GNIMAG y o u r
l o c a l
h o m o c u l t u r a l
m a g a z i n e
Issue 40 Feb/Mar 20 £3.95 / €3.95
Falling in love with sequins and sparkles, Guinness World Records, being a “Strictly” heart-throb and his new tour This is Me.
Three of the hottest adult movie stars tell us about how their work affects their lives.
There aren’t many of them in the country, we chat to one of the best and find out why.
Taking a look back at the last ten years of LGBTQ+ rights, the highs and lows.
CELEBS / FASHION / MUSIC / NEWS / REVIEWS / MOVIES / FITNESS / HOME / TRAVEL / REAL LIFE / SPORT
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Weddings In The Heart Of The C ity
MARRY THE ONE YOU LOVE IN THE HEIGHT OF LUXURY
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OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Daniel May [ 10 ]
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ALICIA V PERRY
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KING - CARL CONNIELINGUS
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FASHION - ANDREW CHRISTIAN
[ 50 ]
SPORT - MARTIN MURRAY
[ 52 ]
FITNESS - DAMIEN LUNDY
[ 54 ]
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OUR LGBTQ+ DECADE
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MARRIAGE EQUALITY AT LAST
[ 62 ]
VEGAN - THE FACTS
[ 64 ]
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THE BIG DAY
[ 74 ]
NAKED AND UNAFRAID
[ 76 ]
GOD’S PLAN - REAL LIFE
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THE GOURMET BOYS
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SCENE OUT - KREMLIN
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FOOD AND DRINK
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TRAVEL - TORONTO
[ 96 ]
MID ULSTER PRIDE
[ 98 ]
THEATRE - RENT
DESIGN Tony Day EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Callum Skeffington COVER IMAGE: Michael Simon SPECIAL THANKS TO... Giovanni Pernice / Callum Skeffington / Marc Almond / Micky Murray / Alicia V Perry Josh Brady / Sigala / Kit Williamson / Alex Riely / Liz Bonnin / Ashton Summers / Carl Connielingus / Andrew Christian / Martin Murray / Damien Lundy / Action Cancer / The Rainbow Project / Positive Life / Little Red Rooster / John Man / Dylan and Sam / Project Publicity / Michael Moloney / Misstique / The Gourmet Boys / Kremlin / Martin Kearney / Flannels Cafe / Gavyn Andrews / Mid Ulster Pride / Banbridge Musical Society / Strictly Theatre Co. / Black Arts PR / Cuff Media / Jeff Dorta / Gavin Boyd / Vic Gerami / Matt Sunderland / Mike Bahr / Albert Blanco
GNI MAG IS PUBLISHED BY... Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 13 Union Street Belfast BT1 2JF www.gnimag.com email@example.com
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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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CELEBRITY, COLUMNISTS, FEATURES, ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE
INTERVIEW // GIOVANNI PERNICE
TEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // GIOVANNI PERNICE
GIOVANNI PERNICE INTERVIEW: DANIEL MAY
GIOVANNI PERNICE IS THE ITALIAN STALLION WHO REGULARLY HAS AUDIENCES DROOLING ON A SATURDAY EVENING AS THEY PINE OVER HIM ON STRICLY, THIS HEARTTHROB IS TAKING HIS “THIS IS ME” SHOW AROUND THE U.K FROM 27TH FEBRUARY, WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM FOR A CHAT...
HI GIOVANNI, THANKS FOR TAKING TIME WITH
love with the sequins and sparkles, and ultimately
US, TO KICK THE QUESTIONS OFF I’D LIKE
fell in love with the dancing.
YOU TO TAKE US BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD GROWING UP IN THE BEAUTIFUL SICILY, HOW WAS IT FOR YOU AND TELL US OF YOUR
BEING A YOUNG BOY AND DANCER CAN BE TOUGH FOR SOME, GETTING BULLIED ETC,
WAS THIS THE CASE FOR YOU OR DID YOU GET
I grew up in a beautiful family, my dad was a
YOU KNOW WHAT WE MEAN LOL?
ATTENTION IN THE OTHER DEPARTMENT IF
policeman and my mum did a beautiful job of being the best mum. I have one Sister and we grew
It was difficult because of the mentality of others
up in Sicily.
when growing up, but I was determined. Dancing was and is my passion, I decided not to listen
YOU GOT THE DANCING BUG AT AN EARLY
to anyone, and followed my dream to become a
AGE, WAS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOUR
PARENTS ENCOURAGED/INTRODUCED YOU TO OR WAS IT ALWAYS A PASSION OF YOURS?
WE READ YOU HOLD GUINNESS WORLD
I started at 7 years old, I watched a dancing
RECORDS FOR A FEW THINGS, HOW DID THIS
programme on TV and I remember some amazing routines between the boys and the girls. I fell in
It is from It Takes Two on BBC, the Strictly sister
ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // GIOVANNI PERNICE
WORK NO PLAY?
programme - they hold Guinness World
Record competitions and I was lucky
Definitely will be for the entire family,
to have been asked to take part - I
I would love to inspire a younger
I don’t drink so no Guinness for me, I
currently hold 2 records, and can’t wait
generation of dancers, just like how I
try my best to stay focused and deliver
to compete for a third.
was inspired when I was growing up
a great show.
watching TV. APART FROM WHAT WE JUST MENTIONED AND THE FACT OF BEING ON ONE OF THE MOSTWATCHED PROGRAMMES, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
BEFORE YOU GO LET’S PLAY A WE ARE SURE THERE WILL BE LOADS OF GLITZ, GLAMOUR AND COSTUME CHANGES ETC, DO YOU ENJOY THE WHOLE DRESSING UP ASPECT OF DANCING? AND HAVE YOU A
QUICK GAME... WOULD YOU RATHER... TV OR CINEMA? Cinema
FAVOURITE OUTFIT FOR THE TOUR?
CHOCOLATE OR CRISPS? Crisps
outside of Strictly is I can now speak
This tour will be different, there are lots
SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer
fluent English. I arrived 4 years ago and
of costume changes. I love to dress up,
HANDS OR FEET? Hands
understood no English, I couldn’t speak
especially after dancing with Michelle
TRIMMED OR AU’NATURAL? Au’Natural
the language. I worked hard and now I
Visage this year on Strictly.
One of my greatest achievements
SNOG, MARRY, AVOID, LET’S USE
can travel the UK with my own show. WILL THERE BE ANY SURPRISE GETTING TO DANCE TO VAST AUDIENCES MUST BE A DREAM
BOXERS OR BRIEFS? Briefs
GUESTS OR FAMILIAR FACES THAT AUDIENCES WILL KNOW?
COME TRUE, WAS THIS SOMETHING
3 PAST/PRESENT JUDGES FROM STRICTLY, DARCY BUSSELL, SHIRLEY BALLAS AND MOTSI MABUSE, AND WE WANT REASONS LOL
YOU ALWAYS HAD YOUR SIGHTS
I have some wonderful dancers joining
SET ON AND ALSO CAN YOU SEE
me on tour and a special guest at
I would marry all three of them because
YOURSELF ON TELLY FOR THE LONG
London’s Her Majesty Theatre, Michelle
they are beautiful and classy ladies!
HALL, OR WHAT IS YOUR MASTER
Visage. I can’t wait to perform with her
I was a dancer before and will be after
THE TOUR KICKS OFF ON THE 27TH
Strictly, being on television is a dream
FEBRUARY AND THERE ARE 65
come true and I feel very lucky and
DATES PLANNED, WOW, HOW DO
YOU PLAN FOR THAT? DO YOU GO TO THE GYM MUCH FOR STAMINA
THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME WITH US, WE WISH YOU ALL
AND TO STAY IN SHAPE?
THE BEST FOR THE TOUR AND WE
DOESN’T GIVE A WHOLE LOT AWAY,
I try to stay in shape and eat healthily. I
ON 8TH MARCH.
TELL US WHAT PEOPLE CAN EXPECT
go to the gym and get prepared for the
WHEN THEY COME TO SEE IT?
demanding tour schedule. Rehearsals
SO ON TO YOUR SHOW “THIS IS ME”, WE WATCHED YOUR PROMO IT
CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN BELFAST
are intense and this helps me prepare
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL
Everyone will have a great night out,
for the tour. I also have to find time
THE TOUR DATES/VENUES VIA
there is lots for the audience to enjoy.
to have some down-time so I am
Of course it will be filled with lots of
ready and have all my energy for the
dancing and a few surprises as well,
maybe some comedy and musical instruments included - you will have to
THREE OF YOUR DATES ARE IN
come along to find out!
IRELAND/N.IRELAND, WHILE OVER WILL YOU HAVE MUCH FREE TIME
WOULD YOU SAY IT’S A SHOW FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY OR IS IT GEARED
TWELVE // GNIMAG.COM
TO SEE THE SIGHTS AND ENJOY A GUINNESS ETC OR WILL IT BE ALL
INTERVIEW // GIOVANNI PERNICE
THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM
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OPINION // CALLUM SKEFFINGTON
CALLUM SKEFFINGTON HARMFUL HABITS ONE
health is the only way to destroy the stigma surrounding this topic, and you don’t have to
resolutions is to go to the
We live in an era where we are made to feel
wait for a qualified therapist to be provided six
gym and to be healthier,
guilty for taking care of ourselves. In a time
months down the line by the NHS; a friend or
when mental health is more prominent in
family member can provide just as much, if not
society than ever before, the need for self-care
more, support and guidance than a medical
prioritised over all else, but
is higher than ever before, yet between the
is it not more important to
lacking guidance for mental health in schools
professional. Finding someone to trust your
improve your mental health
and the NHS, and the social stigma against
admitting that you aren’t coping with life’s
pressures, most find themselves completely Some
unprepared to deal with their own mental health.
therapeutic for them. They
emotions and thoughts with will alleviate the stress you are feeling. Things not to trust as antidotes to your mental health; drinking, drugs, toxic friendships/ relationships or endless tv show marathons.
can kill two birds with one
These pressure are sometimes heightened in
the early stages of a New Year. We have all
their physical and mental
these aims and goals for the year ahead, but
fitness at the same time.
the likelihood of seeing immediate results is
slim, but our mental health is more important
of going to the gym is, in
than anything else. Especially as LGBT+
to do with your breathing. Smoking enables us
itself, anxiety inducing. It
people, we are more prone to mental health
to take more conscious and deeper breaths,
isn’t the end of the world if
conditions than our straight, cis -gendered
which has a calming effect on our bodies,
going to the gym isn’t your
despite the nicotine that’s rushing through
going to the gym, and for some the idea of working out is the last thing they would
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TAKE A STEP BACK IF IT IS NECESSARY FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
If there is one thing you should do in the year to come, it is find your form of therapy. Maybe reading a good book and getting lost in a fictional world will help you detox from life. Maybe you prefer to be creative and
harmful habits that restrict our mental health. A common ‘anxiety relief’ is smoking, and most can’t even explain exactly why. Well, it’s
our veins. Taking negative coping mechanisms
thing; working out at home is equally as beneficial as
It is incredibly hard to put an end to the
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF BEING SELFISH WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
and replacing them with positive outlets will result in a happier head and a healthier body. If smoking is your vice, perhaps you should try meditation techniques. As we continue through the year of 2020, I think the best thing we can do for ourselves is to be mindful not only of our own mental health, but also of those around us and the struggles and issues they may be experiencing. It is easy to talk the talk, now walk the walk
own. Or maybe you simply want to spend more time surrounded by your friends and family.
DO NOT SACRIFICE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH FOR OTHERS.
Whatever it may be, putting emphasis on the things that
One of the things that I have learned through
ease your mind and clear
my own struggles with mental health is that
your head will result in more
talking really is the best way to deal with
productivity and improved
depression and anxiety. Talking about mental
This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.
FIFTEEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // MARC ALMOND
INTERVIEW // MARC ALMOND
MARC ALMOND WHEN WE HEARD THAT THE LITERAL LEGEND THAT IS MARC ALMOND WAS RELEASING NEW MUSIC WE JUST HAD TO GRAB A FEW MINUTES WITH HIM. THIS GUY HAS ALMOST 40 YEARS BEHIND HIM IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, AND OVER 30 MILLION RECORD SALES. BETWEEN HIS WORK WITH SOFT CELL, HIS SOLO WORK, AND HIS FAMOUS COLLABORATIONS HE HAS RECORDED SOME OF THE MOST ANTHEMIC SONGS OF OUR TIME: TAINTED LOVE, SOMETHING’S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART, THE DAYS OF PEARLY SPENCER, AND SAY HELLO WAVE GOODBYE. HIS MUSIC HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME, AND HIS MORE RECENT WORKS HAVE BEEN CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED. AS HE RELEASES BRAND NEW ALBUM ‘CHAOS AND A DANCING STAR’ THIS WEEK WE ASK HIM WHAT HIS SECRET IS….
SEVENTEEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // MARC ALMOND
MARC (THE LEGEND) ALMOND,
LET’S TAKE A STEP BACK FIRST. WHAT WAS THE MOMENT YOU FIRST REALISED YOU WERE
SUPPORTIVE, TELL US ABOUT THAT…
but I have less energy. Getting older, aching joints (after wearing heeled boots for 40 years), and the accident
You know quite young if you’re gay, it
affected my memory which is why I’m
is really about how that is processed,
a patron of Headway the brain injury
what environment or family you find
charity that supports people recovering
yourself in, how much joy or shame or
from brain trauma. I’ve been there
help is attached to it, so many factors. I
and I’ve experienced some of the
Probably the day after Soft Cell’s first
mean no one asks straight people when
difficulties. I’ve been lucky and had a
performance on Top of The Pops. One
was it they realised they were straight.
AND AS FOR YOUR VIEWS ON THE
WE’VE HEARD YOU HAVE A LOVE OF
YOU’VE BEEN VOCAL OF YOUR
IN SOME OF YOUR MUSIC. HOW
FAMOUS? HOW DID IT FEEL,
AND DID IT FEEL LIKE YOUR LIFE INSTANTLY CHANGED?
second you’re watching it religiously and the next you’re on it. It was very surreal and happened very quickly. A girl in the newsagents said, ‘It’s you,
LGBT COMMUNITY OF TODAY,
RUSSIA, AND IT SHINES THROUGH DID THAT COME ABOUT?
THOUGHTS ON IT…
WERE THERE GOOD PEOPLE
I haven’t really. I was accused of being
I first went to Russia in the early
transphobic by people on Twitter
nineties and found the people were
regarding a gender specific toilets
amazing… I still go frequently and
comment I made, and it suddenly
actually lived there for many years.
AROUND YOU TO KEEP YOUR FEET
ON THE GROUND, OR WERE THERE JUST A LOT OF “HANGERS ON”?
becomes something else. When you You can always count on your family
look at who I am, and who I work
to keep your feet on the ground, but
with, what I’ve done and who I’ve
professionally we really didn’t know
championed, it’s absurd to say I am
what we were doing in the early days.
YOU HAVE A CAREER THAT SPANS 40 YEARS, MUSIC FROM EARLY IN YOUR CAREER IS STILL PLAYED
IN CLUBS TODAY, WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?
IN THE UK, WHAT’S A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARC ALMOND?
Manic!! Well it depends what project
The advice given to us wasn’t the best, but we live to tell the tales.
