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CONTENTS DECEMBER 4, 2019 VOL43 NO17

6 COMMUNITY AND CELEBRATION: 5TH ANNUAL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS AT THE CENTER ON COLFAX 9 KHRYS'TAAAL: THE QUEEN WHO BELIEVED HERSELF TO THE COVER 12 DENVER FASHION WEEK SLAYED THE RUNWAY 19 NEW TO NASHVILLE: THE MUSIC CITY THRIVES AS ONE OF THE SOUTH’S MOST PROGRESSIVE SPOTS 22 HAVING A KIKI WITH CARSON KRESSLEY 24 EMBRACING THE Q IN LGBTQ: KATRINA “KAT” CUNNING 30 BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS ROLL FOR FAMILY AND INCLUSION 32 AMERICAN QUEER LIFE: GRATITUDE 34 HOLI 36 HEINZESIGHT: BODY IMAGE WOES 38 THROW OUT THE STIGMA 41 BRING IT ON BRUNCH

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SERVING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS SINCE 1976 PHONE 303-477-4000 FAX 303-325-2642 WEB OutFrontMagazine.com FACEBOOK /OutFrontColorado TWITTER @OutFrontCO INSTAGRAM /OutFrontColorado FOUNDER PHIL PRICE 1954-1993 ADMINISTRATION info@outfrontmagazine.com JERRY CUNNINGHAM Publisher J.C. MCDONALD  Vice President MAGGIE PHILLIPS  Operations Manager JEFF JACKSON SWAIM  Chief Strategist EDITORIAL editorial@outfrontmagazine.com ADDISON HERRON-WHEELER Editor VERONICA L. HOLYFIELD Creative Director BEN GROSS Copy Editor BRENT HEINZE  Senior Columnist CHARLES BROSHOUS Senior Photographer DENNY PATTERSON Celebrity Interviewer INTERNS: Apollo Blue, Arianna Balderrama WRITER: Macie Bennett, Rick Kitzman, Rylee Thomas, Sophia Gabrielson ART art@outfrontmagazine.com DESIGN2PRO  Graphic Designer COVER DESIGN Veronica L. Holyfield COVER PHOTO Maddy Talias CONTRIBUTING ARTIST: Natalya Nova MARKETING + SALES marketing@outfrontmagazine.com BENJAMIN YOUNG Director of Sales & Marketing QUINCEY ROISUM Marketing Executive KELSEY ELGIE DOMIER Marketing Executive MADELINE ESPINOZA Marketing Executive

DISTRIBUTION OUT FRONT’s print publication is available semi-monthly, free of charge, one copy per person. Additional copies of OUT FRONT may be purchased for $3.95 each, payable in advance at OUT FRONT offices located at 3535 Walnut Street, Denver CO, 80205. OUT FRONT is delivered only to authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of OUT FRONT, take more than one copy of OUT FRONT. 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, its staff, or advertisers.

RESERVATION OF RIGHTS Q Publishing Group, LTD is the owner of all right, title, and interest in the OUT FRONT brand and logo. No person or entity may reproduce or use (or authorize the reproduction or use of) the OUT FRONT brand and logo in any manner other than expressly authorized by Q Publishing Group. Unauthorized use of the OUT FRONT brand and logo is strictly prohibited. OUT FRONT is published by Q Publishing, Ltd., a Colorado corporation and is a member of: the National Equality Publishers Association and Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce.

O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 5


Community and Celebration 5th Annual Dia de los Muertos at The Center on Colfax

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couple skeleton figurines. Closer inspection and investigation reveals the images to be personalized retablos, or devotional paintings using iconography derived from Catholic church art. Traditionally, these retablos are used to depict holy images, Christ, or the Virgin Mary, and The Center uses this concept to honor 50 LGBTQ icons as “secular saints.” Each retablo is completely unique to the icon it commemorates, visually describing their story.

By Rylee Thomas Photos by Stu Osborne

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s I walk into The Center on Colfax, the lobby explodes into vibrant color. Bright, orange marigolds are nestled on the various altars, known as ofrendas, with the papel picado fluttering gently whenever the door opens. Traditional sugar skulls, the calavera catrina, are scattered around the images and food offerings that line each ofrenda. In a continuation of celebration and remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, the Stonewall 50 Ofrenda Exhibition honors late, LGBTQ icons, the Trans Day of Remembrance, community members, and those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. Visitors are immediately drawn to the room’s centerpiece: the Stonewall 50 Ofrenda, draped in rainbow cloth and adorned with rows and rows of images, text descriptions, and same-gender

I was able to speak to the CEO of The Center, Rex Fuller, and the director of elderly services, Reynaldo Mireles, who were the creators of this exhibition five years ago. Fuller said, “There were definitely some names we knew we needed to put up there ... Harvey Milk, Freddie Mercury, Marsha P. Johnson, etc. But, we also wanted to include individuals whose names might not be immediately known but made a significant impact for LGBTQ rights.” Fuller and Mireles made significant efforts to ensure cultural, gender, and professional diversity to offer a wellrounded history of LGBTQ champions. There are three surrounding ofrendas with their own assembly of flowers, candles, and photographs. The ofrenda immediately to the right commemorates members of the Denver community who have passed away, and the ofrenda to the left specifically honors those community members who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. Mireles explained to me that this was not necessarily a grieving process, but a celebration of life and a coming together of family. “We created this for our community, to bring them

together and share stories of their loved ones. Even though they are gone, this is how we can keep them with us.” Another ofrenda faces the Stonewall 50 as if to say, don’t forget about me. This altar is dedicated to the Trans Day of Remembrance and those who have died in the past year due to anti-trans violence. When asked if creating this exhibition was an emotional process, Mireles and Fuller both contend that it was more of a celebration. “With the exception of the Trans Day of Remembrance ofrenda,” Fuller explained. “That was the only part that felt exceptionally heavy, because we have these trans women, mostly trans women of color, that have died from violence.” “This is something we can avoid and prevent,” Mireles said. “That’s what makes this one, and the HIV/AIDS ofrenda, feel heavier. We can do something about it.” In addition to the exhibition, Mireles and Fuller also put on a community event for Día de los Muertos that involved music, food, crafts, and joy. This familyfriendly event celebrated both the LGBTQ and Latinx communities while also celebrating the lives of their loved ones who had passed. I asked if Fuller and Mireles planned to continue the event and exhibition into the future. “It keeps getting bigger every year,” Mireles said. “The first year, we had 20 people. This year, we had close to 200. We hope it keeps getting bigger and becomes a tradition the community looks forward to.” O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 7


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KHRYS'TAAAL THE QUEEN WHO BELIEVED HERSELF TO THE COVER By Veronica Holyfield Photo by Jeremiah Corder

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searched through digital folders and photographer portfolios, an image taken by Jeremiah Corder stood out from all the others.

we celebrated most; we wanted her to walk into a Denver coffee shop or a queer nightclub and see this amazing photo of herself on the cover of a magazine.

