PRIDE & Equality Magazine's 2022 issue

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PRIDE & Equality 2022 PRIDE ISSUE


Augustine montoya

Models of Hope

The 22-yearold candidate proving that age and representation are assets



Revelations Delivers Thrills

From Broadway to Fatherhood

Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss being entrepreneurs and new fathers

Ronin Romero’s new series, Glyph, is the start of something different

The House the house that created ballroom history is honored at The Tribeca Film Festival.

of LaBeija



cover story

16 THE HOUSE OF LABEIJA Ballroom royalty, the House of LaBeija, is sending love in their short film being presented at The Tribeca Film Festival in June.

featured stories

14 BROADWAY HUSBANDS BRET SHUFORD & STEPHEN HANNA Providing a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ creatives.

the House 16

of LaBeija

The short film showing love premieres at The Tribeca Film Festival.

the naked truth

8 AUGUSTINE MONTOYA The 22-year-old running for House District 22 wants to make a difference in the state.

featured stories

10 MODELS OF HOPE 2022 Meet this year’s honorees making a difference in New Mexico communities.

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featured stories

21 SAMIL & AJA LABEIJA PARTNERS WITH TACO BELL The restaurant giant teams up with The House of LaBeija to provide a safe space for the community.

get out

22 PRIDE JOURNEY: ICELAND Joey Amato shares his moments during a recent trip to Iceland.

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departments VOL 18 - ISSUE 1 PRIDE & Equality Magazine is published annually by Graphicbliss LLC. Contents copyrighted @2022. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without the express written consent of the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. Editorial: Submissions are welcome through mail or by email. Publisher reserves the right to edit, reject, or comment editorially on all material submitted. PRIDE & Equality is not responsible for lost or damaged submissions. For submission questions or to send submissions email to Hard Copies: Hard copies of the magazine are available for $18.00. Visit our site to purchase your copy. Advertising: If you are interested in advertising please email Distribution: To have PRIDE & Equality distributed in your establishment contact Teresa Robinson at (505) 450-4706. Graphicbliss, LLC Teresa Robinson, Publisher 2533 Virginia St. NE, Suite D Albuquerque, NM 87110 (505) 450-4706

07 WORDS FROM THE PUBLISHER The Mission 24 MINOR DETAILS No Surprise in That Southern Baptist Sex Scandal Report: Religion Has a History of Covering Sexual Dysfunction 26 EXTRAS 35th Anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt 27 THE ART WORLD Photographer Mike Ruiz’s Photography Series “The Leather Men” 28 P&E PICKS Baloney, The Fashion Lover, Anaïs in Love 29 THE BOOK REVIEW Book Releases & Reviews 30 STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN Mothé: I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore 34 THE FINAL WORD Happy Pride! We’re not going back!


Aja & Samil LaBeija partner with Taco Bell to create the YouTube series Drive-Thru Dialogue

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words from the publisher ®Photo: M. West / M. West Photography

The Mission

This was suppose to original run in the 2021 issue of PRIDE & Equality magazine. With the still unpredictable environment, we made the decision not to publish. So, I will share my thoughts from a year ago, as they still resonate now. It’s 7:08 in the evening. I’m jotting down my thoughts for the Publisher’s section. I find myself contemplating if there is still a need for this publication. When the magazine was just a thought, I was 19 and freer than I’ve ever been. I reminisce about spending nights with my best friends at local nightclubs and dancing the night away without a care in the world. I met some of the most outrageous people through those clubs. Some I still know, care for, and love very deeply. I also remember questioning why my church leaders continued to tell me that the people I love were going to burn in hellfire for being who they were. I never understood people’s hate for individuals I admired for being so open and fearless. They were brave enough to be who they wanted to be, regardless of what society told them. I felt we needed more of that in this world. We needed more people who inspire us to say “fuck you” to those who try to make us small and quiet. That was my inspiration for starting PRIDE & Equality. I wanted to show the community in that beautiful light. I wanted to show the beauty of humanity in a group that created family when they had none. There were many challenges in the beginning, even still today. Many who wanted to take part thought more about the financial gain than the mission. Hard work isn’t for everyone. But it didn’t matter. I knew what was ahead and it was too important to give up. Eighteen years later, after the closing of bars, gyms, bookstores, and centers, P&E is still here. But I still sit here and ask, “is it needed?” Then, Bunnie Cruse ran for House District 28. Bunnie has been a friend, a sister, and a resource before the birth of this publication. She knew me before I became a mother. I know her past and I couldn’t be prouder of her as she decided to run for office. Because I knew there was a trans youth watching her do this and saying to themselves, “I can do that.” It was why she was chosen as a Model of Hope. I had to fight to explain that choice, too. In the end, she persisted. She is a pure definition of why I started the magazine. While continuing to contemplate my decision, I watched the latest episode of the mini-series “Pride” and learned about Nelson Sullivan. A gay man who videotaped his life and his friends in the early eighties until the day he died in 1989. Over 1100 hours of footage capturing the humanity of the LGBTQIA community, which produced a YouTube channel where anyone can view the history. It was beautiful. It was passionate. It was my mission. In nineteen years, PRIDE & Equality has produced many stories and points of view. It’s been a contribution, making a difference in many people’s lives. It’s not about me. It’s about the mission. The magazine is giving the community a voice. I will continue the mission. P&E Teresa Maria Robinson Publisher/Editor-in-Chief PRIDE & Equality Magazine PRIDE & Equality I 7 I Pride 2022

the naked truth

The 22-year-old candidate running for New Mexico House District 22 wants to make a difference in the state that he loves.

Augustine Montoya For New Mexico PRIDE & Equality I 8 I Pride 2022

“Know that I am here to change the systems that works to prevent us from having our voices and concerns heard.” Tell

us why you chose to take a political stance by running for New Mexico House District 22?

