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December 5, 2012 |

DEcember 5, 2012 |



Contents 20 COVER STORY:

“A lot of the culturally inherited tension we have around sexuality can be revealed through meditating with the body, bringing new awareness ... and opening things up. When I started meditating I was convinced I was a straightforward lesbian. Over the years I’ve come to understand that that’s just another box, another label. The more ... I just let myself be, the less I need to identify any particular way. The more I connect my heart with other human beings, the more I can make a conscious choice about how I want to express myself sexually without it being so black or white.” – Shaya Mercer, Dharma Ocean

FEATURE: “I think the scientific evidence is clear that ... restorative therapy] is harmful and not effective, and is something that should be outside the realm of professional standards of practice for mental health professionals in our state ... it is the province of the legislature to define professional standards for licensed health care or mental health practitioners.”


– Sen. Pat Steadman





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Serving the LGBT Community of the Rocky Mountains since 1976 3535 Walnut Street Denver, Colorado 80205 Phone: 303-477-4000 Fax: 303-325-2642 Email: Web: Facebook: Twitter: @OutFrontCO Out Front Colorado is published by Transformation Communications Group, LLC, a Colorado limited liability corporation and is a member of: Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Denver Drama Critics Circle. PHIL PRICE / Founder, 1954-1993 JERRY CUNNINGHAM / Publisher Email: J.C. MCDONALD / Vice President / Director of Circulation Email: NIC GARCIA / Associate Publisher Email:

EDITORIAL JEFF JACKSON SWAIM / Editor-in-Chief / Creative Director Email: HOLLY HATCH / Executive Editor Email: MATTHEW PIZZUTI / Junior Editor Email: M.N. SALAM / Copy Editor CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Brent Heinze, Maya Salam, Misty Milioto, Robyn Vie-Carpenter, Scott McGlothlen, Jeff Steen, Josiah Hesse, Gary Kramer, Mike Yost, Michael Pearson, Ashley Trego, Nuclia Waste, David Marlowe, Steve Cruz, Chris Azzopardi, Christine Mcmanus, Shanna Katz, Max Oliver, Amy Lynn O’Connell, Jonathan McGrew, Jasmine Peters. EDITORIAL INTERN: Lauren Archuletta

A RT SARA DECKER / Art Director Email: CRYSTAL HATCH / Freelance Designer CHARLES BROSHOUS / Photographer

SALES JORDAN JACOBS / Marketing Executive Email:

DISTRIBUTION: Out Front Colorado’s print publication is available semi-monthly, free of charge in Colorado, one copy per person. Additional copies of Out Front Colorado may be purchased for $2.95 each, payable in advance at Out Front Colorado offices located at 3535 Walnut Street, Denver CO, 80205. Out Front Colorado is delivered only to authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of Out Front Colorado, take more than one copy of Out Front Colorado. Any person who takes more than one copy may be held liable for theft, including but not limited to civil damages and or criminal prosecution. COPYRIGHT & LIMIT OF LIABILITY: Reproduction of editorial, photographic or advertising content without written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Advertisers are responsible for securing rights to any copyrighted material within their advertisements. Publisher assumes no responsibility for the claims of advertisers and reserves the right to reject any advertising. Publication of the name or photograph of any person or organization in articles or advertising is not to be considered an indication of the sexual orientation or HIV status of such person or organization. Publisher assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage of materials submitted. OPINIONS EXPRESSED are not necessarily those of OUT FRONT COLORADO, its staff or advertisers.



Religion is more than theology

I grew up fiercely proud of being Catholic. My personal faith sidestepped obvious conflicts between the Church and LGBT interests – instead I saw American Catholics as advocates of religious diversity, charity and social justice.



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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS Ashley Trego has been worshiping in the church of Bacchus for more than 15 years now and is of the firm belief that all water should be turned into wine and be available directly out of kitchen faucets the world over. Ashley writes the column Lush for Out Front. A once long time resident of Denver she is now back in her hometown of Paonia, CO where the dating pool is small and scary but there are cows a plenty for tippin’. When not being a spirit and wine connoisseur, she enjoys reading soft-core pornography, collecting pez dispensers, and baking for friends and family. Read Ashley’s column in this issue on page 29. Steve Cruz. Writer. Gay. Gay Writer. Child Genius. Amateur proctologist. Pleasure center. Good tipper. Guiding light. Unlikely beefcake. Steve watches a lot of movies and bangs out occasional reviews … always it is for the love of popcorn. He feels privileged to write for the LGBT community, please read his columns. Remember the children. His film columns and interviews have appeared since 1993 in a slew of gay and gay-ish publications. Read Steve’s editorial on page 26.


My family – mostly Irish and Italian on both sides – told priesthood of celibacy was also out of the question? What, personal accounts of a not-so-long-ago past when American exactly, did the Bishops think gay people should do with their Catholics, most of whom were immigrants, were outsiders. lives: move to the woods and write poetry? After a few years of tortuous conflict, paralyzing fear, President Kennedy – the first Catholic President – was our family’s hero, who’d been attacked for his religion and nearly dismayed findings that what I was being taught really was lost the election because of it. Jesuit priests had helped spark the Catholic doctrine (plus dismayed research hoping that someanti-war movement and Dorothy Day had translated the gospel where in a library or the Internet would be solid evidence any into a call for worker’s rights. I thought Catholicism stood for religion really is true – and at this point I’m pretty confident no such evidence exists) – I gave it all up. immigrants’ rights, founding hospitals and I left Catholicism carrying something recharities, racial equality and the serving poor. sembling post-traumatic stress disorder. A sick A family tale was that my Irish great-grandfeeling arose in my stomach whenever I came mother had three requests regarding who her face-to-face with the rituals and traditions that son, my grandfather, would marry: His wife had once meant so much to me. I think this is a must be Irish, Catholic and a Democrat. When common experience, though not as much as it he married a second-generation Italian, she was for gay Catholics 50 years ago. remarked that at least it was two out of three. There’s a saying some nonreligious and At one point I declared myself – to no ex-religious people like: That it’s better to controversy whatsoever in my family – a be “spiritual but not religious.” It’s a belief “cafeteria Catholic.” I thought the Book of there really is a loving Cosmos an indiRevelations was entirely metaphor, the Old vidual communes with, and it’s only when Testament was mostly disproved by science a bunch of other people get involved that and I didn’t believe there was a hell. Meanthings get messed up. while, I scoffed when Evangelical schoolBut as an ex-Catholic, a bunch of other mates described the Catholic Church as people was what I once loved most about a non-Christian cult. I did believe, quite Matthew Pizzuti religion. The compassion, selflessness and ardently, in God, and was at Mass every accepting community of faith is much more Sunday. One Sunday, to my elation, a visiting priest gave a homily on compassion and nonjudg- useful than guessing who God is, and what he (or she) likes. The ment toward people with AIDS, and that’s honestly what it spiritual stuff – the theology – is what ruined religion for me. And I have no doubt that in all the churches, synagogues, was about. That’s honestly what religion was about. With that understanding of Catholicism, it should have been mosques and temples of the world, whose believers are someno problem when I realized as a teenager I am gay. For a lot of times scoffed as uncritical followers, 90 percent of why they’re LGBT people who remain in their childhood religions – if not by there is because of a bunch of other people – their culture and community give them a place to belong. Most adherents are devout practice then by self-identity – it’s still no conflict. Not in my case. Though the parish I grew up in was modern- not theological experts; they’re ordinary people most of the ized – our priest allowed girls as altar servers, there was always time, and “religious” at the same occasions when communities music and when the Mass called for kneeling we stood instead – gather – births, holidays, weddings, funerals. Fear of death the youth program was the opposite. There, I was introduced isn’t why people turn to religion (nearly everyone still fears it to such theological gems as “if you commit mortal sin,” (which no matter how devout they are). It’s fear of being alone. Our cover story – about LGBT identities and sexuality in nearly every Catholic does at some point in her or his life – it includes skipping Mass, extra-marital sex and masturbation) world faiths – is the way it is on purpose. It’s not about LGBT identities in world theologies; not about scripture or doctrine. “you will go to hell if you die without going to confession first.” How awkward that a destiny as profound as heaven or hell It’s LGBT identity in world religions, which are complicated, comes down to luck and timing. How awkward that a “just” uncategorizable, messy things, nine parts culture to one part cosmos put so much weight on the religion a person is born into. dogma. Take it from me – I’ve spent a long time looking – we How awkward that destructive sins like greed, abuse and hate can run in circles for a lifetime trying to figure out what inare considered minor compared to an inconsequential orgasm. dividuals, families, communities and congregations believe We were instructed that homosexuals must be celibate – about unknowable things. You’ll get a different answer or the way priests are celibate. But when news broke that dozens story every day of the week. Maybe it’s just the Social Justice Catholic in me – reinof Catholic priests had, for decades, been molesting prepubescent boys, gay people were scapegoats and there was talk carnated as a Unitarian – but as far as we’re able to convey, that homosexuals should be banned from the priesthood. So religion is what people do. ] lets get this straight: The ideal Catholic family life – one of marriage and children – was forbidden to gay people, yet a Email junior editor Matt Pizzuti at




The gap between ‘‘LGB’’ and ‘‘T’’ Many years ago, as a young adult, I thought referred to as drag queens. I’ve also experienced the negative attiI was alone with my experience of being a tudes of transgender people toward gays. transsexual. I called the Salt Lake City gay crisis line At one transgender organization dinner when I thought there was no other place to I attended in Michigan, I was sitting with three other transgender malego: It was within the gay comto-female people and their munity that I found support wives. In the general flow of – an experience that has been conversation, each of them true for many other transgenstated that they loved to wear der people of my generation. women’s clothing – “BUT!” I welcomed our inclusion in they exclaimed, “that doesn’t the LGBTQ movement. Even mean I’m gay.” I brought the though our issues come from conversation to a halt when different orientations, we’ve I leaned over the table and had enough in common to asked one of them, “So that be in solidarity with one doesn’t mean you’re gay – and another. Julia Hatch there’d be something wrong This doesn’t mean that all transexual people have been as enthused with that?” An uncomfortable silence as I’ve been at being the “T” at the end of fell over the table along with a renewed “LGB.” Nor am I under any delusions that interest in the mediocre food being served. Politically, most transgender people all gay people are happy to include us. Early on, I learned to keep my transexuality feel a great benefit from our alliance to myself around gay friends because some with our brothers and sisters in the rest of them openly looked down on what they of the LGBTQ movement. In Colorado, we

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have benefited greatly from our inclu- is still pathologized by the manual – diagsion in the 2008 anti-discrimination bill nosed as having a mental disorder, which is that has given us and the gay community an obstacle to medical care and reinforces legal protection from job discrimination. stigma. It also provides justification for the The bill also gave transgender people military to continue persecuting us. Because of these basic differences, legal access to public restrooms. I think everyone in the LGBTQ transgender people have different needs movement feels that the repeal of Don’t Ask from those that motivate the gay commuDon’t Tell was a step forward. I first heard nity’s activism. We can’t just keep going the repeal had won from a gay activist on a along with the same agenda promoted radio news program. After expressing his by the majority in the movement. There joy at having won the right to serve in the military, he stated, “it’s time Being transgender within the LGBTQ now to fight for the same repeal for movement is to be a minority within our brothers and sisters in the transa minority, and we run the risk of gender community.” I was surprised being overlooked, even marginalized, by to find out that transgender people hadn’t been included. I also felt and those we are supposed to feel allied with. still feel that it’s not true that the rest of the LGBTQ community will automati- are issues where we can stand together to cally fight for our inclusion. If we weren’t fight for our common interests, but others included in the original repeal, then I where we need to take the initiative to fight doubt that we’ll be very high on activists’ for ourselves. Being transgender within the LGBTQ priority lists down the road – at least not without more transgender people standing movement is to be a minority within a minority, and we run the risk of being overup to speak out for themselves. The trans community has made a lot of looked, even marginalized, by those we are progress in gaining more acceptance and supposed to feel allied with. So, it’s up to us understanding, but we’re lagging behind to educate and advocate for ourselves, both gays in fighting the bigotry and discrimi- inside the LGBTQ community and out. ] nation directed at us. Homosexuality was taken out of the DSM psychological diagnos- Julia Hatch is a trans woman and tic manual in the 1970s. Being transgender psychotherapist living in Boulder.




