VOLUME 1 ISSUE 4 WINTER 2012/13
CHARGED Christopher brosius: Perfume God
Gianantonio corna: Reiki Master
Travel Section: Vancouver Las Vegas and Italy
Special HIV section: The Many Faces of HIV HIV in America and more!
Reality star and HIV activist Jack Mackenroth
| WINTER 2012/13 An SFGN Publication WINTER 2012/13 - Volume 1 - Issue 4
Coffee Table: 6 Paul Vitagliano’s Born This Way 44 Rick Day’s All Players
2520 N. Dixie Highway • Wilton Manors, FL 33305 PHONE: 954.530.4970 FAX: 954.530.7943 PUBLISHER
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
8 Christopher Brosius: Perfume God 10 Gianantonio Corna: Reiki Master 15 Mandi Hawke: Youth Activist
EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF
Florida School District Makes History Creators of the Orchid Show How to Make it in Gay Porn The Chick-fil-A Controversy
Dennis Jozefowicz Sergio N. Candido
BUSINESS EDITOR TRAVEL EDITOR
SENIOR FEATURES WRITER
14 A Straight Man’s Take on Election 2012 PAGE 20
Richard Gary Joey Amato Brian Swinford Ryan Dixon
SALES SALES MANAGER
Regina Kaza Mike Verdugo John Fugate Mike Trottier
Adrian Evans Edwin Neimann Mark Schram Justin Wyse
NATIONAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE
JR Davis Luis Hernandez
Special Section: HIV
Tony Adams Jesse Monteagudo
A Look Back at the Last 31 Years Opinion: Everyone Has AIDS The Many Faces of HIV The Dixon Diaries
SENIOR FEATURES CORRESPONDENTS
20 Vancouver 22 Italy 26 Las Vegas
ONLINE NEWS DIRECTOR ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
30 34 46 48
Pier Angelo Guidugli
ONLINE WEBSITE DIRECTOR
Features: 12 38 40 18
Printing Corp. of the Americas
THE MIRROR is a quarterly magazine published by South Florida Gay News, Inc.
28 High Intensity Interval Training
South Florida Gay News.com is published weekly. The opinions expressed in columns, stories, and letters to the editor are those of the writers. They do not represent the opinions of South Florida Gay News.com, Inc., or the Publisher. You should not presume the sexual orientation of individuals based on their names or pictorial representations in SFGN. Furthermore the word “gay” in SFGN should be interpreted to be inclusive of the entire LGBT community. All of the material that appears in SFGN, both online at www. southfloridagaynews.com, and in our print edition, including articles used in conjunction with the Associated Press and our columnists, is protected under federal copyright and intellectual property laws, and is jealously guarded by the newspaper. Nothing published may be reprinted in whole or part without getting written consent from the Publisher of SFGN, at his law office, at Norm@NormKent.com. SFGN, as a private corporation, reserves the right to enforce its own standards regarding the suitability of advertising copy, illustrations and photographs. Copyright©2012 South Florida Gay News.com, Inc.