In the search for the cover model for the commemorative Stonewall issue in June, the editorial team dug through years of archived photos from Prides past to find the perfect image to encapsulate the essence of LGBTQ liberation. As we

A fabulous, POC queen struck a fierce pose on a set of cobbled stairs, hair perfectly coiffed and a painted mug to die for. Wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt and boots made for executing the fiercest moves, we had to have her on the cover. The anonymity of this queen was what

The issue was released on June 19, 2019, and by June 21, we had heard from our cover model, Fort Collins' own Khrys'taaal She got a text from a friend who spotted the issue of OUT FRONT, and shortly after, we got the chance to meet our cover queen and hear her story.

magine getting a text message from your friend that you’re on the cover of a magazine. Luckily for OUT FRONT, we were able to surprise one Colorado queen with exactly that.

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How did that now famous photograph come to be? That was taken, I want to say the fourth time I was able to perform at the Pride stage, and I had just finished the “Best of Drag Nation” performance. I was just sitting there waiting to do the cattle call, and Jeremiah was like, ‘Ooh, bitch, give me a quick pose!’ I gave a quick dab to my forehead, threw my head to the side, and gave a quick look to the left. I never thought it would be used for anything, and personally, I never thought anyone would want to use me to advertise anything.

You told us before that you didn’ t think your aesthetic is something that would be on the cover of a magazine. Why did you think that? It’s that mentality of when people tell you something for so long, you start to believe it, like, ‘This is what drag is. It’s not going to change; you’re going to have the pads, you’re gonna have to wear dresses; you’re gonna have to contour.' I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to do this in my chains, my bedazzled jeans, and my Converse, and that’s just who I am.

What makes your style of drag so different? I’ve always had this kind of tomboyish image. I’m from Detroit, so I’ve always enjoyed that type of hip hop, street edge. I love sneakers. I don’t know why, to this day, but it turned into such a big scandal. ‘That queen from Fort Collins is dancing in flats; she’s not a real queen; she’s not padded, and she’s not contoured,’ and it was this checklist of things that I wasn’t. No one was saying, ‘Oh she can perform; that’s ok,’ it was, 'She'll never be; no one wants to be a part of her drag family; she doesn’t look the part.' She’s not gonna be on anyone’s flyer or on anyone’s magazine.’ Everything has come full circle as far as that.

Do you feel pressure to conform? Absolutely, from 2013 to 2014, I was trying so hard to be like the other queens, the other drag families, and I was trying to be that pretty, cute girl and look more 'fishy.' It just was not working out for me because I was trying to paint like them. As I did more shows and really thought about and meditated on who I am, I just came to the realization that everything I have right now is enough to get me to where I want to go. And then one day, people will have to respect what I do even if they don’t like it. And It took a long, long, long time.

What made you want to continue to pursue drag if you didn’ t think there was a space for you? In a conversation I had with my mom, she told me, ‘You’ve been bullied; you used to get your ass kicked by the kids down the street because you’re just different. But it’s a different that 1 0 \\ D E C E M B E R 4 , 2 0 1 9

keeps you out of trouble; there’s nothing wrong with who you are. So If you feel that you’re doing something you’re not passionate about, it’s time to move on.’ That really stuck with me because I thought about being in talent shows in school; the bullies would call me names, but when they would see my performance, they would leave me alone. They saw me for who I was, and they accepted me and gave me respect for that. If I want to be authentic and relatable and have longevity, then I have to be honest with myself and with other people. I’m no longer going to hide who I am. It’s all about muscles and mascara. Take it and love it; love it or hate it; it is what it is.

It does feel like drag is evolving in a way that artists have more freedom to express their authentic selves. It is, and I never thought that would happen. Kids are so impressionable; they want to see someone that looks like them and is doing the same things that they do so they can feel validated, so they don’t feel weird like I used to when I was little. I wish I would have had someone that was leading the charge, but that lets me know that I’m in the place where I have to be that leader.

You mostly perform in Fort Collins; what would you say is the biggest difference between Northern Colorado and Denver? I think up here, it’s a little less saturated. The first Saturday of the month when it’s time for our show, everyone gets excited genuinely because they know it’s only once a month.

Do you think that makes the audiences hungrier? Oh, yeah, absolutely. We do a theme every other month, so they never know what they’re going to get, but they know that it’s gonna be a really good-ass show with consistent professionalism as well. There’s not going to be any drama; no one’s there to have a bad time.

What can people expect from a performance by Khrys’ taaal? I don’t want to lie; I’ll look cute for like the first two minutes of the song, but after that, we’re going in. It’s a whole cardio, Orange Theory, workout kind of thing. Especially when people tip; I don’t feel like I deserve to get people’s money until I feel like I’ve earned it. It’s very visual; it’s very conceptual; as far as the music I mix and the things that I wear, it’s reflective of where I came from when I was a little kid. I like things that make you reminisce about the good times. There’s so much negativity going on in the world with politics and religion, so sometimes people just want that old feeling of reminiscing about when times were good, and it makes them feel invested into the performance along with you.


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2/25/19 11:37 AM


denver fashion week SLAYED THE RUNWAY Words and photos by Sophia Gabrielson

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alking into the Forney Museum of Transportation, I made my way past an extensive collection of buggies, steam locomotives, and motorcycles before reaching an extravagant runway tucked away in the back. The first weekend of Denver’s Fall Fashion Week was held at the museum, located in Denver’s industrial district, a complementary setting for local streetwear designers and avante-garde enthusiasts. 303 Magazine spends ample time and resources to be able to organize such a magnificent showcase each season. Their efforts continue to bring national attention towards Denver’s fashion scene and garner inspiration from designers. Progression, in any industry, requires innovations in technique and imaginative execution. Everyone involved with Denver Fashion Week understands the standards of progression and continues to step up their game; this season included more nights, more shows, and more designers than ever before. Attendees of DFW were not only 1 2 \\ D E C E M B E R 4 , 2 0 1 9

there to see the hottest new trends but showcase their own individuality in an environment filled with likeminded people sharing a passion for style. Night one was dedicated to local designers who use fashion as a means for expressionism, transforming their artforms into wearable fabrics. The goal for this night was to pair local artists with DFW designers and create a one-of-a-kind collaboration on the runway that could compliment an array of creative outlets. It is no secret that the fashion industry is often headed by expensive brands and competitive producers. However, this night of mashups proved that unified engagement is a faster and equally beneficial road to success. Based on the crowd’s reactions, Dark Denims’ line was the showstopper of

the evening. Many of the designers on the schedule for night one were chosen because of their affinity for streetwear. However, Aldo El Creator stood out because of his ability to use clothing as a channel and thereby send a message. Using a mixture of mediums such as airbrush, paint, and sewing, Aldo El Creator made the focus of his line “Fuck ICE,” and that prouncement was apparent on a majority of the individual pieces. Being able to confidently present one’s ideas on a controversial subject prevalent in today’s society can be difficult, but Aldo has no intention of shying away from his convictions. He explained to me that when he first began making clothes, he promised himself he would never sell himself or his creations short in order to gain recognition. Aldo realizes that his clothes are not for