Our fellow New Mexicans experience inadequacies related to education, economic opportunity, and access to essential resources. New Mexico’s rural and impoverished communities are facing life decisions and circumstances that quality representation can work toward advocating for and solving. I was born and raised in the exact borders of New Mexico House District 22 and have had the opportunity to learn from our shared experiences. I have also experienced the inequities and disparities facing our rural communities. I attended both Estancia Municipal Schools and East Mountain High School and witnessed the barriers facing our students’ education. I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts (focused on Political Science and Chicano/a studies). I take this political stance knowing that our fellow New Mexicans deserve a Representative who elevates the voices of the underserved and underrepresented. What has been the most difficult part with taking on this goal? As a candidate for any political office, some barriers come with being young. I want to, first and foremost, clarify that in being 22 years old and running for the New Mexico House of Representatives, I contain the knowledge and skills necessary to represent our communities effectively. Nevertheless, the barrier I face is showing my community that my professional, voluntary, and educational skills meet the threshold to bring quality and equitable representation to our communities. I have worked for the New

Mexico House of Representatives (2021 Session & 2022 Session), Claunch-Pinto Soil & Water Conservation District, Rio Grande Chapter CASA, and UNM’s Land Grant studies program. I have the skills necessary to equitably and effectively represent our friends and neighbors. What was Augustine like as a child? I kept a strict schedule and focused on my education and sports. I spent my early childhood in Estancia, New Mexico, where I attended a four-year-old program (alternative for Pre-K) taught by members of our community. Outside of school, my parents involved me in our family-owned business, where I learned what quality customer service looks like and how to create a sustainable business model. As a preteen, I gained as much knowledge as possible in three main areas: ornithology, biology, and environmental science. My parents and extended family aided in my efforts to find resources to expand my knowledge in these areas. I remember a fond memory of my uncle bringing me a set of textbooks, one in biology, another in zoology, and the last in English. I present this memory as these books brought me to the understanding that anyone can make a change and understand our communities and world in another light. My uncle’s impact on this one action and my parents’ input led me to believe that it was possible for me, the product of generational wood haulers and the working class, to receive a college education. Have

you thought about what your choice to run means for LGBTQ youth?

This race tells our LGBTQIA+ youth

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we can accomplish anything we want to achieve. We face an opponent who aims to discount and hinder the representation of our community. It means that we have a cause to stand behind. We need to uplift voices that often opted out of our representation. To all of our LGBTQIA+ youth, I hear you and stand with you. Know that I am here to change the systems that work to prevent us from having our voices and concerns heard. What

message do you have for those that feel politics in New Mexico is a lost cause?

Being from a rural region of our beautiful state, I know what it feels like to cast a vote for a quality candidate only to have your voice and votes squandered in a process. It makes you feel unheard and underrepresented. I come from a community that is in dire need of representation that acknowledges the disparities that we face as a community. Though I may not change your mind today, I aim to show that representation matters. I cannot do this alone. We need your help and the help of our fellow New Mexicans. I am not running for office to push or promote anything more than issues we face together. Politics in New Mexico may appear to be a lost cause, but we can fix it by taking an approach that unifies our divided communities. I stand firm in my morals. Nonetheless, I will not turn you away solely relating to your political affiliation because I am here to do a job - for the people. We must ask our elected officials to do the same. I want to do my utmost to represent our interests. So, please have the confidence in me to bring unity to our community, the community we know as New Mexico.. P&E

featured stories

Vincent R. Johnson

MODELS of Hope Awards

We’re excited to add new honorees to the current Models of Hope roster. The Vincent R. Johnson Models of Hope Award honors individuals and organizations making a difference as role models in the community. Outstanding individuals and companies have received this award over the past 15 years. We are honored to have the following honorees join the family. PRIDE & Equality I 10 I Pride 2022

“Speak out...never be afraid of what others think.” HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY? I got involved when I came out as a gay man in 2002. It took me a few years to actually become involved with the community. I would go to bars and try to meet people, but I was shy, and it was hard to meet people until I found the New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association and found people that had the same interests as me. From there, I came out of my shell and started meeting people. WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE WHEN YOU WERE A YOUTH? When I was young, I knew that I was different. I had crushes on other boys when my friends had crushes on girls. I tried to be like the rest, but it wasn’t happening. I finally realized I was gay when I was in high school. However, I gave it one last attempt, and I met a girl. I actually did fall in love, and we got married and had two beautiful daughters. But, after seven years of marriage, I couldn’t lie to myself or to my family, and came out. I was 30 years old, so I wasn’t a youth anymore. I had a great life - a very supportive family. I was active in sports. So, when I came out, I didn’t experience any negative effects from my family or friends.

Community Honoree

Priscilla Bouvier

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TODAY’S LGBTQ YOUTH? We live in a time where being LGBTQI+ youth is so much different. There is so much more acceptance and acknowledgement versus when I was younger. Parents are willing to talk to their kids, and it is amazing. Our youth needs to be themselves, be true to themselves and who they are. Speak out, make yourself heard and never be afraid of what others think. PRIDE & Equality I 11 I Pride 2022

“Find mentors to help them navigate resources and protections for themselves.” HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY? I started getting involved by volunteering for nonprofits that focused on lifting the LGBTQ community. Later on, I ran for and won the title of Mr. Pride. So, most of my volunteering and fundraising efforts focused on the LGBTQ community.

Community Honoree

Armani Daniels

WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE WHEN YOU WERE A YOUTH? I was in the closet until I was 20; I felt too scared to admit that I was gay. I feel like I wasted so many years of my youth being afraid. WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TODAY LGBTQ YOUTH? My advice for the youth would be to find mentors to help them navigate resources and protections for themselves, to help them plan and craft their desired future.

(Antonio José)

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Business/Organization Honoree

Albuquerque Social Club HOW DID THE ALBUQUERQUE SOCIAL CLUB BECOME A STAPLE IN ALBUQUERQUE? The Albuquerque Social Club has a long history with the LGBTQI+ community in Albuquerque. We officially became a social club in 1983, but there was a bar in its place a few years before. To this day, it is the oldest queer bar in the Southwest. We are a social club, where our members are owners of the club. We became a staple in Albuquerque because as the time and needs of the community changed, our membership organized for the change. We grew up with our community as it grew up around us and constantly responded to new needs. Our power is in our people, and we are grateful for everyone’s participation in shaping it into what it is today. We are always learning and growing, figuring out ways to adapt and better serve our community. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A PART OF THE LGBTQI+ COMMUNITY? To the Albuquerque Social Club, being part of the LGBTQI+ community means being accountable to our members, being a safer space for them, and bringing the community together for entertainment, capacity building, and networking. It means being aware of the fights our community has to rally around and providing a space for that organization. It means providing amenities to our members as diverse as our membership. We offer a variety of drag performances, themed dance parties, TV and documentary viewings, pottery classes, and more. Our power comes from our community.

“Not everyone may see your worth, but we at Albuquerque Social Club see it and celebrate it.”