PAGE 6 2 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Florida Press Association National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
By NORM KENT
THE ROAD WE HAVE
am sitting in an office with 12 computers, 10 staffers, five salespeople, copy machines, water fountains and dozens of newspapers. Desks are cluttered with news copy, advertising contracts, interoffice memos and jelly beans from ‘To The Moon Marketplace.’ The parking lot is overcrowded with cars, and my lab, Shadow, is by my side. Frankly, it is hard to believe this office at 2520 North Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors was an empty shell 3 years ago, but here we are 156 issues of South Florida Gay News later, and it’s time to renew our lease. To the mix we have added The Mirror, and this is the sixth issue of our glossy, quarterly magazine. As newspapers crumble and close across the country, our business model is expanding. In an economy too much in the red, we are fortunately in the black. At 76 pages a few weeks ago, SFGN was bigger than New York’s Village Voice and some of the largest gay papers in the country. We have poured our heart and soul into creating a vibrant community newspaper, which captures the dimensions and depths of the South 4 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Florida LGBT community. We have featured national and local news, entertainment and theater reviews, editorial columns and comics, breaking news stories and crosswords puzzles. Our daily headlines inform and our website, www.sfgn. com, is updated every day with breaking news. At SFGN, we do that as a business, supporting charities but making sure we don’t become one. The news is out there to report if you do it diligently, faithfully and honestly. We are here really, though, only because of you. We are here because you have been willing to invest in this community and this company. In our very first issue, we published a breaking news story of a Hollywood police officer’s fight to keep his job in the face of departmental discrimination. Then we exposed an ex gay leader who was an ex-con. We revealed how a drag queen nearly lost her nursing job of 40 years because of a lewd action conviction 40 years ago. We have exposed con artists conducting Ponzi schemes in Wilton Manors and gay entrapment frauds in West Palm
Beach. We have published ‘The Spirit,’ to remind us that AIDS is still pervasive and alive, rather than cured and conquered. But a newspaper’s duty is to report the truth and record the frauds. We have to tell you about the warts as well, from gay domestic violence to LGBT drug abuse. We have given life and attention to gay swim teams, soccer teams, softball teams and openly gay athletes competing in international competitions. We have sadly written about the loss of lives; passages of our friends. But we have also illuminated the lives of the LGBT community’s new leaders, open and out, serving in the military and getting married in city clerk’s offices. This magazine has reported on Pride Festivals from South Beach to Australia, and showcased national and international LGBT leaders. There are in fact so many good and caring people in our community it is nearly impossible to cover everything everywhere. As more and more men and women lead openly gay lives, we learn how large the closet door has been, how big our universe of
LGBT brothers and sisters really is. The Mirror reflects in a glossy publication more of what we try to report weekly at SFGN. We have published thousands of articles, hundreds of profiles, but everyday there is more to write, because our community is growing in stature and grace, recognition and force, socially, politically, and professionally. That this magazine reaches a dozen cities and can be seen in the lobby of local banks and national bookstores says it all for us. Ultimately, because The Mirror and SFGN are free, we are only here because of you. Personally, I have tried to be faithful to your investment, making sure that your advertising dollar is treated with a corresponding commitment to credible journalism, legitimate news, and honest reporting. On behalf of our staff, thank you for giving us the continuing opportunity to be a part of your lives.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR
BY jason parsley
PHOTOs courtesy of Paul vitagliano
Born this way Growing up to be ourselves while being ourselves
hen Paul Vitagliano launched his Born This Way blog in January 2011 he had no idea how it would blow up. Since that time it’s been viewed more than 4 million times and has been featured on NPR, CNN, Salon, Gay. com, and The Huffington Post. Vitagliano was so enraged after hearing about six gay kids committing suicide in the span of one month he felt he needed to do something – and so BornThisWayBlog.com was born. Because of the success of the website Vitagliano decided to turn it into a book as well. On the next couple of pages some of the people, and touching stories, in the book are featured.
Trent, age 4
Spearman, Texas (1974) “Growing up Southern Baptist, I was taught that being gay was bad. My mom thought gay people were mythical beings, ‘like werewolves or vampires,’ she once said to me.”
Born This Way:
Real Stories of Growing Up Gay By Paul Vitagliano Published by: Quirk Books Publication Date: October 9, 2012 Price: $14.95; Page Count: 128 ISBN: 978-1-59474-559-7
6 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Sarah, age 4
Tuscon, Arizona (1979) “I’m not smiling in this photo because I did not like wearing this dress. I wanted to wear my fireman’s hat. But I love this photo for its emotional honesty.”
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Seth, age 10
Fredricksburg, Virginia (1985) “On game nights, I always tried to entertain my family with my best supermodel poses. All the other clothes were my mom’s, and my terry-cloth hot pants still kill me!”