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everyone, and he doesn’t care. Dark Denim ended up being so much more than just the epitome of grunge street wear; the clothes spur community engagement as well as important conversations regarding political indifferences. Night two was highly anticipated by anyone involved with cosmetology, as it featured salons from all across the city and gave special attention to hair and makeup. Another twist for this season was turning the hair show into an avante-garde assemblage with elaborate dos and experimental coiffures. This was another night where teamwork was essential in creating each sensational look. A handful of Denver’s most revered stylists were paired with designers who were to be featured the following weekend. To say Sunday night was a crowd pleaser would be an understatement; the show took the phrase “unusual ideas” to a whole new level. Charlie Price, who works with 303 Magazine and is co-founder of DFW, had a solo show in the lineup and gave the audience a taste of his unbelievable ability to create distinguished personalities out of hair. Price’s skills are recognized throughout the fashion world, as he has worked with iconic names such as Neiman Marcus, Prada, and many more. Price is recognized by everyone in the Denver fashion community and praised for evolving Denver Fashion Week into what it is today. Workshops went on each day of the week and were targeted towards hardcore connoisseurs or anyone interested in breaking into the industry. The workshops were set up in two-hour sessions from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. to accommodate those nine-to-fivers who mosied over once they were off the clock. Each day consisted of a theme, going in-depth about the technical side to the industry. Information ranged from a deep look into product development to patents and trademarks. That being said, weekdays were set aside to give special attention to help amateur designers grow a business and guide discussions about professionalism. As the week came to an end, excitement was stirring in anticipation of Saturday’s national and international designers. This was the most popular night by a wide margin, and because of that, the venue was moved for the second wave of shows. The McNichols building is located in the heart of downtown, standing as a historic landmark that has played an important role in the city’s culture since it was built in 1909. The McNichols building was quite a different atmosphere from the Forney Museum, as it was newly renovated and reopened in 2016. With vast amounts of space and attractive, contemporary art, the building induced a sense of grandeur. Saturday’s show was comprised of artists and designers from around the world, all of whom presented unique and eclectic lines. Attendees were spoiled by getting to see so many different cultures’ conceptualizations of fashion come together under one roof. The first half of the night was allocated to national designers picked for their outlandish and flamboyant approach to vogue. Following intermission, one after another of the most prominent designers from south of the border took the stage. 303 Magazine tailored a remarkable stunt by inviting all the best designers from Mexico City and putting them together under the spotlight. As fashion week came to a head on Sunday afternoon, a mix 1 4 \\ D E C E M B E R 4 , 2 0 1 9


of emotions were swirling: excitement for the last show, exhaustion from all the rigorous work that had been put in, pride for everyone’s achievements and loads of inspiration moving forward. The last round of designers were all based out of Denver, representing the best of underground noire and cutting-edge, boutique chic. Fogg Couture particularly caught the audience’s eye with its gothic, Victorian aesthetic. The line, as well as the corresponding brand, is the brainchild of Angela Hartshorn. Hartshorn has been designing and producing her own clothing and accessories for eight years now with a special affinity for witch hats. The hats have become the forefront of her business, while she directs most of her energy and passion towards collections. Hartshorn frequently puts together her own DIY fashion shows in Colorado Springs and New Orleans, but attributes DFW as being her big breakthrough into high fashion runways. She has been able to turn the theme ‘spooky romantic’ into wearable clothing, and every piece of Fogg Couture was the perfect balance of contrasting elements. Every designer who was a part of Sunday’s show was remarkably talented and helped bring everything to a stunning conclusion. Every day of 303 Magazine’s event was noteworthy in its own way, building up the grand finale that left everyone involved altogether satiated. Now that Denver Fashion Week has come to an end, buzz is undoubtedly circling about what big strides will be seen at next season's showcase. Denver’s fashion scene has been circulating more and more intrigue from big influencers in the industry for the past few years. Just last season, Forbes mentioned Denver as one of the fastest-growing astes fashion platforms in the country. Despite the city’s reputation for being dominated by brands that focus on outdoor apparel, there is a long list of artists and designers who are dedicated to establishing Denver as a fashion meca. Needless to say, they are well on their way.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

Fun Fun inin the the Sun Sun awaits awaits LL GBT GBT QQ travelers travelers inin

Puerto

Vallarta

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By Joe Morales, NEMA News Network

aving been recognized as having some of the best “gay beaches” in the world, Puerto Vallarta opens her arms to LGBTQ travelers as one of the most welcoming destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. If travelers have not considered a vacation to Puerto Vallarta and its world-famous beaches before, this winter might just be a perfect time. Puerto Vallarta is a jewel of a historical city cradled between the Bay of Banderas and the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. 1 6 \\ D E C E M B E R 4 , 2 0 1 9

A combination of colonial Mexican charm and barefoot beach escapes, Puerto Vallarta is one of the best destinations in Mexico for visitors who truly want to “have it all” on vacation. From the beaches in the Hotel Zone to downtown, the Zona Romantica (which some refer to as the Gayborhood) and beyond, there is no shortage of fantastic, coastal access in Puerto Vallarta for the perfect beach holiday. In the Hotel Zone, visitors will find side-by-side beaches that stretch along the all-inclusive properties, ideal for taking pictureperfect sunbaths, enjoying an afternoon cocktail, or taking a sunset selfie.


Puerto Vallarta is the only destination in Mexico where the historical colonial city center meets the sea. The bohemian Zona Romantica offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the city. Playa Los Muertos—lined by beach clubs, bars, and restaurants—is always happening. By day, the beach is alive with activity, day parties and boat trips departing from iconic Los Muertos Pier. By night, a visit to this section of town immerses visitors in Puerto Vallarta’s eclectic gastronomic scene and high-energy, electric nightlife.

Another picture-postcard beach on the south side of the city is Conchas Chinas, also heralded for its turquoise water and sugary sand. Visitors love this beach for the rock formations that create fun pools of water. This is a very glamorous part of town, so be on the lookout for the gorgeous mansions up in the hills or A-list weddings down on the shorefront.

Puerto Vallarta is the most popular queer beach destination in Mexico, and its LGBTQ popularity continues to grow. If you want to hang at the LGBTQ beach (just south of the famous Playa Los Muertos Pier), you can check in at one of the exclusive, LGBTQ Beach clubs that front the queer beach area, or just lay a towel on the sand for free. Blue Chairs, Sapphire Ocean Club, Ritmos Beach Club (often referred to as ‘green chairs’), and Mantamar Beach Club, a favorite of actress Zendaya, all offer drink, food, and chair options for LGBTQ beachgoers.

Pamper yourself and rent a private yacht to enjoy a day on the Bay of Banderas and access some of Puerto Vallarta’s most secluded beaches. The most popular is Playa Las Animas, a remote stretch of sand that’s one of the most famous in all of southern Puerto Vallarta—and entirely worth a day trip. It’s packed with restaurants and bars perfect for spending the day lounging underneath the palm fronds of a traditional palapa shelter, frosty margarita firmly in hand. Visitors can rent paddleboards, take banana boat rides, snorkel, or simply relax on one of the many lounge chairs that line the shore.

