so few secrets now, I am just spilling all my tongue. Jee! Oh, my goodness, a secret I feel if I haven’t talked about it publicly, I probably can’t or won’t. Oh My Gosh, a secret. Actually, there is, this isn’t a secret but they wanted me to wear for the Savage and Fenty Fashion Show, they wanted me to have – I don’t own pink shoes and so like I brought my own shoes, because I wear a size 13, I have big ass feet: that’s not a secret. And so, they dyed a pair of my custom Kenneth Cole shoes that I had them in white, they dyed them pink and like put stones on them for the Savage and Fenty Show. That’s not a secret but I haven’t told anyone yet. You are the first person I am telling.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LAVERNE COX, PLEASE VISIT LAVERNECOX.COM


OPINION // CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON WAKING UP TO A NEW NI ON THE 22ND OCTOBER, WE woke up to a new Northern Ireland. The clocks rolled forward a decade or two overnight, and the population of this country was either rejoicing or grumbling. Yet the voice of positivity has drowned out the dated complaints of those claiming we are in the darkest of days. Needless to say, the fact that some people, born and raised in Northern Ireland, are actually trying to claim that a person’s legal ability to marry the one they love is darker than violence, death and sectarian wars is completely ludicrous. When the possible legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion was announced back in the summer, I really did think it was all too good to be true. I feared that we were getting ahead of ourselves to be celebrating theoretical equality. The legalisation of same sex marriage and abortion was basically a tool to manipulate the Stormont MP’s into resolving their juvenile drama, and of course, the DUP made a last-minute, half-assed attempt to recall the Stormont government. Had they been successful in forming an executive - which, let’s face it, would honestly take a miracle at this point - we would be in an entirely different situation; we could have just as easily been the one’s grumbling. Thankfully, our government’s inability to show up for the job they are paid to do has actually worked out in the countries favour for once, and we all counted down the minutes to midnight on Monday like some sort of gay New Years. The clock struck twelve, and we entered into a new era. Although this change was forced, sometimes imposed

decriminalisation is the only way to create a better state of open-mindedness; I doubt everyone was happy about it when homosexuality was decriminalised in the U.K. fifty years ago, but it was the beginning of a journey into a progressive country. Now, six years after the rest of the U.K., we are legally entitled to marry, and the bigots can dwell on their unhappiness for all I care, so long as I know that I will now be able to marry the man I love when the time comes.

have finally won, we may take the time to rejoice. We may celebrate now, but as the excitement dies down and our new norm settles in, we should not neglect to realise that this is only one step, granted a very steep step, on the path to true equality.

What was particularly interesting was the dual advancement of both LGBT+ and women’s rights. Though same-sex marriage is something that only affects the LGBT+ community, safe and legal access to abortion is one which unites anyone with a womb, both within the LGBT+ community and the cis/straight population alike. The right to choose what to do with your own body, and the right to marry whoever you wish to marry, are concerns that are not mutually exclusive, and both of these oppressed groups have had major advancement thanks to the influence of the U.K.’s government on our Northern Irish legislation. I personally think that it has been amazing to see both women and LGBT+ people celebrating together, celebrating each other’s rights as well as our own, and in some cases, both of these two newly decriminalised

For the next generation to grow up in a country that recognises the rights of all it’s diverse citizens, we will need to continue to fight for all of those diverse citizens. Though some of the issues that continue to oppress LGBT+ people do not directly affect us all individually, we can not relinquish the war now just because we can marry. We can not become docile or complacent when there are so many other oppressed groups that still need our support in gaining the basic human rights that they also deserve. We do not get to wash our hands of the other things that society needs in order to be truly equal, because there are countries that have yet to legalise homosexuality, never mind marriage equality.

I woke up on Tuesday morning and my Facebook timeline was flooded with applause for the LGBT+ community and women alike. After years of protesting and campaigning, this country has finally joined the rest of the U.K. in the 21st century. It would certainly be an understatement to say that this moment has been a long time coming. The joy, the celebrations and the relief has outweighed any bigotry. The negativity is minuscule, hardly even noticeable, in the sea of positivity. Our voices are being heard, above all the hate speech that has been thrown our way for as long as we can remember. Hate fails, but love prevails.

We will hopefully begin to see a major shift of perspective. Marriage equality and the decriminalisation of abortions will slowly shift the mindset of a still backwards Northern Ireland.

Not until we can walk down the street with our same-sex partner without any fear of harassment can we say the battle is won. Not until we can visit any country in the world without the threat of imprisonment and death can we say we say that the world is a better place. Not until trans people have better access to the healthcare they need and the correct pronouns used can we say we, as a community, have acquired acceptance. Not until trans people of colour - you know, the ones that initiated the Stonewall Riots, paving the way for the gay rights movement - are living without fear for their safety can we say that the LGBT+ community are equal, and not until the world realises that our right to exist does not threaten that of the white, heterosexual cis-men’s can we say we have reached true equality.

The real question is; what will we complain about now? Complaining about the backwards mindset of Northern Ireland has been a talking point with all of my non-NI friends for all of my gay life. We were once the only country of Western Europe that did not have same-sex marriage legalised. Now we can marry, but what’s next? Do we just become a bunch of old married couples?

So celebrate, propose and finally get married to the person that you love, but remember that we are actually in a place of privilege, because for many this is a fantasy far removed from the reality that surrounds them.

Same-sex marriage has been at forefront of the Northern Irish LGBT+ communities minds for quite some time now. Since this seems to be a fight we

This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

Instagram: catchingupwithcallum Twitter Callum_Skeff

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INTERVIEW// TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

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INTERVIEW // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

TRUDY GETS ROASTED 2019 HAS BEEN CHOCK FULL OF ANNIVERSARIES CELEBRATING EPIC MOMENTS FROM DAYS GONE BY…IT’S BEEN 15 YEARS SINCE THE RELEASE OF CULT CLASSIC MEAN GIRLS, AND 25 YEARS SINCE THE SPICE GIRLS WERE FORMED AND THE FIRST EPISODE OF FRIENDS AIRED (FEEL OLD YET?). BUT CLOSER TO HOME, ONE ICON IS CELEBRATING 20 YEARS AS ONE OF NORTHERN IRELAND’S PREMIERE ENTERTAINERS. TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS MADE HER DRAG DEBUT ON 1999 AND HASN’T LOOKED BACK SINCE. TO CELEBRATE HER BIG MILESTONE, THE BELFAST BASED QUEEN IS BRINGING TOGETHER FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS AND FELLOW QUEERS FOR AN EPIC COMEDY ROASTING. SAFE TO SAY, WITH 20 YEARS OF SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOUR TO DRAW FROM, TRUDY IS GOING TO GET ROASTED MORE THAN HER FACE ON THE 11TH NIGHT! AHEAD OF THE BIG NIGHT, WE SIT DOWN WITH THE QUEEN TO DISCUSS HER CAREER HIGHLIGHTS, INSPIRATIONS, AND WHAT READS SHE’S MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO (OR DREADING) AT HER BIG ROAST.

NINETEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

AS YOU CELEBRATE 20 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS, TELL US THE STORY OF HOW TRUDY WAS BORN? Well as a kid I was always dressing up and playing different characters! I remember watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and being captivated by the character Truly Scrumptious sing Doll on a Music Box. In the scene, she became a giant wind-up doll ... it was magical! So, jumping forward to when I was going out with gay friends, I had an opportunity to do drag in The Parliament bar and I knew instantly who my alter ego would be! And the rest is sequins and vodka. TALK US THROUGH TRUDY’S CAREER... Where do I start, I’ve done sooo much over the years! I think in most drag careers competition is an element of getting recognised and developing your drag, so I competed in the Alternative Miss Ireland Pageant and I came second. I also won £1000 in Kremlin’s drag ball and those gave me a massive confidence boost and allowed me to blossom! I’ve had the pleasure of working with incredible performers and creatives over the years, which also inspired me! I have done TV, film, theatre and cabaret all over the world and feel booked and blessed! This will probably sound cheesy, but pride performances will always feel a bit special as it’s the community cheering you on !!! WHO HAVE BEEN TRUDY'S MAIN INSPIRATIONS OVER THE YEARS? HAVE THESE CHANGED? It’s a weird thing for me, I mean obviously there are pop cultural influences that I adore; Barbara Streisand, Bowie, Blondie, Kate Bush, Madonna etc but inspiration can come from random places also and it usually happens when I find myself vibing on a

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certain idea or skill. I’ll gravitate towards someone or something that does it well and spiral into an inspiration wormhole ... Yes, I said hole!! YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN A QUEEN THAT'S KEPT UP WITH TRENDS AND EMERGING STARS, IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE YOU'VE GOT YOUR EYE ON, OR A SONG YOU WANT TO DO? Why thank you, I’m loving Billie Eilish; she’s doing something so unique and visually gorgeous! Although I feel like it’s doesn’t lend itself to certain drag shows, maybe something alternative perhaps! Right now, I’m loving classic songs, probably because I’m feeling very reflective in my twentieth year drag or just because they are belter wee tunes!   YOU'VE EVEN BRANCHED OUT AND RECORDED YOUR VERY OWN EP, TELL US MORE! Yeah, I’ve always wanted to record my own song, but I got into the studio and it just grew into something more! I had such a fun, creative experience which also became a bit therapeutic as I began to tell my stories through my music. I’m very proud of it! PLUG ALERT: The EP Is called A Journey by Trudy and it’s available on all good music platforms!   WHAT'S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE PERFORMANCE TO DO AS TRUDY? Oh that’s a tough one! There are a couple of standouts I performed for the annual award show The Goscars in Kremlin! I’ve been asked to create opening numbers for a long time now and each year I try to outdo myself…No pressure! Some of my favourites were the diva song from The Fifth Element and This Is Me from The Greatest Showman! I love to create a big project piece with dance, costumes and a strong concept.  

AT TWENTY YEARS YOUNG, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST DRAG LESSON YOU'VE LEARNED? I think I try to keep learning and keep growing! When you’ve been doing anything for a long time, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it and do it with passion! Most importantly be yourself, everyone else is taken! YOU'VE BEEN BOOKED AND BLESSED DURING YOUR CAREER, BUT WHAT'S BEEN THE WEIRDEST GIG YOU'VE EVER DONE? I remember doing working men’s social clubs early in my career and thinking “This is it I’m going to die” especially back then when it was risky in Belfast to go somewhere you weren’t known! But they would love it and just have biggest respect for the balls it took to go in and perform for them! So, it was weird breaking my own perceptions of what it really is to be in drag and the power it has in changing minds! WE'VE ALL LOOKED BACK AT OLD PHOTOS AND CRINGED AT OUR FASHION FAUX PAS, IS THERE ONE FROM TRUDY THAT STANDS OUT? Aargh yes and yes! Let’s say this drag’s wardrobe has been a fashion journey but I love some of the really groovy stuff I used to wear! I made a lot of crazy stuff in my early days! A memorable one was faux lamb’s wool mini skirt and boob tube!   YOU ARE ALWAYS VOCAL ABOUT LOCAL POLITICS, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS OUR BIGGEST SOCIAL/ POLITICAL PROBLEM RIGHT NOW? I try to be conscious of what’s going on in the world and at the moment that’s particularly difficult with the amount of theatrics in politics! It’s hard to decipher the facts from the fiction! In Northern Ireland we need an injection of


INTERVIEW // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

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INTERVIEW // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

youth in politics, the current line-up is like watching antiques roadshow! A younger representation of a modern and diverse Northern Ireland is what I think the majority would love going forward! MANY, MANY LEGENDS HAVE BEEN ROASTED IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE, AND NATIONAL TV. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO/ NERVOUS ABOUT FOR YOURS? Well I’m excited to be doing a comedy roast in Belfast it’s not something that really happens in the City, so I’ll find it interesting to see the style of roast people are going to choose! But I have some very close family and friends roasting me and they know some deep dark juicy secrets and I’d rather it stays that way .... I may need to heavily sedate myself mid roast!   YOU'VE HELPED TO BIRTH MANY BABY DRAGS OUT THERE THANKS TO YOUR VERY OWN VERSION OF DRAG RACE, BUT DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR ANYONE OUT THERE WANTING TO START OUT?  

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fegs! Everyone should do drag just once but if you want a career you got to be prepared to invest in it and be yourself; be friendly, work all the gigs you can and it will evolve into a career, but it takes a long time! I done it for ten years before I started seeing a career for myself! WE FINALLY HAVE A UK VERSION OF DRAG RACE, IS THIS GOOD OR BAD FOR LOCAL DRAG?

I always get asked to be a drag mother but I’m too young to have kids, I see myself as a very young drag auntie who gets you drunk and gives you her old slutty clothes and in return she’ll flirt with your hot friends and smoke your

I think it can be both, Drag Race a is global machine now and it has affected the standard of drag overall. There is an expectation of a look, but it’s important to allow self-expression in drag as an art form! If it’s punk, alternative, classic or something you’ve never seen before doesn’t mean it isn’t drag or exciting too! It’s an artist’s expression and should be respected for the story that it’s telling! A DIFFERENT KIND OF ROAST NOW... WHO'D BE IN YOUR ULTIMATE THREESOME? Why does it have to be a threesome! I’d take one for the team .... the French rugby team!


INTERVIEW // YANNI BURTON

PHOTO CREDIT: COURTNEY CHARLES

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INTERVIEW // YANNI BURTON

THIS SINGER-SONGWRITER WHO GREW UP IN AUSTRALIA NOW HAILS FROM NYC. HE CAUGHT UP WITH GNI MAG TO TALK ABOUT LIFE, HETERONORMATIVITY, LOVE, AND HIS BEAUTIFUL NEW VIDEO FOR HIS SINGLE WORTH IT. YANNI, YOU GREW UP WITH YOUR MUM IN ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA, BUT SPENT HOLIDAYS AT YOUR DAD’S REMOTE FARM. HOW WAS THAT FOR A YOUNG FELLA WORKING OUT HIS SEXUALITY?

had found my home away from home. I felt comfortable with my colleagues, people were like me, I discovered it was ok to be gay, and almost everyone in music school was! I didn’t feel a culture shock, more of a culture awakening and expansion.

It was definitely two conflicting experiences! Growing up in the city with mum was a much more liberal environment where I was encouraged to express myself. I got the talk about it being ok to fall in love with girls OR boys, I got my ears pierced (actually mum was away when I did this) and I was driven around town to acting, dancing and music lessons. My Dad’s farm, while quite fabulous if you’re a 30 something who wants a glass of wine and a healthy dose of nature, wasn’t that liberal. There was definitely rules to be followed, a way of life that was expected and anything outside of that was “weird” or “uncomfortable” for everyone.

WE BELIEVE YOU HAD A COUPLE OF PRETTY FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO WROTE LETTERS IN SUPPORT OF YOUR US RESIDENCY, TELL US ABOUT THAT, HOW’D YOU MEET THEM AND HOW’D IT COME ABOUT…

YOU LEFT AUSTRALIA AND STUDIED ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE IN MANHATTAN. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND HOW DID YOU FIND THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCE? I started playing double bass in middle school and it was just one of those instruments that took me places. Not many people played the bass or took it seriously, so the instrument was in demand. I took my first trip to the states right when I first playing bass at age 12. From there it was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to end up in the States. Once I arrived in the States to study I really felt I

I was very fortunate to get a job as the General Manager and Principal bassist of the Salome Chamber Orchestra right after I graduated from Juilliard. It was with this orchestra that I began producing shows and establishing relationships with artists like John legend, Michelle Williams and Rufus Wainwright. One of the highlights was performing at Rufus’s wedding with his sister Martha Wainwright, then doing a show with Rufus the next day!! Such a beautiful moment and honor to work with such talented musicians! SO, YOU’RE STILL IN THE BIG APPLE AND YOU’RE ENGAGED. HOW DID YOU MEET, IS HE IN THE SAME SORT OF INDUSTRY, AND WHAT SORT OF WEDDING ARE YOU PLANNING? I met my beautiful Fiancé at Industry Bar, a staple of the New York gay bars. He is not in the same industry, he’s a math guy! How ever, he is a very creative soul, he’s into theater, music and even played the Sousaphone in college! For our wedding

we are thinking somewhere in Europe, right now were leaning towards Northern Italy, the ideal setting being a big villa or hotel where all our family and friends can relax for a few days and just have fun together.

YOUR MUSIC IS A MIXTURE OF BEAUTIFUL PIANO BASED BALLADS, ACOUSTIC GUITAR STYLED TUNES, THROUGH TO POP/SYNTH OFFERINGS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? I’d say my most of my songs come from a singer-songwriter style, but has continued to turn towards a more pop/synth vibe. I tend to write songs that I relate to or have a connection to which turn out more like ballads, or acoustic tracks – how ever, I love dance music. My comfort zone is classical music so that’s why I started with more of an acoustic vibe I think, how ever, the next track I’m releasing, we go full throttle pop. WHAT INSPIRES YOUR MUSIC? Musically I’m inspired by artists such as Troy Sivan, Robyn, Tove Lo. They are artsts that are confident in themselves and thus confident in there style and sound. TELL US YOUR STORY, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR CAREER ROAD TO GET YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? I feel like my career road has been a bit all over the place, but at the same time some what streamlined. I’ve been a classical

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INTERVIEW // YANNI BURTON

bass player, a concert producer, arts administrator and singer and songwriter. I feel like at this point in my life I’ve been able to merge all those things into a sustainable career, where one job leads to the next or funds the next project. I still feel like I’m scrambling in the dark at times, but I’m enjoying being able to create, and pay rent in New York! THE LATEST SINGLE WORTH IT, TALKS ABOUT THE EMERGENCE OF A HEARTTUGGING NEW PASSION, AND THE VIDEO IS VISUALLY STUNNING IN TELLING THIS TALE BETWEEN TWO GUYS. DID YOU FEEL IT WAS A NOBRAINER AS AN LGBT ARTIST THAT IT WOULD FEATURE TWO GUYS, WERE YOU TEMPTED AT ALL TO GO DOWN THE HETERONORMATIVE ROUTE AND REPRESENT A MALE/FEMALE COUPLE IN THE VIDEO?