Tommy, age 7
San Dimas, California (1981) “My best friend and would play Dukes Of Hazzard at recess. I played Bo Duke and he would kick my butt. Then I would make him play Daisy Duke to nurse me back to health.” WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 7
By Tony ADAMS
hen I tell Christopher Brosius – the respected master perfumer and founder/owner of CB I Hate Perfume, located in a transformed garage in an obscure and intriguing nook of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York – that he seems to be a man with no fears, he laughs off the assessment. “Read the childrens’ book The Phantom Tollbooth in which the kid, Milo, has to rescue two princesses named Rhyme and Reason,” he said. “Only after he succeeds does he learn that the quest was impossible. That’s my secret.” Brosius smiles benevolently when I describe favorite smells that I wish could be bottled: my husband’s neck; the bitter earth beneath the hedge of my childhood home; September in Provincetown; invisible sweet smoke from a neighbor’s chimney at dusk in autumn; floor cleaner sloshed onto tile by a London janitor; and mimeograph. Oh, to smell a freshly distributed mimeographed third grade test again. Could Christopher Brosius create those scents? Yes, he can, but the success of his business means that he is not currently taking on private clients. He has welcomed me into his stark shop (the lab, on an upper floor, is off limits) where we are surrounded by white shelves of bottles with fascinating names like At The Beach 1966 (with the scent of Coppertone from the 60s), Cradle of
Smells Like Success Light, Memory of Kindness, In the Summer Kitchen, Gathering Apples, A Room with a View (think of Florence), Beautiful Launderette, and even two special blends that are “Hors Serie” (not in the available series) that he created as a joke but demand to be tried, Faggot and Here Piggy. Brosius is about to school me, but first, I get the history of the man behind the nose. He grew up in a small Pennsylvania town in the 1960s where he pondered 8 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
his career choices. “I wanted to be something creative but a perfumer wasn’t anywhere on the radar screen. I felt the need for a real job, maybe a scientist, like Dr. Quest on that cartoon series,” he said. “I decided that the most practical solution would be to become an architect. I ended up studying theater design at Columbia and clothing design at Parsons. I often wonder what would have become of me if I had remained in one of those fields.”
Brosius became a New Yorker in the crazy 80s and held a number of jobs including that of cab driver, a stint in which his sensitive sinuses were constantly assaulted by the horrific odors (intentional and otherwise) of his clientele. He worked in the cosmetics department of Barney’s, but his defining job was with Kiehl’s where he acquired business management skills as well as the chemical knowledge needed for the creation of perfume.
In the early 90s, Brosius, sick of New York City, returned to rural life where, with a cleared head, he devised the plan for his first perfume business. That company grew rapidly and Brosius won awards and high recognition for the perfumes he created. After twelve years, he parted ways with that company under circumstances that he would rather not discuss
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Continued From 8 except to say that he learned a great deal from the experience that would serve him well in the 2004 launch of CB I Hate Perfume. “I went back to my original business plan: to make complex perfumes that tell stories,” he said. Brosius, like so many gay men in this city, looks at me quizzically when I ask for his gay history, as if the question were something quaint from an age long past when coming out was a thrilling, dangerous and significant detail. “I married my husband [Italian born downtown DJ/promoter/ artist, Peter Pony Clement] quietly in Central Park,” he said. “In high school, I figured I
would marry a girl. When I was at Columbia, I thought ‘Hey, this New York, a great place to experiment.’ I had a crush on a guy who was working on his PhD. He introduced me to gay New York and I realized that girls are fine, but this is more me.” When I asked Brosius if he could be described as a “nose,” the term for an expert olfactory assessor, he said, “Yes, but I was eight years in this business before I felt confident enough to describe myself as a perfumer.” “I once made a list of everything I hate, and it included perfumes that pollute the air. Maybe it’s a function of age, but I am now more vocal when I get assaulted,” he said. “I was stuck in an elevator at Parsons once
with three people and I said ‘One of you is wearing a disgusting perfume. You need to go home and wash it off.’ Even at the gym, they hand me a towel and I say, ‘You call this clean?’ And the yoga mats! They tell me things I don’t want to know. All that downward dog stuff! I bring my own mat.” When Brosius says that the innovative ozonic perfumes of the mid 90s (using toxic ozone as their chemical base) go into his head like an ice pick, I remain quiet about my enjoyment of the very ozonic cologne L’eau D’issey Pour Homme. Still, Brosius inspires trust, and I value his list of absolutes with which he concluded our meeting: “Natural ingredients only, even though they are terrifically
