NOVEMBER 04 , 2015 | OUTFRONTONLINE .COM | FREE
DADT IS GONE,
but for many LGBT soldiers and veterans,
DENVER LGBT MEDIA
WITH DEPRESSION INTERSEX COLORADAN SUES US STATE DEPT. FOR DISCRIMINATION
O U T F R O N T O N L I N E . C O M 3
CONTENTS NOVEMBER 04, 2015 VOL39 NO15
06 THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “PINK VOTE”
LGBT MILITARY 12 MY KNIGHT IN KABUL: WAR BECOMES PERSONAL (SORT OF) 14 HIV/AIDS AND THE US MILITARY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 24 STILL SERVING IN SILENCE
26 THE MEGA-TALENTED & MULTIFACETED CHRIS PARENTE 36 TOP 5 MISTAKES THAT MISS THE SOCIALSKILLS MARK 38 CALENDAR 42 FROM PORTLAND WITH PASSION 48 BAR TAB 50 ASK A SLUT 52 DUELING WITH DEPRESSION 58 BACKWORDS
34 4 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
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O U T F R O N T O N L I N E . C O M 5
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “PINK VOTE” Daniel Ramos, One Colorado SUMMER HAS ENDED, WHICH MEANS IT’S ONE COLORADO’S FAVORITE SEASON — election season! Every single election in Colorado determines how Coloradans and our families will be treated in communities all across our state. It also means it’s time to fill out your ballot, turn it in, and make sure your voice is heard. LGBT people and their allies can’t afford to sit out ANY election. Races up and down the ballot — from recall elections, to school board and city council races, to local and state-tax initiatives — will be very close. As is the case in every election, every vote matters, and every vote counts. This year, Colorado’s State Senate voted down every bill that would have advanced equality for LGBT Coloradans and their families, but these things don’t just happen at our state legislature — they happen on school boards and city councils as well! You don’t need to look any further than Jefferson County to see why voting your whole ballot, and being an informed voter, matters. This April, Jefferson County School Board member Julie Williams posted a link to an article that encouraged parents to keep their kids home from school on the National Day of Silence — a day where LGBT students and their allies vow to be silent to raise awareness about bullying and harassment. The article claimed that keeping students home from school would keep them from being “[taught] to support and embrace the unnatural and unhealthy homosexual agenda” and be exposed to “perverse indoctrination.” Harmful sentiments like those posted by Williams create school environments where LGBT students feel unsafe and unwelcome. 6 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
JeffCo school board member Julie Williams posted an article encouraging parents to keep students home from school on the National Day of Silence to keep them from being “[taught] to support and embrace the unnatural and unhealthy homosexual agenda” and be exposed to “perverse indoctrination.”
Unfortunately, the behavior of the School Board Majority didn’t stop there. After Williams’ anti-LGBT remarks, students, teachers, and parents organized a moment of silence before the next school board meeting and addressed the Board about the negative impacts anti-LGBT rhetoric has on the school community. With hundreds of people in attendance, Board Chair Ken Witt limited the amount of time the Gay Straight Alliance students had to address the Board to two minutes — not two minutes each, but two minutes total. When a member of the school board asked for the students to be given more time, she was told that she was out of order. When LGBT people and our allies make our voices heard, we elect people who represent our values. It’s easier than ever to vote in Colorado since every registered voter now receives a ballot in the mail. Once you get your ballot, make a plan to return it by November 3rd. You can return your ballot by mail, drop it off at a Voter Service and Polling Center, or vote in person on Election Day. If you didn’t get a ballot, aren’t registered to vote, or need to update your voter registration, you can do so up to and on Election Day. Find out how at JustVoteColorado.com. Let’s make sure all LGBT Coloradans and our allies make our voices heard this election. There’s so much at stake and elections will be close no matter where you live. Your vote matters — for you, your family, and your community. Daniel Ramos is the Political and Organizing Director at One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Coloradans.
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O U T F R O N T O N L I N E . C O M â€ƒ7
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SUPPORT, EDUCATION, ADVOCACY. PFLAG (PARENTS AND FRIENDS OF LESBIANS AND GAYS) BEGAN MORE THAN 30 YEARS AGO when a mother marched with her gay son in the New York City Pride Parade. Today, PFLAG has expanded its mission to support bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. With lifetimes of myths and misinformation about the LGBTQ community, many people don’t know where to turn when a family member or friend comes out. We are the voice of love, acceptance, celebration, and justice for people of all sexual and gender orientations. PFLAG provides direct support to people seeking a forum to express their emotions or find answers to their questions. Confidential support group meetings offer a non-judgmental outlet for feelings and a place in which people realize they aren’t alone. The programs provide education about the LGBTQ community through speakers, film, presentations, and ongoing discussions. PFLAG addresses many questions asked by those who are on their journey to understanding and acceptance of loved ones — or of coming to terms with their own coming out. The PFLAG Denver Chapter began its scholarship program in 2011, and has provided 14 students with scholarship
awards allowing them to advance their leadership and scholastic pursuits as proLGBTQ advocates. We believe that identifying students who desire to learn while supporting and advancing the health and prosperity of our diverse community is of the utmost importance. In order to keep pace with increasing college-level costs, we have raised our three top scholarship awards to a total of $10,000 for the 2016–2017 school year, with two $2500 awards, and a $5000 award which honors Elinor and Tom Lewallen, Denver pioneers of the national PFLAG movement. We invite everyone to our support group on the first Thursday of every month at the Chun Mansion, 1290 Williams Avenue, Denver. Following the support group is a program where we feature speakers, videos, and films that help us further understand the challenges and achievements of the LGBTQ community. You can reach our office at (303) 573-5861 for questions and/or advice.
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O U T F R O N T O N L I N E . C O M 9
UPDATING DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE STATUSES IN POST-DADT AMERICA
n September 20, 2011 President Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, thereby allowing LGB people to serve openly in the military. What this effectively meant is that service members could no longer be dishonorably discharged on the basis of their sexual orientation. However, what does this mean for the 13,000+ people who were dishonorably discharged under DADT alone? A dishonorable discharge isn’t just a slap on the wrist that only matters within the military sphere — those who were discharged dishonorably are barred from most veteran benefits like the GI Bill educational provisions, lifelong health care, and military veteran benefits like being buried at a national cemetery with military honors and flags, or wearing a uniform or any medals earned. In addition, many states view dishonorable discharge as a felony since most of the dishonorable discharge cases involve rape, murder, or desertion. Because of this, individuals dishonorably 10 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
discharged for being LGB will also likely lose unemployment benefits, ability to take out loans, own firearms, and vote. Securing a job will also prove difficult as a dishonorable discharge shows up during routine background checks. Put plainly, a dishonorable discharge will thoroughly f*ck up your life. Luckily, the military has a Discharge Review Board that a veteran can petition in order to have their discharge status upgraded. Unfortunately, that’s where the luck ends. The update is a tedious process that can take years and is only available to those who have been discharged within the last 15 years. The veterans who were discharged under LGB suspicion before the 15-year window don’t have any other traditional reviews at their disposal. Since the repeal of DADT, the Department of Defense has upgraded about 80 percent of dishonorable discharges related to homosexuality, but many servicemembers remain unsatisfied with the progress. After all, a dishonorable discharge has caused them poor employment opportunities and
practically no benefits as well as virtual excommunication from their communities. Because of the hurdles associated with changing your status, a bipartisan bill entitled Restore Honor to Service Members Act was introduced to Congress in 2013. However, it hasn’t moved toward legislation and in 2015 was reintroduced in hopes of winning a favorable ruling. Most recently, Hillary Clinton spoke up about changing the status en masse for all of those who were dishonorably discharged for LGB-related reasons. As it stands, however, LGB discharged individuals must petition their cases individually. There are many pro bono organizations available like the Veterans Consortium, Swords to Plowshares, and AMVETS Legal Clinic to help veterans win their cases. With the growing public acceptance of LGB individuals, the passage of the Restore Honor to Service Members Act becomes increasingly possible and hopefully soon we’ll be able to put this shameful part of our history to bed.
SAME-SEX COUPLE TAKES THE CAKE On August 13, the Colorado Court of Appeals announced its long-awaited decision in Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, ruling that a Colorado bakery could not cite religious beliefs as the reason to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Back in 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullens were planning their marriage in Massachusetts, and a celebration with family and friends in Colorado. They asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to bake them a wedding case. However, their seemingly simple request was rejected by Mr. Phillips, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple due to his religious convictions. Mr. Craig and Mr. Mullens filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Divisions, and an Administrative Judge for the commissions agreed with them that Masterpiece Cakeshop had improperly discriminated against them. Masterpiece then took the case to the Colorado Court of Appeals. In ruling in favor of Mr. Craig and Mr. Mullens, the Colorado Court of Appeals relied on the seminal US Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted same-sex couples the right just a few months earlier. Quoting the
Obergefell case, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.” It therefore appears that the Obergefell decision created a clear path for the Colorado Court of Appeals to prohibit the discrimination of a same-sex couple. The Colorado Court of Appeals further shot down Mr. Phillips’ argument that his rights to exercise free speech and religion allowed him to discriminate against a same-sex couple. The Court determined that “the act of designing and selling a wedding cake to all customers free of discrimination does not convey a message about same sex weddings likely to be understood by those that view it.” The summer of 2015 will long be remembered for the landmark legal victories that same-sex couples achieved, both nationally and here in Colorado. Bloch & Chapleau is a full service law firm that represents clients in domestic, criminal, personal injury, and civil matters. One of the first firms in Denver to represent same-sex couples in marriage and civil union matters, including divorce and pre-nuptial agreements, call Bloch & Chapleau today to schedule a consultation.
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The opinions expressed in this article are general in nature. For specific legal advice about your particular situation, please contact an attorney.
