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GNIMAG y o u r

l o c a l

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

m a g a z i n e

Issue 42 July / August 20 £3.95 / €3.95

Jourdan Brown Healthcare Hero and Intensive Care Nurse tells us about work during the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic.

Discrimination

Workplace discrimination is an ongoing issue for many, where do you go for help?

Trans Reform

The Rainbow Project explain why we need to Reform the Gender Recognition Act.

Drag Rich List The top ten big earners. Who’s making the most after Drag Race?

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THE EDITOR // OPEN LETTER

SINCE FEBRUARY, THE WORLD AS we know if has been turned on its head. Covid has hit all aspects of our lives like a tonne of bricks, tragedy has hit our wee island with deaths of 552 in NI and 1738 in Ireland, respectively.* Though the sun has started to come over the horizon, thankfully as the pandemic here was nothing like across the water or predicted, things have been swiftly moving to get the economy on its feet again. Today (3rd July 2020) we see the much-awaited opening of hospitality which is a blessing for many who have desperately missed vital social interaction. During lock-down many of us struggled, some thrived, we picked up new skills in the kitchen and around the house, relationships fell apart and some blossomed, careers were shattered and some jobs were DANIEL MAY

gained as we came to terms with the ‘New Normal’.

Editor & Operations Director GNI MAG / Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd.

Now that restrictions are easing I hope we all can take something away with us, not too take things for granted, help one another and

Daniel has been with GNI MAG since

appreciate what we have.

2015, steering the publication forward and keeping it relevant with our growing market.

Tragedy hit the province when news broke of Noah Donohoe’s

Originally from Craigavon, now living in

disappearance and passing, we send our condolences to his family

Belfast, Daniel is a keen Thespian treading

and thank those who put their differences aside while assisting in the

the boards and taking the lead role in many

search efforts.

local productions. We also seen a massive movement across the globe with ‘Black Lives Matter’, we truly hope that the loss of George Floyd leads to global unity and respect for all cultures, colours and orientations. We are all brothers and sisters of the world; we must act like it! To all of our readers, columnists, advertisers and those who contribute with editorial, we thank you for sticking with us this past few months, without you there would be no GNI MAG. We have no idea what the future will hold, times will be hard for the next while, but we strive to bring you a great publication packed with all the things you love. Thanks, and enjoy reading Daniel x *Figures correct as of 1st July 2020


CONTENTS //

CREDITS //

WHAT’S INSIDE

[ 8 ]

JOURDAN BROWN

[ 13 ]

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

[ 14 ]

ANTHONY COOLEY

[ 17 ]

MICKY MURRAY

[ 18 ]

MICKEY MURRAY

[ 20 ]

CONLETH KANE

[ 22 ]

CARL CONNIELINGUS

[ 24 ]

MISTER UNDERGROUND

[ 26 ]

RICK AND GRIFF

[ 30 ]

DUNADRY HOTEL & GARDENS

[ 32 ]

MASS LUCIANO

[ 34 ]

FASHION - MASSBRANDED

[ 42 ]

HASTINGS - TREAT YOURSELF

[ 44 ]

DISCRIMINATION AT WORK

[ 46 ]

FASHION - HARRIS KILT CO.

[ 54 ]

INSTA DRAG RICHLIST

[ 56 ]

MARTIN MURRAY

[ 60 ]

A CUB WITH A CAMERA

[ 65 ]

REAL LIFE - CHRISSY MAC

[ 68 ]

GENDER RECOGNITION ACT

[ 70 ]

SEXY SELF-CARE

[ 72 ]

REVIEW - CHEESECAKE

[ 74 ]

HOMES

[ 76 ]

GOURMET BOYS

[ 79 ]

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

[ 82 ]

RECOMMENDED - MARTY

[ 87 ]

TRAVEL - BENIDORM

[ 90 ]

SANITISE!

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR / EDITOR Daniel May SALES Pauline Fitzpatrick DESIGN Tony Day

SPECIAL THANKS TO... Jourdan Brown / Callum Skeffington / Anthony Cooley / Mickey Murray / Conleth Kane / Carl ConnieLingus / Mister Underground / Rick & Griff / Jeff Dorta / Project Publicity / Mass Luciano / Massbranded / Harris Kilt Company / Michelle Wilson / Tina Calder / Fiona Brown / Hastings Hotels / Bill Bessiner / John Thaler / TBL North / Slots Up / Martin Murray / Gareth Greenfield / Chrissy Mac / The Rainbow Project / John O’Doherty / Misstique / Belfast Cheesecake Company / Sheelan Communications / Bora Pure / The Gourmet Boys / Lidl / Black Lives Matter / Rebel Star Photography / Martin Kearney / Gavyn Andrews

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

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

All submissions to GNI MAG are made on the basis of permission to publish the submission in GNI MAG and its licensed editions worldwide. In the case of a picture selection, the editor’s decision is final. Any material sent is at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken neither Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd or its agents shall be liable for loss or damage. We take great care to make sure all elements of GNI MAG are accurate. However we accept no liability for any misprints that appear in this magazine. You should seek professional advice prior to following any advice offered in this publication. Any opinions expressed are those of the writers and not those of GNI MAG or Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd. Romeo & Julian Publications Ltd 2020


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GO!

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


INTERVIEW // JOURDAN BROWN

EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // JOURDAN BROWN

JOURDAN BROWN INTERVIEW: DANIEL MAY

WE FELT THAT IT ONLY APPROPRIATE THAT DURING THE CURRENT PANDEMIC WE SHOULD HONOUR ONE OF OUR VERY OWN FRONTLINE NHS STAFF. WE HAD THE PLEASURE OF CHATTING TO JOURDAN BROWN, A LOCAL NURSE WORKING IN AN ICU UNIT IN BELFAST.

BEFORE WE JUMP STRAIGHT INTO THE TOPIC ON EVERYONE’S LIPS (COVID) I’D LIKE OUR READERS TO GET TO KNOW YOU A BIT FIRST...

on the action. I think having a caring role for my brother helped shape my decision to go into the caring profession.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? From Dundonald and now live in Newtownards.

MANY PEOPLE IN GENERAL STRUGGLE WITH THE PRESSURES OF THEIR JOB, WHAT YOU DO IS OFF THE SCALE, HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? I believe it’s a horses for courses thing. My job has its ups and downs like any other job out there. My colleagues do banter with me that I don’t panic. They say the day I panic is the day they will be incontinent or words to that effect! Lol. I try to remain level headed, I believe if I loose my head a patient could loose there life. So it’s best to stay calm, to think clearly and objectively and give my patients the best I can give. If times are tough in work, we will talk about it and try to have a laugh. Laughter is the best medicine!

CAN WE BE CHEEKY AND ASK YOUR AGE AND RELATIONSHIP STATUS? I am 32 and single. My friends say I am too picky, were as I am certain cupid hates my guts! I have had plenty of disaster dates! DID YOU KNOW FROM SCHOOL YOU WANTED TO GET INTO MEDICINE OR HAD YOU A PRIOR CAREER/JOB? I knew from about sixth form I wanted to go into health care. Initially I wanted to become a Physiotherapist, but after chatting to a physio I decided against that. I did apply to become a pilot, however I failed the medical due to a heart condition. After that, I then decided nursing was the right path for me. WAS/IS THERE A SPECIFIC PERSON OR EVENT THAT INSPIRED YOU? I couldn’t say I have been inspired by an event or person. I did chat to my cousin who is a nurse and from that conversation I knew I wanted in

ANY FUNNY EXPERIENCES YOU CAN SHARE OR NIGHTMARE MOMENTS? We tried to keep morale up during these challenging times. I remember squirting a nurse with water when he was least expecting it! He had a large wet patch on his scrubs, he exclaimed that he was soaked to his boxers. Well if I am going to get you, I well get you good! He got me back by putting shampoo in my shoes! I am currently conspiring my revenge.

NINE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // JOURDAN BROWN

TELL US OF YOUR CAREER GOALS, IS THERE A ROLE OR DEPARTMENT ETC YOU WANT IN THE FUTURE? My long term career goal would be to go into senior management within a health care Trust. For the time being, my next career goal is to become a ward manager. I would like to be responsible for leading care and managing a ward. Preferably I would like to stay within critical care, but I am open to moving to another department to manage that respective ward. WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES? I love gymnastics, I know I am biased but it is the best sport out there! I compete and judge for Abbey gymnastics. I have missed training at Abbey G. C during lock down, (my second home and family) I can’t wait to see everyone again and to get back on the bars. When I am not training in the gym for the next competition, I will be judging at a competition. I am passionate about judging, it’s a great opportunity to give back to the community and watch the children develop, overcome their fears and nail some amazing skills. It’s my ambition that one day I will be given the opportunity to judge at a world championship. My other hobbies are platform diving and swimming, though I am nervous at the prospect of donning the speedos again. As I have the grown the lock down belly! On the plus side it’s some cushioning if I end up belly flopping off the diving boards. I love catching up with friends over coffee or in a chic restaurant with a tasty meal and an amazing cocktail. Other interests is reading, I am a historic fiction nerd! I enjoy going to the cinema and I am a Marvel fan. As much as I love Tom Hardy, the film “venom” was not my favourite! Thor has to be the best marvel movie! I have just realised that I have put more into this than any dating app! I need to up my game!

TEN // GNIMAG.COM

SO COVID 19, LITERALLY CAME OUT OF NOWHERE, IN YOUR OPINION WAS THE U.K AS A WHOLE PREPARED? Not at all! Let’s face it we knew this was coming for months and the government had a last minute scramble for equipment, tests, and PPE.

pandemic, meant taking charge of ICU. I assigned nurses on a standard one to one ratio for ICU patients .Whereas during the peak of the surge, it necessitated 1 ICU nurse to 4 patients with supplementary nurses from other departments redeployed to assist with care.

THANKFULLY WE DID NOT SEE A DEATH OR INFECTION TOLL ANYTHING LIKE MAINLAND U.K, DO YOU THINK THERE IS A SPECIFIC REASON FOR THIS? I feel the death toll is due to a number of factors. Firstly the ROI entered lock down before us, that reduced travel around border areas. Secondly, NI has had a persistent lack of development in infrastructure, which incidentally has worked to our advantage. With poor bus and rail networks, most people in NI travel by car, in doing so they are effectively self isolating themselves when travelling . In contrast with the rest of the UK, people living in major cities have been crammed onto public transport making transmission more likely. A third reason could be due to NI demographic distribution, which is less densely populated in comparison to England. NI has fewer substantial cities here (Lisburn is not a city in my books ), with a large proportion of the population living in large towns. In addition to this, NI has an extensive rural population. Reviewing the breakdown COVID-19 infection rates across the province, it is clearly evident that infection rates has been high in densely populated areas. In contrast to this, rural parts of NI have had extremely low amount of cases. Therefore, it would leave me to conclude that the demographic distribution has had a significant impact on COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland.

Considering the complexity of their new and unfamiliar environment the redeployed staff did an outstanding job. As for ICU nurses, I felt they undertook their duties in an exemplary manner with robust resilience. Considering they were managing multiple patients with critical and complex needs, whilst delivering compassionate care. Furthermore they had the added challenge to support, supervise and teach ward nurses who found ICU daunting. In order to meet the increased capacity, ICU was moved to non purposed built areas of the hospital. I remember going to a bed space and seeing a miss mash of equipment and some very old equipment, it resembled something from a field hospital. ICU is a high tech environment, all the charting documentation is on computer, these days we are back to paper which does have a degree of nostalgia.

TELL US WHAT A TYPICAL DAY LOOKED LIKE PRE COVID COMPARED TO NOW? A typical day for me before the

During my time in the nightingale hospital and now that I am working in a COVID-19 ICU the PPE and uniform requirements have drastically changed. Pre covid I would have worn a nurses tunic and the PPE required for patient care was just an apron and gloves. Whereas now I wear scrubs with a hat, a tight fitting mask, a visor, a fluid repellent gown, an apron, gloves and Wellington boots. Before the pandemic we worked away rather comfortably, now working in full PPE is rather uncomfortable. The tight fitting mask gets very sore on my nose, I have had a couple of skin break downs with the mask. The mask gives me banging headaches on my first day back after


INTERVIEW // JOURDAN BROWN

a couple of days off. The mask is difficult to breathe through, believe or not talking with the mask on makes me short of breath. Wearing all the PPE makes for very sweaty work, I am saturated with sweat by the time I exit the red zone. IS A RETURN TO A NORMAL ROUTINE ON THE HORIZON? I certainly hope so! I am not the best at social distancing, which makes shopping a nuisance. I want to be able to go back to the cinema, see shows and go out for a few drinks! Bring by normality ASAP! NORMALITY IS RETURNING TO A DEGREE WITH SHOPS, HOSPITALITY REOPENING, WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING? Oh good question! I am really looking forward to dinner and cocktails (typical 30 something year old) follow by a night out in the town! I can’t wait to go on holiday, lie by the beach with a good book with the occasional swim in the sea to cool down. I really need a holiday! ALMOST EVERYONE WE KNOW HAS HAD THEIR HOLIDAY PLANS SCRAPPED, WERE YOU DUE TO BE AWAY ANYWHERE AND DO YOU PLAN TO BE HEADING OFF IN 2020? I was meant to going to Italy for my friend’s 40th , we have put that trip back to next year. If foreign travel is a possibility for 2020, I will probably go to the canary Islands for winter sun. Though I will need a bit of time to shift the Covid belly before I hit the beach. Recently I have felt the urge to go on a big holiday like to Thailand but that will have to wait for another time.

ELEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


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OPINION // CALLUM SKEFFINGTON

CALLUM SKEFFINGTON 2020 HAS BEEN A WEIRD YEAR. THREE MONTHS AGO, THE WORLD was dizzy with panic and fear over the coronavirus. We were running around grabbing packs of toilet roll and bags of pasta like the zombie apocalypse was imminent, but the end of the world turned out to be endless zoom quizzes and baking banana bread. There is no denying that 2020 has been a weird year, and we are only half way through. At the beginning of the year, when we were toasting to a fantastic new year filled with travel and fun and parties and happiness, we had no clue there would soon be a pandemic sweeping across the world, shutting down countries and economies. That was only six months ago, and it feels like an eternity. In another six months we will be coming to the end of 2020, and I think we will all be able to agree that this has not been our year. Much like J.K. Rowling, 2020 has been cancelled. Lockdown has been easy in certain ways; it’s not exactly demanding or taxing in any way to be sitting at home and watching TV, reading a good book or rekindling a passion for a hobby that has been neglected over the years. I was furloughed for six weeks, and I felt like I was a teenager again, on my summer holidays with nowhere to go and nobody to hang out with besides my cats and my family. In that time I binged watched so many movies and TV shows. I have watched movies and shows that I have never watched

before, I have rewatched my favourites, and I’ve watched shows that I had lost interest in, only to lose interest all over again. I have read several books, I was writing a lot, and I have honestly never walked so much in my life, but still the mentality of lockdown has been extremely difficult. Staying at home, working from home, exercising at home; it’s all blending into one ambiguous realm where time does not exist and the world outside these four walls is a familiar mystery. Can you believe that it has only been three months since Tiger King was released? Lockdown has been hard, I’m sure most will agree, to stay in all the time and to limit our social activity to facetime and phone calls. I have found it hard to motivate myself to do anything productive at times. I would wake up at seven and wait until eleven before crawling back into bed, only to stare at the same four walls, because I was finally, truly, understanding the lyrics of “I’m just a kid” by Simple Plan. I would be convincing myself that the distant chorus of clapping each Thursday at 8pm was for me; cheering me on as I was lip syncing in front of the mirror before sashaying into the shower, readying myself for yet another zoom quiz, because I was feeling starved of legitimate social interactions beyond my immediate family. I was missing my boyfriend like crazy. I was missing my friends. I was, and I still am, missing my life before lockdown began. Now that the government has started to ease the restrictions, it has been possible to see my friends and my boyfriend again, and I no longer feel like I am banging my head up against the wall with boredom. Life is slowly starting to begin again. When I was writing my last column, the coronavirus was rapidly becoming an intensely terrifying part of our lives. The world was shutting down and the government was seemingly incapable of giving us clear direct instructions. Workplaces were chaotic and uncertainty filled our days, but now we are experiencing the relaxment of the restrictions and we are a little bit closer to the end of the COVID-19 lockdown. There is still a lot of uncertainty, with the government announcements being just as vague and ambiguous as before. Some people are feeling anxious whilst others are happy; I am a bit of both.

