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in tHis issue February 2014 - volume 2, issue 3 1 Cover

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3 In this issue 4 letter from the Editor 6 in the news: national 7 in the news: interNational 8 Out on LI: Network News

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

12 Out Front: Toni Braxton 14 Out FRont: Jonathan Groff on 'Looking" 16 Book & Television review 17 music Review: Does disco still suck?

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

18 out & About: Showing pride in sochi 2014 20 Oscars cheat sheet 22 Be Scene: Network programs 24 living healthy: Discussing sex with your teen 26 living healthy: Sexual health pt.1 27 travel: Boston 28 Recipes: Romantic drinks 30 finance: your credit score 32 Fashion: Hot v-day add-ons

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Living Out is produced by The Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network

33 Points of view: Robin roberts loosens grip on black homophobia 34 Points of view: your right to know

get published! Want to join our team as a monthly contributor? We’re looking for talented writers and photographers to get involved in Long Island’s newest GLBT publication!

Contributors Joey Amato, Matthew Ambrosio, Chris Azzopardi, Dr. Bill Blazey, Chris McNamee, Rev. Irene Monroe, Rachel Roth, Laurie Segal, Gregg Shapiro, Gwen Smith

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February is the time of year when we acknowledge our country’s civil rights struggles with Black History month, celebrate love and romance on Valentine’s Day and, this year, when we stand behind our country’s athletes— particularly those from the GLBT community—who are right now competing in the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi where there is much outrage over Russian President Putin’s anti-gay laws and discriminatory actions.

Look for our spread on this year’s Winter Olympic Games and learn more about each of the three GLBT members of the U.S. Olympic Delegation (p. 18). Also, be sure to check out our preview of next month’s Academy Awards show — scheduled to air on Sunday, March 2 (p. 20), an interview with “Spring Awakenings” Broadway star Jonathan Groff on his new GLBT HBO series Looking (p. 14), and more details about the official launch of The Long Island GLBT Network’s new website (p. 8).

On our cover this month, you'll find the beautiful and talented Toni Braxton, who talks candidly how she almost left the music industry for good, her new album and how she’s vying for an upcoming lesbian role in the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black (p. 12). Last, take a pass through a fun and poignant look at how seven Long Island GLBT couples have achieved longevity in their relationships as they share their stories of how they met and what has kept them together over the years (p. 10). Our hope is that readers will find inspiration for their own lasting success. Love is in the air this month, so share it with those you care about!

With Pride,

Linda Romanello

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in the news

Gay scouts now welcome

On January 1, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) welcomed openly gay members for the first time, marking a major reversal of policy brought on by years of advocacy from GLBT groups and allies. The change comes more than six months after the BSA National Council approved ending the ban and instituted a policy

national News

By Rachel Roth

that forbids any applicant younger than 18 from being denied admittance based on their sexual orientation. Advocates say they plan to push the organization to end their long-standing ban on admitting openly gay adult Scout leaders, which was left in place.

MINN. TRANSGENDER WOMAN FREED EARLY Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a Minneapolis transgender woman imprisoned for a fatal stabbing during a racially charged brawl, has been released after serving 19 months of her 41-month sentence. McDonald, who is transitioning from male to female, was kept in a men’s facility. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, McDonald, who is black, was reportedly walking with her friends on June 5,

2011 when a group outside a bar began yelling racial, homophobic and transgender slurs. Police said a fight ensued and a woman reportedly cut McDonald in the face with a bar glass before McDonald fatally stabbed her attacker in the chest with scissors.

33 couples say ‘i do’ during the grammys When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the stage at LA’s Staples Center on January 26th to perform their hit single “Same Love” during the 56th annual Grammy Awards, they created an historic event. The duo, whose song has become a gay rights anthem, was joined by singer Mary Lambert, pop superstar Madonna and 33 same-sex and heterosexual couples who were married in the aisles live during the broadcast.

McDonald’s imprisonment outraged GLBT advocates who argued that she was unjustly criminalized after defending herself against a hate crime.

Immediately following The Supreme Court’s decision, state Gov. Gary Herbert instructed state agencies not to recognize those unions. Attorney General Eric Holder shot back, promising the couples that they will be recognized as legally married by the federal government.

VA DEMS ANNOUNCE PUSH TO EXPAND GAY RIGHTS Virginia Senate Democrats have promised to make the expansion of gay rights in the state a priority this term. Lawmakers announced a legislative agenda that includes codifying nondiscrimination laws protecting gays in the state workforce, and allowing public colleges, universities and localities to extend benefits to same-sex partners. Additionally, Sen. Adam

P. Ebbin, D-Alexandria, announced SJ1, an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would repeal the 2006 amendment barring same-sex marriages. In related news, hours after his inauguration ceremony in January, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order that prohibits workplace discrimination against GLBT state employees.


GAY MARRIAGE ON HOLD IN UTAH Late last year, Federal District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s marriage-equality ban. The court’s decision caused uproar in the historically conservative state, resulting in The Supreme Court to step in and order a stop to same-sex marriages while the state appeals the ruling. In the two weeks gay marriage was allowed, nearly 1,400 couples were wed.

The marriages were officiated by rapperactress-TV host Queen Latifah, who was sworn in earlier as a commissioner by the state of California in order to perform the ceremonies. “It was something I took very seriously,” Latifah told Huffington Post. “That is someone’s life commitment to one another, you want to make sure you do it right.”


Maryland Delegate Jon Cardin introduced a bill that would prohibit GLBT “conversion therapy” on minors. Additionally, Senator Rich Madaleno, who is gay, introduced legislation that seeks to ban transgender discrimination statewide. Similar bills voted down in 2011 and 2013.

A federal judge ruled that an Oklahoma law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples violates the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern, who wrote the decision, said that the court would not, however, immediately enforce it. Kern did say that Part A – which expressly prohibits same-sex marriage – is “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a government benefit.”

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international News

By Rachel Roth

Civil-Unions clear key vote in chile

In its first session of 2014, the Chilean Senate voted 28-6 to advance legislation that would legalize same-sex civil unions. The Life Partner Agreement (Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja, or AVP) would allow samesex couples to receive most of the benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples. The bill was first Introduced to Congress in August 2011 by the administration of President Sebastián Piñera.

German minister comes out as lesbian German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently came out as a lesbian in an interview, making her the country’s first openly GLBT cabinet member. In a conversation with the Rheinische Post, Hendricks casually said she would be

spending New Year’s Eve with her life partner. Hendricks has served in the Bundestag for 19 years and is widely considered a strong supporter of GLBT rights.

Gay relationships banned in nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (pictured left) signed a bill into law that criminalizes gay marriage, public displays of same-sex relationships, and belonging to gay groups. According to Al Jazeera, the law penalizes anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage or civil union with up to 14 years in prison while any such partnerships entered into abroad are deemed “void.” Anyone who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or who directly or indirectly makes a public show of a same-sex relationship will break the law and face up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, allies also face up to five years in prison for “failing to report GLBT behavior.”

Australian court overturns gay marriage law Australia’s high court overturned marriage equality legislation that legalized same-sex marriage in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In October 2013 the ACT Parliament passed a law making the territory the first part of Australia to legalize same-sex weddings. The legislation enabled lesbian and gay couples to marry inside the ACT, which includes the Australian capital, Canberra — regardless of which state they live in. The court said the issue should be decided by parliament — which in September 2012 voted down gay marriage legislation. This decision invalidates the marriage of 27 couples who wed after the law came into effect.

Gay adoption ban repealed in northern ireland The Supreme Court of Northern Ireland ruled that gay and unmarried couples are free to apply to adopt children. This decision affirms a June 2013 lower court ruling and overrides an

attempt by Health Minister Edwin Poots to keep the ban in place. Previously, a single gay or lesbian person could adopt children in Northern Ireland, but a couple in a civil partnership could not.

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out on li


The Long Island GLBT Network (The Network) has officially launched its new website, now offering visitors a completely fresh online experience with

new features, greater functionality and a smart, clean look. Ultimately, it will make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for. An improved calendar offers new sorting functions, such as searches by region, month, and even type of program, so visitors can easily find out about upcoming events and meetings. A streamlined breakdown of The Network’s many programs and services makes it easier and faster to find out about what’s being offered in health, advocacy, education and more. The new website now also combines what had previously been independently existing sites for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders-Long Island (SAGE-LI), Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY), The Long Island GLBT Community Center (The Center), Long Island Pride and Living Out.

“We are extremely excited to be able to deliver a brand new online experience to Long Islanders and the GLBT community that offers so much more functionality and greater ease of use,” said Dr. David Kilmnick, CEO of The Network. “We made so many advancements, the site is easier to navigate and visitors can find what they’re looking for more easily and quickly. We invite everyone to take a look.” Other enhancements allow users to easily print and change text size, connect directly with The Network’s social media outlets, and shop in the new online store and/or make donations through a shopping cart that offers familiar checkout tools. Sponsorship opportunities in the LI GLBT Business Directory, Partners in Pride, Living Out advertising, LI GLBT Expo and more can also be found in the brand new section for “Business Partners.”


APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR KAPLAN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Inc. (LIGALY) is now accepting applications for the 5th Annual Adam S. Kaplan Memorial Scholarship, which is intended for GLBT identified students who are committed to affecting change in the GLBT community, involved in a leadership role and are actively involved with helping other GLBT youth.

The Scholarship was formed in memory of Adam S. Kaplan, the first youth member of the LIGALY Board of Directors in 1994 who went on to educate thousands of young people through speaking at more than 200 schools and appearing on numerous television shows to advocate for the rights and safety of GLBT youth. He was also involved with the opening of LIGALY’s first community center in 1995. The Scholarship provides a legacy to Adam’s bright spirit and curious mind by giving other promising, young Long Island GLBT leaders an opportunity to receive a quality college education.

The Scholarship, a total of $1,000, will be awarded to two young GLBT leaders who are graduating from high school and enrolling in college for the upcoming fall semester ($500 for both the fall and spring semesters) and can be applied to tuition, books and/or fees and is open to all majors.