BUT THESE DAYS YOU’RE SETTLED
YOU WERE ALSO FAIRLY ANTIESTABLISHMENT BACK IN THE
DAY, BUT NOW YOU ARE MR MARC ALMOND OBE, HOW DID THAT ALL COME ABOUT AND HOW PROUD
ARE YOU OF SUCH AN ESTEEMED TITLE?
is taking place. At the moment I am gearing up to the new album release on January 31st which involves live sessions on radio programmes and various different interviews internationally, all whilst planning a one-off performance with Chris Braide at the Royal Festival Hall and preparing
To keep doing what you do as long as
I don’t know when it actually happens,
for some shows in Japan. There is a lot
there is still love for it, and to try and
but it does to all of us sooner or later.
going on at the moment. No two days
work with great talented people.
And I was really proud of getting my
are the same.
OBE. Who would have thought it? IN THE EARLY 80’S YOU NEITHER CONFIRMED NOR DENIED YOUR
YOU ARE STILL ACHIEVING DIZZY
OUT IN 1987 DO YOU THINK IT
VERY ALL NEARLY ENDED WITH
SEXUALITY, WHEN YOU DID COME AFFECTED YOUR CAREER?
Did I come out in 1987? I thought I was
HEIGHTS OF SUCCESS, BUT THAT A MOTORCYCLE CRASH, WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW HAS IT
AFFECTED YOU TO THIS DAY?
AT 61, YOU’RE AT A STAGE IN
YOUR LIFE WHERE YOU COULD BE
THINKING ABOUT SETTLING DOWN, BUT YOUR NEW ALBUM CAME OUT AT THE END OF JANUARY. DO YOU GET CREATIVE DRY SPELLS OR IS YOUR HEAD ALWAYS SPINNING WITH IDEAS?
I’ve never been good at focusing and BUT GOING BACK TO YOUR
CHILDHOOD, YOU KNEW FAIRLY EARLY ON THAT YOU WERE GAY
AND YOUR DAD WAS LESS THAN
EIGHTEEN // GNIMAG.COM
multitasking and, after my accident
I’m inspired by so many different art
in 2004, I find it even harder. Also it’s
forms and genres that I do tend to get
ironic that I get offered more things
a bit carried away with always thinking
than ever that I would like to say yes to,
about the next project.
INTERVIEW // MARC ALMOND-
NINETEEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // MARC ALMOND
TELL US ABOUT
(I’M 40 AND
THE NEW ALBUM
OF BED IN
STAND-OUT OR PARTICULARLY PERSONAL
I love what I
do. I stick to
a routine of early nights and
Chaos and a
eating well –
very rock and
is one of my
favourite sayings, WHAT CAN
a quote of
have to have
THEY SEE YOU
Chaos in your
ON TOUR THIS
Heart to give
Birth to a Dancing Star.’ You can take this to mean
To let go
and have a
but to me it means
out of chaos
wonderful, WELL MR
SO MUCH FOR
whether in life or
comes art, music
WITH US. WE
live in chaotic times, we hope something positive
will emerge out
of it. I wanted to
songs and set the
STAR’ IS OUT
songs in fatal end
of days settings with a touch of mystic paganism yet hopelessness. Lovers against a burning sky.
TWENTY // GNIMAG.COM
YOU’RE STILL TOURING TOO
THROUGHOUT 2020, HOW DO
BMG. MARC ALMOND & CHRIS
BRAIDE PLAY THE LONDON ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL ON 10 FEBRUARY.
OPINION // MICKY MURRAY
BEING A BIT SELFISH MICKY MURRAY ANOTHER
Finally, I got the blender back out and I’ve
complete with sound proofing using old
I’m really not a Christmas
started making a fruit smoothie, with almond
election posters, which was an idea I, bizarrely,
person, so I’m very happy
milk, most mornings for my commute to work,
came across on Pintrest, and I had my old
it’s all over, bah-humbug I
it takes just a few minutes to make and sets me
election posters sitting in a corner. Wash them
know, but I just don’t get all
up for the day!
down, turn them over, and use double sided sticky things (I’ve no idea what they are) to fix
the commotion. My favorite is banana and raspberry: 1 Banana,
them to the wall, ta da! Sound proofing for my
I have a January birthday,
125g Raspberries, 150mg Almond milk. Blend,
new cinema room!
and on your way! You can also throw in some
Greek yogurt if you like too.
I still have a lot to figure out, I want to finally have a house warming party, and I want to
depressing day of the year because it’s the day that
Part of being better to me is about getting
do some more traveling, I went to Brazil for
those of us who get paid
active. I’ve signed-up to run a leg of the
a couple of weeks last summer and so I want
monthly should be paid,
Belfast Marathon, in May, to raise funds for The
to go somewhere equally amazing this year,
another reason I don’t like
Rainbow Project. Now, I work in an office and
which might be hard to find, so if anyone has
Christmas, why pay us eight
usually the only exercise I get is canvassing
any recommendations, please hit me up.
or nine days early and make
during elections, thankfully there’s been a few,
us wait an eternity for the
but I was reassured by my boss, who done it
I’m pretty content that I’ve made resolutions
end of January?
last year and is doing it again this year, that
that, I hope, will give me more self-fulfilment
anyone can do it. If you want to get signed
and challenge me throughout the year to take
My New Year resolutions are
up just give Jayne an email and I’m sure she’ll
make time for myself, only time will tell.
going to be all centred on
sort you out – she loves people who want to
me, because last year they
give them money, her email address is jayne@
Selfishness isn’t always a bad thing, we need
were all centred on others.
to make sure we take care of ourselves, everyone is reminding our politicians about
It sounds selfish, I know, but I spent last year working
Another change I’ve made is limiting my use
the importance of mental health provisions
of social media. You see a notification about
and we often forget to remind ourselves to
something interesting and three hours later
take care of our own mental health.
mortgage shopping, and I
you’re watching videos of Sophia’s best bits
think I deserve a little bit of
from Golden Girls and giggling away. It’s
selfishness in my life. This is
actually been really refreshing and I’ve spent
something I’ve always been
more time catching up with friends who’ve
bad at, I always take on too
moved away and I haven’t seen in a while, I
much and end up stressing
didn’t realise how much time social media
myself out, so sometimes
took up, until I actively tried to avoid it, and
using the time to connect with people who
Have a wonderful year, be kind to yourselves!
I haven’t seen or who I should really contact
positive and required!
more has been doing me the world of good! I decided I need to be healthier, queue the eye
One of the most stressful thing that I’ve went
rolls. I bought myself a
through recently was buying a house, it’s such
blender about two years
a long and stressful process, a process I never
ago (and I think we used it
want to go through again, so I’ll just have
twice before it ended up in
to hope that I’ve made the right decision. I
a cupboard in the kitchen),
had all these ideas of renting out a room, or
linking in with Erasmus to help host volunteers
from around Europe, which was until Boris
and frozen fruit in Iceland,
Johnston’s Government voted to withdraw
who knew they sold pre-
the UK from the Erasmus programme. So
sliced frozen fruit? I didn’t.
I’ve decided to make myself a cinema room,
This is an opinion piece from the columnist/ contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.
TWENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // SIGALA
SIGALA BRUCE FIELDER TWENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // SIGALA
YOU’LL HAVE BEEN SINGING AND DANCING ALONG TO HIS MUSIC FOR YEARS PROBABLY WITHOUT EVEN REALISING IT. THIS YOUNG DJ AND RECORD PRODUCER HAS WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY, WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM AHEAD OF HIS GIG IN THE LIMELIGHT, BELFAST, 13TH FEBRUARY… SO, MR BRUCE FIELDER, THAT NAME
certainly a huge factor in what I am doing
TO SAY YOU’VE WORKED WITH
IS A MILLION MILES AWAY FROM
SOME OF THE BIGGEST NAMES
SIGALA, START AT THE BEGINNING AND TELL US HOW THE NAME CAME
IN THE INDUSTRY WOULD BE AN NOT EVEN THIRTY YEARS OLD AND
ALREADY YOU’VE ACHIEVED SUCH
It’s actually an old family name, my mum
THE JOURNEY SO FAR, HAS IT BEEN
was telling me about my great great
WHAT YOU’D EXPECTED? WHAT ARE
grandfather, and he was called Amos
SOME OF THE UPS AND DOWNS?
INCREDIBLE SUCCESS, TELL US ABOUT
UNDERSTATEMENT. WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVOURITES AND WHY. ALSO, HOW DOES IT FEEL HAVING OTHER PEOPLE BE THE FACE OF YOUR MUSIC? It is one of my favourites parts of what
Sigala - I just thought it sounded cool! Nothing about it is expected! Music has
I do; being able to work with amazingly
AS A CHILD YOU LEARNED THE
always been such an integral part of my
talented people and learn from them and
PIANO, WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT
life and I worked hard on many different
their creative processes. I’m very happy
WAS THRUST UPON YOU BY YOUR
projects before landing on Sigala. Luckily
they are the face of my music - I think
PARENTS OR WAS IT SOMETHING
I have a great team around me who are
people would get bored if it was just my
YOU WANTED TO DO, AND HOW
amazing and help make the Sigala vision
SIGNIFICANT DO YOU FEEL THAT WAS
TO HOW YOUR CAREER HAS TURNED
AND IT’S NOT JUST THE BIGGEST
YOUR MUSIC HAS BECOME ANTHEMIC
My parents introduced me to the piano at
LIKE WHEN YOU’RE OUT SOCIALLY
the age of 8 and I think they were happy
AND YOUR OWN MUSIC COMES ON?
IN CLUBS EVERYWHERE. WHAT’S IT
to see how much I loved it (and how quiet
NAMES YOU’VE WORKED WITH. YOU’VE PERFORMED ACROSS THE WORLD IN SOME OF THE BIGGEST FESTIVALS AND VENUES. HOW MINDBLOWING IS THAT?
it kept me!) But I do love the piano, and
It never gets old hearing your song
to this day, most of my songs still include
played on the radio… so much time and
It’s honestly crazy. I have been playing
it – I usually start off on the piano as an
effort goes into each track, it’s always
to some huge crowds over the last few
acoustic song and then go from there.
a hugely proud moment to know that
years and when I hear a sea of people
When you’re on the piano, I think it helps
people are listening and enjoying my
singing my song back to me, often twice
to write a better song because you’re not
music. I was in Tokyo for New Year when I
as loud… wow!
tricked by all the production. It’s just the
heard Say You Do in a shop, on the other
piano and a vocal and if you can make
side of the world! I find it a little mind
NEXT YEAR YOU EMBARK ON A
something sound great on the piano, it
blowing each time.
WORLD TOUR INCLUDING BELFAST
should translate when it’s finished. So it’s
AND DUBLIN. TELL US ABOUT THE
TWENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // SIGALA
PROCESS OF PUTTING THE TOUR
– I want people to come and experience
I will fit in what I can! Often if I really like
for themselves so trust me on this one!
a place, I will try to go back and explore
Doubly exciting as this is the first time
it in downtime outside of writing and
A lot of work haha. For me it’s essential
I will take my live show outside of the
that my live show is always evolving
UK. Expect to see me jumping around
and feels new and exciting to everyone,
behind the decks trying to contain my
AFTER THE TOUR, WHAT DOES THE
including myself. So before the tour starts
FUTURE HOLD FOR SIGALA, ANY PLANS SET IN STONE YET OR ARE
I spend lots of time in the studio and in rehearsals trying to perfect the show and
WHAT DO YOU DO DURING YOUR
DOWN TIME WHEN ON TOUR, WILL
YOU TAKING THE ORGANIC ROUTE AND TAKING THINGS AS THEY COME?
WE BE BUMPING INTO YOU IN THE ON THE TOUR WHAT CAN WE EXPECT,
KREMLIN WHILE YOU’RE IN BELFAST?
WILL THERE BE ANY SPECIAL GUESTS?
My main priority for 2020 is getting out new music. I have loads of amazing music
I try and explore a place as much as
that I want everyone to hear, so that’s
I’m really looking forward to showing
possible - I generally only ever have a few
really going to be my focus once the
people the next stage of the Sigala show
hours in each city before moving on but
craziness of my tour has subsided.
TWENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM
OPINION // ALICIA PERRY
AN ANGEL WHO WENT HOME ALICA V PERRY YESTERDAY I RECEIVED A PHONE call from my brother to tell me that my cousin had taken her own life. You think it’ll not happen to you until the day comes and that door closes never to open again. It’s so unfortunate that my cousin joins friends of mine who have also died by suicide. When someone leaves us in this way it is like a brain-bomb exploding in your head, unanswered questions piercing your mind like shrapnel. But how can do better?
yet the very same people don’t answer their phone when you call. Instead, replying with a text of their whereabouts and what they are doing. So busy living an enhanced life that they can’t talk but ‘is everything ok.’ There are only three ways to answer that, yes, no, or the truth and quite often you’ll get back yes when they really mean no. There is no other issue like suicide that research and understanding is limited within the capacity of suicide itself. Moreover, we can never go back and fully understand the concept of suicide however much we know it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We can’t go back and ask the person how they were feeling and how we could do better because they are angels now; they have gone home.
I believe we need to look inwards and then make changes in our lives to reconnect with each other. We also need to change the conversation around suicide, in particular the terminology we use. We need to truly grasp the unnerving truth around suicide and better our compassion for those who lose their lengthy scrap with life. People commit crimes, a deliberate act, but people don’t commit suicide (a good point brought to me by a Twitter follower). Rather, people die by suicide or lose their battle with life, like my dear cousin who was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, a friend; an angel who just wanted to go home.
As a society, spearheaded by politicians, we are so separated and removed from the brutal reality of mental health and suicide but yet it is blatantly staring us in the face. We need to understand that if we really want to help the community in relation to this shocking epidemic then we need to go into that community to better appreciate their intrinsic tribulations, reassure firm commitment and inspire human connectivity to these delicate issues. We all know there is help there and readily available but we need to stop expecting vulnerable people to put themselves first when they do not possess the mental frame of mind to do just that. We are losing too many of our loved ones and we need urgent action NOW!
Mental health and suicide have become the new social media trend to display elaborate posts or tweets about how we need to ask for help, talk, speak up but
I said this back in 2017 and I will say it again, I believe Social Media is one of the greatest threats to mental health in a generation and it is responsible for a lot of the psychological pain and mental trauma we experience today. It is estimated that within just one minute over 350’000 tweets are sent and 2’460’000 posts are uploaded onto Facebook yet the more connected we are the lonelier we can feel. In a recent study of over 1’700 young adults, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh in the US found that only two hours of social media use per day doubles our chances of experiencing social isolation. Conversely, the increasing amount of time we spend on social media, decreases the time we would spend on real-world interactions
in our quest for meaningful relationships. Undeniably loneliness can be the hardest thing to communicate to someone, even with the existing plethora of social media apps and that is because technology has taken the place of human interaction in our lives. It seems apparent that we have come to expect more from our social media and less from each other but remember, when angels go home they don’t come back. People who die by suicide don’t want to end their life; they simply want to end their pain. But suicide itself doesn’t eradicate pain and sorrow, it just passes it on to your loved ones ten-fold. More often than not suicide is a solitary occurrence and yet it has devastating repercussions for so, so many others. Imagine dropping a pebble into a pond, the impact sends circular ripples far and wide sweeping over anything in its path. That’s what happens when someone dies by suicide, they are the pebble and the ripples are a tsunami of heartache overwhelming those loved ones left behind. This needs to stop. Things need to change. We need to do better. Life is too short. Respect, cherish and value each other. Be more kind, considerate and generous with each other because the saddest moments in life come when the person who gave you the best memories becomes a memory themselves. Dedicated to Charlene – our Angel who went home.
This is an opinion piece from the columnist/contributor and not the opinion of GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.
TWENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // JOSH BRADY
JOSH BRADY JOSH BRADY IS THE CURRENT IT BOY WHEN IT COMES TO THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY HAVING RECENTLY PICKED UP AWARDS FOR HIS “WORK”, WE CHATTED TO HIM ALL ABOUT IT. WORDS: DANIEL MAY
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY LIFE AND YOUR UPBRINGING?
Well family life was chaotic I guess, I grew up in Southern California, lived in Oregon for a while then back to California, it has been pretty long term here.
WE SEEN ONLINE THAT YOU WON SOME AWARDS, TELL US ABOUT THIS
SO THE BURNING QUESTION IS HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET INTO THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY?
Yeah, I won at the last Straight Up awards, I won Best versatile Duo and Best EP. I believe the winners were decided by fan votes, which is amazing.
Well, I was actually a Go-Go Dancer for 4 years before I got into porn, I needed to make money and knew some friends in the industry.
Later today I actually have another award show, I’m also up for best duo though this is decided by a panel.
WAS IT SOMETHING YOU HAD AN INTEREST IN THEN OR WERE YOU APPROACHED?
LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE ARE YOU SINGLE AND DO YOU FIND BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULT IN YOUR LINE OF WORK?
I was approached to do it a few times when I was a Dancer though I always said no, I will never do porn, then by the end of it, I thought why not give it a shot. IS IT EVERYTHING YOU EXPECTED OR COMPLETELY DIFFERENT? It is so different than I thought it would be, it’s really laid back, the whole process is not what people would think. IN A GOOD OR BAD WAY? I think its a good way, its a lot less sexual when in the moment than what it comes across because of all the editing, breaks etc. IS THE PROCESS LONG THEN? Oh yeah, I have had days were filming can go on as long as 10 hours and on the flip side, some days are over in 4 hours, every day is
TWENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM
Well I’m very very single and no I don’t think it is difficult, I think the biggest roadblock for a
INTERVIEW // JOSH BRADY
TWENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // JOSH BRADY
relationship is communication and trust. As long as you and your partner have those I don’t see any issues but I know it can be expecting a lot from another person as well. HOW ARE YOU’RE FAMILY WITH THE WHOLE PORN THING? My family are pretty accepting, they all think it’s cool and a lot of random people throughout society that I have found out also think its cool, I think this is because it doesn’t have a direct effect on them. SO ARE YOU OPENLY GAY, TELL US HOW COMING OUT WAS FOR YOU Yes, I am, I didn’t actually come out in a normal way, my family found out. I had only told a few friends who I thought needed to know and from then I just let people assume what they wanted to assume and went and got a job as a dancer. Pictures and things started to go up on Facebook but again I just let people think what the wanted. OUTSIDE OF THE ADULT FILM INDUSTRY, WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP OCCUPIED, HAVE YOU ANY HOBBIES? I’m going to school at the minute for Music Production, I’m pretty into music, the course is music composition, I only got into it recently,
TWENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM
though I’m really enjoying it and what to explore and see how far I can get. JANUARY HAS JUST PAST AND WE ARE CONSTANTLY SEEING AND HEARING PEOPLE TALK ABOUT MAKING AND BREAKING RESOLUTIONS DID YOU MAKE ANY? I never made any specifically for New Year though I decided to quit drinking and all that good stuff, I try and go to the gym every day though when I travel it can be difficult. SO BACK TO THE INDUSTRY ARE YOU IN IT FOR THE LONG HALL OR IS IT SIMPLY PAYING THE BILLS FOR NOW? I hope there is longevity in it, I want to stay in the entertainment industry, I probably won’t be doing porn forever so I want to stay in the industry and see what else I can do. The Goal is to try it all, I want to do Acting, produce music and have my hand in everything THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME WITH US, WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST
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INTERVIEW // KIT WILLIAMSON
KIT WILLIAMSON THIRTY // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // KIT WILLIAMSON
IT HAS BEEN A LONG JOURNEY AND YEARS OF PERSEVERANCE FOR KIT WILLIAMSON TO REACH THE PINNACLE OF SUCCESS IN HOLLYWOOD. HE WRITES, PRODUCES AND STARS IN NETFLIX’S HIT SHOW ‘EASTSIDERS’, NOMINATED FOR 8 EMMY AWARDS AND TRANSLATED INTO MORE THAN 30 LANGUAGES. KIT WAS BORN AND RAISED IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI. HE LEFT HOME AT 16 TO STUDY ACTING AND WRITING AT INTERLOCHEN ARTS ACADEMY IN MICHIGAN. HE BEGAN HIS CAREER ON BROADWAY IN THE TONY-NOMINATED REVIVAL OF TALK RADIO WITH LIEV SCHREIBER WHILE A JUNIOR AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY, AND WENT ON TO RECEIVE HIS MFA IN PLAYWRITING FROM UCLA. THIS IS THE FINAL SEASON FOR EASTSIDERS, SO I CHATTED WITH KIT ABOUT THE SHOW, HIS PLANS AND HIS BIG ‘COUNTRY’ SECRET.
MODESTY ASIDE, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? I’m an actor, a filmmaker, an internet person, a Mississippi expatriate and a queer propogandist. THE FOURTH AND FINAL SEASON OF EASTSIDERS IS ABOUT TO PREMIERE, A SHOW YOU WROTE, DIRECTED AND STARRED IN. HOW DOES THE ANTICIPATION OF A NEW SEASON PREMIERE FEEL? It feels so amazing having people reach out from around the world, including from countries where being gay is illegal. It’s really rewarding, because I grew up in Mississippi, so I know firsthand the power of representation. WHEN YOU STARTED TO CREATE THE SHOW AS A WEB SERIES WITH A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR YOUTUBE, DID YOU EVER IMAGINE THAT IT WOULD BE THIS POPULAR? We had no idea a web series could possibly reach these heights. Every milestone and every season have been a gift, because we have been genuinely surprised at how it’s continued to grow. WHAT WAS THAT MOMENT LIKE WHEN YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOUR EMMY AWARD NOMINATION? The show being nominated for 8 Emmy Awards was absolutely surreal; it’s hard to know how to respond because nothing like that had really happened to me before. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN THIS FINAL SEASON?
I love it when people say hi! I put this story out there because I wanted people to watch it, so it makes me happy whenever anyone tells me that they do. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, THE FIRST OPENLY GAY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? It’s a huge milestone. It just didn’t seem possible that we would have a gay candidate on the debate stage as recently as the last election. WHAT ARTISTS (ACTORS, DIRECTORS, WRITERS, ETC.) WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH THAT YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO YET? I have always said Parker Posey, because we’re both from Mississippi and she is amazing. WHAT DOES YOUR NEXT CHAPTER LOOK LIKE? DO YOU HAVE OTHER PROJECT(S) COMING UP? Sure do! Gearing up to make some announcements soon. If you want a sneak peek at what’s next you can check out Patreon.Com/ KitWilliamson TELL ME A SECRET-A GOOD ONE! I mostly listen to country music.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT KITWILLIAMSON. COM BY VIC GERAMI PHOTO CREDIT: BOBBY QUILLARD
The gayest wedding ever. Douglas (Willam) is planning on getting married in drag, in a dress patterned after the hankie code. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FANS WHEN THEY RECOGNIZE YOU IN PUBLIC.
THIRTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // ALEX RILEY
THIRTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // ALEX RILEY
THE LIFE OF RILEY//
THE CAMERA LOVES HELIX MODEL ALEX RILEY AND THE FEELING IS MUTUAL BY MATT SUNDERLAND
DALLAS-NATIVE ALEX RILEY HAS FIVE SURVIVAL TIPS FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN ADULT FILM. THE FIRST: MAKE SURE THAT YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WITH PEOPLE KNOWING YOU WORK IN ADULT FILM. THE YEARS OF HAVING A HIDDEN PORN CAREER ARE OVER. MOVIES LAST FOREVER AND YOU CAN’T UNFILM A SCENE. SECOND, HYDROCORTISONE CREAM IS A NECESSITY. (HUH?) THIRD: BE YOURSELF ON CAMERA. DON’T PRETEND YOU’RE A BIG, DOMINANT TOP WHEN YOU’RE REALLY A HUNGRY BOTTOM BECAUSE FANS CAN SPOT A PHONY ON THEIR COMPUTER SCREEN. ALSO, BE COOL AROUND THE OTHER MODELS WHEN YOU’RE NOT ON CAM. FOUR: HAVE FUN! ENJOY THE EXOTIC LOCALES AND THE WILD AND CRAZY GUYS YOU GET TO HANG OUT WITH WHILE ON SET. ALEX SAYS HE MAKES IT A VACATION EVERY TIME HE HEADS OUT TO FILM. AND LAST: WORK OUT YOUR BODY. IT’S IMPORTANT TO STAY IN SHAPE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT KIDDING WHEN THEY SAY THE CAMERA PACKS ON EXTRA POUNDS. WE SPOKE WITH ALEX RILEY IN LAS VEGAS WHILE HE WAS ON THE SET OF HIS NEXT HELIX STUDIOS FILM. WHAT COMPELLED YOU TO GET INTO ADULT FILM? There was a moment in the fourth grade that I knew I
wanted to get into adult films. I was watching a clip on my grandmother’s computer thinking, “Wow. I want to be one of those guys one day!” TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP IN DALLAS. As a child, discipline, respect, school and sports were my whole life. My baby brother and I lived with my grandparents from, I believe, the middle of fourth grade until the middle of ninth grade. We lived with my mom for all of the other years before and after. I’ve never met my father, but it’s never been something that’s made me feel weird or different. As far as sports, I excelled in football, cross-country and track and field. Being good at sports didn’t necessarily make me popular in high school, but I was well known and liked. DO YOUR MOM AND GRANDPARENTS KNOW ABOUT YOUR ADULT FILM CAREER? Yes, I’ve told everyone, including close friends, and, for the most part, all have been supportive. I’ve learned to totally ignore mean things that people say to, or about, me. They have their lives and shouldn’t be worrying about mine. WHO IS THE REAL ALEX RILEY WHEN THE CAMERAS ARE OFF? I’m pretty much the same crazy, giggly, ADHD young man that I am on camera. I’m smiling and laughing a solid 23 hours of any given day and eating snacks like it’s no one’s business. WHAT IS THE BEST THING
ABOUT PORN? The people and the traveling. Traveling is so much fun and I’ve had sex with some really hot guys that have become close friends. WORST? It can be physically draining at times. Luckily, I love what I do, so the worst isn’t really that bad, yenno? WEIRDEST PLACE YOU’VE HAD SEX? On the third story rooftop of my last boyfriend’s parent’s house. WHAT IS ONE THING YOUR FANS WOULD BE MOST SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU? My nationality. I’m black, Caucasian and Italian. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE PART ON A GUY? Hole hair. A clean-shaven hole is unbeatable. LIFE MOTTO? I’m the superstar of my own life and I decide my future. WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY? Uncalled for disrespect. Also, slow walkers and people that take the good things in life for granted. YOU CAN THE RUN THE WORLD FOR A DAY. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I would go on national television and act like an absolute child, until someone stopped me! WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE? Cameron Boyce, before he
passed away. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I cried a couple of days ago when I started thinking about myself and about how well my life is going. Then I prayed and started crying some more. I normally only cry for good purposes. WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? I have a box at home that is completely full of sports items that I’ve been collecting my entire life. It’s packed with NFL helmets, posters, books, footballs, cards and autographed memorabilia. IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF A PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Work hard. Be smart. Go be great and no matter what, remain humble! WHAT ITEMS HAVE YOU CHECKED OFF YOUR BUCKET LIST? None yet, sadly. WHAT ITEMS DO YOU HAVE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST? I want to buy a home. A car. I want to invest in a company. I want a dog of my own! I want to go to Ibiza and get drunk with friends on a yacht. I’d also like to visit San Francisco, Cabo, Vancouver and Italy! I want to experience skydiving. THAT’S SOME LIST! I have a lot of life yet to live. LEARN MORE ABOUT ALEX RILEY AT HELIXSTUDIOS.NET
THIRTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM
PLANET EARTH II LIVE IN CONCERT // LIZ BONNIN
LIZ BONNIN PLANET EARTH II LIVE IN CONCERT
THIRTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM
PLANET EARTH II LIVE IN CONCERT // LIZ BONNIN PLANET EARTH II LIVE IN CONCERT, from BBC Studios and the acclaimed BBC Natural History Unit that created TV sensations, Blue Planet II and Dynasties, has announced a UK & Ireland arena tour for Spring 2020. Experience sensational footage from the BAFTA and EMMY® award winning BBC series which guarantees to bring audiences closer to the planet’s spellbinding animals, landscapes and wildlife dramas than ever before. Following on from the recent success of the 2019 Blue Planet II Live In Concert tour, these not-to-be missed live concerts will feature breathtaking, speciallyselected footage shown in 4K ultra high-definition on a gigantic LED screen, as the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Freeman, play the remarkable music by Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea & Jasha Klebe for Bleeding Fingers Music. The arena tour will run from 26th March through 4th April 2020 and includes a London Matinee show at 2.30pm on Sunday, 29th March. Zimmer is renowned for his work on the likes of Gladiator, Interstellar and Blade Runner 2049, but said that the landmark BBC series stood out amongst his work. “Planet Earth II is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been involved in: some of the greatest action scenes ever put on film, some of the most emotional,
epic, fragile scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Filmmaking at its absolute peak.”
Year Awards, New Scientist Live and Blue Dot Festival.
In this spectacular, audiences across the UK get to rub shoulders with our acrobatic primate cousins in the steaming jungles of Madagascar, race alongside fearsome hunting lions in the remote sandy deserts of Namibia, face stormy Antarctic seas with a family of penguins and feel the raw tension as a baby iguana tries to escape the clutches of deadly racer snakes. And they will no doubt tap their toes along with dancing grizzly bears and be swept away by the bravery of a mother snow leopard.
Looking ahead to the tour, Liz said, “I am so honoured to have the role of host on the Planet Earth II Live in Concert arena tour. The TV series included some absolutely breathtaking sequences who can ever forget the marine iguana fighting for its life as it escaped those racer snakes? I will be just as thrilled as the audience to relive such magnificent scenes on the giant screen, accompanied by a spectacular 80-piece orchestra - it will certainly be an experience to remember!” Mat Way, Global Director, Live Entertainment, BBC Studios, adds, “After the very successful Blue Planet II tour we are delighted to partner with FKP Scorpio once again and bring Planet Earth II Live In Concert to the UK & Irish arenas, an incredible production bringing the BBC’s ground breaking footage to the stage for fans to enjoy.”