Haha, yeah im definitely not shy on Instagram, Ive been working really hard on my fitness goals, and I’m proud of it! Growing up I was severely overweight and wouldn’t change in the locker room or take my clothes off at the beach, lets say, I don’t have that problem any more! MAINTAINING THAT BODY MUST BE HARD WORK, DO YOU RESENT THE AMOUNT OF WORK YOU HAVE TO PUT INTO IT? It’s a lot of work but I love it. I take Barry’s bootcamp and train with Damon Bell! Between the two of them they keep me

in check and make it fun! Working out is a part of my daily schedule, and something I look forward to every day. WE’VE HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE THAT ALTHOUGH YOU LOVE LIVING IN MANHATTAN, YOU’RE A BIT OF A MOAN ABOUT IT… Haha, yeah it certainly has its ups and downs. As much as I love going out, seeing shows, going to concerts, restaurants and bars, I feel like 60% of time I’d rather be at home watching Netflix with my fiancé and the cats…

It was definitely a no brainer for me to have two guys be the lead in this video. I think its important to be true and genuine to not only yourself, but to the people you want to listen to and experience your music. A lot of people asked me why I didn’t do a heteronormative route for the video, and my response is always going to be, “why? I’m not straight, and I’m not asking anyone else to be what they are not.” DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE IS TOO MUCH STRAIGHT-WASHING IN MUSIC VIDEOS OUT THERE BY ARTISTS FROM OUR LGBT COMMUNITY?

WE’VE HAD A LOOK THROUGH YOUR INSTAGRAM, YOU’RE NOT SHY ARE YOU (PHWOR)?

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PHOTO CREDIT: COURTNEY CHARLES

I think it’s a difficult path to navigate as main stream media is still a little shy to show same sex relationships. However I think artists like Troy, Lizzo, Kim Petras, Robyn, Tove Lo have made a tremendous amount of progress in giving the LGBT community a spotlight and platform, so I’m positive about the future!


Jamie has many years exp working in all girl groups and spent 3 years abroad as the lead female vocalist of a touring roadshow, her unique vocal sound and infectious charm has audiences eating out of the palm of her hand in venues up and down the country. Jamie is joined by the immensely talented Caitlin Mcclurg . Caitlin is currently treading the boards in The Grand Opera House playing the lead role of Sandy In Grease. Caitlin not only brings her vocal expertise to the group but also keeps the girls on their toes with her choreography skills. And last but by no means least SARAH Beattie. Sarah brings a wealth of experience of the pub and club scene not just in Ireland but internationally aswell and her professionalism, fun personality and amazing vocals are the final piece of the jigsaw for this exciting female group.

The diverse and impressive vocals of the girls, paired with thrilling on stage performances are sure to set any stage on fire” This band are PERFECT for any occasion where you need to bring the “FUN FACTOR” to your event, whether it be a wedding, a birthday or even just a night in a pub or a club , these girls will have you all on your feet from the very 1st song to the very last.

Management company CT ENTERTAINMENT say “Few groups have ever been able to capture the magic that this incredible three piece vocal harmony group have.

For all bookings please contact Cecil Thompson at

CT ENTERTAINMENT: 02890 428800 / 07876467530

www.ctentertainment.co.uk

PHOTOS BY BRIAN GIFFEN @ BUZZ MEDIA

The arrival of VIXEN has created a fresh buzz around the country for this FRESH, FEISTY & FUNKY three piece vocal harmony group fronted by the charismatic Jamie Brown.


.Judy ICON . Garland

ICON // JUDY GARLAND

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ICON // JUDY GARLAND

A CAREER THAT SPANNED 45 YEARS, AND HER LIFE WAS PROBABLY MORE INTERESTING THAN ANY FILM ROLE SHE PLAYED. JUDY BEGAN HER WORKING LIFE AS A CHILD, STARRING IN MORE THAN TWO DOZEN FILMS FOR MGM...

IT SEEMS APPROPRIATE TO SHOWCASE the fabulous Judy Garland as our Icon in this issue given the success of “Judy” the movie recently released in cinemas. Renée Zellweger gave an amazing performance as Judy, allowing us a bit of an insight into her past while telling the story of her final curtain call. Let’s take this opportunity to have a look at the life of our original Dorothy. Of all her movies, the one we all remember her most for is The Wizard of Oz. This is the film that is emblazened in our hearts, probably because we can relate to the feeling of being an outsider that is portrayed by not only her in the movie, but also by the characters she befriends: the lion with no courage, the tin man with no heart, and the cowardly scarecrow. A movie that shows that we all have a strength inside us to overcome whatever is thrown at us, this unlikely quartet overcome the wicked witch and make their way to the Wizard – all is not as it seems. It’s because of this movie the phrase “a friend of Dorothy” was coined. As she got older her film career hit a few stumbling blocks but she still managed to star in two Academy Award nominated roles, A Star is Born (1954) and Judgement at Nuremberg (1961). Acting however was not the only string to her bow, she was also a hugely successful recording artist. Garland released eight studio albums as well as record breaking concert performances. Through personal troubles she remained a force to be reckoned with. Her personal life was filled with euphoric highs and turbulent lows. As a child actor she was self-conscious about how she looked; she was short and was described as the “Ugly

Duckling” by Charles Walters who directed a number of her films, he has also said that this had a damaging effect on her emotionally. This wasn’t helped when studio chief Louis B Mayer described her as “his little hunchback”. Her troubles with alcohol and drugs have been widely reported over the years, with the problems beginning while she was young on set. She stated that she was prescribed amphetamines in order to stay awake and keep up with the frantic pace of making one film after another, and also given barbiturates to take before going to bed so she could sleep. These troubles continued to haunt her for the rest of her life. Judy married five times. Her first husband David Rose was a successful composer, she was 19 and he was 12 years older. When this ended she married Vincente Minnelli to whom she had their daughter Liza. After this came Sid Luft, they stayed together for 13 years and had two children Lorna and Joey. Then came husband number four; actor and tour promoter Mark Herron – this only lasted five months. Judy’s last husband Micky Deans was only married to her for three months before she died. It’s been said that the combination of Judy’s man troubles, personal trauma and her on stage performance is what made her the gay icon she is today. Whatever the case there is no denying that this lady was a strong, determined character who worked hard while battling her own demons. To the rest of the world she painted on a smile and just got on with it.

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INTERVIEW // GRACE CARTER

GRACECARTER THIS SINGER-SONGWRITER FROM LONDON HAS WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE UK, SHE’S SUPPORTED BOTH DUA LIPA AND RAG ‘N’ BONE MAN AS WELL AS HEADLINING TWO OF HER OWN UK AND EUROPEAN TOURS. GNI MAG’S DANIEL CHATTED WITH HER TO FIND OUT MORE…

GRACE, 22 YEARS OLD AND YOU’VE ACHIEVED SO MUCH ALREADY! IS YOUR LIFE A WEE BIT SURREAL? It’s very surreal. Especially during the festival season, because I’ve never done a proper season of shows before; going to so many new places, having people singing my lyrics and just being there to see me at festivals when I am playing so early on. It is definitely a pinch-me moment. So it’s a very surreal thing, obviously to still be so young. I am very grateful for everything I have been able to do so far and I’m having the best time, so I hope it continues. TELL US HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR YOU… I was always into music. I was always listening to music. My mum had great taste, and a very broad taste. Music was something we always bonded over. I grew up with a single mother, and then when I was thirteen she met my stepdad who introduced me to making music. He’s a musician himself, and he gave me a guitar and he encouraged me to write my own songs. That’s where it started for me. He challenged me to write a song in a week after he gave me the guitar. I was a sassy kid, and I told myself, “I’m going to show him.” I wrote a song to play for him, and then I was addicted. It was so exciting to do this new thing that I never thought I was capable of doing. After listening and singing along to other people’s songs, I was doing it for myself, finally writing my own songs.” I would do little shows and performances for my family but it was always my own songs, I would never do covers. That’s where it all started and it never really stopped. THERE’VE BEEN TALES THAT YOU WERE AN “ANGRY CHILD”, WHY WAS THIS, WHAT DID YOU DO TO “ACT OUT” AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT? I think I was an extremely angry child, but I think that’s natural when you’re in a position that you don’t understand; you are frustrated when things are going on at home that you don’t understand. Before I had music, I didn’t have an outlet. If I was angry, everyone was going to know about it. Whereas, when I started writing songs, I

THIRTY // GNIMAG.COM

could say ‘I feel angry, I feel sad, I feel frustrated’ and then I would sit on my own and analyze my feelings, and grow from them instead of lashing out on the people I love. I would reflect on my feelings and get it off my chest. Songwriting literally changed my life, and I know that’s so cliche because people say that all the time, but it really did. It turned me from a very angry, frustrated and hot-headed teenager into someone that could channel their anger into something positive; I mean I still have that fire in me, but we all get angry sometimes. My songwriting brought me and my mum closer together because we had both turned a negative situation into a positive one. YOU SUPPORTED DUA LIPA ON HER TOUR, HOW INSPIRATIONAL WAS THAT – WAS IT ALL ‘GIRL POWER’ BACKSTAGE, DID SHE GIVE YOU ANY TIPS OR ADVICE? Not direct advice, but I did learn a lot from her. I learned a lot from everyone on tour. I’m just experiencing all this for the first time, I am still super young and it’s all really new to me. Dua Lipa has her head screwed on and she knows what she wants. She respects people and she speaks in a way that they feel like their being listened to.I took that from her, because sometimes you have bad days but you don’t let reflect in your show that evening. The people in the crowd, it may be the first time their seeing you or the last time their seeing you for whatever reason, you don’t know just do every show like it’s your last. YOUR MUSIC IS VERY DEEP, FOR SOMEONE OF SUCH YOUNG YEARS. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE AN OLD SOUL? People always say that to me. I guess there’s a part of me that’s also really immature. but I have always been quite mature in terms of emotion. My mum has always encouraged to talk about how I feel, and obviously, when I started writing my own songs I was thinking, processing and analyzing how I felt. I would say that I am mature in some ways, musically especially, but I am actually just talking about things that everyone feels. Whether their a kid or adult, we all go through all the same emotions, different experiences maybe, but we all feel the same things. I’m just representing that in my music.


INTERVIEW // GRACE CARTER

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INTERVIEW // GRACE CARTER

WHO WOULD BE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INSPIRATION AND WHY? I’ve got a few; it’s interesting because a lot of my favourite artists are female. The two main ones I looked up to as a kid - especially when I started to write my own songs and even now - would be Alicia Keys and Adele. When I was a teenager I was more into the sonnets of Kanye’s music. I loved the energy and grit that he brings to his music. There is definitely a mixture, but it’s normally the strong female artists that I gravitate towards. WE SEEM TO HAVE A WEALTH OF STRONG, EMPOWERING FEMALE ARTISTS ON THE UK MUSIC SCENE RIGHT NOW. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS AND WHO DO YOU THINK BROKE THE MOULD FOR THE REST OF YOU TO FOLLOW? I think it’s just this generation. We are so open to being ourselves being so unapologetically us - that it’s just attractive. I have so many friends that are doing amazing things; being themselves and making the music they want to make. Being in this industry, I have the mindset that if I love what I’m doing, other people will believe it too. That’s the attitude I have towards every other artist; because they love what they’re doing, other people believe it too. It’s so cool right now because you can do everything on your own. Obviously it’s hard but there is every possibility. You could be a young girl who wants to be a singer and put some videos on youtube and who knows who is going to see it. It could blow up tomorrow, so it really is a different world to what it was ten years ago. IT’S WIDELY REPORTED THAT YOUR BIOLOGICAL FATHER WASN’T THERE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP, AND SOME OF YOUR SONGS REFLECT THIS. AS YOU’VE BECOME MORE WIDELY KNOWN HAVE YOU HEARD FROM HIM AND HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM NOW? Yea, I think the place that I am in now in my life, and in my music, is a place of forgiveness. I’ve moved on from that, and I forgive everyone that has had a part to play in my life or the things that I’ve experienced. I don’t want to dwell on any of that too much. For me, music is a way for me to put out how I feel, and for a long time, I felt certain things that I wrote about. Now I’m in a place where I’ve grown from that situation. I am in a place of forgiveness and that’s the type of music I’m working on. I can’t wait to put out new music. SO, TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW MUSIC… I have been in the studio for the last couple of months. I’ve rented a studio right around the corner from my house, just so I could just get there quickly in the morning. My new music will be a step up from what you’ve already heard. It is more uptempo. I get the sense that people will be excited for that, because a lot of my songs have been very emotional and sad. There will definitely be a lot more

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uplifting music. It does feel like a step up it feels like I’ve come into womanhood and that I’m on another path now which is exciting. AND WHAT IS STUDIO LIFE LIKE FOR YOU. IS IT A WHOLE ENTOURAGE OF PEOPLE WITH LOTS OF CREATIVE THINGS HAPPENING AROUND YOU OR THERE OR IS IT YOU GOING INTO YOUR ZONE KNOWING WHAT’S PLANNED? Studio life has changed recently. Before I would just sit at home when I was younger I was also taught how to produce music - so I would take all my ideas to my main collaborator which took forever. Going into this new era of music, I changed things up. I got a group of people together, and a lot of the music we wrote was within a two-week window. We would just bounce ideas off of each other which is something I’ve never done before. It was really exciting to collaborate and feel excited together as a group, and to build my own studio family. Sometimes I will be sitting at home, playing my keyboard and come up with a chord progression that I love. Then I’ll take it to the studio. AND YOU’RE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A UK TOUR… Yes, I am about to go on tour with Lewis Capaldi at the end of the year which I am very excited about. He is absolutely hilarious and I think we are going to have a really good time. We are going to a lot of places in the U.K. and a lot of really cool venues. I should have a tour going on at some point soon. I don’t have the dates right now, but I hope to be on tour again soon. HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE ROAD TO STARDOM? IS IT WHAT YOU EXPECTED, WHAT HAS SHOCKED YOU MOST? Obviously it is very weird in the music world. It’s something you can’t really prepare yourself for. If there’s one thing if learned, and one thing I want to take into the future of my career it’s just to be myself and to do what makes me feel comfortable and happy, and to make the most of the situation I am in. But there’s no real rule to doing this, you learn on the job. I have met people that I look up to and think are amazing, but I don’t really get starstruck. you realize, When your in this world, that everyone’s just person at the end of the day so I am more so just open to learning from the people I have met. YOUR LIFE OFF STAGE, IS THERE SOMEONE SPECIAL, CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT IT, WILL WE SOON BE HEARING SONGS INSPIRED BY THEM? I have been with my boyfriend for the last three years and we actually make all of my music together, so that’s kind of where a lot of the music has come from. He has been a big part of this whole new era of music over the last few months.


Kelly’s Cellars is Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub, often described as “a hidden gem that oozes old traditional values”. It’s famous for the best pint of Guinness in Belfast, served with our homemade Irish beef stew. Built in 1720, it is situated in the heart of the city. Kelly’s Cellars has changed very little in 200 years and still has most of its original features. Recently we refurbished upstairs into what is now a modern yet contempory bar, currently opened to the public at the weekend and available for private hire

30-32 Bank Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland (City Centre)

028 9024 6058 | www.kellyscellars.com | kieran@kellyscellars.com | www.facebook.com/kellys.cellars


ALPHABEAT THIRTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

Photo Credit: Alexander Leistiko

INTERVIEW // ALPHABEAT


INTERVIEW // ALPHABEAT OK, SO EVERYONE KNOWS FASCINATION, TAKE US BACK TO THE BEGINNING, HOW DID ALPHABEAT COME ABOUT AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME? We started in our equivalent of high school in Denmark. The guys were in a band and looking for a backup singer, I went along to the auditions and they picked me, they had already been playing together for a few years. Our bass player came up with the name, we tried a few things and wanted something to do with music so we decided upon Alphabeat. YOU’VE THREE STUDIO ALBUMS UNDER YOUR BELT, BUT YOU’VE LEFT A BIT OF A GAP FOR THIS NEW ALBUM. TELL US ABOUT THE SPLIT AND THEN THE REUNION? We had been together for 10 years working and we honestly just needed a break. Creatively we weren’t sure where to go and if there would be another

Alphabeat album WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE GAP YEARS? Each of us had solo projects that kept us busy, we did our own thing for almost 5 years, singing, writing etc then we remembered how great the time was together, you don’t realise how good things are until they are gone. One day around 3 years ago, we wrote new music and thought it would be perfect for Alphabeat, it took some time to get things in place and everyone on board but it just made sense to start making music again. NOW THAT YOU’RE BACK TOGETHER HAS MUCH CHANGED? In many ways it feels exactly like when we started, we are 6 people who are great friends and know each other really well, it’s nice to enjoy spending time together again.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Eibye

PURE POP DANISH BAND ARE BACK WITH THE GREAT SOUND THAT MADE FASCINATION IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO SING ALONG WITH. AFTER SIX YEARS OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT, WE CAUGHT UP WITH THIS SIXPIECE…

THIRTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


Photo Credit: Alexander Leistiko

INTERVIEW // ALPHABEAT

TELL US ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM…

NORTHERN IRELAND / IRELAND?