expensive. My clients typically know my products and trust what I do. They are curious, aware and adventurous people. Buy perfume for yourself. Never buy it for someone else. With couples, chances are you will be very close and sweaty. You better make sure you like the perfume on your partner’s skin. Smell is fundamental to how we experience the people in our lives.” For the fundamental experience of Christopher Brosius, a trip to his Brooklyn shop is a delightful New York excursion. Be sure to use the contact info on his website to confirm the dates and hours. Vist cbihateperfume.com for more information.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 9
By Tony ADAMS
PUT YOURSELF IN
This Gay Reiki Master Has The Touch
hen I read two years ago about nuns in Milwaukee operating a “healing clinic” featuring a touch therapy called Reiki, and the consequent disapproval of the American Catholic bishops and the Pope who felt that the ladies were little more than superstitious masseuses, I was conflicted. Reiki, in which the practitioner claims to transmit healing power by laying hands on someone’s body parts, sounded very “New Agey” to me. On the other hand, because anything that rankles the Pope must be of some merit, I schooled myself about Reiki, tried it on myself—Reiki claims that it is possible to channel your own healing power into your own body—and was very surprised to discover that it works. By placing the palms of my hands on either side of my head with fingertips touching at the crown, I felt an amazing sensation rush through my head, relaxing my muscles and imparting an overall feeling of calm and refreshment. I was shocked with the realization that perhaps I possess some untapped and dormant natural healing powers. I kept this to myself, knowing that my friends would suspect dementia. Converted from skeptic to 10 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
believer, I wanted to learn everything about Reiki. I traveled to the gay retreat center Easton Mountain (a sprawling converted ski resort in the woods an hour outside of Albany, New York) where Reiki master Gianantonio Corna would be offering a Reiki workshop called “Summer of LOVE: An Introduction to the Reiki World” in the course of “Gay Spirit Camp” week. Corna is a sexy, smart, well educated Italian who is a natural healer and believer in the power of the gentle vibrating energy in and around us. Frankly and perhaps unfairly, I wanted to experience his touch as verification of the validity of Reiki.
“Reiki acts like a reboot button for your being.” Thirty men on mats and cushions surrounded Corna on the floor of a building with a soaring pitched ceiling and wall to wall windows open to let in the warm woodsy air of a sunny August day. The plan for the session was simple. Corna would talk about Reiki, lead a breathing and meditation warm-up, share Reiki energy with each of us, and finally we
would have the opportunity to share it in pairs. Corna explained, “Reiki is an ancient Buddhist treatment allowing anyone to find the answers needed to dissolve toxic cycles, patterns and obstacles that keep us from love, health and happiness.” A Reiki master is someone who has learned how to harness and transmit this energy that resides in and around each of us. The effects of Reiki are immediate. Corna says, “Imagine that you are an electronic device. Fresh from the factory, everything worked. But now, you’ve got a past—replete with bugs. Incidents. Glitches. Reiki acts like a reboot button for your being. Whatever you might be struggling with, Reiki hits ‘Reset.’ As the Reiki energy vibrates, your mind stills. Your breath becomes clearer. Your muscles allow gravity to take over. Underneath the surface, Reiki is a powerful current working to fix your insides, too. Reiki can open your heart, and give your love life a needed boost. Obstacles—real or imagined—shrink, and are replaced by an enhanced ability to live and to love. Wonderful
side effects are numerous and include reduced suffering and increased vitality.” As I heard his words, I resisted my inclination to cynical humor, realizing that if any of my friends were seated here with me, they would be trying mightily to stifle laughter while everyone else in the room silently began the process of breath and posture control that focuses the mind and body and is the precursor to all meditative techniques. Instead, I allowed myself to fully accept Corna’s direction. Relaxing, I began to see that Reiki has much in common with biblical and Christian tradition. When a man is ordained a Catholic priest, the bishop and all other priests present take turns cupping their hands on top of his head to confer the grace of the sacrament. This “laying on of hands” has biblical roots and is sometimes used by the apostles of Jesus to cure people, and other times to confer the power and blessing of God. I recalled the gospel account (Luke, Chapter 8) of the time
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PROFILE “A Place in the Sun”
