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No. 14 • February 1, 2018 •

LA Same-Sex Couple Suing State Department page 4

Fear Cannot Defeat You page 13

Gay Egyptian Looks for Hope page 16

Where Does The Love Go? page 18

Outword California Staff PUBLISHER Fred Palmer A RT DIRECTOR/ PRODUCTION Ron Tackitt GRA PHIC DESIGN Ron Tackitt EDITOR Charles Peer A RTS EDITOR Chris Narloch SA LES Fred Palmer CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Diana Kienle Colt McGraw Chris Narloch Bonnie Osborn Charles Peer PHOTOGRA PHY Charles Peer Ron Tackitt ON THE COVER The cover photo of Kalynne and Taylor Diamond was taken at their July 7, 2017, wedding at Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento, with Jolanne Tierney officiating. Photo by Joan Cusick.

A DVERTISING SA LES (213) 295-3180 (415) 200-4965 (916) 329-9280 Fred Palmer

RCOC of Silicon Valley Honors Its Member’s Success


he Rainbow Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley honored outstanding achievements by selected members at their Celebrating Success Awards Luncheon held Friday, January 26th at Justin’s Catering in Santa Clara.

A special Lifetime Achievement award was appreciate this.” presented to Michael LoMonaco of In addition to the awards ceremony, the LoMonaco Real Estate Group. LoMonaco, event featured a silent auction and raffle besides being a founding member of the Rainbow Chamber, has been a member of the board, president of the board, and a highly active member at all times. “Michael’s contributions to our group go far beyond anything we have asked him to do,” says Roark Clayton, current RCCSV board president. “Above all, he has set the tone for the chamber with his positive attitude and genuine interest in all his fellow members. He sees the chamber as a family as well as a business organization.” Additional awards, nominated by the board and voted on by the membership were presented to: Volunteer/Ally of the Year — Eileen Hamper, Rainbow Women’s Chorus; — Small Business of the Year — Catered Too!; Corporation of the Year — California Water; and Non-Profit of the Year — The Health Trust. “We feel extremely lucky to have the participation of all these great nominees,” stated Clayton. “They have all helped our Chamber President Roark Clayton presents Michael LoMonaco of LoMonaco Real Estate Group, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Luis Pedro Castillo. chamber to expand in many ways, and we

LA Same-Sex Couple Suing State Department


mmigration Equality filed a lawsuit on January 22nd against the U.S. State Department on behalf of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks for disenfranchising their son Ethan by denying recognition of his rightful U.S. citizenship at birth.

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FAX: (916) 498-8445 Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks

The same-sex couple, living with their twin denying recognition of his rightful U.S. sons in Los Angeles, is fighting a decision citizenship at birth, while granting his twin that has disenfranchised their son Ethan by brother’s citizenship. 4

Outword California

with more than 100 items donated by members and friends of the organization. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center’s LGBTQ Senior Program, which connects seniors through a weekly luncheon and field trips, advocates for Senior LGBTQ issues in housing affordability and acceptance, and much more.

February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

Andrew is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Santa Monica. He moved to Israel to work and study, and it was there that he met Elad, his future husband. Andrew and Elad knew they wanted to marry and have a family, but because of the Defense of Marriage Act, Andrew could not sponsor Elad for a visa to be with him in the U.S., where all of Andrew’s family lives. Andrew is a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen, so he and Elad chose to move to Canada, where they were able to legally marry and have their marriage recognized so Andrew could sponsor Elad. There, they had twin sons, Ethan and Aiden, through surrogacy. When they sought recognition of the twins’ U.S. citizenship, Andrew and Elad were forced to submit DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to their boys, even though no such requirement exists for the children of a married U.S. citizen. Because one son was conceived with the sperm of one father and the other son with the sperm of the other father, one of these fraternal twins is being treated by the U.S. government as a U.S. citizen while the other was forced to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa, which has now expired. The family is fighting the discriminatory policy that is forcing them to live in limbo. Read the complaint filed on behalf of Andrew and Ethan atwww. and meet the family in a short video at com/watch?v=NrRVKAntIr8.