Scholarship candidates are selected for an interview after careful review of the complete application, academic performance and interests, honors and service to the GLBT community. All completed applications must be received on or before March 31, 2014. For more info, call 631.665.2300, email edistefano@liglbtnetwork. org or go online: kaplanscholarship


MARK YOUR CALENDAR The Network Gets Ready For Spring & Summer with Three Big Events MAY





Equality Awards Gala

East End Summer Kick-Off Saturday, May 24th 2pm to 6pm

Saturday, June 14th Heckscher Park, Huntington

The Network’s premier event, the Equality Awards Gala, is set for May 2. The largest GLBT fundraising dinner on Long Island, the Equality Awards Gala celebrates those who further The Network’s mission to end homophobia and transphobia, provide a home and safe space for the GLBT community and advocate for equality.

The East End Summer Kick-Off, hosted this year by DOMA plantiff and gay rights activist Edie Windsor, returns to Southampton on May 24th, offering guests a free BBQ, cocktails, a chance to mingle and an opportunity to learn more about The Network, its programs, services and its efforts on the East End.

Long Island Pride Parade and PrideFest is Long Island’s largest GLBT event of the year, attracting more than 13,000 attendees, dozens of marching groups and floats and an all-star lineup of musical entertainment to the Village of Huntington. Scheduled performers for this year’s event, on June 14th, will be Taylor Dayne (“Tell It to my Heart”), Kristine W (“I’ll Be Your Light”) and Prince Poppycock (as seen on America’s Got Talent). Long Island Pride, which traces its origins to 1991, also features a health pavilion, food trucks, exhibitors, a children’s area and more in Hecksher Park.

Friday, May 2nd Carlyle on the Green, Bethpage

Past honorees have included U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Supreme Court DOMA Plaintiff Edie Windsor, corporate and community leaders, Bank of America, youth leaders and GLBT civil right advocates. 8


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Long Island Pride 2014

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d n la Is g n o L n o e v o Finding L

out on li

Seven Couples Share

by linda romanello

Their Secrets to Long

-Lasting Love

Sure, it’s tough to find that one special someone to share your life with – some of us spend years searching. The good news is, it’s not impossible. We found a number of happy GLBT couples right here on Long Island who were excited to share their love stories with Living Out readers – just in time for Valentine’s Day. Find out what they say are the keys to their long-term success and read about the interesting dynamics that keep them together.

Jonathan & Joe Freeport For Jonathan Chenkin, Development Officer for The Long Island GLBT Services Network and Joseph Ferriolo, Senior Program Manager/energy conservation, their story began 20 years ago when the two met at a club on Long Island. “I was watching people on the dance floor, but everyone was blurry because I wasn’t wearing my glasses,” says Chenkin. Convinced that Chenkin was flirting with him, Ferriolo walked over to say hello. “His ego was intact I guess,” jokes Chenkin. The two, who married once it became legal in NY, say that one of the keys to their success is that they never fight about the same thing twice. “It’s a waste of time,” says Chenkin. “You either work it out or agree to disagree and move on. To fight about a tube of toothpaste for 20 years has no value." According to Chenkin, “the single most important factor in the longevity of any relationship is communication. It isn’t having like interests, or common history, or even the same tastes in culture - it’s all about communication. If you can talk to each other, there’s a good chance you can have that opportunity.”

Rev. Deb Viola, LMSW, is what one could call a love expert. 10

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As a wedding officiant and owner of Ceremonies of the Heart, she’s had the pleasure of marrying hundreds of Long Island couples — both same-sex and heterosexual — and worked with hundreds more as a pre-marriage and couples counselor. She recently shared some of those tips with Living Out.

Margaret & Carole Freeport Margaret Mueller and Carole Olkoski met 23 years ago when Mueller walked into a bar that Carole was tending. Two years later, they had a commitment ceremony and, shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in NY and on the anniversary of their first date, they exchanged wedding vows. As co-owners of a restaurant, Mueller admits that working together can be challenging, “but after 23 years, I still think she’s the finest woman I ever met.”

According to Mueller, there are several key factors that have made their relationship last. “First is respect. I never say anything I have to take back,” she says. “Second, you have to be able to laugh together. I learned you’re responsible for telling someone what you like, what you want and what you need. They’re not supposed to read your mind. We communicate very well. Then, of course, it all takes work; it’s not easy. Last, we try to clear our schedules and have date night, make time for each other.”

Susan (an international financer) and Helen (a medical assistant) Joannides who exchanged vows in 2013, have been together for six years. After a year-long, online-only relationship, the two decided it was time to finally meet. As Susan explains, “It got to a point where everyone thought we made each other up. Helen met me at my office – I was kind of shy at first, but it was like being with an old friend. It was really comfortable between us. We both felt like we already knew each other, so it wasn’t strange at all. In fact, it was really good.”

Sue & Helen Seaford

What is the secret to maintaining a long-term relationship? The common core is communication – that’s key. You have to be comfortable with each other to communicate about everything. There really shouldn’t be anything that’s off topic. Also, you have to agree to put the relationship first. What advice do you give to struggling couples? When you love somebody, you want to make their life easier. You want to do what

While Helen also agrees that communication and laughter are key, she also stresses, “if you found the person you really believe is the one, just work at it. Don’t let it go. You also need to be prepared to compromise. I think that ultimately, life is way too short and when you do find that person, you need to go for it.”

you can to make their life happy. You’re kind to them, you want to see them succeed, and you want to support them so that they can grow and be the best person they can be. It’s very simple. There’s no big secret to it. Do you think same-sex couples face any unique challenges? Yes, we definitely have additional challenges. Some have issues about not being completely out and struggle with that in different areas of their lives.

There is also a challenge for some when it comes to feeling comfortable in the world with their relationship. Also, we can have issues with our family's acceptance of our relationships and marriages. Some couples miss out on having familial support. Sometimes this impacts their decisions to get married in the first place or some do not have their families present at the most important event in their lives. But we have certainly made progress.

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Steve & Dan, Baiting Hollow

Real-estate agent Steve Mandresh and pharmacist Daniel Fisher successfully turned an online connection into a six-year relationship and finally, two years ago, a marriage. According to Mandresh, marriage wasn’t really something he seriously considered prior to its becoming legal in NY. “Quite frankly, I was just thrilled to have found somebody I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and I thought that was the best I could ever hope for in life. I was thrilled.” After receiving a great deal

Kerrie & Anya, West Babylon

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away. I don’t have to explain who Bewitched was.” He continues, “People ask me if I feel any different being married and I have to say, I kind of do. When I look down at my hand and I see that wedding ring and I know the commitment we made to one another … especially if I’m having a bad day, I think to myself, ‘no matter what, I have Dan in my life forever and ever.’ And I can just deal with anything that comes our way.”

Karen & Laura, Flushing, Queens

Newlyweds Kerrie O’Neill, Senior Regional Director – Suffolk County for The Long Island GLBT Services Network, and her wife Anya Flannery, have been together for five-plus years, and exchanged vows just five months ago. The two, who actually grew up less than 10 blocks away from one another and attended the same high school, did not actually truly connect until years later on Facebook. Anya surprised Kerrie at work one day after a long phone conversation the night before, and it seemed that the two were destined for a future together. “We actually got engaged very early on because we knew we were meant to be together,” says O’Neill, “but I did not want to do the whole legal, community wedding until it was legal in New York State. Once marriage equality came to NY, we began making the plans and right before we got married, we got the pre-wedding gift of the repeal of DOMA, legalizing our marriage across the nation.” Offering advice for newer couples, O’Neill says, “Love! Don’t be afraid to take the risk. Without the risk, expect nothing but mediocrity and no one wants to settle for that. Your parents, family, friends, and loved ones that you’re afraid won’t accept your love very well might surprise you! Ours blew us out of the water."

Doug & Scott, Hicksville

of support from family and friends, including Fisher’s two grown children from a previous marriage, the two tied the knot in 2012. According to Mandresh, “We just want each other to be happy and we always put each other first. I think that goes a long way towards any bumps you might hit along the road. Also, we make each other laugh; that’s key. We’re both from the same generation, so when one of us makes a reference to a 60s TV sitcom, the other one gets it right

Douglas and Scott Sayer met eight years ago while attending an event in NYC. According to Doug, “we just knew we were right for one other. It was love at first sight.” He explains that the two were friends for a year before dating, “because I was nervous about starting a relationship at the time due to a recent breakup.” Once the relationship went into full bloom, there was no stopping them. They moved in together within a year, bought a home in 2008,

They say that three times a charm – and it couldn’t be truer for Karen Taylor, Director of Education & Outreach, The Long Island GLBT Network and author Laura Antoniou, who exchanged wedding vows three times! The two have been together for 17 years, meeting at a conference in Chicago. They first exchanged vows in 1998 in a Jewish ceremony, again in 2005 in Toronto (where it was legal) and finally, at the end of October 2013, renewed their vows in Israel. “I think we were destined to be together,” says Antoniou. “I think we’re ‘Beschert’ [a Yiddish term meaning ‘destined to happen’]. I never wanted to be in a long-term relationship. I liked being single, but Karen opened my eyes to something completely different.” One of the things Taylor says she didn’t initially realize was important to her was that the person she was with had to have some sort of relationship with their family. “That is something that is different, I think, for a lot of GLBT people because we can have complicated relationships with our families,” she says. “Laura and I both do have relationships with our parents. “I think the number one thing you need to know about the person you are with is that no matter how you feel, whether it’s the best day or the worst day of your life, they are the first person you think of when you want to talk about it, get help, share the joy or find someone to share the burden — Karen is that person for me,” adds Antoniou.

exchanged wedding vows in 2011 and, just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any better, adopted a baby girl (Lucy) in 2012. “Communication, personal space/alone time, supporting each other, being able to ask for support when we need it, and a lot of patience,” are what Doug attributes to a successful relationship. He adds that sometimes there are challenges faced as a GLBT family/couple, such as “public opinion — others' reaction. We're lucky that

most people we encounter are supportive, or at least tolerant, of GLBT couples. But there is always the risk that someone won’t be. Also, adopting and surrogacy are both highly difficult, emotional, expensive, and time-consuming endeavors. The process and emotional journey can wreak havoc on a relationship. But it is worth it! You can have the life you want with the partner you want. You can make it happen.”

living out


Toni Braxton talks retirement, going lesbian and the hit song she hates PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC BAPTISTE STORY BY CHRIS AZZOPARDI


oni Braxton is getting deep. Real deep. “I have a bit of a cold,” she says, her voice doing that sexy-low thing it does when she sings, “so yeah, it’s very Bea Arthur from The Golden Girls.”