The Gayborhood (Zona Romantica) in Puerto Vallarta comes together at the intersection of Lazaro Cardenas and Ignacio L. Vallarta. Multiple queer bars and nightclubs are in a block radius of that crossing. Try the Vallarta Gay Bar Hopping Tour for an easy lay of the land. Two new upscale, LGBTQ nightclubs opened just this past year, Code and Industry, which bills itself as Puerto Vallarta’s largest LGBTQ nightclub. Industry is next to what may be the city’s second-largest queer nightclub, CC Slaughters. Mr. Flamingos and La Margarita Bar are smaller but popular bars in the area, and La Noche’s private atmosphere made it Tamar Braxton’s spot to go while she was in town filming Braxton Family Values. Reinas, which means Queens, is devoted to all things royal as you will see from the decor. The newer Ella Bar gives you “Divas” throughout the decades from Ella Fitzgerald and Barbara Streisand to Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, along with delicious tapas.

Las Animas can be the starting point from which to explore some other hidden beaches such as El Caballo Beach—a hidden oasis of calm, clear water and bleached sand with just a single, bungalow-style hotel and beach restaurant/bar. Another such hideaway is Colomitos Beach, a small strand fringe in the greens and blues of the jungle-covered mountains above it and the rolling waves gently lapping against its sands.

Puerto Vallarta also has its share of great LGBTQ hotels, including Hotel Mercurio, Casa Cupula, and Pinata PV, all of which are LGBTQ-owned. The hotels are all within easy walking distance to the LGBTQ beach. Two other hotels are right at the queer beach—Blue Chairs, which sits on the beach, and Mantamar Beach Club is part of Almar Resort right up the hill. Top Sky Bar on (surprise) the top floor of Almar has views as incredible as their food and creative drinks. Their house talent, Sassy Queens, are top notch entertainment.

Another way to access the distant beaches is to take one of the many LGBTQ boat tours available.

Moving south from Zona Romantica, travelers will discover more of Puerto Vallarta’s “hidden” beaches frequented mostly by locals or travelers in the know. Playa Las Gemelas, or “The Twins Beach,” is a pair of small beaches just a few miles from downtown. These quiet, off-the-radar strands are known for turquoise waters, gentle waves and crisp, white sand—the latter a rarity in Puerto Vallarta, renowned for the warm, golden sands of most of its beaches. The LGBTQ-friendly Costa Sur Resort and Spa provides great access to these beaches.

Model Tess Holiday fell in love with Conchas Chinas and made it the location for her cover shoot with Nylon magazine this year, completely worth the extra effort.

One stop further lies the private paradise cove of Yelapa where attraction and activities include not only the fantastic beach but jungle hikes to a stunning, nearby waterfall. This safe, beautiful walk to the falls takes about 30 to 40 minutes and ends at a refreshing, natural pool perfect for a dip. While Yelapa makes for a wonderful day trip, those looking for a wellness retreat should consider the Xinalani or stay the night at the LGBTQ-owned Casa Pericos and enjoy the area’s other attractions including Rolling Stone Magazine’s favorite Los Chicos Beach Club.

Diana’s Tours, run by Diana DeCosta, a Canadian expat lesbian, is an LGBTQ favorite. The tour runs every Thursday and includes a continental breakfast and stop for a beachfront lunch. The first stop is at Puerto Vallarta’s famed Los Arcos— giant rocks with hollow swim-through passages. Diana’s Thursday tours are made up mostly of gay men but are also straight-friendly. The Wet and Wild tour is marketed to gay men, and, as the name implies, is a sexually-charged version of Diana’s cruise. Jet’s Private Board Tours is also a LGBTQ favorite and offers special nude cruises, and you can request an LGBTQ tour guide. So, no matter your vibe—from peace and quiet to maximum party and adrenaline—Puerto Vallarta has the gorgeous beach to match. There’s no time like the present to start discovering the beauty of what the beaches of Puerto Vallarta have to offer. O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 1 7


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By Macie Bennett

New to The Music City Thrives as one of the South’s Most Progressive Spots

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ashville is a growing city—an essential, integral piece of Southern community and culture experiencing exponential development. Primarily known by locals as “Music City” for its export of music, it also carries a long-standing timeline as a Southern city where Civil War monuments mark the grounds and Confederate history is a staple. So, music and history have a massive presence here—but what else?

Now, I am not saying Nashville is void of LGBTQ culture or lifestyle, but it is far less abundant than other progressively liberal cities. However, a huge win this year for Nashville was its annual Pride Parade, and as a newcomer, I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Local news outlet WSMV News4 reported the celebration drew 75,000 people over two days—a record for the event.

I moved to Nashville a year ago from California. Having lived all over the West Coast for years, I wanted something different. I am a giant music buff and naturally saw opportunity in Music City. I remember it was a bit of a culture shock when I first arrived. The people were incredibly hospitable, and the lifestyle was at a slower pace, a welcome change from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. However, amid my ‘new-to-Nashville’ conversations, I realized a difference in LGBTQ presence.

Clearly, the community is present, but why is it seemingly underground in comparison to other major cities? I quickly realized that a great amount of the parade-goers were not local. I even met a few travelers from Canada who came strictly for the parade. It seemed Nashville may be one of the most left-leaning cities in the region to draw a crowd that size. As a newbie to the city, I wanted to hear more about LGBTQ culture in Nashville and its progression over the years.

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Christa Suppan co-owns local LGBTQ business The Lipstick Lounge, a nightlife spot and hangout in East Nashville. I asked her a few questions about her time in Nashville since 1992 as part of the community and as a business-owner. “For me personally, I haven’t had many issues. As far as the business, we have had some ugly things happen in the past, but once again, I see the progression in Nashville,” Suppan said. I do tend to agree with her on this one—I personally have not experienced any issues or even discrimination in the city. Any discrimination here seems to be hidden or just not as front-facing. The city tends to lean more on the biased side, but not so much on the hate side. People here exert kindness and hospitality; they may not support queer folks, but they remain cordial. Nashville overall seems to be a safe city for the LGBTQ community and provides a good amount of options for nightlife, outreach, and even faith organizations. Nashville is absolutely the most progressive city in the state; however, Nashville still has room for improvement as evidenced by its lack of targeted resources. “I believe that other regions throughout the country are demonstrating their progressiveness through the resources they offer to the LGBTQ community. Creating resources and accessibility to healthcare specifically focused on the LGBTQ community; investing city funding into community centers to support members of the LGBTQ community who are struggling with poverty, homelessness, mental health issues; and aging without familial support are just a few examples of city acknowledging that LGBTQ citizens are respected and supported within their city,” said Pamela Sheffer, director of program and development for Oasis Youth Center; an organization aimed at education and connection for Nashville youth. Sheffer demonstrates a valid point here, although Nashville’s lack of community resources may be better explained by the lack of state funding of resources in general, not just for