We see it as an album for our fans especially the first half, we spend a lot of time focusing on our sound and we feel fans will relate and recognise it. We also played with a lot of new styles and genres which you will hear in the 2nd part of the album. We tried folk, country and gospel which was really fun.

There are a few dates planned for next April after this we would love to be involved with festivals over the summer, we have been to Ireland many times before and hope to be back soon.

HOW IS THE WRITING PROCESS, DO YOU WRITE TOGETHER OR INDIVIDUALLY? Every song is different, we are a great team now, we bring all of our idea’s to the table, there is so much energy when we are together. ARE THERE ANY TRACKS YOU FEEL ARE VERY PERSONAL SONGS? Track 5, “Sing A Song” is really a special track, it is literally the story of Alphabeat, it’s almost like a diary from the very beginning until now. If you don’t know Alphabeat you need to listen to that song. HAVE YOU A TOUR PLANNED? IF SO WILL YOU BE COMING TO

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THERE ARE SIX OF YOU, AND WHEN ON A TOUR YOU’D BE IN CLOSE QUARTERS, WHO GETS ON WHO’S NERVES THE MOST AND WHY? We have really been focusing on all the good things about being in a band, we are 6 people, each of us has our own strengths and talent. Being in a band it’s so important to remember the friendships, it’s not fun touring together if you don’t enjoy spending time together. We have been working in London for the past couple of days which is amazing, when we lived there we had the chance to tour all over, we really appreciate those times and experiences now. We are so grateful that people want to hear our new music and this time around we are trying to take it all in and enjoy every moment.

CHRISTMAS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER HAVE YOU ANY PLANS? In total the band has 14 kids so family time is really important so we will be spending time at home. Next year we will maybe have a massive Christmas party with all our families. __

ALPHABEATS NEW ALBUM “DON’T KNOW WHAT’S COOL ANYMORE” IS OUT NOW INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL MAY


KWEEN // ROBYN DIAMONDS

KWEEN // ROBYN DIAMONDS HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO DRAG? I started drag when I was about 19. I had done drag previously for halloween since I was 16 but 19 was when I decided it was something I wanted to try out seriously, which makes it almost 7 years I am doing drag now!

the best people to work with, there’s not one who I don’t get on with! I’ve got to work with so many great people throughout my time doing drag though, from all walks of life, which is what I love most about it all, the people you get to meet and the friends you make. I hate name dropping though lol.

WHERE HAVE YOU WORKED? I’ve worked in so many places now! After appearing on Ireland’s Got Talent I have been booked in almost every town in Ireland you can think of, which is really cool for me because I love travelling and sightseeing while working, it’s really fun. I’ve recently been booked in London to judge a drag competition with Holly Stars which was an incredible experience and also I’ve just been booked to perform in France next year, so the work is taking me places I never even imagined!

WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO WORK WITH? Again, not one for name dropping but I’d love to work in the UK more, particularly London! The drag scene over there blew me away and I only got to see the tiniest bit of it!

WHO HAVE BEEN THE BEST PEOPLE TO WORK WITH TO DATE? The drag queens on the scene are some of

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU, WHERE PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU PERFORM, WINNING GNI AWARD, ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE Well I am Derry’s hardest working woman, and you can catch me every wednesday hosting karaoke in Envy up in Derry, if you’re about! It’s good craic! And then i’m usually on the road at the weekend going some place down south

or somewhere out of Derry, all my gigs are listed on the dragr app if you download it and find me! #shamelessplug Winning the GNI award was such a great thing for me, this year particularly after being on IGT, I have worked so hard, so to win that award coming up to the end of probably the craziest and best year of my life was just pure validation for all the work and effort i’ve put in this year, so thank you! I’m so excited to keep entertaining everyone for as long as I can! Anything else I would like to share.... the love! kidding! Just thank you for everything GNI, and everyone for your support! CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ON INST, FACEBOOK ETC Yes you can find me on instagram @ robyndiamonds and my facebook is my boy name Aaron Deery - give us a wee add or follow sure!

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GNI AWARDS // 2019

CELEBRATING // GNI AWARDS 2019 IT WAS A COLD AND DAMP NOVEMBER NIGHT WHEN WE ALL GOT GLAMMED UP FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL GNI AWARDS. AGAIN THIS YEAR SANTANDER PROUDLY SUPPORTED US. NOMINATIONS WERE MADE BY THE PUBLIC, AND OUR WINNERS WERE CHOSEN BY ONLINE PUBLIC VOTE. OUR WINNERS WERE... GRASSROOTS COMMUNITY AWARD Love Equality Campaign INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AWARD Queens university LGBTQ+ ALLY Patrick Corrigan LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY EMPLOYER Primark PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY John O’Doherty LGBTQ+ INCLUSIVE GYM Dedicated Fitness BEST SAME-SEX WEDDING VENUE Lusty Beg Island LEGAL REPRESENTATION AWARD Ciaran Moynagh INCLUSIVE SALON AWARD James Hairdressing

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LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY FINANCIAL INSTITUTION Santander INDEPENDENT RETAILER AWARD Fresh Garbage INFLUENTIAL LOCAL LGBTQ+ PERSON Annette Whelan LOCAL LGBTQ+ ENTERTAINER Robyn Diamonds BUSINESS CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY Primark LGBTQ+ NIGHTLIFE AWARD Union Street Bar UNSUNG HERO Kenny Kane LGBTQ+ FACILITATOR PSNI INCLUSIVE BAR AWARD Kellys Cellars LOCAL LGBTQ+ VETERAN Trudy Scrumptious PEOPLE’S CHOICE CHARITY AWARD The Rainbow Project GNI MAG MEDIA AWARD Cool FM OUTSTANDING HOSPITALITY AWARD The Grand Central Hotel, Belfast LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY HEALTH PRACTITIONER Facetherapy NI INCLUSIVE SPORTS AWARD Azlans GNI MAG EDITORS CHOICE AWARD Ciaran Moynagh


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GAVIN RENNICK // MILLION DOLLAR FACIAL

MILLION DOLLAR FACIAL // GAVIN RENNICK

WHEN I WAS INVITED TO Nicky’s Beauty Boutique located on the Antrim road for a beauty treatment, I was given the 5* treatment, and left very impressed. With Christmas just around the corner and the cold weather knocking on our doorsteps daily its time to get my skin some TLC in time for the festive season, plus I met a really hot guy so I best step it up as they say. I have always been an advocate for all things natural and wondered what it would be like to give my skin the VIP treatment. THE MILLION DOLLAR FACIAL Yes I know it may sound expensive but its actually quite affordable and extremely luxurious. So I went for it. Granted I have half my face covered with facial hair so I wasn’t going to get the full face benefits of the million dollar facial however my beauty therapist Nicky “the owner” adapted the treatment and added micro dermabrasion as this would be able to penetrate my facial hair areas and offer light exfoliation through my dense bearded area…. WHAT IS A MILLION DOLLAR FACIAL Are you ready? Because my skin didn’t know what was going to hit it… The only way I can describe this treatment is the theory of skin science meets utter indulgence. Nicky was amazing throughout this process as she described to me that she would be working on my skin from the outside in, with the objective to help generate and stimulate the production of collagen to increase the absorption rate of products into the skin. The claim that 80% of an increase of absorption opposed to the standard 8% which I found pretty crazy to think about. I mean what really

FIFTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

happens when you put a moisturiser on your skin only 8% get absorbed, I’ll have a facial every week thank you very much. But Nicky who was a powerhouse of knowledge was able to explain that our skin gets a bit lazy so by giving our skin a lot of encouragement and by using the correct techniques and products our skin will drink everything you have to throw at it, and personally I like the sound of that. The Million Dollar Facial focuses on brighter, tighter, smoother skin with increased blood flow that helps create a fresh glow, and the removal of all that fuzzy hair us fellas get around our eyes and eyebrows (you know what I’m talking about guys, and women) . Nicky also spoke about the lymphatic drainage to help remove toxins which I was very much into and asked her to drain as much of the toxic waste flying about my body - she said there was none, I agree with her on that ; ). But on a serious note this treatment is only £80 and even has an offer if you purchase 2 for £140. I have to say all in all I am extremely pleased with the results and loved that Nicky added the Micro-dermabrasion due to my facial hair. Nicky’s Beauty Boutique offers a range of treatments including a pick and mix menu that is simply outstanding. Nicky is a star made me feel comfortable and gave a full skin analysis which I was so so happy with. Check out her Facebook page and socials to find out more, 5 mins from the city centre and on street parking. I’m going back for my pick’n’mix offer apparently she has magic hands for your head shoulders and back I’m happy.


> Anti Wrinkle Injections > Dermal Fillers > Skin Treatments

YOUR AESTHETIC JOURNEY STARTS HERE Tanya Khan Aesthetics is a professional aesthetic skin clinic in Belfast, providing advanced cosmetic injectable treatments, non-surgical procedures and high quality skin rejuvenation to enhance natural beauty and restore confidence. Your safety is of paramount importance which is why there is a strong focus on scientifically researched treatments, continual professional development, client education and high ethics.

ABOUT TANYA KHAN I am a fully qualified theatre nurse with over 13 years’ experience and have been working in the field of aesthetics for over a decade. I am trained by the best names in the industry of aesthetics and I continually update my training by attending regular conferences on new innovate techniques and the latest treatments on the market. I understand that the prospect of having an aesthetic treatment can make some people feel anxious, that is why I’ll be with you every step of the way… My clinic creates a tranquil, welcoming environment where

we discuss your aesthetic goals and put a plan in place to help you achieve them. The client and their well-being is my number one priority, from the moment you book in for a comprehensive one-to-one consultation, during your treatment process and right through to your after care and review. Offering a wide range of treatments including anti-wrinkle, dermal fillers and skincare. Visit my website for more information. Many before and afters pictures can be found on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

Tel: +44 7854 584940 | Email: info@tanyakhan.co.uk​ | www.tanyakhan.co.uk MNX PRO STUDIO, 15 Union Street, Belfast, BT1 2JF


FITNESS // DAMIEN LUNDY

FITNESS // NEW YEAR, NEW YOU DAMIEN LUNDY WITH THE NEW YEAR ARRIVING THE GYMS WILL BECOME FLOODED WITH NEW MEMBERS TRYING TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAM BODIES! SOUND FAMILIAR?

THREE Join a gym that’s going to keep you motivated! Having a gym that is welcoming and keeps you motivated to stay on track goes a long way! Check out B-Fit www. facebook.com/BFITBelfast

’Twas the night before fitness

Well, let me help you change that with these 5 tips that I give to all clients!

FOUR Avoid giving yourself a deadline! It’s great working towards a goal but avoid setting yourself up for failure. Have a realistic goal.

The measurements were hung by the fridge with care in hopes of losing the ‘tire of spare’.

ONE Ensure there remains a balance in your life! Just because you’re wanting to shed a few pounds doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself! Adherence is key.

FIVE Get a head start! Just because the festive season is approaching doesn’t mean you can’t start now. You’d be surprised what a few weeks can do!

How many times have you started your fitness journey in the new year but failed?

TWO Have a plan that will get you results! If you don’t know what you’re doing then how do you expect to get results? Hire someone who knows what they’re doing!

_______________

I found this poem from @ klamiot. wordpress.com

‘Twas the night before fitness and all through the house, not a snack to be found, not even for a mouse.

The SMART plan was snuggled deep in my head and now, it was time… for the pounds to be shed. When springtime emerged with the birds all a clatter I jumped from my couch finding – I was a bit fatter. As I donned my shoes and found my cap, I decided to walk instead of a nap. And what to my wandering eyes should appear but blue sky and flowers, yes, even a deer. My heart started beating, my muscles felt power, my bones and my brain said “Let’s go for an hour!” At the end of the walk, I worked on my core, some planks, push-ups and stretches galore. I feel so good, my bod a machine – it’s time for some lunch – I think “make it clean”. Nothing processed, no sugar, no fat past my lips, none of this food will stay on my hips! Day one and I’m pleased, I’ve started anew I’m in charge of my life again – so simple, who new? Check out my Facebook page every day I aim to post new tips, advice, exercises, recipes and much more www.facebook.com/DamienLundyFitness

FIFTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY

SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY DEFINITELY NOTICED A GROWING ACCEPTANCE IN SPORTS COMMUNITIES FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE, YOU’RE VERY OPEN ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH. WHAT ARE YOU HOPING IS THE LEGACY OF “BIG BEAR”? I know my story has helped so many people and that’s what drives me, it’s saved so many people, and that’s why I work and train as hard as I do. In my mind becoming UK strongest man will lead to saving hundred more lives from suicide. There are lives and people I couldn’t save and it’s their memories drive me forward to become more, to reach more people. IT CERTAINLY WOULD DISINTEGRATE THE MYTH OF QUEER MEN BEING ‘SOFT’ BUT I THINK IT’S OBVIOUS YOU’VE ALREADY QUASHED THIS MYTH WITH YOUR SUCCESS, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG ATHLETES STRUGGLING WITH THEIR SEXUALITY?

IT TAKES A STRONG MAN TO BEAR ALL IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS I HAVE BEGUN TO LOOK AT IMPROVING MY OWN STRENGTH AND STAMINA SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SEEK ADVICE FROM THE BEST. THIS WEEK I SAT DOWN WITH THE INCOMPARABLE MR CHRIS “BIG BEAR” MCNAUGHTON TO FIND GET SOME PRO TIPS.

SO CHRIS, WHERE DOES YOUR STORY BEGIN IN TERMS OF COMPETITIVE SPORTS? I played rugby since I was 7 up until 19 then moved onto strongman, sports has always been a part of life, I guess with my size rugby was good choice of sport to keep me fit as a child. A LOT OF LGBTQ PEOPLE I’VE SPOKEN TO HAVE ISSUES WITH

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FINDING ACCEPTANCE IN SPORTS, I NOTED YOUR FATHERS BEAUTIFUL AND EMOTIONAL SPEECH IN YOUR DOCUMENTARY WHICH MADE ME WONDER DID YOUR PARENTS, COACHES OR COMPETITORS EVER MAKE AN ISSUE OUT OF YOUR SEXUALITY? I’ve been lucky where many LGBT people haven’t, my sexuality has been supported well by people close to me , especially family and competitors , I’ve lost few friends who weren’t as close, and lost some closeness with some people who I guess aren’t as comfortable around me, but all in all I’ve been very lucky. THAT’S MOTIVATING TO HEAR THAT FOR THE MOST PART YOU HAVEN’T FACED HAD MANY ISSUES WITH ACCEPTANCE AND I MYSELF HAVE

Your sexuality at times will be a ‘thing’ and the better you become the more attention it’ll get. So make sure you train to be the best, work hard and then people will respect you no matter what your sexuality. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I THINK STOPS A LOT OF SPORTS “CELEBRITIES” COMING OUT, THAT IDEA OF THEIR PERSONAL LIFE TAKING PRECEDENCE OVER THEIR ABILITY BUT HOPEFULLY THE SUCCESS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF, TOM DALEY, GUS KENWORTH ETC. WILL HELP BREAK THESE BARRIERS. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUR LGBTQ READERS INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED IN COMPETITIVE SPORTS? Be the best, work hard and show people sexuality means nothing. Also remember your competition doesn’t care what your sexuality is, all they want is to beat you as an athlete. SO SPEAKING OF BEING THE BEST, WHAT IS THE BEST FITNESS ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN THAT GOT YOU WHERE YOU ARE?


SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY

THE FUTURE OF FOOTBALL

To focus on always beating myself, then one day all beat everyone else. SOMETHING I THINK I HAVE HEARD REINFORCED MANY TIMES, THE ONLY PERSON STANDING IN YOUR WAY IS YOURSELF. IN TERMS OF BEING THE BEST YOU CAN BE, COULD YOU TALK ME THROUGH THE WORKOUT YOU ENJOY THE MOST. WHAT’S AN ENJOYABLE GO TO FOR SOMEONE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THE GYM?

INCLUSIVE FOOTBALL NI WAS FOUNDED by David Henriques, Stuart Rafferty and Dominic Tierney as the first Belfast based football group, whose main goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community. The group meet weekly and welcome new comers at all levels to enjoy the team sport with other LGBTQ+ people. I've bared witness to the welcoming nature, light hearted banter and support the team provide to each other and anyone open to giving it a go. You can follow the group on Instagram @InclusiveFootBallBelfast and Facebook at “Inclusive Football Belfast, NI” for more information on getting involved. Head on down and have a ball.