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TODAY LGBTQ YOUTH? Stay true to yourself. You are loved, and you are valued. There is no limit to what you can achieve. Our community for decades has fought hard to make space for LGBTQI+ youth, and our community needs your help in fighting for the future. Not everyone may see your worth, but we at Albuquerque Social Club see it and celebrate it. You make our community richer by your inclusion, by being who you are. P&E To learn more about Models of Hope or to cast a nomination, visit

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featured stories

Broadway Husbands

BRET & STEPHEN The Broadway Husbands,

Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna,, provide a safe and Hanna welcoming space for creative entrepreneurs, new parents and members of the LGBTQ+ community to exchange ideas, celebrate art and strengthen their talents. In P&E, they talk about their platform, fatherhood, and representation.

Let’s start with your life on Broadway. Many dream of the experience. What was it like? For Bret, it was a lifelong dream realized. “I knew I wanted to be on Broadway at six years old,” Bret said. “I remember taking a bow at the curtain call of Beauty and the Beast and thinking, ‘I’m the person I always imagined I could be.’” Stephen had been a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, so Broadway was an unexpected stop. “When Bret and I started dating, I loved meeting his friends on Broadway,” Stephen said. “I never thought I would eventually be dancing there so soon after Billy Elliott. The Broadway experience was so different from the

PRIDE & Equality I 14 I Pride 2022

ballet world, plus we both got to walk each other to our stage doors and meet up between shows. It was our little gay dream come true.” Was

being a father always in the picture for both of you?

Bret: We dated for about two years when we started talking about having a child. I just looked at Stephen one day and said, I think raising a kid with you would be fun. We had no idea how we would go about it with our crazy performance schedules and freelance income. We explored adoption and learned about surrogacy. After a while, we decided on a biological attempt. Stephen: We thought, ‘let’s try and

Tell us about Broadway Husbands and the goal of the platform? We started the account to help show LGBTQ+ people that you can love who you love and love what you do. Our success in our performance careers is possible for anyone no matter where you are from. There was no example of a same-sex couple raising a family in the arts and we want to show people that it can happen - you don’t have to sacrifice your sanity or your happiness. The goal would be to make supporting the arts just as trendy as Kim Kardashian’s makeup line. We were tired of seeing perfectly curated content from influencers and so much consumerism around products. We want to show people how awesome theater, music, and art can be for your feed as well.

see how far we get.’ It took us four years to get to this place, so I guess all those years of persistence as an actor paid off to become a dad.We explored adoption and learned about surrogacy. After a while, we decided on a biological attempt.” “We thought, ‘let’s try and see how far we get,’” added Stephen. “It took us four years to get to this place, so I guess all those years of persistence as an actor paid off to become a dad.” It will be three months in June since the birth of your child. How has it been? It has been exhausting, fun, loving, frustrating, and adventurous. Lots of old relationship stuff comes up again to work through, and new family things, as well. Navigating our immediate family and how to set boundaries, sleep training, and work schedules is a whole other thing. Maverick, however, is so sweet and cute. We pinch ourselves every day that we are lucky enough to get to be his parents. Having worked so long to get to this point, we are just grateful to have a healthy baby. Next up, we’ll be navigating the real world as gay dads living in Texas while making a living as artists.

What does the future hold for both of you? Because the only way to end oppression and fight for the rights of marginalized communities is to help lift them up. I don’t need to speak for anyone. I just have to amplify their voices. I am born in oppressed communities, but I also have many privileges. It’s important to help support ALL the marginalized people out in the world, not just the ones you relate to. P&E - Teresa Robinson

PRIDE & Equality I 15 I Pride 2022

cover story

PRIDE & Equality I 16 I Pride 2022


hen representation is lacking, you take matters into your own hands. In 1972, Crystal and Lottie LaBeija had tired of the racially oppressive environment the drag pageant system of the 60s had created. In response, the two built The House of LaBeija, birthing the house culture of the ballroom scene. This house continues the legacy of making space for POC youth in the community and uplifting the women that carry on the name. That mission is being expressed in the new short film, “The House of LaBeija” by Director Fregdy Noël. The film will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. Noël shared how the idea came together and the environment of the production process. “I’m lucky to have a relationship with the father of the house, Marcus. He knew I wanted to do - some artistic work with the house. So when he said they were ready. I was like, wait, am I ready?”, shared Noël. “I started thinking there was this idea of being at home, and I just thought, what does that good home feel like? There’s struggle there, but there is also beautiful joy. When I look at the House of LaBeija, I see that community. I see that support. I saw that love and wanted to bring it back to the house. As an artist, I’m like - this is a mansion - let’s place it there. Let’s talk about that. Not in the “talking head” kind of way. Let’s tell a story that’s poetic. Let’s look into our past - think about what home was like when we were children and what it is like now. I wanted to connect with them on that. Just seeing all the different letters that they wrote was just so beautiful. I didn’t want to make a film that was performative. I wanted it to be intimate. I wanted you to see them as human

beings with stories, with range, all of it. The only way to get that is when - they write their own words, and it just went on from there. It was a day of connection, fun, and collaboration because everybody worked together to make this what it is.” The collaboration consisted of house members Jasmine Rice, Jeffrey, Bougie, Diovanna, and Housemother Samil. They got an opportunity to look at how they each got here while sharing inspirational words about their journey. The story of ballroom and houses is a new concept for some youth, only coming to life with shows like Pose and Legendary, so there truly is an education behind the film. Bougie was not surprised the film was nominated, but it was a shock to be a part of such a prestigious event, “I have never pictured myself in something as big as this,” shared Bougie. “The people who know why I came to New York know that I was here to do some modeling and didn’t see anything else behind that. But since I joined this house, I’ve had more depth to myself. Being in this short film and being featured at the Tribeca Film Festival is something I could not imagine.” For Jeffrey, the experience is storytelling letting people of color share their stories and own their content. “When it comes to the safe places that we provide, and when it comes to chosen families, it comes back down to the content,” shared Jeffrey. “I just think it’s very important for people of color to own their intellectual property. House of LaBeija is the first house to have seven chapters trademarked, and I’m proud of that. It will be left to this house to do the right thing - to tell their stories

of LaBeija

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as people of color and to have a seat at the table when it comes to creating content. Instead of someone coming in and telling our stories. I feel like that is my legacy. Then I feel the universe brought Fredgy to us and gave us this wonderful opportunity. For you to take a look in the looking glass of how we are empowering people who look like us - to tell your older self you’re going to be okay. We are living proof that we are going to be okay.” He is also excited to see how the ladies will light up the red carpet in their outfits. “That’s what ballroom is about. It’s about a fantasy one night of looking over the top, but we’re going to be ‘in the reality’. I’m just so humbled that I’m getting an opportunity to be who I say I am. I’m

just over the roof with all of it.” Samil saw this moment as an opportunity to open up about topics she kept close to the chest. “It was a lot because I did not think I would be voicing my opinions and how I felt and speaking about growing up - going through a divorce with my parents, and turning to alcohol as a source of relief for over six years. I don’t talk about that as much as I should because it should be something that would help my house members. Alcohol is an addiction. The same goes for drugs, so expressing how I felt with that - becoming independent at 17 and just making it on my own ever since. Then, going into the medical field, having to deal with HIV-positive patients, being the one who would do