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LGBTQ services. Tennessee is not a welfare state like many others. It is incredibly difficult to attain healthcare for anyone, LGBTQ or not. The state just doesn’t fund it. If you are insured in Tennessee, it is most likely because an employer provides it, you are a veteran or an expecting mother, or choose to pay out-of-pocket for your insurance through the private market. The youth of Nashville are primarily affected by this. What we are seeing is a younger, left-leaning generation living in and being surrounded by an environment of older generations which may possess a certain opinion about the LGBTQ community. “These youth are being raised, educated, and coached by adults who have not checked their bias,” said Sheffer. Like many other cities in the South, this is Nashville’s downfall and debt to the community. The city provides a good amount of support groups, social spots, and faith organizations; however, funded resources and aid are virtually non-existent and act as a hindrance to the community at large, but cannot be helped until the region sees more progression in its economics. Nashville is a city inhabited by young people with progressive ideas and thoughts, but it is being overseen by its right-sided state legislature. The city’s hands are tied in many ways. Luckily, Nashville's youth population is growing thanks to all the transplants. Nashville is heading in the right direction in terms of societal acceptance of the LGBTQ community and has shown success in cultivating culture and lifestyle. However, the bottom line is that Nashville is still a part of the South. Due to its geography, it is limited in its success, as it continues to encounter a difference of opinion from right-sided counterparts which represent most of the state. Nashville can be looked at like this: it can be a safe haven and hub for LGBTQ community, but I would not recommend going too much outside of the city limits, as you will see a great difference and void of community and tolerance.


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By Denny Patterson Photo by Matt Monath

Having a Kiki with with

Carson Kressley

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rom the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to judging alongside Momma Ru herself, Carson Kressley has done, and seen, it all. We were lucky enough to catch up with him about his feelings on the old and new Queer Eye, all things drag, and life in general.

always speak extremely highly of working with Ralph Lauren and the company. I traveled all over the world styling photo shoots for their ad campaigns, and it was such a fabulous job and one that taught me so many lessons that I have used in every facet of my career since then.

I would like to begin by taking a stroll down memory lane. Your career started as an independent stylist, but your claim to fame happened once Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered. How did your life change once the show aired?

After Queer Eye aired in 2003, my life very much changed because I wasn’t in the public eye before. Literally, a week or two after the show premiered, the Fab 5 and I were sitting on the couch of The Tonight Show and doing The Ellen DeGeneres Show and living a very different life. From a positive standpoint, this was the first time ever an all openly gay cast was on television, and it’s a show that wound up being a global phenomenon. It was liberating and very

It changed dramatically and very much for the positive. I was living and working in New York City in the 90s and had a fantastic job as the creative director for Ralph Lauren. I

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positive for me; something that maybe I use to be ashamed of was now being celebrated, and that was mindboggling.

That’s wonderful! Not only did the show change people’s lives, but it truly broke down barriers for onscreen representation of LGBTQ people. Did you think the show would be such a big success? I don’t think any of us on the original cast had any expectations for the show. I think we just thought it would be a fun thing to try, and who isn’t a bit seduced by the thought of fame or being on TV? We just thought this would be fun and didn’t know where it could lead, but I don’t think any of us had any idea that it would be as popular or as well-received as it was.

During your time on the show, is there a makeover that stands out or was the most memorable? Gosh, there are so many. I think the original version and the new version have the same DNA in that they employ this term that I coined called a make-better instead of a makeover. It’s not about steamrolling a guy into a whole new look or lifestyle. It’s about taking what’s great about them and highlighting that and making them a better version of themselves. I think we were successful in doing that in all 100 episodes that we did. Some memories I have, we did a couple of wrestlers, and they basically dislocated my shoulder upon first meeting. Like, I don’t know why we got the idea to wrestle, but we would bust into their homes and get a taste of what their life was like. There was a guy who was a nudist. I was like, ‘Well, I don’t understand being naked all the time because I’m all about clothes, but I guess I’ll give it a whirl.’ I stripped down naked and was locked out of the house by the other Fab 5 members. It’s a funny episode where a lot of things are blurred, and probably some more things should have been blurred.

What is your opinion on the new Queer Eye? The show is such a brilliant concept that it is strong enough to withstand the test of time. The producers did such a great job casting experts that have a great level of empathy and kindness; and I think they are doing a beautiful job with the brand and carrying on our legacy. I do think it’s quite remarkable and cool that we taped our show mostly in New York City, but these guys are going to places where often times, people still don’t know any gay people or haven’t been exposed to people of the LGBTQ community, like rural Georgia and Missouri. So, I think that’s work that still needs to be done, and it is great that they are out there having conversations with people.

It’s hard when someone gives a fabulous performance, but it’s not what the challenge was about. It’s hard when there are some queens that you have a natural affinity for, that you’re rooting for, you know they are talented, but they just didn’t understand the challenge or weren’t necessarily suited best for that challenge. Having to judge them negatively is difficult.

Before joining the judges’ panel, were you a fan of the show? Yes! My two best friends turned me on to the show during season one or two. By, like, season three, I worked with Ru on another project, and he said he would love to have me on the show, and I said I would be thrilled!

What were your thoughts on Drag Race UK? I thought it was great. I met the U.K. cast in New York City, and I was so impressed by the level of their craftsmanship. It’s interesting; you could tell that drag in the U.K. has a bit of a different flair and a bit of a different flavor than drag in the U.S.

I was very excited to hear that there will be a Drag Race celebrity spin-off edition. What celebrities would you like to see participate? We have some amazing celebrities coming up in the first season! This idea was born out of many people talking to Ru and telling him what fans they are of the show and how they would love to try drag. People I would like to see, I love Kacey Musgraves, and I think it would be fun to see Zac Efron. Maybe some famous fashion designers like Marc Jacobs. Drag really reveals more of a person. You learn so much about these people, so to see celebrities go through this process would be intriguing for me because you will learn so much about them and see how they would navigate in heels, literally and figuratively! I had a drag makeover of my own at Drag Con L.A., and it’s amazing how it transforms you and unleashes another side of your personality.

What is your drag name? My drag name is Lisa New Sonata!

Have you ever disagreed with one of Ru’s decisions on who should go home? No, I don’t think so. We are almost always on the same page by the time we deliberate.

Perfect. Now, I would like to ask you a couple of questions about RuPaul’s Drag Race. What is the best and hardest part about being a judge?

What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?

The best part is getting to work with Ru, my fellow judges, guest judges, and queens. It is a very positive atmosphere that starts from the top down, and Ru sets that tone. I get the great pleasure of going to work and seeing amazing drag performances from the best in the business. This is a pure joy. The hardest part is what you have to do as a judge. We are not there to say, like, this person is better than the other person. Our job is to judge how well they met the criteria of the challenge.

I have a new show airing on Freeform called Wrap Battle, and it’s a fun, holiday gift wrapping competition extravaganza. It’s about wrapping presents and presentation and holiday flair, so contestants are coming with their glue guns blazing and trying to win a lot of money. Then, we have Drag Race celebrity edition coming out I think early 2020, and we also have Drag Race Season 12 and All Stars 5. You can also see me, perhaps surprisingly, on CMT’s Nashville Squares. O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 2 3


Ka

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atrinᄒ “Kat” Embracing the Q in LGB TQ

Cunning By Denny Patterson Photos by Maddy Talias and Jordan Kourupes

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at Cunning has rule the stages in NYC, and now she’s making her way to a TV near you. Her queerness and unapologetic realness can’t be stopped, and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. Except, of course, to catch up with OUT FRONT and spill the tea about her latest projects.