Denver’s out veterans set to host 2013 national convention

Human Rights Campaign names Wells Fargo and Nike as top corprate equality employers The Human Rights Campaign has released the Corporate Equality Index, analyzing LGBT practices and policies in large U.S. companies. With 2012 being the 10th year of the CEI’s publication, 189 of the companies analyzed received a 100 percent rating, including Fortune 500 companies Wells Fargo, Nike and the Walt Disney Co. Some criteria for the CEI analysis included transgender health benefits, equal employment opportunity, employment benefits, gender transition support, public engagement and responsible citizenship. ]



The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights will host the organization’s 2013 national convention, the organization announced Nov. 16. The convention will be held the weekend of Sept. 19 in conjunction with the second anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Delegates from across the country will gather to discuss new opportunities to serve the LGBT and veteran communities. Locally, the Rocky Mountain chapter is most widely known for the GLBT Color Guard, a troop that has added a touch of patriotism not formally felt at community events until after the repeal of DADT. Denver’s color guard was one of the first to openly march in a Pride parade. “It is amazing to see how far we have grown since first starting the color guard for the 2011 PrideFest. We have a strong local group of troops,” said John Kelly, chapter president and co-founder. “The Color Guard has

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now made 13 appearances in various parades and presenting colors at civic events. Hosting the convention will open many other opportunities for area GLBT veterans and active duty military to exchange ideas and establish a united front.” ]


Denver needle exchange programs build momentum: As new HIV infections rise,

new policies seek to prevent spread through drug use


>> Denver’s CAP




By Mike Yost This year, two Denver nonprofit organizations opened their doors to distribute sterile syringes and connect with drug users in an effort to curtail the rising number of HIV/AIDS infections in Colorado, especially among gay men. In 2010, Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill with bipartisan support that allowed organizations to distribute sterile needles. The Denver Colorado AIDS Project and the Harm Reduction Action Center were both granted certificates earlier this year to operate in Denver. “We’re looking at a means of preventing HIV and Hepatitis C,” said Jesse Yedinak, prevention services Manager for CAP, adding that both diseases are on the rise among intravenous drug users. “More specifically, we are seeing a disproportionate increase with gay and bi men who inject meth.” The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the number of Coloradans living with HIV has increased steadily for the past four years, with a three percent increase every year. Of the 1,928 new cases since 2008, 21 females contracted HIV through injection drug use compared to almost 200 males who contracted the disease through intravenous drug use or a combination of IDU and male-to-male sexual contact. CAP’s needle exchange program, Access Point, is working to lower those infection rates by not only providing sterile syringes and injecting equipment, but also first-aid kits, free testing, and resources for those who want to quit using. “We’re working with some of the most stigmatized and isolated people in our community,” said Yedinak.

“There’s a high prevalence of past trauma, past homelessness. Even though there’s a lot of education out there, the behavior’s not going to necessarily change if they don’t have those resources and support.” HRAC has disposed more than 70,000 needles since its program began in February. “It’s all about being compassionate and assisting people from safer use to managed use to abstinence,” said Lisa Raville, HRAC’s executive director. Since 2002, HRAC has offered a wide variety of services including free HIV and gonorrhea testing, referrals for substance abuse treatments and educational classes. “It’s so important that not only people come in and dispose of used needles and get clean needles,” said Yedinak, “but that we are also connecting with a population that can often times not tell anyone else they’re using.” One of those outreach programs is Positive Impact, a program of The Denver Element. The program works with HIV-positive gay and bisexual men who have a history of intravenous drug abuse. “A lot of active users will progress from snorting to smoking to injecting,” said Steve D’Ascoli, a therapist at the Mile High Recovery Project within the Element. He added that with individuals who inject, “your chances leap up 50 percent for contracting HIV or Hepatitis C.” Among individuals living with HIV in Colorado, the death rate due to the disease among males has consistently been 12 to 18 percent higher than the rate among females, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. The Element’s services are working to lower those numbers, and

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D’Ascoli views Colorado’s needle exchange as a necessary component in that fight. “It’s an excellent source of harm reduction. If you’re going to be injecting, do it in a smart manner.” D’Ascoli added that the program is more than just about providing needles. “It’s meeting them where they’re at. Providing a non-judgmental space for you to go in, get clean needles, get educated. If you’re ready to get help, this is where you can go.” Nineteen Colorado lawmakers voted against needle exchange in 2010, arguing that the program encouraged drug use. Yedinak said the opposite has come true. “By having them [drug users] come in, getting them to talk about their drug use, we’re helping them to link into health care and testing that will ultimately reduce their drug use.” Yedinak cited a New York study, which revealed the impact of a needle exchange program on HIV/ AIDS infections. The survey showed a sharp drop of new IDU infections from 50 percent in 1990 to 13 percent in 2000. Similar studies have begun in Colorado, and Yedinak hopes to see the same results in Denver. “Drug use still happens. We really want to minimize the harmful effects rather than ignore the problem or condemn individual drug users and have them suffer the consequences of a serious, chronic illness.” CAP has also opened a needle exchange facility in Fort Collins, with plans to open another in Grand Junction at the beginning of 2013. Boulder County AIDS Project, as well, has a needle exchange program called The Works. ] More info:; HarmReduction;




Out Front’s holiday party with Dixie Longate at the

Garner Galleria Theatre Out Front’s Night at the Theatre was held with Dixie Longate at the Garner Galleria Theatre Nov. 24. Longate’s hilarious on stage Tupperware Party was filled with funny tales, free giveaways, audience participation and a great assortment of products from Tupperware. Out Front’s readers raised nearly $1,500 for the Alexander Foundation. A special thanks to Ken and Win for their generous contribution. Longate is also donating a portion of the proceeds from her Tupperware sales to the Foundation. Longate’s show runs through Dec. 30.



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Photos by Charles Broshous


Exorcising the scrooge

There are some things we say proudly and others we say only when necessary. This is one of those other things. And while it’s not really necessary now, I’ve made great personal strides in this department as of late – and tis the season, after all. I’ve never been a Christmas person. (Gasp!) Usually people stare googly-eyed at this statement, and then sort of understand why when I tell them that I come from a Muslim background – even if it’s a non-practicing one. But most people don’t really understand what that feels like. Especially having spent nearly my entire upbringing years in Missouri and Kentucky – where they really put the Christ in all things Christmas (understandably, of course). Did my parents try to bring the twinkly season home? Absolutely. Once we moved to the states, we had a tree, we put up Christmas lights, and I thank my folks for that. The bottom line, though, is our heart wasn’t in it. There was no history or tradition backing up those acts. All our ornaments, while beautiful, were bought at the store – there was no sentimentality tied to each glass or ceramic decoration. I didn’t even know that was “a thing” until recently.

I, for one, was faking it – faking that I belonged That is, until the last couple years. My girlfriend adores Christmas – I am talking to a club that I clearly didn’t. The whole celebration, the convention – it didn’t really mean anything cookie baking, live-tree buying, got-to-only-havebelieving, to me more than a reminder of another abundant colored-lights-cuz-that’s-the-way-it-is sopping-with-tradition Christmas love. And I’ve got group of which I did not belong. Not to mention, I never believed in Santa. How to say that she’s been steadily chipping away at this could I? He didn’t visit me until I was 5; in fact, I’d icy heart of mine. Why? Because over the past few never even heard of him until then. Being the only Christmases, we’ve been creating our own traditions complete with a rainbow ornament at kid who knew the truth from kindergarthe top of our tree. ten on was brutal. I definitely accidenShe’s also brought her holly jolly tally shattered a few kids’ North Pole history to me – the roots of her Noël love. dreams. I played along, though, more or I’ve watched her homemade videos of less; my parents would mark a few gifts Christmas morning when she was a little from Santa, which was sweet, but I knew girl. Her family has embraced me with the truth. open arms, with red and green wrapped The bottom line is that this holiday presents in hand, and most importantly, didn’t awaken any warm and fuzzies in with eggnog. She has ornaments from me. As I got older and left my parents’ her whole life that we’ve gone through house at 18, I’d go home for Thanksone by one – and truth be told, my heart giving (my family’s favorite and tradiMaya Salam tion-filled holiday) but pretty much always stayed grew three sizes that day. I think I finally get it. Giving the holiday context, wherever I was living for Christmas. Usually I would offer to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas day if warmth, and memories – that’s why it’s so signifineed be. And if I didn’t need to work, I treated it like cant. We are making it our own. I don’t just play any other day. In 2006, I memorably had my Christ- along; we orchestrate our own festivities. I no longer feel like I’m looking in the window of a party that I mas dinner at Denny’s. It was pretty good. Scrooge, Grinch: I’ve been playfully and not-so- wasn’t invited to. Instead, we now throw the party! Cheers! ] playfully called both quite a lot. Yes, it got to the point where I cringed at the sight of Christmas decor and shuddered at the sound of Christmas music. Email Maya at

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Stonewall Garden at The Center The GLBT Community Center of Colorado is creating the Mile High City’s first Stonewall Garden, offering the community a way to add their message and presence to the history of the LGBT movement in our mountain state. As a nonprofit that provides services, support and advocacy for the diverse LGBT community in Colorado, The Center hopes to create a community garden of recognition with this commemorative display. How do I make history and leave a message? Purchase a commemorative brick in the Stonewall Garden to be on display at The Center’s headquarters, 1301 E. Colfax Ave, and welcome those arriving. How much does it cost to purchase a brick? The bricks start at $99 and move up to $175 depending on the amount of characters in the engraving. What do I engrave on my brick? Celebratory Brick: In Celebration of … In Recognition of … In Honor of … In Memory of … Naming Brick: Put your name, or the name of a loved one on a brick! 8X8 Business Bricks: Put your company’s logo and two lines of text to show community support through your business ($500). ] For more info on the Stonewall project or to dedicate a brick, visit or call (303) 733.7743.

Denver Gay Men’s Chorus puts on holiday show with heart and soul This holiday season the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus will be putting a spin on the traditional Christmas songs. With their upcoming “Sing We Merry, Gentlemen” holiday special on Dec. 20, familiar tunes will get a unique twist. “We’re doing a lot of new arrangements,” said Mark Stamper, guest artistic director of the DGMC. “There will be traditional songs, but the audience will be listening and all of a sudden say ‘Wow, that’s different.’” Now in their 31st season, Stamper said that the men have been putting a lot of heart and soul into their holiday production, having rehearsals at a minimum of once a week. “We had our first rehearsal right around Sept. 9,” Stamper said. The holiday program will feature smaller ensembles made up of members of the DGMC. “We have ‘Sing Out, Louise’ – which is a sort of Glee-esque show choir, and the ‘Ambassadors,’ which are 35-40 men or so, just to name a few,” Stamper said.



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Perhaps most significant about this year’s “Sing We Merry, Gentlemen” concert is the new tradition the DGMC is starting, honoring their fallen members. “We are going to have 91 bulbs on our Christmas tree, each one signifying the lives of the 91 ‘Chorus Angels’ who have died since our founding,” Stamper said. Many of the “Chorus Angels” lost the fight to HIV/AIDS, and with this new tradition, Stamper said that their memory shall always be carried on. The DGMC will also perform a special arrangement for the “Chorus Angels. “ The DGMC has been making strides in both the LGBT community as well as the community of Denver at large. The choir was invited to sing at the annual lighting of Denver’s City Hall on Nov. 23. They have also been invited to sing at the legislative session that will begin in January. “This season we’ve been getting a lot of exposure,” Stamper said. “Some really great things are happening.” ] More info online at


The last thing you may ever read The world is going to end in 16 days, or less, depending on when you’re reading this. Well, not really end, per se. The Mayan calendar will simply run out of days on December 21. It could be, as some believe, a prediction of the end of the world. Or it could be the Mayans lacked a bigger piece of stone on which to carve their calendar. Bless their sacrificial hearts. Now if it were just the Mayan final destruction when Bob Mackie is calendar coming to an abrupt halt, I hawking Pull-On Ponte Pants made in would not be too concerned. But there China on the QVC. (Mr. Waste was sorely disappointed when I pointed out to him are other signs. Dick Clark died this year. He has that Bob Mackie probably would not be hosted the heralding of each new year in selling any Cher-like gowns or Swarovski-covered bustieres). Times Square since, well, Not too long ago the since time began. Dick world population hit Clark was not around 6,666,666,666. That’s when Eve ate that apple, about six sixes too many. but I am pretty sure he And we all know what was hosting American 666 means. It’s the sign Bandstand the next of the beast. Yes, Chris garden over. As far as I Brown. Rihanna has am concerned, no Dick put herself back into the Clark means no New arms of the monster that Year’s Eve 2013. beat her. Surely disaster According to the cannot be far behind. Get website, Countdown to thee to a women’s shelter Armageddon, traffic acNuclia Waste already, Rihanna. cidents are a sure sign But the biggest sign of the end of times. Well, that’s if you’re in one, I guess. No more the world has met its final demise is world for you. If Lindsey Lohan is that “Celebrity Apprentice” has been not a sign of the end of the world, her renewed for another season. Who the hell keeps watching that show, anyway? numerous car wrecks surely are. All of these herald the “second The higher Donald Trump’s riches, the coming” itself – not of Jesus – but of Cher. lower his IQ. When he’s not ranting Yes, Cher, who has performed her Farewell Tour twice, is coming back for another. Mr. Waste calls it the “Resurrection Tour.” I can see the stage now. A large tomb surrounded by hunky Roman soldiers/dancers rolls about Obama’s birth certificate, he’s back the rock. Out steps Cher, wrapped beating up Rosie O’Donnell. Donald’s in a Bob Mackie crystal studded shroud. hair is an official sign of the apocalypse She starts singing, “Can You Believe?” Oh, – the Plague of the Bad Comb-Over. So your time is running out. Your I believe, Cher, I believe! And speaking of Bob Mackie. I was days are numbered. And you just flipping through cable channels and wasted 10 minutes of it reading my just about fell off my designer leather column. What were you thinking? ] sofa. There, on the QVC home-shopping network, was Bob Mackie selling Nuclia Waste can be reached through clothes. The world surely is headed for her website at

We all know what 666 means. It’s the sign of the beast.