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MY KNIGHT IN KABUL: WAR BECOMES PERSONAL (SORT OF)
’ll call him “Mike” — for now. He contacted me on a social site, writing “I would love to know you better so if you don’t mind please email me.” I checked his profile: one unclear picture, a few personal details, “searching for an LTR.” That’s it. I respond to all messages, those attempts to connect that make us vulnerable. (Ok, not Foot-Lover’s request to “please send me a pair of your dirty socks.”) Even “thanks, but no thanks” is proof we exist, we matter, even in the shallow realm of social sites. I wrote to Mike and in several 500-word messages, he described himself as “one of the squad of infantry soldiers dedicated to protecting [his] great nation.” He’s stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, sent to “shithole countries” to destroy enemies, and “loves his job and comrades as a true American.” He’s also not into hookups and is very shy. Mike lost his partner to cancer, but is now ready to love “in and out of bed and be loved through the sun and the rain.” He seeks a permanent relationship, described what he likes sexually, confessed that I’m “the man [his] heart desires and [his] dream come true,” again pouring 12 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
out his heart paragraph after paragraph. He attached photos of himself with his comrades and commanding officer, all decked in camouflage and AK-47s (or … I don’t know, just some big-ass guns). I thought Mike incredibly trusting, his ungrammatical sentences endearing, and how this lonely gay soldier, 7200 miles from home is, like all of us, trying to connect, to find love, even in the midst of war. I responded lengthily with heart, thanking him for his service. I sentimentally thought of him as my knight in Kabul fighting for freedom, for America. We’re the good guys. Soon after, a bomb explosion in Kabul ignited a visceral worry that expanded in my chest. There were many injuries but no casualties; I was relieved, grateful, and surprised. How could I be so worried about a stranger? I thought how these common announcements must terrify soldiers’ families. I thought of how my first world problems — my mini-blind snapped, my league bowling lane broke down, I have a hangnail — are so stupid in comparison. Complete strangers enter our life and their effect lingers, fleeting in time but profound
in memory. These moments can never happen with lovers, friends, co-workers, or relatives because we share a common history to varying degrees. We’re a clean slate to a stranger, and they to us. And we have no idea who we may touch in brief encounters, no idea of the occurrence as it unfolds, but that person remembers us. So a lonely, gay soldier, my knight in Kabul, affected me. And then he sent me a link to download more pictures which began loading a virus, nipped by my buddy Norton. Then a friend told me of a “soldier” who asked him for money. I searched my knight in Kabul’s real name, finding an obscure picture and a link to a military blog with hundreds of enlisted women discussing dating scams and two male soldiers searching for “Mike” to expose his romantic scams. Then I read articles on men and women who’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to these scammers who prey on the lonely, the kind-hearted, the generous. My knight in Kabul was a sham. I was angered, disgusted, embarrassed by my warm and fuzzy feelings about connections. What a bunch of gooey hooey!
have little experience with the military. The closest I’ve come occurred when I lived in New York in the late seventies through a brief fling with Richie, adorably cute with a sweet personality and killer smile that shone when he was not debilitated by incurable sadness. He was a Vietnam Vet. At night his tight, little body would curl up into a fetal position next to me like a pet dog who couldn’t get close enough to its master. Richie talked of his nightmares in a painful language I was ill-equipped to interpret. I felt helpless. All I could do was hold him. In hindsight, he suffered from PTSD. I wonder if he’s still alive.
Republicans warning him to avoid vetoing it as it’s crucial for national security. But if Alexander the Great and the British Empire couldn’t conquer Afghanistan, what makes America think it can? These sobering facts don’t include the almost nine years spent in Iraq (which is not over) and the looming claw that will drag us into Syria. Again, experts quibble about the costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars, but the most common range is between 4 and 6 trillion dollars! In the eighties, the Afghan War bankrupted the USSR; look where that led: rootin’ tootin’ cowboy Putin. We learned nothing from Vietnam.
HOW COULD I BE SO WORRIED ABOUT A STRANGER? I THOUGHT HOW THESE COMMON ANNOUNCEMENTS MUST TERRIFY SOLDIERS’ FAMILIES. I THOUGHT OF HOW MY FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS — MY MINIBLIND SNAPPED, MY LEAGUE BOWLING LANE BROKE DOWN, I HAVE A HANGNAIL — ARE SO STUPID IN COMPARISON. Experts quibble about the length of the war that ruined Richie, 17.2 years, almost as long as our Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World Wars I and II combined. American shooting in Afghanistan began Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after 9/11, and it’s on track to become our longest as President Obama announced troops will remain there until 2017, undoubtedly longer. Congress just sent him a $612 billion dollar defense budget, the exception to the caps imposed on domestic programs, with
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Does the Highlands Ranch soccer mom or the Wall Street broker care about any of this? As long as they can fill up their SUV with relatively cheap gas, probably not. Are Americans more concerned with posting a picture of their lunch on Facebook, than with war and death and poverty and international political disasters? What’s on your Facebook account? Spared the ravages of war, disconnecting from its realities creates a complacent citizenry. We’re numbed by the unceasing
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barrage of media, information, and advertisements, this cacophony of crap distracting and assaulting us 24/7 through modern gadgetry. Airports, restaurants, bus stops, walking the dog, going to work, panting on a treadmill, everyone’s “connecting” on their mobile phone when friends, relatives, sunsets, fall colors, strangers — our world — exist in real time only inches away. This same gadgetry allowed the connection to my knight in Kabul who could be in Cardiff, Cameroon, or Castle Rock. It’s confusing. I called him Mike. I could call him many nasty names, but I gave my phony soldier a phony name because in the unlikely event Mike is a real soldier, I don’t want to compromise his identity. Because of this brief connection with a stranger, for a moment I had the minutest of glimpses into the real worry and concern for real soldiers felt by real loved ones, maybe even a soccer mom or a stockbroker. For a moment, my worry and concern for the safety of my knight was not phony and war became personal. Wars often are for nothing, except of course, for the trillions of dollars in the coffers of the military industry, the power plays of politicians and generals, and the illusory and temporary control and influence of peoples and countries. I guess that’s something, but of what value? I pray my country’s legitimate knights — and damsels — in Kabul and around the globe are safe and soon return to the country they so passionately serve and love. I hope their faith and potentially their lives are not given for naught. We are connected, and they matter to me.
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HIV/AIDS AND THE US MILITARY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Betrearon Tezera
n recent years, we’ve witnessed a significant amount of progress in scientific and medical research related to the management and treatment of HIV/AIDS. In 2014 alone, gene-modification technologies and vaccine trials were presented at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. In addition, CROI 2014 discussed the positive impact of pharmaceutical interventions like Pre-Exposure Prophylactics (PrEP) in high-risk communities, including and perhaps especially in enclaves of men who have sex with men (MSM). A comment on Truvada (a highly popular brand of PrEP) is now a recognizable and almost expected element in many a gay man’s dating/hookup profile (a positive addition to our Grindr Grammar, if you will). Ostensibly, for all persons living with HIV, such developments signal the beginning of a shift in the cultural understanding we have coalesced around HIV/AIDS, and signal a deadly blow to the enduring stigma and discrimination that beleaguer HIV-positive people in this country every day. In other words, it has become viable to imagine HIV-positive persons participating in more social and political institutions than our cultural narrow-mindedness has heretofore allowed. 14 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
The US Armed Forces doesn’t seem to be one of those institutions. Army Regulation (AR) 600-110, drafted in 2014, is titled “Identification, Surveillance, and Administration of Personnel Infected with HIV.” Chapter 5, Section 3 lists the US Military’s official HIV testing guidelines. For instance, 5-3-a states:
APPLICANTS FOR ACCESSION WHO HAVE NO MILITARY STATUS OF ANY KIND AT THE TIME OF TESTING AND WHO ARE CONFIRMED HIV INFECTED WILL NOT BE ENLISTED OR APPOINTED IN ANY COMPONENT OF THE ARMY. An accession, in militaristic terms, is any given cohort of applicants that the Army decides fits the bill to make the Basic Training rounds. If you are found to be HIV-positive during the mandatory medical examinations that are part of your application to join the Armed Forces, you will automatically be denied. In case you are wondering what happens to soldiers who contract HIV while they’re on a military deployment, there are special
protocols to be followed if that is indeed the case. For example, Chapter 6, Section 3 of AR 600-110 offers assignment limitations for soldiers on active duty who contract HIV after enlistment:
HIV INFECTED SOLDIERS WILL NOT BE DEPLOYED OR ASSIGNED OVERSEAS. HIV INFECTED SOLDIERS WILL NOT PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES OVERSEAS FOR ANY DURATION OF TIME. SOLDIERS CONFIRMED TO BE HIV INFECTED WHILE STATIONED OVERSEAS WILL BE REASSIGNED TO THE UNITED STATES.
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While various official sources note that these measures are instituted for “maximum public and personnel protection” and can be petitioned on a case-by-case basis, it’s an extremely taxing process and often requires you take an official leave of absence or a significantly limited number of US-based assignments, depending on each case and the soldier’s physical condition. If this isn’t the definition of corpus timuerunt, I don’t know what is. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 15
WITH DADT OUT OF THE MILITARY, ARE LGBT SEX LIVES TOTALLY AT EASE?
ccording to Uniform Code of Military Justice’s website, Article 125 states: “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” However, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014,” which was passed in December 2013, repealed any consensual acts between same/opposite genders as well as bestiality. Basically, this means anal and oral sex acts are okay as long as both parties consent. Any forcible acts are still punishable by a court martial. (Looks like the UCMJ needs to update its website.) 16 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Oddly enough, that also means someone can penetrate an animal … as long as it agrees. For this reason, the repeal of the consensual nature of Article 125 was controversial and took a while to pass. While I agree that bestiality is absolutely unethical, why must the sex lives of any service member be determined by military law, let alone be lumped together with animal sex? In Colorado, sodomy was a criminal offense from 1860 through 1971, when it was decriminalized between consenting adults in private. Soon after, a public indecency law banned public displays of affection between same-sex couples, but that was taken away in 1974. The US military discharged soldiers for homosexual acts for a couple centuries, but military law did not clearly exclude homosexuality or homosexual behavior
until February 1921. In 1950, Congress passed the UCMJ, banning all types of sodomy. It took until the next century for any kind of progress to be made toward the sexual rights of a service member choosing to engage in private sexual acts with their chosen partner. Though the repeal of consensual sodomy was a step in the right direction for LGBT rights in the military, it seems like they’re hanging onto something. Basically, the repeal banned any sodomy in the form of rape. Article 120 of the UCMJ already covers rape and sexual assault offenses. It seems a bit excessive to cover essentially the same act in two separate articles. Since 2014, no further progress has been made to Article 125. And it looks like the US military still thinks gay sex is somewhat equivalent to bestiality.
THE COMEBACK KID A RECENTLY REINSTATED AIR FORCE LIEUTENANT, THROWN OUT FOR BEING GAY UNDER DADT, SCORES A MAJOR AWARD SHORTLY AFTER HIS RETURN Miles Griffis
ieutenant Judson Smith was reinstated into the United States Air Force Reserves as an Officer in an Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in June 2014 after a 12-year absence. In 2002, he was kicked out of the armed forces under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy for living openly as a gay man.
At only 22, he had to turn his life around after hearing the news that he would no longer be serving in the armed forces. “It was very upsetting, getting discharged at that young of an age, a time when you are trying to figure out who you are in life,” Smith said. During his time away from the armed forces, he excelled in his professional career starting a company, Code3, selling online EMT and paramedic courses. He also received a Masters in Health Administration in his time away from the force. While living his civilian life, he received help from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). The organization is an active watchdog and policy organization that provides free and direct legal assistance to servicemembers and veterans affected by the repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. Smith is no longer working with the group. Amazingly, after only one year back in the Air Force, Smith has already won a major award within his division, the 302nd Airlift Wing Company Grade Officer of the Second Quarter. The award is given four times a year to outstanding officers, pilots, coordinators, and a variety of other positions within the force. It is extremely competitive. At the end of the year, the four recipients of each quarterly award become nominated for the yearly award, which will be 18 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
announced in March of 2016. Smith’s Commander, Lt Col Laurel McDaniel, said that nominating and supporting Smith for the award was common sense. “His knowledge base, extensive leadership skills, and determination are what made him such a strong candidate. If you take his civilian experience, he is overqualified,” said McDaniel.