Thankfully, the initial madness of the lockdown is far behind us, and we are nowhere near as terrified and scared now as we ease our way out of lockdown into what will become our ‘new normal.’ The real question is, what will this new normal look like? If you are looking forward to coming out of lockdown and everything immediately reverting back to the way they were before, you should probably think again. Things definitely won’t just snap back to how they were before. Social distancing will remain. Face masks are in the season. Restrictions will continue to be eased, and hopefully they will not need to be imposed again. I know that I will be working from home for the foreseeable future. My home will also continue to be my office at least until August, though I am hoping to soon be back in an actual gym rather than my garage. When the gyms do reopen, it will be like New Years take two, and they will be packed out for the first month, especially with social distancing still enforced. I would imagine that gyms will be trying to implement a mandatory booking system, just like hairdressers and barbers. I will likely avoid getting my haircut for a while, since every person in the country will be flocking to the salons the very second they reopen. Maybe this is our chance to reinvent what we consider to be our normal lives. The new normal may even be a better normal. I know for myself personally, I will no longer be letting the unimportant things rule my life and stress me out. I am sometimes prone to allowing work stresses to overpower my mental health. I can also sometimes drain myself socially and push myself too much to be overly productive at times when I’m feeling unmotivated, and if this whole experience has taught me anything, it’s that I should be finding and focusing on the simple joys in amongst all of the chaos of everyday life.

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

THIRTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ANTHONY COOLEY

FOURTEEN// GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ANTHONY COOLEY

ANTHONY COOLEY

LIVING IN LOCKDOWN “MY NAME IS ANTHONY COOLEY. I AM A 30 SOMETHING GAY MAN LIVING IN BELFAST AND HAVE DONE SO FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS. I AM ORIGINALLY FROM DERRY/LONDONDERRY BUT MOVED HERE A SHORT TIME AFTER COMING OUT IN THE HOPES OF NEW OPPORTUNITIES SOCIALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. SEVEN YEARS LATER I AM NOW HAPPILY PARTNERED WITH A MORTGAGE, A DOG AND A CAT. SOME MIGHT SAY THATʼS ME TIED DOWN FOR THE FORESEEABLE!”

I am a full time personal trainer working out of Dedicated fitness, Belfast and have been doing so for the past three years. It’s something I have always wanted to do because I’ve had a passion for fitness since no age and always knew I would eventually make it a career one day. The turning point for me was when I suddenly lost my Mum in 2016. She was my biggest supporter in what I do and was always pushing me to chase my dreams and never give up, something I still live by to this day. This is what made me pursue fitness as a career as up this point I was floating from job to job, happy enough but I wasn’t

feeling a great sense of purpose. So I guess I have her to thank for giving me the courage to take that leap! I know it’s a cliché that we hear time and time again, but life really is short and we all have a number. My biggest fear is reaching the end and having regretted not doing something! Carpe Diem and all that... I now take great pride now everyday in helping others feel better about themselves physically and mentally.

One of which I have just self published titled, “A World outside my window” which is a story about a little boy stuck in lockdown and looking for a way to escape his confinement. I have also had another title published two years ago titled, “Who lives on the Moon” which I am currently in the process of seeking representation for but for anyone who has gone through this process, you will know it takes quite some time so watch this space with that one.

As well as fitness, I am an author/ illustrator. I studied art and design at college and since graduating many moons ago I continue to do a mixture of freelance projects as well as writing children’s books.

Speaking of lockdown, it has definitely been a very trying time for all of us. All of our usual schedules and routines have been turned on their head and half the time I don’t even know what day it is.

FIFTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // ANTHONY COOLEY But with anything, establishing a new routine and adjusting to this new world we have found ourselves living in is so important. I myself need routine and I always need to be busy, if I didn’t I would quite literally lose my mind. So during my time in lockdown, I have been keeping myself busy firstly with my fitness. I am still in touch with all my clients from the gym and regularly make up workout routines for myself and them to follow to keep them motivated during this time. This has definitely been a challenge in itself due to lack of gym equipment but this has given me the chance to be more creative in my workouts. There is so much you can do using just your body and very limited equipment. So yeah, working out every other day is keeping me going in that sense. The next big thing is the dreaded diet. Now if I’m being totally honest, as a PT my diet is usually quite clean and in control but with lockdown the old diet has taken a bit of a dip. But hey, we are all human and this is to be expected! I am tackling this by moving more so if I do find myself eating a bit more than usual, I’ll take myself out for a brisk 30 minute walk to counteract that plus walking alone has been amazing for my mental wellbeing. Do not underestimate the benefits of walking both physically and mentally! Or even just fresh air for that matter, staring at the same four walls each day is not good for anyone so go outside! (Adhering to social distancing guidelines of course.) When I haven’t been exercising at home,

SIXTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

I have also been doing lots of art projects and working on two books simultaneously. (Again keeping myself busy for my sanity lol!) The first book I have been working on is the follow up title to, “ Who lives on the Moon?” which I am pleased to say, after nine months is finally finished and I am extremely excited to get it out into the world. But the one I want to talk about here

and nephews of my own and speaking to my sisters about it, they were able to confirm that it has been difficult trying to manage everything at home with the kids now being there 24/7. The campaign itself though is aimed specifically at children who are in a much more vulnerable position in lockdown who aren’t coping so well. Childline has reported a surge in the number of calls since we have all been advised to stay at home. After hearing about the campaign, I felt compelled to help in whatever way I could and because I specialise in writing children’s books I decided to create a brand new book to raise awareness for the cause. Plus all proceeds from the sales of the book are to be donated to the NSPCC. The book is also available on Amazon if you would like to purchase a copy. So that’s pretty much it from me, if you would like to be kept up to date with any of the things I have mentioned in this interview such as daily workouts/ fitness advice or information about the books then feel free to add me on Instagram under the name tony_cools or search for me on Facebook.

is more relevant to the current climate we have found ourselves in. “A World outside my window” is a book about a little boy stuck in lockdown. I had the idea to do this book around two months ago when everything came to a crashing halt. I had seen an appeal on TV for NSPCC’S Childline charity. The appeal was reaching out for donations to help all children trapped in lockdown. It really struck a cord with me because I have many nieces

I am always looking for new clients in the gym so would be happy to chat about that also if you want to get in touch via any of my social media channels. Right I’m off to walk the dog now. Stay safe! Anto.


INTERVIEW // ANTHONY COOLEY

SEVENTEEN // GNIMAG.COM


OPINION // MICKY MURRAY

QUICKLY ADAPTING. MICKY MURRAY I HOPE EVERYONE IS DOING WELL, it’s certainly been a very difficult and trying time for everyone, and the community spirit has been nothing short of amazing! The strangest thing for me has been how well I’ve adapted. I’m very much a people person and I’m always out catching up with friends, or going to a coffee shop, out for dinner, or out dancing the night away, I’m very rarely in the house, but I’ve become really well adapted to staying at home, but like many other people I’m now somewhere between itching to get back outside and never wanting to leave the house again. So much has changed since March, it’s hard to keep track. A lot of people have been using lockdown to look inwards and make changes to their lives, I’ve been trying to eat less red meat, improve my (ridiculously mediocre) cooking skills, and making travel plans for the future, reading books and binging on Netflix. On the topic of Netflix, has everyone watched Schitts Creek? If not, you’ve wasted lockdown, it’s by far the greatest show on Netflix at the moment, and they’ve recently just uploaded the final season. It’s absolutely hilarious, written by and starring David Levy, the son of Eugene Levy who is also a lead character, and Catherine O’Hara who is so outrageously amazing and deserves so much more credit for how great she is. It’s about a ridiculously wealthy family who find

EIGHTEEN // GNIMAG.COM

themselves broke and lose everything after their business manager screws them over and disappears, the only possession they’re allowed to keep is this small town, Schitts Creek, in the middle of nowhere, which they bought as a joke. It’s the perfect lock down comedy, which included some great LGBT themes which are handled so perfectly well and not at all like I’ve seen before. I highly recommend watching it and then watching the documentary about them filming the final season, I cried the whole way through, and it’ll make you appreciate it all that little bit more. By far the toughest time for me during lockdown was not being able to attend the Black Lives Matter protests, I’m an activist, it’s in my nature to do what I can to stand up against oppression and discrimination, but unfortunately I was unable to attend because I live with a key worker and I had to make the tough decision not to attend because of the current health pandemic. I spent my last meeting as vice-chair of the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership, before my term ends, in a meeting with the Policing Board and other PCSP members discussing the PSNI response to Covid-19, where I outlined the damage that has been done to confidence in policing among minority groups because of the fines that were issued, at one protest but not the other. We should always stand up against oppression and discrimination, protesting is a basic right of every person, it’s been around since before we were all here and it will remain well after we’re gone. It was definitely a moral dilemma between exercising my right to protest and protecting others. I’ve also got involved with the All Party Parliamentary Group on LGBT+ Rights in Westminster, as Chair of the Alliance Party LGBT group, and we recently wrote to the UK Government, along with six other political parties represented in Westminster, against any rollbacks on the rights of Trans people. Which other than being the right thing to do, has given me something to focus on. The final thing that’s gotten me through lockdown is podcasts, I’ve only discovered podcasts during lockdown, and I mentioned the ‘Get Sleepy’ podcast in the last issue, that I’ve been using to help me sleep. Alyssa Milano, Phoebe from Charmed, does a great podcast “Sorry, not sorry”, it’s largely about US politics, but she has some great guests, such as Erin Brockovich, and most recently David Litt, who was Barack Obama’s speech writer, so it you’re wanting something interesting and thought provoking, this is the podcast for you. Stay safe, look after each other, and try to stay positive! Lockdown won’t be in place forever!

Ooops!

Sanitise, don’t sensualise Please don’t masturbate with hand sanitiser. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, hand sanitiser bottles are flying off the shelves, but the clear liquid might not only be used for what you imagine. In case you haven’t caught the hint: we’re talking about masturbation. While most people are stocking up on necessities, lube is probably not high on that list – but please, when you’re enjoying your ‘lunch break’ while working from home, do not reach for the hand sanitiser. To put it plainly: masturbating with hand sanitiser (the clue is in the product name) is a very bad idea. A brave yet foolish soul, who said he is a ‘male in my 30s with an uncircumcised penis’ explained that he wanted to experience a golden shower and thought it would be a great idea to replace pee with hand sanitiser (please, don’t). ‘I grab some hand sanitiser. I go for it,’ he said. ‘Except, I put a bit too much on. It burns a little more than I can take and I have to rinse off. ‘I get up and try again, this time, just a drop, right on the urethra. It stings a tiny bit but I go for it and fap it up. I get that slight hot kind-of-burning-butkind-of-not feeling and if I don’t look down it feels like I’m pissing up a storm!’ Say this with us: hand sanitiser on your penis or inside your vagina is a very, very bad idea. While you’re at it, don’t reach for your electric toothbrush or the pineapple slices that you’ve been stockpiling to give your dick a tingle, either. ‘We know supermarkets are running out of hand sanitisers due to concerns around Covid-19,’ said Frankie Sales Advisor Misstique. ‘Now, we must not forget that alcohol-based gels were initially used to clean hands in the absence of hand washing facilities – the best option is still soap and water. ‘Masturbation is a natural thing that many people enjoy. However I strongly advise not to use hand sanitiser on your genitals to masturbate. ‘ Before you go there, soap is also a no-go. Frankie adds: ‘Yes, our groins are warm, dark places and have a tendency to perspire – however the skin there is sensitive. ‘One of the main ingredients in many hand sanitisers is isopropyl alcohol. ‘Isopropyl alcohol is not safe for internal use, and if used whilst masturbating it could make its way down your vaginal or penile opening – this will damage the internal skin. ‘Alcohol is drying, and the skin on your genitals is also sensitive and just as easily damaged.’ Be careful if you’re having sex with others, too. ‘Also, if you expect to share your nether regions with another, and if you’ve ever licked your hand after using hand sanitiser before, you will know it won’t taste great for them,’ adds Frankie.. ‘Therefore, hand sanitiser should only be used on the hands for the purpose of killing bacteria/viruses and should never be used as a lubricant to masturbate with.


117 Milltown Rd, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast BT8 7XP I +44 (0)28 9092 3500 I weddings@cpbelfast.com


Styling by: Lewis Robert Cameron / Photography: Ross at Silverthorne Photography

INTERVIEW // CONLETH KANE

CONLETH KANE

COVID PUT PLANS OF HIS BIG YEAR ON HOLD

TWENTY // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // CONLETH KANE

2020 WAS MEANT TO BE MY YEAR. MY DEBUT POP RECORD WAS MEANT TO BE RELEASED JUNE 26TH. I WAS DUE TO LAUNCH IT ON STAGE WITH THE LONDON GAY MEN’S CHORUS TO CELEBRATE PRIDE IN LONDON 2020. MY MUSIC VIDEOS ARE FILMED, THE GIGS, THE PRIDE FESTIVALS, THE APPEARANCES WERE ALL BOOKED IN AS PART OF A SUMMER OF ALBUM PROMOTION. TO SEE THE PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN CRUMBLE BEFORE MY VERY EYES WAS DEVASTATING. I PUT MY HEART AND SOUL INTO CREATING THIS POP RECORD AND COVID TORE MY INDUSTRY APART. GOD ONLY KNOWS WHEN IT WILL GET BACK ON IT’S FEET.

Lockdown has been one big rollercoaster,

was forced to slow down. I got back into

struggle with my mental health and I hate

hands down the biggest mental test I have

the habit of reading. I used to love books

feeling like I am on uneasy territory. I like

ever faced. I used to love watching BIG

but my mind was so busy in recent years

to feel in control and this situation left

BROTHER back in the day and wondered

that I would sit down and read and nothing

me feeling like I was under water. I have

why people were finding it so difficult to

would go in because mentally I was so

never felt this vulnerable before. I had to

survive the quarantine experience. Now

preoccupied. To sit with my feet up, reading

constantly remind myself that life really is a

I know why. I went into shock and major

a book whilst drinking a glass of red wine

shadow of it’s former self, and it’s important

disbelief when lockdown was announced.

and listening to birds in the background was

to acknowledge that we are in a very unique

I’m a social butterfly and I didn’t realise just

not how I envisaged my weekends to be. I

point in our lifetimes. It’s our duty to be

how dependent I am on seeing my friends

managed to spur some of my creativity into

kind to ourselves and not beat ourselves

and people in general. I’m also a performer

recording a charity single to raise money

up if we make mistakes or fall down holes

- I’m most comfortable on stage with an

for the NHS and The Rainbow Project which

during this time.

audience and all of a sudden this was being

was a wonderful experience. I know there will be no return to how life

taken away from me overnight. As the experience drew to an end I felt a

was before and that does sadden me.