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Your “-ness” is showing

Robyn Vie-Carpenter Email Robyn at


I had someone remark to me a couple of weeks back that I was truly an individual. She said that being a student of psychology, meeting an actual individual is unusual for her. I smiled and said, “Thank you.” Then it got me thinking. I was lousy at high school. I never quite got the concept of fitting in. I think some of that had to do with being a black girl in a predominantly white school. I also held fiercely to the knowledge that I wasn’t like “these people” because I was from the East Coast. I also think that because I was in a different school every year from fifth grade until I was a junior in high school, I had to be myself. I was the only constant in my life. We, socially speaking, spend a lot of time finding ways to “fit in.” Even as gay people, we still dress a certain way, hang out in certain places, and participate in specific events to feel part of specific groups. Like high school, it’s as though we still don’t believe that people will accept us unless we can prove we’re like them. In life, just like high school, it’s all about choosing a group to belong to. My question has always been why do I have to choose one? Why should I only talk to certain people and not others? I think everyone has so many fascinating aspects. It is not only about beating my own drum; it is about grooving to everyone else’s drums. I understand that it feels good when you meet someone who likes what you like, thinks the way that you do, wears the same size shoe (it doubles the possibilities for shoe choices). It feels safe, like you’re not alone. But it’s an illusion – no one is really like you. We are each our own person. We have our own minds, our own thoughts; we have our own, as my friend Stacy calls it, “-ness.” Your “-ness” is the thing that makes you, you. Your “-ness” is the essence of everything that makes you truly amazing and wonderful. There are many things about us that are


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similar, yet even identical twins aren’t really identical. Everyone is unique and wonderful in her or his own way. Everyone has her or his own “-ness.” I’m writing a book, as some of you may know, called The Joy of Being You. It’s about connecting to joy every day – that your individuality, your “-ness,” is something to be celebrated, even the parts you’d rather not have. I am smart, loving, kind, caring, thoughtful and funny. I can also be jealous, mean-spirited, egocentric and kinda bitchy. Though I would prefer if people only know about the parts that make me look good, I have to love all of my parts – all of my “-ness.” Being my authentic self and owning all of my parts has been and continues to be quite an adventure. I have to trust myself a lot. I have to believe in my worth even when I’m surrounded by strangers. I have to remind myself that I really only want people in my life that love me for me, not because I’m like them. I have to know, to my core, that if someone is judging me of being unworthy of their friendship then it’s their loss, cause my Robynness is incredible. My friend Jody B. used to say all the time, “Every morning look in the mirror, roll your shoulders back three times and say I am a good person.” I always liked the idea of that. It’s a mantra to get your day going. I have my private clients do something like this every day. Each person may have a different mantra. Everyone has their own thing that they need to be reminded of. No matter what’s being said, it’s a great way to start your day. Before anyone can tell you differently, you make sure the first thing you hear every day is how great you are. So, let’s kick up our heels, do a jig, raise a glass and celebrate our “-ness.” Those drums are sounding pretty great! ]


Top beauty gifts

Kelsey Lindsey Email Kelsey at Kelsey@OutFront

With the holiday season’s official start coming earlier and earlier each year, you can assume I took of this long ago and started my gift shopping early, right? Wrong. Somehow I always find myself scrambling to find the perfect present only hours before family gift exchanges. This year I’ll try something different – actually being prepared days before the holidays. To help me with this endeavor, I have compiled two lists, one for the ladies and one for the gents in my life, of some of the must-have beauty products this holiday season. Hopefully this will help me spend my December worry-free, sipping my spiked eggnog by the Yuletide fire (whatever that is).


Beauty Bar Sample Society ($15/month, This is the gift that, literally, keeps on giving. Each month Beauty Bar’s experts select five deluxe-sized beauty samples from luxury brands to arrive at your doorstep, taking the guesswork out of finding the best of beauty. Tarte Carried Away Collector’s Set ($54, Stowed inside a beautiful traveling case, this kit contains 16 eye shadows, Amazonian clay blush and finishing powder, mascara, a face brush and eight maracuja lip glosses (a type of passion fruit – thank you Google search). Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Resurfacer ($75, Some caution may be needed when giving any type of anti-aging treatment as a gift, but all will be forgiven once it is learned that this serum promises to rapidly improve skin’s overall quality after only a couple of applications. And they said the Holy Grail wasn’t real…joke’s on them, I guess.


Sephora Favorites Fragrance Sampler for Him ($50, Sephora): Catering to all the commitment-phobes out there, Sephora has compiled a collection of 12 of their best men’s fragrances to sample, from Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme to Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò. The set also comes with a voucher for a full-size bottle that can be redeemed for the favorite sent of the set. Everyday GLO Teeth Whitening Maintenance ($25, Who says the tree has to be the only thing glowing this holiday season? Discreetly packaged in a tube for everyday use, this whitening formula erases stains and brightens teeth, featuring a fresh mint flavor that helps keep you clean after meals and in between meetings. Anthony Logistics For Men The Tool Kit ($20, Sephora): When he said that he wanted a new set of tools for the Holidays, this is what he really meant. This portable kit includes a file, tweezers, clippers and grooming scissors that help keep nails clean and presentable. As an extra bonus, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to prostate cancer research, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase the perfect package. ]

[ [ BODY & MIND ] ]




The ultimate gift this holiday season:

Spending time with those who accept us, not just tolerate us As we sat around the dinner table contemplating what we, as a family, were going to do this holiday season, things got quite loud – as you might suspect they would with six opinions. We had a lot of questions to answer and agree upon as one family unit. Were we going to invite family over to our house? Were we going to any particular family member’s home? Or was it just going to be us this year? Decisions, decisions. Then in a strong authoritative voice, my 15-year-old daughter firmly asked, “Mommy, this year can we spend time with people who accept us and not tolerate us?” And that profound question was the one that set my tone and attitude coming into this holiday season. Jasmine Peters During the holiday season, I am often stressed out, running around from school plays to dinner parties, spending beyond my means for the latest and greatest toys, feeling an increasing need to rekindle relationships that have dwindled throughout the past year, and feeling the desire to spend quality time with my family outside of my immediate household. In my crusade to hopefully make everyone happy in the past, I have often put my own wants, needs and desires on the back burner only to wake up to a pile of debt, look at my semi-happy children and run from family that tolerated us for the evening instead of accepting us for a lifetime. As a responsible parent, I make a daily conscious effort to be a positive example in



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my children’s lives and to make responsible decisions. So this year, I am choosing to be true to myself and to them, and am making the decision to celebrate with family that accepts us: fully. This year, we will be spending time with people that may have started out as just friends, but over the years have become family: people that don’t make “who I am” (read: my sexual orientation) the center of table conversation or whispering banter. People that pray with me and my children, not over me and my children for a cure of what they feel is a disease. People that I proudly call my family. Who will you celebrate with? If it wasn’t for my daughter taking a bold stance and asking such a thought-provoking question, our holiday season would probably look like it always had – tolerable. Take the time to make a conscious decision as to where and who you will spend your holiday season with this year and don’t forget to ask the kids what they think. You never know what lesson can be learned from our children that will help us become better parents. ] Jasmine Peters is the founder of Parenting Wellness Center, a certified life coach, an ordained nondenominational pastor, author and single parent of five. Email Jasmine@; online:




To kiss and tell: HIV disclosure if you’re already playing safe After I met Jack, I knew I found a guy I could really look up to. In his early 50s, he had been partnered for more than 30 years, established himself as a business owner, kept in shape, and had vivacious appetite for life adventure. Jack was the man I wanted as a mentor. So when he invited my partner Luke couldn’t believe that my mentor, the and I to a small dinner party with a man who had everything, also had twist, we decided to go – but the twist HIV. And it occurred to me that if I twisted itself into something much hadn’t known his status, most likely more sexual than we expected. Luke the rest of his guests didn’t either. This isn’t an uncommon concept in and I had just begun to scratch the surface on experimenting with sexu- the world of HIV. With improved mediality as a couple. The elegant evening cations, undetectable viral levels, and combined with a sensual conclusion smart standards on safe play, many impeccably setup our journey into the guys do not feel the need to tell sexual partners their status. They naughty unknown. are healthy and would When discussing such never put their mate possibilities, Luke and I at risk. With that logic, laid down some ground bringing it up would more rules on how to make ourlikely ruin the moment selves more comfortable. than make any actual Knowing some people progress. In either case, look down on couples a transmission wouldn’t who explore in such happen so why go the ways, we decided that hassle if people don’t even for us things had to be bother to ask? done with integrity and Clearly this was Jack’s respect. So one major rule train of thought too. was to always be honest Scott McGlothlen Somewhat displeased by about my HIV status. While my need to tell people, he always playing safely, we explained that I was probably doing figured people still deserved to know. But telling one person already more harm than good by freaking wracked the nerves. Now, in a room these guys out. Things got confusing with Jack and his friends, I didn’t know again. Had Luke and I’s No. 1 rule of what to do. Should I stand up and make integrity been a huge mistake? As I sat down to fire off another an announcement? Should I whisper the information in their ears one at a email and apologize to Jack and the time? Over dinner, I had really liked guys for telling them about my status, these guys. I wanted to tell them the something about this method of not truth. But the kissing and the touching telling others just didn’t feel right. Saying sorry for being honest didn’t had already begun. I froze. Since Luke was HIV-negative, we feel like integrity. One of the things that annoyed me were already pros on how to play safely as a couple. There would never be any most about being HIV-positive was the exceptions. Still feeling confused, I only fact that nobody talked about it. Things got minimally involved in the orgy fun like this lead to stigma and loneliness. in hopes that when I would disclose Not telling someone wouldn’t help and could make things worse. later, no one would overreact. I stepped away from the computer After that evening, we all quickly became Facebook friends. I figured that confidently disagreeing with Jack the about a week’s time would be appro- mentor. With hundreds of people priate to fire off some casual messages getting diagnosed in our city each informing them all, including the host, year, I knew I couldn’t be silent esabout my HIV status. Some reacted pecially when it came to playing well calmly, saying that they always play safe with others. If telling people would and knew we didn’t do anything risky. freak them out in a sexy situation, Others were a little bit startled and saw then at least bringing HIV to their attention would be worth not getting it as a wakeup call to go get tested. However, I couldn’t have predict- anything sexy at all. ] ed Jack’s response. He wrote back telling me he was also HIV-positive. I Email Scott at



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Max Oliver

Happily at home for the holidays

Max Oliver is currently working on her Ph.D. in I/O Psychology. Her work and research focuses on diversification in the workplace, specific to gender and sexual orientation discriminations. She is also the co-owner of MCOliverPR LLC. Reach Max by email at

Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and the New Year – there’s no denying that the holiday season is here. The most dominant colors of red and green have crept up on us and now seem to be everywhere. For many Christians the color red symbolizes the blood of the way-shower that Jesus gave for the sins of the world. Green, the color of evergreen trees, represents everlasting life promised to those who embrace Jesus as their savior. As an individual who holds all faiths within my daily spiritual practice, I am also aware that growing up Christian laid the foundation for who I am today. Therefore, in my current kaleidoscope of devotions, I have oftentimes contemplated on the meanings of these most popular holiday colors, knowing that they are not the hues that depict my holiday roadmap in its entirety. For the majority of people, the celebrated holidays are significant times to be with family, friends, new loves and interesting acquaintances. They are periods in which good tidings are shared and provide a stage to prepare emotionally, spiritually and physically toward positive transformations in the upcoming year. However, for the LGBT global communities, the holidays can be lonely and have served as channels in which raw memories reside. During this time of year, one of the haunting questions for someone who has not been accepted because of the lifestyle that he or she was born into, is whether to make the trying trip of going home. Another question I often hear is: “If I do trek upon, and ignore the needs of my heart, should I also drag my partner along and both pretend to be happy when we are truly not?” My question to you right now is this: “What do you truly want this holiday?” This inquiry is not meant to represent material possessions or showiness, it is heart-centered and your sacred, personal reply to it resolves to disclose to you

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where your love exists. When ultimate self-care is practiced first, then the loving of ourselves interconnects with the revealing of answers to difficult choices. In loving ourselves first, we begin to understand that why and who we love, is not aberrant. This leads us to better understand that the color red – used as a part of the celebration of holidays – is not a symbol of what others refer to as “a united communal sin” carried like rocks on shoulders and manifested through personal guilt. During this time of the year, I often refer to the Sufi poet Hafiz. Hafiz was once asked this question by a young woman: “What is the sign of someone who knows God?” After remaining silent for a few moments, Hafiz replied by saying this: “Dear, they have dropped the cruel knife most so often use upon their tender selves and others.” When ultimate self-care is practiced first, then the loving of ourselves and others are linked, and it is at this very moment we learn to drop the knife; we can accept the decisions of our families through the continued allowance of our love toward them. This is where I believe the supreme life embodied in the green of Christmas comes into being. And, although the pliable thread to travel home for the holidays nags at us each year, for those who find this attempt to be challenging, the very fact that full and vibrant life comes through the joyful laughter of friends, the caring words of those in our loving communities, and the excitement to learn more about newfangled acquaintances, are testimonies that staying happily at home for the holidays is indeed a possibility. Whatever colors you choose in your décor and friend-family traditions you start this year, just know you are loved. You are loved by a universal presence who accepts you right where you are. I send you genuine love from my heart and warm light to shine on your beautiful faces during this holiday season. Always in peace, and in happiness. ]




Famous erotic stone carving sculptures, Devi Jagadamba Temple, Khajuraho, India.