I love pressing day, the feeling of firing big weight up above your head, you just feel like an animal when you achieve this. Normally when people are uncomfortable in the gym they go to all the wrong things. I’d suggest start with a coach or PT to help break you into the gym. Remember though all those anxieties you have about the gym only live inside your head. THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE NOTICED AS I SKIP AROUND MY OWN GYM IN THE QUEEREST GYM GEAR I CAN FIND IS LITERALLY NO ONE CARES AND I HAVE TO SAY THAT GETTING A TRAINER REALLY CHANGED MY ATTITUDE TO THE GYM AS IT CREATED A COMMUNITY SENSE AS I GOT TO KNOW PEOPLE THROUGH MY TRAINER. I CAME ACROSS YOUR NAME WATCHING MTV’S DATING SHOW TRUE LOVE OR TRUE LIES WHICH IS AN INCREDIBLE PIECE OF REALITY GOLD. YOU’RE NOW A REALITY TV STAR, A DOCUMENTARIAN, AN ENTREPRENEUR, A TRAINER, AN ATHLETE AND MUCH MORE. WHAT’S NEXT FOR BIG BEAR? I’ve so much planned including a documentary series based on our gay scene here in Belfast, but in general continue to grow, get better and continue to Bear Strong. THANKS CHRIS, OUR READERS CAN GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER VIA HTTPS:// WWW.BEARSTRONG.CO.UK, YOUR DOCUMENTARY “BEAR STRONG” AVAILABLE ON AMAZON OR ANY OF THE BEAR STRONG SOCIAL MEDIA AND FIND THEIR OWN WAY TO, AS YOU PUT IT, “BEAR STRONG.”

HAWT TO NAWT HAWT

NAWT

OLYMPIC ATHLETE GUS KENWORTHY TAKING OVER TV WITH ROLES IN “WILL & GRACE” & “AHS 1984”

IAAF RULES TRANS FEMALE ATHLETES MUST LOWER TESTOSTERONE LEVELS TO COMPETE.

KELLOGGS CELEBRATING SPIRIT DAY BY RELEASING A LIMITED EDITION CEREAL AND DONATING $50,000 DOLLARS TO GLAAD WWE WRESTLER SONYA DEVILLE BECOMES FIRST OPENLY GAY CAST MEMBER ON “TOTAL DIVAS”

MEXICO FANS IGNORE CALLS FROM MEXICO NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM TO STOP SHOUTING “PUTO” HOMOPHOBIC FRENCH FOOTBALL FANS IN NANCY CHANTING “PEOPLE FROM METZ, PEOPLE FROM METZ, THEY’RE FAGGOTS”

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FASHION // WINTER COATS

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WINTER // COATS

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LIFE!

COMING OUT, FAMILY, WEDDINGS, SCENE OUT, ADVICE, LIFE IS REAL!


ADVERTORIAL// OUTTV

OUTtv // WHAT’S IN STORE? SO WHO IS OUTTV, WHEN DID IT KICK-OFF, WE HAVE ALL THE INFO FOR YOU... OUTtv is the number one lifestyle TVchannel in the world for gay and openminded individuals, with international successful TV programs, exciting LGBT series, raw reality shows, inspiring documentaries, hysterical telenovella’s , gay rom com’s, award-winning movies and OUT originals. For the past 11 years, millions have been entertained in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Israel. They are the number one lifestyle TV-channel for the gay and open-minded community in the world and now it is time to entertain the people of Britain and Ireland. On OUTtv you will be able to enjoy hitseries like Drag Race Thailand, Shade Queens of NYC, My Life is a Telenovella, Mixed Messages, Fashion Hero and many more. Drama series like ‘‘Mixed Messages’ and I LOVE YOU 2 and reality series like David Tutera Celebrations. OUTtv also brings back the first real LGBT series ever produced: ‘Paradise Falls’ and large variety of movies to your

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screen. These movies have been vetted by moviegoers in art house cinemas, at several LGBT-film festivals and the OUTtv audience in Europe. Be captivated by documentaries like OUT in the lineup, Bearnation and Being Divine. Movies and documentaries are an important part of the weekly programming. OUTtv reports on national and international LGBTQI+ -events, film festivals, fashion shows, travel and lifestyle of the community. Always different and often never seen before in the UK and Ireland! OUTtv is producing several OUT originals a year, in order to offer must-watch content that can’t be found anywhere else. (Tommy in Lala land and The Gay Bucket list Challenge). In 2020 you will not miss anything of the Eurovision taking place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Eurovision concerts, talk shows and daily reports with interviews with various Eurovision artists will highlight the Eurovision season on OUTtv. OUTtv thinks it’s important that all letters of the community see themselves represented in movies, documentaries, TV shows and series. Not in a stereotypical way, but in a real way where everyone can relate to or

feel themselves represented. In most of the countries where OUTtv is established, 40% of the viewers are straight woman, so it really is a network not just for the LGBTQI+ community but also for our allies. “ OUTtv serves audiences who do not live in the major cities, who have not a lot of gay life in their neighbourhood, who are still in the closet, single and/or don’t feel part of the community. We are a window to the world they wanna be part of but not always able to. Over the years we had so many great stories and thank you messages from people who came out, even a 76-year-old guy, who watched OUTtv and after a while got the strength to came out to his wife, but still decided to live together. Visibility of our community is so important!” We hope you enjoy the channel and the programmes we have already lined up, some to look out for are:


ADVERTORIAL// OUTTV working in this hyper-competitive world. As the series begins, several of our characters are vying for the same role in a real-life telenovela being produced by Telemundo, resulting in drama and fireworks on both sides of the camera.

DRAG RACE THAILAND (Reality series) The Thai version of the popular reality RuPauls’ Drag Race show features Drag queens competing to be Thailand’s next drag superstar. This is the first official spin-off of the RuPaul’s Drag Race Emmy award-winning brand.

TOMMY IN LALA LAND (OUT original) An OUT original documentary series that follows journalist Tommy Parker as he travels to Los Angeles, finding out what impact of the rapidly changing world has on Hollywood and the LGBTIQ+ artists and performers working in Lala land. Premieres: 2020

SHADE - QUEENS OF NYC (Documentary series) A docu-follow-musical-reality show that explores what happens to New York’s fiercest, funniest drag queens as they vie for fame, fortune, and love.

THE FASHION HERO (TV-show) The Fashion Hero is a TV-show that features renowned brands and their teams of industry-changing models who are competing to be the next face of their ad campaign(s).

MY LIFE IS A TELENOVELLA (Reality series) Set in Miami, the show is focused on the real characters who bring life to this enormously popular television genre. The series will follow a group of beautiful and fierce Latina actresses and actors

THE GAY BUCKETLIST CHALLENGE (OUT original) Three gay friends in Madrid are planning the highlights if their lives and expand their horizons. Once you learned from their bucket list challenges and how to explore a new city, you’ll be set for any city and discover your Gay Bucket list Challenge anytime, anywhere!

BEARNATION (Documentary) Bearnation introduces you to gay men who dig big dudes who are stockier and hairier than the airbrushed ideal served by up lifestyle magazines and underwear ads. From ‘Bear runs’ - the circuit parties of the ursine - to men proudly accepting their own bodies (and the beer bellies they want to cuddle), Bear Nation proves love really does come in all shapes and sizes.

EUROVISION IN CONCERT (OUT Original concert) OUT original tv show. From all over Europe over 10.000 fans travel to Amsterdam to see and hear their favourite Eurovision artists for the first time live on stage! Because that’s what they’ll do: before leaving to Rotterdam, dozens of artists will bring their song from 2020 live on stage. Eurovision in Concert is the largest pre-show party in Europe and last year an amazing 28 out of 41 participating acts took part.

EUROVISION CALLING (OUT Original TV show) OUT Original tv show, Eurovision Calling is your weekly Eurovision update with interviews, backstage stories and the first news regarding all participating countries.

OUT IN THE LINE UP (Documentary) Two gay surfers embark on a global journey to uncover the taboo of homosexuality in surfing. They become part of an emerging community prepared to step out of the shadows of secrecy and create a more open and accepting surfing culture.

COMING OUT SOON, SIGN UP FOR THEIR NEWSLETTER VIA WWW.OUT.TV

SIXTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // GIFTS FROM MISSTIQUE

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CHRISTMAS// GIFTS FROM MISSTIQUE

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SIXTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // CALLUM’S POEM

CALLUM’S FESTIVE POEM

T’was the week before Christmas and walking down the street, a mid-twenties queer made his way to a coffee shop for the meet. The men waiting there had answers to make his wonderings clear, For they too would not be filled with the ordinary Christmas cheer. They resented Christmas; repulsed by the festive season, Mr Scrooge and Mr Grinch certainly had good reason. This queer needed to know if all hope was lost on him, For it seemed every holiday season was meant to be grim. “My attitude to Christmas seems a little out of touch, Can you tell me why both of you hate it so much?” Grinch: I once was a young grinch, so happy and filled with Christmas joy, Until the illusion was ripped away, revealed as nothing more than a ploy. One to manipulate and trick the bad children to be good, I thank my parents for revealing the treachery of childhood. Scrooge: Ah yes the mysterious man who makes up a list, And when you grow too old you are quickly dismissed. The magic is revealed as lies and deceit, You become the one holding a pricey receipt. No rest for the wicked, no sir not me, I shall not cease work in favour of festive glee. “I too find myself haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, And I yearn for the day I can be Santa at last.” Scrooge: I have no desire to become the magical man, Adding only more misery to my lengthy lifespan. My fortune is for me and me only and that is that, I will not waste my pennies spoiling some unbearable brat. Grinch: Christmas is a time for caring and sharing, All the while the world is constantly comparing. It is a holiday of snobbery, Let’s call it daylight robbery. I did the who’s a favour when I stole their presents and stockings, No more #spoiled princesses that require a good blocking. “Christmas has become very commercialised indeed, there seems to be no answer to this unquenchable greed, It’s getting worse and worse every year, and has become a part of my festive fear.”

SEVENTY // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // CALLUM’S POEM

Scrooge: Ah yes it’s expensive and sure is good for business, Christmas does wonders for the economies richness. So spend a fortune, give your three year old an ipad, Maybe then you can call yourself the perfect Dad. Christmas dinner is almost the only thing I look forward to, Would it be fair to say the same for both of you? Grinch: Enough food to see you through a famine, But you won’t see me fighting over the last gammon. Christmas has put a sour taste in my mouth but no doubt, You can always join me for a bowl of Brussel sprouts. “Christmas is always such a rush; my friends want to see me, my family too And before I know it my time away from adult life will be through.” Scrooge: No time, no time, not with all the work that must be done, I have no time to buy presents for people I would rather shun. I shall not endure this habitual practice, Not for a family who are nothing but tactless. Grinch: Friends that only desire the affirmation of gifts, And only want to cry about their Christmas shifts. A Christmas of solitude is the only answer, If you want to avoid becoming someone’s financer. And so he rose from the table feeling all the more queer, Walking away from the two woeful men as then began to sneer. The cold winter winds hit him like a punch in the chest, A bustling street of shoppers passed by oblivious to his Christmas protest. They would likely rush off to Tescos with for ten bottles of on-offer scholer, And then sit in the cupboard because it’s a flavor no one would prefer. He felt no clarity in the conversation, dismayed even more, It seemed this Christmas was destined to be a bore. The mid-twenties queer had rent to pay, More importantly, a dancefloor to slay, But to recapture his youthful excitement, He must discard the social Christmas requirement. The presents may be lacking, Hopefully, his family didn’t think he was slacking. His presence at the table would be suffice, To make this Christmas, simply, nice.

SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // HASTINGS

A HASTINGS CHRISTMAS

10 ‘TIS THE SEASON TO CELEBRATE AT HASTINGS HOTELS Christmas at Hastings Hotels is magical! It’s a time to celebrate and enjoy, to spend quality time with family and friends and treat yourself to something special. Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels has a fabulous array of festive dining and an action-packed line-up of entertainment including Afternoon Teas, Party Nights, Tribute Shows and Christmas residential packages. Hastings Hotels evoke the finest festive style and hospitality, with a relaxed atmosphere that allows you to do as little or as much as you like. Whether you are looking for a traditional Christmas with exquisite food and wine, or a fun-filled celebration, you will find something for everyone. Spend a relaxing afternoon in the lead up to Christmas in one of the seven Hastings Hotels with Festive Afternoon Tea which is available daily offering a delightful selection of seasonal finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a tempting array of pastries. Or why not enjoy the perfect festive night out with live events and tribute shows over the festive season and into the New Year including Ireland’s favourite Abba tribute act, The Bjorn Identity; Best Hits of the 80’s Live Bands; Bohemien Rhapsody – A Tribute to Queen; Take That Tribute; Dolly Parton & Shania Twain Tribute Show and Tina Turner Tribute to name just a few! Or why not say goodbye to the old year and hello to 2020 at the Gala Ball on New Year’s Eve in the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry or Europa Hotel in Belfast. For further information visit www.hastingshotels.com or call 028 9047 1066.

WIN A £100 Hastings Hotels Gift Card! Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels have teamed up with GNI to give you the chance to win a fabulous Hastings Hotels Gift Card for £100! As the season for giving approaches, Hastings Hotels will take the strain out of your Christmas shopping with the versatile new Gift Card which now comes with no expiry date. Redeemable at any one of the seven Hastings Hotels, in the two magnificent spas and any of the restaurants or bars, it’s the ideal gift that lets people choose the perfect present for themselves, be it a special night out, a luxury weekend, an afternoon tea, a spa treatment or even a round of drinks at the bar! Every budget is catered for, with cards available from £20 to much, much more! What’s more, for every £100 of Gift Cards you buy during November, you will receive a £10 voucher for yourself to spend in any of the hotels* (T&C apply). Spend over £250 and receive a complimentary luxurious gift box saving you time on wrapping! For further information or to get your Christmas presents sorted at the touch of a button, go to www.hastingshotels.com/Christmasgifts or call 028 9047 1066. To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the following question: Q: When does a Hastings Hotels Gift card expire? A) After one year B) Never C) After two years Email your answers to: daniel@gnimag.com *Terms and conditions apply.

SEVENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // WHAT’S ON

HAPPENIN’ // OUT AND ABOUT BELFAST CHRISTMAS MARKET 16 November to 22 December, Belfast City Hall Transforming the grounds of Belfast City Hall into a haven of steaming cups of gluhwein and twinkling lights, the market offers French crepes, Dutch pancakes, German bratwursts, marshmallow toasting stations, winter foliage, Christmas crafts and much more. There are also funfair attractions and a Santa’s grotto. CREATIVE PENINSULA – CHRISTMAS FAYRE 29-30 November, Ards Arts Centre Wander through the stalls and find ceramics, jewellery and decorative pieces made by Creative Peninsula makers. Enjoy festive refreshments and complimentary gift wrapping. ARMAGH GEORGIAN FESTIVAL 30 November, Armagh city centre The doors of the historic buildings will be thrown open and stalls will line the street offering local food, arts, crafts and gifts. Look out for evocative Georgian costumed figures, street entertainment and horse and carriage rides. HARK FAIR AT BELFAST CATHEDRAL 5 December, Belfast Cathedral Featuring live music from various musicians, expect a relaxing festive atmosphere at this inaugural market at Belfast Cathedral. You can browse through items from local artists to find the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one, or simply listen to music and spoken word. ALADDIN - CRESCENT ARTS DateTuesday 17 December 2019 until Sunday 22 December 2019 Come and join us for an Arabian night of entertainment! So, you all think you know the story of Aladdin? Well maybe you don’t! Come along and let us grant your wishes with a night of entertainment and a story that you’ve never heard told quite like this. With popular

references to motion pictures and a soundtrack that is sure to leave you with your jaw on the floor, Aladdin is perfect entertainment for all the family this Christmas. DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS Lyric Theatre 19 Nov 2019 - 04 Jan 2020 Welcome to the Dander Inn, deep in the Sperrins, one of the many claimants to being the highest pub in Ireland. It is Christmas Eve and a once-in-a-century snowstorm rages over the country. Various travellers take refuge in the pub as the road becomes impassable. When the Superser runs out of gas they huddle together for heat and getting really, really hangry, they tell stories to remind themselves that it’s Christmas and begin to wonder, are they trapped, or are they prisoners? And will they ever make it out..? A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Mac - 27 Nov 2019 - 5 Jan 2020 They’ll be visiting Christmases past, conjuring up Christmas yet to come and seeing if our friend Scrooge can learn from previous mistakes.. But don’t hang around. Tickets to Belfast’s liveliest, festive family show move fast. A Christmas Carol is an all-ages show, but those 5+ will get the biggest kicks. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Grand Opera House - Sat 30 November 2019 - Sun 12 January 2020 May McFettridge celebrates her 30th season as the Queen of Belfast Pantomime and is joined by star of stage and screen Ben Richards as well as Comedy magician and Britain’s Got Talent favourite Mandy Muden. Don’t miss this magical adventure packed full of comedy, colour and amazing song and dance routines. -With a huge cast of 30 and a spectacular set, Beauty and the Beast is the biggest show in Northern Ireland. It’s also a sumptuous gift of a show tied up in glittering ribbons, so treat yourself and your family to a Christmas present you can look forward to all year!

SEVENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // MOVIE CHALLENGE

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CHRISTMAS MOVIES // THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE XMAS MOVIE CHALLENGE AND TRIVIA UNLESS YOU ARE ONE OF THE FEW SCROOGES IN SOCIETY YOU’LL LOVE GETTING IN THE FESTIVE SPIRIT WITH A GOOD CHRISTMAS MOVIE, THE GENRE ITSELF IS SO VARIED FROM ANIMATED SHORT CLASSICS LIKE THE SNOWMAN TO LOVE STORIES AND SLASHERS SUCH AS KRAMPUS. You may or may not agree with our top thirty though our challenge to you is to watch a festive movie a day for the entire month of December. Our list spans the past 70 years so there is bound to be more than a few you are familiar with, so let’s kick this off.

30. WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING - 1995 Built wholly from familiar ingredients, but assembled with such skill -- and with such a charming performance from Sandra Bullock -- that it gives formula a good name. This offbeat romantic comedy has some rather dark underpinnings that add, rather than detract from the fun. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle 29.WHITE CHRISTMAS - 1954 It may be too sweet for some, but this unabashedly sentimental holiday favorite is too cheerful to resist. This Christmas classic starring Bing Crosby is a romantic tale that takes place in a Vermont lodge- where it is almost always a “White Christmas” Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, Rosemary Clooney 28. BATMAN RETURNS - 1992 Tim Burton’s dark, brooding

atmosphere, Michael Keaton’s work as the tormented hero, and the flawless casting of Danny DeVito as The Penguin and Christopher Walken as, well, Christopher Walken make the sequel better than the first. Starring: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken 27. THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS - 2017 Based on A Christmas Carol, putting a sweetly revisionist spin on the story behind a classic yuletide tale. This tale tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge Starring: Dan Stevens (IV) , Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Miriam Margolyes 26. ELF - 2003 A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell’s funny and charming performance as one of Santa’s biggest helpers. Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner 25. A CHRISTMAS CAROL 1951 The 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic is perhaps the most faithful film version -- and Alastair Sim’s performance as Scrooge is not to be missed. Widely considered to be the definitive of the many film versions of Charles Dickens’ classic novel 24. GREMLINS - 1984 Whether you choose to see it as a statement on consumer culture or simply a special effects-heavy popcorn flick, Gremlins is a minor classic. Synopsis: “Don’t expose him to bright light. Don’t ever get him wet. And don’t ever, ever feed him after midnight.” Starring: Zach Galligan, Hoyt Axton, Frances Lee McCain, Phoebe Cates

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23. BETTER WATCH OUT 2017 Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film. This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion Starring: Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Dacre Montgomery 22. TRADING PLACES - 1983 Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire. Synopsis: The “nature-nurture” theory that motivated so many Three Stooges comedies is the basis of John Landis’s hit comedy. Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche 21. RUDOLPH THE REDNOSED REINDEER - 1964 A yule-tide gem that bursts with eye-popping iconography, a spirited soundtrack, and a heart-warming celebration of difference. This stop-motion animagic version of the classic Christmas tale adds a bit of a twist when Rudolph encounters an abominable snowman Starring: Burl Ives, Larry D. Mann, Billy Richards, Paul Soles 20. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS - 1990 The first collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, this is a magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.Tim Burton’s opens as an eccentric inventor (Vincent Price) lovingly assembled a synthetic youth named Edward Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall 19. AURTHER CHRISTMAS 2011 Aardman Animations broadens their humor a bit for Arthur Christmas, a clever and earnest

holiday film with surprising emotional strength. The never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic - a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent 18. DIE HARD - 1988 Its many imitators (and sequels) have never come close to matching the taut thrills of the definitive holiday action classic. It’s Christmas time in L.A., and there’s an employee party in progress on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Corporation building. The revelry comes to a violent end when the partygoers are taken hostage by a group of terrorists Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Reginald VelJohnson, Bonnie Bedelia 17. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS - 1967 This original telling brings an impressive array of talent to bear on an adaptation that honors a classic holiday story -- and has rightfully become a yuletide tradition of its own. Synopsis: Chuck Jones’ animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book. Starring: Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, Eugene Poddany 16. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS - 1993 A stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation. Despite having recently presided over a very successful Halloween, Jack Skellington, aka the


CHRISTMAS // MOVIE CHALLENGE

Pumpkin King, is bored with his job and accidentally discovers Christmas “What’s This” Starring: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Glenn Shadix, Danny Elfman 15. THE SNOWMAN - 1983 This half-hour British production faithfully recreates author Raymond Briggs’ classic children’s holiday tale, in which a young boy’s snowman magically comes to life Starring: Raymond Briggs, David Bowie 14. THE PREACHER’S WIFE 1996 Solid performances and a steady directorial hand help The Preacher’s Wife offer some reliably heartwarming - albeit fairly predictable - holiday cheer. In a nutshell, The preacher doesn’t believe that Dudley is a divine being, but he’ll take any help he can get, while Julia, who thinks that Dudley is just another community volunteer, welcomes him into their home. However, Dudley is sidetracked in his earthly mission when he finds himself falling in love with Julia. Leading lady, Houston takes the opportunity to sing several gospel numbers along the way. Starring: Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance, Gregory Hines 13. HOME ALONE - 1990 This is the highly successful and beloved family comedy about a young boy named Kevin who as the title suggests was left home alone on Christmas while his parents and family are off on holiday. Throw into the mix some not to bright robbers in a house filled with boobie traps and you have a side busted festive comedy on your hands. Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara 12. A CHRISTMAS TALE - 1983 Both warmly nostalgic and darkly

humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial. In the 1940’s, in the town of Hammond, 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas -- an official Red Ryder BB rifle. When he asks his mother for the BB gun for Christmas, she says, “No, you’ll shoot your eye out”. Starring: Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, Ian Petrella 11. LOVE ACTUALLY - 2003 A sugary tale overstuffed with too many stories. Still, the cast charms. All of London is in love -- or longing to be -- in Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis’ first directorial effort. Billed as “the ultimate romantic comedy,” Love Actually involves more than a dozen main characters, each weaving his or her way into another’s heart over the course of one particularly eventful Christmas. Starring: Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson 10. THE APARTMENT - 1960 Director Billy Wilder’s customary cynicism is leavened hereby tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos. Widely regarded as a comedy, The Apartment seems more melancholy with each passing year Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston 9. KRAMPUS - 2015 This is gory good fun for fans of non-traditional holiday horror with a fondness for Joe Dante’s B- movie classics, even if it doesn’t have quite the savage bite its concept calls for. When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing

non-believers. Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman 8. SCROOGED - 1988 A darkly comic and surreal contemporization of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, this effects-heavy Bill Murray holiday vehicle from 1988 sees the former SNL funnyman assuming the role of television executive Frank Cross, the meanest and most depraved man on earth. Cross will stoop to unheard of levels to increase his network’s ratings. Starring: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover 7. THE HOLIDAY - 2006 Everybody needs a bit of schmaltz in their life from time to time and The Holiday has it in bucketloads. The story follows two women who swap homes for the holidays, leaving their lives behind and falling in love along the way Starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black 6. THE MUPHETS CHRISTMAS CAROL - 1992 It may not be the finest version of Charles Dickens’ tale to grace the screen, but The Muppet Christmas Carol is funny and heartwarming, and serves as a good introduction to the story for young viewers. Synopsis: Brian Henson, the son of Muppet founder Jim Henson, took over directing duties after the untimely death of his father... [More] Starring: Michael Caine, Steve Whitmire, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz 5. THE SANTA CLAUSE - 1994 This is utterly undemanding, but it’s firmly rooted in the sort of good old-fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films. Synopsis: Television sitcom star Tim Allen made his big screen debut with this light, familyfriendly holiday comedy. Allen

stars as Scott the guy who made Santa Clause fall from his roof and was obliged to take on the role of the main name. The comedy starts when he physically and mental starts to transform into what we know as Santa Clause Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd 4. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET - 1947 Irrefutable proof that gentle sentimentalism can be the chief ingredient in a wonderful film, Miracle on 34th Street delivers a warm holiday message without resorting to treacle. Starring: Edmund Gwenn, John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood 3. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1947 The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing. Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell 2. BAD SANTA - 2004 This story centres around a thieving department store Santa who injects some nasy deviancy into the Yuletide season in this uproarious black comedy Starring: Billy Bob Thornton 1. FROZEN - 2013 A tale of true love between two sisters. When the newly crowned Queen Elsa uses her power accidently to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter her sister Anna teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer and a snowman to change the weather back Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad

SEVENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // DELISHUS O’TOOL

DELISHUS // CHARITY SINGLE SINGING DRAG QUEEN DELISHUS O’TOOL HAS RELEASED HER FIRST SINGLE ACCOMPANIED BY A VIDEO WHICH WILL PROMOTE THE CAMPAIGN “A DOG IS FOR LIFE NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS” WITH PROCEEDS OF THE DVD GOING TO DOG RESCUE CHARITIES LUCY’S TRUST & DOG’S AID. Earlier this year Delishus became the face of several animal activist campaigns against cruelty including jumping into the Liffey in Dublin to protest during a march of several hundred people and inside a cage outside of Government buildings accompanied by TV celebrity, Linda Martin & Galway based drag queen Tina D Parton. Delishus comes from Jordanstown and feels in a way she always had the calling to be a drag queen as from a young age loved to dress up and dreamt of winning beauty pageants but singing & songwriting is where she hopes her future lies. Former Eurovision winner Linda Martin, one of the country’s best-known animal rights activists first met Delishus when they judged together on Ireland’s Alternative Eurovision in The George in Dublin last May, the first event that Delishus had been involved with since becoming part of Alisa Rose Entertainment. Delishus has always been a dog lover and has a Cairn terrier called Rufus but like many did not think much about the terrible abuse that thousands of dogs are subjected to every year. After seeing a harrowing documentary she became moved to do something to raise awareness. Along with the protests Delishus did a number of charity events both for local charity Lucy’s Trust & Dog’s Aid of which Linda is the patron of including the Wunderwear Walk which was a sponsored walk in underwear around Belfast city centre. Along with her charity work, Delishus has had a very successful year performing at Belfast Alternative Fashion Week, Local Woman Awards & Eurovision NI Awards. Her activism work has gotten her a substantial amount of nationwide press & magazine coverage and she was

SEVENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM

nominated for Drag Influencer 2019 and two GNI Awards. She also started up a group against online bullying “I think everyone reading this will have been the victim of bullying at some time in their life. In this business you put yourself out there as a target, competition can be fierce and I would be the first to admit that I have subscribed to this however I realised that there is enough for everyone and we are all doing our own thing. There is far more to be gained by working together and lifting each other up than tearing others down” “Christmas is such a magical time of the year” Delishus states of the decision to release her first single as a traditional carol “It’s a big deal in my family” When choosing the song she was inspired to cover “O Holy Night” from Rachael Berry’s version in Glee. “It’s a beautiful song incorporating the anticipation of the festive season yet melancholy and thoughtful” and she feels it translated very well for the message of the video. “Every year puppies are bought as Christmas presents with very little thought for what happens after, this results in huge amounts being discarded in the following months. The weeks preceding Christmas see the highest number of older dogs surrendered to pounds or brought in to veterinary practices to be euthanized than at any other time of the year. Some of the reasons that people give for getting rid of their dogs are just unbelievable like for example – the dog doesn’t match their décor but the main ones are that they don’t have time with their job, expecting another baby, things that should be considered in advance, other excuses are that the puppy chews, cries, messes in the house all of which is normal behaviour. Ireland is known as the puppy farming capital of Europe and the Christmas puppy is their biggest earner. Everyone knows that children get bored with their toys very quickly and a puppy is no different once the novelty wears off. The message we want to get across to people is to think deeply before bringing a dog or in fact any animal into your home, it’s like adding a child to your family. If you are not prepared to put in a lot of hard work and money into looking after or raising this animal then just buy a cuddly toy. If you make an informed decision to get a dog then adopt don’t shop” Linda Martin appears in the video along with 23 local children dressed as angels. The DVD is available to buy for £5 from Alisa Rose Publicity on Facebook and on Amazon with the proceeds going to dog rescue charities


CHRISTMAS // DELISHUS O’TOOL

SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // NEW YEAR

NEW YEAR NEW WHAH SEVENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


CHRISTMAS // NEW YEAR

I PROMISED NOT TO START this with a cheesy one liner, but it’s the Christmas issue so, ”It’s that time of year again!” Yes, it’s the time of year where we start to think about setting ourselves up for the monumental failure of New Years Resolutions. How many of you get past January 7th? I don’t and neither do many of my friends and family. When I sat down to plan my list this year (yes I do this, leave me alone bitches) I asked myself one very simple question. Why? You can trace this little tradition back for thousands of years. Those pesky Babylonians apparently celebrated new year, in March if you please, by choosing a new King or keeping the old one. They promised to pay debts, return favours or borrowed items and generally be better Babylonians. Around the same time the ancient Egyptians were praying to Hapi, (a rather pretty Hippo by all accounts) in July, who was the god of The Nile and the Egyptians prayed for an over-flowing river and a plentiful harvest. Whatever floats yer boat love. Centuries later the Romans also celebrated in March with the change of political leaders. It’s said that Julius Caesar, before he annoyed everyone and they stabbed his ass (easy tiger), decided Marchjust wasn’t good enough and changed it to January 1st in honour of the God Janus. This guy was revered for having one head to look back into last year and one to look forward into the next. Handy trick for Tuesdays in the Kremlin! Romans kept him happy by promising to be better Romans. This is all sounding very familiar. The Romans then had the audacity to include New Year in the calendar as we know it, and it stuck. Thanks for the hangover guys! Since then we’ve sauntered along through hundreds of years of doing what the Romans taught us and the tradition is now pretty much world-wide, adopted by many religions and cultures. Over the years, trends have steered away from the more classic resolutions of “give up chocolate” and “save more money” to more self-improvement ideals for both

body and mind. We are however pretty shit at seeing these things through. Researchers think that when we set ourselves goals like “cut down on chocolate and lose weight” we are setting ourselves the unachievable task. Instead of over-indulging on beautiful, sweet, life giving chocolate, we simply over-indulge on yoga jeggings, expensive blenders and a gym membership we never use. In reality, the weight loss or chocolate munching isn’t the issue. The tendency to blow our wages on extras is the real kicker. We all know those lovely shiny adverts with people so attractive our eyes don’t deserve them, might just have something to do with it. Our own minds, however, are clever things and see one over-indulgence being swapped for another and hey presto! It’s the 8th of January, you’re elbow deep in ice cream and Cadburys Fruit & Nut (my favourite) has melted into the fancy bed sheets.

Rather than join a gym and the fear of the walking steroids, walk or jog the square with a pal. I have adopted a slightly different approach to resolutions this year and it has made my list pretty easy. I eat what I like, save money when I can and exercise when I feel the need, without the gym. No one needs to see that. The only promise I have made to myself for the coming year, is that I will finish it a little stronger than I started. Learn a new recipe, read a new book, see Cher at her 456th farewell tour, go on a date, whatever. Do things because you want to, not because you need to and your New Year will be family share bar of chocolate kinda happy. Or new jocks happy. You do you love. WORDS: SCOTT SMYTH

Another reason our resolutions never work out is because we set the bar too high. We have set the New Year on such a high horse that we associate everything to do with it as monumental. Tie this in with our need to “begin anew” and we set ourselves up for a pretty big fall from that rather comfy horse. We all love the idea of a fresh start whether it’s a new job, a new boyfriend or a new pair of super slim my bum looks amazing jeans. The anticipation of wiping the slate clean and starting a whole new life after midnight can be intoxicating. There’s that high horse again. Then we throw it all out the window and attach something as ordinary as “I want to eat less chocolate” to what is supposed to be a life changing event. The two don’t match and Fruit & Nut is inevitable and/or a splurge on Aussiebum. I am in no way telling you not to set resolutions. Have at it, break a leg, you go gurl! But if you do, then the advice is simple. Take one small step at a time. Instead of eating chocolate every day of the week, eat it three times a week.

SEVENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


LOVE // KYLE & BARRY

THE BIG DAY // KYLE & BARRY


LOVE // KYLE & BARRY

SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING? We met on the first day of rehearsals. We were both in the tour of the Stage show of Glee. Throwing it back to the Chavvy days I was at Planet Love the night before the so I arrived in a delicate state and Barry was dancing at a Birthday part that our director attended. Walking in that day I was dating girls at the time so it wasn’t something that I was looking for, I recognized a lot of people that I had worked with previously so me and barry didn’t talk immediately. He did ask one of our friends was I gay and she said that she wasn’t sure. He told me to give him 3 months and he would be with me, I’ll give it to him 3 months later we were in a relationship. We started talking after the cast all went to Planet Fun together, he gave me a lift home and from then we started talking and texting all the time. It then just gradually grew into a relationship. Barry had been in a relationship for a few years before we met but he was single for a good few months, where I was actively dating someone at the time, but the more I got to know Barry I fell in love with him. It was a weird time for me as I had never been in a relationship with a man before.

EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

So a couple of weeks into the relationship I broke it off because I felt confused and didn’t know what I wanted. It never really ended though because we were together again the next night, I think I was just a bit overwhelmed at the time as I was a young 16 y/o guy and just beginning to realise who I actually was. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? I think I was just over a year after we started dating that Barry popped the question. It was on Christmas day 2011 that we he asked me. He brought me up to Belfast Castle and got the grounds opened up for just us. He brought me down to the fountain and asked me. The story always sticks in my mind as he was wearing carrot fit jeans so he couldn’t fully get down on one knee so he has to hover which I found hilarious, It was an instant yes from me I didn’t have to take anytime to think I knew it was the right thing to do. I was only 17 but I knew that it was the right thing for me as I loved him. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY... What a day! It is a day that people still talk to us about to this day saying how much they enjoyed it. So we got married on

November 25th 2016 at the Crowne Plaza at Shaws Bridge. We did the whole traditional thing and didn’t see each other from the day before until we met at the end of the aisle. We had all of our family and friends there to celebrate with us, it was also one of the last times I got to spend with my grandfather as he passed away less than 2 weeks after. We had a fantastic day, it was all held in the hotel, Our photos were down by the lake and the lough keepers inn, in the dark so both of our photographers had to carry multiple lights and the photos turned out great as they were so different instead of all the other Wedding pictures. We had our DJ and selfie mirror from Selfie Solutions NI for the evening along with a Poker table for the men that we’re scared of the dance floor, and whoever won over there got a bottle of Champagne from the hotel so everyone loved that. I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my life. We were able to speak to people we hadn’t seen in a while, we got to dance our asses off and just be able to celebrate our love with all the people that we love. we both consumed so much alcohol but I was constantly busy speaking to people, dancing etc that I was sober at the end of the night before we all ended up at the resident’s bar to 4 am. We are already


LOVE // KYLE AND BARRY

EIGHTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


Weddings In The Heart Of The C ity

MARRY THE ONE YOU LOVE IN THE HEIGHT OF LUXURY

TEN SQUARE HOTEL , 10 DONEGALL SQUARE SOUTH, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND BT1 5JD 028 9024 1001 WEDDINGS@TENSQUARE.CO.UK WWW.TENSQUARE.CO.UK


LOVE // KYLE & BARRY

planning on redoing the whole day when Equal Marriage becomes legal here! WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? The food in the hotel was fantastic. They worked with us to make sure that everyone was looked after and they all had something that they would eat. We wanted a good Christmas style dinner so we could get in the mood as our theme was winter wonderland style so we wanted everything to be cohesive. We have a delicious Vegetable broth for our starter with wheaten bread, we had to treat ourselves for our main, so everyone had stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon with all the trimmings but we had a massive sirloin steak for our meal! My mum and father in law were like ‘Where is my steak’! then to finish it all off we had a yummy chocolate fudge cake!

ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT? We are both pretty much into the same things as one another. When we talk about our past experiences it was always so surprising that we never met (or we did and can’t remember) way before we did as

we were in the same circle of profession. In the theatre/dance scene in Northern Ireland its a small world so we knew a lot of the same people and we actually realized that the night before we met when I was attending Planet Love at Kings Hall Barry was working on the bar of the same event so he probably served me at some point, One difference from our interests in the past was Barry was brought up in the Irish Dancing world (He won Worlds 2010 before retiring) and I started as an actor moving into theatre. Now I would say most of our interests are the same, From tv shows, music and fashion. We have been together that long we can tell if the other likes or dislikes something just from looking at their face. We have rituals that we do on certain days of the week like on a Tuesday we turn off the phones and sit and watch (and Judge) Dancing With The Stars, something that I loved before meeting Barry and got him into. The only main difference in our interests in that aspect is that I LOVE horror movies, I have done from I was 6 or 7 watching ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ I tried to get him into it more, he went to the cinema with me to see Scream 4 and the poor man was petrified at scream lol! I did get him into American Horror Story which I would say is the furthest he would go, unless the season is too scary for him then ill have to watch it on my own. We do love a night in that we can spend the night just cuddled up on the sofa and sit and binge watch tv all night.

DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON? We did indeed, we actually had 2. When booking our honeymoon we were looking at the Maldives but at the time it was just working out way too expensive so we ended up booking Puerto Rico. We stayed at an adults-only resort so it was great so we were able to relax and not hear any screaming children. We were there for 2 weeks and enjoyed every minute of it. Our honeymoon was actually the first time we had went on holiday together so it was a great reason to travel together for the first time. The following year we were determined that we wanted to go to the Maldives so we did. We booked a 10-day all-inclusive stay and I can honestly say that it was the best decision we made. That place is heaven on earth, The heat, the crystal clear water, the place just can not be beaten! We stayed in an overwater bungalow, our bed looked over the ocean and there were steps from our deck straight into the water. We could stand on the deck and see Turtles, sharks and lots of other fish.

EIGHTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


ADVERTORIAL // TITANIC HOTEL

WE WISH YOU A TITANIC CHRISTMAS IMMERSE YOURSELF IN A TITANIC Christmas in one of Belfast’s most historic buildings this festive season. Whether you are partying with colleagues, celebrating Yuletide with friends, making memories with family by gathering around the spectacular two storey Christmas Tree for a magical photo or wanting to escape from shopping in the city centre, Titanic Hotel Belfast is the perfect place to dine, party, relax and stay. Drift away from reality and enjoy an overnight stay at Titanic Hotel Belfast with a two course evening meal from only £149.00 per room. The hot chocolate and mince pie indulgence included is sure to get you into the festive spirit! The grand festive themed Christmas Lunch and Dinner are served in the Wolff Grill Restaurant throughout December. A warm welcome, beautiful surroundings and a meal to remember are promised to diners but pre-booking is essential. Steeped in the unique heritage and history of the building, the Wolff Grill is named after the world famous shipbuilder who, together with his partner Harland, formed the company we know today as Harland & Wolff. Industry leaders in shipbuilding, they are famous for having built the majority of ships intended for the White Star Line including Britannic, Olympic and Titanic, as well as naval warships such as HMS Belfast. Harland & Wolff Headquarters and Drawing Offices were located in the now fully restored Titanic Hotel Belfast. The three course menu served in the Wolff Grill consists of traditional festive favourites including local Turkey and Ham but desserts are not limited to Christmas Pudding and also include a choice of Chocolate Tart and Black Forest Gateau. You can entertain special guests in one of the hotel’s heritage rooms midweek over a private lunch without distraction and away from the hustle and bustle associated with run up to Christmas. The mouthwatering private lunch menu includes starter favourites like Soup and Goats Cheese,

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traditional Turkey and Ham, Irish Beef and desserts include Vanilla Crème Brûlée and of course traditional Christmas Pudding. Planning ahead beyond Christmas Day, you can take the stresses and strains out of a second day of preparing and cooking and let Titanic Hotel Belfast serve up your Boxing Day Lunch. The three course menu consists of a choice of starters boasting local produce and if you wish to avoid Turkey on Boxing Day, you can choose from Ribeye, Seabass or Lamb for your main, before indulging in a selection of desserts accompanied by tea or coffee and served with Petit Fours. Sail into 2020 this New Year’s Eve with an overnight in a nautical themed room. Package includes dinner and live entertainment on New Year’s Eve and a piper will ring in the new decade before you retire to your room. Wake up on New Year’s Day to a Titanic Breakfast and the start of a whole new year in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. Christmas party nights are being hosted in the world renowned Titanic Drawing Offices which will be adorned with thousands of sparkling fairy lights throughout December adding to the wonder and excitement of the season. The hotel is serving Christmas Afternoon Tea combining the traditional classic with a festive twist and a glass of bubbly. Served in the relaxed surroundings of the ornate Presentation Room, it overlooks Drawing Office Two where important clients once had their ship plans presented to them. Every dietary requirement can be catered for. To book a table, an overnight stay or to simply find out more, please email christmas@titanichotelbelfast.com or telephone +44 (0)28 9508 2000.


Slipways & Sleigh Bells Enjoy an overnight stay in one of our guestrooms, a two course evening meal in The Wolff Grill Restaurant, Hot Chocolate and Mince Pies in Drawing Office Two and a Titanic sized breakfast the following morning

From £149 per room www.titanichotelbelfast.com | +44 (0)28 9508 2000 Valid on selected dates throughout December 2019. Terms and conditions apply.


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AGONY AUNT // TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS

A YEAR OF SORTIN’ YERSELF OUT! TRUDY SCRUMPTIOUS AS THE YEAR COMES TO A CLOSE WE TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR TRUDY’S ADVICE FROM THE PAST YEAR... I’M 35 AND I THINK I MAY BE BI THOUGH I’VE BEEN MARRIED FOR 6 YEARS AND I DON’T KNOW IF I SHOULD TELL MY WIFE, WHAT DO I DO? Honesty is the best policy, look at Donald trump! He only tells the truth! Just be the truest version of yourself nobody likes fake news ! MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED NEXT MONTH AND I’M INVITED BUT MY HUSBAND ISN’T. DO I STILL GO? Don’t go if her decision is based on homophobia. If she can’t support your relationship then you shouldn’t support hers! But if she’s just a tight arse or doesn’t like him then maybe seize the opportunity to get drunk and make it about you! I’M 19 AND I REALLY LIKE THIS GIRL AT UNI BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO HER, HOW DO I APPROACH HER? Well that is just adorable but alas your gonna need to woman up ! I’d try engaging with her and a mutual friend first , so that if you loose the ability of conversation there is still someone there to cover ya then when you relax ask some questions so that she does most of talking ! Small steps big results ! If it

works I wanna invite to the wedding so I can soak in my Cilla Black skills ! I’VE BEEN SINGLE FOR 7 YEARS NOW, I’M NOT UNATTRACTIVE AND MY FRIENDS THINK I’M FUNNY SO WHY AM I STILL SINGLE? Well yanno what’s also funny ... life ! Sometimes it’s about the match rather than you so don’t take it personally relax and try talking to new people you need to try mixing in new circles for a fresh pool of possible suitors to laugh at your jokes ! MY BOYFRIEND KEEPS STEALING MY CLOTHES, AT FIRST IT WAS CUTE, JUST TAKING A HOODIE HERE AND THERE BUT NOW IT’S LIKE HALF MY WARDROBE AND HE HASN’T GIVEN ANYTHING BACK, HOW DO I ASK HIM TO STOP? Well if it was me I’d be shouting obscenities whilst posing in my glorious fashion finest ! But if that’s to forceful for you try judging him like Miranda priestly from devil wears Pravda ! Make him feel not fashionable for your Eleganza! “That’s all !” I BANGED A CLOSE FRIEND AND NOW IT’S AWKWARD BETWEEN US WHAT DO I DO?

on the apps he’s looking for chaps?”. Try talking to him to see why he’s still using the app , maybe he’s waiting for a conversation about commitment and he ain’t gonna find that on Grindr! MY GIRLFRIEND IS AMAZING IN EVERY WAY BUT EVERYTIME I GO TO HER’S SHE WANTS TO COOK ME DINNER, HOW DO I TELL HER NICELY THAT SHE CAN’T COOK? Tell her you are vegan I’m sure she won’t hang about for long! I STARTED CATFISHING MY HOT FRIEND, HE’S STRAIGHT AND NOW I CAN’T STOP, HELP! Let the forehead meet the hand, slap! Pretend you are the 6’5” built boyfriend of this cat fishing persona and you’re gonna whoop his ass if you ever see him! He’ll ignore ya right and quick! A DUDE FRIEND OF MINE TOLD ME HE’S GAY AND LIKES ME BUT I’M NOT INTO HIM? You’ve still got it never lost it! Now show him your bad bits!

It’s awkward after the sex? Was it that bad? Do it again to be sure!!! I feel awkward you used the word banged!! WHAT’S A GOOD AND EASY HOUSEPLANT TO LOOK AFTER, I KILL EVERYTHING I TOUCH! The plastic ones from Ikea! WHAT’S A GOOD PICKUP LINE TO USE ON A LESBIAN? I’m great at building furniture.... especially

MY SISTER JUST CAME OUT AND I DON’T KNOW HOW I FEEL. I CAME OUT TO MY FAMILY LAST MONTH AND NOW IT FEELS LIKE SHE’S STEALING MY SPOTLIGHT, OBVIOUSLY I’M HAPPY FOR HER BUT I CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL A LITTLE JEALOUS. DOES THIS MAKE ME A BAD PERSON? Sibling rivalry is a difficult matter and to be honest a little jealousy is to be expected at this early stage, but think of all the pride parades and fabulous events you can go to in matching outfits! And let’s face it at least you aren’t straight!

when it’s tongue and groove! I’VE BEEN WITH MY BOYFRIEND FOR MONTHS NOW BUT HE HASN’T DELETED GRINDR FROM HIS PHONE, SHOULD I BE WORRIED? Aaahhh, as the old Chinese proverb says “if he’s still

EIGHTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // KRISTEN GUY

REAL LIFE BECOMING MYSELF AGAIN KRISTEN GUY

NINETY // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // KRISTEN GUY

HELLO, MY NAME IS KRISTEN Guy and I am a proud transgender woman living and working in Belfast. This story I am going to share with you all is not about me coming out as Transgender; instead it is about what comes next. And specifically, finding employment that has allowed me to be my true authentic self at work. At my time in university, I was heavily involved in Queen’s LGBTQ+ society. The society allowed me to be myself at uni as I was surrounded by my peers and a culture that accepted me. In the months leading up to my graduation, an anxiety gripped me that I at first couldn’t understand, but then one morning I woke up and realised ‘What happens next?’. I know it is common for all students/ graduates to experience this feeling, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Northern Ireland, my feelings were extra potent. I had the overwhelming fear that in order to have a successful professional career, that I would in essence have to crawl, begrudgingly, back into the closet; and hang/hide my dresses up there too indefinitely. I felt hopeless. The liberation and freedom that I felt at university would soon disappear and I would be confronted by the cold, conformist world of a professional career in Belfast. One morning while doing my usual browse of all new job vacancies in Belfast, I came across an interesting ad for a company called Deloitte. I had never heard of this company before and I had no idea what kind of business it was. As I read deeper into the vacancy, it explained that the role Deloitte were offering was a business consulting role for graduates with at least a 2.2 degree in any discipline. ‘So far so good’ I thought to myself as I had achieved a 2.1 in Psychology. I was feeling a little bit anxious as I read the vacancy as I had no experience in business consulting and I immediately felt that it would be looking

for the straight, suited and booted type. The vacancy went on to explain that it was part of the Assured Skills Programme which offers a 6-8 week academy for those successful, in order to provide them with the skills and knowledge required for the role. ‘Ok, so that would cover the

I HAD THE OVERWHELMING FEAR THAT IN ORDER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL CAREER, THAT I WOULD IN ESSENCE HAVE TO CRAWL, BEGRUDGINGLY, BACK INTO THE CLOSET; AND HANG/HIDE MY DRESSES UP THERE TOO INDEFINITELY. I FELT HOPELESS. anxiety that I felt regarding my lack of knowledge/experience for the role; but what about having to wear a suit again, as surely this would be a bottom line

requirement for a business job?’. Well, I decided to google Deloitte to find out more about them and I was overwhelmed with joy from the information I found. Deloitte is a multinational professional services company that operates worldwide. It is widely known as an accounting organization but also provides audit, tax and consulting services; with the latter being the area the vacancy was detailing. Further research informed me that Deloitte is also a diverse and inclusive employer, as it has an internal LGBTQ+ network called GLOBE for its LGBTQ+ employees and allies. I also read that Deloitte had recently introduced a Gender Expression and Transition policy to support its Transgender and NonBinary employees in being their authentic selves at work. Reading the information about Deloitte and how inclusive it is was a revelation for me! I immediately submitted an application and to my delight, I was offered an interview a few weeks later. Attending the interview to get on Deloitte’s assured skills academy was a completely different experience to any that I had experienced before. In the interview, I allowed my true personality to sneak out of the closet. I was wearing a suit of course as my confidence levels were low and I didn’t have the strength to present the way I wanted; but I still felt free. In the interview I spoke proudly of my experiences of Queen’s LGBT and how I was a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community (although I didn’t specify that I was transgender at this point), and I came out of the interview feeling good about myself. I was delighted to find out the next day that I was successful at the interview and I had secured a place on the academy. Attending the academy for 6 weeks was a fantastic experience as I was able to build up my confidence levels in regards to my knowledge, intelligence and work ethic. But more importantly, I was presenting as myself. I allowed my androgynous

NINETY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // KRISTEN GUY

I ALLOWED MY ANDROGYNOUS APPEARANCE TO FLAUNT OUT OF THE CLOSET AS JUST SIMPLE TOUCHES LIKE WEARING FACE FOUNDATION, STYLING MY BROWS AND WEARING JEWELLERY ALLOWED ME TO FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THE PLAIN WHITE SHIRT AND TROUSERS I WORE. appearance to flaunt out of the closet as just simple touches like wearing face foundation, styling my brows and wearing jewellery allowed me to feel comfortable in the plain white shirt and trousers I wore. I made some great friends in the academy and I informed them that I was transgender which no one batted an eyelid at. I was becoming myself again. When the 6 weeks of training were over, I was required to attend another interview with Deloitte to complete the assured skills academy process, and to see if

NINETY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

I was successful in landing the actual job. I attended this interview as my androgynous self and I got the job. On my first day of work in Deloitte, I decided that it was important that I come out concretely to my managers (I know I lied and said that this wasn’t a coming out story), and so I set up a meeting with my manager Kerrie and told her about my true transgender identity. Like my friends on the academy, Kerrie didn’t bat an eyelid at me, but I could tell that she was

proud of me sharing my story with her. Kerrie was fantastic as she provided me with all the resources I required to help support my transition in Deloitte. She made it very clear that I was free to wear whatever clothes male or female, that I was most comfortable in, and likewise I was free to use whichever toilet facilities I was most comfortable using. Deloitte has a Trans Champions scheme which is made up of Senior Members of the firm globally, who provide support