Let’s begin by chatting more about Trinkets. How has it been received by audiences? Oh my God, I can only tell you want I am receiving personally, and it is such a huge influx of love. I have never experienced anything like this. I have received so many messages online from people telling me I have touched them in so many different ways; they decided to come out to their parents; they haven’t seen role models like this on TV yet. These are from people all over the world. People are asking me to marry them [laughs]. Yeah, it’s just a huge influx of love and appreciation for what the show is bringing.

Can you tell us a bit more about your character, Sabine? Before the show started filming, all I really knew about Sabine was that she was sassy and confident, the Queen of Portland and a captivating performer. The more that I read, I was like, 'This is me. I must bring myself into this character.' And I am originally from Portland, Oregon; that was the one thing I was like, 'I must do this right.' On top of that, Sabine is a weird character, and I really appreciate the way she is included in the story without

making a big to-do about her sexuality, but still offering people an example. I know that was really, really important to me when I was young, being able to see people like that. So, yeah, I think Sabine is very confident, and she knows what she wants. She’s a magnificent performer who is interested in Elodie because she finds her innocence amusing.

Why should we watch Trinkets? What makes it unique and stand out from other Netflix shows? I am a huge fan of Kirsten Smith’s writing. She wrote 10 Things I Hate About You, which for me is the rom-com bible. It’s like a young adult drama adaptation of Shakespeare, and I think Trinkets has a similar tone. I think the way these characters are written; they don’t dumb down young people. They show young people going through things, but, unlike some of the other teen shows that are out right now, Trinkets still has sort of like a sunny disposition. Like, I still need to be feeling positive and hopeful. What I have experienced, this is a very accurate picture of how bright and motivated kids are, and there is an amazing focus on female friendships. That’s super important, and it’s a feel-good thing to watch, girls who decide to be there for each other instead of dealing with the high school drama. Like the cheerleader making fun of the other girl and everyone’s fighting for the boy. This is refreshing because a lot of those stereotypes are broken down throughout the show. O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 2 5


In addition to acting, you are also a singer/songwriter, and two of your original songs are featured in Trinkets. How awesome is that for you? It’s incredible! I didn’t quite realize what a big deal it was until I saw how they cut it together. The feeling to have my stuff featured, it’s unreal. I was expecting to hear a little bit of it or whatever, but to hear my whole song was such an honor. I have to throw some love to Kirsten Smith and Netflix for choosing to feature an original artist. It was a bold choice, and I am very grateful that they chose me.

That’s amazing! Have you always had a passion for music and acting? Yes, I always have, but most of my life, I was doing some form of dance. I was a strict dancer, and I started when I was three. I danced all the way through college. So, I am kind of a late bloomer when it comes to music and acting because I was so dedicated to the craft of dance, but it’s very cool to realize that acting and music were at the heart of what I loved about dance all this time.

You have released quite a few singles, and you have received praise for your overt displays of queer sexuality. Do you think the LGBTQ community is not represented enough in the music industry? I put forth that I am queer, so I never have to come out. I feel what happened with Sam Smith was very sad, and I don’t want anyone to not know that I am queer. I want my whole life story to be inspiring to people and hopefully help people empathize with the fact that we actually are the same. We all want the same thing. I do think that there are LGBTQ artists trapped inside, because people in the industry are afraid that they won’t be successful. I think that we have had amazing, queer artists in all genres of music, and it is cool that we are coming out now. It is important to me to make it clear that I am queer so nobody ever tries to tell me that I should hide that.

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And how are you using your platform to bring more recognition to queer artists? I think it is important for me to collaborate with other queer artists whenever possible so that we are continuing to give each other opportunities. And besides being a public as I can about that being a part of my identity, I also like to champion the artists that I love, and hopefully I will have an opportunity to collaborate with some of those people that I am obsessed with at some point.

Do you currently have any more songs in the works? I have so many songs [laughs]. I am sitting on so many that I have been waiting to release. They will be released in time, and I am excited to share them.

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Boulder County Bombers Roll for Family and Inclusion

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he Boulder County Bombers Roller Derby League (BCB) is a widespread group of empowered women who use this sport to build up their community and lead active, healthy lifestyles. Roller derby is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the world according to sources from the BBC and Business Insider. However, despite their ongoing growth and popularity, roller derby leagues continue to face many obstacles. Just last summer, the league’s practice space underwent an electrical fire, and the entire building burned to the ground. The fire was extremely devastating and a huge loss for BCB. Since then they have been utilizing temporary space and working hard to regroup. Roller derby was established by and for women; it is also the only female-dominated professional contact sport. These women are not afraid to pummel and knock each other down; after all, that is the goal of the game. However, even though games look extremely rough and aggressive in nature, behind the scenes are groups of women who provide constant support for one another. In the instance that someone falls to the ground, there is always a teammate ready to pick her back up. In the aftermath of the fire, the women of BCB stuck together and continue to work hard in an effort to find a new, permanent space for their practices and scrimmages. Chelsea Pohl is BCB’s league president, and she explained that there are actually several different teams of various skill levels. The teams are ranked by experience and proficiency; the BCB All-Stars represent the most skilled players (A-team); the Bombshells are the mid-level girls (B-team), and The Screaming Mimis are considered amateur players (C-team). Many girls who join the league are not experienced skaters, but the beauty

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of Boulder County Bombers is that they appeal to skaters of all levels from beginner to competitive. In fact, someone could walk in with absolutely zero experience and learn all the ins and outs of roller derby. Known as ‘The Phases,’ BCB offers an eight-week skating course (phase one) as well as an eight-week roller derby course (phase two) for anyone interested. After skaters pass a test, they are placed on a team that is suited to their individual skill level. Teams practice different competencies such as offense, defense, and troubleshooting different strategies. The introductory courses, as well as the league itself, are set up to teach skaters safe techniques. Pohl painted an unfortunate picture when she described the struggle that every team in the league has faced trying to commute to their temporary practice spaces. Currently, their league has a warehouse in Longmont that they use, but it’s pretty small for their purposes. There is another space they are able to utilize in Brighton, but that means the girls have to drive an hour out of the way to skate in a bigger space. Not having adequate access to a viable facility makes Phase practices and other team activities harder to schedule and execute. As a result, BCB loses some of their ability to retain skaters, which is how they build comradery amongst league participants. “We spent quite a bit of time and effort regrouping and finding new places to skate,” said Pohl. “Roller derby demands a lot of time, not only practicing three times a week, but now we drive an hour to practice spaces, and that ends up being around five hours of commuting a week. Many women in the league also have to dedicate time towards leadership and volunteer roles to keep the derby going, but we do it because we love it.”


importance of having a presence at pride focused events so that folks know that BCB (and roller derby) are welcoming and inclusive organizations. Skaters on BCB’s league such as Taylor Carranza are proud to be part of a community that is so welcoming towards LGBTQ skaters through both policy and cultural inclusion. BCB is a part of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is the largest international organization for roller derby. The WFTDA upholds a gender inclusion policy for anyone who identifies as a woman or gender expansive, making sure that women’s roller derby is an environment where everyone fits in and feels accepted. Carranza explained that while there is still plenty of room for growth, both BCB and WFTDA have been working hard to be active in inclusion and equity of LGBTQ members. Carranza, known in the league as Slayer, has been in the BCB league for five years now and in that time has built a strong community and family.