Continued From 10 when Jesus, jostled and shoved by a huge crowd of fans, stopped suddenly and said, “Who touched me? I felt power go out from me.” His disciples responded, “What are you talking about? In this crowd, everyone is touching you.” I suddenly realized that Jesus had sensed a Reiki connection with one person in the crowd, a woman who had an affliction for many years. She believed that if she could just touch the hem of his garment, she would be healed. Jesus smiled at her and said, “It is your faith that heals you.” In other words, “I’m no magician. You just have to learn to use the power within yourself.” How did my experience of Reiki in the course of that workshop turn out? Did I feel the vibrating energy coursing through my body when Corna, walking behind the circle, got to me and placed his hands on the center of my back? Not so much. Did I feel it when paired with another man whose touch seemed clammy and slightly cold? No. But when I placed one hand on his forehead and one on his chest as he lay on the floor, he had what he subsequently described as a very powerful
experience. I was reminded of a story told by a man who had worked as a male prostitute in New York City. He described the moment when he would ring the doorbell of a client who had called the escort agency that employed him. Sometimes, the client would open the door, inspect him and say, “You are not what I had in mind” while beginning to shut the door in his face. He would always respond, “Wait a minute. Let me just do this. I’m going to open a few buttons on my shirt and let you place the palm of your hand on my chest. That’s all. Just do that, and if you still don’t want me to stay, fine. We’ll call the office and they will send you someone else.” He said that all the men who did that would then usher him into their apartments. He obviously understood the commercial application of Reiki. (Did I miss my real calling in life?) Speaking with Corna in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood where he practices and teaches Reiki, I learned not to expect a rush of pleasure or a cure from every touch. He said, “If my students say, ‘I don’t feel it,’ I tell them that Reiki is everywhere. It is
universal but you have to train yourselves to sense it. That is what it means to master something.” How about those nuns in Milwaukee? Has the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, having voiced its disapproval of Reiki, shut them down? They are still in business, reports Sr. Madeline Gianforte, Co-Executive Director of CORE-El Centro where she teaches and practices Reiki. She says, “There may be the misunderstanding that because Reiki is rooted in the Japanese traditions, it is opposed to the Christian tradition and would seek to convert a person. That is not true. When I teach Reiki, I make the point that the practitioner is just the facilitator. The healing connection is between the patient and his or her divinity. At our clinic we just provide the space for that to happen.” Jesus, a nun and a male escort
can’t all be wrong. Try Reiki for yourself.
For more about Gianantonio Corna, www.reikivitae.com” . ReikiVitae.com
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 11
By gideon grudo
A month to remember, forever Rand Hoch
t was a somber moment when the Broward County School Board unanimously voted to officially recognize October as LGBT History Month. Emotions ran high as the vote came on Sept. 19 at 12:51 p.m., and was preceded by a dozen or so speakers from both public office and private civilians, like 18-year-old Leo Washington, a Hollywood Hills High School student, actor, football team captain, and club president. “I’m 18 and AfricanAmerican,” he said, choking up. “All we want is to recognize them for who they are so we can recognize ourselves for who we are. That’s what I want for every student in every school.” Washington said he knows of at least 30 people in his school who are LGBT but afraid to come out as such, not even in their own homes. “There’s a lot of people out there that come to me and tell me they can’t come out,” he said. “It can be really bad.” One of the influential community leaders who pushed this measure and was recognized by the board as having done so was Michael Rajner, a local South Florida LGBT activist. “I certainly would believe that more school districts will 12 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
The aftermath of a school board’s decision to be the first to recognize October as LGBT history month follow The conversation has been started nationally. In Florida, Broward has started that conversation in this state.” In Broward, Board Member Laurie Levinson presented the resolution and read it in its entirety (see below) before moderating the various speakers. “It’s the first step to equality for LGBT people in our schools,” she said. “Knowing more about these individuals can be an asset.” Board Member Robin Bartleman told the various student speakers that they have made history, too. “You’re going to be the individuals that students will read about in future LGBT history months,” she said. “Every child deserves to feel safe — not just in their school, but in their own skin.” The resolution does not set a curriculum or force any teachers into anything, but rather opens the door for teachers to create curriculum surrounding LGBT history and teach another segment in school that may have been overlooked up until now. “Over the last several years, we’ve had wonderful progress— we often criticize an entity such as the school board for not doing things for the community,”
Rajner said. “But lately, there’s been a wonderful partnership between the school board and community leaders to really figure out what we need.” The Los Angeles Unified School District followed up in early October, announcing their support as well.