SMITH ACQUIRED GRANTS THAT ALLOWED HIS SQUADRON TO COMMUNICATE SEAMLESSLY. AFTER TRAINING SESSIONS WITH THE EQUIPMENT, SMITH WAS ABLE TO MAKE HIS SQUADRON ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT IN THE COUNTRY. In addition to his leadership skills and presence within the force, Smith was able to improve communication within his squadron by acquiring 40 new expensive headsets by thinking outside of the box. He acquired grants that allowed him to equip his squadron, allowing them to communicate seamlessly. After training sessions with the equipment, Smith was able to make his squadron one of the most efficient in the country. As a logistics officer, Smith
knows that success is all about communication. Because of Smith’s innovations within the squadron, McDaniel jokingly said she’ll “never let him to leave her squadron.” She knows he has nowhere to go but up, and sees him entering Squadron Officer School in Mobile, AL soon. She believes he could be commanding and serving in important foreign missions in the upcoming years. Smith’s squadron, the 302nd Airlift Wing is one of nine Air Force Reserve C-130 wings that provides airdrop and airlift missions. Specifically, Smith focuses on aeromedical evacuation. In layman’s terms, the massive C-130H3 planes are turned into airborne intensive care units, armed with specialized in-flight emergency medical providers. The planes pick up patients in dangerous territory and transport them to secure military bases where they receive full treatment. Smith is in charge of these type of complex and lifesaving logistics. Despite his discharge from the military in 2002, Smith doesn’t hold any contempt for the Air Force or the armed forces in general. Since 2002, he says he has noticed an incredible change in acceptance toward queer service members. “My husband and I still get invited to the same BBQs as the straight couples do. It is no longer a big deal within the military. Some still have their opinions, sure, but modern military training has given everyone guidance and a directive to follow.” Smith continued, “We all signed up for the same service, we all signed up for something far beyond ourselves and our sexuality.” OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 19
INTERSEX NAVY VETERAN SUES US STATE DEPT, COLORADO PASSPORT AGENCY FOR DISCRIMINATION
Originally published Oct. 26, 2015 on OutFrontOnline.com
ast October, Fort Collins resident Dana Zzyym — a Navy veteran and outspoken advocate for intersex visibility and equality who prefers the pronouns they, them, and their — was invited to an international forum on intersexuality in Mexico City. Naturally, they accepted and set out applying for a US passport. The process seemed simple enough until Dana landed in the dreaded gender-marker territory with only two choices: male and female, both of which would be inaccurate (not to mention criminal) selections. “If I remember right, I wrote an ‘I’ between those two boxes and a letter saying I am intersex and I want an X marker on my passport,” the stylishly mohawked Dana told their audience during a Lambda Legal press conference in Denver. “I submitted that [letter] along with my application.” First-time applicants are also required to provide their birth certificate which comes as no help for Dana, either — the gender section of their birth certificate is marked “unknown.” 20 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
The United States veteran, who completed four tours of duty as a machinist mate with the US Navy and was confirmed as intersex through a urologist with the VA many years later, was denied a United States passport. In its place, the State Department sent a letter stating that Dana had three options going forward: receive a passport listing Dana as female; receive a passport listing Dana as male; or to withdraw the application altogether. Dana then made an appearance at the Colorado Passport Agency (CPA) to present more documentation on their intersex status, and requested the intersex classification of X be allowed on their passport. Because it’s illegal to “willfully and knowingly make any false statement in an application for passport with intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport under the authority of the United States, either for his own use or the use of another,” Dana wanted to make extra certain not to play subject to potential civil and criminal sanctions. The response from CPA? Another letter stating that because
“the Department of State requires the sex field on United States passports to be listed as ‘M’ or ‘F,’” Dana’s request for the X marker is once again denied. Dana requested a hearing, and was rebuffed once again — this time with a letter of finality. The matter, according to CPA, was over. And so today, on Intersex Awareness Day, Lambda Legal has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the US State Department on Dana’s behalf. “It’s very easy for the US government to accurately identify Dana as who they are, and no person throughout the country should have to compromise their own identity to be able to travel,” Paul D. Castillo, lead attorney in the case, told Out Front earlier this morning. “Those are rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.” In the legal hotseat are Secretary of State John Kerry and Director of the Regional Passport Agency (located in Aurora, CO) Sherman D. Portell. Both are being sued in their official capacity.
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“BECAUSE IT’S ILLEGAL TO ‘WILLFULLY AND KNOWINGLY MAKE ANY FALSE STATEMENT IN AN APPLICATION FOR PASSPORT WITH INTENT TO INDUCE OR SECURE THE ISSUANCE OF A PASSPORT UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES, EITHER FOR HIS OWN USE OR THE USE OF ANOTHER,’ DANA WANTED TO MAKE EXTRA CERTAIN NOT TO PLAY SUBJECT TO POTENTIAL CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS.” An obvious question is how Dana was able to travel during their service in the military. “When you’re under orders of the military, [travel] is a different process — Dana didn’t need to secure a passport,” Paul affirmed. “But now, as a civilian, Dana is required to obtain a passport in order to leave the United States lawfully.” “I didn’t know anything about intersex at that particular point in time,” Dana said of their identity during the Navy years. “[Male] is how I identified because I didn’t know any better. I knew I was different, I just didn’t know in what way.” Currently, Australia, India, Malta, Nepal, and New Zealand allow for gender markers outside the male and female binary. “The thing that’s particularly ironic here is that the United States government in fact is allowing foreign nationals with an X marker on their passport to enter the US,” Paul said. “Now we are seeing citizens of foreign countries across the world being able to enter and exit [the US] freely while our own citizens who can’t accurately identify on their passports are basically on nationwide house arrest.” He added: “The X marker designation that’s been provided by international standards has existed for a long time. There’s always been an alternative with respect to travel documents letting a person identify as other than male or female. In fact, many countries have utilized that for intersex and other gender-diverse individuals. The United States has limited those options 22 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
and are asking people who are gender diverse or who don’t identify as male or female to compromise their own identity in order to be able to travel. Dana shouldn’t have to choose.” “I was raised male and I tried to live a male life even though I knew it was wrong for me,” they said. “I tried my best.” “This is clearly a right of self-expression, autonomy, and identity, and the United States government has no business making a person sacrifice their own identity merely for the freedom of movement,” said Paul. “But the bigger [issue] is that this is an identity document, and there are other ways of identifying a person’s identity — including with their photograph. That begs the question of whether a marker is even necessary on a United States passport or any government identity. The government can accurately identify the person based on the photograph and other metrics embedded within the passport, so there’s a mechanism already in place.” Dana says reactions to the case have been mixed. “Some people aren’t ready to have this kind of marker, but the real issue is that it’s a choice to have the marker on your passport or not. This is my choice to have my marker to self identify, and anyone else can choose that if that’s how they identify. Most of the community is very supportive. The rest will probably will come aboard.” “I’m not going to speculate,” Paul said when asked whether he thinks this will
be a tooth-and-nail fight from the state. “We’re hopeful that this is just a process of raising awareness to the United States government that this is a problem for citizens who don’t identify as male or female, and that we can work with them quickly to provide a resolution. That way, Dana and others like Dana can travel and exercise the right to travel while not compromising their identity.” So is Dana’s ideal solution an X marker? “There are a lot of options out there: Nepal has an O for other; I think I just saw an E out there, but I’m not sure what that stands for; there’s the X,” Dana said. “I’d like to see an N for non-binary or something like that, but the X is fine at this point.” They say it’s mostly about “getting my passport and making sure they’re available to intersex persons or non-binary people.” As a child, Dana endured many painful, invasive, and unnecessary surgeries that left them with permanent damage and scarring in unsuccessful attempts to conform them to a traditional binary standard. They hope that the end of the long trend of misunderstanding, invisibility, and discrimination is closer with the success of this court case. “My strength comes from all the adversarial things I’ve gone through in my life,” they said. “It’s given me the strength to be here today and fight for my rights.” Out Front will update online as the story unfolds.
PFLAG Denver awards more than $10,000 of scholarship funds annually. PLFAGDenver.org/Scholarship
STILL SERVING IN SILENCE Mike Yost
ou suffer from isolation,” says Krista Whipple, president of the Gender Identity Center of Colorado. “You feel you can’t talk to anybody about it. You’re very closed off. It’s not a comfortable way to live for anybody.” Krista joined the Marine Corps in June of 1998 shortly after she graduated high school. Trained as a computer technician, she was stationed at Okinawa, Japan for two years before transferring to the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command at Twentynine Palms, California. Though Krista found some support outside of the military at nearby Palm Springs, she was reticent to share her transgender status with others. “I wasn’t really out about my situation while I was in the military,” says Krista, “with the exception of a few close friends who were also in the military at the time.” Even after she left the Marine Corps to work for Lockheed Martin, Krista didn’t escape her seclusion. When a transgender contestant was featured on a nation-wide talent show, she was inundated by her co-workers with discriminatory and ignorant comments regarding the transgender community. “I absolutely felt trapped,” says Krista. “It was excruciating, because on one hand, you really want to stand up and say, ‘You 24 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
guys are being stupid.’ But on the other hand, it’s about self protection.” According to a Palm Center study released in March of this year, there are 134,350 transgender veterans, and an estimated 8,800 active duty transgender servicemembers with an additional 6,650 in the Guard or Reserve. For those thousands of military members, coming out as transgender — or being discovered — means the end of a military career. In April, The Washington Post featured a story on Landon Wilson, who was booted out of the Navy after it was discovered he was born female. But the very next month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stated in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” that the military should review its ban regarding transgender servicemembers. “Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it,” Hagel says. “This is an area that we’ve not defined enough.” Krista approaches Hagel’s statement with cautious optimism. “I appreciate the sentiment. I think it’s great we have people in power who have the ability to make these decisions and make these changes, but I don’t think it’s one that we should look at lightly.”
Transgender organizations were very critical when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) ended, emphasizing that transgender personnel are still serving in silence, but Krista reiterates there are issues that must be addressed before lifting the ban. “I’m not big on the [DADT] decision,” says Krista, “but I kind of understand why it may be better currently to keep the [transgender ban] in place. If I go into boot camp, and I identify one way and they put me in an opposite group, how does that work? Or on the other side of the case, if I go in as I identify, and I’m put in with a group that matches my identity, how does that play out?” Krista adds that although protecting military personnel from harm is top priority, especially during boot camp, the safety of military members cannot be guaranteed all the time. “There’s still a lot of hateful people who don’t have a problem using violence to express their point of view. It’s just not a safe environment.” But Krista is hopeful that Hagel’s insistence to review the ban will address those issues. “It’s a step in the right direction. If it’s handled with care and it’s handled in such a manner that it keeps people protected and safe, then absolutely I’m all for it, obviously.”