So, you may be asking yourself, what makes roller derby so special to inspire such dedication from the women involved? It might be easier to walk away if they didn’t love and care about not only each other, but the sport itself. Roller derby is so important to the women who are involved and has become a resource to the surrounding community. As Pohl put it, “It’s about trying something that gives someone a home. Roller derby gave me something that I never thought I could do and a group to support me through life’s struggles.” BCB is actively committed to making the Boulder County community more vibrant, welcoming, inclusive, healthy, and athletic. Many BCB skaters volunteer in their free time including in county and city-sponsored programs and at community events. For the past few years, they have been involved in and had a booth at their local Pride events in Boulder and Longmont. This past year, members of BCB even skated in the Denver Pride Parade. Pohl clarified the

“I did not realize at the time just how much roller derby would grow to be more than a sport to me. It has empowered me by helping me grow further in my queer and nonbinary identities and through building meaningful adult friendships. In a world where it is really hard to make adult friends, especially LGBTQ-supportive-and-identified friends, roller derby has really given me community. I have never been in a non-LGBTQ-specific community that so openly welcomes me, especially a sport. When my wife (who skates with BCB too) and I got married, almost half of the people at our wedding were from roller derby,” she said. The Boulder County Bombers have games consistently in Boulder, Denver, and cities across the country. In fact, September 20 through 22 marked the second-annual Thin Air Throwdown hosted by BCB and the Denver Roller Derby. The Throwdown is a derby event that hosts the best skaters from around the world who all come together for an amazing, three-day weekend. The league depends on the support and funding they get from their surrounding communities which is how they are able to put on events such as the Throwdown. Despite all their struggles and roadblocks, the women involved with BCB continue to shine with resilience, and their family on wheels always has room to grow.

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American Queer Life GRATITUDE By Rick Kitzman

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hanksgiving is upon us, which begs the question, what do we give thanks for? Then gift-giving celebrations demand we thank givers. Our attitudes about appreciation confront us, and like A Christmas Carol apparition, the Ghost of Gratitude heartens or haunts us, induces inner glow or guilt. When disagreeable thoughts assault my mind, which is often these days, I stop, give thanks for something, and, leaping from memory to memory, my brain plays mental hopscotch. For example, bending over (mind out of the gutter, please). The other day I was fuming about—what else?—politics. I bent over to put on my socks and remembered when I’d hurt my back, how that simple task caused excruciating pain. Mentally, I thanked my chiropractor, grateful for the money to pay him and buy good socks, stored in a lovely dresser, near a closet of lovely clothes, in a lovely bedroom, where I rest in a lovely bed next to my lovely partner, Neil, in our lovely home where we share food and drink with lovely friends. And presto, bango! Life was just so fricking lovely! Life can also suck big time. I’ve experienced overwhelming grief and excruciating physical pain. Weighted by tons of depression, I’ve fallen to the floor, curled up, rocked and groaned from disappointments with people or circumstances, but I’m grateful for what I gained: wisdom. To me, gratitude feels good, focuses my mind on the present, calms and refreshes it. A harmony with life grows, yielding a confidence in its goodness. Outwardly appreciating kindnesses, gifts, or benefits from people returns good feelings to them. I know a thankful heart is open to more goodness, attracts it, receives it. I’m grateful I had great parents, first-generation children of German/Russian immigrants. Reuben and Sarah were born in 1913, raised during the Great Depression, married in 1934. Their first home was a cleaned-out chicken coop. They received one wedding present: a colander (a prized inheritance, but I’ll resist hop-scotching). They became successful, and I observed how they were admirable stewards of their blessings, achieved through hard work and shared with others. I’m grateful I was raised in Fort Lupton and Brighton, small farm towns north of Denver, in Leave It to Beaver neighborhoods. Though Sarah didn’t cook dinner in high-heels and Reuben didn’t smoke a pipe in a cardigan sweater, my youth was stable, my education excellent, my community safe. I was cared for and protected, never experiencing divorce at home, drugs at school, or sexual abuse at church. My parents instilled in me common sense, common decency, and common courtesy, which in Trump-World feel uncommon. Even Wally and the Beav had problems with June and Ward. My problems with my parents were compounded by teen years filled with angst over my sexuality. Though I had many girlfriends (who better to giggle with), I had no interest in them physically. Gym class, however, and all those naked guys? ...Uh-oh. I had often wished I was straight, thinking how much easier life would be, but I could not resist this divine urge. After years of turmoil, I finally accepted myself as a gay man. The struggle continued, but I was lucky to have lived during a time

in history when gay life burst out of the closet. I’m grateful for all the queer heroes who blazed new trails I could follow. Special nods go to the guy who in 1977 smacked Anita Bryant with a cream pie, the members of Act Up, and the owners of the Ballpark, Denver’s fabled bathhouse. Undoubtedly, surviving the AIDS plague taught me the most about gratitude. I have lived two to three decades longer than friends who perished. This year, three more friends died: Ellen from Alzheimer’s, Linda from a car accident, John from a massive heart attack celebrating Pride on a dance floor in Berlin. To them all, I express my gratitude by living with gratitude. Life is tenacious, even if clinging to debilitating, drawn-out diseases—or transitory, gone in a second like the last lick of a flame. The irony of a first breath is, we are guaranteed, maybe in one minute or 100 years, a last exhale. So what do we do with this life we’ve been gifted? I was blessed out of the gate, and I don’t take that for granted. I know life is a bazillion times tougher for billions, so I try to be of service to friends, strangers, congregants at my spiritual center. And to serve the LGBTQ community. This is my 50th article for OUT FRONT. I’m grateful to its readers and owners and editors. It’s a privilege to be a part of this local news source, publishing for 40+ years (!), especially as print media appears doomed (it’s not) and is deemed “the enemy of the people” (it’s not). The challenges to the LGBTQ community are many and formidable. When I recall how gay men in Syria were pushed off rooftops by ISIS troops, and if they survived, how they were stoned, vilified, and terrified by cruel and cowardly hypocrites, I’m grateful I live in America. So yeah, I’m grateful I’m gay. Grateful for Marilyn, Judy, Joanm, and Bette. For Alexander McQueen and drag queens, camp and DaVinci’s David (not to be confused with Camp David). For disco and Stravinsky, Midnight Cowboy, Cabaret and Angels in America. Grateful to live in Colorado and (before it turns into the Environmental DESTRUCTion Agency) for the EPA protecting the grandeur of the Rockies. For all the women in my life over the years who have enriched my life beyond measure. For finding a faith I thought non-existent and unattainable. For all the teachers and classes, foreign cultures, and books that broadened my mind. For New York. For all my careers and employers who allowed me to thrive. For Krispy Kremes and Mom’s cinnamon rolls, and pie, lots of pie, and cakes and cookies! And that I’m not diabetic. Which reminds me, I’m indebted to my healthcare providers for the body they’ve healed. And every day, I give thanks for Lee, my blood and soul brother. And for Neil, oh God, yes, dear, sweet Neil. Oh yeah, and sex! Really grateful for sex. I’m grateful for the gay national bird, the flamingo, because, well, it’s so gay! And the platypus. And laughter, can’t forget that. And for Hammacher Schlemmer, because it’s fun to say. And for doggies. And Baby Jesus because—oh Lord, somebody stop me! Mine may be a little life, but it’s been filled with grand adventures. More will come. What are you grateful for? O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 3 3