By Josiah M. Hesse


igmund Freud once said, “the behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” That suggests that many religions handsoff approach to sex – feel free to take that phrase figuratively or literally – has been a serious disservice to our moral and spiritual guidance. As the supposed guideposts for spirituality – the instructive link between mortal humans and the divine – religious institutions have forever struggled with the question of how to deal with sex. Take a look at any of the dozens of major religions today and it won’t be long before you find dead-ends of denial and repression. Some beliefs hoist this banner proudly, while others pay less lip service to their ancient


The historical tension between religious tradition and sexuality texts commandments of who you are allowed to share your body with. Yet a number of religious organizations have kept in sync with liberal views toward sexuality and gender. Indian-born physician and spiritual writer Deepak Chopra recently wrote that “sexual energy is the primal and creative energy of the universe. All things that are alive come from sexual energy … Sexual desire is sacred and chaste. The suppression of sexual energy is false, ugly and unchaste … Sex is a means of escaping our little self or ego. It is many peoples’ only experience of meditation.” Religions that have embraced the practice of meditation often turn out to be the ones with the most progressive views toward sexuality. While medita-


tion appears in many faiths and countless forms, it commonly involves the process of deep relaxation and letting go – to the discovery and removal and unwanted forces and prejudices, intending to reveal natural truths about yourself and the world around you. This is quite a contrast from Western religions, which often tell believers what to think and do, instead asking practitioners to look inward to find the answer. “Buddhism is a very compassionate, accepting religion,” said Shaya Mercer, Kitchen Director for the Boulder based Dharma Ocean. “We really aren’t about being an organized religion. We’re about supporting ourselves and each other, helping one another be fully expressed and free.”


The process of removing labels and boxed-in thinking from the self is a major spiritual goal for Mercer. Waiting until the age of 26 to come out as a lesbian, she said it wasn’t until she found the right woman that she embraced this side of her sexuality. After becoming involved with the practice of Buddhist meditation, Mercer slowly came to discover that such a binary label didn’t reflect the complexities of her sexual anatomy. “A lot of the culturally inherited tension we have around sexuality can be revealed through meditating with the body, bringing new awareness into the body, relaxing the body and opening things up,” Mercer said. “When I started meditating I was convinced I was a straightforward lesbian.

Those references were factors of Over the years I’ve come to understand that that’s just another box, the U.K. Hindu High Council issuing another label. For me personally it the 2009 statement “Hinduism does was shutting down the possibility not condemn homosexuality,” which of a more universal sexuality. The followed a decision by the Delhi more I relax my body, the more I High Court legalizing same-sex rejust let myself be, the less I need to lationships, abolishing a hangover identify any particular way. The law from British colonialism that more I connect my heart with other banned them. For Hindus in England, this human beings, the more I can make a conscious choice about how I want could perhaps compare to President to express myself sexually without it Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year. Imagine if being so black or white.” Mercer said she was never the Vatican or Mormon Church made coerced by any Buddhist leaders a similar statement. Like Hinduism, most Native American about where her sexual energies should be directed – it was a process faiths make reference to a third gender of self-discovery. In her experience, in their spiritual traditions. “Many Native American tribes, she has never encountered any opposition to LGBT persons within her if they observed a boy playing with own Buddhist community. That’s not girls and learning feminine skills … to say the 2,500-year-old faith doesn’t may have a ceremony to guide him have its own anti-gay undercurrents. in that direction,” said Alistair Bane, The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader a Denver resident and descendent of of the Tibetan Buddhist sect and the Shawnee tribe, explained in our often seen in the West as a figure- reporting on the Two Spirit tradition. “Then the missionaries and the U.S. head representing Buddhism as a whole, has often been of two minds government came and heavily persecuton the subject of same-sex partner- ed Two Spirit people,” Bane explained. ships – seemingly conflicted between “They wanted Two Spirit people who ancient Buddhist texts forbidding dressed like men to dress like women. “unnatural” sexual conduct (which And so if someone you love is persecuted includes masturbation, oral, and for being who they are, you begin to be anal sex regardless of the genders secretive about who they are.” involved) and the moral edict to “do no harm to others, do “If someone comes to no harm to yourself,” me and asks whether often used as a pro-LGBT position in homosexuality is OK or Buddhism. not, I will ask ‘What is your In a 1994 interview companion’s opinion?’ If with OUT Magazine, you both agree ... without the Dalai Lama said “If someone comes to ... harming others, then me and asks whether it is OK.” homosexuality is OK or not, I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’ If you both agree, then I think I would say ‘if two males or two females To this day, seven countries in voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of the Middle East and northern Africa have laws permitting the death harming others, then it is OK.” Though three years later he quali- penalty for people of the same fied his statement by acknowledging gender caught having sex. Despite “from a Buddhist point of view [lesbian a growing movement to bridge and gay sexual activity] … is generally the gap between Islam and LGBT persons – and plenty of traditions considered sexual misconduct.” Many believers find confirmation and examples of same-sex sexualof their sexuality through the ancient ity in predominantly-Muslim countexts of their religion. Throughout tries, often reinterpreted to be somesome of the many Hindu religious thing other than homosexuality or texts are references to what is known sex – many predominantly-Muslim as a “third gender” – or hijra – in nations interpret same-sex relations many parts of South Asia. Hijras are as forbidden in Islamic law. Yet Muslims throughout the world mentioned in the Mahabarata and Ramayana, as well as The Kama Sutra, are reconciling conservative tradiprobably the most well known holy tions with LGBT identities, creating spaces for communal worship while book about sex.


Dalai Lama


leaving some traditional understandings at the door. “In normal mosques, women have to sit in the back seats and wear a headscarf and gay men are afraid of both verbal and physical aggression,” said Muhammad Zahed, a French-Algerian man who plans to open the world’s first gay-friendly Mosque in France later this month. “After performing the Hajj (a religious pilgrimage to Mecca), I realized that a mosque for gays was a must for gay Muslims who want to perform their prayers.” Zahed, who legally married his male partner in South Africa this year (later having it approved by an Imam), said that his mosque will allow women to pray with the men and will be welcoming of all LGBT persons. And while he is able to run a gay mosque in France without fear of criminal penalties, Zahed’s marriage is currently not recognized in France. While we continue fighting for marriage equality in the U.S., the idea of capital punishment for gays and lesbians seems wildly medieval – yet in the 1980s, radical Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. sometimes seemed to be recommending just that. It was stirred up by an emergence of anti-gay religious rhetoric that arose with the Evangelical movement, inflamed by the AIDS crisis. During the decade, Jerry Falwell, televangelist Pat Robertson and American religious icon Billy Graham launched a movement to characterize homosexuals as disease-spreading child molesters, appealing to the American government to protect us all from the scourge of these sexual deviants. And one of the men feeding them their words was gay. Despite being reared in the hetero-normative world of Evangelical America, Mel White, a man who would become a speechwriter and ghostwriter for the nation’s most prominent religious conservatives always knew there was something different about him. “I wanted to know, why didn’t I feel the same way

about girls that my friends all seemed to feel?” he wrote in his autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America, recalling his conflicting urge to ask his pastor about his conflicting sexual urges. “Why did I want to tape pictures of

Mel White boys and young men on my walls instead of pretty young women? Why did I want to hold hands with Steven and not with Joanne?” Twelve year-old White never had his questions answered, later explaining in his book that sexuality was never discussed by church leaders at the time. He goes on to lament that today Pastors talk about sex all the time, demonizing those who do not fit prescribed norms. “Imagine what young gays or lesbians face today in the churches of their childhood with televangelists calling gays ‘a plague upon the nation.’” Yet White must, at the very least, accept responsibility for paving the road for that change to happen. Throughout the 1980s, White lived as a heterosexual with a wife and two children, making his living writing for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and Jim Baker. During this time White believed the rhetoric of the men he wrote for, that homosexuality was a sinful disease and that he needed “treatment.” While keeping this secret separate from his career, White entered religious treatment centers in hopes of straightening himself out, undergoing psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and even an exorcism. After a failed suicide attempt, White amicably divorced his wife, came out to the church, and began dating men. White devoted this new chapter of his life to discrediting the anti-gay agenda of his former colleagues, working with at-risk LGBT youth, Continued on page 22




Continued from page 21

Many pre-Christian societies used sex as a form of worship. Sexuality (in many forms) has a role in ancient Hindu practice, and was intertwined in pre-Christian pagan rituals for centuries.

forming the interfaith movement for gays, Soul Force, and writing books on maintaining a Christian identity within a world of religious bigotry. He never gave up on the quest to convince his old friend Jerry Falwell that God does not hate gays, going so far as to move across the street from the Reverend, and regularly attending Falwell’s church with his male partner (whom he married in 2008). Falwell shunned White after he confessed being gay – Falwell doubling down on his churchfunded efforts to ban same-sex marriage in state constitutions and his accusations that Teletubbies were homosexual propaganda and gays and lesbians were responsible for 9/11. After Falwell’s death in 2007, Mel White was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on the death of the most publicly anti-gay American. “He [Falwell] helped rally us,” White told CNN. “He made us interested in achieving justice for ourselves. I don’t think Soul Force would have happened if Jerry Falwell hadn’t been so [vocal] about gay people.” So in a kind of backwards way, it could be argued that Jerry Falwell and his church really did help educate the public about sexuality. When Falwell or Focus on the Family’s James Dobson have preached about the scourge of a pro-LGBT society, they usually call the LGBT movement evidence of modern world gone wrong – that progressive groups like the ACLU and television shows like Will and Grace have perverted what would otherwise have been a chaste and moral civilization. But many pre-Christian societies used sex as a form of worship. Sexuality (in many forms) has

a role in ancient Hindu practice, and was intertwined in pre-Christian pagan rituals for centuries. “Many Canaanites and Egyptians worshipped a goddess of love and fertility called Astarte or Ishtar,” wrote Reverend Jeff Miner in The Children are Free: Re-Examining the Biblical Evidence on Same-Sex Marriage. “Sexual intercourse was considered especially effective for gaining the goddess’s favor, because the male worshiper was offering his greatest possession, semen, to the goddess through her priests.” Early Jewish and Christian theologians saw some of these sexy rituals as getting out of hand: “During the rituals, whole families, including husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles would sometimes have sex [with each other and temple prostitutes],” Miner wrote. “In short, every kind of sexual practice imaginable was performed at these rituals, including homosexual sex.” Miner believes that knowledge of these boundless orgies provided the context in which the Old Testament book of Leviticus was written – including its passages most commonly quoted by conservative believers attacking LGBT sexuality today. But Miner said these passages are often taken out of context. “Leviticus 18 and 20 are clearly directed at homosexual temple prostitution,” he wrote, “and that is how they should be applied … Since we are not bringing a question about the appropriateness of cultic sex practices for modern Christians, we can safely set aside these clobber passages.” Religion does not exist outside culture, and often serves to create a boundary or contrast

Goddess Astarte




between its community of believers and the rest of the world. It’s a look at the historical contexts that inspired those passages – and similar passages in the dominant religious texts of other

Book of Leviticus faiths – that modern theologians and scholars use to understand their intent and often re-interpret them in an LGBT-inclusive way. Many new religious movements – denominations within and outside major world religions with ancient roots – have developed similar contrast between themselves and the rest of the world. This time, the contrast is with a world of religions that are littered with conflicted perspectives on sexuality and sexual diversity. Denominations like the United Church of Christ, the New Age movement, Reformed Judaism and Unitarian Universalism are explicitly and intentionally pro-LGBT. In turn, they form a changing religious landscape welcoming LGBT people who can reconcile themselves with the beliefs they were raised in, making religiously-sanctioned same-sex relationships possible, and strengthening the bridge between faith and the individual as not only a soul, but a spirit with a body, too. ]


Colorado could prohibit reparative ‘ex-gay’ therapy for minors By Mike Yost


uring his two years living in a ministry house in Massachusetts that practiced gay reparative therapy, Coloradan Tony Boyer had round-theclock counseling, was told to cut himself off from his homosexual friends, and attended group therapy sessions twice a week. He had come out just a year earlier, “I was very confused and nervous about everything. I was pretty dead-set on the idea that eventually these feelings that I was having about guys would just go away.” The community Boyer lived in was comprised of residents who were struggling with other addictions as he worked to change his own sexual orientation. Though Boyer was an adult at the time – 20 years old – and had entered the house voluntarily, his experience was similar to what other youth throughout the United States experience as minors – forced into clinics by their parents – and had a lasting negative impact on Boyer. “It has made it real difficult for me, mentally, moving forward, finding my path, getting a job, a lot of things that should be mainstays for most people,” Boyer said. “I was guilted into feeling like I was walking away from God’s path in my life.” In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a statewide ban on LGBT reparative therapy for children under 18. The first of its kind in the nation, the bill prohibits state-licensed therapists from working to change the sexual orientation of minors. “These practices have no basis in science or medicine,” Brown tweeted shortly after signing the bill. “They will now be regulated to the dustbin of quackery.” A similar bill was recently introduced in Pennsylvania, and Colorado legislators are planning the same. “I personally know of people who have been injured as the result of attempts to try to change who they

are,” said Colorado State Sen. Pat Steadman, the openly-gay Denver Democrat who has led the charge for civil unions in Colorado, and advocates a similar charge to protect children from controversial forced efforts to turn them straight. Colorado lawmakers, like Steadman, will introduce the bill in order to lay the groundwork to prohibit psychotherapists from practicing reparative therapy on minors. “I think the scientific evidence is clear that this [therapy] is harmful and not effective, and is something that should be outside the realm of professional standards of practice for mental health professionals in our state,” Steadman said. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and other supporters of reparative therapy have sued California,