I found the adjustment period difficult. I

sudden urge to withdraw from Social Media

However, I am optimistic about the future

threw myself into online workouts and

because it because a toxic playground filled

and I know for a fact that I will never take

actively put everything to the back of my

with arguing and heated debates. Literally

anything for granted ever again. I was

mind. I was in denial initially and the media

the entire world are sat at home on social

like a hamster on a wheel before Covid -

were not helping.

media digesting incredibly negative news

constantly running. Being forced to stop

headlines about the pandemic, death toll

was a shock to my system, but perhaps

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. There were

figures, riots, protests etc. There came a

it was the break my mind and body truly

some really beautiful moments in lockdown.

point a few weeks ago where I felt numb

needed. I now feel rejuvenated and excited

The air felt clear. The evenings were silent

from the sheer amount of unnecessary

about the release of my new music. I have

and I fell asleep and woke up to the sound

negativity on the internet. I had to take a 7

made a great pop record and I can’t wait to

of birds every day. I have never experienced

day break to give my brain an opportunity

share it with the world.

this whilst living in central London. Usually

to breathe. I felt brainwashed by the

I would be complaining about the noise

media. I would open the facebook or

Conleth’s new EP ‘Liberty’ will be available

coming from the restaurant below or I’d

twitter app on my phone and within

on all major online platforms on 8.8.20

have to close my windows to block out the

seconds I felt a wave of anxiety. I became

sound of people at the weekends. That

a victim of the dark side of social media

all stopped. I became a vegan in January

and I felt powerless and not in control. I

and being at home so much gave me an

found myself unable to concentrate in

Twitter: @ConlethKane

opportunity to really explore new cooking

my yoga or my mediations and my mind

Instagram: @ConlethKane

recipes. I would sit and enjoy my food

was full of chaotic and dark thoughts. My

Facebook: @ConlethKane

without having do dash to meet a friend or

dreams became affected by the situation

run to the gym. My life before March 2020

too. There really was no escape. the only

was extremely fast and all of a sudden, I

thing I could do was not look anymore. I

Follow Conleth on social media:

TWENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


OPINION // CARL CONNIELILNGUS

TRASH HITS & BITS WITH CARL CONNIELINGUS HEY THERE BEAUTS, WELCOME TO MY NEW COLUMN!! LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF... I AM A NON-BINARY DRAG KING BASED IN BELFAST AND MY NAME IS CARL CONNIELINGUS AKA CJ AKA CLAIRE..OR WHATEVER OTHER NAMES I HAVE OUT THERE HAHA..”HIYA LOVES”. COME JOIN ME FOR MY 1ST COLUMN WITH GNI MAG, WHERE I WILL BE LETTING YOU DELVE INTO MY CRAZY LIFE WITH DRAG, LIFE, LOVE AND OF COURSE LOCKDOWN AHHHHHH!! MON HAVE A WEE GEG SURE...

FIGURE THE RIDDLE:

“You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I’m quick when I’m thin and slow when I’m fat. The wind is my enemy” Answers to my email address in the Outro.

LOCKDOWN & COVID-19 - MY THOUGHTS So, to fill you guys in, just before Lockdown Carl had been getting great momentum both within the Queer and Straight Community, and for me as a struggling Drag King alone, that was amazing haha. Between Hosting Boogie Bingos in Social Clubs to receiving my First ever Residency in Union Street (Which never even got one night LOL), after having competed in numerous competitions and placing well with amazing experiences and friendships..to say my excitement for my new journies were immense, and this after years of battling Depression and Anxiety, is an understatement!! And then..BOOM..this Virus, this Covid-19 completely halts the World to a stand still!! And quoting Queen “Is this the real life?? Is this just fantasy?? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality”..what just happened?? When Covid-19 aka Coronavirus was first announced, I was so nervous and anxious because I literally did not know what was going to happen and how our Country would handle such a complex issue!! It seemssssss, not great and certainly not quick enough, but then again, did that really surprise anyone?? I think we were lucky to have some Politicians but it was MAINLY Doctors, Specialists, Nurses and Healthcare Workers that we got our information from and thank the Rainbow for them all!! And let’s face it, apart from the whole “Panic Buying” Toilet Rolls situ (I still have tonnes of questions for those people?? I feel we as a country really bound well together as best as we possibly could and for that I’m proud of us!! Our problem is, we move on very quickly here just for a bitta peace and “normality” and I always wonder does that stem from our past, our “Troubled Past”??

BLACK LIVES MATTER PLUS QUEER TALK I am not Black, so therefore I will never understand what it is like to be a Black Person in the World today or even in the past!! Some of my favourite Musicians, Actors, Actresses, Scientists, Comedians and childhood Heroes are Black!! I have Black friends in America, England, Dublin and Belfast, who I absolutely adore!! But it pains me that as amazing as they are as people, they still suffer with Racism and Exclusivity in 2020. I personally have never understood Racism, even from a very young age I never understood why people would be Racist??!! I just couldn’t and cannot fathom as to why someone would dislike, bully, hate or even kill someone, just because of the colour of their skin?? This latest movement ‘Black Lives Matter’, MATTERS!! It matters so much that the whole World has taken notice and voices are now being heard, and rightly

TWENTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

so!! So how do we incorporate that into our wee Community so that Inclusivity means INCLUSIVITY?? It means we work together with kindness and love, it means we welcome everyone to our clubs and events that we have because we’re already excluded as a Community by Religion and let’s face it, Homophobes!! Imagine already being excluded because of your Sexual Orientation to then be excluded again because of the colour of your skin or to put it to another topic, just like our Trans Brothers & Sisters, what’s between your legs?? We cannot sit quiet in denial that the LGB Community has been known to forget about our Trans Community and also our fellow Black Queers, THIS HAS TO STOP!! We all deserve love, kindness and empathy, EQUALLY!! On that note, I do have a question for my

fellow Queer Drag Artists, Performers, Musicians, Writers, Filmmakers, anyone within the Creative Realm and more importantly our fellow Black Queers.. where do you/we draw the line between Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation?? Within a respecting manner and also being creativity influenced by other Cultures, when can we work together so that Culture Creativity can be flowed fairly, within reason of course?? I know from personal experience being a Singer and Performer I have many influences from many different Cultures and I would only want to pay respect, enjoy and celebrate that part of a Culture!! I know there are common sense answers to this, albeit complex as well, so I wanna hear your responses?? Throw me an email to discuss and I will also no doubt, probably receive some welcome education.


OPINION // CARL CONNIELINGUS

WHAT IS A DRAG KING? Ok, so Drag Kings have been about for just as long, if not longer than Drag Queens!! In-fact, historically it is said that the first Drag King was around the 1700’s, while Drag Queens are dated from the 1800’s onwards.. but realistically if you look back, Drag was everywhere in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries and even in Centuries before that due to Performance Art, Acting/Entertainment and Opera!! I believe that the “Glitz & Glamour” and added “Tongue in Cheek” attitude of Queens always had an overshadowing affect within the Queer Community, especially for Drag Kings. I guess a lot of this could have stemmed from Women’s Rights not being a thing until just over 100 years ago, just a thought haha but we’re here, we’re just as Queer and we’re here to make our mark!! So watch out for your Local Kings, they need your support too!!

MUSIC & MOVIES Guys, if I can recommend anything for the heart & Soul then it’s the Disney Channel. Hayley and I have just been watching loads of Disney to keep the spirits up and learn new lessons as adults, believe it or not haha. DOCUMENTARIES ARE LIFE!! There I said it, they are!! If you have any interest in anything then always check for documentaries because some of them will blow your mind. I always go between YouTube and Netflix for a good Docu. And if you havent heard Lady Gaga’s Chromatica - what’s the wait?? It’s been mine and Hayley’s “Lockdown Jam” and I love it, get on it if you haven’t and if you have, email me your favourite tracks from the album. But for everyday we tend to lean towards Classical & Smooth Jazzzzzzzzz.

Drag Kings perform just the same as Queens, only with a more Masculine persona, or “A Boy Side”, as I call it!! Personally I sing Live, dance & Lip Sync fiercely but your creativity can take you anywhere and into unknown territory!! For example, during Lockdown I done Lives on Facebook I never thought I’d do and made concept music videos for Digital Drag Shows!! The opportunities can be endless, especially if you mix Genders together.

with Gender and set new boundaries for myself and even within the King Community!! If you come to see me at a show or book me for an Event, you will not be disappointed. Oh and I’m quite funny when I want to be.

Carl ConnieLingus is a NonBinary Specimen, neither boy nor girl but with boy & girl traits, stay with me here..as a child I always felt connected to both “Genders”, so when I started Drag it was the perfect opportunity to play

LIFE’S FUNNY

OUTRO

So when I was a kid, around 5/6 years of age, My Mummy and I where going to my Granny’s in Ballysillan and we had just gotten off the bus from town, now baring in mind Ballysillan is near Mountains, so it’s high up!! On this particular day it was very windy, I mean extremely windy!! My Mummy had me gripped by the hands as we walked to cross the road and I’m not jokin yas, a big gust of wind literally threw me up in the air like Mary Poppins, all the while I was squealing for my life to my poor Mummy who thought her child was about to be blew to Timbuktu, so yea, Life’s funny isnt’ it?? PS I survived.

So beauts, I really hope you enjoyed getting to know Carl ConnieLingus plus a little of CJ/ Claire and I can't wait to share more with you next time!! To discuss any of the topics, answer the riddle or to communicate for Booking Info, please email carlconnielingus@gmail.com You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebookcom/ carlconnielingus and Instagram @carlconnie_lingus Until next time!! Much love and peace out, Carl ConnieLingus

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

TWENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // MISTER UNDERGROUND

HE’S BACK MISTER UNDERGROUND

TWENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // MISTER UNDERGROUND

MISTER UNDERGROUND IS BACK WITH HIS HIGHLY ANITICAPTED NEW ALBUM “NOTHING IS PROVOCATIVE”. THE 18 TRACK ALBUM FEATURES COLLABS WITH ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE INCLUDING SHAUNA TOHILL (SILHOUETTE), JILLY ST JOHN (WYLDLING), SOHODOLLZ, JOHANNA FEGAN, LOWPIGS, LIL PUP, EVA JADE LANDON, DANIEL LILLIE, ANGRY TROUT CJ SIMMS, HAYLEY NORTONAND MANY MORE. The visual album is a hybrid medium between music video and film. It will feature a music video for each track on the album making it almost a feature length movie. Crafty Belfast (Emma Gilles) has helped Mister Underground previously with stage setting and creative direction in Music Videos and Gigs including Gay Pride 2012 also the music videos “BE A STAR” and “We Join Forces ft William Control”. “Crafty Belfast has been a big influence to me with fashion. Emma Gilles has an amazing eye for detail. I am super excited to be working and collaborating again with Emma (CRAFTY BELFAST)” “Crafty Belfast have created me a bespoke covid 19 mask that will be shown throughout the music videos in the new album” “I have spent the past 2 years working very hard on the record. I want it to reflect my life, all the ups and downs and everything in between” “I have carefully selected the collaborations on the album and I am so pleased with the artists I got to work with”

2020 “Halloween” followed by the movie that will feature on Xite, Youtube, Vimeo and VEVO. The album is very explicit and X -Rated scenes will be in the “N.I.P” visual album. So it is not for those of a nervous disposition or easily offended. In 2012 Mister Underground hit songs “Medicine ft Lucky Date” and “Dirty Business ft Rebecca Creighton” went straight to radio stations including Cool FM, Radio 1, BBC ATL, Radio 1 extra, BBC Radio Ulster. “I hope my fans will like the concept of this album. I have definately grown as and matured as an artist. The sound will be very like my “Trainwreck” Album that dropped in 2012… Except more mature vocally and lyrically”

Spotify: Mister Underground For bookings and management contact Underground Records at realmisterundergrounduk@gmail.com Facebook.com/MisterUndergroundUK Instagram: realmisterundergrounduk

Mister Underground album is due to drop 31st October

TWENTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // RICK & GRIFF

TWENTY SIX // GNIMAG.COM


ALL HAIL THE KINGS

INTERVIEW // RICK & GRIFF

THE MEN OF RICK AND THE GRIFFOPOTAMUS SET OUT ON THEIR NEXT ADVENTURE BY PHIL BESSIMER

HUSBANDS RICK TWOMBLEY AND GRIFF KING SHARE AN OBVIOUS AFFINITY FOR MUSCLE BOOTIES, BUT AS FANS OF THEIR WILDLY POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE, RICK AND THE GRIFFOPOTAMUS, WILL ATTEST TO, MORE GOES INTO THE MAKING OF THEIR SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP. Key ingredients are respect, honesty, loyalty, and, according to the guys, embracing the fact that while they and their relationship can never be perfect, they are right for one another. Oh, and they also like to be playful, as illustrated in their finely crafted, visually stimulating, evocative images.

This

month they continue the salacious fun with their latest venture, Two Kings Unlimited. We spoke with them from their Atlanta home. HOW DID YOU TWO FIRST MEET? Griff: We met at the gym. Rick had just started his personal training company, and I was the general manager at one of the more popular gay gyms. I was looking to bring in new trainers. Rick walked into the gym and I saw the most beautiful man standing before me. We started a casual friendship and a few months after that, he asked me out on a date. Nearly eight years later, we’re approaching our fourth wedding anniversary. WHAT LED TO YOUR DECISION TO MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP PUBLIC WITH RICK AND THE GRIFFOPOTAMUS? Rick: I caught Griff on camera lip syncing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, posted it on my socials and it went viral. Right away, I recognized the potential to create a virtual stage for us to entertain people. DID YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM KIM K? Rick: Not really. Of course, she’s influenced the way everyone uses social media, but our inspirations come more from theater, art and erotica. WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES THAT YOU ENCOUNTER WITH LIVING AND WORKING TOGETHER? Griff: It’s a huge challenge to be in a marriage that is also a business partnership. We have to be very conscious of when we have on our work and our husband hats, especially because we are literally together nearly twenty-four hours a day, every day. Rick: Beyond being husbands and co-workers, we’re also best friends. So even when we annoy each other or get upset, we’d still rather be with each other than with nearly anyone else...even when we have to hide all the sharp objects in the house.

TWENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // RICK & GRIFF

WHO IS THE

erotic playing card

MOST OBSESSED

set, calendars...

WITH GETTING

We are also in

LIKES ON THE

production with our

PAGE?

own line of onesies and our prize

Rick: Neither of us

project; an erotic

is obsessed with

coffee table book

likes. Validation

featuring images

isn’t our motivation

from photographers

with our social

like Mike Ruiz,

media. We’re

Michael Stokes

trying to have fun,

and Mack Sturgis,

build a business

among others.

and entertain people. Anyone is

WHERE AND HOW

free to enjoy the

WILL YOU TWO

misadventure and

KINGS SPEND THE

fantasy, but we are

SUMMER?

also aware that

Rick: We’ll be hard

what we do isn’t

at work, growing

everyone’s cup of

our social media

tea, and that’s ok!

platforms and our

We keep our focus

fan pages, bringing

on the creativity

our followers the

and message we

content they love.

want to send, not on how many

Griff: We also plan

people are liking

to focus on our

things.

regular life, which is the 99.99% of our

WHEN DID YOU

life that no one sees

LAUNCH YOUR

on social media.

ONLYFANS PAGE?