“Have the Money Conversation!” Says Your Would-be Divorce Lawyer by Neil M. E. Forester, Esq.


ivorce lawyers give excellent marriage advice. Like the insurance commercials state, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” And while we would never suggest that one can “divorce-proof” their marriage, we do have pragmatic suggestions for staying out of our offices.


don’t miss a thing.

One of the most common sources of conflict comes in shades of green, and it’s not envy. Here are four money-related tips for the newly engaged and newlyweds, from your friendly neighborhood divorce lawyers. Show me the money! Don’t enter into the legal contract of marriage until you know answers to fundamental financial questions about each other: How much do you earn? What are your assets and liabilities? Have you ever filed bankruptcy? Do you pay child or spousal support? If you own a business, what are its assets and liabilities? A lack of transparency regarding the financial backgrounds of both spouses has been the springboard to many of the divorces we’ve handled. Don’t put yourself in marital mayhem by keeping money secrets.

financial health of the marriage despite who actually holds the checkbook. On the other side of the coin, keeping your spouse in the dark about finances is not only a breach of fiduciary duty, but could be grounds for a restraining order. Honor love, death, and taxes. Prioritize conversations with your accountant and estate planner. Your marriage is likely to trigger a change in your tax filing status. And if you happen to be paying spousal support from a prior union, the new tax law is something you’ll want to keep tabs on — 2019 marks a change in how support is treated. Don’t forget to update the beneficiary of your retirement accounts and life insurance policies, and discuss end-of-life financial plans, as grim as it may feel as newlyweds.

A lack of transparency regarding the financial backgrounds of both spouses has been the springboard to many of the divorces we’ve handled. Don’t put yourself in marital mayhem by keeping money secrets


join our free email subscription. click here here. 6

Outword California

Match your money-mindsets. Compatibility in this area can play a critical role in the longevity of most marriages. Many clients end up in our offices because of a clash in financial temperaments; one was focused on a healthy financial future while their spouse preferred to live (and spend) for today. A prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for sorting out these differing perspectives and planning responsibly should there be a parting of the ways. (see “A Look at ‘Alternative Facts’ Surrounding Prenups,” Outword California, Issue No. 2) Know how the finances work. Once you tie the knot, keep yourself in the know about how the marital bank accounts and credit cards are utilized, what bills are paid and when, and what the monthly cash flow looks like. Just because one spouse is responsible for making sure everything on the money side of the relationship gets handled does not mean that both spouses shouldn’t be fully aware of the economic landscape. Much like both parents want to be fully involved in the lives of the kids even though one spouse stays home while the other works, both spouses need to engage in the February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

A marriage is not just a romantic partnership. It is a financial partnership, not to mention a legally binding contract. Nurturing that part of your marriage is vital if you want your relationship to mature, deepen, and thrive. Don’t be afraid to make the money-part of your marital life transparent — it can lead to a much healthier marriage, and ultimately to a far more romantic partnership success story. Neil M. E. Forester (@nmeforester) is Managing Shareholder of FORESTER PURCELL STOWELL PC, a Northern California law firm focused exclusively on specialized counsel for complex divorce and family law issues. He is recognized by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Family Law Specialist. Neil regularly represents business owners, professionals, and other high net worth individuals (or their spouses) in divorce, premarital agreements, and related actions. Beyond his legal practice, Neil serves as Board Chair for WEAVE and NorCal Boxer Rescue. He can be reached at info@ or 916 293 4000. This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.

4Play: Sex In A Series Set for LA Valentine’s Day Premiere


elebrate Valentine’s Day (and the rest of February and March) with a delightful romcom that blurs the lines between art and life, and between gay and straight as New York City’s trip. theater ensemble kicks off its move to L.A. with its hit production of 4Play: Sex In A Series. Direct from a sold-out run in Chicago. The West Coast premiere opens on Valentine’s Day (Wednesday, Feb. 14) at the West Hollywood-adjacent Actors Company, where performances continue through March 17. trip. brings us the not-so-simple story of boy meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets girl — and all the little things that can ruin a perfectly good dinner party — in a fresh and uniquely theatrical way. “We’re so excited to bring this very special show to L.A.,” says trip. founder and artistic director Graham Brown, who created 4Play together with Nathan Faudree and Lisa Roth. Brown also directs and appears in the production as a member of the ensemble. In addition, the Los Angeles cast features Ariana Anderson, Bevin Bru, Eve Danzeisen, Zoë Simpson Dean, Marian Frizelle, Dustyn Gulledge, Lara Helena, Kaitlin Large, Zoquera Milburn, Cameron J. Oro, Christi Pedigo, Kirstin Racicot, Kelsey Risher, Robert Walters and Dan Wilson. A meta-theatrical, play-within-a-play, 4Play explores the meaning of personal entanglement, focusing on three couples — one gay, one lesbian and one heterosexual — and referencing everything from quantum physics to the Infield Fly Rule, William Shakespeare and Cole Porter.