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the testing, letting them know whether they were positive or negative. I never talk about these things, but it is the perfect time for me to express what I’ve been through and all my service within the community. I’m proud of it. Now it’s time for me to speak on it and have gratitude for everything I’ve been through. I’m very thankful.” Diovanna, the youngest of the bunch, looked to the ‘voice’ of the film. Touching on the fact that many do not know the people projected onscreen - how they sound and feel. This film allows audiences to experience it. “One of the most powerful things, even watching it back, was hearing our voices read the letters. I remember the day of - it is a very intimate and

vulnerable moment when you have to like to record your writing and hear it back and hear your voice and what that sounds. Not coming out of your mouth, but like coming back at you,” says Diovanna. “I think for ballroom so often we see videos of ballroom people where they’re not talking. Legends and icons who passed through ballroom, and you don’t know what their voice sounds like. This film is so important because it’s not about how many categories you walk, how many trophies you have, and ‘oh the glitz, the glamor, the fantasy’. It’s the reality of every person in the film. You not only see them doing what we do but hear our voices narrating the entire thing. I think that, in and of itself, sets it apart from anything done for ballroom, period. We have a lot of documentaries in ballroom, but a lot of the people in you don’t know them. You don’t know their life, their story, where they come from. Again, I think it’s just a poignant piece of film, in cinema, that has arrived at the perfect time.” “It is so much bigger than this moment. It is so much bigger than who I am and what kind of title I have. Even the last name that I have,” Jasmine Rice added. “Being a part of this story happened because of the icons, the Legends, the Hall of Famers, and the leaders and the POC, transwomen who came before us. I wouldn’t be sitting here today giving you this interview, allowing my voice to be heard in this film, without those amazing women, people, and individuals. I’m thinking to myself, after I am gone, who is going to be to share my voice and take it as inspiration and a new source of light? Because LaBeija is a source of light. That is why we call it The Last Sunshine. The possibilities that come through this project and all of our voices heard. I think it brings so much hope and positivity, and I feel we need that right now in this current climate. Fredgy summed up the experience beautifully. “So emotional. I get emotional every time I talk about it because you see the love there. That is such an important thing for me to witness and be a part of,” Noël continued. “We started in the morning.

Call us today. It’s never too early to talk.

That was when [we read the letters]. It was a great way for me to connect with each member individually. It showed that vulnerability because it is equal. As a director, I think it is important to show my vulnerability, even just in being there, so that we can have this shared experience. Then when it came time to do the movement pieces in each room, I had set up each room for each member and was hoping everyone would like it. I also had them create their personal soundtrack to move and be in their bodies. It was a party. Honestly, we were dancing. I was dancing. I have a story for each room. I can talk about

everyone, but yeah. It was just a lot of fun. It was just a range of feelings.” Crystal and Pepper’s determination to build a house became a home. When it comes to one word that describes The House of LaBeija, there are many - empowerment, complex, radiant, resilient, timeless, sunshine, royal. After having the opportunity to interview this legendary house, I’ll go with the word family. The House of LaBeija premieres at Tribeca in June. Learn more at films/house-of-labeija-2022 P&E - Teresa Robinson

featured stories

Tacoty, Tacoty, Bell!

Housemothers Aja & Samil LaBeija team up with Taco Bell to create a safe space Photo by Dan Steinberg Photography


veryone knows what Mother’s Day is, but what about chosen families? Work, family, roommates, friends, communities -- people who play significant roles in each other’s lives, outside of biological family or monogamous partners. In today’s landscape, schools are banning queer education, trans families face discriminatory legislation, and 40% of our houseless population is LGBTQ+. Having safe spaces through chosen families is more important than ever especially during traditional “family” moments such as Mother’s / Father’s Day or the holidays. To celebrate chosen families, Taco

Bell partnered with the fabulous House of LaBeija, the most prominent, and revered house in New York’s drag and ballroom scene, founded by Crystal LaBeija and Lottie LaBeija in 1972. The House of LaBeija will be featured in the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, which pays homage to the House through letters from its members. As a brand that shows up organically in the Queer space, Taco Bell is creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community and ensuring our Queer youth can Live Más. Taco Bell created a YouTube series titled Drive-Thru Dialogue, where underrepresented voices can have real conversations about topics that matter

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to them, all from a Taco Bell DriveThru. Viewers will meet House Mother Samil and House member Aja LaBeija, where they will discuss the topic of chosen families, their background, and break-through. “We spoke about the mothers of the house, the legacy, and how the women have paved the way,” shared Samil LaBeija. “I am not the first cis-gender female as a mother. There was a previous cis-gender that opened up that door for me. Now I am allowing other females to come as they are.” Drive-Thru Dialogue is streaming on YouTube at P&E

Get Out Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral

Pride Journey: Iceland


he only way to describe Iceland is...magical. It truly is. Iceland is like no other place I’ve visited in the world. Its topography, climate, people, culture, history, and nightlife blended together make Iceland a surreal adventure that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. In my case, this is my second visit to the country, and probably not my last. The first time I set foot on the island, I was on a mission to see the elusive northern lights. While they evaded me during that visit, this time was different. I didn’t see Aurora dancing through the sky, but I did see a hint of the lights, enough to make me stop and stare in awe of their beauty. One of Iceland’s many strengths is its people. I met an incredible group of people who helped make this visit extremely memorable, including openly gay Icelandic pop star Friðrik Ómar, who invited me to his Christmas concert. Although most of the concert was sung in Icelandic, many of the songs were recognizable, including a fabulous version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”. Friðrik was a former contestant on Eurovision, and it was easy to see why. His vocals and stage presence were extraordinary, reminiscent of George Michael. Book your stay at the Reykjavik Konsulat hotel located in the heart of the downtown Reykjavik, just a short walk from all of the city’s main attractions