We’ll be decorating

Griff: In 2017. A good friend of ours asked if we’d heard of it, but we hadn’t. Rick looked into it and we decided to give it a try, experiment and see what we were comfortable sharing with our fans; which ended up being just

about everything. It’s a space where

Griff: Two Kings is actually a play on

our fans can see a lot deeper into

our last name. After we got married, we

our personal lives, connect with us,

became the Twombley-Kings...which,

workout with us, sing along with us,

by pure chance, is Two Kings when

cook with us, and feel like they share in

abbreviated. We added the “Unlimited”

some of our more intimate moments.

because we don’t believe in letting

We’ve always been very sex positive

societal boundaries hold us back from

and confident, so Onlyfans and Rick

achieving success!

our new home, spending time with our two kitties Willow and Ripley and of course, with each other.

and Griff ended up being a very successful marriage. As of now, our fan

WHAT DO YOU HAVE COOKING AT

page has 4,000 subscribers.

TWO KINGS UNLIMITED?

AND NOW YOU HAVE LAUNCHED

Rick: All sorts of merchandise from

TWO KINGS UNLIMITED!

t-shirts to workout gear, sex toys, our

TWENTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM

VISIT: Twokingsunlimited.com


YOU!

FASHION, BEAUTY, HEALTH & WELLBEING, TAKING TIME FOR YOU!


ADVERTORIAL // DUNADRY HOTEL AND GARDENS

DUNADRY // HOTEL & GARDENS A CHAT WITH PHOTOGRAPHER LYNN STANFIELD DESCRIBE DUNADRY HOTEL & GARDENS IN 3 WORDS. Relaxed, beautiful, bright. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE INTERIOR AREA TO PHOTOGRAPH? So many to choose from! I think the ceremony room is lovely - its a pleasure to shoot ceremonies with the gorgeous natural light coming in the windows. The new ballroom is stunning too! WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE EXTERIOR AREA TO PHOTOGRAPH? The gardens are fabulous, with that stunning tree, but stealing the couple away down to the river is probably my favourite and the little path under the trees is so romantic. WHAT MAKES DUNADRY UNIQUE FOR YOU? We had our own wedding there! We loved it and had an amazing day so every time I’m back photographing weddings I remember being there as a bride, wandering round the gardens in the sunshine, strolling beside the river, cutting our cake in front of the fireplace and dancing the night away in the ballroom. I love that our cork is still

THIRTY // GNIMAG.COM

there too. WHAT PERSONALITIES BEST FITS WITH DUNADRY? I think Dunadry is perfect for a couple who want a relaxed, fun wedding and who want a lovely balance between having photos and spending time with guests. There is no need to go off somewhere else for photos as the grounds are so gorgeous with enough little hidden corners to steal away for some romantic moments together too. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SEASON AT THE HOTEL? I’ve photographed in all seasons and honestly love them all, from cosy winter weddings with the fire lit and twinkling candles, to hot summer days, or the gorgeous soft light of autumn. But my favourite is probably summer, with guests out in the gardens, live musicians playing and wandering round the grounds with the happy couple, before capturing some gorgeous evening light photos after dinner. WE BELIEVE YOU ARE PART OF THE DUNADRY FAMILY WITH


ADVERTORIAL // DUNADRY HOTEL AND GARDENS YOUR WEDDING CORK LIVING IN THE WALLS OF THE HOTEL FROM YOUR WEDDING IN 2014, DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A BRIDE AS OPPOSED TO A PHOTOGRAPHER. We loved everything about our day! Arriving to our glass of bubbly, mingling with guests in the copper bar, then off for our photos while our guests enjoyed the gardens, coming back to hearing the harp music floating across the garden, our large group photo and having that time together alone looking out over the river while guests were seated. The evening too - we danced and

danced (I even had a second dress to change into for dancing!) - dancing is important to us and it was the fabulous floor in the ballroom that drew our attention to the Dunadry initially. The meal was amazing too. I could relax knowing all our guests were having a lovely day and good food. It went so fast - I wish I could do it all again! I just love that our cork is still there, it brings back lovely memories of our day every time we are there - we always go and look at it! I can recommend the Dunadry to other couples, based on our own lovely experiences of our wedding there!

A HIDDEN GEM DUNADRY HOTEL & GARDENS

Who doesn’t love a little hidden gem, somewhere or something that was maybe off your radar, not on the beaten track - a find that will wow you and your guests? Well Dunadry Hotel & Gardens is back, bigger and better. This fully newly refurbished former paper mill oozes authentic features with a sprinkle of modern sparkle giving everyone something to capture their heart. There are no set rules here with a fun, relaxed approach you really will feel this place is your home from home. The indoors and outdoors come together to form something quite unique with many new secret features throughout adding to the fun of the venue. Both ceremonies and receptions can be hosted at the venue with a lot of different options ensuring your personalities shine through. One thing that has remained is the cork signing tradition. For many years couples have been signing and dating the cork of their first bottle of champagne which is then housed in cabinets around the hotel allowing every couple to become part of the hotels history forever. So what are you waiting for? Your time is now, come and see us and believe it for yourself!

THIRTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


INTERVIEW // MASS LUCIANO

MASS LUCIANO // FIERCE THE FORMER MR. GAY WORLD GETS MESHY IN HIS LATEST CAPSULE COLLECTION BY JOHN THALER

MASS LUCIANO’S RISE TO FAME began five years ago when he was crowned Mr. Gay World. Winning the title motivated him to launch MASSBRANDED, the high-end men’s streetwear label that pushes boundaries, revs style engines and leaves nothing—and everything—to the imagination. This month the label is introducing “Fierce”, the next collection in its popular Mesh Series. Inspired by paratroopers and Mass Luciano’s own memories from growing up on military bases, the capsule line combines complimentary tops and bottoms that create a uniform for the progressive, active man. HOW DID WINNING MR. GAY WORLD LEAD TO YOUR LAUNCHING YOUR OWN HIGH-END FASHION LABEL? I had been designing for other brands for twelve years and I never once considered having my own fashion label. During the Mr. Gay World competition, I was asked about the clothes I was wearing, most of which I had designed, and the idea of launching my own brand started to take shape. My partner challenged me to start with a small collection that we could produce ourselves and sell online. We didn’t expect it to take off so quickly! The experience has been really exciting and gratifying. WERE YOU ALWAYS HANDY WITH A NEEDLE AND THREAD? Not really, but I was always crafty and creative. In high school, I loved to sketch and design clothes for my friends who would then get a seamstress or tailor to make the garments. I didn’t learn to sew myself until fashion school. It took me a while to enjoy sewing as I lack the patience for it. HOW SHOULD THE WELL-DRESSED MAN PRESENT HIMSELF?

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A good look should reflect the personality of the person wearing it. It doesn’t matter how fashion forward or trendy the look is, if you’re not wearing it with confidence, it will end up wearing you.

IS THE NAME “FIERCE” INTENDED AS A NOD TO THE GAY PARTY COMMUNITY? I think anyone who has the courage to wear a gold printed mesh sweatshirt with matching shorts is fierce!

MASSBRANDED SEEMS TO IMPLY THAT THE COLLECTION IS MADE FOR THE MASS CONSUMER, BUT THAT’S NOT RIGHT, IS IT? The name MASSBRANDED is really just a play on my own name.

HOW HAS GAY NIGHTLIFE INFLUENCED YOUR LABEL? When we launched MASSBRANDED, the styles that sold out first were our mesh statement pieces. Our customers would tag us on social media and we noticed that most styles were being worn at clubs, music festivals and on cruises. It’s a scene I knew well. My first experience in the gay club scene was in the late nineties in Puerto Rico, where I worked at the best gay club in San Juan called Eros. When I moved to Los Angeles, I experienced my first circuit party and had amazing times dancing with my friends… and making new ones!

IT IS DESIGNED WITH A SPECIFIC GUY IN MIND. WHO IS HE? One that is individualistic who wants to dress casually without dressing down and likes to stand out from the crowd. He’s an extrovert and an exhibitionist who uses fashion to express himself. TELL US ABOUT THE “FIERCE” COLLECTION. The FIERCE capsule collection is inspired by athletes. We wanted to give our signature striped mesh fabric a new look by treating it with a metallic print, echoing gold and silver sport trophies. The new tops, sweatshirts and shorts are designed to sculpt the body for a look that’s sporty, sexy and bold. WHY IS MESH COMING BACK SO BIG RIGHT NOW? Peoples attitude towards fashion is changing, especially in menswear where dress codes are more relaxed and gender rules are becoming more fluid. It’s okay for men to want to feel and look sexy and mesh is an approachable way to achieve that look in a more masculine way. It’s also versatile. It can be sporty and elegant, technical and functional. And it’s provocative. It is a way to show off skin without having to take your clothes off. It allows you to reveal and conceal.

DOES HEADING A FASHION LABEL ALLOW FOR MUCH PLAYTIME? One of the perks of having your own fashion label is that you get to set your own rules and make our own schedule. When I’m in different cities, I always notice what people are wearing and how they style themselves. It’s research! I need to see what is already out there to make sure we’re doing something different. WILL YOU BE INTRODUCING MORE COLORS TO THE “FIERCE” CAPSULE COLLECTION? Our capsule collections are unique with limited styles and limited numbers. Once we launch a capsule, we move on the next one. What you see is what you get. So if you like it, make sure to get it now before it sells out forever! MASSBRANDED is available exclusively at MassBranded.com. Follow on Instagram @ mass_branded


INTERVIEW // MASS LUCIANO

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

MASSBRANDED FIERCE THE LATEST METALLICA LOOKS FROM MASSBRANDED.COM

AXEL SWEATSHIRT AND BRACKET TANK TOP MODEL ON THE LEFT WEARS THE AXEL SWEATSHIRT, THE MOST POPULAR STYLE IN MASSBRANDED’S MESH SERIES. SHEER, BUT NOT TOO REVEALING, THIS STRIPE MESH SWEATSHIRT FEATURES SIDE ZIPPERS FOR EASY ACCESS WHILE NEW SOFT-SCUBA BONDED JERSEY PANELS STRETCH AND MOVE WITH YOU FOR A MORE COMFORTABLE FIT. LAYER IT OVER A SHIRT FOR AN EDGY YET SMART CASUAL LOOK OR WEAR IT SOLO TO SHOW A LITTLE SKIN. DESIGNED TO BE FITTED AROUND THE SHOULDERS AND RELAXED AROUND THE BODY. BODY: 100% POLYESTER; RIB: 97% COTTON, 3% SPANDEX. HAND WASH OR DRY CLEAN. US$189 AT MASSBRANDED.COM ANTONI (R) WEARS THE BRACKET TANK. EXHIBITING GRAPHIC USE OF TEXTURES, THIS SHEER MESH TANK TOP IS ENGINEERED TO ENHANCE THE SHOULDERS AND CHEST CREATING A VISUAL CONTRAST THAT’S SUBTLE YET BOLD. BODY: 100% POLYESTER; RIBBING: 100% POLYESTER. HAND WASH COLD, NO BLEACH, NO TUMBLE DRY, COOL IRON IF NEEDED. US$149 AT MASSBRANDED.COM

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

FIERCE SHORTS IN GOLD 100% POLYESTER; RIBBING: 90% COTTON, 10% SPANDEX. US$169 AT MASSBRANDED.COM

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

MIXING SILVER AND GOLD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD. ANTONI BOLDLY MATCHES THE FIERCE TANK IN SILVER WITH FIERCE SHORTS IN GOLD. US$169/ US$149 AT MASSBRANDED.COM

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

FIERCE TANK TOP INSPIRED BY TRADITIONAL BASKETBALL JERSEYS, THESE SILVER AND GOLDEN TANK TOPS ARE CRAFTED FROM MASSBRANDED’S SIGNATURE STRIPE MESH MATERIAL. THE STYLE FEATURES CONTRAST RIB INSERTS ON THE CHEST AND SIDES FOR A STRUCTURED LOOK THAT’S BOTH BOLD AND COMFORTABLE...A SLAM DUNK! BODY: 100% POLYESTER; RIBBING: 90% COTTON, 10% SPANDEX. WASH INSIDE OUT, MACHINE WASH COLD, GENTLE CYCLE, DO NOT BLEACH, DO NOT TUMBLE DRY, DO NOT IRON. US$149 AT MASSBRANDED.COM

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

FIERCE SHORTS IN SILVER ANTONI WEARS MASSBRANDED’S UPDATED STRIPE MESH SHORTS IN SILVER. THE DRAWCORD WAISTBAND ENSURES A PERFECT FIT, WHILE CONTRAST RIB PANELS ON THE SIDES STRETCH AND MOVE WITH YOU. THIS STYLE FEATURES A ZIP BACK POCKET KEEPING YOUR VALUABLES SECURE. PAIR IT WITH YOUR FAVORITE MESH SERIES TOP FOR A COMPLETE HEAD TO TOE LOOK. WASH INSIDE OUT, MACHINE WASH COLD, GENTLE CYCLE, DO NOT BLEACH, DO NOT TUMBLE DRY, DO NOT IRON. BODY: 100% POLYESTER; RIBBING: 90% COTTON, 10% SPANDEX. US$169 AT MASSBRANDED.COM

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FASHION // MASSBRANDED

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ADVERTORIAL // HASTINGS HOTELS

THE CULLODEN ESTATE & SPA

HASTINGS HOTELS // TREAT YOURSELF TREAT YOURSELF TO A 5-STAR BREAK AT THE CULLODEN ESTATE & SPA Enjoy a luxurious overnight escape to the Culloden Estate & Spa from Friday 17th July. This magnificent hotel is just six miles from Belfast and boasts stunning views over Belfast Lough and across County Antrim. The Culloden stands in 12 acres of beautiful secluded gardens and woodland and offers a fabulous range of dining options including Vespers Restaurant serving modern cuisine using only the finest and freshest local ingredients; The Lough Bar offering light

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snacks and the hotel’s famous decadent Afternoon Tea and the Cultra Inn, a cosy bar and bistro which nestles within the Estate and is perfect for a tasty lunch, evening meal or pint by the fireside. This summer, the Culloden will be home to the Jawbox Mobile Bar, which will be located on the lawn outside the Cultra Inn serving a delightful selection of Gin serves, wine and beer in the sunshine. Enjoy an overnight stay at the Culloden Estate & Spa with Full Irish Breakfast from only £105pps. Stay for 2+ nights and get £15 off per day or stay for 3+ nights and get £20 off per

day.* For further information or to book go to www. hastingshotels.com or call 028 9042 1066. *Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. Due to government restrictions the Spa & Health Club will remain closed until permitted to reopen by government guidance. ENJOY A CITY BREAK IN BELFAST AT THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL Enjoy a summer staycation in Belfast and stay at the stunning Grand Central Hotel, home to Ireland’s tallest cocktail bar, the Observatory.

The Grand Central Hotel has a delightful range of dining options including the Grand Café which is perfect for casual meetings to catch-ups over coffee and long, lazy lunches and the Seahorse Bar & Restaurant offering sumptuous Afternoon Tea and an exquisite evening menu. The Observatory on the hotel’s 23rd floor, is the most luxurious cocktail lounge in Ireland, where guests can sit back, relax and sip on the finest cocktail and drinks selection and enjoy the breathtaking views of Belfast and beyond. The Grand Central Hotel will reopen its doors on Friday 3rd July and guests can enjoy an


ADVERTORIAL // HASTINGS HOTELS overnight break with Full Irish Breakfast from £75pps. Stay for 2+ nights and get £10 off per day or stay for 4+ nights and get £20 off per day.* For further information or to book go to www.hastingshotels.com or call 028 9023 1066.

information or to book go to www.hastingshotels.com or call 028 4372 1066. *Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. Due to government restrictions, the Spa & Health Club will remain closed until permitted to reopen by government guidance.

*Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. SPRING IN TO SUMMER AT THE SLIEVE DONARD RESORT & SPA

THE SLIEVE DONARD RESORT & SPA

Ballygally Castle is an idyllic location to enjoy a short break by the coast. Perched on the tip of the famous Causeway Coastal Route, the stunning 17th century castle overlooks Ballygally Bay with uninterrupted views towards Scotland with 54 bedrooms including 18 deluxe coastal view bedrooms and delicious cuisine made using the finest local produce.