Holi

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HOLI images are courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery and will be exhibited at AIPAD NYC from April 2 to 5, 2020. Models: Juan Felipe Rendon (Instagram @juan.felipe.rendon) and Harry Tenzer (Instagram @htenzer) Artist: Natalya Nova (Instagram @supernovaplayroom)

“Holi is an ancient Hindu festival known as the ‘festival of colors’ or the ‘festival of love.’ It signifies the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love, triumph of good over evil, forgiveness, and letting go of the past. “I created ‘Holi’ as a metaphor of acceptance and kindness.” -Natalya Nova O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 3 5


Heinzesight Body Image Woes By Brent Heinze

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here are times when we all look into the mirror to see our reflection for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s to check out our outfit or make sure our hair looks good. We might want to ensure that clothes emphasize particular body parts or hide others. There are other times we are looking at ourselves to see how our image makes us feel. Depending on what our eyes tell us, we may experience joy, confidence, dismay, or horror about what we see. These perceptions about our physical image have the potential to boost or destroy our mood or impact the quality of whatever interactions we might have in the near future. For many in our society, the struggle to feel positively about their body image can be a lifelong challenge full of negative thoughts, hurt feelings, and missed opportunities to engage with others confidently. Full disclosure, I don’t have the magic answers to fight against these negative body perceptions. I grew up as a fat, weird, gay kid and have to actively fight to not let these old beliefs about how I look affect me as an adult. There are times where I can look in the mirror and feel really good about the way I look, but there are also times when I think that my love handles are extremely noticeable. It can be the angle of how my reflection might be caught in my field of vision that can thrill or kill me. Sometimes perceptions change from positive to negative within a matter of minutes. I know logically that my body is not changing from moment to moment, but the emotions experienced feel extremely strong and have some real effects on my mood. It’s not unusual to like or dislike particular body parts. Anything is fair game, including hair, skin, nose, eyes, butt, stomach, chest, muscle mass or definition, thinning hair, too furry or smooth, being chubby or skinny, or one eye bigger than the other. Unfortunately almost everyone deals with concerns relating to body image, even the ones we may perceive to be sexy or hot. Don’t think you know about someone’s life or how they feel about themselves.

Some people you think are ultimately confident also struggle with body image in addition to other things like self-esteem, self-worth, life purpose, and many other issues. Sometimes the people who put out the most confidence can also be the most insecure. Many of us experience an inner voice that tells us things about ourselves or brings up feelings of insecurity or unhappiness. These voices also have the potential to affect our self-worth and how we may choose to engage with others around us. Those struggling with body image issues may avoid looking at their own reflections or limit social activities based on how they feel about their appearance. These people can have difficulties finding love, getting laid, developing friendships, gaining acceptance in groups, having good self-esteem, and engaging in social situations. When taken to extremes, eating disorders, obsessions with working out, or desires for surgical body changes can develop, and these thoughts may lead some into some dark places, including desires to commit suicide. We don’t necessarily grow up celebrating our bodies. Kids can be cruel; popular culture may make us feel insecure about our bodies, and we often compare ourselves against others. Although we may not be able to protect ourselves from these influences, we can make efforts to become aware that negative thought processes are starting to emerge and develop confidence that we have control over those thoughts and feelings. It is important to identify destructive thoughts and negative ways of thinking about ourselves. Challenge the internal voice that tells you awful things about yourself. With enough practice and perseverance, you can become less susceptible to negative perceptions and increase your confidence in yourself. It doesn’t matter if we have ripped abs or a gorgeous bubble butt. We need to work on not allowing these types of issues to stop us from creating the relationships that make life wonderful and engaging in activities we enjoy. It is important to improve our lives in many ways, not just physically. We need to remind ourselves that we are attractive, important, and deserve good people in our lives. Instead of busting our asses to achieve some unattainable goal of perfection, we need to focus on loving and accepting ourselves so we can create a life we love living. These efforts will not guarantee that people like us more, but having confidence that our charisma, confidence, and a warm smile can get us farther than having a perfect body is a huge step forward. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with striving to create an image of ourselves that we want. Just don’t let it get in the way of living your life.

O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 3 7


Throw Out the Stigma The community gathered in Evergreen on November 24 during Transgender Visibilty Week for Throw Out the Stigma, a mental health awareness panel discussion series with Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone, One Colorado’s Jordan Anthony, Out Boulder County’s Jenna Howerton, Anaya from Transformative Freedom Fund, and Michelle Trampel from True Center for Gender Diversity. The conversation touched on topics about directly serving trans and nonbinary folks and the work these individuals and organizations are doing on a therapeutic and legal level.

Photos by Veronica L. Holyfield

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O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 3 9


MARKETPLACE FOR INFO ON PLACING A MARKETPLACE AD 303-477-4000 MARKETING@OUTFRONTMAGAZINE.COM [ ACCOUNTING ]

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Bring it On Brunch

Cheer Colorado partied with the queens at Triangle Denver on Sunday, November 17 for a tasty brunch full of spirit fingers, pom-poms, and high ponytails!

Photos by Veronica L. Holyfield

O U T F R O N T M A G A Z I N E . C O M // 4 1


OUTREACH

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In the early years of queer culture, bars were the only place to meet other LGBTQ people. Queer culture has become almost synonymous with bar culture. While meeting people in bars is not the problem, substance abuse runs rampant within our community. It’s hard to turn down a drink when all your friends are drinking around you, then one turns in to six.

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Going out to bars is embedded in our culture. The infamous words at the Stonewall Riots were even, “Out of the bars and into the streets!” So, how do we change this? How do we make sober activities cool? Now that it is 2019, there are other ways to meet people. It starts with you! Drag your friends on a hike in the mountains; play a sport; volunteer your time. If

you are a GBTQ male between 18-29, Denver Element has a program called Denver Pique that puts on fun, safe, and sober activities weekly. The events are constantly changing, and there is always something to pique your interest. Geoffrey Gutierrez, MBA Program Coordinator – Denver Pique


Marquis Theater, November 15

Liptruce

Photo by Veronica L. Holyfield

CLEAR UP THE CONFUSION. bring your message to the masses.

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Profile for Out Front

December 4, 2019 :: News + Culture  

This issue is packed full with entertainers, artists, and creators from our cover story featuring Kat Cunning to a kiki with Carson Kressley...

December 4, 2019 :: News + Culture  

This issue is packed full with entertainers, artists, and creators from our cover story featuring Kat Cunning to a kiki with Carson Kressley...