including Harpa concert hall, Sun Voyager and the iconic Hallgrimskirkja cathedral, the largest church in the country which and towers over the center of Reykjavik. Its 240-foot-high tower provides a wonderful 360° view of the city. Visitors can either walk up the stairs to the top or pay a small fee to use the elevator. Our spacious room at Reykjavik Konsulat included a walk-in shower, king bed with ultra-luxurious linens as well as a seating area. Every day the hotel offers a complimentary happy hour, as well as a delicious breakfast buffet, featuring a variety of local specialties including smoked salmon. The hotel also offers a nice fitness center as well as bath house complete with sauna and hot tub. Don’t get too excited, bath house means something completely different in Iceland than it does in the United States. Going to Iceland in the winter is an adventure. It definitely isn’t a relaxing trip; more like a journey to the most extraordinary ends of the earth you will ever discover. With that in mind, book a full day private excursion to the South Coast with Friend In Iceland. Our wonderful guide Gunnar picked us up from our hotel in a Mercedes minibus and we were off to explore a part of the country I hadn’t been to on my prior visit. The nearly 9-hour tour took us to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls PRIDE & Equality I 22 I Pride 2022

where we had the opportunity to stand at the base and feel the power of these natural wonders. Next, we journeyed up to the top of a cliff which provided views of the ocean as well as a rock formation jutting out into the sea which connects to Reynisfjara black sand beach. Words can’t describe how beautiful this moment was. I’m almost in tears again just thinking about it. The waves crashing on the beach coupled with a clear sky and mesmerizing sunrise made for an absolutely majestic view. Gunnar then brought us to a cute restaurant where we had lunch which consisted of pizza and a sandwich, not typical Icelandic cuisine, but it was delicious nonetheless. Reykjavik is home to one gay bar, called Kiki. Although it was closed during this visit due to COVID-19 restrictions, we did happen to meet the owner who invited us back to the country this summer for their pride celebration. 2022 marks the 23rd annual Reykjavik Pride, which is held in early August. The festival attracts over 100,000 people to the city for a weeklong celebration including a festival, parade, and numerous parties. Wake up early the next morning and get ready for your next Icelandic adventure in the Golden Circle. Although this region is easily drivable from Reykjavik in the summer, I wouldn’t recommend venturing on your own during the winter months as many

of the roads are icy and the weather can be quite spontaneous. One moment it will be sunny and then 30-minutes later you can find yourself in a winter storm with 40-mile per hour wind gusts. Begin your Golden Circle tour with a trip to Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO heritage site and home to Gullfoss, also known as the ‘Golden Waterfall’, one of the most beautiful and powerful waterfalls in Iceland. I recommend descending the stairs to the lower viewing area to really comprehend the size and scope of this natural treasure. Not too far away is Geysir, Iceland’s version of Old Faithful. The geyser erupts about every 7 minutes, so keep your camera ready. Finally, end your tour with a snowmobile ride on the Langjökull glacier. This is also something I didn’t experience on my first visit, and I can honestly say it was one of the coolest (literally) experiences of my life. We had to jump off our luxurious tour bus and board a souped-up monster truck looking bus which transports you to the glacier where a team is ready to outfit you with protective gear and teach you how to use the snowmobiles. The hour tour of the glacier will make you feel like you were on another planet. There are points where the sky and the glacier

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meet, and you can’t tell them apart. I was fooled by a few optical illusions a few times. Iceland can be inexpensive to get to, but then very expensive while you are there, so please plan accordingly. Food and alcohol can add up really quickly, so pace yourself when visiting the bars. One of my favorite restaurants we visited in Reykjavik was Noodle Station. Guests can order soup three ways: with chicken, beef, or just vegetables. It is the perfect way to end a long day spent playing in the ice and snow and quite affordable. Do your research before visiting to find some of the city’s hidden gems and cheap eats. Icelandair offers direct flights to Reykjavik for relatively low prices from Boston, New York, Chicago, RaleighDurham, and a few other U.S. cities, so check their website regularly to catch a great deal. Enjoy the Journey. P&E Joey Amato is the publisher of Pride Journeys, a syndicated LGBTQ travel column. Joey has worked in LGBTQ media for over a decade and is currently residing in Indianapolis. For more information about Pride Journeys, visit www.PrideJourneys. com.

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minor details

No Surprise in That Southern Baptist Sex Scandal Report: Religion Has a History of Covering Sexual Dysfunction


he recent release of that 300page report of widespread sexual abuse and its cover-up by leaders and ministers in the Southern Baptist Convention (America’s largest Protestant denomination) is only a surprise to people who’ve been in denial about the millennialong history of the relationship of religions to sexual obsession. Allegations of sexual abuse and this denomination’s handling of them in particular have been news for decades. Of course, the anti-Catholic stand of these Baptists and most Evangelicals has kept them condemning the same thing in Roman Catholicism for a century. And widespread sexual abuse is a factor in Evangelicalism beyond this denomination. But this is not about hypocrisy, which is actually not considered such a bad thing in right-wing religion. It’s about something inherent in its doctrinal structure. As I wrote in the chapter “Not So Strange Bedfellows: Sexual Addiction* and Religious Addiction:” “The existence of widespread sexual abuse by the clergy beyond the Catholic Church remains another societal secret. Though, as best we can tell, it occurs in similar proportions, it’s widely swept under the rug by denominations and local churches.” The real history of religions throughout the world shows how its leaders and

institutions have been concerned with controlling human sexuality through almost any means, especially when controlling that sexuality supports the culture’s political and economic powers. At the same time, history is replete with sexual harassment and abuse. Obsession with sexual control is due to religions having been useful to political rulers to promote their power – kings, emperors, and politicians who funded the religious institutions and were often treated as exempt from the religious sexual prohibitions that were enforced on the commoners. Religious leaders and institutions relied on economic and political patronage and protection from governments just as the religious right-wing wants it to be today. Sexual control of populations is vastly common to, but doesn’t have to be something inherent in, religion itself. There’s as much sexual abuse in non-religious corporations as in any denomination. Healthy religion could be used to promote so much else, but that would mean giving up much institutional power. Instead, religious leaders would have to become comfortable with promoting freedom and personal choice. But sexual obsession and control represent a familiar way religion has been used by its leaders, institutions, and allies to control the populace - adding eternal