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claiming the therapy works, and that it’s irresponsible for California to end the practice that began almost three decades ago in the same state. In 1973 – the year the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, no longer considering it a mental disorder – the first gay reparative residential ministry, Love in Action, was founded in Marin County, California, to the north of San Francisco. Three years later, a large convention of ex-gay ministries was held in California to form Exodus International, a conglomerate of churches and organizations (including LIA) working to change the sexual orientation of gays and lesbians. Steadman disagrees with NARTH’s position that California’s ban on reparative therapy for minors is ir-

responsible. “I think it is the province of the legislature to define professional standards for licensed health care or mental health practitioners,” Steadman said. “There have been other examples of psychotherapy techniques and treatments that the legislature has outlawed because they found them to be harmful.” Steadman referred to a therapy called rebirthing, practiced in Colorado up until 2001 when a 10-year-old girl was killed during a session. “That practice was banned as a result, and I don’t think this is any different,” added Steadman. The ban will not stop religious organizations from implementing their own programs. “If people want to still exercise their freedom of religion by offering these things in a way that is separate and apart from purporting to be mental health professionals,” said Steadman, “they can still do that.” But for religious conservative organizations like NARTH and Focus on the Family, there’s little distinction between religious practice and scientific research into psychology and psychiatry. NARTH was founded in 1992 by a group of ex-gay reparative therapists arguing that homosexuality is caused in part by children feeling rejected by their parents. Endorsed by Focus, the organization recently pointed to a 2003 study by Dr. Robert Spitzer, which reported more than 200 gays and lesbians changed their orientation and had “good heterosexual functioning.” The irony of the study is that Spitzer played a key role in getting the APA to remove homosexuality from its diagnostic manual in 1973. The paper was condemned by the APA as flawed. Spitzer later apologized for the study, adding that his findings were misinterpreted by NARTH. Still – it was enough for the advocates of reparative therapy to claim a scientific basis for their view that homosexuality can be changed. continued on page 32




Photos courtesy of Zengo’s

ZENGO: Fusion worth the risk By Jeff Steen One of the celebrated joys of my job – beyond savoring never-ending deliciousness – is watching restaurants grow. Denver is still no culinary mecca, so we foodies often find ourselves waiting with bated breath when new concepts open. Will they survive? Will they be the next best thing? Will they have good beer? Will the waitstaff be cute? Sadly, many of the concepts we get excited about fade within a year or two. It forces us, as a dining public, to lean toward realism. However good a restaurant may be, we know that we’re just not ready for certain things. That’s why, once upon a time, Zengo seemed to be a gamble. These days, it’s a cornerstone of Denver’s culinary reinvention, but when the doors opened in 2004, it left us wondering – will the curious merger of Asian and Mexican really survive? Isn’t that too crazy for the Mile High City? Hardly. Thanks to the dedication and passion of Chef Richard Sandoval, Zengo is now enjoying its eighth year – with many more to surely come. It has made us think more broadly about cuisine and dining, while also feeling a native son. But eight years is a long time in restaurant life, and while Denver itself continues its culinary reinvention, Zengo has made us lust for a new face, a new character, a new menu. What better way to usher in a new era than with breakfast? Whence comes Zengo’s newly minted Bottomless Brunch. Sure, breakfast is a growing trend in the city, and sure, it’s easy to find bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys, but the whole shebang? It still astounds me to


think that a morning menu rich with sushi, creative breakfast dishes, and AM cocktails – all unending – would round out to an even $35 per person. The real question: How good is it? Can the appeal of bottomless everything leave us with quantity and quality? Happily. One of the reasons Zengo has been successful is because it’s not only creative, but also careful. Yes, this is the creation of a now-famous chef busy with other concepts, but it hasn’t been forgotten. Chef de Cuisine Clint Wangsnes executes brunch like he’s been doing it for years, and the front-of-the-house hums along with such ease and fluidity, you wonder if this brunch thing is something they’ve done before. They haven’t, but my, do they do it well. Traditionally, brunch is that catch-all, quasi-morning meal that grants you every freedom to drink a cocktail right after eating eggs, to gobble dessert before you touch anything savory, and to indulge in just about any culinary faux-pas you want because, as we all know, rules don’t apply between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Thus, the menu at Zengo: an admixture of signature sushi, Asian-Mexican breakfast treats, a nod to dim sum, and cocktails that are so delicious (and simple) they are downright dangerous. As a chaser to the meal – or perhaps as a groove-shaking complement – a DJ can be found spinning pop tunes into cheeky background music near the bar, while 20- and 30-somethings usher in to sip flute after flute of mimosas. By the way, try the passionfruit variety. It’s my favorite. So is the guava. And also the Zengo Mimosa. And the Sangría. Um, you should get everything. All good brunches must end,


Hamburger Mary’s 700 East 17th Avenue Denver, CO 80203 • (303) 832-1333

Zengo, Meet Denver Zengo might be the beloved child of Denver dining, but there are still many who don’t know about it. It is, after all, tucked away across the Millenium Bridge on Little Raven – far enough away from downtown to avoid flocking tourists but close enough to be worth the walk. So what’s it all about? Richard Sandoval calls it a melting pot of Latin and Asian flavors, where ceviches meet dim sum and tacos sit alongside steamed buns. It’s the combination of ingredients within a dish that really makes Zengo stand out – think Manchego and Chinese short ribs, red chile on potstickers, miso soup spiked with chipotle. The concept has been so popular, in fact, that it boasts four separate locations coast to coast – Washington, D.C., New York, Denver and Santa Monica, Calif. And yes, if you have a hankering for the Bottomless Brunch while visiting any of these hotspots, be comforted to know it’s a feature at all Zengo locations. sadly, but this one did with a tinge of happiness – not only because I knew there would be time for more eating and sipping later, but because I had discovered a new treat. It’s going to be my go-to on mornings when I feel like spoiling myself and leaving the cares of the world behind. ] Zengo: 1610 Little Raven St. Online:

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Delizios Bistro and Wine Bar 2299 West Main Street, Littleton, CO 80120 • (720) 897-6550

Serioz Pizzeria 1336 East 17th Avenue Denver, CO 80218 • (303) 997-7679

Little Dragon 1305 Krameria Street, G Denver CO 80220 • 303-322-2128

Holiday Catering Want a unique idea for your next office or holiday party? Let Little Dragon do all the wok for you! FREE Crab Cheese Wonton or Naughty Buddha Salad with $35 purchase. Mention OutFront • Expires Dec. 31


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‘Any Day Now’

The engaging film depicting gay family life in the disco era When Rudy and Paul interact, there is affection, exasperation and flaring tempers, but the director This saga of a gay keeps everything in procouple seeking portion. This is an instance custody of a specialof a film creator with needs child is much limited funds who knows more than the premise how to stretch within the promises – or the unfilm’s constraints. fortunately mawkish Newcomer Isaac Leyva film trailer: It is a is an actor with Down well-written, expertly Syndrome. He delivers cast, skilfully directed an engaging character in indie feature. Set in Marco, a special-needs the late-1970s in a teenager with a problemnon-scenic version of ridden mom (Jamie Ann Los Angeles, Any Day Allman). They live down the Now is based on a true hall from Rudy. When Marco story and feels like it. is abandoned overnight, Less-skilled filmmakRudy finds him bewildered Paul (Garret Dillahunt) and Rudy (Alan ers might have gone and hungry. Apparently Cumming) in Any Day Now. Photo courtesy overboard with forced mom is in a legal pinch, so of Music Box Films. emotion, plot contrapChild Services arrives to pick tions and flat characup Marco. Rudy realizes the ters, but director and co-writer Travis Fine has crafted kid with whom he has quickly bonded is likely to fall a deeply moving piece that feels rooted. through the cracks in the system. Veteran actor Alan Cumming brings texture to What ensues is a story that is as pertinent today as the dangerously cookie-cutter role of a broke drag three decades ago with accepting souls outnumbered performer who revels in unfiltered expression. His by detractors, a legal system that still has strides to characterization of Rudy is familiar: brash, playful, make, and relationships that flourish when they’re not trashy, likeable, but never unnecessarily ridiculous. strained by individual growth. Perhaps the weakest As the biggest name in the cast, Cumming doesn’t element of the picture is the title song, delivered overshadow the story or other characters. Rudy’s with overblown emotion: “Any Day Now, I shall be personality is big and elbowing for recognition, released…” But it was the late 1970s; I was a teenager, which comes with consequences. His outbursts and I remember it was an enormous gospel crossover provide opportunities for director Fine to show the hit for Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and dozens of others. era’s reactions and biases indirectly. Travis Fine has populated the film with the It’s interesting to see Cumming in a singing role 20 familiar faces of actors who are recognizable and years after he burst onto the scene as the emcee in Sam solid, but not all well-known names. Francis Fisher Mendes’ gritty redux of Cabaret. His voice was never is the appeals judge; Gregg Henry is the opposing that of a virtuoso, but his ability to sell a song is what attorney. Don Franklin as the attorney for Paul, and made him a star. As Rudy, a drag performer in a gay Rudy is quite a sight with his ’70s Afro, but when he club, the character has flair -- but not too much. Cum- opens his mouth, the dialogue is strong and Frankming’s ability to temper the role of someone with very lin’s on-target portrayal of a black professional few filters keeps the film from becoming preachy. quickly dispels any ideas of parody. Rudy has a fan at the club who is a stunner: Tall, Any Day Now avoids going “there” – the place where dark, handsome Paul (Garret Dillahunt) is a junior believability must be suspended or apologies made for attorney and looks like he just fell out of a ’70s GQ the budget or director’s lack of sophistication. In that spread. Their swift courtship is from the dressing course, it remains balanced and thoughtful, while room to the parking lot, where Rudy and Paul’s first never hitting the audience over the head with messagintimate encounter blossoms below a steering wheel. ing and issues. While it isn’t without bumps, the film Dillahunt is superb as a disco-era legal eagle. The is incredibly satisfying, and this role is being hailed by director and Dillahunt create a refreshing charac- critics as one of Cumming’s finest performances. ] ter, avoiding the overused type. Paul is subtly eager – not really a fish-out-of-water, more like a deer in a ‘Any Day Now’ opens Dec. 14 exclusively at zoo, whose cage has been opened by an earthquake, Landmark Theatres. For theater and showtimes, shaken and wary of new freedom. visit Review by Steve Cruz

Grade: B



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The Nutcracker

November 24 – December 24 Ellie Caulkins Opera House 1101 13th Street Denver, CO 80204 More info: (303) 893-4100

The Nutcracker of Parker

December 13 PACE Center 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue Parker, CO 80138 More info:

For more information on how to get your event listed, please call 303-477-4000


bLush Coffee Bar & Lounge

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Photos by Charles Broshous



BAR EVENTS An intimate encounter: Cozy up with DJ Sinna-G

Trivia, the word, because it’s cool to be a nerd Looking to stimulate your brain and brush up on your knowledge of random and sometimes useful facts and tidbits? Trivia nights have become all the rage in the bar scene, and lucky for us, one of our favorite LGBT-friendly bars in Denver has mustered up to the challenge. Check out this top-notch trivia night at The Bar and exercise your brain while you sip on your mid-week cocktail. What: Trivia Challenge Trivia Night with Buzzwordz. Win prizes, shots, and of course, glory! When: From 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday night

If you are looking for an alternative to the nightclub scene, come chill at the end of the week with DJ Sinna-G who performs live at bLush, the cozy DJ Sinna-G and bLush neighborhood coffee owner Jody Bouffard bar and lounge every Friday night (except the 2nd Friday of the month). Sinna-G’s remixes of Top 40 jams helps create the laid-back yet still up-beat atmosphere for a game of pool in the upstairs lounge, a cocktail and conversation at the bar, or a latte on one of the famous silver hand chairs outside on Colfax Avenue. With no cover and owner Jody B. slinging drinks behind the bar, bLush is simply the place to be. When: From 9 p.m. to close every Friday night

Bingo! Get your groove on Aqua Lounge’s inventive spin on bingo and trivia is here: The Music Video Trivia Bingo party is sure to get you singing to your favorite songs and might even win you a few prizes, ($10 bar tabs). The scoop: the host plays a music video clip, and if you know the song, and have it on your bingo card, X it out! It’s simple, fun, and gives you something to do while you sip on beer or take turns buying your friends fruity shots. Be there, or be …

Where: bLush coffee bar & lounge, 1526 E. Colfax Ave.

When: From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday night

Where: The Bar, 554 S. Broadway More info:

More info:

More info:

Where: Aqua Lounge, 1417 Krameria St.