The Planet Earth II Live in Concert arena tour will be hosted by science and natural history TV presenter Liz Bonnin. With a masters in wild animal biology, Liz has presented over 40 primetime programmes including Blue Planet Live, Super Smart Animals, Galapagos and Horizon. With her recent landmark BBC One documentary Drowning in Plastic, Liz investigated the ocean plastic crisis, with her hard-hitting environmental reporting raising the level of public debate on this important topic. Liz also regularly speaks at and hosts science and natural history events across the country, including the National Science + Engineering Competition, the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the
See Planet Earth II Live in Concert in Dublin at the Three Arena on Wednesday 1st April 2020. For full listings visit: www.planetearth2live.uk
THIRTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM
INTERVIEW // ASHTON SUMMERS
STEAMY SUMMERS GETTING INTIMATE WITH HELIX STUDIOS’ LATIN STUD, ASHTON SUMMERS BY MIKE BAHR
ASHTON SUMMERS ADMITS HE’S ALWAYS HAD A THING FOR PEOPLE WATCHING HIM WHILE HE’S HAVING SEX. THE TALL, ATHLETIC, AND EXTRAORDINARILY PERSONABLE FORMER DANCER -- HE SHIMMIES TO EVERYTHING FROM JAZZ TO HIP-HOP TO CLASSIC BALLET -- IS ORIGINALLY FROM PUERTO RICO AND SAYS HE HAS NEVER BEEN SHY ABOUT GETTING IT ON IN PUBLIC. WHY SHOULD HE? HIS LEAN AND MEAN, BRONZE BODY IS EVERY TWINK-LOVERS DREAM. HE’S VERY ACTIVE ON HIS SOCIALS AND LOVES TO GIVE HIS FANS WHAT THEY WANT: MORE PHOTOS! HIS TIPS TO YOUNG TWINKS WHO ASPIRE TO FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS: BE NICE, PROFESSIONAL, AND RESPECTFUL OF PEOPLE’S TIME. THAT’S SOUND ADVICE FOR EVERYONE!
THE NEW PHOTOS ARE SPECTACULAR, ASHTON. Thanks! I wasn’t expecting to shooting that day. WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO DO TO PREPARE FOR THE SHOOT? I didn’t do anything except comb my hair as nicely as possible and pose. HAS THE CAMERA ALWAYS LOVED YOU? Growing up, I was always kinda shy in front of the camera. When I first started modeling, it was hard to come out of my shell. Now it’s pretty easy! WERE YOU ALWAYS SO LEAN AND MUSCULAR? Yes, I grew up in sports. Did them my whole life. As a kid, my teams and friends were always my biggest support system. WERE YOU CLOSE WITH YOUR FAMILY? Yes, my family has also been supportive. Even with my career decisions. When my mother found out I was doing adult films, she was most concerned that I was doing it safely. WHAT LED TO YOUR CAREER IN ADULT FILM? I studied architecture in college. It was intense. I had no time for friends or a full-time job. I literally had no social life. I needed a way to pay my tuition. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE
THIRTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM
ADULT INDUSTRY? I get to meet a lot of people and it’s really fun.
WHAT MAKES YOU SMILE? Everything, even the not very good things.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT YOUR JOB? Not eating all day if I’m preparing for a bottoming scene. It’s a nightmare! Deep down, I’m a fatty.
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY? Hunger.
HOW WOULD (OR DOES) YOUR GRINDR PROFILE READ? Um, well, honestly, I have no idea! BIGGEST TURN-ON? Outdoor sex.
YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE. WHAT ONE POSSESSION WOULD YOU SAVE? My Dog. YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN 24 HOURS TO LIVE. HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAY? Doing what I love with who I love.
AND TURN-OFF? Weird smells. Also, someone who doesn’t have good hygiene.
YOU CAN TRAVEL BACK IN TIME. WHERE WOULD YOU GO, AND WHAT WOULD YOU GET UP TO? I wouldn’t! Everything that I’ve been through is who I am now.
WORST PICK-UP LINE SOMEONE HAS SAID TO YOU? “I can’t wait to be in you” or “I want you in me.” I’m more a romantic.
WHAT IS THE MOST BELOVED ITEM OF CLOTHING IN YOUR WARDROBE? None! I wouldn’t count any of my clothes as important.
WHAT SUPERHERO DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? Superman because he flies and I’m a free soul!
WHICH CELEBRITY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SLIDE INTO YOUR DMS? Shawn Mendes. Such a cutie!
WHAT WOULD A FILM OF YOUR LIFE BE CALLED, AND WHO WOULD STAR AS YOU IN IT? It would be called “The Truth” and star me, of course.
YOU’VE BEEN ABDUCTED BY ALIENS. WHAT IS YOUR PARTING MESSAGE TO PLANET EARTH? You could’ve done better! VISIT HELIXSTUDIOS.NET
INTERVIEW // ASHTON SUMMERS
THIRTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM
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PHOTO CREDIT: BIG BAD LLAMA
KING // CARL CONNIELINGUS
KING // CARL CONNIELINGUS HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET IN TO DRAG?? I was contacted by friends of mine, Dick Von Dyke and Electra La Cnt in 2017!! They explained that they were creating a new Queer space and platform for a more open range of performers, that included Queer Performance Art, Poetry, Burlesque/Trans Strip Teases, Singers/Dancers plus much, much more. I was hooked as soon as they told me that Queertopia would be that thing and my mind went wild!! They knew I sang and performed before but never in this light so I had no clue what to do and then being a Drag King or BioDrag King was brought to my attention and something I had actually thought about before but never thought it could come into fruition!! With a little guidance from the guys Carl ConnieLingus was born and continues to grow. WHERE HAVE YOU PERFORMED? I’ve been lucky enough to be able to work in a few fab places in Belfast and beyond!! Between The Art Department, Union Street/ Kremlin, Maverick/Boombox, Limelight, The Belfast Telegraph Building (with Harland & Poof and Taboo for Pride 2019), Dublin and more recently I performed in Cookstown to Launch Mid-Ulster Pride, so I hope to see more of everywhere in 2020. WHO HAVE BEEN THE BEST PEOPLE TO WORK WITH?? Oh, my beautiful Haus of Poof Scisstors rock my world every month at Harland & Poof!! We are the strangest wee collective and we work so well plus we look damn good doing it haha. Every month our Host The Only Sassie, Holly ‘Go Heavily, O’Neilly Cummins, Nancy Screww and Carl ConnieLingus (myself) really
mess with your heads due to our themes and antics!! JP McGuckin and Lisa Flavelle knew what they were doing when they started this night and it’s working!! I’m also lucky to work with the Cabargay Girls (Trudy Scrumptious, Paulette Stiletta and Glitzy Glamour) in Union Street every other month, they are the sweetest and funniest bunch of talented Queens ever!! And last year was fab for me because I got to work with Paul Ryder, who is a Southern Queen making their stamp all over the country and on TV!! I also entered their competition Ringmasters last year, where I won the Belfast Heat to Dublin and although I didn’t win the Crown, I did win Mr Congeniality. It was one of the best nights EVER!! And get this, I got to perform with Manila Luzon in July last year as part of my prize for that competition and it was absolutely amazing!! She was so lovely and beautiful!! I hope I get to do more stuff like that this year for sure, the bigger the better!! TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU, THINGS THAT JOE BLOGS MAY NOT KNOW Well, I’m 36 years young, Non-Binary (I do not mind any pronoun for myself but I will correct you on others if you are incorrect or being insensitive). Pansexual (No, I do not love Pans but I will explain if asked) It’s not an easy task being a King in Northern Ireland as not many are aware that Kings even exist but Kings have been about for as long, if not longer than Queens, and with Queens being more flamboyant the Kings took a back stage for a long time, but not anymore haha. Honestly the amount of talent that has been there this whole time and that is now coming out is so inspiring and it’s about time Kings
got to shine too because we’re just as fierce as Queens and I am proof of that, as are a lot of the Kings out there doing their thing now!! I mostly sing live now but I’ll throw out a wee lip sync and/or routine of course because performance art is a big part of drag after all!! I would definitely love to get into acting, pantos, musicals and things of those light this year. TELL US OF YOUR PLAN’S AND SOME THINGS YOU HAVE LINED UP 2020 is gonna be a big year for Carl ConnieLingus!! You can catch me: - The last Sunday of EVERY MONTH at Harland & Poof (we are on Facebook and Instagram) - A new weekly Karaoke Night and Bingo night with twists are in the works and coming soon (more details to follow on my Facebook and Instagram below) - Carl recently got Ordained to Marry anyone who wishes to get married by a Queerling Drag King and I will be taking bookings for Wedding Ceremonies very soon, so watch this space for that!! - I will also have a “Party Starter” package becoming available soon, where CCL will kick off any kind of party with fun and craic!! Queer Stag and Hen parties, Birthdays, Weddings and much, much more!! FIND OR BOOK ME @: Facebook - Carl ConnieLingus @ carlconnielingus Instagram - @carlconnie_lingus Lick yas later xx
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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FASHION // ANDREW CHRISTIAN
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SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY
SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY A NEW YEAR A NEW CHALLENGE In the last four months Inclusive Football Belfast has continued to grow in numbers. The team have played in many parts of Belfast making it accessible to all, and the communities have been incredibly welcoming, even to the point of cheering the team on. As numbers grow so does the teams drive. They now run development sessions on Sunday mornings to help get newcomers more comfortable with the sport and help regular players build on their skill set. On top of this the team will be playing their first competitive game in a friendly against the Dublin Devils, who I believe are Ireland’s
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first LGBTQ inclusive, running for 15 years. The Dublin Devils have been extremely welcoming to the Belfast team and to myself on my visits down to Dublin and the teams look forward to building a relationship so that LGBTQ people in every county in Ireland have access to the team sport. The team has several gay, bisexual and straight allies on the pitch and off and they are delighted for newcomers to get involved no matter where you fall on the LGBTQA spectrum. I’ve also joined the team in some of their social outings and found it a great place to enjoy the sport
around like-minded people. If you have an interest in playing football or even just watching and enjoying the sport then get in touch, come down to their Dublin Game on the 8th February or drop by either of their weekly sessions. You can get in touch by visiting the teams Facebook Inclusive Football Belfast, NI or on Instagram @InclusiveFootballBelfast or visit my own Instagram @ AwayWithTheFairiesAWTF to see weekly photo and video updates as well as some ‘fun‘ posts teaching football terms to those with no football knowledge.
SPORT // MARTIN MURRAY
DRAGGING UP THE PAST 2020 WAS KICKED OFF WITH a trip to London’s first Drag Con, celebrating all things diverse. Originally the plan was to attend a match with the London Titans which was called off due to unsuitable pitch conditions so instead I spent a few more hours exploring what Drag Con had to offer. This included a conversation with Morgan McMichaels on the importance of inclusivity, especially in sporting events which are traditionally not so inclusive. Then after catching up with friends from Azlans and a number of local Drag Queens I had a chat with the charming Brock McGillis who I plan to interview for the next issue. Brock was at Drag Con to sit down with the Hysterical Mrs Kasha Davis and Vinegar Strokes to discuss drinking problems, internalised homophobia and the everyday shit we all go through or more importantly how to own your shit and embrace it in a segment called ‘This Is Shit.’ Kasha let us know how he was previously closeted and married to a woman and developed alcoholism. Brock also openly spoke about being a closeted professional hockey player who was suicidal and a womaniser. You can catch recorded episodes of ‘This Is Shit’ on Wow Presents. Brock McGillis is the first openly gay professional hockey player in the world. Having previously played professionally in both the United States and Europe, Brock now uses his platform as an advocate for the LGBTQ community speaking at numerous schools, corporations and other events. He also provides inclusivity training for companies, a technique growing across the western world as companies learn they can develop better quality services and products through inclusive teams. Brocks’ mission is to “create equality regardless of sexuality, gender and race while focusing on the language we use and how we can shift it to become more inclusive.” I look forward to speaking to him and introducing you to more of his ideas in the next issue. I will also feature some tips from RuPaul’s Brit crew.
HAWT TO NAWT HAWT
ARGENTINIAN GOALKEEPER, NAHUEL GUZMÁN, DYES HAIR RAINBOW IN SUPPORT OF ACCEPTANCE FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY WHICH HE SHOWED PROUDLY WHILE PLAYING AT LIGA BBVA MX, MEXICO’S TOP TIER FOOTBALL LEAGUE ON JANUARY 11TH.
REPUBLICAN STATE REP. BARBARA EHARDT PLANS TO INTRODUCE ANTI-TRANSGENDER LEGISLATION AGAINST TRANS STUDENT ATHLETES IN THIS SESSION OF THE IDAHO LEGISLATURE.
FIGURE SKATER MATT EVERS PARTNERS WITH IAN ‘H’ WATKINS FOR DANCING ON ICE MAKING THEM THE FIRST SAME SEX COUPLE TO EVER COMPETE.
BRIGHTON-CHELSEA: FANS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED RACISM AND HOMOPHOBIA AT AMEX STADIUM.
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FITNESS // DAMIEN LUNDY
FITNESS // 2020 TIPS FOR FITNESS DAMIEN LUNDY WE ARE WELL INTO 2020, HERE IS HOW TO STICK TO THOSE RESOLUTIONS! The dawn of a New Year and decade, 2020 and you’re more motivated than ever to get in shape! This is great, although only a few will now still be sticking to those resolutions while many will have fallen off the wagon! Here’s how to prevent that from happening and make resolutions reality and part of you’re life. ONE Don’t over do it when you first get started. Take it step by step with both your training and nutrition. Start off with one or two classes a week and then gradually add more sessions. Don’t become demotivated by sickening yourself!Baby steps are Key, as the old saying goes “Don’t run before you can walk”
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TWO Stop viewing foods as ‘GOOD’ or ‘BAD’! Focus on the calories in food for your weight loss journey. Ask yourself this, when has one ‘bad’ meal made you gain weight or one ‘good’ meal made you lose weight? NEVER! It’s about being able to sustain your diet over a long period of time, a lifestyle change that will help lose the lbs! THREE Seek guidance. If you’re clueless of what to do in the gym you have options! For some, the best option is hiring a personal trainer as they can design a plan specifically for you which will help you achieve your fitness and/or weight goals. Or you can join a gym that has great classes to offer! BFIT Belfast for example has a wide range of classes from spin that will help
you work up a sweat, to BFIT fusion which is a conditioning based class that will help you master movements such as the squat, bench and deadlift etc FOUR Lastly, enjoy the process! If you find yourself hating the gym or hating the way you’re eating in order to lose weight then change it! Contact me and we can go on the journey together ---Check out my Facebook page every day I aim to post new tips, advice, exercises, recipes and much more www.facebook.com/DamienLundyFitness
COMING OUT, FAMILY, WEDDINGS, SCENE OUT, ADVICE, LIFE IS REAL!
ADVERTORIAL // ACTION CANCER
SOMETHING OLD // SOMETHING NEW SOMETHING SPECIAL FROM ACTION CANCER
YOU’VE BEEN PLANNING YOUR BIG DAY and now is the time to start thinking about what to wear! Who hasn’t been sitting there as their younger self day dreaming about wearing something spectacular on your dream wedding day? But the thought of the high price tag that comes along with it can sometimes turn that dream into a nightmare, until now! SOMETHING SPECIAL from Action Cancer is a new pop up bridal store that is opening on the Ormeau Road in Belfast on Friday 14th February 2020. Action Cancer is delighted to offer this unique wedding shopping experience to everyone in Northern Ireland who is looking for that SOMETHING SPECIAL for their big day and encourages you to Re-Love Pre-loved.
wedding gown purchase more sustainable without scarifying on quality, style or settling for second best!” says Katherine Young from Action Cancer, “We will be selling pre-loved wedding gowns as well as a huge selection of ex sample wedding gowns, from designers such as Maggie Sottero, Ronald Joyce, Enzonai and many more at a fraction of the original price! We are here
In Northern Ireland someone receives a cancer diagnosis every hour of every day and one in two of us will receive a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. While cancer rates are on the increase, early detection and improved treatments means that survival rates are improving. Their services have never been needed more. Action Cancer delivers their services form Action Cancer House in Belfast and on board their mobile unit, the Big Bus, which travels to 225 locations throughout Northern Ireland annually. As well as operating out of Action Cancer House, their therapeutic services have a regional presence and they deliver health promotion programmes to schools, community groups and workplaces all across Northern Ireland.