Performances will take place in The Actor’s Company flexible “Other Space,” where the theater seats will be removed and replaced with cocktail tables to create a heightened experience. With an intimate acting style and environment, trip. seeks to draw the audience into the action, rather than push them away with spectacle or pretension. “trip. has developed a reputation for our highly realistic style,” explains Brown. “Because the action takes place in the audience, the show is constantly evolving and adapting itself to its surroundings. In a sense, the actors never really stop rehearsing, even after the production is open. They are constantly trying new things with nothing set in stone — choices are fresh, without presentation.” 4Play: Sex In A Series opens on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., with performances thereafter on Thursdays at 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through March 17. All tickets are $25; a Valentine’s Weekend “Lover’s Package” is available Feb. 14-17 for $70 (includes two tickets, champagne, chocolates and a naughty/nice surprise package). The Actors Company is located at 916 A North Formosa Ave, Los Angeles CA 90046. For reservations and information, call 800-8383006 or go to

4Play: Sex In A Series. Photo by Jason M. Hammond.

ACT To Present Every 28 Hours Black Arts Festival


he American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has announced its inaugural Every 28 Hours Black Arts Festival, a one-day festival highlighting and celebrating local Black art, culture, and activism.

4Play: Sex In A Series. Photo by Jason M. Hammond.

10 Outword California

The Festival will take place on Saturday, February 3, from 3 to 10 p.m. at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater (1127 Market St., San Francisco). This year’s theme — A Healing Experience — will center on resilience and joy in the Black struggle against police brutality and Black oppression and will feature a full day of performances by local spoken-word artists, musicians, singers, and dancers, as well as visual art installations, guest speakers, and panel discussions led by community activists. In addition, the Strand Theater lobby will transform into a marketplace where local Blackowned businesses and restaurants will be selling their goods and food. The festival culminates with a special performance of selections from Every 28 Hours, a series of one-minute plays inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, by members of A.C.T.’s Master of Fine Arts Program, Young Conservatory, and Education & Community Programs, under the direction of Bay Area theater artist and activist Elizabeth Carter. Co-created by Dominic D’Andrea of the One-Minute Play Festival and Claudia Alick of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Every 28 Hours is a national partnership focused on the widely shared statistic that a Black person is killed every 28 hours by a vigilante, security guard, or the police in the United States. “We are honored to provide a platform for Black artists, audiences, and allies to come together from across the A.C.T. artistic and educational community to celebrate and hold healing space for the Bay Area African American/Black community,” said Elizabeth Brodersen, A.C.T. Director of Education & Community Programs. “What began for us in 2015 as an artistic exchange exploring the painful realities that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement — and remain all too real — has continued to gain momentum, transforming into what we hope will be an annual interdisciplinary, community-wide event at A.C.T.” All events at the Every 28 Hours Black Arts Festival are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are strongly encouraged. For a full list of activities, or to RSVP, visit every28hours.

February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14


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Fear Cannot Defeat You by Troy Covello


f you haven’t been on a bike in years and have no fundraising experience, then the AIDS/LifeCycle, from San Francisco to Los Angeles this June, is absolutely for you (really)!