Denver Aqua Lounge • 1417 Krameria St. (720) 287.0584 • Covered patio, live entertainment, trivia, poker, karaoke, $2.50 happy hour M-F Barker Lounge • 475 Santa Fe Dr. (303) 778.0545 Patio, old Hollywood themed, neighborhood bar Black Crown Lounge • 1446 S. Broadway (720) 353.4701 • Piano lounge, tapas and brunch, patio, live music bLush Coffee, Bar & Lounge • 1526 E. Colfax Ave. (303) 484.8548 • Bar, coffee, lounge, pool Boyztown • 117 Broadway (303) 722.7373 • Male strippers Broadways • 1027 Broadway (303) 623.0700 • Neighborhood sports bar, weekend beer busts, BINGO, trivia, outdoor patio


Charlie’s • 900 E Colfax Ave. (303) 839.8890 • Western and pop dance club, weekend beer busts, live music

Hamburger Mary’s • 700 E 17th Ave. (303) 832.1333 • Great food, big patio, weekend brunch, big screen TV’s, mixed crowd

Club M • 700 E 17th Ave. (303) 832.1333 • Karaoke, BINGO, trivia, drag, live DJ bar

Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret • 1601 Arapahoe St. (303) 293.0075 • Burlesque, comedy shows, appetizers, desserts

Compound • 145 N Broadway (303) 722.7977 • Neighborhood dance bar with edge, weekend beer bust

Tracks • 3500 Walnut St. (303) 863.7326 • LGBT dance club, BAD first Fridays, DJ, live performers

Decatur St. Grill • 800 Decatur St. (303) 825.4521 • Pool table, poker, smoking patio, women

The Bar • 554 S. Broadway Ave. (303) 733.0122 • Burlesque, bingo, dance parties and comedy

Denver Eagle • 3600 Blake St. (303) 291.0250 • Leather, fetish, darts, heavy pours

Wrangler • 1700 Logan St. (303) 837.1075 • Men’s bar, patio, leather Fridays, pool tables, beer bust, darts, “Sweet Dance”

Eden • 3090 Downing St. (720) 545-4055 • Women’s lounge, patio, healthy bar food, vegetarian, gluten free El Potrero • 320 S Birch St. (303) 388.8889 • Mexican restaurant, patio, club, live shows


X Bar • 629 E Colfax Ave. (303) 832.2687 • LGBT bar, karaoke, Drag Queen brunch, BINGO, DJ, beer bust, patio, food

Fort Collins

Choice City Shots • 124 LaPorte St. (970) 221.4333 Mixed crowd, karaoke, poker, DJ, dancin’


Pirate’s Cove • 105 Central Plaza (719) 543.2683 • Cove1, Local bar, mixed crowd

CO. Springs

Bubbles Nightclub • 1010 E Fillmore Ave. (719) 473.0177 • LGBT nightclub, DRAG WORLD, karaoke, poker, big screen TVs Club Q • 3430 N Academy Blvd. (719) 570.1429 • 18 and up, Military appreciation night, drag show, pool, darts, beer pong, ladies night The Underground • 110 N Nevada Ave. (719) 578.7771 •, Pub style, BINGO, poker, karaoke, food, beer bust

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The 10 Cocktails of Christmas By Ashley Trego ‘Tis the season to be jolly. ‘Tis the season to rock some holly. ‘Tis the season to eat too much, drink more than we should, give thanks for what’s good, and give the boot and the finger to all else. Here is my offering to all of you: a list of my favorite holiday cocktails and the songs I like to drink them to.

1. Boozy Bitches Eggnog – This is a timeless classic holiday drink, and there is no greater old random dude than Roger Whittaker to get your Christmas freak on with his rendition of Darcy the Dragon. Let’s face it: If you drink enough eggnog, you will see dragons. 2. Hot Spiced Cider with Bourbon – “Have a Drink On Me.”

Or so said ACDC’s lead vocalist Brian Johnson in the album’s 1980 release. Coming from a bunch of guys who know about this kinda stuff, one has to shut the hell up and just do as you are told.

3. Le Vie en Rose Spritz – From one perpetually messed up chick to another, Edith, I salute you and your song “Le Vie en Rose.” Your undying spirit and tenacity inspire me to this day. This cocktail is a beautiful combo of sparkling rose wine and St. Germaine (an elderflower infused liqueur from the south of France). Oui, mon belle cher, I make a toast to you with this one. 4. Mexican Hot Chocolate – I

too believe in miracles and the song “You Sexy Thing,” by Hot Chocolate, is proof that they do exist. This song, of course, and the drink. Nothing says, “Feel better and freakin’ like it,” like this warm cup of sweet, booze-laden, hug-in-a-cup goodness. Make hot chocolate, add tequila and thank me later. Feliz Navidad, bitches.

5. Pepper-minty Moonshine

– Matt Dylan said it best as he croons about “Carolina Moonshine,” good old boys, stock cars, rednecks and more. All I know is that some good old boys from my home turf (yep, ‘Ash the Lush’ was born in a shack in the backwoods of West Virginia, y’all) came into my place

of work last hunt’n season and offered me a sip of peppermint-infused moonshine. I took a swig right from the jar and now have a story to share with y’all.

6. Merry Mulled Wine – “Here we come a wassailing.” A song we have all sung and have most certainly all taken part in. A warming mug of goodness containing wine, honey and spices that warms the tummy along with the limbs, and makes just about any worry seem not quite as great. 7. Yuletide Honey’d Chamomile tea – I have no clever stories to

tell about this one, it’s just happens that I love me some chamomile tea; tea in general rocks my sock off, and you add rum and my toes curl: chamo tea, honey bourbon, maybe a little honey and lemon – grrr.

8. Christmas Cranberry Mojo

– To accompany this festive holiday classic, there is no other song than the “Mojito Song” by Robert Abigail, a Dutch DJ from Rotterdam. This drink takes the usual suspects and then adds cranberry. You get the picture, so take my lead and make it yours; if it doesn’t suck, call me -- I’ll be there in 10.

9. Ho Ho Hot Buttered Rum – “I got a bottle of rum” claims The Rum Song by the Creeks. Well yo ho ho, you lucky bastards, because you’re one up on me there. Rum is, to say the least, one of the best things on earth. You can have it with coke, lime juice, Rice Krispies or baby formula, and it really just makes it all taste better. If only rum where a woman, we would all fall in love. 10. Partridge in a Peartini – This song has not a damn thing to do with pears, partridges or any fuck hell about much of anything that makes sense, but I will tell you that it helps to be drinking when you are forced to listen to this song. The name of it is “Back Door Santa” by Clarence Carter. Go forth and enjoy. ] Ashley Trego is a Western Slope based chef, event planner, wine industry professional and freelance food and wine writer. She works with the Black Bridge Winery, and Garfield Estates Winery. Ashley can be reach at

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DIVE: INTERVIEW that is my personal choice and I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I did frustrate people and have to deal with the consequences of those choices, just like I have to deal with the consequences of labeling myself at this point in time. But the reason I was comfortable to label myself is because it was a decision I made on my own. I did it from a position of joy and confidence, and I felt like it was the right time. There was nothing negative, or no pressure, associated with the process or act of labeling myself as gay.

For years, you were considered bisexual after you were misquoted, as you’ve said, in a Netherlands magazine. Why didn’t you ever clear that up?

Gay British pop star strips down Mika’s new album brings opportunity to open up about his sexuality By Chris Azzopardi Photos by Mark Cant


fter years of speculation, Mika has finally confirmed it: He’s gay. Totally queer. One-hundred percent into men. Now, moving on: The British performer’s third album, The Origin of Love, is Mika’s most self-reflective work, from opening up about his sexuality to the ebb and flow of love and the bullies that he fended off as a child. He even looks more GQ than Toys R Us kid these days. Mika caught up with us to chat about whether he’s over talking about being gay (he’s not), his female alter egos and how tight jeans help with the high notes.

So, you’re gay. Are you sick of talking about that yet?

(Laughs) The question before was, “Are you gay?” Now the question everywhere I go is, “What’s it like being a 29-year-old who’s gay?” It never irritated me, and it’s never something that has bothered me, so I’m not sick of it. It’s not essential to understanding my music, but I guess if you want to understand me as a real person – as a person with facets and different angles – then it is important. So no, I’m all right with it, and I’m still answering those questions. It certainly


didn’t make them go away. If anything it’s becoming even more a theme for conversation in interviews.

How do you respond to people when they ask you what it’s like to be gay?

I’m like, “What do you want me to say to that?” There are so many inappropriate things I could answer back. (Laughs) I’m like, “It’s not a color of a jacket that I chose that day.” It’s how I’ve always been programmed. It’s my brain. It’s part of who I am. I don’t really know how to answer that. I’m like, “Well, what’s it like for you to have brown hair?”

What am I supposed to say: “No, I’m not bisexual”? If I’m gonna talk about, I’ll leave it until I talk about my sexuality in an open, confident and unpressured way. Again, I made that decision, that right to take time and do things at my own pace. And I was like, “When I deal with this, I’ll deal with this properly. There’s no point dealing with something in a small way; when I do it, I have to do it in a positive way.” It’s not a negative thing. Whatever it is, it’s not negative. If you zoom out and look at it with perspective, there’s no part of this that’s negative, because it’s a developing story. I’m 29 and I’m probably going to be a different person when I’m 33, so maybe we’ll be having a conversation then about sexuality or the politics of sexuality, and I may have completely different things to say about it. But all I know is that I’m happy and totally comfortable with my sexuality, and I can talk about it and say I’m not the 13-year-old who was looking at himself in the mirror and thinking, “How the hell am I gonna shake this sense of fear or pressure that I feel? Is there a way out?”

Do you think the public is too concerned about celebrities’ personal lives?

I don’t know if the public is too concerned. I think that at the end of the day, let’s face it, it’s a choice; anyone who says that every celebrity or public person doesn’t have a choice is insane. For many years I always said I’m not hiding my sexuality; it’s innately a part of what I do and what I’ve always done in my music, but whether I label myself or not,


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You’re 29? You seem so much younger.

There is a naive childishness to my music. Even with this new record, which is definitely an evolution, it is more mature, but it’s still got this sense of mischief. There is that sense of youth. It’s essential to always be able to look at stuff in life in awe; if you know you can be in awe, or be awed by something, you know that you’re alive. I guess people can sometimes misunderstand that for childishness, because often it’s children who stand there with their mouth open, but I guess I’m very comfortable standing there looking at things with my mouth open … being in awe. (Laughs) If an extremely beautiful person is walking down the street, I’ll just stand there and stare and they’ll think I’m the biggest psycho in the world.

There’s no question that a lot of your songs have radio potential, but they’re often overlooked by American radio. Do you think that has anything to do with you being gay or your songs being flamboyant?

I was accidentally copied on an email a couple of years ago, and it was from a person at radio saying that they wouldn’t play “Love Today” because it sounded like a guy who was singing in the range of a girl. I immediately assumed this had to do with sexuality or identity and I got really angry, and then I just was like, “You know what, it’s not; that’s just an excuse. It cannot be a reason.” I may just be naive, but I don’t know – it cannot be the reason. Maybe I’m just being a dick and I should take a reality pill, but if I took that reality pill then maybe I wouldn’t have made this last record, and I think that would’ve been a shame. ] Chris Azzopardi can be reached through his website:

Bearracuda 2012

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continued from page 23





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Focus launched their own campaign in 1998 called Love Won Out, arguing that homosexuality was merely misplaced affection and could be corrected. The initiative was headed by John Paulk who was featured on 60 Minutes, Oprah, and on the cover of Newsweek testifying he himself had “recovered” from homosexuality. In 2000, he was caught drinking in a qWashington D.C. gay establishment and lost his position with Focus. Love Won Out was absorbed by Exodus International in 2010. Such stinging embarrassments – frequent, and increasingly publicized – have had their impact on the organizations: This year, the president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, announced the organization will no longer support the notion of reparative therapy, though their mission statement still regards homosexuality as a sin to struggle against. The shift, while profound, is not universal. NARTH, with the support of Focus, continues to argue that homosexuality is not biologically determined and can be changed. Earlier this year Love in Action rebranded itself as Restoration Path, offering e-counseling where participants can be counseled through videos and Skype. Boyer, who has since accepted his homosexuality since leaving the Massachusetts clinic, responded that a bill to ban reparative therapy in Colorado shouldn’t be limited to psychotherapists. “I don’t think it should be allowed at all. This type of socalled therapy was worse because it challenged the way I thought about my life and the control I had over my decisions.” Boyer added, “It was horrifying. It was absolutely horrifying. Crippling really.” The American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American Psychological Association have all discredited gay reparative therapy as dangerous, the latter stating the following in a 2006 statement: “For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure.” The APA added, “Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.” Out Front contacted Focus and other local gay reparative therapists to comment on the potential ban, but all requests for an interview were declined. But Focus on the Family referred Out Front to a website affiliated with Focus – – stating that the organization “support(s) counseling and the availability of professional therapy options for unwanted homosexual attractions and behavior.” The website also stated, “Research confirms that permanent change away from a homosexual orientation is, indeed, possible.” Unsurprisingly, Steadman takes issue with that understanding of the facts on reparative therapy. “If NARTH wants to continue to sell people this bill of goods, they have a right to do it, just don’t call it psychotherapy,” Steadman said. “Don’t say that the mental health laws and professional standards in Colorado encompass this type of therapy because, if we’re successful, they won’t.” ]



Serioz Pizzeria: Seriously superb By Lauren Archuletta Home of the “made from scratch, hand-tossed” pizza, Serioz Pizzeria in Denver is dishing out the best of the best. The centrally-located pizzeria continues to serve their famous classic Italian recipes, including the restaurant’s celebrated pizzas and calzones, to the Uptown neighborhood. On top of the already mouth-watering menu the Serioz name has been known for, patrons can also choose from gluten-free menu options, including gluten-free pizzas, salads and fettuccini. Serioz on 17th features a full bar, two patios, a private party room and a family dining room. While the food is great and the patios provide a

welcoming and fun environment, Serioz on 17th’s music venue attracts crowds from near and far. Artists such as Sarah Angela, Attic Attack, The Outfit and Tommy and the Tangerines have all performed on the pizzeria’s stage. It’s no wonder Serioz on 17th’s music venue is so popular; with the illustrious bar, the capacity to fit 200 people, and a $50 bar tab and free pizzas for the band, the pizzeria is the perfect environment for musicians looking for a crowd and for people looking for entertainment. So the next time you’re looking to lounge on a patio, beer and pizza in hand, and listen to some live music, Serioz on 17th’s has got you covered. ] Located at 1336 E. 17th Ave. Online:

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Lauren Bedford Russell

The Original Tomboy line. Photos courtesy of

Androgynous Fashion designer Alicia Hardesty

Lesbian designers bring new flare to high fashion

style By Robyn Vie-Carpenter


esbian fashion is not an oxymoron. Lesbians have always been an important part of fashion. When I worked in the fashion industry in New York City, I knew plenty of lesbians in the industry. They were never the name on the door – they were the names behind the “names.” I get phone calls from lesbians all over Denver lamenting about the lack of fashion design by lesbians for lesbians. Lesbians that fall somewhere in the middle of the butch/femme spectrum. Enter Alicia Hardesty (a competitor on Project Runway) and Lauren Bedford Russell (from The Real L Word). Although neither is designing for lesbians exclusively, each is very out and open about who they are and making their own stamp on fashion. I was fortunate to be able to interview each of them and find out what it means to them to be a lesbian in fashion and how they’re bringing their vision to this arena. A L I C I A H A R D E S T Y – T H E O R I G I N A L T O M B OY Although she didn’t win, Project Runway gave Hardesty the opportunity to showcase her work and design aesthetic in front of a national audience, not bad for a girl from Kentucky with a fashion degree from Colorado. You have a very specific design aesthetic that seems to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. For me, I mean even when I was in school, my goal was to always find that middle ground. Like you don’t have to push it towards women’s and you don’t have to push it towards men’s, you have menswear for that. I want to use it as a starting point. [With my line] when women try it on they actually like it, and when guys try it on they actually like it.