Over the past 18 months Action Cancer has been receiving some wonderful donations of ex sample wedding gowns from bridal retailers across Northern Ireland. With something to suit everyone’s style and taste whether you are looking for taffeta or tulle you are guaranteed to not only fall in love with the dress but the prices as well! All of the gowns being sold are priced from £50-£500, massive savings on the RRP.
All money raised for Action Cancer stays in Northern Ireland to support local people. If you needed more of a reason to call into this new bridal store then this has to be it! A beautiful wedding gown and all proceeds going to support this fantastic local charity.
Climate change and fashion waste is one of the hot topics of the new decade and the wedding fashion industry has one of the biggest rates of throw away fashion with the majority of wedding gowns only being worn once and Action Cancer is here to do a tiny bit to help combat this.
to help keep your wedding budget under control, contribute to saving the planet and support a local charity.”
“With the rising cost of weddings and the growing impact that throw away fashion is having on the environment we want everyone to think about making their
Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity. With the mission to save lives and support local people through cancer awareness, prevention, detection
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and support. Action Cancer provides digital breast screening, support and therapeutic services, M.O.T Health Checks and Health Promotion Programmes.
Don’t miss this limited opportunity while stock last! Miss it or miss out! Open Fridays and Saturdays throughout February and March, 181 Ormeau Road Belfast. For further information contact retail@ actioncancer.org or phone 028 9080 3344
NEW & PRE-LOVED GOWNS
Bridal Boutique Opening Friday 14th February 2020 181 Ormeau Road Belfast Image credits: Photographer: Caroline Hughes Photography NI, Hair & Make up: Julia Clements MUA, Model: Leigh Connell, Head pieces: My Little Hat Box
FEATURE// AN LGBTQ+ DECADE
OUR DECADE // LGBTQ+ WORDS: CALLUM SKEFFINGTON
A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN the space of a year. Even more can happen in ten years, and throughout the 2010’s we saw advances in LGBT+ acceptance and equality. To end the decade with leaders such as Donald Trump, the Tories and the DUP determining the political landscape, it is easy to feel disheartened about the state of the world, but as a community our footprint on the world has increases massively throughout the 2010’s. Throughout the past decade there were five attempts to introduce same-sex marriage in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Achieving marriage equality seemed to be an impossible task with the DUP standing in our way at every opportunity, but right at the tail end of the 2010’s we were granted the same rights as the rest of the population. This was, of course, an incredible moment for the LGBT+ community, and soon we will be seeing the first gay-marriages taking place here in Northern Ireland, but marriage equality was a debate across the world. Northern Ireland was one of many; eighteen different nations saw the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the 2010’s. All the way back in 2010, same-sex marriages were legalised in Iceland, and the prime minister was amongst the first LGBT+ citizens to marry her partner. In 2015, the Republic of Ireland made history when it became the first nation to hold a referendum that legalised same sex marriage, with 62% of voters saying yes to equality. In that same year, the supreme court of America ruled that refusing marriage to LGBT+ couples was a violation of equality, and a nation wide amendment was enacted. It hasn’t just been a decade of rainbow wedding cakes however. For some nations, the existence of LGBT+ people was finally
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recognised. Fiji became the first Pacific Island country to formally decriminalise homosexuality back at the beginning of 2010, and in 2016 both Seycellyes and Belize did the same. Another major win for the LGBT+ community came in 2018, when the Indian Supreme Court also decriminalised homosexuality. These advances in LGBT+ recognition have had rippling effects across the world, and we all rejoiced in unison for our community members overseas. The transgender communnity faces more obstacles on a day-to-day basis than any of us, and though they are yet to recieve the full recognition they deserve within our community and externally, trans rights have still been making a slow improvement over the past ten years. In April 2015, Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman, and although she is a controversial spokesperson for the trans community, she has become one of the most famous, openly transgender people in the world, alongside inspirations such as actress, model and spokesperson, Laverne Cox. In September of 2010, the Chief of the Defence Force in Australia lifted the ban on transgender personal, and in July 2015, The Pentagon announced the inclussion of transgender troops in the US military from 2016 onwards. Of course, there is still a long way to go. There has been many obstacles placed in front of the LGBT+ community throughout the 2010’s, especially towards the end of the decade when political leaders have changed hands and oftentimes our place in the world can be questionable. However we have already seen the continued advancement of our worldwide rights in the beginning of 2020. Our governments may not always have our best interests at heart, but society is becoming more and more open to
acceptance and equality. LGBT+ education in schools has become a major topic of discussion for parents and people of all backgrounds, and the discussion will someday lead to a reality.
FEATURE// AN LGBTQ+ DECADE
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FEATURE // SEXUAL HEALTH
LET’S TALK ABOUT... SEXUAL HEALTH
FEBRUARY MARKS THE MONTH in which sexual health week takes place across Northern Ireland.
Talking about Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections is one area that she says we need to get a real grip on here in Northern Ireland.
We spoke to Jacquie Richardson, Chief Executive at HIV support charity, Positive Life, about the work the organisation is doing to encourage everyone to take control of their own sexual health.
In Northern Ireland, sexual health is still very much a taboo topic and HIV especially so. Those living here with HIV can feel pushed away and detached from society.
“Sexual Health Week helps us remind everyone that it really is up to them as individuals to take control of their own sexual health”, says Richardson from the Positive Life headquarters in south Belfast. “No one can do that for you so its important not to live in ignorance. Like your physical and mental health, its vital that the sexual health element of life is also kept in check. We want to ensure that people take precautions, and if they feel at risk to get tested regularly”, she added.
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“We have to work harder to remove the
embarrassment of discussing these issues. Sex and Relationships are part of everyday life and we must bring it out into the open so much more. We have big problems around the teaching of Relationship and Sex Education in schools for example and that has a lasting impact. We know from some of our service users at Positive Life that their lives could be different if they were given the right type of information in their formative years.” Positive Life is one such organisation promoting a positive future for people living with or affected by HIV in Northern Ireland. It has been making a positive contribution to the quality of people’s lives for over 30 years. The work of the charity focuses mainly on supporting needs in a way that creates independence by providing a range of services such as rapid HIV testing, drop-in services, counselling and complementary
FEATURE// SEXUAL HEALTH
therapies from its headquarters in south Belfast. “In Northern Ireland, sexual health is still very much a taboo topic and HIV especially so. Those living here with HIV can feel pushed away and detached from society. We have heard far too many stories about people who are faced with a diagnosis and are forced to handle it completely alone”, Richardson added. “Our job is to promote the idea of empowering people to take control of their own sexual health. The reason why we do so is that we work with many people who regret not taking appropriate precautionary measures. They also say to us that they didn’t have the right information growing up and that points to a real failure in how we educate our young people here.”
Positive Life is the only charity in Northern Ireland dedicated to supporting people living with or affected by HIV. Positive Life exists to promote a positive future for people living with or affected by HIV.
Positive Life is working harder than ever to promote awareness of the now lifelong condition in Northern Ireland with Richardson directing wider campaigns such as the awareness raising around World AIDS Day, Testing Week and the ongoing fight against Stigma. “Positive Life is striving to combat the loneliness and isolation affecting those living with HIV. One of the most important things we do is provide people with that all-important human connection.” “We provide a lot of services, but I think one of the most important is probably our regular informal activities. Whether just a cuppa and a chat or an information event, these allow our service users to relax and to have a bit of craic in a safe space.” “People come to us sometimes looking for someone who understands the complexities of living with a HIV, to have a laugh with, or just someone to chat to about last night’s television. The work that we do is vital to those who need support.” “Let’s talk more about sex and sexual health, before it’s too late”, she concluded.
We work to remove stigma by raising awareness of the impact of HIV. We work to educate and challenge the myths that surround HIV. We engage with service users to ensure they have a voice in the policy arena. We respond to people’s support needs in a way that creates independence Positive Life services include: • Rapid HIV Testing • Drop-in Service • Counselling • Complementary Therapies • Information Evenings • Social Events • Family Support Telephone: 028 9024 9268
20 Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast BT9 6FN FIFTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM
FEATURE // MARRIAGE EQUALITY
MARRIAGE EQUALITY After seven long years of campaigning, marriage equality for LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland is almost within our grasp. It has not been an easy campaign, there have been many disappointments and setbacks along the way but because of the eternal optimism of our community and their dogged pursuit of their right to equal treatment, we have forced the introduction of marriage equality legislation despite powerful vested interests standing in our way. From the moment that the Conservative/Lib Dem government announced its intention to legislate for marriage in England and Wales, we knew that we would have an uphill battle to implement similar legislation in Northern Ireland. While we were confident of the ability of the Scottish government to introduce exemplary marriage equality legislation, none of the other parliaments had to contend with a petition of concern, the Northern Ireland mechanism which allows 30 MLAs the ability to veto the democratic will of the Assembly. Political parties supportive of LGBT+ equality continued to bring motions calling for marriage equality to be brought in to Northern Ireland and on the fourth attempt, we finally secured a majority of voting members but this majority was overruled by the DUP’s use of the petition of concern. The extent to which this abuse of the petition outraged LGBT+ people and our allies cannot be overstated. People who had never previously engaged in any kind of political campaigning were incensed and were crying out for the opportunity to make their voice heard and demand change. This moment came in the immediate wake of the marriage equality referendum in the South. Hundreds of LGBT+ people from Northern Ireland had given up weekends and evenings to help out in the southern campaign and saw all of their hard work pay off with an overwhelming endorsement, by the people, of the marriage equality. People who had been watching the campaign from the North had seen the impact of a mass movement of people and wanted to do the same thing. Within days of the referendum result we had organised the first March for Marriage Equality in Belfast. It’s always a hard task to try and guess the numbers of people who will show up to a rally, especially when you factor in our unpredictable weather but we knew something special was happening when we saw the crowds of people at Writer’s Square that Saturday morning. Thousands of people from across Northern Ireland marched to Belfast City Hall that day. We wouldn’t achieve marriage equality for another few years but every year until it was achieved we held the same rally and every time the crowds got bigger, people shouted louder and the opposition got smaller. Disappointingly, it was only when the Assembly collapsed that we had a real opportunity to achieve marriage equality. We had always wanted it to be introduced through the Assembly and had worked with a cross-party group of MLAs to develop our own legislation but on the day that our bill was to be introduced the institutions
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FEATURE // MARRIAGE EQUALITY
were brought down. Westminster now had the authority to introduce marriage equality and that is where our attention shifted. While the UK government claimed that it was supportive, it refused to introduce legislation and attempted to block it being introduced as a private members bill. We developed close working relationships with the Labour MP Conor McGinn and the Conservative Peer Lord Hayward and worked successfully to develop the strategy which saw marriage equality for Northern Ireland tabled as an amendment to a vital piece of the legislation going through Parliament. In spite of their best efforts, the government could not get the amendment removed and it was passed overwhelmingly in the Commons and then in the Lords. The legislation has now come into effect and from January 2020, same sex couples in Northern Ireland have been able to register their intention to marry and we expect the first marriages to be held in February. However, there remain outstanding issues and our campaign is not over yet. The Northern Ireland Office is responsible for introducing the marriage equality regulations and there are two very important issues that they are currently consulting on and which we need as many people as possible to respond to. While it is now possible for people to get married, it is not yet possible for people in a civil partnership to convert that to a marriage. Neither is it possible for those religious celebrants who want to conduct same sex marriages to do so. These are the issues that the NIO is consulting on and we need as many supportive voices to tell the NIO very clearly that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have marriage equality until we all have the ability to marry the person we love, with the same opportunities for doing it that our counterparts in other jurisdictions have. To find out how to easily respond to the NIO consultation please go to www.loveequalityni. org/consultation WORDS: GAVIN BOYD (TRP)
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LIFESTYLE // VEGAN
VEGAN // YOUR CHOICE VEGAN, IT’S A WORD WE are hearing more and more. Generally speaking it covers a group of our population who abstain from the use of products derived from animals, in diet or in consumerism. Coming from a belief that animals aren’t here as a commodity for us humans, the exploitation, slaughter and testing on them is immoral. The Vegan Society’s formal definition is “veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”. A vegan lifestyle and diet is completely achievable and healthy as long as it’s balanced and thought out. Let’s take a look at some of the facts…
less carbon dioxide than a meat-eater and uses an 11th of the oil, 1/13th of the water and 1/18th of the land.**** ANIMAL CONSUMPTION Personally speaking, I think it’s just a habit that has me eating meat with every main meal, and I know it’s a habit I could get out of if I tried. I wanted to know more about how my fairly average diet works out in numbers, and I think these shocking statistics would probably be my main motivator, as an animal lover, to consider a vegan life… • •
ENVIRONMENTAL I think we can all agree that the environment isn’t really in a good place right now, with the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere being a massive factor. But what has this to do with veganism? Well, in very simple terms, keeping all of those animals reproducing and alive long enough for us to eat uses tremendous amounts of energy, land water (and remember we need to grow crops and process them to feed the animals too). •
18% of our daily calories come from livestock, yet farming uses 83% of all ** farmland An average British diet produces approximately 21.2kg of C02e every week in animal products alone (excluding fish), over a year this is about 1.1 tonne of C02e (equating to the same pollution as a return London to New York flight).** It takes 2400 gallons of water to produce 1lb of meat compared to 25 gallons to produce 1lb of wheat.*** Raising animals for food uses 30% of the earth’s landmass, that’s about the same size as Asia. *** A dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. **** A person who follows a vegan lifestyle produces the equivalent of 50 per cent
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The average person will chomp down ***** on 7,000 animals during their lives. An estimated 50 billion chickens are slaughtered for food every year. ****** In the last 50 years the number of people on the planet has doubled. But the amount of meat we eat has tripled.******
SLAUGHTER We don’t like to think about how that cute wee lamb gets from the field to our plates. I know over the year’s I’ve seen some horrific and graphic videos and images online from slaughter houses and farms. There’s an argument that there are ethical and humane ways to kill animals for our consumption, but is that not just a contradiction of terms – a humane way to kill. What gives us the right really to make the choice that it’s o.k to kill a living thing? What does some research tell us? • •
A battery chicken lives on space smaller than your iPad. ******* Forced molting processes kill 5 to 10 percent of hens. ******* The slaughter process for large animals has two stages: *******
Stunning There are various methods available to stun larger animals, these include: • Penetrating captive bolt - used on cattle, sheep and some pigs. A gun fires a metal bolt into the brain of
the animal causing the animal to lose consciousness immediately. Electrical - used on sheep, calves and pigs. An electrical current is passed through the animal’s brain via a large pair of tongs, causing temporary loss of consciousness. Some systems also pass the current through the heart, so the animal is not just stunned but also killed. Gas stunning/killing - of pigs, which involves the use of gas mixtures. Pigs are exposed to high concentrations of gas (currently carbon dioxide).
Sticking After stunning the animal is shackled by a hind leg and hoisted above the ground and the slaughter person sticks the animal. And for poultry: There are two main methods used for the killing of poultry: Electrical stunning • Birds are hung upside down by their legs on metal shackles along a moving conveyor belt. • They move along the production line to a stunning water bath; when the bird’s head makes contact with the water, an electrical circuit between the water bath and shackle is completed, which stuns the bird. • The conveyor belt then moves the birds to a mechanical neck cutter, which cuts the major blood vessels in the neck. • Live bird shackling causes pain, and hanging birds by their legs is stressful for them. Gas killing • The majority of poultry (chickens, hens and turkeys) in the UK s are now killed using gas. • There are a number of different types of gas killing systems and gas mixtures that may be used. • Birds remain in their transport crates and are placed into a gas system
LIFESTYLE // VEGAN
where they are exposed to mixtures of air and gas, until dead. This method avoids the need to handle and ‘shackle’ live birds, so has some welfare advantages. UK law states that animals must be killed, not just stunned, using this method.