Rob had little more than a 1981 Schwinn that weighed more than 40 pounds, one jersey, two pairs of shorts, and $3 in his pocket when he arrived in San Francisco to start his first AIDS/LifeCycle. By the time he got to the Day 1 lunch stop, he knew he had made the right decision. “If there were any shreds of any stigma I had about the LGBT community, they just melted away in this big bucket of love,” said Rob, who is heterosexual. “When I got to Los Angeles and then back home, I was losing my mind about how much it changed my life. It was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a genuine religious experience.” The inclusiveness of the AIDS/LifeCycle community is a point that’s also important to team Brown Brakers co-captain Noris Chavarría. “We were excited to create a space to represent people of color from the community and people who might be interested but either didn’t know much about the ride or were intimidated by the mileage or fundraising,” said Noris. Noris and his teammates did outreach through word-of-mouth at local community events and venues like diners and bars. To help each participant reach – and more often

exceed – the fundraising minimum, a large part of a new rider’s AIDS/LifeCycle onboarding focuses on fundraising tools and tips. The most important tip: be yourself. Really. “I always tell people that the ride is the icing; it’s the reward for working hard all year,” said Rob. On Team Cretins, a selfdescribed punk rock team, this means focusing on why the awareness raised by participating in AIDS/LifeCycle is still so important. “For us, being punk rock has always meant that you get involved politically with anyone who needs help. A huge part of our team’s goal is to smash stigma in the straight community. We love this cause,” said Rob. An important part of every participant’s AIDS/LifeCycle journey, up to and including the week of the ride, is raising awareness about HIV and AIDS. For some riders, the message extends onto their kits – the jersey and shorts that cyclists wear. “Our bodies are a canvas and our kits were an opportunity to create something that brought a group of people together to raise awareness and provide education in a different way,” said Lola Catero, 31, who helped designed the kits with Cliff Warren

Crossing the finish line at a previous AIDS/LifeCycle

for team SheSpoke for AIDS/LifeCycle 2017. “In thinking about the design, we realized how many women, and particularly women of color, have been and continue to be impacted by HIV and AIDS.” To amplify their message, SheSpoke joined with team Brown Brakers to bring awareness to the fact that women and people of color are disproportionately affected by HIV. “Before my first ride, people would talk about the ‘love bubble’ and it sounded so

corny,” said Albert. “Then we got there, and it hit me. This is what they are talking about: for seven days, people care for one another the way you want the whole world to be throughout the year. It’s magical.” AIDS/LifeCycle 2018 is from June 3 9, 2018. Registration is now underway, get updates on training rides and other events at Troy Covello is the Marketing Manager for AIDS/LifeCycle. He can be reached at

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February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

Outword California 13

Eat, Drink, & Escape at the CIA & Food & Wine Weekend


ood & Wine and The Culinary Institute of Americawo are partnering to bring you a unique weekend, combining the worlds of food, recipes, and travel in the backdrop of the beautiful Napa Valley.

Together, they’ve created a one-of-a-kind, three-day immersive food and wine experience where you’ll gain new

knowledge, savor different and exciting flavors, pick up some useful skills, have lots of fun, and even enjoy a bit of spectacle!

Join them for a weekend of fun, food, wine, and unsurpassed hospitality in the beautiful Napa Valley! And it’s a wonderful time of year to linger. February’s unhurried pace and temperate weather makes visits to restaurants, tasting rooms, galleries, and spas a delight. And everywhere you turn you’ll see fields of stunning yellow mustard blossoms carpeting the sleeping vineyards.

The Food & Wine Weekend with the CIA offers a unique opportunity to work with top chefs.

Activities for the weekend include seminars and classes on: experiencing the history of Napa Valley in eight glasses; a Toast Bar with toppings that range from butter and jam to honey, avocado, and salumi; a learn by doing introduction to Italian foods and another on Asain cooking; healthy hacks; rustic bistro classics; pairing of potato chips with wines - yes it’s a thing; and Better with Butter, and the secrets of double crusts, seasonal pies, and DIY butter! All that is bound to lead to some big appetites, and so there will be a spcail luncheon at the CIA at Copia Gardens and the Chef’s Table: California Bounty Dinner, a unique demo/dining event that will highlight California’s bounty — CIA style. CIA chefs will create each of the dinner’s three courses in their teaching kitchens. The weekend wraps up with the popular The CIA Chef Best Brunch Battle! where you get to be judge and jury to choose the winner of the “CIA Chef Best Brunch Battle.” Watch as CIA chefs Sandy Sauter, Hilary Sullivan, Josh Anderson, and Anne Cornell Krauss race to create dishes during this all-out competition. And, you’ll enjoy a brunch of the chefs’ signature dishes and beverages created by the talented team at Copia. For more information and registration, visit

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February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

Circa’s Il Ritorno Retells Homer’s The Odyssey


he innovative Australian performance troupe Circa is bringing its newest production, Il Ritorno, to Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, combining circus arts and Baroque opera to explore themes of loss and displacement.