A little cold can’t stop Braxton, who’s already faced bankruptcy, is managing lupus and then, before friend/producer Babyface intervened, almost retired from the music business altogether. Luckily, he changed her mind, and hearts everywhere were unbroken. Love, Marriage & Divorce, her first album since 2010’s Pulse, brings Braxton back together with Babyface. The two most notably collaborated on her self-titled debut, the singer’s mega-selling caper that scored her a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1994. Braxton was candid as ever in our recent chat, talking about why she told Babyface that she’s a grown woman (“I have breasts now”), her desire to have a lesbian experience and how short hair put her back in touch with her roots. First of all, thank god for Babyface. I am so glad he wasn’t about to let you throw in the towel. What were you smoking when you said you were gonna give up on music? Obviously not weed, because I would’ve still stayed in the business! (Laughs) You know what, I was just in a sad space in my life. I think everybody goes through that, but I didn’t realize, I guess, just how sad I was at that time — and friends like Babyface, Missy Elliott, Fantasia and Anita Baker helped talk me out of that state. Sometimes you just need friends and family to rally around you and let you know it’s gonna be OK.

And now you’re in it for good? I’ll never retire. I’ll be 85 years old singing at the Cafe Carlyle like Eartha Kitt.

How do you make a love album with an attractive, talented man like Babyface and not fall in love? I’ve been in love with him since he was in (’80s R&B group) The Deele. I was a huge fan. Very quickly he became my big brother when we started working together. I was the girl who was like, “I’ll never have a chance with him,” and from there we just became brother and sister. Our relationship was really weird. I will always, always love him. But it’s like having a crush on your cousin and you realize, “Maybe I shouldn’t have a crush on my cousin. That’s not hot.” (Laughs)

How does Love, Marriage & Divorce compare to the work you and Babyface did in the ’90s? It’s similar. Kenny Babyface helped make my dreams come true. He helped develop my sound, and so I’m more comfortable with him than any other producer I’ve worked with. And he’s given me great songs in my career but not the biggest songs in my career, which is really odd. He didn’t write “Un-Break My Heart,” he didn’t write or produce “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” but I was still on his label so he 12

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out Front Why the interest in playing a lesbian character?

still fostered my career. But whenever we’re together, he is the one I’m most comfortable and creative with, and I feel at home.

So these recording sessions must have felt nostalgic for you and him. Working together was actually tough at first. The first couple of months we struggled because I’m his artist and he kind of developed me, so his artist grew up and I have my own opinions, my own thoughts, my own philosophies, my own judgments and my own career. We talked about it and it took a second for him to understand. We argued a bit — not bad-argued, but we just had creative differences. Later on he said, “You know, Toni, I have to give you credit. You’re an artist now and it’s sometimes hard for a brother to accept that his sister is growing up.” I said, “I know, Kenny. I have breasts now and everything.” (Laughs)

Looking back at some of the songs you did with Babyface, which stand out most to you? “Breathe Again” is my favorite song to sing. It makes me happy. It’s a beautiful, sad love song. I love “Another Sad Love Song.” But of all the songs that I ever recorded with him, I love them all except for “Seven Whole Days.” Hated it. Didn’t understand it. Why am I singing it? And it turned out to be a big urban song for me.

You’ve been very passionate about wanting a lesbian role on Orange is the New Black. Where’s that at? My agent is working on that for me as we speak. I got a call (recently) that said, “We’re working on it.” We believe they’re taping in March, so we’ll see. I’m excited about it.

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I just want something out of character. When people see me, Toni, as a performer, they see something completely different. If I were to play a lesbian, they could see me as an actress: “Oh, maybe the bitch can act!” And every girl has her lesbian crush. My lesbian crush would be Ellen (DeGeneres). I love how she dances. I like her haircut. Love everything about her. So this would be a way for me to channel my inner Ellen.

There’s some intense lesbian sex on that show. Would you be up for getting it on with another woman? Would you go as far as they’d ask you to? If the role called for it, I would be willing to do it. It would be a great endeavor, and I think I would be comfortable in that role. I don’t think it would be a stretch for me.

'My lesbian crush would be Ellen (DeGeneres). I love how she dances. I like her haircut. Love everything about her.'

It wouldn’t be a stretch? Are you saying you’ve had a lesbian experience? I’ve never had one in my life! Ever! This would be my first lesbian experience if I did Orange is the New Black. There are a lot of things I haven’t experienced that I need to start experiencing. I need to start living. Like Aunt Mame said, I need to live! I would like to say, “I lived.”

told we couldn’t vote, we were told we couldn’t have interracial marriages — and my dad’s biracial. So I hate that people put labels on how you should love and whom you should love. I think that’s ridiculous. Everyone should be able to love.

How would you say this album looks at relationships differently than the love songs you sang a couple decades ago? You’re aging me! (Laughs) Twenty years ago I was just singing about having my heart broken, and now I’m dealing with my heart being broken — and possibly having to start over and look for love again. Kenny and I both went through divorces. For me it was more therapeutic than for Kenny, and we decided to put words and music to what I went through recently and what he went through in the past. It definitely helped me a lot. I wanted to call the album Love, Marriage & Divorce and Babyface wanted to call it ‘Love, Marriage & the D Word’ and I’m like, “Kenny, we’re grown, let’s just say it. Put it out there. It’s divorce.”

Is it different singing from a personal perspective? Yes! It’s really different because you’re telling your story and you’re exposing yourself, but at the same time you’re using it as a healing tool. Every song on the album isn’t about something I’ve experienced solely. There’s a song on the album called “I Wish,” and it’s my mother’s story of my mom and dad’s divorce. It’s a really beautiful song that she inspired me to write.

that in a while because I really haven’t been dating since my divorce, so I long to experience “Sweat” again. That would be lovely.

Why does the androgynous mystique interest you? Is it a conscious decision? No, no. It just fits my face. When I first came out, I had short hair on the first album. By the time I got to the second album I put some extensions in my hair, but I’m always comfortable with my short hair. My short hair gives me my strength. I know that sounds weird, the lack of hair, but I feel more powerful. I feel more indigenous of the artist I was when I initially came out. It makes me feel more at the center of my roots again.

And it also could be your ticket to Orange is the New Black. I’m hoping so. They may make me take the little wave out, and I may have to have a little afro, but we’ll see!

If anyone can make an afro look hot, it’s you. (Laughs) What a beautiful lie, but I appreciate it.

How about “Sweat”? Was that inspired by your own life? I think everyone’s experienced “Sweat” and I-hateyou sex. I haven’t had

How do you feel about gay people having the right to love and marriage and divorce? We’re all people, so I don’t even like to get into those conversations. As an African-American woman, we were

living out



The Kid is More Than Alright Jonathan Groff on all his gay projects, idolizing Mark Ruffalo and how ‘Looking’ freaked out his family When I came home for the summer to Pennsylvania, I brought the pilot home on DVD and I just said, “I don’t know if you wanna watch this or not, but I feel like if you do watch it, you probably won’t wanna watch it with me in the room.” I think that really freaked them out. (Laughs)


onathan Groff is remembering a scene he shot for the upcoming HBO adaptation of The Normal Heart. It’s his only part with Julia Roberts, and he doesn’t have a single line with her.

“She plays a doctor and I collapse on the street, and then they take me into her office and she’s like, ‘He’s dying,’” the actor recalls. “So I didn’t get to act with her because I’m, like, hyperventilating on a stretcher. But she was really nice, very chill, very undramatic and easy.”

The same could be said for Groff. The affable Pennsylvania native got his start on stage, nabbing a Tony nomination for his role in the 2006 Broadway musical Spring Awakening before battling it out with New Directions on Glee, portraying a young David Sedaris in C.O.G. and voicing Kristoff in Disney’s hot winter hit Frozen. Now the actor plays Patrick, the charmingly clueless lead in the new gay-friends-living-in-San-Fran series Looking, also on HBO. Will there be foam? Probably, but only if it’s at a party.


living out

With Looking and The Normal Heart, it must be nice knowing that HBO is gonna pay your bills for at least the next year. (Laughs) Right? It’s great. But I’ve already been paid for those jobs in 2013! In the pilot’s opening scene, after a phone call interrupts a hand-job hookup, you tell your friends you worried it was your mom calling. Has your own mother seen the show? My mom has always been really supportive of my work. When I was doing Spring Awakening she took bus trips of people to come and see the show — like, seriously, 40 people on a touring bus up from Pennsylvania. That was before she had even seen it, so she was shocked when she saw the sex and the nudity and me hitting Lea Michele with a stick, but she obviously enjoyed it...because there were three more bus trips after that! So she overcame the awkwardness of seeing my butt on stage, but ever since they cast me in Looking, the big question in my family has been: “Are they gonna watch it or not when it comes on TV?”

Director Andrew Haigh, who also did the 2011 gay indie drama Weekend, has a knack for capturing real moments on camera. How do you think he’s accomplished that in Looking? I could spend hours talking about Andrew Haigh. I saw Weekend and was like, “Wow, somehow he’s made a gay movie that feels universal.” I feel like whether (the characters) were gay or old or whatever, he could take any story and humanize it. He’s somehow able to catch really human moments. I would be done with work some days and Frankie (J. Alvarez), Murray (Bartett)

For Looking, what’s expected of you sexually and what are you not comfortable doing on the show? Seeing Weekend and knowing Andrew Haigh was attached to direct the show, I was like, “OK, I feel 100 percent comfortable to sign that nudity waiver and do absolutely anything.” I signed on before I really even knew him. I was like, “Yes, whatever, I’ll do anything.” Also, from years of being in Spring Awakening, I’ve built up a tolerance for acted intimacy. (Laughs) It doesn’t freak me out. And I don’t wanna give the story away, so I’m not gonna tell you the guy who I get naked with. What do you have to say about the show being called a “gay version of Girls” – which, by the way, I don’t think is accurate. Your boobs don’t look anything like Lena Dunham’s. (Laughs) I love that. It’s about a group of friends in the way that Girls is about

'Even though I was not out in high school I knew that I was gay, and seeing that billboard [for Will & Grace], just to see some gay characters on TV, was great. It made me feel less alone'. and I would look at each other and say, “Did we even act today?” It felt so much like us hanging out that it didn’t feel like we were “acting.” It speaks to the energy of his movie Weekend, and also to the energy of our show. It was really unlike anything I’ve ever worked on before.

a group of friends, but the tone, writing and acting are totally different. I do think if you enjoy Girls you will enjoy Looking, because it’s about relationships and trying to find love and your place in the world.