“I TRANSITIONED AT SCHRIEVER AFB, WHICH IS KIND OF OUT THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE,” SAYS KRISTA. “THERE’S A LOT OF MILITARY AND FORMER MILITARY, AND I ORIGINALLY EXPECTED I WASN’T GOING TO BE ABLE TO TRANSITION ON THE JOB.” One strategy is to review the military policies of other nations. There are as many as 12 countries that allow transgender servicemembers to serve openly, including Canada, Israel, Australia, and England.
Krista knows that not everyone has had the same positive experiences, and she encourages those who silently endure discrimination to find support in the community and within.
“It’s all about education,” says Krista. “If everybody was taught that there’s no tolerance for any kind of discrimination or violence, it might work, but again you’d have to have enough people in the situation who are supportive, who could challenge anyone who doesn’t support it.”
“Ultimately, it’s about finding solace and strength within yourself,” says Krista. “Transition should not be a burden, it should be a wonderful thing. It should be about becoming the real you and allowing yourself to be that person. And if you have that in front of you, something to look forward to, that’s going to help you surpass the obstacles you’re currently facing.”
In addition to the growing momentum within the military itself, there are clear signs that a progressive shift in perspective is taking place within private companies that work on military bases as government contractors.
Krista is confident that the military’s ban on transgender personnel will one day be removed, but only if everyone works in solidarity to implement that change. “It’s not a matter of the trans community banding together and stepping out and saying we want these things changed. It’s more a matter of everybody who’s not trans standing up and saying we want equal rights for them as well, and we’re here to support that.”
“I transitioned at Schriever AFB, which is kind of out there in the middle of nowhere,” says Krista. “There’s a lot of military and former military, and I originally expected I wasn’t going to be able to transition on the job.” But when she approached Lockheed’s human resources department in 2011, she was told the company had helped other transgender employees before. Starting this year, Lockheed has begun covering surgeries under their health program for transgender employees.
ast month at a Human Rights Campaign fundraiser in Washington DC, Vice President Joe Biden joined a growing number of top government officials in support of lifting the ban that prohibits transgender service members from serving openly in the US military.
Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also announced her support in lifting the ban, as well as Vermont Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In July, Defense Secretary Ash Carter released a statement launching a workgroup to evaluate the impact of lifting the transgender ban, emphasizing the need to reconsider the logic behind the prohibition which forces an estimated 15,500 active duty, Guard, and Reserve transgender military members to serve in silence. “The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender servicemembers are outdated,” the statement reads, with Carter adding that transgender military members “are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.” Carter also put into place protocols requiring any servicemember considered for discharge under the ban to be reviewed personally by Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson. As a result, numerous active-duty servicemembers have come out publicly as transgender, sharing their stories despite the fact that the ban is still officially in place. A final decision from the Department of Defense is expected in May, 2016. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 25
Chris Arneson Media
The Mega-talented & Multifaceted Chris Parente “Improv is one of my
truest loves,” Parente says. “I studied with Second City. Really, improv is what I do on television every day anyway. Queerbots takes up a lot of my time, but it’s a blast and my passion.”
IT’S PRETTY TRICKY TO LIVE IN DENVER AND NOT KNOW ABOUT CHRIS PARENTE. He’s been in Denver for nearly nine years, and he’s currently working at several local stations covering the entertainment beat. Before you start lunch, it’s likely that Parente’s workday is already over. With his day starting typically at 4am, Parente lives for coffee. His day begins with Channel 2’s Daybreak with Tom Green, which consists of three to four entertainment segments throughout the morning news. Next up is Everyday, his 10am talk show alongside co-host Kathie J on Fox 31. His job generally ends around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. “I get up so early that usually, when I’m done, I go home and take a nap,” Parente says. He’ll spend his post-work hours hitting the gym or catching as many shows and movies as he can to stay fresh on the entertainment scene. This kind of schedule normally puts him in bed by 9pm. 26 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Design: James Etc., Hair & Makeup: Scarlet Salon, Model: Keis Muhammad-Timm
“I absolutely love, love what I’m doing,” Parente illuminates. After years of working as a hard news reporter, he says that gig could get very depressing. “Making the shift over to more entertainment anchoring and hosting my own talk show has allowed for more positive energy, fun, laughter … and definitely a lot more imagination and creativity,” he says. “We certainly cover the news of the day, but it’s a lot more fun.” Parente describes his talk show as part Ellen, part The View, part The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He says his co-host, Kathie J, is a dream. “I’ve been in the business for 23 years,” Parente recalls, “and I can honestly say the Everyday show is what I am the most proud of, most excited about, and have the most fun doing. It truly is unlike anything else on local television.” The Emmy-winning Everyday started about seven years ago, and there have been a couple other hosts before Kathie J joined two years ago. “Kathie J reminds me a lot Melissa McCarthy,” Parente says. “She’s bold, she’s out there, she says what’s on her mind, and she’s proud of who she is.” She also co-hosts a morning radio show with Larry Ulibarri, another one of Parente’s cohorts. Parente and Ulibarri have worked together on several appearances, notably hosting the broadcast of Denver’s Pride parade for the last couple years. “Larry and I kinda do a three-way with Kathie J,” Parente says. “He gets her in the morning, and I get her at 10.” Ulibarri recently joined as a guest improviser with Parente’s monthly improv show, The Queerbots, the only GLTBQ improv troupe in Colorado. “Improv is one of my truest loves,” Parente says. “I studied with Second City … and really, improv is what I do on television every day anyway. It takes up a lot of my time, but it’s a blast and my passion.” Most weekends, Parente will either fly to L.A. or New York since his station gets exclusives with upcoming movies. He’ll watch a few flicks, sit down with the casts, and then bring those interviews exclusively back to Denver. Over the years, Parente has taken his show internationally to Iceland, Russia, Vienna, Bora Bora, as well on location at Disneyland. An Indiana native, Parente kicked off his journalism career with an internship at a station in Lafayette, where he snagged a job right out of college. “One of the things about this business is you start at the bottom and work your way up,” Parente explains. Back in Lafayette, he covered county fairs and corn, mostly. Think a town like in the Andy Griffith Show.
NOVEMBER 29, 2015 EXDO EVENT CENTER 15 LOCAL DESIGNERS 15 LOCAL SALONS AMAZING MAKEUP ARTISTS 75 GORGEOUS MODELS AN UNFORGETTABLE, ULTRA-CHIC, CUTTING-EDGE HAIR AND FASHION RUNWAY EXPERIENCE UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN
While working as the morning anchor at NBC in Louisville, Ky., Parente got a call about a job in Denver, flew out, and took the job the next day. He fell in love. Parente, who’s been out since he was 20, said he’s fortunate to have a supportive family, and he’s privileged that he is able to be openly gay on television. But early in his career, the
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KAISER PERMANENTE | DENVER STYLE MAGAZINE OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 27
Berlin Sylvestre Media
Off the Air, On the Record: Larry Ulibarri
Denver’s beloved native and raucous radio personality
Larry Ulibarri straddles a unique line between celebrated local celeb and relatable Every Guy.
THERE’S PERHAPS NO BETTER WAY TO START YOUR TRAFFIC-LADEN, POTHOLE-DODGING DAY THAN BUSTING A GUT TO LARRY ULIBARRI’S SILLINESS ON KS107.5’S THE MORNING SHOW. For the many thousands of us who laugh in spite of ourselves at his “so-bad-they’re-good” Kim Kardashian impressions, it’s basically like we’ve got a lovable and ridiculous buddy riding shotgun for our entertainment. He’s consistent with the comedy and gives us just the right amount of insight into his life so that it’s almost like we know him. And so I feel like a bit like a stalker as approach his house, like I already know a good deal about this guy in spite of the fact that we’ve never exchanged a word. I take a deep breath outside his door and ring the bell. Someone says something I can’t quite make out, then a smiling face appears. His expression is warm, inviting; his body language suggests he’s affable and when I accept the invitation to come inside, he takes an instant fancy to my legs — as in, he won’t stop licking them. “Yoshi, stop,” Larry urges his elderly pooch as I step fully into his spotless Stapleton home. He’s all apologies with his handshake, but I don’t mind Yoshi in the slightest — pets are the best way to give nervous hands something to do in a stranger’s home. We stand for a bit in his kitchen (the 28 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
tile-work is “to die”) and the nerves melt in welcome chatter before we head downstairs into his home studio. And then suddenly, I’m seated at a table in front of an expensive-looking DJ mic across from Larry and his trusty sidekick, Producer Wig’nz. There’s a vaporizer on the table and “Wig” extends a palm that says, “Knock yourself out.” Larry’s eyes are practically slits and the room’s soft lighting and gentle acoustics certainly make the offer inviting. What adds to Larry’s charm is that he knows how to bring you quickly into his inner circle, and speak to you as an old friend might. The moment I sit, I realize I must be arriving at a time when he’s freshly irked by a boss he really doesn’t like. “This is the most I’ve ever had to fight [at work],” he vents, speaking of a coworker who’s turning out to be something of a micromanager. “He’s forced the team to become a weird support group for one another.” When his original boss at KS107.5 left for a Clear Channel gig in San Francisco, Larry and his team — that’s Kendall B, Kathie J, and Producer Wig’nz — approved a new guy to help manage the show. “But then he started trying to make massive changes,” Larry says. “When you get ego involved, they want to fix things that aren’t broken.” He says the passive aggressive texts and duplicitous attitude got so bad that the team started shopping around and exploring offers from other radio stations. “The people at Alice [105.9] really wanted to hire us for their morning show, but we were too expensive.” Though Larry says the disliked character he calls “Pig Vomit” has poked and prodded for a change in the way the team conducts The Morning Show with requests that they be more like the tamer, more vanilla radio hosts in other parts of the nation, the team won’t be swayed. Numbers, like hips, don’t lie. “The only thing that keeps bad management at bay are our ratings,” he says. He swats at the air and apologizes for venting. In truth, it’s ok: It’s rather nice to see that someone with a dream job and a loyal following has to put up with the dreaded “horrible boss” that the rest of us do at times. The conversation is steered toward family, and he tightens a bit. “I was raised in a super-religious, Jehovah’s Witness household,” he says. “It’s not a religion; it’s a lifestyle, and it’s just as much a cult as Scientology is.” His face is becoming flush. “These are people who tell you you’re a bad person if you leave, and say that family is supposed to turn their backs on you for it.” He wipes something imaginary on the tabletop over and over. “Being gay and raised in that religion is hard. And they sold me on it; I believed everything was true.” He leans forward and cradles his head in his hands before wiping at sudden, angry tears. “I knew that because I was gay, when Armageddon comes, I wouldn’t qualify.” He apologizes between sharp breaths and gathers himself, looking equal parts embarrassed and surprised at himself. “I’m so sorry,” he says again. Deep breath. “Mom took me to a session with a therapist who was also a Jehovah’s Witness. He asked me, ‘Are you [gay]?’ and part of
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Paul Bindel Media
Torres has also earned
The Colorado Connection:
a reputation for finding stories in the far-flung corners of Colorado — from the nuns near the Wyoming border who raise and sell cattle, to the UFO watchtower in Hooper. “People like to be surprised by what’s in their state,” he explains.