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damnation, other condemnations, and threats to sanctify worldly power plays. Sex has been good for stoking religion because it’s universal and, in Capitalism, it sells. Thus, at the same time it can be both promoted for profit and useful to raise guilt when it’s ever practiced. For millennia, then, religious leaders have been preaching that their divines want all kinds of controls on human sexuality. You’ve noticed that that kind of preaching has mostly failed, right? If you listen to controlling religious leaders who continue to repeat these failed tactics talk, they’re shouting today as much as ever, if not more, that sexual license – being out of (their) control - is worse today than ever. Of course, this is combined with rightwing religious leaders’ claims that it’s those other religions or denominations that have the problem - proof that they have the Truth and those others don’t. The Southern Baptist Convention, like the Roman Catholic Church, has shown that it can act like a major international bureaucracy that has institutionalized sexual addictions and covered them up with religion addiction. And all through this, these institutions continue to act as if LGBTQ people or homosexuality is the societal problem. No, no look over there! That trope was debunked decades

minor details ago. The majority of members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, for example, are women. And reports of sexual abuse to SNAP have regularly come from Evangelicals. The reality of right-wing religion’s sexual sickness is that repression leads to obsession. And sexual addiction* and dysfunction and their cover-up with sexual and religious righteousness are widespread cultural phenomena that our sexually sick culture doesn’t want to face. “As long as we can pin addiction on dysfunctional families and make them the primary cause of sexual addiction,” Anne Wilson Schaef asks in Escape from Intimacy, “can we then hold onto the illusion of ‘normal,’ refuse to look at the role of our institutions (especially church and school), and avoid completely the role of addictive society?” As I discuss in When Religion Is an Addiction, the relationship between sexual addiction and religious addiction has a long history as cross-addictions in the Church, back at least as far as influential Church Father St. Augustine whose own Confessions show that he’s a classic example of a sexual addict covering it up by becoming a religion addict. Augustine’s theological cover-up concluded that original sin was actually passed down through the sex act he could never reconcile in his personal life. Hence the Church would become a place for sexual anorexia and bulimia. Even more today, though, it’s multiplied by that economic sexualization of our culture through conservative corporate, “free market” consumerism. Sex, the ad industry still believes, sells. It’s portrayed as something everyone can “have” better if they buy, buy, and buy more. Sex is sold as proof you’re a real man or woman. It proves you’re finally close to another human being. Everyone else has the stuff that ensures that they’re having the great sex you aren’t, you should fear. And if you aren’t compulsive about sex, you’re told there’s something wrong with you. Even some “science” colludes with the idea. This is an ideal environment for religious institutions to recruit

followers by convincing them that they’re guilty for having, or even thinking about, sex or the wrong kind of sex. This tried and true method for getting people to relieve their guilt would lose much of its power if society weren’t selling things this way. No wonder right-wing religion is in cahoots with big business and its consumerism. Correcting the societally encouraged sexually dysfunctional thinking and resulting guilt would require institutional and personal healing and learning how sexuality can be holistic and healthy. It would require recognizing the variety of sexual orientations and expressions. But the popular method is to try to relieve the guilt and shame with a cover-up – the religious addiction to the feeling of being righteous. Enter anti-sex politics and right-wing Christianity with its fear of anything it can’t control. Hide in the high of feeling righteous and identifying with each righteous cause, cling to the righteous feelings of right-wing Christianity’s exclusivism, and you have crossed into religion addiction. It’s easier than coming to terms with what one hates or fears about themself and rejecting the institutions that promote fear and hate. It’s easier than learning to find one’s healthy sexual self. Instead, this righteousness high works, until the addicts fall off the wagon. P&E _______________________________ *I know that there are also some therapists who want to deny the reality of sexual addiction and feel that it is misused as an excuse – sort of like, “the alcohol made me do it.” To me that is a matter of disagreement among specialists over therapeutic definitions of “addiction.” Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, is author of When Religion Is an Addiction; Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to Be Human and Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society. Contact him at






35th Anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt


he National AIDS Memorial will mark the 35th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt with a historic outdoor display. More than 3,000 panels of the Quilt will be displayed on June 11 & 12 in Golden Gate Park’s Robin Williams Meadow. The free public event is the largest Quilt display in over a decade and the largest ever in San Francisco history. After 35 years, the Quilt remains a powerful symbol of hope and resilience. It’s an important teaching tool to heal the nation from recent tragedies. The new Quilt panels will be revealed, a reminder that the fight for a cure is not over as HIV cases are on the rise among communities of color. Also, The National AIDS Memorial will announce new Quilt programs to raise greater awareness about health and social justice issues and take action against stigma. The first panels of the Quilt were created in June of 1987 when a group of strangers, led by gay rights activist Cleve Jones, gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the

lives they feared history would forget. This meeting of devoted friends, lovers, and activists would serve as the foundation for The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Each panel created was the size of a human grave, and they saw the Quilt as an activist tool to push the government into taking action to end the epidemic The Quilt is the largest community arts project in the world, consisting of 50,000 panels, weighs 54 tons, and includes the names of 110,000 loved ones who have died of AIDS. In 2020, the Quilt became part of the National AIDS Memorial. Touchpoints during the two-day event include thousands of visitors coming together to view the thousands of names and stories stitched into the panels as they are laid out in the meadow. There will be panel-making workshops, social media storytelling, and a community village with 25 communitybased organizations providing public information. To learn more visit www. P&E - Provided by the National AIDS Memorial

COMMON BOND NEW MEXICO 40 Years of Community Service U-21 Weekly Support Group for LGBTQ Youth New Mexico HIV Emergency Project Documenting Our History

To get started on PrEP contact MPower at (505) 610-9358 and they can assist getting on PrEP through Planned Parenthood, Southwest Cares, Turman Health care or any other health provider here in Albuquerque. 505-636-0845 PRIDE & Equality I 26 I Pride 2022

the art world


Mike Ruiz’s Photography Series “The Leather Men”

ew Jersey-based photographer, Mike Ruiz, featured on Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race, started an ongoing series to highlight the beauty & diversity of the leather community showing that it’s not about just wearing leather or kinky sex. According to Ruiz, “It’s about a community of men who form a strong brotherhood with a rich history rooted in community service and inclusion dating back to the 60s. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I figured the only way to get an accurate account was to go to the sources.” The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated an existing problem; the diminishing of queer

communities and their spaces, which were already becoming sanitized and assimilated into the mainstream culture. With this, Ruiz focused on the community he explored his entire life without shame or apprehension. He embarked on this project to experience liberation that he hadn’t known before. During his travels, meeting, and bonding with these men, Ruiz saw how free and empowered they are. Which granted him the power to let go of his hang-ups about sex and relationships. Much of the project happens while the camera is down. Talking to the men while they prepare their formals, polish their boots and light their cigars, Ruiz listens to them as they discuss

the mental changes that happen while they get dressed and how impactful this part of the process is up to the final photo. Ruiz plans to continue the series by taking more portraits of Leather Men and collecting their stories. As the series grows and evolves, so will the discussion and understanding of what it means to wear leather as a form of self-identification instead of just a sexual practice. The project will culminate in a book and multiple gallery showings. Ruiz hopes the project will become a time capsule that will keep the leather community’s rich history and traditions alive for a long time to come. P&E

P&E Must See

p&e picks

Davide Garau in THE FASHION LOVER, an Ariztical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Ariztical Entertainment.