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out Front





a,B,C Jonathan Groff with fellow castmates Frankie j. alvarez and Murray Bartlett; d Groff walks the hbo red carpet

When Queer as Folk aired in the early 2000s, the show reflected how anti-hair the gay community was. Body hair wasn’t as accepted in the gay community as it is now. And Looking and Weekend really represent the zeitgeist in that regard. How do you feel about Looking embracing a hairier man? The more natural the body, the better. What they’re trying to do in Looking is show as many types of people and as many different types of bodies as possible, and also to stay true to San Francisco. And there’s a lot of facial hair and body hair in San Francisco! How much do you relate to Patrick and what’s going on in his life? At the first audition, because I knew Andrew’s work, I knew the lines but I didn’t do a lot of emotional preparation. I didn’t even say the lines out loud until I was in the room with him, because I wanted to find it in the moment. The first time I did the audition scene — the scene on the train where I meet Richie (Raul Castillo) — I started to get hot, but not in a sexy way. I got nervous-hot. I started sweating and blushing and I felt immediately, in the audition room, like, “I know who this guy is. I feel so connected to his social anxiety.” What shows and films did you connect with as a gay man who was figuring it all out?

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I remember being in eighth grade and seeing the billboards for Will & Grace — and then, there was so little gay anything. Not as much gay press, not as many out gay actors or gay material to watch, certainly not on network television. Any sort of shred of people being gay was like, “Oh my god, look at that. Is that me? Is that who I am?” Even though I was not out in high school I knew that I was gay, and seeing that billboard and watching the show, even though I didn’t really feel like I was a Will or a Jack — I didn’t necessarily connect these characters to me — but just to see some gay characters on TV was great. It made me feel less alone. As far as Looking is concerned, the story is very specific to Michael Lannan, our creator, and his group of friends. When they were auditioning for the show, they had pictures of his friends on the casting board to say, “This is what we’re looking for.” It’s very specific to his experience in San Francisco, but the gay community will hopefully still embrace the fact that there are gay people on TV in the way that I watched Will & Grace growing up. Because of your role in Looking, how do you feel about possibly being the new poster boy for the gay community in the way Jack and Will were? I feel so excited to be a part of a show that could potentially be a great moment for the gay community, because it’s crazy

how few shows there are where there are a lot of central gay characters. As an actor you sort of become the face of whatever you’re working on, and I feel really lucky to be a part of this specific show because I believe in it so much as a television show. I’m so proud to be a part of this show. Maybe Patrick will inspire some kid to feel less alone.

actor, you have to put in a lot of work to continually show people and the industry that you can do more. So if the show gets picked up season after season — which, god willing, I would love; that would be amazing and I would want nothing more than that — I’m also ready to take on the challenge of trying to bust out of a role if I get attached to something specific. Call me in 10 years, but I feel so excited to just continue to challenge myself.

'I feel like whether (the characters) were gay or old or whatever, he could take any story and humanize it. He’s somehow able to catch really human moments.' Yeah, totally. That would be amazing. I mean, that’s so cool. Yeah, that’s like beyond.

Can we get Lea Michele on Looking? I mean, you did Glee, so I think it’s only fair.

In addition to playing gay in Looking, you also played gay in C.O.G., an adaptation of David Sedaris short stories, and you’re starring as a gay man in The Normal Heart. Are you worried about being typecast? Or do you think that’s no longer a concern for actors playing gay roles?

(Laughs) Oh my god, I would love that! I showed her the first episodes when we took a little trip to Mexico recently and she watched them all again a couple nights ago with her mom. She’s so excited. It would be so amazing to have her on.

I don’t know. Only time will tell. For any actor, gay or straight, being typecast is the biggest thing you have to work against. When I did Spring Awakening in New York, it took a long time of auditioning and then I moved to L.A. to prove that I could do more than that. For any

Everyone’s always saying how you’re the most charming man ever. But what sets you off ? What makes Jonathan Groff a living hell? Oh, good question. When we were doing Spring Awakening, I had to do this beating scene with Lea where I got really angry. In early days of rehearsals, Michael Mayer, living out


out Front And you just dropped the f-bomb, so I know you really mean it. (Laughs) Yes! I hate that! I honestly hate that in any way, shape or form — with teachers, directors, producers, friends or anyone that is talking down to me or down to someone I’m with. It really pisses me off. As a Disney fan, was the experience of voicing Kristoff in Frozen surreal for you?

our director, screamed at me, “Seriously, you’re like the most everything-happensfor-a-reason person I’ve ever met. What makes you angry?! I don’t get it.” And I said, “You, when you belittle people!” Which is what he was doing to me in that moment. He was thrilled to get a rise out of me and help me finally get there. But here’s what I hate: I hate when you’re at dinner with a couple who are dating or married and they belittle the other person in front of a group. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. I fucking hate that.

Yeah, I was Mary Poppins for Halloween, I was Peter Pan, and I grew up watching Disney movies. Do you see “Let It Go,” the film’s musical climax, being done by drag queens? Oh my god, completely. It’s like a gay anthem. I asked (composers) Bobby (Lopez) and Kristen (Anderson-Lopez), “Did you intend to write a gay anthem? Because I’m pretty sure you did.” They’re like, “No; honestly, when we wrote that song we were like, ‘We’re gonna go to a room right now and get really in an emotional place and write this ballad that

is just true and honest and real.’” So they did not intend to write a gay ballad — but I think they did anyway! You worked with Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo on Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of Larry Kramer’s 1985 play The Normal Heart, which airs in May. I mean, no big deal or anything. I know, it’s crazy. When The Kids Are All Right came out, I saw that movie three times in the movie theater and I’m so obsessed with it and I’m so obsessed with him (Ruffalo) in it. Like a crazy person, I cut out a picture of him in a magazine — I’m not even kidding, I never do this — and put it on my dressing room mirror because I was like, “That’s who I wanna be.” I just admire him so much. And so in the movie I play his ex-boyfriend... Do you get to kiss him then? We don’t have a kissing scene, which is unfortunate for me, because when the movie starts, we’re already exes. But just to be in the same room as him was a big deal for me. I fell deeper in love.

What do you hope the takeaway will be for this generation of GLBT people who didn’t experience the AIDS epidemic like those who saw The Normal Heart in its original form? We did this scene on the beach on Fire Island where they had a white party and there were extras in their early 20s — and I’m 28 — and we’re all having a blast, and then it hit a bunch of us as we were standing there that, in the story of this movie, most of these people are dead. Just standing there on the beach with everyone dressed in white being so young and having a great time — and thinking about what happened to the people who were dressed like this — it was really powerful and really affecting. For my generation of people watching the movie, hopefully that will be like, “Oh, this was like us. This was us 30 years ago.” It’s so amazing that they’re turning that play into a movie, and that young people will watch. Maybe people who aren’t as connected to the AIDS crisis will be able to look back and see themselves in these characters and pass the story onto the next generation.

Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at

Book Review

by Linda Romanello

D’Arcangelo Makes the Teen Connection


by Linda Romanello

t.v.’s hit family drama, the fosters, Returns

New York-based author Lyndsey D’Arcangelo impressed the literary world with her debut novel, The Trouble with Emily Dickinson (first published in 2008), in which she won a Golden Crown Literary Society Award. Relying on her own experiences as a lesbian and on her high school and college memories, D’Arcangelo writes to and for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender youth who are hungry for stories that speak to them and which they can relate to. Emily Dickinson, and D’Arcangelo’s follow up The Education of Queenie McBride (published in 2013), takes GLBT teens on a life journey with lead character JJ who falls in love with a cheerleader in the first novel and who relies on the advice of her best friend, out lesbian Queenie McBride throughout both stories. Essentially a coming out tale, Queenie takes center stage in the follow up novel where the focus shifts to college life and where the author dives into such serious GLBT issues as runaway and homeless teens.


living out

Reportedly working on a third installment in the series, D’Arcangelo successfully gives a voice to the GLBT high school age group. Immediately pulling the reader in and keeping their attention with her lively writing style, D’Arcangelo’s novels are certainly worthy of space on any high school teen’s bookshelf.

The ABC Family surprise hit drama, The Fosters (exec produced by Jennifer Lopez), has returned for a second season. The series premiere on January 13 garnered 2.1 million viewers. According to TVLine, the drama, which wrapped up its first season in August 2013, ranked as the No. 1 new cable series of the summer in viewers 12-34 (the network’s target audience). So why are we so excited? The Fosters depicts a “typical” foster family, which is headed by an out lesbian couple – police officer Stef Foster (Teri Polo) and her wife and

school administrator Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) – raising children together and dealing with many of the same issues as other family TV dramas. According to ABC Family CCO Kate Juergens, in a statement, “The Fosters has demonstrated its ability to build an audience, and the creative team’s compelling storytelling assures us that there will be more growth in upcoming seasons. The show’s dynamic cast and groundbreaking storylines resonate with our core viewers and leave them wanting more.”

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out and about


by Gregg shapiro

Does DISCO still suck? Disco doesn’t still suck if you don’t call it disco. If you call it EDM (aka electronic dance music) you make it safe for straight people and their gay friends (who have been dancing to it for years). But there are traces of disco everywhere, like the offerings from Giorgio Moroder, Avicii, Grouplove, Austra, Berlin and Fitz & The Tantrums. Disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, along with his muse the late Donna Summer, were the driving forces behind disco during its heyday. The Donna Summer remix disc Love To Love You Donna (Verve) is less an homage to the original disco diva than it is a chance for those cursed remixers to get their grubby paws on her classic material and leave what they think is their imprint on it. Because “remix” means something different than it did

when it was applied to extended 12” single versions of tracks during the 1970s, only a few of the 13 revisited cuts are worth listening and dancing to. Not surprisingly, the Director’s Cut Signature Mix of “Hot Stuff ” by Frankie Knuckles (a gay DJ who has been around since the birth of disco) and Eric Kupper is one, as is the Hot Chip Dub Edit of “Sunset People,” the Gigamesh Remix of “Bad Girls” and the Afrojack Remix of “I Feel Love.”