Circa’s Il Ritorno. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

Saturday–Sunday, February 3–4 in Zellerbach Hall. Monteverdi’s 17th-century opera Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria is reimagined for six acrobats, four chamber musicians, and two singers, in a stark and emotionally gripping production that uses the story of Ulysses’ homecoming to illuminate the plight of contemporary refugees and exiles. The performances are part of the 2017–18 Berkeley RADICAL Blurring Boundaries thematic strand, which shines the spotlight on artists whose work dissolves the very boundaries of their art forms, creating performances that cut across cultures and disciplines, accepted definitions of classical and contemporary, and even notions of time and space. Circa last visited Cal Performances during the 2015–16 season with Opus, a work that featured the instrumentalists of the Debussy String Quartet performing three Shostakovich string quartets along with the troupe’s skilled acrobats. In Il Ritorno, Circa uses the metaphor of movement to explore the physical and emotional struggles of displaced people throughout history. Monteverdi’s score, performed live with the musicians onstage as part of the action, is a companion to a visual staging that finds the performers striving to connect with each other in a hostile environment. The movement and music, augmented by contemporary sound design and bold lighting effects, embody and enact ideas of homesickness, longing, grief, and alienation against the backdrop of a stark black wall. Tickets for Circa: Il Ritorno on Saturday February 3 at 8 pm, and Sunday February 4 at 3 pm, in Zellerbach Hall, range from $30–$68 and are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, at 510-6429988, at, and at the door.

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February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

Outword California 15

Gay Egyptian Looks for Hope Amidst a Brutal Crackdown by Omar Sharif Jr.


very morning I wake up to an inbox flooded with disturbing and disheartening messages out of Egypt. The messages come from friends and strangers alike, members of the gay Egyptian community I left behind five years ago when I came out as gay and withdrew from the country, hounded by threats of violence, intimidation and even death. The message writers are desperate to do what I did: escape a country gripped by an outbreak of homophobic persecution. Failing that, far too many of the writers say, they want to escape their lives. I do not know what to tell them. I would like to offer them hope. I would like it not to be false hope. When I came out in 2012, I wanted to use my status as a relatively public figure — grandson of two of Egypt’s most beloved celebrities — to push LGBTQ acceptance through what I then assumed would be our darkest hour. Unfortunately, since then conditions have only worsened, and the country is now gripped by a brutal crackdown against some of its most vulnerable citizens. In recent months, Egyptian police have begun stopping men they suspect of being gay on the street, searching their phones for incriminating photos or hookup apps, and throwing them in prison for sentences ranging from six months to six years. There have been raids on bathhouses and at least one same-sex wedding. There are stomachchurning reports that police have subjected suspects to forcible anal exams, which are — let us not mince words here — a particularly humiliating form of torture. The supposed impetus for this crackdown was a widely circulated video from a September concert in Cairo, during which some attendees waved rainbow flags in support of the band’s gay singer. The images spurred a wave of hateful rhetoric from Egyptian cultural commentators, who claimed these debauched radicals (as gay Egyptian people are imagined to be) represented a slap in the face to our country’s identity and goals. These hateful messages found fertile ground in a country that is rightfully frustrated by the slow and painful pace of progress. As many frustrated societies have found, gay Egyptian people make for a convenient scapegoat. When we are already forced to live in the shadows, we are the perfect, faceless villains. In the photographs of the men dragged into Egyptian jails, they all cover their faces with their shirts or their hands, hiding their shame and leaving observers to imagine that these men could be anyone (anyone except their friends and brothers and sons). 16 Outword California

Omar Shariff, Jr.