YOUR CHOICE These days it’s becoming easier and easier to adopt a vegan lifestyle. So many mainstream supermarkets, restaurants and brands are offering vegan options. So whether you think it’s for you for ethical reasons, environmental reasons, or for the health benefits, it’s definitely worth considering. Take some time to speak to other vegans who are usually happy to offer tips on how to make the adjustment. Also, research online, there is enough information on there to keep you reading for a lifetime.
Statistical Sources: ** source: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/ vegan-diet-environmental-carbon-impact *** source: https://www.culinaryschools. org/yum/vegetables/ **** source: https://www.peta.org.uk/blog/ how-going-vegan-helps-stop-climatechange/ ***** source: https://eu.usatoday.com/ story/news/nation-now/2015/03/11/meateaters-animals-lifetime/70136010/ ****** source: https://www.weforum.org/ agenda/2019/02/chart-of-the-day-this-ishow-many-animals-we-eat-each-year/ ******* source: https://www. onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/ facts-about-the-lives-of-factory-farmedanimals/ ******* source: https://www.rspca.org.uk/ adviceandwelfare/farm/slaughter/factfile
SIXTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM
TREATMENT // LPG ENDERMOLOGIE
LPG ENDERMOLOGIE WHAT EVEN IS IT? SIXTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM
TREATMENT // LPG ENDERMOLOGIE
LPG ENDERMOLOGIE IS A 100%
Great for a ‘quick fix’ before a big
endermologie has developed a unique
NATURAL, non-invasive, non-
event or holiday to fix uneven tones
way to treat these skin complaints
aggressive mechanical massage
and a dull complexion.
with a simple electronic massage, personalised to each person and their
treatment designed to improve the appearance of the skin. The treatment,
Re-birth and detox – 1 hour
skin type. The mechanical treatment
which is applied via a motorised
A comprehensive procedure perfect for
head gently – but nonetheless effective
treatment head, applies an intense
all skin types to unify the complexion,
– pulls and massages the skin, giving
but pleasant stimulation to the surface
tightens pores and smooths out the
it a workout, to boost collagen and
of the skin to stimulate and boost the
face and neck with a ‘new skin’ effect.
hyaluronic acid smooth and firm the
production of key substances in the
An intensive LPG facial workout targets
skin cells – the collagen, elastin and
and boost cell turnover and helps re-
hyaluronic acid – to result in smoother,
store the skin’s natural production of
Available in locations up and down the
firmer and rejuvenated skin.
essential rejuvenating substances.
country as a 20-minute treatment, the
The treatments are entirely non-invasive
Night on the town – 45 minutes
and completely pain-free. This means
The perfect pre-event treatment.
that there is no preparation or recovery
Using LPG’s mechanical stimulation
time needed and smoother, firmer and
technique, the treatment stimulates the
healthier skin can be achieved in your
skin’s naturally occurring substances
endermologie’s body treatments,
including collagen, elastin and
which are designed to target cellulite,
hyaluronic acid. The procedure thus
resistant fat, promises visible results
LPG endermologie’s treatments can be
densified tissue to reveal a plumper,
within the first three sessions, each of
applied to different areas of the body
smoother face, décolleté and bust.
which last up to forty minutes.
100% natural, non-invasive and non-
signs of summer can be reversed in a lunch hour from £40. BODY TREATMENT
to achieve varying results – face, hands, décolletage and body (tummy, thighs
aggressive, endermologie’s mechanical
and bum). LPG endermologie’s facials start at £60. FACIAL TREATMENTS Different facials:
Our chests produce far less oil than our
treatments, which administer a massage
faces and tend to be neglected as part
and suction motion, provide an
of our skincare routine, even though
intense but pleasant stimulation to the
they are exposed to just as much sun.
surface of the skin that improves the
Therefore, after a summer of beachy
appearance from within by regenerating
holidays and alfresco cocktails, the skin
and mobilising damaged cells, boosting the skins metabolism and re-densifying the firmness of the skin.
Purify, 45 minutes The natural solution to visibly fresher skin. Incorporating a combination of
endermologie®’s treatments are also
natural facial massage techniques,
now completely bespoke to each
the treatment eases lines whilst also
individual. The new technology can
toning and improving the skin’s overall
carefully consider the skin quality and
complexion, reduces puffiness in the
the areas that demands help the most,
face – all whilst letting you truly relax
with individual’s being able to choose
which areas to treat and for how long. LPG endermologie recommends six to
Glow – 45 minutes A highly effective treatment designed
on our décolletage often becomes dry
12 treatments for the very best results,
to rapidly refresh the sin and give it
and loose and fine lines that weren’t
promising results after the first three.
that beautiful glow we all recognise
visible before tend to appear. www.endermologie.com
from post-summer holidays. LPG’s technology mechanically exfoliates the
Rather than having to apply lotions and
skin to reveal a brighter appearance.
potions to this larger area of skin, LPG
SIXTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM
From today until your day, we do
A romantic setting, truly beautiful suites and impeccable service, Crowne Plaza Belfast has everything you need for the most important day of your life. Share your love story with us today by arranging a personal wedding consultation at www.cpbelfast.com
117 Milltown Rd, Shawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bridge, Belfast BT8 7XP I +44 (0)28 9092 3500 I email@example.com
LOVE // DYLAN & SAM
THE BIG DAY // DYLAN & SAM
LOVE // DYLAN & SAM
SO TELL US HOW YOU MET, WERE YOU SINGLE FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE YOU STARTED DATING ?
we both agreed It was the best thing to do due to how we felt for one another. we were completely in love and inseparable.
DYLAN We met in Stockholm airport (as strangers) while I was travelling to Hong Kong, We sat in the airport lounge and chatted for about two hours till I had to board my flight.... My name was called throughout the airport.... last call for mr Dylan koh.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY, LOCATION, AMOUNT OF GUESTS ETC
Sam I was travelling home to Vietnam and remember seeing Dylan at the airport lounge though I can’t even remember what started off the conversation, what I always remember is that he just made me laugh. HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DATING DID IT TAKE TO POP THE QUESTION, WAS IT AN IMMEDIATE YES? DYLAN AND SAM June 2019 Dylan had flew to Vietnam and during the Bangkok trip was the time we talked about our future and marriage and
SIXTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM
Dylan Our big day was to most amazing day ever, I was so emotional throughout and so so so happy. The wedding day was organised by my dearest friends Janet Wong and Ashlene Hegarty, we got married at belfast City hall and the reception was held at the titanic hotel. It was such a beautiful hotel and the decor was beautiful, they chose that hotel and thought it was just our style. The hotel wedding package was beautiful and the staff were kind and helpful throughout. We did have a small wedding of about 60 guest and they are my nearest and dearest. SAM because i am from Vietnam and didn’t
know much of belfast, I did rely on Dylan’s friends to organise the whole day and I was overwhelmed with the whole experience, I felt complete. John at Epic Journal Photography took the time to organise photos between times at the hotel. before the wedding we had spent the whole day with John along the north coast For photos. We had wanted 2 large A1 prints at the front of their reception for guests to see. John worked with titanic hotel to organise the reception area with these photos and guest book. I had heard all about the titanic and the film and only learnt that I wasn’t just at the hotel named after the titanic but I was standing on the grounds of were titanic was built. WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK? The food and drink was lovely Serving a three course meal. They served seafood ballotine, duck or mushroom soup for starters, for mains it was a choice from beef, turkey, salmon or butternut squash and for desserts, it was either cheesecake or apple
LOVE // DYLAN & SAM
SIXTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM
Weddings by Epic Journal Photography
LOVE // DYLAN & SAM
crumble. Dylan had, seafood starter, turkey main and cheesecake dessert While Sam has a little bit of everything. DID YOU HAVE A HONEYMOON OR ARE YOU PLANNING ONE Dylan We were both well travelled Before meeting each other and since meeting, We’ve spent a lot of time in the Far East in 2019 before getting married. When people asked where we were going to for the honeymoon, I said Scotland and they were lost for words thinking it would’ve been somewhere exotic.. Sam I always wanted to travel around Ireland and Dylan had planned Northern Ireland and Scotland for their honeymoon. We had the best time ever from the very early morning start, boat to Scotland and road trip to Edinburgh and Glasgow...it didn’t stop there, I had the best time ever staying at Glagom spa, Killyhevlin Hotel, Donard Hotel, and the Maldron Hotel. I love Northern Ireland, It’s so GREEN! ARE YOU INTO THE SAME THINGS? WHAT INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE THAT ARE DIFFERENT ? Dylan We are very compatible together and
SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM
LOVE // DYLAN & SAM enjoy our time together sharing the same interests day to day. We share the same loves in life from food to travelling and can’t think of a way we have any differences. Sam I love spending time with Dylan and can’t think of anytime that we disagree or share any difference, yes there is one thing! Sam love his sleep. DO YOU DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER OR DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP INDEPENDENT? Both Dylan & Sam We are definitely not independent. We work well together and do things together 99% of the time.
SEVENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM
….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
TRAVEL // NAKED IN PALM SPRINGS
NAKED & UNAFRAID NUDE VACATIONING IN PALM SPRINGS
TURNING YOUR BUNS GOLDEN BROWN, even in the chilly months, is easy. Clothingoptional resorts, hot springs and pools are plentiful in Palm Springs, California. The desert is a magnet for the uninhibited and the king of the resorts serving all the queens is surely INNdulge. It’s where the gay social crowd stays to enjoy the salt water pool and the twelve-man jacuzzi! We spoke with the inn’s owner, Jon Jackson, for the inside scoop on nude vacationing in Palm Springs. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT A CLOTHING OPTIONAL RESORT? All the time! Clothing optional resorts in Palm Springs are busy year-round because of the constant sunshine. If I were to narrow it down, I would say the busiest season in Palm Springs is from February to May. July and August are particularly busy with Europeans. WHAT TYPE OF GAY MEN ARE FOUND AT CLOTHING OPTIONAL RESORTS? Every type. We get a diverse range of ages, ethnicities, and body types. DOES EVERYONE JUST WALK
AROUND NEKKID? No. It ebbs and flow, but it’s usually about half the guests that are comfortable nude. Nudity is merely an option.
gay businesses and bars. In the summer months, our pool is filled with guests. There are often more people by the pool at midnight than at noon time.
IS THERE A TIME THAT CLOTHES ARE REQUIRED? No.
DOES NUDITY EQUATE TO MORE HANKY PANKY OR LESS? Not more, not less. DOES NUDITY MAKE MEN MORE SOCIAL OR LESS? Definitely more social.
NOT EVEN MEALTIMES? No. We are all about the freedom to be yourself once inside the resort courtyard. WHAT’S THERE TO DO DURING THE DAY? Most guests relax by the pool during the day, but there is great hiking, shopping and site-seeing in the surrounding area. AND AT NIGHT? In the evening, guests generally attend our evening social hour before going to one of Palm Springs’ many amazing restaurants, followed by a night out on Arenas, our street of
SEVENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM
WHAT IS THE MOST ORDERED COCKTAIL AT INNDULGE? Under California law, because nudity is an option at INNdulge, we are prohibited from having a license to sell liquor. But guests are welcome to bring their own! WE DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR BOOZE? Not at Inndulge, at least. Most people come with vodka. We provide the mixers and light snacks.
LET’S TALK MONEY. HOW MUCH IS A NIGHT’S STAY? Our regular rates start from $199. But we offer some great deals! For weekday stays Sunday to Thursday, our rates start at $119 (plus occupancy taxes). WHAT TYPE OF ROOMS DO YOU OFFER? We offer three room types, with an option of a pool view or without. We have a standard room, a larger room with a kitchenette and eating area, and we have a suites the size of a full apartment. All our rooms are exceptionally well appointed with modern furniture and comforts. IS COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST INCLUDED? Yes. We offer pastries, cereals, breads, cheese, ham, yogurt, fruit, juices, coffee, tea. There is something for every diet! WHAT IMPORTANT NECESSITIES DO YOU RECOMMEND GUESTS PACK FOR A NUDE VACATION AT INNDULGE? A smile and a social frame of mind. Swimsuits, shorts and t-shirts are optional! Visit www.INNdulge.com. By Albert Blanco
REAL LIFE // MICHAEL4JESUS
REAL LIFE DID GOD HAVE A PLAN FOR ME MICHAEL4JESUS
SEVENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM
REAL LIFE // MICHAEL4JESUS
HELLO ALL AND THANK YOU for taking the time to read about my life story. My hope and prayer is that it will help others in the gay community to heal and others in positions of influence to change!
I had nothing left! I tried getting committed to a psychiatric hospital in Dublin, my health insurance had run out so they turned me away. I didn’t seem bad enough to them as I hadn’t actually attempted suicide!
hearing of all the priests who had gone astray gave me no faith at all in the catholic church and while I’d heard of many stories of the saints like St Francis and Mary Magdalene, I’d never heard of a gay saint!
I grew up in the Republic of Ireland in County Clare in a very simple family and community in the countryside. Gays did not exist in such places although there many bachelors who had failed to find the right woman!
I begged God to help me, and besides
Why didn’t the catholic church talk about gays? What did they expect me and others like me to do? Repent and turn straight? Repress it and get married? Cover it up and become a priest?!
My mum was delighted, I was miserable as deep in my heart I knew that I had no interest in finance and that I was gay. Six months later after moving to Paris to get away I fell apart. I had my first of several major breakdowns. I couldn’t eat or sleep and the next two years were a downward spiral!
I GREW UP IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND IN COUNTY CLARE IN A VERY SIMPLE FAMILY AND COMMUNITY IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. GAYS DID NOT EXIST IN SUCH PLACES ALTHOUGH THERE MANY BACHELORS WHO HAD FAILED TO FIND THE RIGHT WOMAN!
I tried psychologists and psychiatrists, I tried psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and reiki masters. Nothing worked! I got progressively worse and by 26 I could take no more. I didn’t want to commit suicide but
believing that He existed I had no belief that He was the God of catholics or jews or muslims or whatever! Growing up watching Father Ted and
When I was 19 my mum told me that one of my school colleagues was... she paused like one does when someone dies and then as opposed to saying the forbidden word aloud, continued to spell it while whispering.....g....a ...y!! “Isn’t it awful” she proceeded with a “thank God none of mine are”. You see I grew up in a very traditional catholic family and sex seemed like a necessary evil required for populating the world and anything gay was just abominable and was sinful to even mention or suggest for a catholic household! I was a bit of a brain box at schools and 590 points in my leaving certificate secured me a place in Dublin where I studied actuarial maths. Study was my golden excuse for not having a girlfriend and I flew through college and the professional exams and qualified as an actuary at 23!