Love to love you Donna $10, Amazon

Best of Electronic Disco $19, Amazon



terri nunn & Berlin fitz & the tantrums

On his full-length debut True (Island), Avicii (aka Tim Bergling) is this year’s David Guetta, but so much betta (if you will). Like Guetta, Avicii employs guest vocalists, but what he does with them is far more compelling.Opener “Wake Me Up” finds modern soul singer Aloe Blacc in a country bar, complete with acoustic guitar and electronic beats; disco for the NASCAR set. The country/club theme continues on “Hey Brother,” featuring vocals by Dan Tyminski (of Alison Krauss and O, Brother Where Art Thou? fame) and the addictive “Addicted To You,” sung by southwestern songbird Audra Mae. Avicii breaks up the mountaintop momentum with hardcore dance-floor workouts such as “Dear Boy,” the ballroom blitz of “Shame On Me,” Adam Lambert’s stand-up performance on “Lay Me Down” and the twisted retro soul screamer “Liar Liar.”

Kaleidoscopic pop band Grouplove begins its second disc Spreading Rumours (Atlantic) with the exuberant “I’m With You,” a song that not only summons Philip Glass but also has a kick-ass dance beat, perfect for hippies and hipsters alike. “Borderlines & Aliens” arrives on a funk-rock flotation device and “Ways To Go” does go a long way in promoting the electro-funk cause. “Shark Attack” has teeth, “Sit Still” makes it impossible to sit, still or otherwise and “Raspberry” is tart and tangy.

When Lady Gaga’s influences are discussed, people invariably mention Madonna, as well as Grace Jones and Cyndi Lauper. But what about Terri Nunn of Berlin? Known for her interesting hair styles, not to mention distinctive fashion sense, Nunn also knew her way around a dance track. Nunn, and a new Berlin line-up, returns with Animal (Something-Music/Fontana), the first studio disc of new material in more than 10 years. Whether Nunn and her Berlin mates were listening to Lady Gaga or vice versa, Animal is a purebred EDM creature. Propulsive songs such as “With The Lights On,” “Nice To Meet You,” “Don’t Make Me Regret It,” “Secrets,” “Break The Chains,”“Somebody To Love” and the title tune would all fit comfortably alongside Gaga on any playlist.

Spreading rumours $11.88, Amazon

Never trust a happy song $11.88, Amazon

On its second album, More Than Just A Dream (Elektra/Dangerbird), Fitz & The Tantrums expands and updates its repertoire to move in a dance-oriented direction. Opener “Out of My League,” from which the disc’s title is drawn, is a soul dance sensation. The dance mood is maintained on the thumping “The Walker” and the vintage disco of “Last Raindrop,” as well as the dizzying “MerryGoRound” and “Break The Walls.”

more than just a dream $8.99, Amazon

pickin’ up the pieces $11.99, Amazon

Animal $11.56, Amazon

True $11.88, Amazon

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living out


Sochi 2014

by Alexis Capitini

The highly anticipated 2014 Winter Olympic Games are underway in Sochi, but not without controversy centered around terrorist threats and safety, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s highly publicized anti-gay laws and questions about how gay and lesbian athletes competing in the games would be treated. Late last year, President Obama said that he would not be attending the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in protest of Putin’s treatment of the GLBT community, and instead decided to send an official U.S. delegation, including three openly

gay and celebrated athletes, tennis legend Billie Jean King, ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow and figure skating Olympic medalist Brian Boitano. King has been vocal about supporting gay rights and standing up to Russia’s anti-gay laws. While there have been many calls for a boycott and criticism from human rights

groups, King told, “It took about 10 seconds,” for her to accept the President’s invitation. “It sends a strong message that America is very diverse. We are here, and surrogates as athletes and gay athletes. We reflect part of America. Maybe we’ll be a voice for people who don’t feel they can be a voice yet.”

LGBT MEMBERS OF THE US OLYMPIC DELEGATION Billie Jean King Billie Jean King is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. She won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 singles, 16 women’s doubles, and 11 mixed doubles titles. King won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships.

Brian Boitano Brian Boitano is a figure skater from Sunnyvale, California. He is the 1986 & 1988 World Champion as well as the 1988 Olympic champion. He placed sixth in the 1994 Winter Olympics. He openly came out as being gay when he was announced as a US Olympic delegate.

WEIR IS JOHNNY? Out Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir may have announced last year that he would be retiring from the sport, but that won’t stop him from continuing to support Russia’s GLBT community during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In fact, the two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. figure skating champion (married to a Russian man) has not only been an outspoken advocate for GLBT Russians since the country enacted its antigay laws, and who also has repeatedly publicly opposed the boycotting of the games, but he will join the NBC Olympics team as a figure skating analyst.

Caitlin Cahow Caitlin Cahow is an ice hockey player from New Haven, Connecticut. She played at Harvard for four years and won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. She was also captain of the Boston Blades for the 2012-2013 season.

THE SCHEDULE Weir recently commented on the Today show in October 2013, “I’m a gay American. I’ve married into a Russian family. I’ve been a longtime supporter of Russia, the culture, the country, the language, everything about Russia. While this law is a terrible thing that you can’t be gay publicly in Russia, I plan to be there in full support of our brothers and sisters there and not be afraid.”

For a complete list of event dates and times, visit our website at


living out

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Fisht Olympic Stadium

Venue for: Opening & Closing Ceremonies Capacity: 40,000 Everybody knows that the jewel-encrusted Fabregé eggs are a renowned Russian icon and they have inspired the unique shell-like design of the Fisht Stadium. The translucent polycarbonate roof will be used to project illuminations during the Games.

GLBT Pride House

As reported in the January issue of Living Out, the city of Toronto has promised it will host a GLBT Pride House in the Olympic Village in order to provide a safe space for GLBT athletes. This tradition began at the 2010 games in Vancouver (below) and continued in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Konstantin Lablotckii, co-president of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, had said, “We need Pride House. It’s already part of the Olympic movement, it’s not a political demonstration, it’s not a gay parade, it’s just a safe peaceful place for celebrating equality in sport.”

more leaders join olympic boycotts

In what is unfortunately being referred to as the “anti-gay games,” French President François Hollande and EU Commissioner Viviane Reding have joined the growing list of political leaders boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Citing Russia’s anti-gay laws, Hollande and Reding join German President

Joachim Gauck and President Obama, who will send openly gay athletes in his place. Conversely, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, has said he will attend the opening ceremony. He told local media that he decided to spurn calls for a boycott because Bulgaria was “not that influential a country.”

Putin Promises Safety During Games

Days prior to the start of the Olympics, international concern for GLBT athletes’ safety was on the rise. In an attempt to assuage fears, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed no athlete would be facing discrimination. Putin promised that the games would "be held in full compliance with the Olympic charter, without any discrimination on any basis." Putin, previously banned all rallies at Sochi, but has since been forced to allow ‘protest zones’.


Lifestyler, snowboarder, skateboarder, Olympian, friend, brother, son, musician…Shaun has an arsenal of titles, all of which play into his dynamic persona. He does it best, by doing it different. “Whatever it is, be yourself.” That’s what Shaun is. Shaun has had an outstanding snowboarding career. Some of his accomplishments include being an eight-time Winter X Games superpipe champion and fivetime Winter X Games slopestyle champion. He has also become a four-time US Open champion and threetime World Cup gold medalist. Shaun’s Olympic experience is being the gold medalist in men’s halfpipe for the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

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Meryl Davis & Charlie White: Ice Dancing

Charlie White and Meryl Davis began skating together when they were just 8 and 9 years old, respectively. Over their 16 year history they have won nine gold and two bronze medals in the Grand Prix Series. They are five-time US champions and were the World Champs in 2011 and 2013. Davis and White have also won the gold medal for the Four Continents competition three times and the silver medal once. They won the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Gracie Gold: Figure Skating

2012 US Junior Champ Gracie Gold is a relatively new face to the competitive ice skating world. The 18 year old is bringing some serious skills with her to the 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2012, in addition to being the US Junior Champ, she was the silver medalist at the World Junior competition, World Team Trophy and the Rostelecom Cup. This past year she won the US silver medal and placed sixth in both the World Championships and the Four Continents competition.

living out


it’s oscar season here’s our cheat sheet for the 2014 academy awards The gowns will be dazzling…the stars will be out in droves…and someone’s acceptance speech will surely have everyone talking at the water cooler the following day. It’s movie season and time for the 86th Academy Awards, set to air on Sunday, March 2nd on ABC Television Network.

and Here’s Your Host…

So who will be in attendance? Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, for sure — nominees Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchet, Christian Bale and many more! The stage is set — the only question left is, who will win? To help you decide, we put together an Oscar’s cheat sheet!

She’s back! By popular demand, this year’s Academy Awards will be hosted by one of TV’s favorite and funniest ladies, Ellen DeGeneres. It’s a repeat performance; DeGeneres hosted the 79th Academy Awards for the first time in 2007 and went on to receive a Primetime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.” Ellen commented when she was named as the returning host, “I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say — the third time’s the charm.”

Visit us online at and tell us which film you think will win Best Picture!