“It’s the first step to equality for LGBT people in our schools,” — Laurie Levinson And following on the footsteps of the Broward County School Board, the Palm Beach County School Board, the county immediately to the north of Broward, unanimously issued a proclamation in support of LGBT History Month. On Oct. 17, the proclamation had the support of Superintendent E. Wayne Gent and was accepted by Dan Hall, gay activist and longtime Treasurer of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. “We are pleased that Superintendent Gent and the entire Palm Beach County School Board are taking this opportunity to recognize the contributions made by LGBT Americans,” said Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human
Rights Council. “Previously, the LGBT community was the only minority not taught its history at home, in public schools or religious institutions,” said Malcolm Lazin, executive director at Equality Forum and founder of LGBT History Month. “The recognition of LGBT History Month by the Broward, Los Angeles and Palm Beach County school boards is a giant step in embracing LGBT inclusion and respect.” Hoch said that these school board decisions will allow the community as a whole to change and to evolve onward. “This is a really good basis for a learning curve for the years to come,” Hoch said. “I would hope some day the school board says that if schools teach history, they teach about the contributions of LGBT.” Michael Rajner has strong hopes for years to come. “For one, that it wouldn’t be anything controversial anymore,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’ll always be an issue of controversy. I would say that one day it’d be nice to open up textbooks and learn about LGBT free of the condemnation that we often see from extreme conservative religious groups.”
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR
By GIDEON GRUDO
This isn’t supposed to mean anything to me
hen I’m introduced these days, it usually goes like this: “This is Gideon. He’s the managing editor at South Florida Gay News. And/But he’s not gay.” Maybe the friend feels I have to be absolved, my association justified. I used to identify the same way to sources. I don’t anymore. It’s hypocritical. Equality is equality, in all senses. But when the news team spent an all-nighter covering an election gay-centrically, I figured I’d be a bit out of place, a bit unequal. After all, people in four states wouldn’t be deciding whether my kind deserved less rights, but rather if their kind deserved less rights. Nothing would change for me. I get all the lawful rights and privileges I want. Why should I care, other than about the magnitude of the stories I’d be writing? 14 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Every time an anchor raised his or her voice in the live coverage we kept on all night, the editorin-chief would turn to look, the sports editor would stop typing. It may sound insane, but these people — these gay people — were listening intently to whether (four of) the United States of America would treat them as equals, or treat them as before, as second class citizens. Many other states haven’t even begun the decision process. It reminds me of the novels I was forced to read in high school, the ones about America’s oppression of the blacks: Some obsolete caste system that should be absurd to the teenage reader. And here it was (and is), in full flesh, its heart beating in front of me. When the first slews of LGBT candidates began announcing victories and the marriage ballots began leaning in favorable
A straight man’s reflection on the November votes
directions, the nail hit the wall — this is my world, and these are my peers. My future children and g ra n d c h i l d re n will live by the codes and morals and laws and allowances and prohibitions that my generation is mapping out today. These votes are progression. These votes are moral development. These votes are the fruit of the Enlightenment, and will hopefully bring with them a distancing from the ancient ideas we once worshipped — and that some of us still do. Not to be confused, I did not take this job out of some life-long dedication to the cause. Hell, I didn’t know what LGBT stood for until I started freelancing for SFGN when I was in college — and that
only because I needed money. But this is where I fell. And seeing what I saw throughout last night makes the work hours a little less apparent, my desk chair a bit more comfortable. It was a bright moment, though shadows tend to appear when the sun rises. Around 2 a.m., my sports editor linked me to a collection of tweets from people in the deciding marriage ballot states: A brunette named Jennifer Terek tweeted, “I feel like crying. Babies will be killed, the gays will disgrace marriage, everyone will be poor and homeless but will have free healthcare.” A teenager named Hance, who’s lighting a cigarette in his picture and attends junior high, according to his profile, tweeted, “All u faggots in maryland can fucking die.” The story listed 40 tweets like this. I know there were more. Yeah. There’s work to be done. That night was a stepping stone, not a destination. And I’m okay with the fact that it’s my job to record this journey. This forward momentum.