Nestled at the foot of the Mountains of Mourne, the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle stands in six acres of immaculate private grounds. A golden strand of beach borders one side while the mighty Royal County Down Golf Links frames the other. This lovingly maintained Victorian hotel is home to one of Europe’s finest resort Spas. There’s lots of places to go walking and exploring nearby including Tollymore Forest Park, Silent Valley, Castlewellan Country Park and Murlough Bay Nature Reserve.

It’s the perfect atmospheric base to explore the spectacular Game of Thrones® filming locations located nearby. Ballygally Castle is home to one of the Game of Thrones® doors made from fallen trees of the iconic Dark Hedges and guests can enjoy a delightful Game of Thrones Afternoon Tea with a themed menu including Lannister egg, Baratheon Bread, Little Fingers Chicken Caesar wrap and Jon Snow cakes to Dothraki Trifle with mini Dragon’s eggs.

The hotel boasts 180 luxurious bedrooms, including six magnificent Suites, many of which have stunning panoramic views over the Mountains of Mourne and County Down Coastline. The Slieve Donard Resort offers a fabulous choice of dining options including relaxed cuisine in the Percy French, fine dining in the Oak Restaurant, light snacks in the Lighthouse Lounge and delectable Afternoon Tea. Enjoy an overnight stay at Slieve Donard Resort & Spa with Full Irish Breakfast from only £80pps from Friday 3rd July. Stay 2+ nights and get £10 off per day, stay 3+ nights and get £20 off per day, stay 5+ nights and get £25 off per day and stay 7+ nights and get £30 off per day. For further

ESCAPE TO THE COAST AND ENJOY A SHORT BREAK AT BALLYGALLY CASTLE

THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL

If you’re brave enough, take a trip to the Ghost Room to see if you can spot Ballygally Castle’s friendly ghost, Lady Isabella Shaw. Enjoy an overnight stay at Ballygally Castle with Full Irish Breakfast from only £70pps from Friday 3rd July. For further information or to book go to www.hastingshotels.com or call 028 2858 1066. *Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability.

BALLYGALLY CASTLE

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ACTION FOR DISCRIMINATION CHILDREN FEATURE // WORKPLACE

LGBTQ+ DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? FORTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION A RANGE OF LEGISLATION EXISTS in the UK to protect the rights and interests of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace. In Northern Ireland, this includes the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2003, which prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment, higher education and vocational training; the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2006, which prohibits discrimination in the provision of goods and services, premises, education, and public functions; the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations (NI) 1999, which provides a degree of protection for transgender people who are undergoing gender reassignment in relation to employment and vocational training; and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which – among other things - requires public authorities in NI to have due regard to promoting equality of opportunity between persons of different sexual orientation. While these pieces of legislation are very important, Michelle Tyson, CEO of Tyson Wilson Recruitment and Tyson Wilson Temps, has said their existence alone is not enough: “Evidence has shown that workplace barriers, prejudice, and workplace discrimination persist even with legislated human rights protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. “Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that 1.2% of the NI population identify as LGB, with an estimated 4.2% of people aged 16 to 24 identifying as LGB. The higher percentage among the lower age range is likely because diverse sexualities have become more socially acceptable in recent years. However, there is still work to be done. “It is the responsibility of all organisations – of all sizes and operating in all sectors – to take a proactive approach in ensuring a zero-tolerance policy in relation to LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace. But beyond ensuring a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, employers also have the ability and influence to foster LGBTQ+ inclusion. Employers must move the discourse beyond anti-discrimination and develop practices that support

diversity and inclusion, increase awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, and encourage accountability.” Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ employees at organisations with diversity and inclusion programmes, policies, and practices, were more satisfied and committed, perceived their workplace as fairer, and had more positive relationships with their managers and colleagues. It is important to note that LGBTQ+ issues and relations are not just between an employer and its employees. Organisations that are not mindful of the LGBTQ+ individuals within their wider ecosystem including their supply chains, the extended family of their employees, and their customers – to name just a few - are being incredibly shortsighted. Organisations should also be mindful that LGBTQ+ employees, and others, may choose not to disclose their identity. Therefore, positive programmes, policies, and practices should be supported and developed regardless of the known sexualities and identities within the workforce. As a starting point, here are six steps employers can take to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion: BUILD AN INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE CULTURE. Michelle said: “All organisations have a distinctive culture that influences how employees treat each other, which is often based on the known and communicated values of the employer, as well as the values that are unsaid but widely known. “Positive organisational culture is rarely organic – it must be cultivated and nurtured. This means that positive behaviours are acknowledged, and reinforced, and unacceptable behaviours have consequences.” A wide range of training is available that can help to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace. For example, in recent years, many organisations have taken the positive step of carrying out training on unconscious bias for employees of all levels within the organisation. This helps to build awareness among the workforce, encourages dialogue on important issues, and supports positive change.

UPDATE THE LANGUAGE OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. Ensuring the correct language and terminology is used in company policies, procedures, and documents goes a long way in visibly demonstrating the organisation’s stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion. If an organisation wants to ensure all employees are treated fairly and equally, documentation should be updated to reflect that position. For example, updating maternity and paternity policies to include “mothers/ partners” or “fathers/partners” rather than just “mother” or “father”, and updating “s/ he” or “he/she” to “they” clearly communicates an inclusive stance. A range of organisations can support an employer in developing inclusive policies and documents. “In addition, organisations that have supporting networks for LGBTQ+ employees, such as the Deloitte GLOBE network, can consult directly with the employees the policies affect when making changes and updates to make them more inclusive” said Michelle. DEVELOP A BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY. Michelle explained: “A bullying and harassment policy should be a standard policy for all organisations. However, to promote LGBTQ+ antidiscrimination and inclusion, the policy should set forth guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and highlight specific examples of both behaviours in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation. “The policy should also clearly stipulate what employees and managers should do if a colleague is being bullied or harassed, and appropriate training should be provided to those individuals who carry out investigations.” CREATE A SUPPORT PROGRAMME FOR LGBTQ+ EMPLOYEES. Programmes such as mentoring, and employee networking groups, can support your organisation in becoming a more inclusive place to work. “Mentoring programmes specifically can be of great benefit to members of the LGBTQ+ community in relation to building confidence at work,

professional development, and providing support in preparing for promotion opportunities” said Michelle. Such support programmes can also include LGBTQ+ allies – these are employees who are not members of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, but who are allies and advocates for the community. SUPPORT THE WIDER LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY. Show your support to the local and wider LGBTQ+ community by providing information to employees about local LGBTQ+ events and groups, providing support or sponsorship for events such as Pride, and encouraging volunteering at events or with organisations who provide support to the LGBTQ+ community. SEEK OUT KNOWLEDGE ON LGBTQ+ ISSUES AND HOW TO CONTINUOUSLY DEVELOP AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE. Michelle added: “Becoming a supportive and inclusive employer is not a target destination, it’s a journey, and one that continually evolves. “No organisation is expected to get it right first time, or to keep abreast of all the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. However, fostering open dialogue and seeking knowledge to stay informed is a pretty good place to start. “Challenge the ‘this is how we do things’ mentality and acknowledge that diversity and inclusion requires more than just “common sense”. Many employers intend to be diverse and inclusive but miss the mark because there are simply things employers won’t know unless they ask or are told.” Stonewall is a fantastic LGBTQ+ inclusivity online resource that includes information from a range of studies, as well as best practice guides and information for organisations on how to become more diverse and inclusive. If you need help making your workplace more inclusive or simply want a change of career contact Michelle at info@ tysonwilsonrecruitment.co.uk or go to tysonwilsonrecruitment. co.uk -

Tina Calder Excalibur Press

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

HARRIS KILT CO. IT’S NOT JUST WHAT’S UNDERNEATH IT...

AVAILABLE AT: 150 SANDY ROW BELFAST HARRISKILTS.COM

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

AVAILABLE AT: 150 SANDY ROW BELFAST HARRISKILTS.COM

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

AVAILABLE AT: 150 SANDY ROW BELFAST HARRISKILTS.COM

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

AVAILABLE AT: 150 SANDY ROW BELFAST HARRISKILTS.COM

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FASHION // HARRIS KILT CO.

AVAILABLE AT: 150 SANDY ROW BELFAST HARRISKILTS.COM

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FEATURE // RICH LIST

DRAG RACE // INSTA RICH LIST RUPAUL’S INSTAGRAM RICH LIST REVEALED Out of all 149 contestants who have appeared on the show, who has the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent to be the wealthiest drag superstar on Instagram?

10

9

The team over at SlotsUp have crunched the numbers to reveal which of these 10 returning queens are earning the most on Instagram. May the best woman win! https://www.slotsup.com/rupauls-drag-race

AQUARIA

SASHAY AWAY FROM WHATEVER ELSE YOU WERE DOING AND TAKE A LOOK AT RUPAUL’S INSTAGRAM RICH LIST:

ALASKA

£4339

£4598

PER INSTAGRAM POST

8

7

PER INSTAGRAM POST INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS: 2M AGE: 32 HOMETOWN: MESQUITE, TEXAS Alyssa was originally shortlisted for Season 4, but did not make the final cast and was later cast on Season 5 instead. Her early mentors were Miss Manny, her drag grandmother, and Whitney Paige, a Texas pageant queen. Alyssa was the last queen in the show ever to be given immunity, as she was saved on Season 5’s Snatch

SASHA VELOUR £4630

PER INSTAGRAM POST

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ALYSSA EDWARDS £4658

PER INSTAGRAM POST

Game despite giving one of the worst performances. Memorable quotes: Don’t get bitter, just get better


FEATURE // RICH LIST

6

INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS: 2M AGE: 22 HOMETOWN: ATLANTA

5

Violet Chachki is the stage name of Jason Dardo, a drag queen, performer, model, content creator, and the Season 7 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. This queen could command £4,788 per sponsored post and it’s easy to see why.

VOILET CHACHKI £4788

PER INSTAGRAM POST

4

£5192

PER INSTAGRAM POST

KIM CHI £5037

Memorable quotes: Ooh lala lalala

PER INSTAGRAM POST

2

3

KATYA ZAMOLODCHIKOVA

1

After winning her season, Chachki became even more famous for touring around the world doing aerial and burlesque performances, modeling and working with Dita Von Teese, Prada, Moschino and Vogue.

ADORE DELANO £5476

PER INSTAGRAM POST

TRIXIE MATTEL £5592

PER INSTAGRAM POST

BIANCA DEL RIO £5,848

PER INSTAGRAM POST INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS: 2M AGE: 38 HOMETOWN: NEW YORK Season seven winner Bianca Del Rio tops RuPauls Instagram Rich List, with her estimated earnings for a sponsored post coming in at an incredible £5,848. This queen is a fan favourite, known for her humour and unique style, as well as her snarky comments to other contestants on the show (which often have an element of truth to them). Memorable quotes: Not today Satan, Not today!

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HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY

HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY IN THIS, ISSUE I’M LOOKING AT HOW HEALTH AND FITNESS CAN HELP YOU COPE UNDER CURRENT RULES. As Lockdown continues and the months roll by it is difficult to stay positive and motivated but I think the best way to stay positive is to challenge oneself. For me this meant quitting bad habits, joining boot camps under Allen @_ATFIT and @PeteDavison1989 and as an extra incentive to improve my fitness, I booked a trip to WeHo for February when I hope things are back to normal.

I also started running every other day and posting pictures of beautiful things I see on my run on my Instagram @AwayWithTheFairiesAWTF. Everyone needs to find their own goals and challenges so I reached out to a few LGBTQ friends to see how they were staying motivated during lockdown and immediately fell in love with them all a little more as they continue to inspire me. You can follow their journeys on their Instagram pages.

Zipporah of @zippidydooda is

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a 27 year old, Freelance Artist and Costume Prop Maker in the Film and TV industry spending her lockdown stress eating full punnets of blueberries. Since lockdown, Zipporah has been unable to continue her love of kayaking, jet skiing and walks along the coast. As the ocean was such a major part of her life, Zipporah now focuses on how she can help the fight against Covid-19 by making, delivering and donating PPE face shields to front liners all over Northern Ireland. As production companies where forced to halt their work, Zipporah has had the chance to lock herself in her studio to brainstorm, 3D print, laser, throw paint around and develop some new concepts for her street art work. These will be coming to a street near you soon.

@jamie.hegarty works in Film & Television. The 24-year-old Assistant Director & Extras Coordinator enjoys the variety of flavours you can find with vegan friendly Naked Bars as a go to snack. Jamie is missing getting his skates on the ice rink, a sport he took up at the beginning of the year to combat the repetitiveness of workingout. Lockdown has forced Jamie to be innovative with his exercise by rotating Yoga, Home Circuits Class and 10k walks on alternate days to pass the time and keep active. The yoga has really helped Jamie both physically and mentally so he hopes to incorporate this into his work schedule when filming resumes and plans to get involved in yoga classes in Belfast.

Carla Barrow is a Costume Designer for Film, TV and Theatre. While not feasting on her favourite snack of Mozzarella, tomato, basil, balsamic and olive oil, Carla has remained active going on country walks with her fiancé or running and playing with their new puppy @TedTheMiniCockapoo. Carla is keeping busy maintaining her beautiful cottage with DIY and Gardening projects. Carla does not currently have Instagram but you can follow her journey on her fiancé Rhiann’s Instagram, which we mention later.

Lorcan, also known as @ mr_gay_ireland_2020, is a psychiatric nurse intern who currently enjoys treating himself to fresh fruit with vanilla protein yogurt. Since the gyms closed, Loran keeps in shape by running and taking the dogs for a walk depending on whether he works days or nights. Lorcan has also enlisted the support of a personal trainer to support his home workouts but cannot wait to get back in a gym. Lorcan hopes that this down time will allow him to improve

dietary habits and physical health that he can continue after lockdown. He is also working hard developing campaigns to benefit the LGBTQI+ community, and preparing to represent Ireland at the postponed Mr Gay World and Mr Gay Europe competitions next year but in the meantime will enjoy Digital Pride and the digital entertainment provided by so many talented artists now.

@IAmVickyAllen is an Actor and Performance Artist who like many of us mostly kept fit through dancing in the club and her work. Vicky is using Coffee to stay energetic. As a performer, Vicky finds joy by entertaining so has been keeping busy through online comedy videos, delivering groceries to her grandmother and regular Yoga. Vicky has found the key is adapting so instead of dancing in the club Vicky now dances in her own home and along with other artists has started working on digital projects like the Tinderbox Solo Art Project, which you can find on Tinderbox Facebook page. Lewis of @LRCFashionStylist is a Fashion Stylist & Fashion Writer currently based in London. His go to treat during lockdown is Itsu Yoghurt Rice Cakes. Since lockdown has stopped Lewis enjoying swimming for fitness, Lewis has started daily weight lifting and yoga to start his day of right. He has used this time as an opportunity to cut out sweet treats and stick to a meal plan


HEALTH AND FITNESS // MARTIN MURRAY

huge part of his life he is having to adapt to online classes which Ryan enjoys but admits it doesn’t compare to having

to keep a healthy mind and body. He remains sane by taking part in Insanity Cardio by Shaun T and a running 3 to 4 times a week. During his down time, Jordan has taken up German and is completing his degree in primary school teaching.

bars. Admitting that he is missing the gym, big time, Jack

he created for himself which is important, as everyone’s requirements are individual.