And the nominees are…

Names highlighted are winners of the 2014 Golden Globe awards in their respective categories

Best picture

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club




Chiwetel Ejiofar, 12 Years a Slave


Dallas Buyers Club

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Best actor 12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street

Best actress

Best supporting Best supporting actress actor Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

For a complete list of the Academy Award categories and nominations, please visit our website,


cable me pi

ernest &


Best animated Feature

Best director


living out

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street


he wind ris


David O. Russell, American Hustle

lestine ce

Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

wait! There’s more

August: Osage County

Judi Dench, Philomena

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Meryl Streep,


Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Sandra Bullock, Gravity


Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Amy Adams, American Hustle





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show your pride

calendar of events Single Men’s Mixer: Give Grindr a Break, Meet Your Man in Person! Friday, February 14th, 7-10 p.m.. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City A 21+ gay and bi men’s single’s event for those who have grown tired of internet and smartphone romances. This mingle is a single’s oasis in a couple’s dominated holiday. Don’t sit home on V-Day because you’re single, come potentially meet the man of your dreams, face-to-face!, 516.323.0011

Come Get Hot With Cupid: A LIGALY Valentine’s Day Dance Saturday, February 15th, 6-10 p.m.. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City

Book Club Tuesday, February 25th,7 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City

Brother2Brother 2nd and 4th Fridays, 7-8 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City

Join us for this month’s discussion as well Social and discussion group for gay and as bringing your ideas for future books to bisexual men of color age 21+. share with the group., 631.665.2300, 516.323.0011

Co-Dependents 20-Something Movie Night: Anonymous But I’m a Cheerleader Thursdays, 7-8 p.m. Friday, February 28th,7-9 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, Nassau: Center at Garden City, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore 400 Garden City Plaza, For those who desire a healthy and loving Suite 110, Garden City relationship free of co-dependency. Come on down and watch this movie with your fellow 20-somethings!, 516.323.0011, 631.665.2300

Drop-In HIV/STD Testing: Nassau County Second Annual Thursdays, 5-8 p.m. Dragalicious Party! Nassau: Center at Garden City, Saturday, March 1st, 6-10 p.m. 400 Garden City Plaza, Nassau: Center at Garden City, Suite 110, Garden City 400 Garden City Plaza, Suffolk County LIGALY’s first ever Valentine’s Day Dance Suite 110, Garden City Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, for youth ages 13-21. Come hang out in LIGALY’s Aleph Project hosts a second annual Purim/Mardi Gras/Carnival party 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore the youth lounge, enjoy free food and get down with other youth on the dance for youth ages 13-21. Come in drag, wear East End 1st Friday of the month, a mask, and celebrate! floor. RSVP on our website 4-8 p.m., 516.323.0011 East End: The Hamptons SAGE-LI Movie & Discussion: 20 Something GLBT Center, Edie & Thea 2nd and 4th Fridays, 44 Union St., Sag Harbor Tuesday, February 18th, 7:30-8:30 p.m Free and confidential testing for HIV, 11 a.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza,, 631.665.2300 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City Suite 110, Garden City CA discussion and support group Drop-In Insurance Come watch this well-known film and Enrollment: for GLBT people in their 20’s. A safe Nassau County reflect amongst your peers afterward. and affirming space to share their Thursdays, 5-8 p.m., 516.323.0011 experiences. Nassau: Center at Garden City,, 516.323.0011 SAGE-LI Valentine’s Day 400 Garden City Plaza, Dance Advisory Board (SAGE-LI) Suite 110, Garden City Saturday, February 22nd, Monday, February 3rd 1p.m. Suffolk County 7 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Tuesday, February 4th 1p.m. 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Enjoy good food, great company and Nassau: Center at Garden City, East End 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, live music! RSVP and payment of $10 400 Garden City Plaza, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. required by Tuesday, February 18th. Suite 110, Garden City Share your thoughts and ideas for East End: The Hamptons, 631.665.2300 GLBT Center, SAGE-LI programming. Senior Focus Group 44 Union St., Sag Harbor, 631.665.2300 Monday, February 24th,1 p.m. Free insurance benefits screening Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, AlAnon and enrollment under the 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Thursdays, 7-8 p.m. Affordable Care Act Come join our coed, peer-led, issueNassau: Center at Garden City,, 631.665.2300 400 Garden City Plaza, focused discussion group. Suite 110, Garden City Garden City Mingle, 631.665.2300 Closed group for all ages. Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Volunteer Orientation Nassau: Center at Garden City,, 631.665.2300 Monday, February 24th,6 p.m. 400 Garden City Plaza, Nassau: Center at Garden City, Alcoholics Anonymous Suite 110, Garden City 400 Garden City Plaza, Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m. SAGE-LI’s weekly social for GLBT seniors Suite 110, Garden City Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 50+ at The Center at Garden City., 631.665.2300 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore, 516.323.0011 SAGE-LI OUTdoors Trip: Resorts World Casino Tuesday, February 25th, 11 a.m. 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., Jamaica, NY 11420

Shop, gamble and dine! RSVP is required by Friday, February 21st., 516.323.0011

Closed group for all ages., 631.665.2300

Hampton Bays Mingle 2nd and 4th Thursdays, Aleph Project Youth 3-5 p.m. Meetings Hampton Bays Senior Center, Tuesdays, 6-7 p.m. 25 Ponquogue Ave., Nassau: Center at Garden City, Hampton Bays 400 Garden City Plaza, SAGE-LI’s bi-monthly social for GLBT Suite 110, Garden City seniors 50+ on the East End. The Aleph Project supports LGBT Jewish, 631.665.2300 youth, their friends and allies, with programming and discussions reflecting their lives., 516.323.0011

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LIFE in Nassau 2nd Thursday, 7-9 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City LIFE in Nassau meets every second Thursday. Open to adults of all genders and orientations with an interest in BDSM topics.

LIGALY Advisory Board Mondays, 5-7 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Youth help plan new programs and events at LIGALY., 631.665.2300

LIPSA Tuesday Night Tease Bowling League Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Bowl Long Island, 138 West Rd., Patchogue Friendliest co-ed/mixed LGBT Bowling League., 516.375.9473

LITE Social and Discussion Group 1st/3rd Mondays, 8-9 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City Wednesdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore An open discussion group for transgender people and their friends and family., 631.665.2300

PEP Team – Suffolk Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Interactive leadership program promoting sexual health for GLBT young people., 631.665.2300

Safe Schools Team Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore

Sag Harbor Mingle 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. East End: The Hamptons GLBT Center, 44 Union St., Sag Harbor

The Hamptons GLBT Center is officially open and SAGE-LI is bringing a Mingle to Sag Harbor! Bring your friends and come meet new ones.

SAGE-LI Women at Nassau (SWAN) Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City A social and discussion group for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women., 516.323.0011

A support group for GLBT people living with HIV/AIDS., 516.323.0011

and their friends to show off their skills! Sing, act, dance, or perform., 516.323.0011

Monday Mingle Mondays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore

Women 2 Women Tuesdays, 7:15-8:45 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore

SAGE-LI’s weekly social for GLBT seniors 50+ at The Center at Bay Shore., 631.665.2300

W2W is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive space for lesbians age 40+., 631.921.8368

OUTlet Fridays, 8 p.m.-Midnight Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore

You Gotta Believe Mondays, 6 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore

Friday night social program for GLBT youth and their friends ages 13-21. $2 admission, transportation available., 631.665.2300

The Long Island GLBT Community Center has partnered with You Gotta Believe, a non-profit organization that places teenagers into permanent adoptive homes, to provide Adoptive Parent Preparation Classes! If you are interested in participating, please call 631.665.2300.

Discussion group for parents of GLBT children., 631.665.2300

Free tax form preparation., 516.323.0011

Youth leadership program for young people committed to creating safer schools on Long Island., 631.665.2300

TRUE Calling Youth Video Project Living PositHIVly Tuesdays, 6 p.m. 2nd and 4thThursdays, Nassau: Center at Garden City, 7-8:30 p.m. 400 Garden City Plaza, Nassau: Center at Garden City, Suite 110, Garden City 400 Garden City Plaza, LIGALY is offering a great opportunity for Suite 110, Garden City black and Latino gay and bisexual youth

Parent Support Group 1st/3rd Thursdays, 6-7 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore 2nd/4th Mondays, 7-8 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City

VITA Free Tax Preparation Tuesdays, 4-7 p.m. Suffolk: Center at Bay Shore, 34 Park Ave., Bay Shore Thursdays, 4-7 p.m. Nassau: Center at Garden City, 400 Garden City Plaza, Suite 110, Garden City

Youth Group Tuesdays, 5-6 p.m. East End: The Hamptons GLBT Center, 44 Union St., Sag Harbor All East End youth should come check out this new hot GLBT spot. Every Tuesday is a fun interactive youth group: hang out with others in the lounge. You won’t want to miss it!

Save the date! the Aleph Project’s Third Annual GLBT Community Passover Seder Thursday, April 17th, from 6-9pm The Long Island GLBT Community Center suffolk: Center at bay shore

Save the date! Equality Awards Gala Friday, May 2nd 6:30pm Carlyle on the Green at Bethpage State Park Farmingdale, NY

Have an event you want listed here? Send your upcoming events to: editor@

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January 2014

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living healthy parenting


by Chris mcnamee

Gay Teens and Sex:

“The Birds and the Bees” Ain’t What It Used To Be

Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. Love is in the air. It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of the day and, perhaps, to take things a little further than we might on another, less sexually charged occasion. That makes this the perfect time to talk to our teenagers about sex. If your teen is gay, this conversation may take on a different significance than the traditional sex talk once held. For parents of gay teens, the emphasis has changed from pregnancy prevention to personal boundaries. Here are a few key topics that you can discuss with your teen.

Love Through the Ages

There is no doubt that sex has been a favorite pastime of the young and hormonal since the beginning of time. For generation upon generation, the prohibitions against acting on sexual impulses centered on consequences. Teens were routinely admonished to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, lest they shame themselves or their families with an unwanted pregnancy or tarnished reputation. Little, if any, attention was paid to the emotional ramifications of sexual involvement before adulthood. Saving their teens from heartbreak was not most parents’ primary goal; saving them from early parenthood was. Here are a few important areas to focus on:


Guarding Young Hearts

For gay teens, pregnancy is not a concern. The messages targeted to them regarding sex continue to focus on prevention, specifically, the use of condoms for prevention of HIV and other diseases. While this is vitally important information for all teens, it fails to address the emotional side of sex. Given the high suicide rate among gay teens, their feelings of isolation, and the devastating effect that break-ups tend to have on young hearts, the emotional consequence of underage sex is an area that we as adults need to explore with the youth in our lives, a conversation that should be started.