KEVIN TORRES IS JUST ABOUT TO WATCH STONEWALL. “We know about the controversy, but we still want to see it,” he says. Days later, the verdict: “Not worth the time or money.” As a storyteller reporter who has traipsed across the state for the last six years, finding unique angles on a range of subjects — from prisoners to athletes, fires to floods, local heroes to local wildlife — he’d be the one to know a good story. Across the table at the Starbucks near Fox31, his current station, Torres looks ready for the camera — crisp, black tight-checkered shirt with an open button, dark belt around his blue jeans. His voice and demeanor are winsome and warm, yet with a focused intensity, so it’s no surprise when he references his recent social media stats. “65 percent of my followers are women from the ages of 25 and 54,” he chuckles. Torres has the largest social media reach — between 500,000 and 700,000 — of any reporter in the state, and it’s his connections to Colorado, to his subjects, and to his viewers that set him apart. In an age of “friends” and “followers,” authentic social connection can be hard to find, especially online, but Torres has found a voice that allows him to share his personal life, while also connecting people to the news he covers around the state. “I talk about my personal life a lot — my cat, my nephews, the movies I watch — and some people feel a connection. I want them to 30 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Kevin Torres, Storyteller or femme lady,” he says,“the fact is that we all have one thing in common: Regardless of who you are, you have emotions.” Taking cues from storyteller reporters like Twin Cities’ Boyd Huppert and Denver native Chris Vanderveen, Torres says his goal on most days is to write “a good story that makes you so happy you cry.” “My stories run anywhere from 9pm to 10pm, the last thing many of my viewers see in the day, so I like to call them bedtime stories.” If he can help Coloradans empathize with each other — a suburban Littleton woman understanding a mother who lost a child in Grand Junction — he feels he is doing his best work.
feel that connection.” Times have changed from his late-80s childhood, when the 6-o’clock news was a fixed family ritual. Today, most of his audience watches his reporting on Facebook before television: “When I first started on TV, it was, ‘Oh, I know you from television.’ Now it’s, ‘Oh, I’m friends with you on Facebook, and you happen to work in news.’ That’s the connection I want.” Viewers are drawn to Torres’ work because of his form and his reputation. Storytelling reporting involves a nuanced mix of narration, quotes, and images that gradually reveal an emotionally charged narrative. Torres’ signature style — punctuated by montages of visual and verbal metaphor, poignant character sketches, and humor — is full of heart, a far cry from the mic-in-hand, “I’m-here-at-the-scene” of the newsroom. Torres has also earned a reputation for finding stories in the far-flung corners of Colorado — from the nuns near the Wyoming border who raise and sell cattle, to the UFO watchtower in Hooper. “People like to be surprised by what’s in their state,” he explains. “I do a lot of stories in small towns because I grew up in a small town.” And with seven Emmys under his belt, including two for Best Writer, Torres seems to be striking a chord with Colorado viewers. The key to writing a successful storytelling piece is connecting to viewers’ emotions. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a butch dude
Not only does he hope his audience feels for each other, Torres himself sustains a connection with his subjects. He points to a bright blue bracelet on his wrist that says “Justice for Dylan Redwine,” referring to the unsolved case of a Coloradan boy who went missing in 2012 and some of whose remains were found on Middle Mountain near his father’s house in 2013. In covering the case, Torres formed relationships with the family and members of the community and regularly visits them. He has pledged not to remove the bracelet — a bright reminder on many of his broadcasts — until someone is sentenced for the murder. Additionally, in the mountain town of Divide, Torres learned about an animal shelter that raises money to support its services through a yearly “election,” where residents vote on the canine or feline mayor of the town. Moved by the story, he will be donating a percentage of the proceeds from his upcoming photography exhibit to the shelter. “I want to be the person who actually cares. For me, being human comes before being a reporter.” One way of identifying the root of this impulse is to go back to Torres’ childhood mentor, his sixth grade teacher Anthony Lanzi. Torres grew up with a single mother in a “very poor neighborhood in upstate New York.” Torres says that without Lanzi, “I wouldn’t be here to talk about this stuff. He was always there to talk to students, to push them to be better, just to always make them feel special. Whenever I was in his class, I never felt like I was a poor kid — I felt like I had everything in the world.” That description is a good way of summarizing Torres’ work at KDVR Fox 31 and his earlier work at KUSA 9 News — he amplifies the voice of people throughout Colorado affirming their dignity and value. “People will tell me, ‘There’s something different about you. You’re not like other reporters.’” And they would be correct. You can check out Torres’ photography exhibit at Frame by Frame in Stapleton this November. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 31
The Mega-talented & Multifaceted Chris Parente (cont. from pg 27) understanding was that he shouldn’t acknowledge it, which he felt was a form of bigotry. “I’m in a unique position, and I’m proud of it, that I’m able to be openly gay on television every single day and celebrate it,” he elaborates. “I would say I’m the only person on the air who’s able to do that now in Denver.” But Parente explains that it comes with his style of job, and he wouldn’t expect a regular news reporter to need to divulge that kind of info about themselves. “I’m proud of the ability to be a visible person on television who’s happy, relatively well-adjusted, and totally cool with being openly gay on television. And that’s no different than if there were a talk-show host who’s straight — he’d talk about his wife, his kids, his family. Gay people come in all shapes and sizes and styles … and God bless all of it. I love the diversity,” he clarifies. “I’m not on TV to promote the gay agenda. I’m just being fully who I am, and every single one of us has the right to be who they are fully.” That’s the kind of message Parente wants to spread. Parente says there have been several times where he’s received letters from young gay kids who are struggling and being bullied, and one of the most meaningful things is to read those letters and hear that his visibility is helping them. “It’s good to remind them that it’s okay,” he says. “There are happy, well-adjusted. successful gay people that are no different than their straight counterparts. Parente also follows a vegetarian diet, which he’s done for a couple decades. “Here I am, an Italian Catholic raised in the Midwest. How many things can I do to alienate myself?” he jokes. One of his first jobs was as an environmental reporter. When he saw the cruelty that happens at animal-processing plants, he just couldn’t be a part of it. “I believe we should go through life trying to do as little harm as possible to any living thing. I just can’t get behind suffering and death just so I can have something tasty on my plate. That makes no sense to me.” But Parente says he’s living a total dream … you know, aside from crow’s feet, growing older, and heading to bed at 9pm. Parente heads back to his hometown every three months or so to visit family for a week at a time. It’s important for him to spend time with his mother, who is currently living in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s. With what Parente has experienced in caring for his mother, he would love to see religious protesters focus their efforts on caring for the elderly in nursing homes or clothing the poor rather than fighting gay marriage. “Gay marriage doesn’t hurt a damn person,” he says. “The only harm that’s being done is when you deny gay people. If you really want to do the work of Jesus, go out there and help people.” 32 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Off the Air, On the Record: Larry Ulibarri (cont. from pg 29) me wanted to lie and part of me was like f*ck it.” Tears return. “She was still in that cult and she was trying to use religion to say, ‘We’ll fix it, it’s ok.’” I want to hug him so bad, but he’s already recovering. “She’s not in that cult anymore,” he says after straightening his back a bit and regathering. “And she loves my husband.” Larry says she stayed for another eight years. When his father died, she thought that Armageddon would soon follow — at least, the church had convinced her of that, urging her to stay strong and in the faith so she could reunite with him in a global paradise. “My mom really thought it was around the corner and she was gonna see my dad soon.” Years went by and paradise didn’t unfold. When the church looked disapprovingly on a relationship she started with a new man, coupled with the reminder that she was supposed to have turned her back on her own son by this point, she broke away. His sister soon followed suit. “My mom is amazing now,” he says. He talks about seeing Celine with her in Vegas and says something about the show stuck with him. Not only was Celine giving love to her band, she was showing lots of love to the audience. “She said, ‘If you didn’t come here, we couldn’t do this,’” he recalls. “That’s what I think of my listeners, and that’s why I protect our show with everything with I’ve got. It means a lot; it’s more than a fun job. We put people in a good mood for the rest of their day. I’ve had someone say, ‘I had to get up every morning for chemo and you guys made it bearable.’ Even when it’s not as dramatic, like someone dealing with a d*ck boss, it put what we do into perspective.” He turns to the boyishly handsome Wig, who is tangoing with a mouse in a video-editing software. Outside of The Morning Show, Larry and Wig run Uli Productions, a one-stop-shop for businesses looking for high-quality videos and radio spots to promote their products. Wig assembles video, music, and animation for the commercials while Larry employs his talent as a writer and voiceover artist — they’re ad men, plus. (Just don’t call them partners, as that gives off the wrong impression, according to Wig.)
me.’ I was blown away, in tears. One that said, ‘I’m gonna pray for you’ was the most negative. Then people started attacking her, but I made them stop. I said, ‘She’s thinking she’s doing something nice for me, it’s cool.’ If that’s how bad it gets …”
“Once I came out, I realized it was important; it made a difference. I think the most impact is in the fact that people who didn’t know
He lands on another subject a gay guy actually he adores: his husband, Chris. He pulls out his phone knew one now.” and shows me a pic of a striking figure with bright blue eyes, full lips, and beautiful bone structure. “I love his teeth,” Larry says, swiping toward a pic displaying Chris’ pearly whites. The couple married last year at Disney. “We’re both Disney heads,” he confesses. “Those were my gay showtunes — I totally believe in The Little Mermaid.” Larry scrolls through more pictures, smiling to himself. “We were each other’s first real boyfriend.” Fun fact: Kathie J and Chris were highschool sweethearts. “When they went to college, Chris came to terms with liking guys, and Kathie came to terms with liking black guys,” he says. Chris and Kathie were talking on speakerphone one day and Larry told her she had a great laugh. When she responded, “Oh, thanks. Get me a job in radio,” well … you know the rest. As we say our goodbyes, Larry brings it in for a huge hug and leaves me with a bottle of YOLO. The guy really is just as funny and down to chill as he is on radio. And it ought to come as no surprise to readers — the big kid and hometown hero is probably riding shotgun with many of you tomorrow morning. UliUncensored.com
“We put in a ton of hours and our spouses get mad,” Larry admits. They’re especially proud of their partnership with Denver-based YOLO Rum. Larry brandishes a bottle. “It’s the Patron of rums,” he says of the dark, Panamanian spirit. The conversation meanders and shifts to him coming out. “I didn’t think it was a big deal,” he says. “I feel like I was the last guy to come out. I always say I was in the closet, but it was glass. I was open, but not official. Once I came out, I realized it was important. It made a difference. I think the most impact is in the fact that people who didn’t know a gay guy actually knew one now. People consider us friends, part of their routine, so now they had a gay friend. I remember the Facebook post where I said it; I got thousands of likes and comments. I was expecting hate … the eventual ‘F*ck you, fagg*t, you disgust OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 33
POSITIVE THOUGHTS: Q+A WITH MONDO GUERRA Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. DENVER’S OWN MONDO GUERRA is a fashion designer who first came to fame in 2010 as a contestant on the eighth season of the reality television show Project Runway. Although he didn’t win, Guerra was a fan favorite, even before he disclosed his HIV-positive status on the show. At that moment, he also took on the role of HIV/AIDS activist. Guerra went through a whirlwind of media attention. Since then, his celebrity profile has certainly increased. He won the debut season of Project Runway All Stars and became a mentor on Under the Gunn (a spinoff series named after Project Runway host Tim Gunn). His designs include apparel, accessories, and jewelry. Guerra has also found a way to connect his design career with his advocacy. In addition to being a spokesperson for I Design, an HIV/AIDS media campaign sponsored by Merck, Guerra is a spokesperson for Dining Out for Life, an annual fundraiser sponsored by Subaru, in which restaurants donate proceeds to local HIV/AIDS groups. Five years after publicly disclosing he has HIV, Guerra explains how his life has changed and shares his goals for the future.