@rhiannjeffrey is a 27-year-old theatre director with a love of celery sticks and peanut butter. Since lockdown has removed Rhianns access to pools and beaches, she has missed swimming and enjoying the water but continues to keep her fitness up walking her adorable new dog @ TedTheMiniCockapoo with her fiancé Carla and dancing in the garden to their favourite records. Rhiann has thrown herself in to work in while she remains on lockdown in Antrim town and is currently creating projects for Jerwood Arts, Arts Council NI and The Mac. @ryan0nei11 is a Professional dancer but like most of us his biggest health challenge in lockdown is healthy eating. Ryan is working on enjoying healthy snacking using yoghurt mixed with different fruits, nuts and seeds to vary flavour. At 33, he is missing the social aspect of being in a class full of people with similar interests and ambitions and after morning company classes being such a

someone there to correct and encourage you. As a dancer, he works out 6 days a week with 30-40 minutes of yoga, Pilates, strength, conditioning or cardio followed by an hours walk. This is quite limited compared to usual but he understands how important it is to keep on moving so he can jump back in to training after lockdown. Ryan has used his time to reflect on how for many years he has been filling his time with work to the point he drained, both physically and mentally.

@jordan.mccormick is a professional Irish Dancer; Riverdance cast member and Student Teacher who has been treating himself to healthy doses of Hummus to get through lockdown. His largest frustration is not being able to get into the gym or the studio to dance, as his downstairs neighbours never dreamt of living under a dance studio. Jordan uses working out as his personal escape from lockdown

has begun a series of home workouts, cycling and has been keeping up the dancing to stay in shape. As an extra challenge to himself, Jack has taken to social media; teaching dancing via zoom to a school. This allows Jack to continue focusing his mind and body on his passion for dance.

@gianna93 is a professional performer and currently Female Principal Lead Dancer with Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home. Due to Covid19, Gianna returned to her Australian home when the tour postponed while at Radio City Music Hall. As lockdown has eased in Australia, she now keeps herself motivated through running, followed by some sliced Carrots with organic smooth Peanut butter. Like the other cast members, Gianna is missing performing and the motivation of her fellow cast, crew members and the audiences. She does keep up dancing in the garden along with strength and conditioning workouts to remain ready for returning to the tour. Gianna is keeping her mind active by training herself to enjoy reading more and studying for her certificate in personal training. For Gianna it has been important to focus on the present and hope that the future will bring nothing but good vibes, peace, equality and pure joy to everyone. @jack2998 is a professional Dancer and Riverdance cast member with a love for Daniel Davey’s homemade protein

@aidanorange is a Photographer and Drag Queen who uses bananas as his go to health snack. While on lockdown in London Aidan has really missed swimming. During this time, he has joined the rest of the world in some online classes, not only to keep active but mentally too. Aidan considers himself lucky, as he now has to be present online in drag much more than he usually would have. Online work provides the opportunity for Aidan to continue to grow his online presence and interact with other artists he would not usually meet. After lockdown, he will be competing for The Crown in SoHo, Freedom Bar, for their Season 2 Drag Queen competition!

FIFTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


Christopher Hannigan tat t o o a r t i s t

Kabuki Tattoo studio - Lisburn - 028 (92) 662 376

Photography - Glenn Quigley / MakeUp - Emma King MUA Model - Sarah Loghran / Stylist - Linda O’Reilly

www. kabuki tattoo studio .co.uk


LIFE!

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


ART // GRANDGARETH

QUARANTINE CUB // WITH A CAMERA GRANDGARETH SO PICTURE THIS…. UK wide QUARANTINE! Crazy right? So what’s a cub with a camera meant to do? Hiya, I’m GrandGareth and this is my lockdown project. My photography is one year old and it’s primarily been all nightclubs. (get drunk strangers together for a photo where there’s always one person who complains about how bright the camera light is). During this government issued restriction, my mind thought of my artistic LGBTQ+ community who can take a killer selfie or two BUT nothing wowed me on their social media. So, I decided to offer photography to those who’d like to ‘jush’ up on their online presence, and in turn it gives me the opportunity to learn how to direct someone in a photo. Stand there, move your neck, put your hand on your knee, bring your feet in, and so on and so forth. It’s been a rewarding experience as I’ve had the chance to work closely with my community and everyone has been very patient with me. I couldn’t ask for better guinea pigs to experiment my photography with. Reach out to me and slide into those DMs of mine and let’s chat! Social Handle: Instagram: grandgareth

SIXTY // GNIMAG.COM


ART // GRANDGARETH

SIXTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


Could you foster? Call us today to have a friendly chat about fostering

0800 0720 137

adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net Give a child a brighter future


Happy and healthy relationships are an essential foundation for our wellbeing. If your relationships don’t support your wellbeing, Relate NI can.

tel. 028 9032 3454

www.relateni.org


NOW TAKING BO OKINGS FOR 2021 / 2022

….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


COMING OUT // CHRISSY MAC

COMING OUT CHRISSY MAC OUR VERY OWN LOCAL COUNTRY MUSIC SENSATION

CHRISSY MAC, A 23 YEAR old country singer, from Lurgan but living in Donegal. We talk to him about coming out and about life in the music industry... HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY? Most people would describe me as a very bubbly outgoing person, I enjoy life to the full and try to keep in a positive mood as much as i can. DO YOU HAVE A PARTNER? Yes i am engaged to my partner this past two years and are getting married in 2021, we have been together for over 4 years.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU WERE ATTRACTED TO SAME SEX PEOPLE? I always knew from a very young age but found it difficult in the community I lived in to be myself or to try new things. DID YOU TELL ANYONE AT THE TIME? I told one of my best friends at the time I met my partner and told them to keep it a secret as I felt I was not ready to tell my family circle and close friends, although looking back now I don’t know why I was so afraid as it was the best decision I ever did and I could finally be myself, and nothing has changed with my family or friends.

WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY COME OUT? Four years ago when I met my partner. It was on Christmas day when a family member confronted me and asked me. So I finally told them and they said it was the best Christmas gift they could of asked for. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DO IT? I knew that I had a great partner and that we loved and cared for each other and we where living a double life trying to hide it so this made me just admit the truth to my family and they could not have been happier and it goes to show it was the

SIXTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


COMING OUT // CHRISSY MAC

right thing as we are getting married in under a year’s time HOW DID YOU DO IT? My brother just came out and asked me and I said yes, the relief I felt was overwhelming WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOUR FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS? All my family and friends were amazing with the support, not that I needed any support they just continued on treating me as the Chrissy they always knew which was the best thing they could have done, plus the fact that they all knew my fiancé as a “FRIEND” back then it made it easier for them to accept as he was already like part of the family ANY FUNNY STORIES ABOUT WHEN YOU CAME OUT TO SOMEONE? I told my best friend one night that I had something to tell him and that it’s very serious, I told him that I met my partner who was a fella, the look on his face I thought he was going to punch me, but after a few seconds he hugged me and said I thought you where going to tell me you where dying or something, he continued to say sure that’s nothing serious and why make a big deal out of it. SO MANY WILL KNOW YOU AS A SUCCESSFUL COUNTRY SINGER, WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF COUNTRY COME FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST EMBARK ON A CAREER IN COUNTY MUSIC? I first fell in love with country music many years ago when my grandmother always used to play the old records of the country legends. I guess this has stayed with me ever since. I first embarked on the country scene when I moved to Donegal, my partner is a radio presenter who played country music and done jobs in the country scene, one night he was comparing a country music event and he took a chance on me and put me on stage with a full backing band and from

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that night he has always supported me and pushed me further and further in my career. BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER WE NEED TO ADDRESS THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM COVID 19 & LOCK DOWN. HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOU PERSONALLY AND YOUR CAREER? I suppose Covid has affected everyone in different ways, to me it has made me realise how much I miss singing to people each week, should it only be a handful of people in a bar or to a sold out concert / event. It has made me want to push my career further once this is all over and never to take anything for granted. 2020 was a big year for me, I started the year on a high after recording my first ever live DVD and TV special and doing my sell out concert, I was to go to Spain twice this year singing and also have my first tour of Scotland and unfortunately these had to be re scheduled. NOW THAT THE END IS IN SIGHT IS YOUR PLAN TO PICK UP WHERE THINGS LEFT OR IS THAT STILL A LONG WAY OFF? Yeah once we get the go ahead from the country music association to go back out on the road i will be pushing myself 110 percent to give the public the best shows I possibly can to make up for what they have been missing, because if it wasn’t for the people supporting me I would never have made it this far. We are currently working on my new single and as soon as the studios reopen I hope to have it released very soon CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER, WE HEARD YOU WERE AWARDED BEST SINGLE AT THE NI COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT, HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? This was a massive shock to myself, I never thought after only being on the country scene for a little over two years that I would stand a chance of collecting

an award. The organiser of the awards contacted me and asked me to attend the event as I had been up for nomination for best single of 2019 with my single Wiggle Wiggle, these votes where all cast by the public so to know that the public voted me no.1 single made it all that more special. YOU HAVE ALSO HAD CHART SUCCESS ON A FEW OCCASIONS, TELL US ABOUT THIS? Yes i was lucky to have had my first ever single This Crazy love go straight to number one in the itunes chart, something I never thought I could achieve and then to have Wiggle Wiggle make the charts a year later was a dream. HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON NEW MATERIAL THROUGH LOCK DOWN? IF SO, WHEN ARE WE LIKELY TO GET HEARING IT? I have been working on a few new singles during lockdown as I have a lot of time on my hands, between myself and my manager who happens to also be my partner we are trying to choose which one to release first. The few songs we have been working on are different to my usual songs but it will let the people see a different side to me which I look forward to. fFngers crossed you might be able to hear the new single in the next month or two. A LITTLE DICKY BIRD TOLD US MANY MOONS AGO YOU SHARED THE STAGE AND WORKED WITH OUR DANIEL, CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THIS? Yeah I was at a very young age when I got to share the stage with your wee Daniel, it was in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat through MADS Arts and Drama Society. I think I even had the wee crush on Daniel back then. SO IS IT SAFE TO SAY THE MUSICAL THEATRE AND DRAMA ARE BEHIND


COMING OUT // CHRISSY MAC

YOU OR MAY WE SEE YOU ON STAGE IN A SHOW IN THE FUTURE? Definitly not, I love doing theatre I have been lucky enough the past few years to have been in local pantomimes every year and I even starred as the dame for the very first time just a few months ago which I really loved. I hope to be able to continue doing theatre for as long as anyone will have me. WE AREN’T TOO FAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL COUNTRY SCENE, IS THERE ANY STIGMA WITH YOU BEING A GAY MAN OR DO YOU FIND THAT PEOPLE ARE VERY WELCOMING? Everyone is so welcoming to me in the country scene. The other singers and

performers take me for who I am and I was a little nervous at the start that some of the older generation might not take to me but they are my biggest followers and even want to come to our wedding. I think having my partner Terence on the road with me and at all events gives the people a better chance to know us both and to see how happy we are together. TIME TO DO A BIT OF NAME DROPPING, TELL US SOME OF THE PEOPLE YOU HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET AND/OR WORK WITH AND ALSO WHO ARE YOUR IDOLS? I have been so lucky to have shared the stage with many a great Irish country legends including the queen of country

Philomena Begley, Louise Morrissey, Kathy Durkin, Dominic and Barry Kirwan, Cliona Hagan, Michael English, Hugo Duncan to name only a small few, to me these people have all become real close friends and I never once dreamt that I would have got the chance to sing with them never mind meet them. Nathan Carter is next on my dream list to sing with even though if he just stands there and lets me look at him am happy. SO THE FIRST PART OF 2020 HAS BEEN A WASHOUT, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR AND FURTHER AFIELD? To release new music and of course to reschedule any gigs or events that had to be cancelled due to Covid as it breaks my heart not to be able to perform for people. With our wedding also getting extremely close I’m sure that will take up a lot of time,

LASTLY, ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD? I would just like to thank you for asking me to do this great interview and for any of your readers who dont know me would be very grateful if they check out my social media pages and of course on youtube. Hopefully i will get to meet you somewhere along the road in the future. And finally always be yourself, stand tall and be very proud of the person you are. We only get the one chance at it here so we may make it the best we can. Life is for living so live it to the full. love Chrissy Mac

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www.chrissymacband.co.uk

SIXTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // REFORM

REFORM // THE GENDER RECOGNITION ACT “REQUIRING TRANS PEOPLE TO SUBMIT TESTIMONY FROM A SUITABLE MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL WHO CAN ATTEST THAT THE TRANS PERSON IS EXPERIENCING A MENTAL DISORDER CALLED ‘GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER.’ MANY TRANS PEOPLE FIND THIS REQUIREMENT TO STATE THE THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL IS OFFENSIVE, STIGMATISING AND OUT OF SYNC WITH HUMAN RIGHTS.”

JOHN O’DOHERTY THE RAINBOW PROJECT SIXTY EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // REFORM

IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT high-profile attacks on trans and non-binary people, their rights to recognition of who they are and their access to healthcare, we felt that it was important to give the community an update on how these issues affect trans people in Northern Ireland. The issue which has grabbed headlines over recent times have been about potential ways to reform the Gender Recognition Act. In order to understand the reforms we have to know what the act is for and what the reforms would do. The Gender Recognition Act was brought in by the Blair government in 2004, following a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights (Goodwin v UK) the government was obligated the create a way for transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. This is the only thing that a Gender Recognition Certificate does. It allows someone to ensure that their birth certificate accurately reflects their true gender and not the way their body was described when they were born. Why does this need reformed? Well the act needs reformed because trans and non-binary people have been highlighting the burdens that it places on them to seek approval from the state that they are who they say they are. Getting a gender recognition certificate is not easy. It requires trans people submit an application to a panel of people who get to decide whether or not they are who they say they are. It also requires trans people to submit testimony from a suitable medical professional who can attest that the trans person is experiencing a mental disorder called ‘Gender Identity Disorder.’ Many trans people find this requirement to state the they are mentally ill is offensive, stigmatising and out of sync with human rights. We don’t believe that trans and non-binary people are mentally ill. We believe that minority experiences of gender are a perfectly normal part of human variation. We agree with the 2018 World Health Organisation announcement that transgender experiences and identities would no longer be classified as mental illness and that the newest versions of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-11), an international guideline for diagnosing diseases and other health conditions, would include ‘gender incongruence’ in a newly-created sexual health chapter. By keeping some form of gender incongruence within the ICD, the WHO is stating that transgender people should have access to medical interventions as appropriate forms of care for alleviating distressing dysphoric experiences without pathologising transgender identities in and of themselves. We believe that the UK Gender Recognition Act should have been reformed in a way similar to how gender recognition is managed in the Republic of Ireland, which is by no means perfect, but is a vast improvement on the UK model. We believe that trans people should be permitted to make a statutory

declaration of their gender without the need for a diagnosis of a mental disorder or of seeking approval from a judicial panel. We have also recently seen a rise in myths about trans peoples’ access to gender affirming healthcare and particularly the interesting idea that young people are ‘fast-tracked’ for hormonal replacement therapy. Honestly, just speak to any trans person in Northern Ireland who can tell you how divorced from reality this notion is. There is one gender identity clinic in Northern Ireland, based at Knockbracken outside Belfast, and it has not taken on a new client since March 2018. Even when the Northern Ireland Gender Identity Clinic was taking on new clients it had the longest waiting times of any gender identity clinic in the UK. The average waiting time for someone to be on the waiting list before even having their initial assessment was three years. Once someone starts assessment it can be well over a year before they actually start a hormone replacement therapy. Many trans people that we have worked with have had very negative experiences of the clinic and have not felt that they have been appropriately supported throughout their transition. Trans and non-binary people deserve access to high-quality healthcare services, tailored to meet their needs and their voices need to be heard by decision-makers in the health system. Access to appropriate healthcare is a human right and we will continue to work with our partners in the LGBT sector to ensure that the right to healthcare for trans people is respected and protected in Northern Ireland. Trans and non-binary people are under attack – and we must do everything we can to support them. Each and everyone of us has our part to play to ensure we can be allies to our trans community. We must educate ourselves, listen to and platform trans peoples stories and fight against those who would see trans rights stepped back. Trans people are being failed – the complete lack of gender affirming health care in Northern Ireland is quite simply despicable. Many trans and non-binary people are extremely vulnerable, isolated and lacking validation from their families and communities. We must ensure that trans healthcare is accessible, supportive and led by the needs and experiences of trans people. Trans men are men. Trans women are women. Non-binary people are non-binary.

SIXTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // SEXY SELF-CARE

SEXY SELF-CARE!

NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP BACK AND ENJOY SOME ME-TIME SEVENTY// GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // SEXY SELF-CARE

IF THERE WAS EVER A time to send yourself a sexy self-care package, it’s now. It can be tempting to only make time to pamper the lovers in our lives, and this can lead us to neglecting ourselves. Self-neglect? We’re not here for it! So, here are some basic steps to compiling a sensual self-care package. The right atmosphere

right? Wrong! If you love your cock ring collection so much, why would you keep shoving them in the back of your sock draw? Treat your toys with the care they deserve by keeping them safe and secure. Misstique has the ultimate sex toy storage system – it even comes with a Playtray that you can rest your favourite toy on when you’re done with it.

The first step in building yourself a racy selfcare package is finding something to help you set the right mood. We get so accustomed to creating an amorous atmosphere for others that we can forget to show ourselves the same level of TLC. Light a candle, pick out a sexy playlist, put on a little fragrance – because self-care is all about going that extra mile for yourself. Self-care essential 1: lube

SELF-CARE IS ALL ABOUT GOING THAT EXTRA MILE FOR YOURSELF

Why wait for a special occasion to treat yourself to some sexy essentials? You are the special occasion! Self-care essential 3: toy cleaner Start by getting yourself some luxurious lubricant. We’re all guilty of just sticking to one type of lube and not bothering to explore what’s out there, so when it comes to building a sexy self-care package we should try and live a little. If you’re a fan of all things multipurpose, maybe Wicked Hybrid Lubricant - from the sensual care collection is the friend you haven’t met yet? For those of you who are all about premium ingredients, a lube like Sliquid Organics Natural Silk Hybrid Lubricant has your name on it. Self-care essential 2: storage case Another essential that many of us convince ourselves we aren’t deserving of is a sex toy case. Surely a case is only for people who own more sex toys than they can count,

Keep your sex dirty and your toys clean and never before has this been more valid. If you own a sex toy but don’t own any sex toy cleaner, what are you waiting for? Keeping your toys so fresh and so clean is basic self-care. Grab yourself some Misstique sex toy cleaner and go to town on your toy chest. Some sexy attire Sometimes a little wardrobe update is all you need to get your mojo back. You don’t need to go all out, just treating yourself to a new pair of sexy knickers or boxers from the Rounderbum collection might be enough to get you feeling yourself.

of your self-care, so don’t hold back! Sometimes you just need to get yourself a Danny Miami pair of briefs. Take time to explore What toy or kink have you been thinking about trying? We can’t say what it is for sure, but something sprang to mind, didn’t it? Don’t be shy! Push the boat out and try something different. It’s normal to feel a bit unsure about the unknown, but Misstique has a smorgasbord of support standing by if you need it. Customers often research online, visit our website, call in and ask our highly trained staff about getting to grips with a new toy, and you can see toys in action at our tester station. Don’t forget to indulge There must be a sex toy do you know you’ll love but isn’t a part of your collection yet. If funds aren’t the issue (and that is very valid issue) what’s holding you back from getting the toy of your dreams? Maybe you feel like it has to be your birthday before you can splash out, or perhaps you’re the kind of person who is more comfortable with buying gifts for others than you are yourself. Self-care is often mistakenly equated with frequently spending large sums of money on yourself, and that’s not what engaging in self-care is about at all. However, if the thought of ever treating yourself is kind of scary, that could be something to work on. Sexual happiness starts with the way we treat ourselves, so take these ideas and show yourself some love and affection – that’s an order! Misstique Belfast - 27 Gresham Street, Belfast.

Having said that, you’re the one in charge

SEVENTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


REVIEW // BELFAST CHEESECAKE COMPANY

NOM NOM // CHEESECAKE Strawberry, Mint Aero, Biscoff, Vanilla, Lemon, Snickers… yes we are talking Cheesecakes, we as a nation are lovers of them, they can be plain flavours or combinations of your favourite things either way it’s a sure thing that given the task we would attempt to eat our body weight in these decadent beauties. Thanks to Belfast Cheesecake Company our dessert dreams are a reality on our doorstep. Personally, I am such a foodie, I love eating healthy just as much as I love a good pudding or treat with a cuppa tea. In normal fashion scrolling through social media my ears trick up when I see something of interest, it was doing this I discovered Belfast Cheesecake Company, from the pictures that made my belly rumble to the reviews that had me salivate I simply had to

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touch base with Jonathon and sample these devilish creatures that were playing mind games with me LOL. After a lovely online chat and the terribly hard task of deciding which cheesecake to order I arranged to collect my order from their base in East Belfast, anyone familiar to the area it is round the corner from The Strand Cinema and Park Avenue Hotel so really accessible. Being the greedy and indecisive person that I am I went with two flavours, you can get a ½ and ½ option which is perfect if you want to try different things or if as a group you have a different favourite. I went for the Kinder option and Millionaire Shortcake, I am a sucker for a kinder Bueno and adore the hippos so was a no brainer getting

this then the Millionaire shortcake literally called me from the page, who isn’t a fan of a caramel square I ask you? This was one on steroids! On arrival I was completely overwhelmed as they kindly made me a full cheesecake of each flavour and also gave me a box of their light bites, OMG they were divine a mixture of Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Mint Aero. With the sheer size of the cheesecakes I knew I was going to need some help getting through them, I called on a few friends who as you can image were more than happy to tuck in and tell me their thoughts. I spend that day and the following calling in on friends having a catch up and stuffing


REVIEW // BELFAST CHEESECAKE COMPANY

“I don’t have a sweet tooth as a rule, but hey sometimes one has to make sacrifices.” A treat for the pallet AND they eyes, these babies are five star. The Millionaire cheesecake had the edge for me, all down to the vast layer of caramel in the centre..... meanwhile the Kinder, well a treat for all ages, but children will definitely let out a gasp on sight of this marvel.” The boxed Truffles are beautifully presented and indulgent and would make a lovely gift for someone, I couldn’t choose from Terry’s Chocolate Orange and Mint Aero. In fact, why choose? It is still lockdown, get one of everything, share & spread the word!” Susanna Todd Nesbitt “The Cheesecakes was amazing.. Base not too think, not too thin, simply perfect. Definitely the best I have ever had. Pauline, I loved the Kinder one, could not stop eating lol, thanks for letting us sample. Will be ordering one soon for my Brothers Birthday.” Pauline from Newcastle “OMG were do I start, I have had many a cheesecake in my day though these are another level, from the decoration to the Flavour I couldn’t fault them, truly amazing though what I will say after a slice I was more than satisfied, for me that’s a sign of good quality chocolate and a desert with just the right about of sweetness, that leaves you content.” Tom K from Belfast

Ordering couldn’t be easier do as I did and chat via Facebook “Belfast Cheesecake Co” or give them a text/call on 07846695418.

HOW IT BEGAN

My name is Jonathon and I run and own Belfast Cheesecake Co, I started out making different flavours of cheesecakes for family and friends to try. Before long I was being asked to make peoples favourite chocolate bars into cheesecakes! I was always being told how good my cheesecakes were and I should think about selling them. Soon I was being asked to make cheesecakes for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. So, I thought the time was right to launch my cheesecake business and with the help and encouragement of some friends my cheesecake business began. I set up social media pages, designed a brand logo and held an open taster evening in a local cafe so everyone could come and sample all the great varieties of cheesecake I had to offer. Since then my business has been going from strength to strength, not just through personal orders but commercial orders too. I am incredibly lucky to be able to say I supply several Northern Irelands cafes and restaurants with a variety of my cheesecakes. Not only do I supply full size cheesecakes, I do individual cheesecakes and even heavenly cheesecake bites. I only use genuine brand chocolate in my cheesecakes, and I think that shows in the quality of my cakes. Every item I make is literally made by hand, so no two cheesecakes are the same.

our faces, I want the focus to be on their opinion’s though I will say the everything was to die for, here is what they thought...

Since I started my cheesecake business I have grown as a person it was given me more confidence to get out there, I think you need that confidence in business. Belfast Cheesecake Co is my passion, I put great care into producing the cheesecakes so that quality is guaranteed. Whilst I am not there yet, I hope to open my own cafe selling great coffee & tea and of course Belfast Cheesecake Co cheesecakes so watch this space guys!! As a great man once said ’Be the best you can be’ and it is a motto I live by personally and professionally.

SEVENTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


HOME // BORA PURE

HOME // BORA PURE Luxury in the kitchen is made simple with BORA Pure BORA Pure stands for puristic, simple, minimalist design. A true design highlight, it will blend in perfectly in any kitchen as it can be customised with an air inlet nozzle in a choice of colours in five shades - greige, orange, red, jade green or blue. BORA Pure doesn’t just have a winning appearance; it is high on functionality too. For example, the power level of the cooktop extractor automatically adjusts to the cooktop usage. Manual adjustment

SEVENTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM

is naturally still possible but is no longer necessary. Thanks to the optimum airflow and extremely quiet fan, the cooktop extractor works so silently that every sizzle or hiss can be heard.

filter is easy, as is cleaning the cooktop: the flush-mounted design of the cooktop and extractor means that there are no dirty joints and any spilt liquids or food are safely caught by BORA Pure’s removable drip tray.

The system is available as an exhaust air or recirculation model, which has a low appliance height of under 20 centimetres. Even the replacement of the activated charcoal filter, which effectively neutralises odours in recirculation mode, can be easily removed from the top through the air inlet opening, without having to remove drawers or plinth panels. Changing the

After cooking, the air inlet nozzle, grease filter and drip tray can be removed in just a few simple steps and cleaned in the dishwasher. For further information, please visit www. bora.com.


FOOD// THE GOURMET BOYS

LOCKDOWN COCKTAILS THE GOURMET BOYS LET’S CELEBRATE THE SUMMER IN STYLE WITH EASY TO MAKE COCKTAIL RECIPES. WHILE YOU CAN’T GO OUT TO A COCKTAIL BAR OR A PUB, YOU CAN ENJOY A LUXURY COCKTAIL FOR LESS IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME. STARTING FROM JUST £2.50 PER DRINK, YOU CAN WHIP UP A FRUITY FAVOURITE FOLLOWING THESE EASY RECIPES - SHAKE UP A STRAWBERRY FROSÉ OR STIR UP SOME PASSION WITH A PASSION FRUIT, PEACH & MINT MOJITO. WHETHER YOU ARE PLANNING A SATURDAY NIGHT DATE NIGHT IN OR A VIDEO CALL WITH FRIENDS, MAKE SURE TO HEAD TO YOUR LOCAL LIDL TO PICK UP YOUR INGREDIENTS AND HAVE SOME FUN TRYING YOUR HAND AT MAKING YOUR OWN COCKTAILS.

cocktail which requires a little bit of preparation, and a few hours waiting time, but it’s well worth it, and before long you’ll be relaxing in the garden, Strawberry Frosé in hand. Cheers! Ingredients - Lidl’s Californian Zinfandel Rosé (£4.48 for 750ml bottle) - Strawberries - 1 Lemon - 2 tbsp Caster Sugar - Mint leaves to serve Method 1. Blend the rosé with the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. 2. Place into a tray and then into the freezer. 3. Allow to freeze for at least three hours, or overnight. 4. Once frozen, blend again, serve in glasses and top with fresh mint leaves.

STRAWBERRY FROSÉ Please give this one a go. We were really pleasantly surprised by how good this cocktail tastes - it’s rosé wine, blended with fresh, luscious, succulent strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice, then popped in the freezer for a few hours. Rosé wine may seem an unusual base for a cocktail - but it works. We believed that the Frosé cocktail market had passed its peak but this version certainly warrants a revisit. We’re not normally big fans of rosé-habitually avoiding those overly sweet Californian pinks. Nor do we usually enjoy drinks which involve enough crushed ice to sink the Titanic! Slush Puppies? No thanks! However, this cocktail is perfect for sipping on a summer’s afternoon, and it would appear we are Frosé converts. In a nutshell, it’s a daiquiri-style crushed ice

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FOOD // THE GOURMET BOYS

- 1 lime - 2 tbsp Caster sugar - 3 sprigs of mint - Large handful of ice Method 1. Slice the peaches into segments, holding back 4 to garnish. Add the rest to a blender with the sugar and juice of half the lime. Blitz until smooth. 2. Dice the remaining half lime and add to the base of the glasses along with 3 small mint leaves per glass. Use a muddler to gently crush these. 3. Place the ice in a clean tea towel, fold or wrap to enclose the ice and bash. Fill the glasses halfway with the crushed ice. 4. Add the blender contents to the glasses along with the rum and the flesh of half a passion fruit in each, then stir. 5. Top each glass with soda and add a little extra crushed ice if needed. 6. Garnish by slicing the remaining passion fruit halves, peach slices and mint sprigs.

PEACH, PASSION FRUIT & MINT MOJITO This rum based cocktail, a

anyone? Why not? More mint? Absolutely!

refreshingly bright hybrid of a Pimm’s style summer

Perhaps this drink requires a little more effort

cup and a tropical mojito,

to make than most, but as any mixologist

transports you to either an

will tell you, creating the perfect cocktail is a

exotic beach holiday, or a

time-consuming labour of love. In fact, if you’re

summer garden party. The

currently in lockdown, your household will

choice is yours.

immediately be transported to their favourite bar - and you will have turned into a cocktail

It’s a minty, fresh, fruity

god!

cocktail which can easily be adapted to suit your

Ingredients

personal preferences. Add

- 70ml Liberté White Rum (£10.99 for 700ml

less sugar if you don’t have a

bottle)

sweet tooth, or use different

- 100ml Freeway Soda water

fruits or berries to make a

- 2 peaches

bespoke creation. Cucumber

- 2 passion fruit

SEVENTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


HERe NI empowers, supports and advocates for all lesbian and bisexual women and their families. Our vision is that all lesbian and bisexual women are visible, included and valued in all aspects of society. 23 -31 Waring Street Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9024 9452 www.hereni.org hello@hereni.org @NIHERE

We provide regional LGBTQ+ youth groups across Northern Ireland, support for individuals, LGBTQ+ awareness training, community development, the LGBT Switchboard, and the LGBTQ+ Inclusive Schools Programme. 23-31 Waring Street Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9089 0202 www.cara-friend.org.uk admin@cara-friend.org.uk. @Cara.Friend.NI @CaraFriendNI

SaIL provides support for trans people and their families. If you are a parent, grandparent, carer, sibling, friend or anyone who wants to talk about gender please get in touch. We are families who support families and we have a regional network of support workers and family members waiting to connect you to any information or support you need. We are here to help so that you know, you are definitely not alone.

GenderJam NI, the youth service provided by TransgenderNI, runs regular social get-togethers for trans, non-binary, questioning and intersex people aged 25 and under across Northern Ireland, with groups in Belfast, Newry and Derry.