I don’t talk about this with my American friends. They hear these stories with the horror you’d expect, but I can’t help suspecting that it’s laced with some faint admonishment, and behind their pity I hear: “Well, what did you expect, having the foolishness to be born a gay Egyptian?” They don’t know the fundamental warmth and joy I associate with the Egyptian people. They don’t understand the fierce patriotism and pride I feel for my country, a pride that exists for most LGBTQ Egyptians, despite their persecution. Though the country’s conservative talking heads paint the gay Egyptian community as treacherous radicals, our goals are the same as the government’s: security, stability and economic prosperity. (Prosperity, it bears mentioning, is harmed when Western tourists associate the country with human rights abuses and choose not to visit.) The LGBTQ community is not even anti-Islam: it is a false dichotomy too often perpetuated that divides religion and LGBTQ acceptance. In 2016, Egypt’s grand mufti, Shawki Allam, unequivocally stated that no one has the right to hurt or harm homosexuals. Yet despite the words of one of the highest religious authorities in the country, religion continues to provide a convenient cover, allowing the people who

trap us, beat us and torture us to imagine that they have morality on their side. It’s difficult to explain to people who came of age during the heady wave of victories for the American LGBTQ movement that our goals in Egypt are much more modest. For the most part, we want only to live in the same quiet we have for generations, free from the terror that the smallest gesture or glance will betray us. I can’t tell the young gay Egyptians who message me to come out en masse; I don’t want them to be cannon fodder for my ideals. I can’t even tell them to come out to their own families; few of them had the liberalizing experiences my grandparents did, working on movies with people from all walks of life. So I tell them to be safe, to be careful, to hang on. I try to offer LGBTQ Egyptians a form of hope I can believe in, that the entire history of human progress is a continual journey towards inclusivity. Once people have had their first taste of community, of love, of freedom, of a chance to live their authentic identities, there is no dam that can hold it back. I wish I could tell the people who write me messages how long they will have to wait to feel safe in their own country. That answer will partly come down to the country’s access

February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

to positive gay Egyptian representations in media, since storytelling is still one of the most effective ways to change perception; for now such stories are censored. It will partly come down to a commitment from institutions like the World Bank to safeguard LGBTQ people by making respect for all human rights a condition of investment. More than anything, it will depend on the Egyptian people accepting that the tide of tolerance is inevitable. But Egypt, and every nation, must decide how many lives will be lost and broken before they acknowledge that we are not faceless men but brothers, sisters and fellow citizens. There is nothing radical about what I am. LGBTQ people have existed in Egypt since the dawn of our great civilization. And there is nothing radical about what I want. I want to go home, quietly, safely. I want to visit the graves of my grandparents, whose funerals I was unable to attend. I want to give my country the same things my grandparents gave: my full, honest self, not as Egypt’s scapegoat or its martyr, but its patriotic son. This article was originally posted on January 10th, 2018, and is reprinted

courtesy of gay-egyptian-omar-sharif-jr/

New Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Coming to Netflix

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy revolutionized reality television, and the series comes to Netflix on Feb. 7th introducing a modern aesthetic, diverse perspective and a brand new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski (Food & Wine), Bobby Berk (Interior Design), Karamo Brown (Culture), Jonathan Van Ness (Grooming) and Tan France (Fashion). This season Queer Eye trades its original New York setting for communities in and around Atlanta. The new Fab Five will forge relationships with men and women from a wide array of backgrounds and beliefs often contrary to their own, touching on everything from LGBTQ rights and social commentary to how to make the best farm-to-table guacamole and more.

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Where Does The Love Go? by Christian de la Huerta