Teaching to Respect Values

Today’s gay teens need to hear that not everything about being gay revolves around sex; that being gay is a facet of who they are but not necessarily the defining element. They must be made to understand that they have the right to insist that their values be respected by those with whom they are romantically involved, as well as by their community at large, wherever those values may fall on the scale of traditionalism. For some, the concept of waiting until marriage, particularly now that marriage is an option for their future, may be an ideal they have been raised to believe in, regardless of their sexual orientation. For others, sexual expression can be a natural part of maturing and an integral part of their dating lives. But for all, self-esteem, self-respect and the right to say “no” must always be stressed.

Need Help Speaking to Your Teen About Sex? The Long Island GLBT Community Center offers professional counseling services provided by experienced and licensed clinical professionals to GLBT individuals, couples, and families for all ages in relation to the vast areas of identity, family and life issues. Services are provided on a sliding scale for adults and are free for youth. For more information about The Center’s Mental Health services, contact Rob Balzarano, LMSW at 631.665.2300 or email



Dear Chris, I’m not completely certain that my 12-year-old son is gay, but he seems to be a little overly attached to one of the other boys in his school. It’s not that I wouldn’t be supportive if he were gay, but I’m worried that if he does have more romantic feelings for this other boy, and this other boy is not gay, that my son might end up getting hurt or made fun of. Is there a good way to handle this situation? –Worried in Wantagh Dear Worried in Wantagh, Although it would be nice for your son to be able to express his feelings freely, being openly gay at school could pose problems for him at this age. Try taking a broad approach to the issue, one that won’t make him feel that he is being singled out because his feelings might be for another boy. Casually mention to him that many schools are adopting new rules that prohibit any behavior that could be viewed as sexually based. Talk to your son about the policies at his school, and impress upon him that sometimes secret crushes are better kept that way. As he gets older and more confident in himself, he will become better able to weigh the pros and cons of making his romantic feelings known to others, and to do it in a respectful and socially acceptable manner that won’t embarrass his crush and could lead to a happy relationship for your son.

Taking a Lead from ‘Glee’

A few seasons back, an episode of the TV drama Glee addressed this issue head on. In a scene unlikely to be played out in many real families, the boyfriend of the show’s gay lead, Curt, approached Curt’s father and advised him that talking to his son about sex was a parental duty which he had been neglecting. The father agreed and broached the subject with his son in a touching, if awkward, encounter, saying essentially, “I don’t understand the mechanics of what two guys do in bed, but just remember, don’t throw yourself around like a piece of trash. You are better than that and deserve more.” Short but to the point, with a profound message: You are a gift to the world, and your sexuality is the world’s gift to you. Use it wisely.

about the author: Chris mcnamee has a b.S. in Family Services/Child Studies, a M.A. in Intersex Conditions and Gender Identity Disorders in Children and Adolescents and is the Former owner/operator of Kid ‘n Kaboodle Child Care as well as the Former Coordinator for Long Island Family Connections, Gay Parents Support Network.


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living out



living healthy


by dr. bill blazey

Solutions for the bedroom blues part 1: Sexual dysfunction in men

When having problems in the bedroom, don’t panic…

Almost every guy has had that embarrassing event in the bedroom when “it” just won’t work. It can be damaging to your ego and your relationship. Most guys will try to ignore the issue, but there are

College and Alcohol, a Bad Mix? Occasionally, I encounter a college student that has difficulty with performing sexually. The first question asked is if there’s any use of drugs or alcohol. People often use alcohol to decrease their inhibitions, but unfortunately it can also decrease your ability to become aroused. In addition, the use of drugs and alcohol often lends people to make decisions that they wouldn’t make when sober, leading to increased rates of sexually transmitted infections.

Don’t be shy to ask your doctor about treatments that can help with erectile dysfunction. There are many options that include medication and behavioral therapy. Surgery is

Medication Can Be the Culprit Many times the medications that we prescribe can interfere with your sex life. Common culprits are medications to treat blood pressure or depression. If you have difficulty in the bedroom after starting a new medication, make sure to let your health care provider know. There may be an alternative treatment that will not have the same effect. Often times when treating depression, patients will feel renewed interest in sexual activity but not be able the act on it, many times an additional medication can reverse that problem.

an option for some men, especially after prostate cancer treatment. Achieving a healthy sexual life can prove beneficial to yourself and your relationships; you deserve to live

often solutions to regain your confidence and get back in the game. Here is a list of considerations that can factor into any issues you maybe encountering and what you can do about it. Look At Your Symptoms A few times a day I have patients come into the office with issues regarding their libido and the ability to perform. Since the causes could range from hormone deficiency to vascular issues, this complaint often uncovers early symptoms of larger problems. If you are bothered by a decreasing sex drive then asking your doctor to test for low testosterone or thyroid hormones can often easily uncover a solution. If achieving an erection is the issue, your doctor might want to check for the health of your heart as well as dysfunction.

Don’t Be Embarrassed Don’t be embarrassed to talk with your health care provider (believe me, we have seen or heard almost everything). Sexual dysfunction in men is a complex issue that can span the medical, hormonal, social and psychological realms of living. Symptoms of this can include difficulty with achieving and maintaining an erection, difficulty achieving an orgasm or decreased sexual drive. Often the solution can include testing for underlying medical conditions, medications or therapy.

healthy and happy in all parts of life – the first step is to make that a priority in your life. Check out next month’s issue of Living Out for Part 2 of our article, “Sexual Issues in Women.”

about the author: William r. Blazey, d.o. is an assistant professor of Family Medicine at NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine


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living smart travel

by Joey Amato

Out Destination: Boston Growing up in New York City, Boston was always an arch nemesis, especially when it came to sports. Yankees vs. Red Sox, Jets vs. Patriots; the rivalries are endless. So perhaps not so surprisingly, it took me 33 years to visit the great city. Steeped in culture and tradition, Boston is known for its legendary battlegrounds and is home to some of the most iconic figures in American history. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Elizabeth Poole all called Boston home. Architectural highlights are everywhere, too, from the Massachusetts Statehouse to St. Paul’s Church to Paul Revere’s home, Boston is a history junkie’s paradise.

Italy) and Chinatown. Foodies will be delighted by the array of authentic restaurants in both areas of the city. I suggest spending the afternoon admiring the Chinatown Gate and enjoying a traditional Dim Sum lunch at one of dozens of eateries in the neighborhood.


center. “Do Not Disturb” signs are actually replicas of cell keys. I took one as a souvenir. Don’t tell anybody! On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Nine Zero is a swanky boutique hotel, which offers signature Kimpton Hotel hospitality and acclaimed style in the heart of downtown Boston. The property is centrally located across from Boston Common, steps from Beacon Hill and surrounded by the city’s top theaters, restaurants and shops. The views from any of the corner rooms are absolutely breathtaking, so be sure to request one.


One of the best ways to experience the city is aboard the Boston Duck Tour. The land and river excursion will show you the major highlights on land including the goldendomed State House, Bunker Hill, TD Banknorth Garden, Boston Common and Copley Square before seamlessly turning into a boat and taking passengers on an adventure along the Charles River. Boston’s culinary scene is an experience in itself. Two destinations unique to the city include the North End (Little

For the less adventurous types, Boston is also home to a realm of high-end establishments, most notably The Palm. Start off your meal with an order of Bacon Wrapped Scallops or Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna. The fish is extremely fresh thanks to Boston’s seaside locale. Follow up your appetizer with the Beefsteak Tomato Capri salad prepared

with sliced tomatoes, basil and imported mozzarella di bufala. As for entrees, though beef reins supreme, I recommend the Signature Palm Surf ‘n’ Turf. Hotel choices are abundant. The Liberty Hotel is one of the most unique properties I’ve ever stayed at. Once home to the legendary Charles Street Jail, the hotel now boasts 300 guest rooms, a 24hour fitness center and business

Boston offers a plethora of GLBT bars and clubs. From The Alley to Fritz Lounge to dBar the choices are almost endless and there are nightspots for every taste and budget. Overall Boston is a wonderful city that deserves 4-5 days to really experience everything it has to offer. I’m definitely not waiting another 33 years to visit again.


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living smart


Sexy LovePotions for V-Day It’s February 14th and love is in the air. You have a special evening planned, with a romantic dinner for two, but are looking for ways to dial-up the heat. While champagne and wine always make for great accompaniments to a delicious meal, why not serve something with a bit more flair? If you’re really looking to impress, try one of these mixes:


What You’ll Need • 1 oz. (2 tbsp) citrus-flavored vodka

Kahlua Kiss

• 1 oz. (2 tbsp) raspberry-flavored vodka • 1/2 oz. (1 tbsp) Chambord • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

What You’ll Need

• 1 tbsp simple syrup • 2 tbsp cranberry juice

• 1 1/2 oz. bourbon

• Raspberries, for garnish

• 1 oz. ruby port, (sweet) • 1 oz. Kahlua


• 1 1/2 oz. heavy cream • Ground nutmeg

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodkas, Chambord, lime juice, simple syrup and cranberry juice.


Shake or stir until well chilled.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add liquids and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a large chilled martini glass. Gently sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and serve.





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Socialization/Group Meetings Meetings are open to anyone interested in joining FREE TO BE who are GLBT, questioning and gay-straight alliance. Meetings Include Guest Speakers, Event Planning, Open Discussion, and Social Events Next Meeting Date: February 25, 2014 Time: 4:30pm to 6:00pm Location: FREE, 191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow Road l Old Bethpage, New York 11804 To learn more about FREE TO BE or to become a member, please contact us at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. 191 Bethpage-Sweet Hollow Road l Old Bethpage, New York 11804 l 516-870-1637

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living smart


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What’s in your FiCo score?

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If you want to improve your credit score, consider the following tips:

Establish Payment History

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Watch What You Owe

• Pay your bills on time. • Catch up on missed payments. • Understand that paying off or closing a delinquent account won’t remove it from your report. • Contact your creditors or a credit counselor if you’re having trouble.

• Shop for a loan within a focused period of time. • Apply for secured credit if you’ve had problems. • Check your credit report annually. • Don’t open new accounts rapidly if you’re new to credit.

• Keep balances low. • Pay off debt rather then moving it around. • Don’t close unused credit cards.

Have credit cards — but manage them responsibly or pay them off monthly.



Remember that closing an account doesn’t make it go away and affects your credit score negatively.