What prompted you to get tested for the virus in 2001 at the age of 22? When I was younger, I believed, like every young person, that I was invincible. I was not making the best decisions. I could feel there was something different about me. So I got tested, and my test came back positive. After the diagnosis, I was devastated. I grew up in a Latino household and community, and there was never any discussion about HIV/AIDS, so it was definitely scary to me. I did not know how to deal with it. When I was newly diagnosed, I was very ashamed and afraid. I didn’t really seek any support. I hate to say this, but in a lot of ways, looking back now, being raised Roman Catholic, I felt like it was some kind of punishment. I stayed silent about my positive status even up to when I was in the hospital with pneumonia over Christmas in 2009. With my family and friends visiting me, I asked my doctors not to disclose any information. 34 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
They were walking into a room with a bed where I was hooked up to this and that, and in my heart and mind I was dying of AIDS. I still didn’t talk about it. I hit rock bottom, and I knew I had to start taking better care of myself. I started taking medical advice and the proper treatments that I needed, and I got better very quickly. I had goals. For such a long time before I was in the hospital, HIV was defining who I was as a person and also as a creative. The creative part of me was dying, so I had no reason to live. This creativity, the outlets where I was able to express myself, I used them to escape, a way to get through the day. This emotional and spiritual support is an important part of keeping me going.
Tell us about your decision to disclose on Project Runway in 2010. My revelation on Project Runway was life-changing. It came from fear and turned into a huge sense of responsibility. I walked out on that runway in such a mood, but two hours later I was like, “What are people going to say?” I was completely scared, so it wasn’t until four days before the episode aired that I told my parents. My parents still live in the home that I grew up in. At the dinner table, we have assigned seating that has never changed. We had dinner. I knew in my heart — which was beating a million miles an hour — that I just had to come out with it, so I told my parents. “I know” was the first thing my mom told me, that motherly instinct I have always heard about. We talked some more, then my mom said, “I am proud of you.” That helped me to talk about HIV/AIDS more. I get very emotional about it still because I felt the love that came from the table that night, and it hurts me still because I didn’t trust them and that made me feel bad.
Speaking of your family, your mom and aunts inspired some of your eyewear. My eyewear collection is inspired by family and friends. There is a whole set of eyewear that is named after my mom and her sisters. It is my way to give back to them, because they have been so supportive and inspirational. It is the least I can do. I’ve had the great opportunity to have a reality show competition pivot me into some visibility for my designs. It has been such a blessing to have a crossover between my creative work and my advocacy. Any collaboration that I do at this point must have some kind of way to give back. So I’m glad that part of the See eyewear proceeds goes to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. It just makes sense to me to be able to do that for others.
What’s next for you? Right now, I am focusing on restructuring my business. I would love to focus more on my fashion. Advocacy remains dear to me, so I would like more ways to do this crossover of my interests. I am working on a new show where I am allowed to communicate about HIV and my creative work. I’m not very sure on the direction of it, but it’s important for me to give inspiration and information to young people. This interview originally appeared on POZ.com. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 35
H E I N ZES I G H T
TOP 5 MISTAKES THAT MISS THE SOCIAL-SKILLS MARK
Brent Heinze, Senior Columnist MANY OF US STRUGGLE WITH FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN INTERACTING WITH PEOPLE in particular situations. Social anxiety and awkwardness is a common experience, but many try to cover, reduce, or avoid these feelings by doing things that hurt them more in the long run. Those who want to improve their ability to connect with great people should work on steering clear of these common mistakes. They can make people feel less anxious at times, but they also have the potential to keep people trapped in old ways of thinking and insecure attitudes about themselves.
ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS There is nothing philosophically wrong with heading to a bathhouse, sex club, bookstore, or mysterious situation to get your rocks off. Just make sure your activities don’t put you in emotional or physical danger. The main problem is that some people in these situations lack the social engagement skills to support making friends or developing emotional 36 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Using anger to justify a bad attitude, aggressive behaviors, or running away from potentially positive situations and people is one of the most concerning outcomes of not having confidence in personal social skills.
connections. The social rules of many of these types of environments generally looks down on those who want to chat or get to know someone personally. This also impacts some people’s decision to discuss their sexual interests, enjoyment of the situation, or things like HIV status and boundaries. When these encounters lack a deeper intimacy than simply blowing a load, it runs the risk of reinforcing that getting to know someone is not only uncomfortable, but not desired or welcomed.
Using alcohol or drugs to grease social wheels is a time-honored tradition, but many use this as their primary crutch.
GETTING TRASHED Using alcohol or drugs to grease social wheels is a timehonored tradition, but many use this as their primary crutch instead of challenging themselves to develop other ways to calm themselves down when freaking out. Many times, these substances decrease our chances of meeting a great person if our intoxication gets out of control or has us only connecting only with those who rely on these same techniques.
ISOLATION Shying away from people and situations that make us feel self-conscious or bad about ourselves is a normal reaction. Having lower confidence in feeling comfortable and confident in socially-engaging situations keeps people from taking chances either in person or online. The unfortunate outcome is that we hide in the shadows and wish we were more of an active part of the party.
ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS It’s fantastic to use technology to become introduced to people or remain in contact with them when face-toface communication isn’t possible. Many people develop connections with individuals that initiate, develop, progress, succeed, fail, or get messy while existing in a purely electronic environment. There are many amazing relationships that get stuck online while others are simply destined to die in the cold vacuum of cyberspace. It also doesn’t help people develop social skills when interacting in the real world.
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BECOMING BITTER Using anger to justify a bad attitude, aggressive behaviors, or running away from potentially positive situations and people is one of the most concerning outcomes of not having confidence in personal social skills. These feelings permeate multiple parts of our lives and eventually become a normal part of how we interact with the world around us. It makes others want to run and hide behind a tree when we approach them. A frown or scowl will definitely keep you lonely or make you attractive to those who share your gloomy outlook. Neither are favorable options to improve your quality of life. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 37
CALE NDA R
B ROUG HT TO YOU BY THE D E NV E R GAY & L ESB I AN C HAM B E R OF CO M M E RC E
NOV 19-24 U PCO MI N G
CHAMBER E V E N TS
19TH ANNUAL BUSINESS AWARDS GALA
HONORING LGBT AND LGBT-ALLIED PROFESSIONALS, BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS @ PA LAZZO VERD I AT T HE MA DDEN MUS EU M O F ART • 63 63 S FI DDL ERS GRE E N C I R • GR EE NWO O D V I L L AG E • 6P M • $ 89/ PE RSO N GE NE RA L ; $ 12 5 / P E RSO N VIP
PIE IN THE SKY Looking for a delicious way to give back this holiday season? Purchase your fresh-baked Thanksgiving pies from Project Angel Heart, or (better yet) join us as a volunteer pie seller! And, our friends at Anadarko will match your pie donation by donating three meals for each pie you donate. PieInTheSkyColorado.com
THRU NOV 14
The Dumb Friends League is hosting a series of dog-friendly “Yappy Hours” with their local brewery partners. Come hoist some holiday brews — all to benefit homeless pets. All breweries are dog friendly, and all Yappy Hours will feature drink specials, cool giveaways, and holiday festivities. $1 of every beer sold benefits the Dumb Friends League. Together, they’re saving lives … one pint at a time.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
DENVER FILM FESTIVAL
@ VA RI OUS V EN U ES I N DEN VER
For all our upcoming yearly events, visit DENVERGLC.ORG
38 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
@ RAT I O BEERWOR KS • 292 0 LAR I M ER ST • DEN VER • 6 P M
Join the DGLCC and our sponsors for an evening of dancing, dinner, awards, and a silent auction. It will be a celebratory evening as we honor the members of the community who have impacted LGBT lives for the better.
Did you see our breakdown of the LGBT offerings at the Denver Film Festival? Honey, you best check it out — there’s somethin’ for everyone. From Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara bringing the sexual tension in Carol to a film about a conservative Republican literally haunted by the clothes in his closet, the lineup is a quirky mix of flicks to satisfy the masses.
MILE THRU DECEMBER HIGH PANTY DRIVE
@ DI VAS OF N ORT HEAST DE N V E R • 4 138 HALI FAX ST • DEN V ER Meant to bring awareness to the unique plight of homeless and transitioning women, the group hopes to open up a discussion of what it means to be a homeless or transitioning woman in this economy. The Divas have set a goal of 2000 pairs of panties to be donated to The Gathering Place, Denver’s only women’s shelter on December 5th. Find them on Facebook to arrange pickup/drop off.
THRU NOV 29
SUSAN G. KOMEN PINK TIE @ HYATT REGEN CY D E NVER • 6 50 1 5TH ST • DENVER Have you heard of the “Pink Tie Guys”? Prominent men from our community represent 1 in 7 Colorado women who will be diagnosed in their lifetime with breast cancer. The 2015 Pink Tie Affair will be held on Saturday, November 7. You are invited for a night that stands out from the rest with everything from dining to dancing, silent and live auctions, casino games, and more! Join us or contribute: KomenColorado.org/Events/Pink-Tie-Affair
LESBIAN MOMS SUPPORT GROUP ENERGY SATURDAYS
@ T RAC KS • 3 5 0 0 WALNUT ST • DENVER • NO COV ER 9–10 PM • 2 1+ Local legend Nina Flowers always puts the best spin on the last Saturday of every month at Tracks. With Latin-inspired reggaeton, drum and bass, and diva house, the main room of Tracks gets lit. Kick it just a stone’s throw away at Lounge 35 as DJ Markie puts her flavor (and the hurt) on those decks.
NATIONAL LGBTQ TASK FORCE DINNER
@ T HE FAM I LY ROOM • WHEAT RIDGE • 6–7PM One of two new LGBTQ community spaces that provide for LGBTQ families in Colorado, the group aims for more safe and inclusive spaces for our CO families outside of Denver.