So, it’s really about getting the right pieces, the right fit and play around with silhouette. There’s tons of womenswear out there, tons. It’s really about the fit and a specific feeling. Although you design for the middle of the butch/ femme spectrum, it isn’t really androgynous is it? I design pieces that can go in either direction. I mean I can walk into any store and find that one piece that can be “femmed up” or “butched up,” but I have an eye. But I think that the problem is people don’t [know how to do that]. And there’s not a lot out there anyway. You really have to pick and choose. I mean I don’t shop that much because I just get frustrated. So, that’s what I’m trying to do – hook up the middle ground. Continued on page 39

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L AU R E N B E D F O R D R U S S E L L – LYO N F I N E J E W E L RY Lauren Bedford Russell is an out and outspoken lesbian designing jewelry and striving to make a difference in and for her community. With a design philosophy like that, you know something different is about to happen. Lauren Bedford Russell started Lyon Fine Jewelry in 2012 with a goal of “evoking a deep sense of identity” for the wearer. To allow self expression through wearable art, using only conflict-free gemstones and creating pieces that not only make a statement, they also make a difference. You’re on television and now you’re on tour with Hunter Valentine. You put a lot on your plate, and now I understand you are doing a lower priced line, why? Right now I’m living in Los Angeles and kind of going back and forth, between LA and NY. In the midst of it all, I’m still working as fast as I can to get some lower priced items available. It’s slow going because it takes a while to get this stuff out there. You know I’m doing this business by myself. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. I know that there are a lot of people that want my jewelry but can’t afford it. It’s not going to be an entirely new line. I’m just adding some pieces. I’m just trying to make things a little more approachable for everyone. I love your Equality Bracelet and at two price points, with 20 percent of proceeds going to Friendfactor, an organization to help educate and create straight allies for the LGBT community, a person can look good and make a difference. Is this important to you? Yes it’s really important to me. I am a small company and I want to keep things personal to me. I have my Equality and Limitless bracelets. I am also coming out with a bullying bracelet. And I have one I want to do for animals. I think I want one for myself. The holidays are coming! Continued on page 39




A hole in the Bible belt?

Going gay in the Arkansas Ozarks Story and photos by Phil Nash In our early years together, my partner (now husband) and I planned our road trips to bypass any state with sodomy laws: Arkansas, for example. But times change. Those laws are in history’s dustbin. Still, what would attract an urban gay couple to an Arkansas vacation? Years ago, some friends told us about Eureka Springs, an improbable gay mecca in the Ozarks. Huh? OK. We’ll put it on the bucket list – toward the bottom. Then, in November 2011, Walmart heiress Alice Walton opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Walmart’s home base on the Ozarks’ fringes. After researching the prime time for fall foliage – Halloween week – we headed south. Art beckons! Day one: Bentonville and Crystal Bridges, stopping first at the Walmart Visitor Center. This free museum is Sam Walton’s first independently owned five-anddime (1950) and is located on a shady town square dominated by a monument to the Confederacy. Nostalgia in more ways than one. From downtown, a short trail leads to Crystal Bridges (free: thank you, Walmart shoppers). Several domelike structures of glass, stone and metal nestle in a wooded valley, floating above large reflecting pools. Ms. Walton’s vision was a museum that tells America’s story through three centuries of art. From colonial-era depictions of Native Americans, to Hudson River nature painters, to American impressionists, to



the colorful austerity of Georgia O’Keefe, to the bombastic pop art of Andy Warhol and op art of Josef Albers, Ms. Walton’s collection emphasizes breadth over depth – best-in-class over playing favorites. Then it was off to Eureka Springs, an hour’s drive eastward and upward along picturesque winding roads. As you approach town, more nostalgia – antique shops and Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not roadside attractions. Hospitality is homegrown with more Bed and Breakfast’s and tourist cabins than EconoLodges, and lots of mom-n-pop restaurants. Eureka Springs is so named for the dozens of coldwater springs reported to have healing powers. In 1879, the town heaved itself into existence when a huckster touted his cure from a crippling disease to the wider world. Six months later, it was a tent city of 10,000 people seeking a cure for what ailed them. Soon the railroad arrived, gingerbread mansions were built, and fortunes were made. Shoddy sewers fouled the waters more than a century ago, and Eureka Springs has been reinventing itself ever since. In the ’60s and ’70s, artists, preservationists and gays launched a revival, and today, the Victorian gem is on the National Register of Historic Places. Stay a week and you will not run out of things to do. First, take the $15 trolley tour for the overview. Later, stroll the winding streets with their amazing array of shops ranging from upscale souvenirs to haute couture to fine art and craft. Rainbow flags and equality logos are everywhere. Plan to spend some money and

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chat up the friendly shopkeepers. The area has something for everyone. Architecture buffs will marvel over the “underground” tunnels downtown, the hillside Victorians, and the celebrated Thorncrown Chapel. Outdoor buffs will find lakes for boating and fishing, trails for hiking, and the Buffalo National River for floating. In fall, it’s all about the landscapes. Just drive along the country roads – perhaps to the 1832 War Eagle Mill, where grains are ground as they were in the 19th century. Music? Many professional musicians live nearby and play at local venues. Holidays are a very big deal in Eureka Springs. Halloween transformed entire neighborhoods into hellish graveyards, streets crawling with costumed kids and adults trying to out-freak each other. The nearly weeklong frightfest culminates with a Zombie Parade through town – an official Diversity Weekend event, but who knew gay from straight? And that is encouraging – a small town in the rural South has found a harmonious balance with families, artists, entrepreneurs, retirees and its out-and-proud LGBT residents. Together, they are pulling together to energize a vibrant local economy and to preserve a unique heritage. Just how it should be everywhere. Eureka! ] Phil Nash has been writing his way through life since he wrote a book report about a fake novel in the 9th grade. Nash has spent most of his career writing for foundations, nonprofits, elected officials, an ambassador and, once up on a time, for Out Front as its editor.

FASHION Continued from page 37

Continued from page 37 Where can someone purchase your jewelry? Well, most of my sales are through my website There a few stores in New York that carry it. There’s Kiki de Mont Parnasse, they were my ultimate store to be in. Having my jewelry in there has been a dream.

Photo courtesy of

I mean androgyny has always been around, but I am trying to connect to that middle in a different way. You live and work in LA now, but where are you from and I hear there’s a Colorado connection? I am originally from Kentucky. I got my [fashion] design degree from CSU. Really?! Yet another Project Runway connection for Colorado, first Mondo, then Fallene Wells and now Alicia Hardesty; what kind of influence has Colorado had on your design? Well, I came out in Kentucky and then moved to Colorado. When I was figuring out my whole design aesthetic it really wasn’t about “fashion,” it was more about what I wanted to do. It was about the freedom to find my own way and do my own thing.

Finding your fashion “voice,” so to speak. Yeah, Colorado gave me free reign to do my own thing. I found influences everywhere from hip hop to high fashion to gay culture, and I was able to do all of that in college. What’s the mission of The Original Tomboy line? It’s about the freedom to open [fashion] up and making it cool for a lot of different people. It’s about a whole social movement. It’s social, it’s cultural and it’s also fashion. Do you feel your line will give people the freedom to express who they are? Are you looking to broaden the options? Yes. The Original Tomboy brand is a little bit country with a modern edge to it as well. ]

Do you have to be in NY or LA to order a custom piece? They just fill out the form online. I do a lot of wedding rings. I think the custom work is what I like best. Then I can do more individual work for people. I like custom pieces because it means I’m the only one that has it. It can get pricey though. Yes, custom is the way to go if you can afford it, but like my rings start at around $1500, which isn’t that much. But I know that some people are struggling to afford my stuff. You know, custom made jewelry isn’t at the top of everyone’s list. Is the line being well received? It’s going really well. I have some really exciting pieces I’m putting out. But, I’m constantly adding new pieces. ] For more info visit

For more info visit

Carl McNew

I know that a lot of the work that you do is custom. Yeah, I usually have at least five custom pieces in process.

Peter Balcomb

Jaci Piel

Vincent Grandi

Our thanks to the GLBT community for making this one of our best years ever. We look forward to continuing to serve, and as always, provide an exceptional real estate experience. Here’s to a healthy and prosperous New Year. Thank you, Carl, Peter, Jaci and Vincent

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‘Let it Snow’ for a very merry (gay) Christmas Denver local and recording artist Eugene Ebner has a special rendition of the classic song “Let It Snow.” The diverse and festive video shows playfulness between Eugene and his love interest – Jimmy Howe, a talented composer, pianist and member of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus. The presentation pays homage to the big band entertainment era. The video was produced and directed by Matthew Bowler of Myridian Productions. Ebner is also the co-founder of Diversity Now Media and host/co-producer of Diversity Now Radio and TV that encourages others to embrace diversity. Why did you decide to make this video? To spread a message of love, equality and holiday cheer for all! Is it your attempt at “normalizing” relationships between same-sex couples? My intention of the making of the “Let It Snow” video is to spread a



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message of holiday cheer while encouraging everyone to embrace diversity, themselves and others through love and unity. I want everyone to see we as gay individuals can have healthy, fun, romantic relationships during the holidays and throughout the year, like how it was presented in the old movies and TV shows with a man and woman. The romance, the magic, the connection, a relationship between two men or two women is not any different than between a man and woman. We all desire to share love, and what better time of year to express how we feel than during the holidays. So many gay people are not accepted by their families and feel very alone during the holidays. I hope this video, “Let It Snow,” will inspire others and show every gay person that he or she is deserving of a loving romantic relationship if they choose to be in one, and in return, educate and show straight individuals that gay people on a core level are not any different than them. ] Watch the video now online at ofcnow. co/mcc. More of Eugene at EugenEebner. com. For more info on the production company, visit


y a w y m t I’ll do i There are a few issues which are of minor importance to some, but about which I have remained steadfast in doing it my way. Growing up, I was not spared from being bombarded with advertising directed at young women. Products such as cosmetics – eyeliner, mascara and foundation – garments designed to enhance your breasts and diminish your waistline, crippling high heels, cancer causing hair removal products, are everywhere. I decided early on (even before I knew what a dyke was, nell n o C c much less that I was one) that these yM By Bets products were not for me. It probably helped that I did not enjoy reading “girlie” magazines with their come-on ads sucking in young women who were trying to hurry up and become women. Perhaps this earthy attitude toward life was the influence of my Quaker grandmother – a very earthy person indeed – and a person I admired very much. Yet, as a youngster, I had a strong tendency and still have a slight tendency to want to “fit in.” It was important to me to be accepted by most of my peers, especially the popular ones. I cannot say I never wore high heels – I did. I cannot say I never wore lipstick, but the point here is that I refused to be taken over, sucked in, controlled, if you will, by the industry. Who are they to tell me I need to enhance my natural appearance? I cannot say I never tried some of the products, but one painful pluck of an eyebrow hair, one glance at dripping mascara, one attempt to run in those spiked heels, and I knew none of it was for me. When I came out, I found that as a lesbian I was much more at home with this rebellious attitude and stubborn refusal to contribute to Ms. Elizabeth Arden or Mary Kay. Along those lines, another practice that I refuse to submit to is wearing those tight fitting, skinclinging, indigestion-inducing women’s pants with no pockets. I have to say, in the stores they look great on the manikins, but the manikins are always holding their breath and never sitting down. Nor do the manikins suffer the long-term effects of gravity on the body. Also, I will not buy a pair of women’s pants if they have no pockets. That’s partly because my way is to not

carry a purse. It is a nuisance and something to lose, leave behind, or have ripped off. How did this pursecarrying practice come about? I suppose it’s because long ago women could not own property, including money, so there was no need to have a safe place like a deep pocket to carry it. Then there are a couple of issues which are of major importance and about which I have been steadfast, albeit not throughout my entire life. Yet, it was not until I was willing to live my life honestly that I started doing things my way. What I have in mind here is lifestyle and living a life according to who I really am. In other words: being true to myself. When I was in my late 40s, my children were almost grown and I had been married for nearly 25 years. I finally realized that being attracted to and falling in love with females, rather than males was not a fleeting, temporary phase of my development. Instead this was my true nature and was part of who I was. I also came to the realization that sexuality is a huge part of who a person is. If I was going to ever be true to myself, I needed to come out. This would not be easy because I had been married to my best friend, and a good person. I came to understand, however, that I would not survive if I did not do it my way and come out. That other woman whose role I had been playing all my life might have survived, but, it would have been in an unhappy and depressed state and that was not my way. My way is now always to be comfortable in my skin. Although it has taken the better part of a lifetime to get there, I can now say with assurance I am just that – comfortable, happy, content and at peace. And that is my way. ] This editorial was originally published on the blog “Telling your story” through the SAGE of the Rockies, a program for elders at the GLBT Community Center of Colorado. Author Betsy McConnell has been active in the LGBT community including PFLAG, the Denver women’s chorus and Old Lesbians Organizing for Change. Betsy says her greatest and most meaningful enjoyment comes from sharing her life with her partner of 25 years, Gillian Edwards.