51 Downshire Road | Newry | BT34 1EE Tel: 02895 320 023

info@genderjam.lgbt @GenderJamNI

Belfast Trans Resource Centre 98 University Street Belfast | BT7 1HE Tel: 028 9099 6819

info@sailni.com

The Rainbow Project is a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people in Northern Ireland. We deliver a range of services including Rapid Sexual Health testing and counselling. 23-31 Waring Street | Belfast | BT1 2DX Tel: 028 9031 9030 20 Strand Road | Orlan House Londonderry | BT48 7AB Tel: 028 7128 3030 www.rainbow-project.org info@rainbow-project.org @TRPNI @THERAINBOWPROJECTNI

We support and advocate for the human rights of trans people in Northern Ireland, through community building, leading campaigns for social and political change, working with government and the community sector to improve policy and inclusion, as well as providing direct support and advocacy to individuals online and through the Belfast Trans Resource Centre. Belfast Trans Resource Centre 98 University Street Belfast | BT7 1HE Tel: 0300 302 3202 www.transgenderni.org.uk info@transgenderni.org.uk @TransgenderNI

OUT North West is an LGBTQ+ Youth Support Service for 12-25yrs. We are based in The Foyle LGBT Centre in Derry. Orlan House | 20 Strand Road Londonderry | BT48 7AB Tel: 028 7128 3030


FEATURE// #BLACKLIVESMATTER

#BLACKLIVESMATTER #BLACKLIVESMATTER WAS FOUNDED IN 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organisation in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives. We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and

spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalised within Black liberation movements.

The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.

We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

To donate and for more information visit blacklivesmatter.com

SEVENTY NINE // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // #BLACKLIVESMATTER

PROTEST

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

EIGHTY // GNIMAG.COM


FEATURE // #BLACKLIVESMATTER

rebelstarphotography.co.uk facebook.com/RebelStarPhoto instagram.com/rebelstarphotography

EIGHTY ONE // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY A LOCKDOWN LOOK AT NEW AND OLD

THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE // Our younger readers may have never heard of this 90s psycho biddy movie starring Rebeca DeMornay and Annabella Sciorra. DeMornay plays psychopathic nanny who sets out to destroy the life of the woman who accused her husband of sexual assault that eventually led to his suicide. This is probably DeMornays best and most famous role of her career and its always

KISS THE GIRLS // Another 90s classic thriller is Kiss the Girls starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. Based on the James Patterson book of the same name Kiss the girls follows Detective Alex Cross while he hunts down a serial Rapist and killer with the help of one of the Victims who has escaped. Ashley Judd was on her way to be a Mega Star and did have some great Roles after this like Double Jeopardy and Devine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood but that C U NEXT Tuesday Harvey Weinstein got her blacklisted from a lot of Hollywood big wigs.. Anyway, I could go on and on but he’s not worth the ink. I’m sure a lot of you have already seen this but again its worth a re watch and any James Patterson fans should really give this a go.

EIGHTY TWO // GNIMAG.COM

a performance you will remember she’s a psycho bitch but I also see her as an anti-hero, look out for the scene where she takes on a school yard bully. A young Julieanne Moore also plays a class part as a super bitch. This 90s thriller is a movie you could watch repeatedly. And for those that have never seen it I recommend that you do your in for a treat. You can thank me later


RECOMMENDED // MARTIN KEARNEY

SENSE8 // I know I have written about this show in the past when the final feature length episode aired but I have re-watched over lockdown and it is the best show on Netflix. It has so much passion, emotion and heart. It has amazing LGBTQ representation and you will fall in love with all the main characters. It is a show about differences of love, kindness, togetherness and its hard to explain what it is about, but I tell you watch it and you will be glad you did. It only lasted for 2 seasons but that is because the production costs where so high. If you are in touch with your emotions, you will love this. Created by Lana and Lily Wachowski the Trans Sisters who directed the Matrix movies. The cast are all gorgeous, the action and sex scenes are jaw dropping and the dialogue and emotion of the performances will pull on your heart strings and I am not ashamed to admit I have shed a few tears. I can’t recommend this show enough and recently I got a good friend from the other side of the world to watch it and he summed it up in one beautiful sentence “ I thought it was the perfect show that even know that we are all so different but if we can look deep into each and everyone we are all connected and have more in common

CRUISING // I first heard of this movie while watching Bad moms and my ears pricked up I haven’t seen it but its definitely on the list and I think this is best viewed with a crowd of you gay mates, I feel it will be so bad it would be good lol. What is it about you’re going to ask? Well… Al Pacino goes under cover to catch a serial killer who is hunting and killing gay men in the under ground BDSM scene in New York but as he gets deeper under cover he finds himself getting more intrigued and interested in the lifestyle. If you are going to give this a go maybe put it on the back round for a night of kink.

EIGHTY THREE // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

NORMAL PEOPLE // I don’t really do romance (boke) but this show give me all the feels, it made me want a GAA BF. The acting was on par with some of the great actors of our time and it was just so realistic. I spoke to a few people who have said they can relate to the main characters. The show has been a main topic on zoom calls over the past few months. Based on the Novel of the same name follows Marianne

and Connell’s on again off again relationship over the course of their final year in high school until they graduate university. The show can be quite bleak but again the acting and chemistry of the two leads is some of the best I have ever seen. Paul Mescal and Daisy EdgarJones acting will blow you away. It refreshing to watch a show based in Ireland. Episodes are around 30 minutes, easily binged in one day.

DAWSON’S CREEK // I recently watched this again and although it is a bit outdated and I find Dawson really annoying its still really good, though mostly because of Michelle Williams, readers should know I like to call her Shelly Williams. Teen shows today are over the top, played out and with bad writers and terrible actors ( Ahem Riverdale) but Dawson’s Creek will always be a classic and ahead of it’s time the controversial story lines. If I recall correctly it was one of the first to screen a coming out storyline. The soundtrack will make you feel all kinds of Nostalgia. By season 2 everyone was hooked each week. I would definitely recommend re watching this again, even just to appreciate how good my Shelly Williams is lol.

EIGHTY FOUR // GNIMAG.COM


RECOMMENDED // MARTY KEARNEY

STARGIRL // It wouldn’t be a recommended column without some sort of Superhero medium. Stargirl is the latest Superhero show I am watching and its quite good, maybe it’s because it has a bigger budget than those Arrowverse shows. Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, ETC. it feels like your watching a movie rather than a CW show. The series follows high school student Courtney Whitmore who discovers a magic staff and become the Superhero Stargirl and the leader of a new generation of unlikely Superheroes called the Justice society of America. Brec Bassinger looks stunning all suited up for the lead role. This light-hearted tv show will brighten up your summer.

MULAN // When cinema’s reopen in a few weeks this will be the first thing I go and see. A live action remake of Disney’s Mulan. I haven’t watched the original cartoon but I cant wait to see this, the trailer looks gorgeous and I’m all for kick ass female leads. Yifei Liu who is a massive star in her homeland of China stars as the title character and if this goes well she could have a very bright career ahead of her in Hollywood. It will be joy to go back to the cinema after such a long time and although a lot of films have been pushed back they will definitely be worth the wait.

EIGHTY FIVE // GNIMAG.COM


Be yourself Everyone’s welcome in our family

Fostering Northern Ireland. Start your fostering journey with us. /AFCNIfostercare 028 9046 0500 actionforchildren.org.uk/fostering Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092. Company no. 4764232. Š Action for Children 2020. 1411.


TRAVEL // BENIDORM

BENIDORM // COSTA BLANCA WORDS: GAVYN ANDREWS

EIGHTY SEVEN // GNIMAG.COM


TRAVEL // BENIDORM

SUN, SEA, SEX OH AND A GOOD GAY SCENE. Benidorm has to be one of the most recognised holiday destinations on the planet due to its lively nightlife, short flight from the UK & Ireland and the excellent value and climate that it offers. Northern Irish holiday makers have been travelling here for decades however many things have changed since the cheap and cheerful days of the package holidays offered to us by the likes of Budget, Airtours/ Aspro and Falcon Holidays from yester year. Today you can pretty much book however and whenever you want with low cost airlines and OTA’s offering dynamic packages to suit all price points. If you’re up on your tech usage and prefer to book using mobile phone Apps then Expedia, TripAdvisor and Airbnb also now have amazing ways to search book and save. The hit TV series Benidorm followed many UK holiday makers spending time in the well-known Benidorm hotel Solana and gave us all a great insight into what it might be like to live, work and holiday in Benidorm not to mention showcasing some of the Costa’s stunning beach and mountain locations. I think the shows character Kenneth owner manager of the Solana’s onsite hair salon Blo & Go also helped raise the interest of the LGBTQ community. It might come as a surprise to visitors but you will be quite simply spoilt for choice on the Costa Blanca with its much celebrated rich and diverse history. The majority of holidaymakers will head straight to the bustling resorts of Benidorm and Alicante to lap up the beach and entertainment but it is worthwhile looking at alternatives such as Altea and Moraira which offer a much more traditional Spanish experience and a wealth of beauty on the same doorstep. To the north, is a curtain of mountains which runs parallel to the sea, descending at times to form cliffs; to the South, a vast plain of

EIGHTYTWO EIGHT // GNIMAG.COM EIGHTY // GNIMAG.COM

sand patches, palm trees and salt deposits make up the backdrop for the beaches? From the valleys, which are covered with stepped orchards and keep alive its Moorish past, to the palm trees of unmistakable African origins? Benidorm often gets referred to as a concrete jungle due to the mass number of sky scrapper type hotels which customers flocked to in the booming 80s and nighties. Many of these properties have now been redeveloped and or improved for the modern day tourists. Costa Blanca offers so many entertainment and attractions it would be impossible for me to showcase them all but the below is a quick list of the key ones not to be missed. Aqualandia – massive water park; opens from May to September. Mundomar – Sea-life and Animal Park with dolphins, seals.

Terra Mitica – a massive theme park with roller coasters and other thrill rides, shows etc. Terra Natura – Wildlife park with over 1,500 animals and during the summer a water park. Explore the wine and almond growing region of Calpe, a 30 minutes’ drive north of Benidorm Benidorm has been an LGBT gay mecca for years and you can understand why. It has one of the largest gay scenes in the Costas and is home to many British and Irish Expats some of which even run and own the venues which all make up the heart of local scene. The feel of Benidorm is very different to that of the likes of Mykonos in Greece or even Barcelona and Madrid as it attracts a much more diverse gay clientele with an array of styles and interests. Personally I feel it to be much less Gay Circuit party and in your face than those destinations.


TRAVEL // BENIDORM

fancy doing or seeing. Bears Bar is open until 4am if your after some local Hairy men or fetish or why not try Benidorm’s very own EAGLE or its little sister Screaming Eagle. If like me you are game for a laugh and don’t mind the piss being taken out of you (After all you’re on holiday) then I highly suggest you hit the likes of Rich Bitch or Klee Kafee show bars as you will be guaranteed some amazing comedy and entertainment and the crowds offer some really good value to any night out. Spanish gay venues will often have dark rooms etc as part of the attraction but if you prefer to be a little more private then I think that the H2O Sauna Is a welcome Oasis for you to relax and let yourself go at.

Beni as its often fondly referred too offers a more traditional type of gay holidays with its fabulous Drag and Show bars, Exclusive Men only venues with dark rooms for cruising etc. I recommend staying in or as close to the old town as possible as its where most of the gay scene is centred around. You will find many different types and styles of accommodation and I would suggest the 2019 newly built hotel Bristol which is also only 250 metres from the beach as an excellent base. If you are more on a budget or prefer to just roll in from a night out then another firm value favourite is the 3* Roca Mar right in the heart of Casco Antiguo. The old town’s streets are filled with multiple gay / friendly bars, restaurants and cafes or why not check out the men only cruise venues if that is your sweet spot. The atmosphere of the old town will hit you from the minute you enter with the colourful street café culture and the classic disco and dance music all around echoing through the narrow cobbled lanes. Benidorm offers various gay

festivals throughout the year from its annual Prides to Drag weeks and Leather /Fetish weekends. I can truly say that anyone and everyone is welcome in Benidorm regardless of where you come from Benidorm has to be one of the most friendly/welcoming spots. If you are an early bird though then you’ll notice that the majority of venues do not open until late which is actually more common than you think when travelling in mainland Europe. Many cafes and bars in the area do open from mid-afternoon but most of the gay bars and clubs only really kick in after 22:45. My advice would be try the many different café bars like Caspers, Harbour View Café, and even Terrace Bar 69 for some daytime people watching all washed down with some great food and drink of which you can get excellent meal deals and Happy hours on offer.

Like any holiday it’s important to know your own limits as to what you enjoy and expect but Costa Blanca has been one of the longest established resorts offering the LGBTQ community a very safe space to simply let your inhibitions go. Please note many festivals such as Prides have had to be changed due to the global pandemic of 2020 so my advice is to always stay safe, keep up to date with the local Foreign office advice and get to know your in-destination representatives from tour operator’s hotels and LGBTQ destination support. Never travel without Holiday Insurance and make sure your policy covers you for Covid-19 outbreaks. If you have not thought about Benidorm or have been put off the Costa Blanca for whatever reason in the past then please give it a rethink. Finally I just want to say let’s get Summer 2020 back on track support our LGBTQ Tourism workers and LGBT Destinations, Venues and Hoteliers and I look forward to many, many, many more trips away.

As the night progresses and you get ready to hit the town in your finest summer gear its open choice really for where and what you

EIGHTY NINE////GNIMAG.COM GNIMAG.COM EIGHTY THREE


PRODUCT // SKINS SANITISE

STAY SAFE // SANITISE SKINS SEXUAL HEALTH HAS DEVELOPED an antibacterial hand gel called Skins Sanitise to complement its sexual health range of consumable products. Skins Sanitise is described as a fast-drying formula that does not need water so it can be used when on the move. Containing 75% alcohol, it is said to kill 99.9% of all bacteria. Richie Bowles, director of Skins Sexual Health, said: “The aim of our Skins Sexual Health range is to enhance sexual confidence and we are committed to developing our fun, yet innovative approach to sexual wellbeing. We have launched Skins Sanitise acknowledging that many of our customers and consumers will realistically

NINETY // GNIMAG.COM

be purchasing these items going forward. Skins Sanitise is the perfect accompaniment to the Skins range and follows on from our Skins Lubes which we launched earlier this year.”

introduce unique solutions at affordable prices we hope that Skins can continue to grow over the next ten years and play a small part in making people’s lives happier and healthier.”

Skins Sanitise is available in 500ml pump, a 100ml bottle, and a 100ml tube.

Fellow co-founder Jane Bowles added: “Skins carries a simple naming policy. We wanted our brand to be as transparent as the product itself. Some people still find it embarrassing to buy condoms and therefore to make the process quick and easy, the options are clear, it is what it says on the tin, so there is no confusion or awkward conversations when purchasing our Skins. We believe this honest but funky approach to our packaging helps attract our customers – then once they’ve tried them they are hooked.” SKINS Stockist - Misstique Belfast

The brand now covers three key product areas: protection, performance, and pleasure. So in addition to Skins Condoms there are now Vibe Rings, Performance Rings, male sexual health food supplement pills Poweract, and Powerect – a 100% natural male enhancement cream. Skins see male performance as a key growth area and much of its product development is currently in this field. Skins co-founder Richie Bowles said: “We are passionate about sexual health. We hope to build on our success to date and enter new markets globally. As a brand we believe that a happy and healthy sex life should be available for all. Indeed, research is increasingly extolling the benefits of regular sex as a powerful force for many far-reaching health benefits. By aiming to


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Explore Belfast and Donegal with the

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Profile for GNI MAG

GNI MAG ISSUE 42  

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