Plan ahead for this happenin’ soiree! With less than a month to go, organizers of Night of 100 Dinners are getting ready to eat, drink, and merrily network over dinner to raise some much needed resources for a great cause — LGBTQ freedom, justice, and equality. They’ll have a number of guests who will be hosting in their homes, so prepare to wine and dine in a variety of locales across the metro. TheTaskForce. org/co100dinners
THE LION KING
@ BUELL T HEAT R E • 135 0 CU RTIS ST • DEN VER You may have seen the movie 60 some-odd times, but nothing will prepare you for the largesse of seeing a live Broadway-trained cast bellow and wail that classic soundtrack from the Buell. “Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist.” That’s per the program, honey. See you there!
@ X BAR • 629 E COLFAX AV E • DEN V ER • N OON –5 P M Be real: When you think of curing your hangover on Sunday morning, your mind goes immediately to a brunch patio with a bunch of other temple-rubbing, miserably groaning, day-after zombies. Shake it up this weekend and get the proper type of hydration while you work on your next hangover. Drip Dr will be on-hand to administer intravenous rejuvenation to snap you back into shape. OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 39
40 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
DENVER ZOMBIE CRAWL The 10th Annual Denver Zombie Crawl took place on October 17th. Thousands of undead and those that hunt them descended on Skyline Park for their annual promenade down the 16th Street Mall. The annual prelude to local Halloween festivities featured a costume contest, live music, and a really scary after party. The free event presented by Eye Heart Brains encouraged participants to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Food Bank of the Rockies. Photos by Charles Broshous
MARQUEE BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY SHOW Thru November 11 th, 2015
5501 Arapahoe Ave. • BDTStage.com OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 41
FROM PORTLAND WITH PASSION Noah L. Jordan IF YOU’RE LIVING IN A CITY WITH A HUGE STIGMA LIKE DENVER, it suddenly becomes your duty to seek out and spend the weekend exploring another city filled with weird stereotypes at least once in your lifetime. As a natural born lover of television, my choice was easy, and after watching far too many episodes of Portlandia, I knew Portland was definitely on my list of go to places. But until this summer, I could never find the time or a reason to jump on that the 2.5-hour flight to city that promises to “Keep Portland Weird.” After a hectic night of last-minute packing, planning outfits we would only abandon later, and running through the list of all the hilarious skits we watched and how much we hoped they were real, we finally climbed into an early morning Uber and made the flight to Portland. The stress of the morning immediately began to fade as we took our first look at the earthy, sustainable city. Pulling up to the Ace Hotel, a trendy mix of hostel and hotel located in northwest Portland, we were greeted warmly, told our room wasn’t quite ready, and were offered to check our bags at the front desk while we enjoyed a beverage over in Clyde Common, the restaurant directly connected to the hotel. After explaining the nature of our trip, we were directed to Scandals, a popular gay bar and a neighborhood favorite. Naturally, we jumped at the suggestion and made the one-block trip down the street for a cocktail. The cocktails came quick and strong, and as we sat on the patio chatting with locals, we almost forgot about our Forktown Food Tours’ brand new “Division Street” tour. We guzzled the last few sips of our drinks, snagged an Uber (which is still new in Portland), and headed to our tour. And boy are we glad we made it. 42 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
The stress of the morning immediately began to fade as we took our first look at the earthy, sustainable city. Beginning at Sen Yai, the tour guided us through the many flavors of Portland cuisine from noodles to tacos, tacos to food pods, food pods to poor man burgers, and poor man burgers to delicious peach pie. Each stop on the tour outshined the next, and filled a void in the overall cuisine scene, only proving that when it comes to cuisine, sure they care about “where the chicken came from,” but they also make sure it tastes delicious, too. Completely full, we meandered our way back to the hotel to freshen up and explore the city. After stopping for yet another cocktail at Clyde Common, we chatted with a few locals to hear more about the weird city. Did you know in Portland, male strippers are allowed to go full frontal? And they do, but more on that later. Soon it was time for dinner, and surprisingly we were ready. We arrived at Le Pigeon (and don’t try to pronounce it like a cool Frenchman … it’s exactly what it is) at around 8pm. The small but tasteful restaurant was buzzing with energy. The community tables inside were full of conversations and budding new friendships. The wait benches outside were full of laughter and anticipation. Immediately, I knew this was the place to be in Portland, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. With wine in hand, we dined on a multitude of selections. We started with albacore tuna and butter lettuce, moved on to salmon, smoked artichoke carbonara, and shared what most might describe as “the best burger in Portland.” Le Pigeon really sets the standard when it comes to dining in Portland, but what really sets them apart is their delicious fois gras profiteroles. Rolling out of dinner, we almost didn’t think there was any
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FAVORITE FIREFIGHTER CONTEST The 3rd Annual Favorite Firefighter Contest was held at the Wrangler on October 24th. Four firefighters from the 2016 Colorado Firefighter Calendar vied for the title of Favorite Firefighter while helping to raise money for a great cause in the two round competition consisting of a short interview and a talent exhibition. More than $1700 was raised to benefit the Childrenâ€™s Hospital Burn Center. Calendars may be purchased for $20 at COFirefighterCalendar.org. Photos by Charles Broshous
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C HA R LIE'S ® 900 E. Colfax Ave., Denver (303) 839-8890 charliesdenver.com DAILY SPECIALS Open–close: $3 domestic minipitchers (32-oz.) 11am–7pm: $3 wells, $3 domestics, and $4 u-calls. 8–10pm: $5 PB&J drink & shot special THURSDAYS 2-4-1 drinks from 7pm–close FRIDAYS $3 Absolut from 9pm–close SATURDAYS $3 Svedka (all flavors) from 9pm–close SUNDAYS Svedka and well liquor bust from 4–8pm. Drag Divas: show starts at 9pm, $5 big pitchers
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. EL POTRERO
FROM PORTLAND WITH PASSION (CONT. FROM PG 42) energy left to muster, but in the backs of our minds we knew the strippers were calling our names. Immediately walking into Silverado, you know it’s a strip club, and you definitely know things might get weird, which explains how we were instantly greeted by a swinging (and very exposed) penis. Whoohoo! The next few hours flew by — a few lap dances, a handful of strong and cheap drinks, and before we knew it we were face down on our hotel room beds, tired and rolling with laughter.
Mountains. The beach. A thriving city life. It’s all there, and it’s all within reach. As we made our way back into the city, I needed to explore even more, and that’s when I found it … The Stag. Now I can only compare The Stag to our very own Boyztown. Maybe you don’t openly brag about going there, but every time you do, it’s a damn good time. Dancers at The Stag are also allowed to go fully nude, but most of them don’t. The atmosphere lends itself to more bar than club, and more casual than sexual. There are hot guys to chat with and comfy chairs to sit and watch them dance. While Silverado definitely felt more like a strip club, The Stag felt more like a sexy party. Both fun and great, but serving two different purposes in the overall lay of the land.
Waking up, we made our way to the infamous “breakfast room 215” down the hall from our room, and enjoyed a European-style breakfast. Today would be the day we took an adventure around I realized there’s the city. Beginning at the farmers’ market located at Portland State University, we something very magical sampled wine, fresh jam, and all the about Portland. You can hazelnuts imaginable. From there, we found ourselves thumbing through have it all. Wine country. the books at Powell’s, and ultimately exploring the shops in the Pearl District, Mountains. The beach. A which led us to The Parish for dinner thriving city life. It’s all where we ate, drank, and chatted with our bartender Moses until we could there, and it’s all within barely see straight. And that was day two.
Day three in Portland took our adventure to wine country. We made the 30-minute excursion to Ponzi Wines in Sherwood, Oregon. A family-made farm, Ponzi Wines strives to produce only the finest Pinot Noir. Granted it isn’t their only wine, but it’s the wine that started it all … and it’s pretty damn good. Spending the day in wine country, I realized there’s something very magical about Portland. You can have it all. Wine country.
Our final day in Portland, I was determined to find one more thing. A donut, and no … not Voodoo Doughnuts (even though it is their birthplace); I wanted to try Blue Star Donuts. Biting into a blueberry bourbon basil donut, I felt my mouth quiver in excitement. As much as I wanted to savor each bite, I found myself eating faster and faster until finally there was nothing but the lingering crumbs all over my hands … and I ate those, too. My trip to Portland was complete.
No, I didn’t spend my days exploring the museums, and walking around zoo, but there’s no denying the quality of the experience — the rare feeling of really living like a local in a completely foreign city, and spending your days doing exactly what you would do if you were home … hanging out and exploring. And even though I didn’t see anything too “weird,” I bet if I’d stayed a just little longer I would’ve definitely found something. Until next time, Portland, keep it weird.
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ASK A SLUT [WARNING: GRAPHIC]
I met a sexy guy at the bar and I really liked him. He asked me to go home with him and I said yes! He then called over his “other half,” who was also hot. His partner told me he couldn’t wait to have a three-way with me. I was so caught off guard that I left and went home. Now I see them all the time and they’re still interested! Should I do it? Signed, THREE MUSK-A-QUEERS Bea: Oh my gawd! Do you know how many homos
Zoey: Confirm the cheat, then do what the hell you want. Maybe have a three-way. They’re becoming all the rage these days.
LaTexa: Personally, I have slept with most of my friends so I would do it ... but I am a Slut. Cookie: Oye. You’re screwed. Stay out of politics; you’ll just be known as the homewrecker. If he’s truly hot though, steal him. Finders keepers.
JackLynn: Cut your losses and take the one to bed; a c*ck in the hand is worth two in the other bed!
in Russia go to bed without a three-way? You just threw out a perfectly good menage a trois. Who the hell raised you to be so wasteful? I know personally it wasn’t your father.
Why are all the guys in Denver either bottoms or liars? Signed, DISAPPOINTED DATER
Zoey: Don’t knock a good three-way until you’ve
Bea: Bless your heart! Can you say high
done it — just don’t expect to become a wife.
LaTexa: Do it! Remember: You’re not a homewrecker in this situation; you’re a marital aid!
Cookie: Party time! What are you waiting for? You never know until you try.
JackLynn: Don’t be a chicken! It might just be the best night of your life.
Two good friends of mine are dating each other. The other night, one of them told me that the other one had cheated on him. He then started coming onto me! I think he’s hot and all, but they’re both friends of mine. What’s the best way to deal with this situation? Signed, ROCK AND A HARD PLACE Bea: Bang him so hard he becomes retarded. Then go f*ck the other one. Hand in your report of who was better, so there’s no jealousy. That’ll teach them! Friendship sometimes requires going above and beyond to help. 50 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
maintenance? Good tops are in demand and good bottoms change them into husbands. So get several friends, then divide and conquer. Then you don’t have to worry about anniversaries or any of that sh*t. Plus, as long as you’re not done with him, you can threaten to tell the other half. Just don’t make the amateur mistake and fall in love. That removes all the power from the bottom.
Zoey: Who are you calling a liar? LaTexa: It’s just not Denver. I went global a long time ago and this problem has plagued the gays forever. What works for me is to turn bottoms into tops. It’s well worth the effort and you’ll be helping the rest of us out. Cookie: Because who doesn’t love to receive? If they say they don’t, they’re liars. It’s not disappointment — you’re just being too picky.