ne of the reasons so many relationships don’t last is that we confuse “falling in love” — the temporary, emotional, hormone-infused high — with the act and art of loving, the sacred work of relationship. Additionally, our culture of immediate gratification and the “grass is greener” syndrome contribute to our jumping in and out of relationships, often prematurely. When in the throes of “falling in love,” especially during the honeymoon period, ego boundaries collapse and we feel a sense of oneness with the other. It’s as if we are seeing through rose-colored glasses and the other person can do no wrong. That is, until the honeymoon period ends after six or nine months, maybe longer if we’re lucky, and haven’t moved in together yet. As Scott Peck brilliantly describes in The Road Less Traveled, this phase of falling in love is precisely that — a phase. It is a trick of nature, I think, to ensure the survival of the species. The hormones take over and blind us to flaws, foibles and imperfections. At some point, perhaps when the other squeezes the toothpaste or replaces the toilet paper in the wrong way, ego boundaries come up again and suddenly we are asking ourselves: “Where did the love go?” Reality sets in. Too often, at this point, we walk away in search yet again of that elusive feeling of being “in love.” Peck’s great service is helping us to understand the difference: Love is not a feeling, he writes, but an act. It is when we stretch our boundaries, sublimate or override our desires, our preferences, for the sake of growth — the spiritual growth — of another. Love requires that I expand beyond my comfort zone to include another. None of this is to berate or lessen the emotional experience of being in love. There are few feelings that are as all-encompassing, delicious and that bring such ecstatic excitement, such juicy joy. Even the anticipation of being with our beloved can be rapturous. By all means, when you are blessed with it, enjoy it, revel in it, relish it, stretch it out as long as you can. Romeo and Juliet, one of the most stirring, romantic and tragic stories ever told, captures that uncontrollable urge to almost devour the other person. If you have not seen the Franco Zeffirelli movie, you’re in for

February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

a treat: it’s an exquisite production with eye candy galore. More recently, the scene by the stairway outside of Heath’s apartment in Brokeback Mountain captures that longing and passion, that same forbidden, desperate, doomed love. Yet one of the reasons Romeo and Juliet’s love is immortal is that they never got past the honeymoon period. We never saw what their relationship was like when they were married with children or having to host both families at a holiday dinner. Even the feeling of love can outlive the honeymoon. The more we get to know each other, and as we realize that both partners are committed to their own growth and that of the other, the giddiness of the honeymoon period is slowly replaced with more grounded feelings of appreciation, respect, companionship, and ideally, reverence, especially when we are practicing the art of conscious relationships. Passion is possible, in and out of the

bedroom. Sex can actually get better as we access higher and deeper levels of mutual surrender and giving ourselves away. It is at the point when the honeymoon ends that the real work of loving begins. Christian de la Huerta has been a writer, speaker, retreat and group facilitator for over 25 years. Author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed “Coming out Spiritually,” he is currently working on a new book, “A Call for Heroes.” More about his work may be found at www.

Erotic Collection Makes a Perfect Val’s Day Gift


ddicted, the popular men’s athletic line, is adding sting to spring this year with AD Fetish, a sexy new collection of kink wear just in time for a special Valentine’s Day gift.

Addicted’s new line of fetish wear should get your Valentine’s Day off to a great start.

“Customers were craving a harder line of gear that re-imagined the Addicted brand for the S&M scene,” explains founder Eduardo Suner. “Our new AD Fetish collection blends fashion with erotica. It offers the same quality, fit and comfort found in our popular sports collection, but takes the fun to an edgier, naughtier playing field.” The AD Fetish collection features stylish tank tops, jock straps, harnesses, singlets, lingerie, leather items and even cock rings, finely and meticulously crafted by Addicted’s superior artisan team. “It’s been fun to innovate and create with no limits,” says designer Carmen Monforte. “The AD Fetish collection allows us to go beyond the cotton, lycra and mesh in our sports collections. We’re able to incorporate exciting new materials like rubber, leather, and transparencies into our creations.” The biggest factor separating AD Fetish from traditional fetish wear is its fit and quality. “As a men’s fashion label, materials and craftsmanship are top priority,” explains Nir Zilberman, the brand’s USA agent. “Our leather is softer than traditional fetish gear. Our shirts and pants are tailored to fit every body shape perfectly. And while traditional gear breaks or rips quickly, AD Fetish is built to last, even through the roughest play.” Because garments are fashion first, they’re also interchangeable; perfectly suited to be worn at the start of an evening — while dining at a restaurant or mingling at a bar — and through a night’s finish in bed or at the bathhouse. The AD Fetish collection is sold directly at, as well as at select retail partners worldwide.

February 1, 2018 - March 1, 2018 • No. 14

Outword California 19

14 rom and wed outca fin  
14 rom and wed outca fin  

It's our annual Romance and Wedding issue for Outword California! Woo hoo! What's not to love about marriage and weddings, huh?