Surely none of these ideas could be Godly! I knew very little about God but common sense told me he’d at least want me to tell the truth to both myself and to others. And so about two weeks after a prayer that went something like this: “God help me, I don’t want to die but I don’t have the strength to live” I had a mystical experience of Jesus! I was sitting beside Ravi with whom I’d been sleeping with and we decided to do some meditation together! I closed my eyes and there He was looking at me with a warm loving smile. Instantaneously I understood that I was loved and accepted and that He had a plan for me. That day it’s like a manhole (no pun intended) was removed from the bottom of my soul and the light began to shine in! As mad as it sounds He began to talk to me and He told me to follow my heart and His direction! He told me to leave Ireland and to go to a town in the south of France and just to trust! I did it! My family went crazy as I had my “double coming out”. “Mam, I’m gay and spiritual and I’m seeing Jesus and hearing voices and by the way I’ve left my big job and I’m on the ferry to France” They went crazy!!! They diagnosed me with every mental illness under the sun and made up more and yet they couldn’t figure out how I was ok!! My uncle was a spiritual sort of man and when I told him he understood it
SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM
REAL LIFE // MICHAEL4JESUS
“MAM, I’M GAY AND SPIRITUAL AND I’M SEEING JESUS AND HEARING VOICES AND BY THE WAY I’VE LEFT MY BIG JOB AND I’M ON THE FERRY TO FRANCE.” people could be so narrow-minded and judgemental. After three years in France I fled to India where I stayed for six months but India wasn’t the easiest place either to talk about being gay. From India I went to Australia where I spent three and a half years. I first stayed with a religious community but again they didn’t want me to talk about being gay. I was sick of the hypocrisy and knowing the pain in the gay community how there was no desire to reach out in love and acceptance in any way.
immediately! “That’s Jesus” he said. “Most people think He’s dead but He’s alive!”. He went onto tell me that he had a similar experience twenty years beforehand! And so like that I began my new life and in prayer I began learning about the spiritual world and the area of inner healing. In short; negative memories such as abuse and bullying can block the flow of love in our souls and eventually lead to terrible depression etc. I began to see spiritual things and I came to realise that God had
SEVENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM
given poor little me a healing gift. I’d pray and a feeling of electricity would flow through me and I’d cry and so would the other person. It was (and still is) amazing. But what I wasn’t expecting was the backlash. You see Jesus didn’t heal me of loving men, He healed me of being afraid and so many people could not accept this. I was told to shut up and that I was following demons and the abuse was so bad that I cried myself to sleep most nights. I felt simultaneously blessed and cursed by God and couldn’t understand how church
I later moved to Sydney and spent three years with a Christian healing ministry where I received a lot of healing and acceptance and yet they believed that homosexuality could be healed! To be honest I didn’t know who was telling me the truth and when I told them that I’d met a ‘special friend’ they judged me and contributed to another major breakdown! Good Friday about four years ago I was put on a flight to Ireland. My things were given away to charity and the next three months I
REAL LIFE // MICHAEL4JESUS
fought to stay alive. The Irish mental health system was a joke and any support from the church even worse! Suicide would have been the easy way out but deep within I wanted to be a testimony of hope and not despair to future young people struggling to reconcile sexuality with spirituality! Needless to say I made it as otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this now and over the last few years a little family has formed! There are three of us and we travel around talking about this issue and the need of the church to become an agent of hope and healing rather than despair and pain to gay people!
As I draw this to a conclusion what would I like you to remember? Well that you are loved as you are by a very loving and caring God who is not ashamed of you or angry with you in any way! Also that God is sorry for the people who have misrepresented Him in the church and somehow said that you don’t have a place! You are a wonderful human being who is immensely loved and God is counting on you just like He has so patiently counted on me to be a voice of love, hope, reconciliation and understanding for today’s world and for future generations! If you would like to know more about my life
story or contribute in any way you can check out my blog: https://michael4jesus .wordpress.com God bless Northern Ireland and thank you for reading! Michael
BUT WHAT I WASN’T EXPECTING WAS THE BACKLASH. YOU SEE JESUS DIDN’T HEAL ME OF LOVING MEN, HE HEALED ME OF BEING AFRAID AND SO MANY COULD NOT ACCEPT THIS. I WAS TOLD TO SHUT UP AND THAT I WAS FOLLOWING DEMONS AND THE ABUSE WAS SO BAD THAT I CRIED MYSELF TO SLEEP MOST NIGHTS. SEVENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM
THE TEA ROOM . FOOD. TEA. COFFEE
Thank you for being our friend
good home-cooked food Speciality Suki Tea Barista Coffee facebook/Instagram: TheTEAROOMFINAGHY
Finaghy Crossroads, 3 Finaghy Road North, Finaghy
STUFF // BIG AT MISSTIQUE
STUFF // BIG AT MISSTIQUE HARD ON BALM Take your orgasms to the next level! Ohlàlà is a male enhancer that produces stimulating sensations due to vibration waves, increasing the sensitivity and pleasure. This balm will make your orgasms more intense and pleasurable. This balm takes your orgasms to the next RRP £12.99 SLUBE SUPER SLICK WET & MESSY WATER BASED LUBRICANT Great for sploshing, wet and messy, play pools, wrestling rings, orgies and more. Simply add to a bathtub or play pool full of water to create a super slippery all over lubricant. Body safe, and safe to use internally – Slube leaves your skin feeling soft and refreshed RRP £21.99 FREE STUFF Linx Textured Tickler with every purchase over £20 while stocks last!! T LUBE T-Lube is an Aloe Vera and Carrageenan based personal lubricant and moisturizer, and is the first Sliquid product designed for trans men’s daily use, however, doubles as a personal lubricant for all intimate activity. £14.95 SIMPLE AEROSOL MASK With this medical mask on you never have to look for or reach out to the well known brown bottle in the middle of a session when you’re having sex. £14.95 RUSSIAN GAS MASK This is the all-time favourite rubber gas mask in the rubber fetish scene. These classic Russian army surplus gas mask have one big advantage: the rubber hood that covers nearly the whole head. £29.99 BONDAGE TAPE “Don’t Get Tied in Knots! This KinkLab sexy shiny bondage tape sticks only to itself, not to hair or skin, making it easy to put on and quick and painless to remove. £10.95 All products available at Misstique, located at 27 Gresham Street, Belfast, BT1 1JL www.misstiquebelfast.co.uk
EIGHTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM
SEX // WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
SEX WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM
SEX // WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
PEOPLE COME TO ADULT STORES like Misstique for a lot of reasons. Usually, they want advice on what toy to buy or some tips on spicing up their sex lives. But sometimes we face bigger challenges. We appreciate that not everyone is comfortable discussing sexual issues. Embarrassment can be a major barrier to people seeking help for problems in the bedroom, and for many the prospect of whipping off their pants and baring all to their GP can be daunting. This is why so many people turn to stores like ours for potential solutions to their sexual health. It’s for this reason that our friendly staff are on hand to offer help and advice on a range of maladies. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the most common sexual problems but were too afraid to ask... Erectile Dysfunction Erectile dysfunction occurs when a person can’t get or sustain an erection. Many people experience erectile dysfunction at some point, and the causes can be physical (issues like heart disease, diabetes, weight and blood pressure problems), or psychological (like stress, tiredness and anxiety). Though distressing, erectile dysfunction can usually be resolved in the majority of cases. The best thing to do if you suffer from erectile dysfunction is to speak to your GP or visit a sexual health clinic, but there are products you can buy that might help. Vacuum pumps come in a wide range of styles and prices. Pumps encourage blood flow to the penis, causing an erection. They work for most people and can be used if medicine is not suitable. Alternatively, lassos and cock rings can be used to prolong an erection providing the person using it can get an erection to begin with. Herbal supplements like Gold Maxx and Red Stallion are all- natural aphrodisiacs specially formulated to provide five distinct enhancement benefits: improved performance, increased libido, longerlasting orgasms, harder erections, and a boost to sexual stamina for men and
women alike. Try Pipedream’s Beginner’s Power Pump (£21.95), Stay Hard’s Beaded Cock Rings (set of three for £5.95), or Gold Maxx (pack of 5 for £20.00). Premature Ejaculation Premature ejaculation occurs when a person comes too quickly during intercourse or when masturbating. Ejaculation problems are as common as erectile dysfunction and can have a range of causes,
EMBARRASSMENT CAN BE A MAJOR BARRIER TO PEOPLE SEEKING HELP FOR PROBLEMS IN THE BEDROOM, AND FOR MANY THE PROSPECT OF WHIPPING OFF THEIR PANTS AND BARING ALL TO THEIR GP CAN BE DAUNTING. particularly because of anxiety around sexual performance. A study looking at 500 couples from five different countries found the average time taken to come during intercourse was around six minutes; however, it is up to each couple to decide if they are happy with the time taken to have sex. A visit your GP might be necessary if the issue causes you distress. Treating premature ejaculation is fairly
simple. Thicker latex condoms are effective, particularly when combined with numbing creams that contain a local anaesthetic like lidocaine. This combination will help decrease the sensitivity in the area, significantly delaying orgasm. Try Delay 100 Spray (£9.99), Stud D-Lay Cream (£9.99), or Safe Condoms (pack of 10 for £9.99). Orgasm Problems Some women do not need to have an orgasm to enjoy sex, but an inability to reach orgasm can pose problems. The reasons for not having an orgasm can include fear or lack of knowledge about sex, not enough effective stimulation, or stress. This can also be as a result of pain during sex because of conditions like vaginismus, where the muscles in or around the vagina go into spasm, making intercourse painful or impossible. It is important to remember that not everyone enjoys penetration, while for others orgasm cannot be achieved without clitoral stimulation. For those who don’t enjoy penetration or who cannot physically be penetrated, toys like wands and clitoral suckers can provide a helpful alternative. Try Orgasm Gel (£11.99), a Satisfyer Pro 2 clitoral sucker (£69.99), or the Palm Power Massage Wand (£78.95). Disclaimer: You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your GP. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this article. Misstique is located at 27 Gresham Street, Belfast, BT1 1JL www.misstiquebelfast.co.uk
EIGHTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM
FOOD// THE GOURMET BOYS
OUR FEBRUARY FANTASY MENU THE GOURMET BOYS WE ARE THE GOURMET BOYS (aka Brian and Mark). We love eating out and always enjoyed putting lots of foodie photos on our own personal Facebook page, much to the irritation of some family and friends. “Who wants to see a load of food photos?” they grumbled, albeit amicably! Well, as it turns out, quite a few people really, who are keen to read recommendations on the best places to eat in Belfast and further afield. So, we set up The Gourmet Boys’ Facebook page (the name was actually suggested by a friend and it kind of stuck!). We’re now on Instagram as well. We decided to write a monthly “Fantasy Menu”. This would be a summary of our favourite starter, main and dessert during a particular month. Here’s our February 2020 Fantasy Menu.
little belters were not sizzling in a traditional garlic oil: there was a distinct citrus flavour to the warm blend of Asian spices. Lemongrass, perhaps? The king prawns were perfectly cooked, drenched in this appetising dressing, requiring a spoon to devour every last drop. Main Gaeng Phet Pak (Red curry): Bo Tree Kitchen (University Avenue, Belfast)
Dessert Chocolate Brownie with Raspberry Sorbet: Buba (St Anne’s Square, Belfast) A knockout sweet treat. What more could you ask for on a chilly winter lunchtime than to banish the January blues with a warm gooey chocolate brownie. This indulgent treat had a nutty hit of cocoa-rich chocolate, perfectly accompanied by the tangy spark of raspberry sorbet. One of many fabulous dishes from Buba - a Gourmet Boys’ favourite in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
We have tried to book Bo Tree Kitchen, unsuccessfully, a number of times, so we were thrilled to eventually get a table with a couple of friends and to sample a feast of Thai dishes. It’s really hard to choose our MAIN ET PAK GAENG PH absolute favourite TCHEN BO TREE KI because if you read our full review you will see that the Bo Tree Kitchen was awarded one of our rare “5 stars”. But one of the many outstanding mains was a deliciously coconutty vegetarian red curry, with a subtle, many-layered spicing. A visit to this hidden gem in the University area is an absolute must.
Starter Garlic Prawns: The East Bengal (Ballyhackamore, Belfast) Most of us have had garlic prawns before in some shape or form, as they pop up in various guises throughout many cuisines from around the world - but these were surprisingly different and perhaps a little bit special. These
EIGHTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM
DESSERT E BROWNI E, RASPBE RRY SORB BUBA ET
Follow the @thegourmetboys on Facebook and Instagram Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in the next issue. If you have any requests for restaurant recommendations send us a message and we’ll get right back to you.
STAR GARLIC TER PRAW THE E NS AST B ENGA L
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SCENE OUT// KREMLIN
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RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY
RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY SPINNING OUT // Out all the new shows lately, on Netflix I found The Witcher disappointing, Soundtrack a Glee meets This Is us was meh and AJ and The Queen let’s face it Emmy winner RuPaul won’t be picking up one for her acting in this. Spinning Out was the one I enjoyed the most. A family sports drama about competitive Ice Skating. This additive slow-burner stars Kayla Scodelario (Skins, Maze Runner) and Mad Men’s January Jones as Mother & Daughter Kat and Carol Baker who both battle with Bi-polar. The hunger games Willow Shields also appears as the younger sister Serena, It’s brilliantly acted and some really cute moments. Watch out for a cameo from none other than my 2020 spirit animal Queer Eyes Jonathan Van Ness.
DICKINSON // Apple Tv has been live for a few months now and it’s well worth the subscribing. It has produced some greats already such as The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Jason Monas See, an eerie drama from M.Night Shyamalan Servant starring the always amazing Lauren Ambrose from Six feet under but I want to tell you about the dramedy Dickinson. Hailee Steinfield stars as the greatest poet that ever lived, Emily Dickinson who wasn’t famous until after her death. This period piece is cosmopolitan with its modern soundtrack and slang words spoken that wasn’t used in those days. Hailee Steinfield could phish up a wall and id love it and the song she recorded to coincide with the show Afterlife is a great Tune. Dickinson also starts Ally McBeal’s, Jane Krakowski.
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RECOMMENDED // TV & FILM
DARE ME // A handful of episodes in and I’m loving this. Dare Me is Bring It On meets last year’s HBO hit Euphoria set in a small Midwest down Dare Me is a murder mystery and tells the story of a cheerleading squad and the secrets and lies that go on inside a tight-knit community. Girls are bitches to each other and the bulling in this will anger some viewers. It’s very dark and the young cast are exceptional no one is really likeable and everyone is a suspect but that just proves that the young cast are great actresses. A tad unrealistic but go with it. Fans who liked the Scream Tv series will be glad to know Willa Fitzgerald takes on the lead as new cheer coach Colette French.
BIRDS OF PREY // I am not as excited about this movie as I should be and I’ll tell you why. Birds Of Prey without Barbara Gordon AKA Oracle AKA the original Batgirl. That said I’m sure I’ll enjoy it I just wish Hailee Steinfeld was in it as Batgirl. Though that won’t stop me from going to see it on opening night. It’s no secret that the DC has had more misses than hits although Shazam, Aquaman and Wonder Woman have been winners. Can an all-female superhero movie be another hit rather than a miss? I would like to think so, the trailer looks over the top but in a good way. Margot Robbie’s take on Harley was the only good thing about Suicide Squad so she has a lot riding on her shoulders, The Birds Of Prey line up is pretty impressive, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jussie Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Rene Montana and Ella Ray Basco as Cassandra Cain who eventually becomes a incarnation of Batgirl in the comics. Playing the villain Black Mask is Ewan McGregor and it has been confirmed he will play the character as gay. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that’s a first that we have had a gay supervillain on the big screen. If this movie goes well then it means we can look forward to a Gotham City Sirens movie with Catwoman and Poison Ivy appearing, wouldn’t that be class?