REAL LIFE // KRISTEN GUY

and guidance to any trans or non-binary individuals in order to ensure their transition in Deloitte is as smooth as possible. I chose my Trans Champion and together we created a plan of how I would transition in work. At the beginning of my employment, I wasn’t on hormones yet and had not started voice therapy, so I wasn’t ready to start presenting as female. But I outlined a timeline with my Trans Champion of when I anticipated presenting full time as female and it was agreed that I could take a month off work so that my social and physical change from Ben to Kristen would be less impactful for myself and my colleagues. Six months into my career at Deloitte, things were progressing very well. I was feeling very fulfilled in the work I was completing and it was exactly the kind of role that I went to University for in the first place. One issue that I was having though was that I was struggling to find the time to attend all the medical appointments that were required in order for me to transition. For the uninitiated, these appointments included meeting my Gender Dysphoria Councillor, my CBT councillor, voice therapist, endocrinologist and electrologist –with many of these appointments happening on a weekly basis. I had a meeting with my manager Kerrie and I conveyed to her that I was becoming stressed due to my medical appointment commitments and would it be possible to change my working hours. Kerrie informed me that Deloitte is an advocate of agile working – which is when an organisation empowers its people to work in a way that suits their lifestyle and optimises their performance. With Kerrie’ support, I was able to condense my working hours to four days a week as opposed to five. Wednesdays are a non-working day for me now and I use this day to focus on my transition and to make sure that I am attending all my appointments. Transitioning can take a toll on your mental health – but I am getting the best of both worlds as I have

a great routine that keeps me busy along with a day to recover and keep myself strong. After a year at Deloitte, I became the lead of GLOBE in Northern Ireland and through the amazing support I received from the Senior Partner in Northern Ireland Jackie Henry, we introduced Toilet for All facilities across all 3 of Deloitte’s Belfast offices. The introduction of these facilities was amazing and really helped me feel comfortable in my transition. I felt comfortable using the Toilet for All facilities in work as they were designed and implemented for people like myself. It may sound like such a trivial thing, but being able to use the toilet facilities without fear had such a positive impact on my mental wellbeing in work. Deloitte also came out publicly in support of equal marriage last year and this was a defining moment for me as I knew the firm was invested in changing the culture of Northern Ireland so that it is a safe and welcoming place for everyone who identifies as LGBTQ+. I couldn’t have felt prouder to work for Deloitte. My pride was reflected in my appearance as I started to present more and more female. It was getting to the point where I was in fact starting to get uncomfortable with people calling me Ben – as that name no longer reflected my physical and mental identity. I knew the time had come to take my month off so that I may take the next steps of my transition to become Kristen. I took my month off work at the start of August this year. In my time off, I changed my name legally to Kristen, bought a new wardrobe of work clothes and contacted my job to change my name on all of our internal systems (email, skype etc). The month off was fantastic as it allowed me the time I needed to prepare myself mentally for my change of name and presentation in work. I never wanted to rush my transition but by taking my time and doing things at my own pace,

I now feel stronger than ever. While I was away, all of my colleagues were informed of my new name and pronouns. When I returned, everyone automatically referred to me as Kristen and used female pronouns. It was so nice to finally be accepted as the woman I have always known myself to be. In October of this year, I received a Young Ambassadors medal at the Belfast Homecoming business and investment conference. I received the medal as I was identified as a role model for young trans people in Northern Ireland working in business. I can honestly say that I never thought that the life I am living now was possible. I never thought I would be free to be me in a professional job. My journey is far from over but I have a renewed sense of hope for not just the future of my career in Deloitte – but in my future in Northern Ireland. It is great to see change happening all around me and I hope that by sharing my story that I can be a role model for other LGBTQ+ people in Northern Ireland; that you don’t have to change or hide yourself in order to get a professional services job.

THE MONTH OFF WAS FANTASTIC AS IT ALLOWED ME THE TIME I NEEDED TO PREPARE MYSELF MENTALLY FOR MY CHANGE OF NAME AND PRESENTATION IN WORK. NINETY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // MARTIN KEARNEY

GUNCLE BY Martin Kearney

NINETY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // MARTIN KEARNEY

A FEW MONTHS BACK I found out my sister was pregnant with her 3rd child, A shock but a wonderful surprise. A few weeks after that my Brother sent a photo of a sonogram of the baby cooking in my sister in-laws belly another shock turned into a blessing and just last week my youngest sister sent a picture of a positive pregnancy test stick into the family group chat, another surprise but not a shock as she had been trying for a second baby for a while now. My sister and Brother both had gender reveal parties and they are expecting girls while my little sister is going to wait and see what she’s blessed with come labour day, once this last wee baby is born it will bring the total Nieces and Nephews I have up to the double figures; 10 wee beautiful brats. I’m as single as a single bed hotel room without any bed clothes. And I am a long way off from meeting someone who I would actually want to have a baby with. Being one of the middle kids I self-diagnosed myself with middle child syndrome in my early teens and gave myself the title of “The black sheep of the family” or should I say the rainbow sheep of the family, that said I’ve got better looks, personality, talent and humour than my brother and sisters. So when I got the news of this third baby coming I couldn’t help but feel a little bit bitter sweet at the thought of all my siblings expecting babies next year, so I did what any selfrespecting middle gay child would do. I threw myself a little pity party. It lasted all of five minutes as I realized I get to be a Guncle again three times over. In the eyes of a child a Guncle is the coolest, funniest, most inspiring member of the extended family. You’re their own personal Micky Mouse. And in the eyes of your siblings-in-law you’re kind of judged but that’s only because they are Jealous AF and can’t comprehend why these children look at this magical gay being in awe. I’ll tell you why, shall I? Most of the aunts and uncles have their own families and multiple kids but some don’t, and I’ve no shame in admitting that I’ve brainwashed each and every one of my Nieces and Nephew into believing that

I am the best uncle in the universe. And of course all the other aunts and uncles have their moments but I don’t think twice about playing Disney princess with my nieces (some uncles even dads just can’t get Elsa right) or The Avengers and Power Rangers with my nephew. I like to think I have a special bond with each of my Nieces and Nephew, I am not one of those bores who gets their phones out and shows of pics, nope not at all I

IN THE EYES OF A CHILD A GUNCLE IS THE COOLEST, FUNNIEST, MOST INSPIRING MEMBER OF THE EXTENDED FAMILY. YOU’RE THEIR OWN PERSONAL MICKY MOUSE. am one of those bores who’s going to mention and write about each of them in this article, but please read on you will be glad you did I’ve some sage advice and words of wisdom at the end. My eldest Niece Kirsty 18 is actually my step niece, My sister in-laws Daughter from a previous relationship and I love her no less than the others, I am a bit jealous of her as she’s the best looking person in the room no matter what room walks into, She just passed her A levels, she’s Learning to drive and last year she spent the summer in Africa building schools, Next we have Natasha my brother’s first

child in a way she is my first Niece as I didn’t even know Kirsty existed when she was born and what a blessing she was to the family all of us doted on her. She once asked me “ermm Uncle Martin are you more like my auntie? She and I have a love for binging shows on Netflix including Jane the Virgin and Dead to Me, and the wit just oozes out of her in the family group chat she is in fact queen of the family group chat but all that changes when I see her in person it’s like she’s a different person. In real life she doesn’t say a peep. Just a normal 16 year old I guess. She will grow up to be fabulous. Leah was born earlier than expected and her insides where on the outside she is a miracle baby and all of my family would agree she is the heart of the family. I lived at home when she was growing up, she was my sticking plaster, constantly knocking on my bed room door asking, sorry demanding to play jumpies on the bed, and she is the funniest kid ever with her sayings and questions. Now at 11 she’s also the brains of the family. She keeps us all up to date on what’s happening with Brexit. A keen slime maker and she even accompanied me to a Miranda Sings show and many visits to the cinema. I could write about this kid for pages but I’ll move on... Anyone that knows me well knows my sister Laura and I are extremely closes so it would only be natural that I would be God parent to her first born. Now I would love to be able to tell you guys that from the moment Éabha was born we had that Fairy God Father God daughter bond unfortunately that wasn’t the case. It’s only been the past few years her and I see eye to eye. We had a love hate relationship. I loved her she hated me. For the first two years of her life she would throw me dirty looks and stare me out, I was actually afraid of her - she had it in for me but alas we are closer than ever, you can see the excitement on her face when I pull up to her street telling her friends her favorite uncle is here. And it’s now a fact that’s she’s me though and though, She has my personality, in her tantrums and her actions and the little performances she

NINETY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


REAL LIFE // MARTIN KEARNEY

puts on. Laura often says to her husband she was just our martin there. She just started P1 and got pupil of the week in her first week. Kids got it going on. Just when I thought I got my sister back she goes and gets pregnant again 3 months after Éabha was born. Irish twin Ríoghna was next to be born, and I can’t explain it but this one is super special to me, I am over protective of her. The cutest baby so far but manages to look like a homeless kid no matter what you dress her in but it just makes her all that more adorable. Ríoghna loves mini mouse and she also loves to give herself haircuts and is sometimes a stubborn wee cat but I will champion her always, take her side no matter what. I don’t have favorites but she is my blue eye. King Shay was born next the only Nephew, and a proper man’s man, that said his arse was making buttons to get his picture taken with Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Captain Marvel at a recent comic con I took him to, but that’s just the Lothario in him. Shay was the one who popped the balloon at a gender reveal party to find out he’s going to have another sister, That makes 4 so you can tell he will grow up to be respecting of women with all those sisters he has. Shays birthday is a day before mine so I am always excited to see what he buys me for my birthday. He’s turning 4 this November and can talk better than most grownups. Mad into everything. His favorite at the minute is power Rangers. I took Shay to this year’s Pride and he was a hit. Proudest Guncle EVER not one bit shy he was up dancing, giving strangers rainbow flag stamps he was the cutest little supporter if I do say so myself My little sister Carly got pregnant with Olivia 2016 and carried this wee monster to be full term. It was joyful and one of the happiest times in Carly’s life was when she was pregnant She’s one of those women who actually glow when pregnant. My second God child, my wee piglet. She’s just been potty trained so three cheers for Olivia. The most affectionate baby yet and even though she’s the youngest she’s

the boss of all her cousins she rules the roost, It’s not a case of the terrible twos she a lovable wee terror and we’ve nicked named her Hurricane Oliva. As good as I am to my Nieces and Nephew they are great to me. From little things like being my nurse and getting me things from the fridge when I am ill, to their brutal honesty and sweet little compliments. Their little yarns and tales of how their day went from hearing about their accomplishments like first words to passing exams, getting jobs, all the stuff a parent would be proud off and realistically I won’t have my own kids but I have these kids and 3 more to come and I know I will be their confidant, their friend, their go to person if they are ever in trouble. In saying that I am also not a walk over I shout at them when they are being cheeky. I use scare tactics (Let on you have a witches decapitated head hid in your room, Works like a charm or create a secret niece called Sarah to make them jealous) to keep them in check and I’ve been known to bribe them. I myself am Guncless but I do have an amazing relationship with my Auntie Carol and if these kids grow up and have even half of the relationship her and I have then we are all going to be very very lucky. So if you’re ever feeling broody and like myself a childless future is what’s in store for you and if you’re fortunate to have nieces and nephews cherish them, build lasting relationships with them , get on their level

and your future will be all the richer for it. Note to my family reading this next Guncles day falls on the 9th of August 2020 and as much as I love homemade crafts I also like Aftershave, Clothes, Pajamas and gift vouches. Thanks a bunch.

C

NINETY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


S ING CHRISTMAS AK TM AS MC R ST G CH INNG CKKI AAC CRCR A RIS CRI SON STIV SEASAON FEST IS FE IVEESE THIS TH YYC EDED MM COCO OMEDY THIS FESTIVE SEA

Christmas 2019 - Curtains and Xmas for Dummies.indd 1

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SCENE OUT// ALTERNATIVE FASHION WEEK

SASHAY

ALTERNATIVE FASHION WEEK.

NINETY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


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NINETY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


SCENE OUT// CAFE PARISIEN

CAFÉ PARISIEN

GREY GOOSE TERRACE LAUNCH

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….your Perfect Day, done your way. It’s what we do.

Chimney Corner Hotel, 630 Antrim Road Newtownabbey, BT36 4RH Tel 02890 844925 www.chimneycorner.co.uk


MISSTIQUE // A DAY IN THE LIFE

MISSTIQUE // A DAY IN THE LIFE

ONE HUNDRED & TWO // GNIMAG.COM


MISSTIQUE // A DAY IN THE LIFE

YOU CAN TELL EVERYTHING YOU need to know about a city from its sex shops. Think of them as a kind of smutty litmus test, a barometer of sexual inclusivity. Some, like those in Amsterdam’s notorious red-light district, are big and grubby. Others, think those in London’s West End, are tight-knit, forever on the offensive against greedy property developers and increasingly gentrified. Misstique—with branches in Belfast and Glasgow—is small but perfectly formed. From the outside, the store is unassuming. Wedged between a trendy vape shop and a new tattoo parlour, there is little outward sign of the treasures that lie within. But inside, complete with festive jingles and the kind of Taschen retrospectives usually reserved for hip bookstores, are all manner of wonders. Misstique is less a sex shop than it is an erotic boutique. I’m greeted by Frankie, a self-described “industry veteran,” who is happy to provide the grand tour. The store’s inventory is impressively comprehensive. “Everything you would expect and more,” he grins. Self-adhering bondage tape. Shelves piled high with lotions and lubricants. Catsuits and jockstraps, lingerie and fishnets. Boxes of silicone body-parts that would make Madame Tussaud blush are piled high. Their poppers selection is the envy of Ireland. Vibrators proliferate in every size and colour. On the day we visit the shop is packed with bargain-hungry Christmas shoppers. “We get all sorts through the doors,” Frankie explains. “Young couples, business people, students… The days of the stereotypical dirty old man are long gone. Nowadays our clientele is more diverse than ever. We cater to every gender and sexuality, and that’s reflected in our friendly, helpful staff, too. We’re open for business to absolutely anyone…” “So long as they’re over the age of 18, of

course,” sales assistant Charlie reminds him. In the fetish section, a group of friends gaze admiringly at a selection of longhandled leather implements that would not look out of place in the hands of a jockey. In another part of the store, a young couple in their early twenties have trouble suppressing their giggles as they make up their minds about which Satisfyer to buy.

SHELVES PILED HIGH WITH LOTIONS AND LUBRICANTS. CATSUITS AND JOCKSTRAPS, LINGERIE AND FISHNETS. BOXES OF SILICONE BODY-PARTS THAT WOULD MAKE MADAME TUSSAUD BLUSH ARE PILED HIGH. “Impact toys are some of our most popular items,” I overhear Charlie telling the group. In no time the air is filled with cries of pain and delight as each one is demonstrated.

their arms, bums presumably still stinging. The young lesbian couple eventually make up their minds and settle for a beautiful red vibrator that could easily be mistaken for anything but a sex toy. Perched on her display at the front of the store for all to see is Lucy, Misstique’s pièce de résistance. In any other shop, the sight of a woman dressed in nothing but knickers and a see-through chemise would rightly elicit a few raised eyebrows. But Misstique is no ordinary shop, and Lucy no ordinary centrepiece. “Everybody loves her!” laughs Frankie. He gives the busty brunette a playful slap on the thigh, which jiggles realistically. “Lucy is a Real Doll ‘love doll.’ She’s as life-like as they come and completely anatomically correct. As you can imagine we do sometimes have to remind our customers not to stick anything inside her… The shop can get a bit nippy in the wintertime, so we’re hoping to find her a nice warm home in time for Christmas.” The shop is well stocked in time for the festive period. By the door hangs a selection of beautifully packaged gift bags, each one filled with mystery toys and accessories for couples and singles alike. Manager Frankie begins telling how they make the perfect last-minute present for office Secret Santa’s, but at that moment the door opens and a crowd of half-frozen tourists file in. Frankie begins the tour all over again. I take my chance and slip off to browse the aisles in peace, eying one of those riding crops for myself. Misstique is located at 27 Gresham Street, Belfast, BT1 1JL and 281 Gallowgate, Glasgow G4 0TR

“Couples can’t see a leather riding crop, or a bamboo cane, or a flogger, and not immediately start hitting each other with it,” Frankie tells me as the group head out into the cold, purchases tucked under

ONE HUNDRED & THREE // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY FLEABAG // Technically this isn’t a new show is first aired in Amazon 2016 but the second season dropped over the summer and I never even heard of it until this year’s Emmys, in which it won 4 Emmys out of the 5 it was nominated for including best comedy series and best Actress for Phoebe Waller –Bridge who also won another for her writing. With 6 episodes a season and at just 2 seasons this can be binged in one sitting, Unfortunately there are no plans for a third season which is an awful shame. If you like you humour awkward, dry witted, irreverent, mordant, subtle and politically incorrect then this is the show for you.

FROZEN 2 // It’s about bloody time 6 years is a long long wait for a sequel and I hope the wait is worth it. Anna, Elsa Kristof and of course Oleg return for frozen 2. I can’t wait to hear another song like “let it go” which I’m sure will take over the world. Fans of TVs Westworld and This is us, may be glad to know that Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K Brown lend their voices to the cast as Anna and Elsa’s mother and a general who’s been trapped in the enchanted forest for years, I smell a bad guy. Frozen went on to become the most successful animated movie of all time so it was only a matter of time before we got the sequel. A family movie to get you in the Christmas spirit.

ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

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RECOMMENDED // TV & FILM

CHARLIE’S ANGELS // First a popular 70s TV show with many cast changes that spawned 2 movies that saw Drew Barrymore Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu as the angels who took on the bad guys using Matrix styled Kung Fu. The franchise hit a an all-time low when it was rebooted for TV again in 2011 but only managed to survive 8 episodes due to bad reviews and poor ratings. But alas new life has been breathed into the angels and it’s in the very capable hands of Elizabeth Banks writer and director of this new adventure. Banks will also appear as a female Bosley. The Angles roster this time around is Kristen Stewart, Aladdin’s Naomi Scott and newcomer Ella Balinsky. The trailer is impressive enough and early reviews have been positive singling out Stewarts surprising comic performance, If the movie is as half as good as its theme song Don’t call me angel by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey then we are in for a treat.

THE L WORD GENERATION Q // Father Christmas has come early for this boy, one of my favorite shows is returning after ten years of the air just in time for Christmas. When the last episode ever aired back in 2009 fans of the show where left guessing and scratching their heads as who is the murder of Mia Kirshner’s character Jenny Schechter murder went unsolved. There was to be a spin off called The Farm that saw Alice Piezecki (Leisha Hailey) go down for Jenny’s murder it also would have featured Famke Janessn and Laurie Metcalf it would have been great but the pilot never got picked up. So we are still wondering who killed Jenny. Here’s hoping that’s answered pretty quickly in this revival. Speaking of Alice who now hosts her own talk show goes on to say what a long hiatus it has been in the trailer, over ten years. Joining Alice is other Originals Bette (Jennifer Beals) who is running for mayor and Shane (Katherine Moeing). Not returning is Tina, is he dead? Will actress Laurel Holloman come out of retirement to put in an appearance? Also not retuning is Helena Peabody (Rachel shelly) I really hope she turns up later as she was my absolute favorite. Pam Grier has stated she won’t return as Kit Bette’s sister due to scheduling conflict with her show Bless this mess. But we are promised to be introduced to a whole new set of characters. Although it won’t be the same with out these fan favorites it’s still one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever got. I can’t wait to catch up with the girls.

ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE // GNIMAG.COM

NEW DIGITAL BROCHURE The final shows before restoration


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

CASTLEROCK SEASON 2 // Recently I watched the first episode of season 2 Castlerock, don’t worry if you haven’t watched season one, it’s an anthology series so you can start at any season much like American Horror Story and American Crime story. Stephen King fans will be familiar with Castlerock as it is the town that many of his stories take place this. This season follows Misery’s Annie Wilkes who was made iconic by Kathy Bates when she won the Oscar for playing her in the movie. This version of Annie is a young single mother and its unknown if she has met her favorite writer Paul Sheldon but the series is a mystery drama and Annie has a dark secret. Lizzy Caplan makes the role her own but you can tell she’s drew inspiration from Bates. Annie and her daughter get stranded in the town of Castlerock but decide to stay so she can give her daughter a better life than that on the road. The first episode sees

Annie take on the town bully Ace Merill you should know as the bully in Stand By me played back then by Keither Sutherland. Two psychotics in the same town and as dangerous as Annie is something tell me that she may just be an antihero in this version. If Castlerock gets picked up for a third season I predict that it will follow a young Margret White, Carrie Whites Mother it should explore the relationship with her own mother and her descend into madness. For the role of Margret White I would cast Sarah Rafferty who plays the fabulous Donna in Suits, she would be fantastic and as her mother I would cast Bree Van de Kamp herself Marcia Cross. Give Sissy Spacek a role and BAM you have the best season of a show ever. This needs to happen if it doesn’t ill fly to Castlerock and make it myself .Watch this space you heard it here first.

BATWOMAN // It wouldn’t be a recommended column if I didn’t have a super hero medium to write about. From Super producer Greg Berlanti comes another DC Arrowverse show. Ruby Rose first but on the Cowl in last year’s Supergirl ,Flash, Arrow cross over event and I was disappointed but after watching the first few episodes of her own show she’s redeemed herself and it’s a better show than it should be. The premise of the show is that Batman hasn’t been seen in years and his Cousin Kate Kane comes back to Gotham City and takes on the role of the city’s saviour. What makes this show great is the chemistry between Kate Kane aka Batwoman and the shows main antagonist Alice played by Rachel Skarsten. This isn’t Skarstens first time at the rodeo as she stared in another Batman series the short lived Birds of Prey where she played none other than Black Canary. Other side characters have their moments including Kates Step Sister Mary who steals scenes and brings a certain lighter tone to the darkness of the series. Come December the cross over event will see many stars return from past DC shows including Smallvilles Tom Welling and Erica Durance playing the same parts it will be amazing to see what Clarke and Lois been up to in the past ten years. And as disappointed as I was in last year’s cross over I can’t wait to see Supergirl and Batwoman share the screen again.

ONE HUNDRED AND SIX // GNIMAG.COM

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RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

STARWARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER // For this next piece I’ve invited the biggest Star wars fan I know to write a few words, take it away Padawan …. At the time of writing the ninth, and final, chapter of the Star Wars Skywalker saga is a mere two months away. The final, dazzling, trailer dropped just a few days ago and, after all these months, it really still doesn’t give much plot away at all! It does give us a glimpse of what is to come ... all our new heroes (and an old one!) thankfully back together for at least some of the film; fantastic new worlds and aliens and creatures; a mind-blowing peek at a MASSIVE armada consisting of practically every spaceship known to the Star Wars universe; C-3PO saying “goodbye”; Kylo Ren and Rey dueling on the ruins of the second Death Star and of course, HE’S back – Emperor Palpatine himself – last seen being thrown down the reactor shaft of that doomed battle station by Darth Vader in the closing minutes of the sixth

episode, Return of the Jedi. Star Wars has been with me in a HUGE way since I was four years old and I got the R2-D2 action figure for Christmas– way back in 1978! I’m sad, but excited too, that the story of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Kylo Ren, Rey, the droids and Darth Vader is coming to an end over 40 years after it all began in a galaxy far, far away....JJ Abrahams has returned to direct this final instalment and has the unenviable task of delivering a satisfying and thrilling conclusion to this third trilogy of trilogies – can he pull it off? I think he can and will. Having JJ back in the saddle for the first time since The Force Awakens has me super-excited and I’m sure I’ll be leaving the cinema on19th December an ecstatic, emotional, happy wreck of a man! Words by Jonathan Kerr.

MOVIES FOR NEXT YEAR // Next year we have many films to look forward to a remake of The Grudge starring Glows Betty Gilpin. Marot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn in the Birds of prey, X-Men spin of The New Mutants will finally make its way to the big screen after years of post-production issues. Scarlett Johanssan finally gets her own Black Widow movie the first Marvel Movie in phase 4. Amy Adams will star in a Girl on the train type thriller called the Woman in the window and speaking of Girl on the train Emily Blunt returns in the Quiet place sequel, one of the best movies of 2018. The Conjuring will also make its 3rd outing and Jamie Lee Curtis will take on the role of Laurie Strode yet again in a sequel to last year’s Halloween Revival, but the movies I’m looking forward to most are Wonder Woman 1984 and the Remaking of Roald Dahl The Witches with Anne Hathaway as the grand high Witch. I look forward to writing about these movies next year. I would like to wish all of our reader’s a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM

NEW DIGITAL BROCHURE The final shows before restoration


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FOOD & DRINK // AC HOTEL

FOOD & DRINK // AC HOTEL BELFAST WE WERE INVITED ALONG to the AC Hotel Belfast by Marriot on the waterfront in Belfast to sample their Christmas dinner offering. I’ll not lie, it was a bit odd having a Christmas dinner in October, but we sang along with the crimbo tunes and got in the mood. When we arrived there was a glass of fizzy waiting for us while we waited. I’d never been in this venue before so I didn’t know what to expect. The interior is kitted out as beautifully as you’d imagine, but the setting right on the water with massive windows looking out over it is stunning. After a short wait we were shown to another waterfront room on the front room - again floor to ceiling windows afforded us views towards Titanic Belfast. The room was adorned with beautiful Christmas decorations and we were all offered a Christmas jumper to wear. Wine was poured into our glasses and we waited for the food to arrive. It came as no surprise that the food was delicious (multi-Michelin-starred chef, Jean Christophe Novelli launches his exquisite

Christmas menu available from Friday 29th November). It was a traditional Christmas dinner but with a twist. Our starter was a goats cheese tart, obviously the main was a gorgeous turkey dinner, and the dessert was just to die for! But, the dinner was only one part of our visit to the AC Hotel Belfast. By the end of dinner we had made new friends with the other folk sitting at our table. We knew what was coming next so we were all pretty excited. Part of their offering for Christmas party groups at the AC Hotel Belfast is a boat trip up Belfast Lough. So, we all put on our big coats and scarves and headed outside to brave the wind and drizzly rain. Making our way down the jetty next to the hotel we made our way onto the pretty wee boat. It had been decked out with fairy lights and Christmas twinkles. Waiting for us on-board there was wine and the promise of great craic on a fantastic boat ride. We set off up the Lough, working our way first around the Titanic Quarter. It was a great and unique

experience to see all of these landmarks from a different view. It was dark and all of the lights shining on the buildings and reflecting in the water was stunning. We worked our way further on up the Lough and took the opportunity to go up on deck to feel the wind in our hair and let on we were Jack and Rose at the front of the boat - it had to be done! When our boat-ride was over we went back into the hotel bar for some festive mulled cider - again another twist on a classic, it was delicious and just what was needed to warm us up again after an hour on the water. All in all, this was a great evening. Showcasing the venue, food and additional offerings from the AC Hotel in Belfast. If you want something fun and different to do with your group this festive season, I’d without hesitation suggest giving this a go. To find out more about the Christmas hospitality available at AC Hotel Belfast this year, visit www.novellirestaurants.co.uk/ belfast/occasions/ or call 028 9531 3180.

ONE HUNDRED AND NINE // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // VIENNA - AUSTRIA

VIENNA // AUSTRIA WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS

ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // VIENNA - AUSTRIA

Vienna is a city break destination that is proud of its palaces and peaceful parks and is of course home to emperors and stunning art such as Strauss and Sissi. You will come to find that no matter where you stand in central Vienna that it is quite hard to discover an area that doesn’t have something worth pointing out or that takes you by surprise. Christmas in Vienna only highlights the city at an even grander level though with its historic streets coming alive to the sounds of music and the smells freshly cooked meats etc. Vienna’s Christmas Markets is one of the Christmas Calendar must see spots and attracts millions of visitors during the months if late November and December. The city offers many different types of Christmas markets and tours are priced at around 32 Euros person but personally I think you should just throw yourself into the Christmas spirit have some hot mulled wine and make your own way around this bustling brightly lit extravaganza. Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz (the biggest). The annual Christmas street light show in Vienna really does pack a punch and sure knows how to provide a unique and truly romantic feel to this already enchanting backdrop that the city provides at Christmas by showcasing stunning facilities and buildings in classic white, reds and green lights. Vienna really offers you something of what I call a more traditional type of Christmas market city break with its historic cathedrals, museums alongside many local traditions which include its Christmas Eve which is actually seen as more special than Christmas day itself to locals. You will find Vienna offers a vast array of hotels, Airbnb and cheaper alternatives such as modern hostels and gay homestays but my personal favourite has to be Motel One Westbahnhof which I think is excellent value and within easy access to the gay nightlife. Motel One has many hotels in Europe including in Manchester which I would also highly recommend for its Gay location.

Food wise you will not go wrong and yes it might be cold but you will feel warm inside regardless of what the weather will be throwing at you, from Doughnuts and pastries and the historical Christmas meal in Vienna is carp often fried in breadcrumbs. This stems from the earlier Christian idea of the advent period being a time of fasting (hard to believe these days). In the absence of meat, fish was the culinary highlight, especially for such an important meal as Heiligenabend. Carp has, however, since lost its broad appeal as the Christmas dish: roast poultry and pork are popular alternatives and the turkey tradition is growing through AngloAmerican cultural influences. The advent period is also an excuse to break out the rolling pin and get baking, with certain baked foods only appearing for the Christmas period. Among the more popular are, Lebkuchen – similar to gingerbread, sold

ONE HUNDED AND TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM

in various shapes, sizes and flavours for eating or as hard-baked decorative shapes that look like they could probably survive a nuclear holocaust Stollen – a seasonal cross between fruit bread and fruit cake Weihnachtskekse – Christmas biscuits of which there are a seemingly unending variety Spekulatius – a spiced biscuit with nothing particularly recommending it, frankly Gay Scene Vienna has a lively and diverse gay scene. The city has seen a growing number of gay venues and LGBT-focused events and activities. Many Gay Bars, Clubs and Gay Saunas in Vienna are located in the central area, around Wienzeile Street and Naschmarkt open-market. Attitudes are liberal, and the vibrant gay scene attracts a large number of gay tourists every year. Annual gay highlights include


TRAVEL // VIENNA - AUSTRIA

the Rainbow Parade (Regenbogenparade) in July and the Vienna Bear Congress in spring. There’s a Queer Film Festival in June and a charity event, Live Ball, in May. Named “Destination of The Year” at the Australian LGBTI Awards in Sydney in 2018. Vienna was the host city to the internationally renowned EuroPride 2019. You have many choices of gay bars and clubs to choose from this Christmas all offering something a little different and fun. At Christmas time many parties will be in full swing and you will always end up finding something to your taste. I was surprised but delighted across so much choice but these are my favourite three. Felixx is seen as a classier venue than some of its rivals mainly I think due to the Vibe and how it’s styled and ok yes maybe the clientele too. Café Rudgier is basically the bar we all go to but say we don’t lol as it’s a hustler bar with a surprise Naked male shower show (Clearly that’s a Plus for me). Last but not least is mango bar which like me was born in 1981 and has been a real trend setter still attracting a young mixed clientele till this

day with its funky music classic, cocktails and flashy mirrored interior right in the heart of the Gay village. Getting to Vienna Many airlines fly directly to Vienna from across Europe and beyond. Flights arrive and depart from Vienna International Airport (Flughafen Wien-Schwechat) located just outside the city limits. There are plenty of options to transfer to your hotel like trains, taxis and buses which are all signposted at the airport. A taxi will cost anything around €25 – €35. The City Airport Train runs to the city centre every 30 minutes and costs €11 (2018).Bratislava Airport is also located around 34 miles from Vienna International Airport, just over the border in the Slovak Republic. Low-cost airline Ryanair flies into this airport and it is often a cheaper option for flights. Again, trains and buses depart from this airport for Vienna’s city districts. Getting around Vienna Vienna is a very large city made up of several districts. The local public transport

system provides buses, trains, trams and metros that travel throughout the city and link up districts. It is highly recommended to use public transport because hiring a car and driving in the city districts can be extremely busy and parking is often a problem, especially in the areas most visited by tourists. Taxis are metered but visitors are advised to ask for a quote before jumping in. The subway is probably the most popular way to get around as it’s cheap, punctual and efficient. Lastly I would just like to thank all of the lovely readers for taking the time out to read my travel articles and I hope they at least inspire you all to keep travelling now or in the future. Christmas for the LGBTQ community is so important and no matter what you are doing this holiday season I hope you feel that GNI is part of your Christmas community and family. Big Bear Christmas hugs from me and I will see you all in 2020 x

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


ON REFLECTION // GNI MAG 2019

ON REFLECTION // GNI MAG 2019 LOOKING BACK AT SOME OF THE STORIES AND FEATURES FROM 2019. WE HAVE HAD SOME GREAT CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS, STYLISH FASHION SHOOTS, GRITTY REAL LIFE STORIES, AND LOOKED AT SOME BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. ALL OF THESE CAN BE RE-READ FOR FREE ONLINE AT WWW.GNIMAG.COM .

JOHN PARTRIDGE

WILL YOUNG

OLLY ALEXANDER

ICONIC CHER

CLAIRE RICHARDS

BEN ADAMS

JACK SAVORETTI

ES COLLECTION

COMING OUT

Taking time out of his Cabaret tour to talk about the show, testicular cancer and how to get ahead in your career without ass-kissing.

Prior to the huge success of her Here I Go Again “final” tour we took a look back at the icon she has become.

This husky voiced, story-telling songster chatted with our Daniel about his new album, the tour and his favourite song.

Life on the coast with his dogs, a new album The Years and Years front-man talks release and what was his career highlight. Oh collaborations, and making their concerts and he mentions those “online pix”. inclusive and welcoming.

Her solo album, more Steps music on the horizon, what her kids think of her, and how she landed the Celine Dion gig.

We’ve been lucky enough to have some hot fashion shoots over the year, this one from ES Collection certainly didn’t disappoint.

ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

We caught up with Ben Adams and some of the cast of The Rocky Horror Show as they toured the UK.

It’s not always easy to do. In every issue one of our readers shares their story. Gareth told us about his experience.


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Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 39  

ISSUE 39 Draws 2019 to a close, on the cover we have global Superstar Laverne Cox, we interview local award-winning Drag Icon Trudy Scrumpti...

GNI MAG ISSUE 39  

ISSUE 39 Draws 2019 to a close, on the cover we have global Superstar Laverne Cox, we interview local award-winning Drag Icon Trudy Scrumpti...

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