THE FASHION LOVER Young Giovannino hopes to become a fashion designer. Unfortunately, his small rural town is a long way from the bright lights. With his cheating father out of the picture, Giovanni must reckon with an angry mom. But two friends, a fashion teacher with connections, and a buddy who’ll do anything for him, give Giovanni hope. Directed By: Marco Pollini

Anaïs Demoustier in ANAIS IN LOVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. © Les Films Pelléas. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

ANAÏS IN LOVE A spirited and romantic thirtysomething Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) in her manic search for stability. Behind on her rent, contemplating breaking up with her boyfriend, and struggling to complete her thesis, Anaïs searches for inspiration while hurtling through lovers with abandon. When her affair with an older book publisher Daniel (Denis Podalydès) leads to her falling for his live-in partner Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), a brilliant and luminescent novelist, things get especially messy. This effervescent, cliché-shattering feature debut weaves a tale of self-discovery as literate and delightful as it is unexpected, keeping both Anaïs and viewers off-balance until the very last moment. Written & Directed By: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet



ueer artist Michael Phillis realized that “his worst day as an artist was still better than his best day as a tech manager.” So, he quit his day job, not just to create art, but to connect with other artists, many of whom work in jobs similar just to cover the cost of living in America’s expensive queer mecca. Thus, Baloney, the performance troupe, was born -- a classic variety show combined with burlesque, using theater, dance, and strip tease to explore and celebrate queer sexuality and life experience. Michael, together with his life partner Rory Davis, have been delighting and surprising audiences for years, and this documentary offers up an under-thecovers look at the real life people who create and perform the show, and a behind the scenes view into all of the hard work that goes into putting on this powerful and beautifully produced professional theatrical production. With Baloney about to be released to the world, co-creators Michael Phillis and Rory Davis shared, “After doing the show live onstage for the past 8 years, it’s thrilling to see Baloney reach an international audience through Joshua’s documentary. Our hope is that young queer adults will see the movie, connect to the show, and know that they’re not alone. There’s a wonderful world of underground queer performance out there and your chosen family is waiting for you.” Ahead of Baloney’s VOD debut, director Joshua Guerci shared what Baloney means to him

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as a filmmaker and a human. “Looking at the world today, I’m proud of Baloney because it challenges the prevailing narrative that sexuality is something to be ashamed of. Opponents to equality want to push LGBTQ identities back into the closet and this film demonstrates how queer identity is the entire lived experience of a person beyond what people do behind closed doors. I hope when people watch the film, it sparks a conversation about how we learn to be more like our authentic selves. I made Baloney to look beyond the coming out and the process. The Baloney journey explores not just who you love but how we love each other and ourselves.” While moderating the screening at Outfest Los Angeles, Drag Race star BenDeLaCreme enthused, “Baloney feels very much related to drag. There really is a relationship between Baloney, drag, and indie filmmaking that’s all about being scrappy and making everything happen yourself and being all hands on deck to make the art be what it needs to be. That’s something really beautiful and relatable and exciting and I love that it’s uniquely San Francisco.” Baloney was directed, produced and shot by Joshua Guerci in his feature debut. Marc Smolowitz (Being BeBe, Transfinite) produced. It debuts June 7th across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand. P&E

the book review

P&E Must Reads

Glyph: Book One: Revelations


lbuquerque author Ronin Romero has written a gripping, epic sci-fi series named Glyph, starting with book one, Revelations. Set in a futuristic world where demigods have battled and left humanoids in a desperate bid to save their world before the chaos demigods destroy it. Heading up the fight is Lady Mercelle, on the hunt for a famed and possibly mythological demigod that can turn the tide of the war against Chaos. In addition to Mercelle, there are different characters, including a leading trans character, with their motivations, goals, and secret deals. I asked Mr. Romero what inspired the idea of this book series. Ronin says, “It is a storyline I had envisioned since I was a teenager. It was a culmination of plots that intermingle perfectly and within the same universe! Through learning who my characters were, I learned a lot about myself. The whole telling of

the series is pretty much a different version of me finding myself. I believe that all deep stories come from the author’s subconscious, which can be very difficult to navigate.” Difficult? Yes. Impressively epic? Definitely. A reviewer from Reedsy Discover gave the book four stars and said, “An interesting read with action-packed scenes and enjoyable characters.” Books Two & Three are in the works. If you love post-apocalyptic sci-fi, you can find Revelations on Amazon: com/Revelations-Ronin-Romero/ dp/1735582670. P&E

Liberty is brimming with excitement for this night, but her world comes crashing as evil trolls invade her town and a dreadful bully steals her crown. Now, she must find a way to calm her nervous stutter, regain her confidence, and reclaim what is rightfully hers. With the help of superhero role models, known as REPSOULS, Liberty’s creative juices start flowing. But how will she ever muster enough courage to confront the bully? REPSOULS: LIBERTY’S CROWN Eric Goff $ 19.99

GIRL SHOCK! is a true journey from living a frustrated and bored straight-dude life in the burbs to becoming a fabulous trans entertainer in San Francisco. It all starts after a Halloween costume feels better than anyone could imagine. What begins as a lark quickly becomes a lifestyle, and all the sordid details of Maria’s transformation leave you cheering for her! GIRL SHOCK! Maria Konner $ 24.95