Back in MY day…

Got a story, memory or reflection to share from way back when? Let us know about it! Email with a story with “back in my day” in the subject line to have it considered for print!

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Jeep Grand Cherokee: America’s Range Rover?


By Jonathan McGrew

They have finally developed a Grand Cherokee that can give consumers the luxury and off-road capabilities with the component that Ranger Rover had been beating Jeep with time and time again – style.

In the world of off-road vehicles there are two names that everybody seems to know: Land Rover and Jeep. In America, the Jeep made its early associations during World War II as part of the Willys-Overland company and spawned a new love affair with the go anywhere type of vehicle. In fact, the first civilian models showed up in 1945 just four years after the production of the first army regulation Willys MB Jeeps. The Jeep was truly a vehicle inspired by World War II and the terrain the army knew they were going to have to traverse. Ironically, the Land Rover was inspired by the original Willys World War II Jeep after a chief designer at Rover, Maurice Wilks, drove a Jeep during a summer at his holiday home in Whales. The first prototype was made in 1947. The result is two off-road brands that are also the two oldest brands, Jeep first and Land Rover second. Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee America’s Range Rover? That question might seem odd to the average none car buff, especially considering the history I just laid out above. The world does change in mysterious ways and Land Rover through trial and tribulations recognized a market in the late ’60s with the introduction of the Jeep Wagoneer and Ford Bronco; the company, now British Leyland, saw the need for a capable off-road and luxury vehicle – on that went beyond the appointments of the Jeep Wagoneer. In 1970, the Range Rover was born with the idea of being luxurious and an off-road warrior. Funny that it all spawned, including the V8 engine, from American car companies. We all know that Jeep has had its fair share of troubles too, now owned as part of the Fiat portfolio along with Chrysler and Dodge. However, the company’s path was very different and somehow it wasn’t until the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee redesign that the Land Rover and Jeep brands have really come head to head in the American market. The Wrangler and Cherokee have

been the common SUV of choice in the States, but then the Range Rover and later the Discovery (immortalized alongside Jeeps in Jurassic Park) became vehicles of the wealthy and more fortunate crowd of consumers. That is until now. The 2012 (and now available 2013) Jeep Grand Cherokee is quite the vehicle; more refined, more luxurious and has “Trail Rated” off-road capabilities. What is even more remarkable is the flexibility Jeep offers the consumer. You can get a twowheel drive Grand Cherokee starting just under $28K. But, really we all want a 4x4, especially in Colorado. The 4x4 starts at $29,495 for the Laredo base model. Option it up like our test vehicle and you get the $43K Grand Cherokee Limited. That is a far cry from the about $67K Range Rover Sport we tested and reviewed (read the Oct. 3 issue of Out Front). Here is the thing, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited offers a well appointed leather interior, navigation, heated seats and driver steering wheel, striking and well put together interior design – especially for a Jeep – and a selectable traction control and four-wheel drive system that gives the Range Rover some stiff competition. You can even choose between the impressive Pentastar V6 or Hemi V8. They have finally developed a Grand Cherokee that can give consumers the luxury and off-road capabilities with the component that Ranger Rover had been beating Jeep with time and time again – style. Yes, the Grand Cherokee not only drives better than it has in the past, it has the looks to roll up to the red carpet and be taken seriously. Better yet it started in Toledo, Ohio, is currently made in Detroit, Mich., and is truly part of American heritage. Whether you opt for the base model or the SRT8 performance edition that starts at $60K, the Grand Cherokee is not only America’s Ranger Rover, it has the heritage of being part of the original American off-road manufacturer. ]

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Call Alisa today for a friendly and fun car buying experience! 303 237 1311



[ [ LIVING ] ]

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Being bi:

Life in the middle of the spectrum


Lauren Archuletta Lauren Archuletta is a student at CU Boulder finishing up her fall internship with Out Front. Reach Lauren by email at Lauren.ofc

day is a string of choices – from the moment we wake up in the morning to the minute our head hits the pillow. Whether we’re willing to wake up an hour early to squeeze in an early workout, whether to put cream in our coffee, whether to drop a few quarters for a newspaper on our way to work – all choices, and that’s just the beginning. When it comes to our sexuality, however, it isn’t always necessary to make a choice. We don’t have to label ourselves gay or straight; it’s OK to be in the center of the spectrum. It’s getting more acceptable to be bisexual today. There was a time when bisexuality was shunned even by many in the LGBT community: It was acceptable to be gay, and it was acceptable to be straight, but those who fell somewhere in between were called noncommittal, or greedy. In the 1940s, Indiana University professor and sexologist Alfred Kinsey devised a scale for the sexual preference of men and women. On the famously-dubbed “Kinsey Scale,” 0 is completely heterosexual and 6 is completely homosexual. Controversially, Kinsey reported that there were as many men and women reporting an even “3” than reporting as exclusively homosexual. But we no longer live in a “Kinsey” society, and we don’t have to define ourselves according to a scale. A number does not determine our sexuality, and we are

finding ways in which we can be who we really are. Despite the increasing general acceptance of people within the LGBT community, there are still folks that disagree with the notion of being bisexual. “I think it’s selfish,” said Austin Nunn, a gay man who has lived in Denver for the past five years. “I don’t think it’s fair that some people can have both [males and females.]” But despite the skepticism from those who say we can’t enjoy the soft skin of a woman and then be in the arms of a man the next day, there are still many voices that are standing up in their pride of bisexuality; those who continue to say it’s OK to be in the middle of the spectrum. The LGBT community knows firsthand what it’s like to live outside the constraints of a label or box. “You can’t help who you’re attracted to,” said Mandy Moran, a 22-year-old student from Littleton who identifies as bisexual herself. “Why is it a bad thing if you like boys and girls? Where’s the rule that says you have to choose one or the other? I don’t understand why that has to be ridiculed or judged.” The ridicule comes from the old stereotype that bisexual men and women are either ultimately confused, or closeted homosexuals, afraid of making the full jump. “People that call themselves bisexual usually turn out to be gay after some point,” Nunn said. “It’s just easier to come out of the closet and say you’re bi.”

That hypothesis has been tested – notably by Northwestern University last year. In the summer of 2011, researcher Allen Rosenthal led a study of self-described bisexual individuals in Chicago, testing sexual responses in the most intimate of ways – attaching a sensor to monitor erectile responses of volunteers’ genitals – while showing the volunteers erotic images of men and women. The arousal measure suggested bisexuality wasn’t just a form of confusion – they were responding quite, ahem, physically, to both sexes. It challenged a much more controversial finding from 2005 at the same school, when, in the former study, researchers failed to find physical evidence of pure bisexuality among the male volunteers. The study and its methodology quickly came under fire; many argued its method of recruiting test subjects was sloppy, or pointed out that just because researchers can’t spot something during one study doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The 2011 study used a stricter screen of volunteers and found strong evidence of bisexuality in the subsequent tests. Regardless of the affirming findings, the thought of measuring bisexuality through hours of research and countless tests still enrages some in the bisexual community. People who know their own attractions aren’t 100 percent straight or 100 percent gay might struggle to understand why their existence, or integrity, must be under continuing scrutiny.

Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of the Bisexual Resource Center in Boston, recently told the New York Times that “researchers want to fit ‘bi’ attraction into a little box – you have to be exactly the same, attracted to men and women, and you’re bisexual. That’s nonsense. What I love is that people express their bisexuality in so many different ways.” Colton Fitzwilliam, a 21-year-old student at the University of Colorado who identifies as bisexual, said he doesn’t believe that he needs to definitively put any sort of label on himself, and he doesn’t need to make a choice to jump to either side of the spectrum. “I don’t believe in loving gender,” Fitzwilliam said. “I believe in loving the person whether I fall in love with a male or a female. And that doesn’t involve any sort of research or decision making.” So for some of us, we carry through a day of choices – paper or plastic, nonfat or two percent – and a lifelong commitment to date males or females isn’t one of them. Perhaps we’ve realized that if we have a wide range of sexual attraction, we don’t need to make a definitive decision on which we’ll think about or or who we could love. We can have the same intentions and confidence of who we are in the gray areas. “Life isn’t black and white,” Fitzwilliam said. “I don’t see why sexuality should have to be one or the other, either.” ]




A luxuriance of lube Dear Shanna,

Can using too much lube at one time wind up being dangerous? If so, what is the appropriate amount of lube to use? – Slick Rick in the Highlands Dear Slick Rick,

Shanna Katz

As far as whether you can use TOO much lube, the easy answer is no. Keep in mind that silicone-based lubes and oilbased lubes are more difficult to clean up.



[ [ LIVING ] ]

Great question! The question of how much lube to use is certainly one that is asked often, and the answer really depends on the type of sexual activity you’re having. You can always add more if things get too full of friction, and you can always wipe some away if you use more than you needed. Start with a dollop, maybe a dime or quarter size amount, and see if that’s enough. If not, keep going. If you’re doing an activity that might use a whole hand, of course you’re going to need more lube than if you’re just using a finger or two. There is no perfect “right amount,” so ask for feedback, and add or wipe up based on your partner’s responses. As far as whether you can use TOO much lube, the easy answer is no. Keep in mind that silicone-based lubes and oil-based lubes are more difficult to clean up (especially from tile and hardwood floors), as they are less water soluble and can be a slipping hazard. However, as far as using too much lube in or on someone’s body? You could wrestle in gallons of lube, and people do, and walk away with nothing more than incredibly moisturized skin. And it’s definitely better to have too much lube and wipe some up, than to not have enough lube and have someone saying ouch! So lube on up and have a slippery and salacious time! – Shanna Have a question you’d like to ask Shanna (anonymously)? Email Shanna Katz, M.Ed, ACS is a Colorado native, fierce femme and board certified sexologist. She believes strongly in open source, accessible sexuality education and loves teaching adults how to optimize their sex lives. For more info, please visit


Top 10 cliché phrases that can hurt Keeping healthy and positive beliefs about ourselves and our surroundings helps us get up every day ready to engage with our lives – but some clichés keep us from searching for things that make us successful and happy. Be careful about using these as an excuse for not getting off your butt and improving your life. Remember, words have an impact on us whether spoken or thought. 10. Time heals all wounds. Although time is a necessary part of healing, it is important to remember that healing also involves working. Good or bad things don’t happen overnight. Get off the couch and figure out ways that you can improve the situations that have caused you turmoil. 9. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Sure you can! It doesn’t matter how old the dog is – learning happens throughout our lives. Habits can take time to break or change, but the sooner you begin the process, the sooner it can become replaced with something different. 8. Take the easy way out. Although this might be a logical way to think, the easy way is not always the most fulfilling way to reach a desired outcome. You may want to look at the most logical solution instead of the easiest. Be careful about thinking about ways you can get out of putting effort into doing something. It can make us lazy.

7. A good man is hard to find. Not necessarily true, but “a hard man is good to find.” There are some amazing people out there. The biggest trick is to recognize them when they’re in front of you. Open your eyes, because there are amazing people all around.

are free while others come at a great price. For those things that take time, effort, compromise, sweat and discomfort, the payoffs can be quite amazing. Expecting things to be free or easy can make us feel entitled to receive more than we deserve. 2. Love is blind. This is a statement that assumes that you won’t see concerning behaviors in your partner when you’re in love. You can see the approaching train. Listen for the chugging and look ahead. It’s important to be aware and acknowledge that little voice in your head. We often see it coming, but hope that it is going to change.

6. Better safe than sorry. Sometimes playing it safe keeps us from trying something that we’re afraid we won’t do well. Some of the greatest accomplishments have been after we have fallen down a few times. 5. Life’s a bitch. Isn’t it better to think that life can just be difficult at times? This way of thinking can keep us from looking beyond how cranky we feel about some craptastic situations in our lives. Life is really an amazing gift. Puppies are cute. Tiramisu tastes incredible. Free will is awesome!

4. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Although this is true, there are some holes that are really fun to stretch out. Many times people think that it is just way too big and couldn’t fit in that snug hole, but somehow with the right angle and perseverance, we get it in. There are ways to make almost any circumstance work out. 3. The best things in life are free. Of course some of them

[ [ LIVING ] ]

1. It is what it is. This is what people say about situations that they feel are out of their control. Not only does this reinforce that you are powerless and have to take it in the ass (in a bad way), but also that things will continue to be bad until they spontaneously turn on their own and get better. Try to find ways to decrease the negative impact on the things we can’t change and focus on all the other things we can impact positively. ]

Brent Heinze

Brent Heinze, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor. Email him at



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December 5, 2012 |


December 5, 2012  

Cover story on Queering Religion

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