JackLynn: You obviously don’t want to be on top, or you’re hanging with the wrong crowd. You need to come to bingo and find the top to your bottom.
GET OUT WITH OUT FRONT The Halloween edition of Get Out with Out Front was held at Lime in the Denver Pavilions on October 21st. Attendees enjoyed discounted drinks, delicious food specials, and plenty of fraternizing with the Out Front staff. The spooktacular featured a costume contest with a $500 gift certificate from John Atencio as the grand prize. Next month’s event will be November 18 at the Magnolia Hotel from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Photos by Charles Broshous
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H EA LT H
DEULING WITH DEPRESSION Mike Yost THOSE WHO KNOW ME WELL know I struggle with clinical depression. I have good weeks. I have bad weeks. Then I have those devastating weeks where putting on my shoes feels equivalent to summiting Mount Everest. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I even tell myself how silly it is, sitting on the edge of my bed in the dark, staring down at my inert Vans. “It’s just a pair of goddamn shoes,” I tell myself. “Put them on! Lace them up! Get out of the apartment!” And I do — most days. But it takes an enormous amount of energy to walk out that door. And the entire week I feel excruciatingly empty, a suffocating void in my chest threatening to collapse my ribcage. Depression is not synonymous with sadness. There’s no “snapping out of it.” Andrew Solomon, writer and LGBT activist who lectures about his own struggles with mental health, defines depression as the inverse of vitality. I sometimes equate depression to swimming in a river against the current with lead weights fastened to my ankles. I can stay above the surface of the rushing water if I kick my feet hard enough. But constantly fighting to keep from drowning and performing simple, everyday tasks (such as doing the laundry) is bafflingly and frustratingly exhausting. I’ve tried numerous medications with negative results. Zoloft did nothing but make my mouth dry and truncate my libido. A generic form of Prozac made my entire body achy all the time. And lithium made me feel obstinately ambivalent about everything. And I’m not alone. Dr. Stephen Ilardi, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, has spent the last 20 years researching depression. “1 in 9 Americans over the age of 12 is currently taking an antidepressant,” says Ilardi in a 2013 TED Talk lecture he gave at Emory University, emphasizing the rate of antidepressant 52 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
use over the past 20 years has increased by more than 300 percent. “And what’s happened to the rate of depression in the interim? It’s continued to increase.” That’s not to say that antidepressants (and psychotherapy) haven’t helped others. But what about those like myself where medication has only resulted in insufferable side effects? And as a writer living alone in an overpriced Denver apartment, are there any complementary, inexpensive treatments? Do they actually work? Are there studies demonstrating their efficacy?
EXERCISE Exercise sucks. There, I said it. I know some live for the gym, but I’d much rather smoke pot and binge watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. But I cannot ignore the numerous studies which demonstrate exercise being just as effective against depression as some medications. Even as little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week has shown positive results. As Dr. Ilardi puts it, “Exercise is medicine.” One often-referenced classic study showed that “although antidepressants may facilitate a more rapid initial therapeutic response than exercise, after 16 weeks of treatment exercise [they were] equally effective in reducing depression among patients with MDD [Major Depressive Disorder].” So how exactly does working out help with depression? “Of course there are lots of theories, and we don’t know for sure,” says Dr. Dana Steidtmann, Senior Instructor and Licensed Psychologist at the University of Colorado Depression Center. “One of the findings we see is what appears to be an important chemical in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). There’s some thinking that this may be implicated in our mood and mood functioning.” Steidtmann worked with Dr. Ilardi in developing lifestyle treatments for depression, with exercise being one of the most
potent strategies. “There are only a handful of ways that we can get more BDNF, and one of the ways appears to be through aerobic exercise.” But when merely brushing your teeth for two minutes feels like an impossible task, how do you find the motivation to bike around Cheesman Park for 30 minutes dodging inattentive drivers? “Like any new habit we’re trying to start or get back into, starting small is pretty important. People just telling themselves ‘I just have to go for five minutes. If I want to go longer I can, but I just have to do five minutes today.’” In addition to starting with small goals, Steidtmann adds that “having a workout partner or a spouse that you commit to walking daily can be really helpful for people.”
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BRIGHT LIGHT EXPOSURE In the words of Lord Eddard Stark, “Winter is coming.” This means shorter days with fewer days of sunlight. “Our daily body rhythm, what we call our circadian rhythm, appears to be regulated through the way light is taken in through the eye,” says Steidtmann. “Light is essentially the way we keep our daily rhythm in check. Sometimes those cycles can get off a little bit, and bright light can help reset them.” Not only do special receptors in the back of the eyes affect our body clock, they can also regulate serotonin levels in the brain which can potentially trigger what’s commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). And for those like myself who already struggle with clinical depression, the condition is exacerbated. Studies have demonstrated positive results using light exposure for those struggling with SAD, and one pilot study used light therapy for cystic fibrosis patients suffering from depression. “There was a significant decrease in depressive symptoms for all subjects receiving light therapy ... and [it] resulted in improved depressive symptoms and quality of life.” Steidtmann recommends bright-light exposure on sunny days without wearing sunglasses. “Or you can buy specialized light boxes that you sit in front of for 20 or 30 minutes a day.” Of course the variables in the studies supporting these claims must be taken into account (such as sample size, possible report bias, or the limited types of antidepressants tested). But exercise and light exposure are inexpensive, supplementary approaches which I myself use to manage my own depression.
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I plan on writing about additional strategies which have scientific backing, such as Omega-3 intake, sleep hygiene, or even (to my surprise) acupuncture. Until then, I’ll continue kicking my feet and fighting the river from carrying me off into that distant horizon. If you’re struggling with your mental health and need help, contact the Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 844-493-TALK (8255) or visit their website at ColoradoCrisisServices.org OUTFRONTONLINE.COM 53
H EA LT H
WAXIN’ FACTS Kelsey Lindsey THERE’S A SCENE IN THE SEX AND THE CITY MOVIE that’s always stuck with me. The four women are sunbathing at this absurd hotel in Mexico, wearing some absurd hats and looking far from their supposed age in the movie. Miranda Hobbes, the hard-working ginger lawyer, rearranges her legs and the audience gets a nice, close, and personal look at her little ging pubes creeping out of her bathing suit bottom. Samantha Jones, the old-but-fabulous sex goddess and Miranda’s friend, spies these rouge hairs and, in a surprised voice, says: “Jesus honey, wax much?” Like it’s the worst thing in feminine beauty to skip a trim before hitting the pool deck. Like every woman should have a clean bikini line, no questions asked. But why exactly? Why must women satisfy society’s perception that they are supposed to cleanly wax a physicality that makes them, well, women? This past summer I have heard of some generally positive women-empowering beauty trends, including a resurgence of the hairy armpit and the “free-the-nipple” Instagram movement. But I’ve heard nothing of embracing the bush, or at least accepting that some women may have grooming habits that don’t typically align with Brazilian models. In a study from Indiana University researchers Debby Herbenick and Vanessa Schick cited by The Atlantic, nearly 54 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
From microscopic tears to communal diseases in the wax pot, why risk it? 60 percent of women 18 to 24 years old “sometimes or always” have completely smooth pubic areas. According to reporting from the Huffington Post, waxing down there can cause damage to the skin, as ripping hairs out by the roots leaves minuscule wounds under the surface. Dermatologists cited in this article said that the damage to this area could leave women or men susceptible to STIs and infections. Infections can also arise if the esthetician “double dips” wax sticks into a communal pot of wax, which could potentially spread an infection from one area of the body to another. In 2009, New Jersey was considering banning Brazilian waxing after two women were hospitalized with infections from their waxes. A poorly administered wax can also cause burning in the area, and even scarring. This leaves me to question why women would subject themselves to these risks, if it only means avoiding some embarrassment at the pool. But I get it — it’s a personal choice, and who am I to tell you what to do with your body, rug and all? My only hope is that those who do participate in the practice are doing it because it’s their own choice, to satisfy themselves — not their fellow beachgoers, a partner, and most importantly, definitely not Samantha Jones.
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BAC KWO R DS
THE SCOPES SCORPIO: You’ve finally been dealing with those ex woes that’ve been plaguing you forever, and darling, now is not the time to look back and undo the good you’ve just done. Once the ache dies down, you’ll stop panicking about what that burned bridge becomes (let’s be honest) you never wanted to go back to that island anyway. SAGITTARIUS: Ok, remember that comment someone made that’s been gnawing at the back of your mind forever? Make like Elsa and let it go. That person has no idea who you really are and, thankfully, you’ll never have to show them. Seriously. Giving it weight is petty. Cut it out. CAPRICORN: You’re practically high on that hot new prospect, aren’t you? Too bad it’s not what it seems. Don’t let us go all Debbie Downer on you, but calm your tits over this. (Weren’t you the one who said you’d watch your back next time and not get so excited too early?) AQUARIUS: What’s with the extremes? Last month, you were glued to the office like the good little workaholic you’ve always been. Now that you’ve decided to slack off a bit and relax, the trash in the house is piled high and you haven’t worn a clean item of clothing since “that thing” happened on Scream Queens. Find a happy medium and move in.
TAURUS: With all the complaining you’ve been doing lately, you’re totally not allowed to ignore that friend who’s been a little weepier than normal. We. Don’t. Think. So. People rushed to get your back when you were dealing with that bullsh*t last month — it’s your turn to be a shoulder. GEMINI: Far off on the horizon sits a future that feels juuuuuust beyond your fingertips. If you for a moment get discouraged, it might always stay out of reach. You know better than most that the only difference in ordinary and extraordinary is just that little extra. Soldier on. CANCER: You know why you’re the most likely candidate to get that promotion? Because you’re always helping people instead of stabbing them in the back. Though it makes you an easy target for your co-workers, keep it up. The people who matter most are watching, and they like what they see. LEO: Well, look at them coming outta the woodwork! Your phone’s been blowin’ up and your dance card is full. (Google it, whippersnapper.) So what’re you gonna do with all this newfound fame? Hopefully what you’ve always been doing: Handling.
PISCES: The proper way to shake things up for you doesn’t revolve around leaving the city and shaving your hair off. (Are you wanted by the law, by the way?) Honestly, tweaking your outlook on life just a touch will go a long, long way.
VIRGO: You’re normally a rock when it comes to managing your emotions and you’re the most loyal of the signs. That’s why that nagging suspicion that your boo might not be as faithful as you’d hoped has you on a serious edge. Our advice: Chill. There is something up, but it’s not what you think.
ARIES: Head of the pack, huh? Not so fast. If you wanna keep that hallowed title, Ram, you’re gonna need to work for it. Everyone knows that Number Two always works harder and you best believe you’ve got a runner-up hot on your heels. (Some even say you’ve been surpassed.) Step it up.
LIBRA: Those plans you’re making about your future … don’t stop. It’s been awhile since you’ve been this passionate about something and it’s a damn fine look for you. Perhaps it’ll cut out those other, shittier habits you’ve been up to the past couple years.
58 NOVEMBER 04, 2015
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