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stop, look, and listen



I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore

othé is not your average runof-the-mill musician - they are an artist. Pulling from life experiences, Mothé creates a perfect fusion of rock and pop covered in a tasty layer of synths. Their latest project, I Don’t Want You to Worry Anymore, is an album of healing and an intimate look into the type of power social discomfort and the need to find a place one has on one’s soul. With songs like Dancing on an Empty Floor, Everyone is Everything, and Breathe The Air on the Moon - the album has a real sense of what they were releasing into the universe - making a connection with fans, letting us know that living on this planet is not an easy feat. But, others like you feel what you feel, and you will make it through. Mothé shared a little about the process behind the album and what they discovered about themselves in the experience. You shared that I Don’t Want You To Worry Anymore is an album about healing, documenting moments of hurt. Some artists would find the process of creating this type of album challenging. What was your creative process for this project? I didn’t know what kind of album I was making in the moment, so I didn’t find it particularly challenging to go back to those feelings. I would have felt a lot worse if I had sat down and decided to make it, but I was just in a period of time where I needed a lot of healing and compassion from myself, so the process ended up feeling more comforting than challenging. The process was really long. I was basically bouncing back and forth between my apartment and Robert’s apartment for months during covid. I would start an idea at mine and finish it at his. I wish it were a little more glamorous to be honest. It was just the two of us approaching it in a healthy way during office hours. What did you discover about yourself during the creation of this album? Having an entire album gave me a lot of room to experiment with new kinds of music. There’s a pretty big difference between a song that plays well on its own and a song that plays well in support of a

collaborator, it’s really amazing to have someone who’s as interested in the vision of the project as me. He just cares, even when he’s working on projects he doesn’t like all that much, he puts in so much energy and effort. I lean on him a lot. He’s really the only person I work with, so it’s amazing to have this sort of intimate “closed door” creative situation. We grew together and have started producing other people’s records as a duo, so it’s a relationship I look forward to continuing. He’s had a lot of real success since we met and has always left room to make music with me.

larger body of work. This was the first time I’ve ever made an album so it was a chance for me to experiment with less “in your face” songs. I got to discover and begin a new voice in my songwriting and production that I’m incredibly excited to continue. On a personal level I gained a lot of confidence and security. The creative direction of the album gave me a supportive window to be more expressive in my queer identity, and I am a lot less afraid to be myself. It’s changed a lot for me for the better. Tell me about the camaraderie of your collaboration with producer Robert Adam Stevenson. Robert is a wonderful person. I love working with him. We met in a studio when I first moved to LA, and we were writing for other artists, but we clocked each other immediately and started working together outside of the studio. He’s my closest

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The sound is powerful. Was there an inspired musical influence that went through your mind when working on the music? I’ve always been into really harsh and loud albums, I read a study recently about people with anxiety connecting with shoegaze music because it’s a wide-range blanket of frequency. I wanted to make something like that but with a sincere pop structure. Even though the album is powerful, you’ll find that it isn’t all that loud compared to the digitalleaning rock bands of the modern times. I was trying to create a more comfortable kind of loud, using a lot of valve distortion and minimal compression. I’ve always been trying to find the middle ground between classic indie bands and today’s modern party pop. It’s an attempt at crossing Radiohead and Charli XCX, really. What do you want listeners to walk away feeling when they listen to your album? My favorite thing about making music is that I don’t get to dictate this. It’s my album and my experiences, but as soon as I put it out into the world, it’s everyone else’s. I love this, it’s a community buffet, so I want people to take what they need from it, or even just what they want from it. For more information on Mothé, their music, and tour, visit motheworld. P&E - Teresa Robinson

the final word

Happy Pride! We’re not going back!


appy Pride! June is a great time to celebrate. In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry, just in time for Pride celebrations across the country. SCOTUS generally releases the most important and impactful cases in June of each year. This year is no different. Except for this year, with the right-wing supermajority, they are taking our country BACKWARDS. They plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that made abortion legal. This constitutional right, the right to privacy, is found in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So was the same-sex marriage case, and cases that overturned sodomy laws gave interracial couples the right to marry and access to contraception. This right to privacy has moved the country forward. Now a right-wing SCOTUS is taking us backward to pre-1973 when none of these rights existed. A woman’s right to have an abortion is about to be lost. Based on the flawed and incorrect “reasoning” that there is “no right to privacy” found in the Constitution, all these other cases and many other rights we currently take for granted could be lost if the leaked SCOTUS opinion becomes law. Elections matter. When you vote, you exercise one of your fundamental rights as an American. But even this right is under attack by the right-wing. How do we prevent all of this? WE VOTE! No matter your age, your vote matters. It matters because Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the President. It matters because federal and state legislatures make the laws that most directly govern our lives. It matters because most of us want our country to move forward. But a small minority wants to tell the rest of us how to live based on their own very flawed interpretations of the Bible. Do we want to live in a world where a woman doesn’t control her own body? Or gay men or women are imprisoned for being gay? Different races or same-sex couples couldn’t get married? On this last point - it would directly affect my marriage as I’m Latino and my husband is white, and we’re gay. Or no one can get contraception, so those condoms you see at events

will disappear, women can’t get the pill for birth control, and we’ll have a lot more unwanted kids because women can’t get an abortion either. If the worst happens and Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can change it. How? By VOTING! Vote for your values and your freedoms! We celebrate Pride every year. Why? Because we were oppressed and called all kinds of names and even jailed for being ourselves. All that changed because people voted because many of us sacrificed to get these rights. We worked hard to make gains for our community, and Pride is a celebration of that. But it’s also a reminder of how fragile those rights are and how determined

“We worked hard to make gains for our community and Pride is a celebration of that.” homophobes can take those rights away in an instant. We CAN NOT let this happen! So I urge you to vote in November, especially for younger folks. Go to Pride, stand up for what you believe. Wear your Pride everywhere. When you’re out celebrating the Pride parade, festival, and parties, remember the reason for Pride. It came from our struggle for our rights. This Pride season, let’s preserve those rights we have fought hard for! Stay safe and HAPPY PRIDE! P&E Mauro A. Walden-Montoya, Esq., is a recovering attorney who’s worked with the People with AIDS legal program at the Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, D.C.) and The HIV Legal Clinic at the D.C. School of Law. He’s past President and board member of the New Mexico OUT Business Alliance, on the boards of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Wheels Museum and the ABQ Leather Daddies and a Minister in the Universal Life Church. Mauro lives in Albuquerque, with his adoring husband, Andy.

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Have You Had the Conversation Yet? You hope your loved ones know your healthcare wishes, especially if you are hospitalized and unable to speak for yourself. But hope isn’t enough. If you start having conversations about your end-of-life care, everyone including your doctors will know your exact priorities to help ensure they are honored. Talk to your family. Decide who will speak for you. We have valuable tools to help make informed treatment and end-of-life decisions. Having a plan gives everyone peace of mind. Visit for all of our FREE end-of-life tools.