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10/23/13 10:16 AM

living out



living smart beauty

by matthew ambrosio




Romance is a frequent muse for fashion. As we approach the most romantic holiday of the year, there are things we can do to be ready for that candlelight dinner with that special someone, or a fun evening with “single only” friends. After all, love is love, so celebrate and show your appreciation of St. Valentine with some passion-inspired wardrobe embellishments from head to toe. COACH HEART PADLOCK STUD EARRINGS, $58

It is a fact that among our most attractive and sexiest features is our ears. Draw attention to yours with this pair of heartshaped studs that are adorned with such details as sparkling crystals, and a lock that suggests a key is necessary if you wish to unlock more than just his or her heart. AMBRO STYLE HEART & WINGS BOWTIE, $45

What is more romantic than classic formal fashion? Bowties have made a comeback, and the varieties are numerous. If your focus is Valentine’s inspired and you desire a fashion statement that says, “love me,” try this original silk bowtie that is pre-knotted with adjustable hardware for that perfect fit. Handmade and adorned with hearts trimmed with wings, it will make an affectionate statement for any who choose to display. LOUBOUTIN LADY PEEP HEELS, $945

I have great respect for any woman who can sport a stiletto the entire evening. They are not always a comfortable option and give meaning to “beauty is pain,” but is it not worth it? A high heel can turn up the sexy meter to moderate but a red patent leather heel will cause the mercury to boil. To quote a shoe genius, Christian Louboutin, “a shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk.” And what do you think he meant by that? If you decide to wear a pair of red stilettos for Valentine’s, I want to know all the details the following day!


living out

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points of view


by reverend irene monroe

Robin Roberts Loosens Grip on Black Homophobia While I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn’t have a patent on homophobia, it certainly has a problem with it. Black homophobia still has a deadly hold on African American life. And while I would like to say its oppressive grip only impacts gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people of African descent, in truth, black homophobia maims the entire community.

For example, to date more than a quarter of a million African Americans have died of AIDS — both straight and gay. There are many persistent social and economic factors contributing to the high rates of the epidemic in the African American community — racism, poverty, health care disparity, violence, to name just a few — but the biggest attitudinal factor still contributing to the epidemic and showing no sign of abating is homophobia. The community’s expression of its intolerance of GLBT people is easily seen along gender lines. For instance, sisters mouth off about us while brothers get both — verbally and physically — violent with us. “My son better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little n-gger to death,” Tracy Morgan, comedian and former actor on NBC’s 30 Rock, told his audience at the Ryman Auditorium in 2011. So, whenever there’s an opportunity to applaud and/or celebrate a person’s coming out moment — especially when it’s from a highprofile black celebrity, athlete or mega star—it helps loosens

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black homophobia’s persistent sharp teeth buried in our collective flesh and hold on the community. And we had one such moment with one of America’s beloved newscasters. Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts recently came out, using a Facebook post to publicly announce what we all already knew. The Obamas — both Barack and Michelle — congratulated Roberts with Michelle gleefully tweeting, “I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud.” While many Americans across the country felt the way the Obamas did about Roberts’ admission, there were others who felt that a personal congratulation to Roberts, especially coming from President Obama, was not warranted and highlighted “divisiveness” rather than inclusion. “That message of inclusion is missing in this country, as demonstrated by the President’s odd decision to make a news event out of a person being gay. Such solicitous affection is creepy and divisive. It’s like gushing over someone with a deformity. Most people don’t want to be patronized; they just want to be treated like everyone else,” Wendy Murphy wrote in a Patriot Ledger op-ed titled, “It’s Fine To Be Gay, But Is It GREAT?” Murphy, an ex-prosecutor and an adjunct professor at New England Law, is a local legal pundit celeb. She’s also white and heterosexual, and has at least one GLBT friend or acquaintance (I know this because Murphy told me before we suited up to appear on Boston’s local TV show, Greater Boston, to discuss her opposing views that perhaps she should have first run by someone gay). “If the President and his wife want

to use their bully pulpit to influence social norms, they should be congratulating people not because they’re gay, but because they did something meaningful for society, without regard for personal risk or gain. Robin Roberts may well deserve that kind of attention, but we’ll never know because the Obamas were thinking more about politics than humanity when Roberts got a presidential salute,” Murphy continued. Oddly, Murphy isn’t alone with this view. There were also many GLBT’s who felt similar to Murphy, especially with us now in an era of acceptance of GLBT people in news broadcasting like CNN’s Anderson Cooper, former weather anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America Sam Champion, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and her colleague Thomas Roberts, to name a few.

Murphy, like so many others, are befuddled about the President’s brouhaha with Roberts’ coming out disclosure, since he has used his bully pulpit for that very purpose by legislating on behalf of GLBT civil rights—like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to name a few. Roberts has overcome a lot — in 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and in 2012 with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease of the bone marrow. And now black homophobia’s grip on her. What Murphy and others also miss in their condemnation of the Obamas’ perceived gratuitous applaud of Roberts’ coming out announcement is how the intersectionality of white queer racism, elitism and sexism not only framed the legislations Obama signed on behalf of GLBT civil rights, but how it also shaped which GLBT demographic group would most benefit. Consequently, this is another factor feeding and fueling black homophobia that doesn’t exempt Roberts because of her statute or interracial relationship. Sue O’Connell, a white lesbian and editor and publisher of BayWindows gets it why Roberts’ coming out moment warranted high praise. In her spot on op-ed, “The Harsh Lesson of Robin Roberts’ Coming Out,” O’Connell says, “Challenges of class — of race and gender — are deeply entrenched obstacles to living an open life. Each coming out process is unique, yet African Americans face a path entwined with family, religion, racism and more. Robin Roberts should be congratulated, again, for her bravery. Let’s not let our growing marriage equality success blind us to the very real challenges many still find to living an open and honest life.” It’s my hope that Murphy not only reads her own op-ed but also takes a look at O’Connell’s. living out


points of view trans-missions

by gwen smith

Your Right To Know

A decade or so ago, I was sitting across from a local newspaper reporter as she interviewed me about my work on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was a pleasant discussion, going over the usual slew of questions: why did I create this project, how has it grown, and so on. Then the interview took a turn. The reporter suddenly decided she wanted to see photos of me from before my transition, wanted to know my birth name, and yes, wanted to know my surgical status. She was a bit put off when I explained to her that these were things I simply do not offer up in interviews. Simply put, I don’t think these questions are relevant to the work I’ve done.

It was at that moment, as I read this article about me, that I knew exactly why I did not answer questions about my past name or, for that matter, the configuration of my nether regions: If I had, these would be peppered within that article, presented as the “true” me, while the point of the article — my work on anti-transgender violence and murders — would be swept even further to the margins. It’s a given: as transgender people, we often face discrimination. We face it any time someone determines that we don’t live up to whatever expectations another has on our gender. We might get catcalls and sneers. We might get poor service. We could lose a job. In the worst cases, we could be beaten, raped or killed.

Our histories are ours and ours alone to choose to share – they may no longer be demanded of us. You have no right, nor need, to know.

A week later, I opened the newspaper, and read the article. More than half of its length was not about my work at all, but about me. It talked about a photo of me pre-transitioned spied in my bedroom, and refers to it as “the old Gwen.” It painted a tale of me as having dirty blonde hair, and “chipped pink polish on her nails,” and talked about my love of “lots of dark eyeliner.”

For the record, I don’t tend to wear polish, and wasn’t that day. I wear a modest amount of eyeliner. Oh, and my hair is probably best described as a medium brown, albeit somewhat graying.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder that many of us choose to not disclose our transgender status to the world at large? Yet in a world where Facebook mines us for advertisers while the NSA scoops up all our communications based on the fear that one of us might someday be a terrorist, privacy like this is an increasingly rare commodity.

On a recent episode of Katie Couric’s eponymous talk show, an interview with transgender celebrities Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox went south very quickly. “Your private parts are different now, aren’t they?,” asks Couric of Carrera. Carrera shut that down quickly, but Couric pressed along similar lines later in the piece with Cox. While both handled these intrusive questions with poise and grace, the whole piece felt more like a train wreck than the “teachable moment” Couric claimed after the fact. I feel it also important to note that Couric had couched the interview — before Carrera and Cox were even on screen — with lurid warning of a “shocking transformation,” teasing up that her guests were “born a man” with as much taste as Maury Povitch or Jerry Springer. Meanwhile, author Caleb Hannan, in a piece written for ESPN-produced sports website Grantland, tells the story of Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, aka “Dr. V.” The piece speaks of the golf putter she developed, but quickly veers away from this, focusing on who the “mysterious” Dr. V is. This after Vanderbilt herself made it clear that any article she would be involved in would “focus on the science and not the scientist.” Hannan was unsatisfied with this, and pressed on, digging deep into Dr. V’s background — and eventually discovered that she, too, was transgender.

right to know our past history, as well as the appearance of the most intimate parts of our bodies. I would never go up to any other woman and start a conversation about when they became a woman, and how their genitals behave differently now than when they were children. That would be the height of impropriety, let alone be more than a little creepy.

His narrative changes at this point. Vanderbilt — the “mad scientist” behind a piece of golfing equipment becomes a “troubled man.” Hannan outs Vanderbilt to a business associate of hers, and sets the stage for Vanderbilt’s final letter to Hannan — and Vanderbilt’s suicide.

Yet this is exactly what it is like to ask a transgender person about their bodies, with an added dash of threat — as if you added, “if your answer does not satisfy my curiosity, I will treat you very badly,” to the end of your request.

There is this attitude that transgender people need to provide our histories — and our genital status — to anyone on demand. It’s at the heart of everything from schoolyard taunts to any challenge of our identities. It is as if people expect they have the

For the sake of Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt’s memory, this needs to stop. Transgender people have a right to privacy, just as any other person. Our histories are ours and ours alone to choose to share — they may no longer be demanded of us. You have no right, nor need, to know.

Gwen Smith keeps her lips zipped. You can find her at


living out

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445 East Main St. (25A) Centerport N.Y.


441 East Main St. (25A) Centerport N.Y.






Ralph Colamussi Welcomes the GLBT Community

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living out



Issue 3, Volume 2: February 2014  

Love is in the air this month. Toni Braxton talks about her new album, Love, Marriage & Divorce, Jonathan Groff dishes on his new HBO series...

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