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RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY
A QUIET PLACE 2 // One of the best films of 2018 was A Quiet Place. When Emily blunt goes into labour and stands on a nail all at the same time while she can’t even make a sound or she will be tatty bread, you best believe I thought I was going to need a Diazepam after that. Unfortunately, we know John Krasinski won’t be appearing in this one but he is directing and writing and a quiet place 2 will see the reaming survivors of the Abbot family venture out to the
unknown while trying to survive in silence but they soon learn that those creatures are not the only thing to be fearful of. Joining the cast is fellow Irish man Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. This is definitely one of the movies I’ve been looking forward to and again anything with Emily Blunt in it is going to be epic, well apart from Gulliver’s travels but we all have made past mistakes.
THE INVISIBLE MAN // I do love it when one of the actress from a TV show that I watch gets a movie. The Handmaids Tails Elizabeth Moss stars in this horror version of The Invisible Man and basically this version is Sleeping with the enemy meets Holloman meets Enough … Moss plays Celica who’s abusive ex commits suicide and leaves her a fortune but she soon gets tormented by an invisible force no one can see. She knows it’s her ex but her friend thinks she has gone crazy. This could be a hit and the trailer looks creepy AF. Moss is a great actress and we know she can do horror in her brief appearance in last year’s Us.
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RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY
ONWARD // Disney and Pixar are sure to roll out their next billion-dollar hit Onwards. Staring the voices of Marvel superheroes Chris Pratt and Tom Holland as two Elf brothers who set on a quest to bring back their father with the aid of a magical staff. The trailer is very witty and I’m sure the chemistry between the two leads will be on fire. Julia louse Derfuss and Octavia Spencer also lend their voices. I’m yet to watch a Pixar film I haven’t loved, I doubt this will be any different.
9-1-1 LONE STAR // I haven’t seen any of these yet but I know I’m going to love it. it’s a 9-1-1 spinoff created and produced by super producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear and stars Rob Lowe and Liv Tyler what’s not to love. If it is as half as good as its sister show and has characters like Angela Basset, Athena Grant and eye candy like Ryan Guzman and Rockmand Dunbar then I’m all over it. I’d imagine it’s the same concept just a different city. I wouldn’t expect to see many cross overs due to this fact but I do believe that Connie Britton is returning to 9-1-1 for a few episodes later this season.
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FOOD & DRINK // FLANNELS
FOOD & DRINK // FLANNELS AS REVIEWS GO THIS ONE couldn’t be closer or more accessible to our office on Union Street. We were invited along to Flannels Cafe which is situated in House of Frazer, the flagship store of Belfast’s Victoria Square. Those who aren’t familiar, Flannels is the go-to shop for luxury fashion and contemporary streetwear, they opened in Belfast at the end of 2019, this also seen the introduction of the first Flannels CafeWhich I later discovered is ran by the Armstrong Family who own the quaint Lampost Cafe on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast. So on to the Cafe, it takes prime position on the 2nd floor, the space is a combination of Chic style with a minimalist approach, the exposed beams compliant the mixed seating and soft furnishings superbly. There was a raised bar area, a more chilled area with hi-back chairs and elegant sofa then a casual dining area that was bustling with people enjoying lunch. We arrived shortly after 1pm, were seated then greeted by one of the Managers Vicky whom we had the opportunity of speaking to for a few minutes, we discussed business, plans of the official launch and menu etc, it was evident
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how passionate she was which was a real breath of fresh air. On to the food, I have said many times in the past how a never-ending menu can intimate me thankfully the offerings at Flannels Cafe are the complete opposite, the menu reflects the surroundings, with less is more approach. Displayed in clear sections with choices Small Plates, Breakfast and Lunch options, though each with enough choice to satisfy an array of diners. I mentioned that we were there at lunch though I must briefly mention a few of the breakfast options that I will be trying in the future, Cinnamon Frech Toast, yes please am imaging it now YUM and the Creamy Truffle Mushrooms and Black Pudding, which comes with eggs and toasted Sourdough, I’m drooling, guess that means I’ll be back for at least two breakies lol The Lunch portion of the Menu is equally as simple with five options though each dish has an inventive twist not common in a regular eatery. I had my greedy hat on so decided to have a double whammy, I ordered the Soup Of The Day which was cream of Brocalli, all I can say is
WOW, it was fresh, moreish and had peppery kick which I loved, I’m tempted to ask the Chef for the menu as it was simply delicious. The second dish I ordered my guest also decided to get, it was the Chicken and Wild Rice Salad, this was packed with greens, Avocado, Walnuts and light fresh dressing, I couldn’t fault it, the portion size was perfect though with indulging on the soup I did find myself struggling to finish. My guest also ordered the Garlic and Chilli Prawns from the small plates section, I love seafood so although I was pretty stuffed I thought it rude not to pinch one, they were divine, cooked perfectly Lunch ranges from £5.50 to £8.95 so not only is it palette pleasing it is pocket pleasing :) We had a lovely afternoon, thanks for the hospitality, compliments to the Chef, Staff and Management. I can’t recommend the place enough, we look forward to your launch and coming back soon Words by Daniel May
TRAVEL // TORONTO
CANADA // TORONTO WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS
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TRAVEL // TORONTO
EVERY YEAR WE ALL SPEND hundreds and even thousands of pounds on holidays and most often or not we tend to go back to the same destinations, hotels and with the same brands. For the year 2020 I want you all to think outside this box look further than Europe maybe even step away from the usual package holiday experience and try something a little bit different. Canada is a huge country with many different cities from east coast to west, mountain ranges that offers ski to great coastal beach resorts and some truly enchanting lake retreats. My personal experience of Canada from visiting from a young age to the present day is that nothing is the same and of course they even speak French as a first language in some of its main cities. Don’t panic English is of course spoken so you don’t need to start remembering those GCSE French lessons just yet. Now City break destinations may not be everyone’s cup of tea but Toronto is Canada’s largest city and is recognised globally as an international centre for business, Finance, arts and culture to say the least. This city is also highly acclaimed for being one of the world’s most multicultural and cosmopolitan on earth today. Due to the location of Toronto you will find its always a great time to visit because you get what I would say is the best of both worlds with its gorgeous lovely hot summers and also very cold winters so if its sun your after then summer is the time and if you’re a snow fan then bring on winter this city really does cater for all weather fans. You might be surprised at how large this city is with around 3 million local residents and to be frank at times its large skyscrapers blocking out the skyline took me by surprise. This stunning city is also quite unique as it has the largest free standing structure in the western hemisphere the CN Tower.
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Toronto has many International flights from both Ireland and the UK mainland with airlines such as Air Canada/rouge, British Airways, West jet etc., all offering various options throughout the year either as a City break destination or as part of a multicentre holiday to Canada and the USA. No trip to Toronto would be complete if you didn’t visit one of the most spectacular waters falls on the planet Niagara Falls and with so many different packages for you to choose from you would be very silly not to do so no matter which budget you have. You will be absolutely delighted to know that Toronto is home to Canada’s largest LGBTQ community and welcomes you with and open heart from all corners of the world to come share, live, experience and love during your stay in its beating heart known as the Gay Village or to locals the Village. If you arrive at the intersection of Church and Wellesley streets then you’re in the vibe
zone packed with cafes, Restaurants, gay shops, hot bars and clubs just awaiting your discovery. If like me you love a Pride break then Toronto is your go to Pride event for summer 2020 hosted every year in June. Toronto Pride is one of the world’s largest annual Pride parades and has developed into more of an annual Pride festival spread over a week’s build up. This Pride is like no other I have been to simply because you can get either from LGBTQ business events, Evening social events, Cultural events and even local car parks turning into concert spaces allowing you to drink and party the nights away. Canadians LOVE PRIDE and its one of the best Prides around and its guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. On the very last day this is the Big Pride Parade day and the cities Yonge Street becomes a blanket of rainbow colours all helping the city celebrate its diversity.
TRAVEL // TORONTO
Boutique Bar I think is defiantly one for the summer and the sun as it has patio where you can have some really lovely cocktails as you watch the talent go buy. Also if you love gay cheese music then this is 100% the place for you and would be a fab choice to kick of any early night out or afternoon. My favourite is Black Eagle which as the name suggest offers a dark industrial style interior and tends to cater more for the local Gay leather and denim communities. You will find they have weekly and nightly events such as pup nights, naked night and even a Balls deep disco night. Flash on Church is another venue that surprises you. It is kind of like a private members club for Gay community but you can become a member either when you arrive or check the venues website before travel. It offers some of the best local gay GO GO GO/strippers and has some of the best drink deals too.
Accommodation in Toronto like most major cities is diverse from the utter out of this world luxury accommodation to the simple shared Budget style accommodation. I feel that it is always good to maybe mix your stay in a few different areas or accommodation styles and so I would like to recommend the flowing two properties. The Anndore House is a mid-range property only 3 minutes’ walk from the gay scene and the nearest station is Bay. The style is modern loft with exposed brick in the rooms and offers guests extra comfy beds with amazing showers. If you like a bit of luxury and well who doesn’t then I feel a night or two or three has to be at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto which is an elegant 5 star offering that offers onsite Spa, Gym and in house restaurant facilities. This property is again an excellent choice for walking distance to the ever popular gay scene and is situated in the Yorkville zone. Toronto offers travellers loads of things to
see and do for free such as Toronto Island tour, St Lawrence Market and the Harbour centre. Toronto is famous for its Ice Hockey teams and as a fan of local Ice Hockey in Belfast and avid supporter of the Belfast Giants then a visit to the Toronto Hockey Hall of fame is also a must. The local Gay scene is very good and offers a really excellent mix of cafes, pubs and clubs some of which I have highlighted for you below to give you a taste of what you can expect. WOODYS has become a local gay scene main stay mainly because it was famous by the USA version of Queer as Folk. Woodys is a vast venue with a multi-level club and also boasts 5 bars. You will always find something going on at Woodys like Drag, cabaret acts performing to competitions such as best Abs or Ass maybe even best junk in the trunk lol. It really is a venue that offers something for everyone and because of this you will find that it has a very well mixed clientele.
If you like a gay sauna to relax and enjoy yourself in then Toronto has the option of Spa Excess which is the largest venue and offers state of the art equipment, is open 24 hours and also has an onsite bar. The other option is Splash Steam and Sauna which isn’t in the heart of the scene but is known for its younger clientele and offers fetish evenings and is also 7 days a week Regardless of what you feel makes a good holiday or city break I think Toronto has something for everyone whether your single, coupled or even married. I like the fact that the scene here offers so much and you will meet people from all over the world simply looking to have a good time and explore the city limits. My final advice is to get yourself online check out what’s on in Canada 2020 because if Toronto is anything to go by then other major cities and resorts in Canada will catch your eye and make you want to book your stay soon.
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NEWS// MID ULSTER PRIDE
MID ULSTER PRIDE IT’S HAPPENING THIS YEAR. WHILE OUTSIDE PROTESTERS SANG ‘STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS’, INSIDE THE ROYAL HOTEL, COOKSTOWN, THE MID ULSTER PRIDE COMMITTEE DANCED TO ‘BRING ME A HIGHER LOVE’, STARTING THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF ‘MID ULSTER PRIDE’. Drag queen compere Alexis Cox kept the ‘craic mighty’, as a packed venue heard from the excited Mid Ulster Pride Committee. Chairperson Jonathan Campbell talked about his own journey as a gay man from Dungannon, the background to the initiative and how he believes the Mid Ulster Pride Committee is ‘changing the world together’. Vice Chairperson Rev Andrew Rawding announced a conference on 1st April in the Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown, entitled ‘Blessed are the Queer’. He told the Courier: ‘We need to listen to LGBT voices, particularly from a faith background and affirm them with unconditional love’. A keynote speaker at the conference will be Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick who was sacked from Union Theological College because of his support for samesex relationships. Queer Heritage Officer Molly Farrell launched the dates of two LGBT film screenings in Dungannon and Cookstown during ‘LGBT History Month’ in February. Well-Being and Happiness Officer Louise Taylor emphasised the importance of creating belonging, supporting families, and the need for whole community support and ‘straight’ allies. Treasurer Elise Hughes thanked the representatives from LGBT support organisations for all they had already done in Mid Ulster and spoke about the importance of collaboration. Then to the sound of Diana Ross singing ‘I’m coming out’, Mid Ulster Pride was officially launched by the Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Cllr Martin Kearney: As Chair Of Mid Ulster District Council I am hugely privileged and honoured to officially launch Mid Ulster Pride. I wish it huge success. This is going to be a truly inspirational day for our rural community and I hereby now launch Mid Ulster Pride, by announcing that the first ever rural Pride will take place here, in Cookstown, on SATURDAY 13th JUNE 2020! One of the special guest at the launch was the PSNI Superintendent Patricia Foy who was attending on behalf of the Chief Constable. Ciara O’Neill, a trained counsellor from the Rainbow Project, told the Courier: ‘I couldn’t not come. This is my backyard. I love it. And I appreciate all the work Mid Ulster Pride is doing. They’re amazing.’
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NEWS// MID ULSTER PRIDE
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THEATRE // RENT
THEATRE // RENT BANBRIDGE MUSICAL SOCIETY’S PRODUCTION of RENT is running from 31st March to 4th April in the IMC Cinema, Banbridge. RENT is set in New York City’s gritty East Village, and this revolutionary rock musical is an imaginative retelling of the classic Puccini opera, La Boheme. This unforgettable and timeless story of a group of starving artists, who, despite poverty and illness, learn to fall in love and find their voices, brings a universal message of hope for everyone. BMS’ cast includes Jordan Walsh as Roger Davis, a songwriter who is HIV positive; Sean Harkin as Mark Cohen, an independent filmmaker and Roger’s roommate and Amber Dixon as Mimi Márquez, an exotic dancer with HIV. GNI’s very own Daniel May will make his debut with Banbridge Musical Society playing the role of Angel Dumont Schunard, one of the show’s most controversial characters. Speaking to GNI, Daniel said “I am so looking forward to taking to the stage with Banbridge Musical Society. The role of Angel is such an iconic one for the gay community and it is important that I tell her story well. Angel was a transgender woman living with HIV in the early 90s. This is a huge challenge for me as an actor and one I don’t take lightly”. He continued, “Rehearsals have been a blast. The company has been so welcoming and everyone is so excited to take on something fresh and new. I really commend the society for having the guts to put on a potentially controversial musical and hope the GNI readers support them by attending”. The cast also features Sean O’Neill as Tom Collins, a gay philosophy professor and anarchist with AIDS; Emma Kelly-McGuckin as Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist; Ruairi McAlinden as Benjamin ‘Benny’ Coffin III, the local landlord and a former roommate of Roger & Mark; and Maille Conolly as Joanne Jefferson, a lawyer, who is Maureen’s partner. The production team is composed of Director Ian Milford, Musical Director Niall O’Flaherty and Choreographer Jordan Rosborough. RENT runs from 31st March to 4th April in IMC Cinema, Banbridge at 7.30 pm nightly. Tickets are on sale now at www.gr8events.ie/banbridgems or by calling 07857 137011.
SEAN O’NEILL & DANIEL MAY
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ical s u M e g Banbrid presents... Society
on s r a L n onatha
31 March - 4 April 2020 IMC Cinema, Banbridge recommended
16yrs+ : from
online: www.gr8events.ie/banbridgems in person at: or
Downshire Arms Hotel call: 07857137011
opening night discount: all other student
£10 nights: £14 concession: £12
music supervision & additional arrangements
RENT was originally produced in New York by New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway by Jeffrey Seller, Kevin McCollum, Allan S. Gordon & New York Theatre Workshop
original concept & additional lyrics
This amateur production is presented in arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) All authorised peformance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe - www.mtishows.co.uk