By Regina kaza
Tying it together Mandi Hawke raises awareness for LGBT youth with her life story
andi Hawke was in the fifth grade writing “I love Stephen” in her notes, only to casually drop them off her desk for her classmates to find. “He was the one person in the classroom that every girl liked,” she remembers. “I thought it was a safe name to write.” In a small private school classroom of about 24 kids, playground crushes grew and Hawke was suddenly accused of not dating anyone. It wasn’t until her freshman year of high school that Hawke came out to her friends and family, only to be told it was a phase and a trend. But she didn’t know that then. “I knew I was just being silly. Then I would get teased for liking him,” she says, “But I was okay with it. It was constant teasing and bullying.” Years ago, she was a teenager fighting her true feelings to the point of having suicide thoughts. Today, Hawke is an event programmer at SunServe, an LGBT support agency in Broward, and author of Proud: EmPOWERment for LGBTQ Youth. She spends her days talking to kids and young adults, ages 13-24, who are going through the same things she did. She shares her stories of being in a straight marriage for six years and turning to the arts for an escape from bullying and shame from her religious school. “I’m a huge believer in ‘everything happens for a reason,’” her aunt Carrie Tappan told SFGN. “I feel like she would not be in the position that she’s in and moving forward in her life if she didn’t go through that.”
‘You know you’re gay, right?’ She was never invited to birthday parties. One year Hawke remembers having two friends spend the night and staying up until 4 a.m. playing Tetris on Nintendo. “It was always about wanting to make sure people would show up,” Hawke’s aunt said. “It was hard to watch her go through that.” Amanda, as her mother calls her, went to a Lutheran private school until the 8th grade. “What I was taught is being gay is something you wouldn’t want to be,” Hawke said. “I wouldn’t tell my dad when I was living with him, no way.” That’s something she tries to help high school students with when she speaks to local Gay Straight Alliances. She said she identifies as pansexual to let kids know they don’t have to be one thing or another.
“I realize now that we probably had crushes on each other,” —Mandi Hawke When her parents split up, living with her dad in Florida wasn’t as easy as going to public high school there. She finally blended in, turned to painting, worked backstage theater and found her support circle. “I met some amazing people that really pulled me out of the closet,” she said. “They were like, ‘You know you’re gay, right?’” Still she bounced between schools in Florida and Texas four times before she graduated.
Mandi Hawke And while her mother was more accepting, kids at school weren’t. “In Texas, the first thing I heard coming off the school bus in high school was ‘that’s so gay,’” Hawke said. On her first day, her mother remembers her wearing a Scottish kilt with safety pins down the sides, a purple bow in her hair with her little sister’s plastic tiara. Hawke finished up the outfit with ripped fishnets, green Doc Martens and black makeup — lots of black makeup. “And apparently she made a lot of friends,” her mother said. Hawke made friends with whom her aunt Tappan calls the early stages of Goths and outcasts, but to Hawke they were just other kids who were misunderstood. Although her family acted supportive after she came out, they still thought it was a fad based on her circle of friends. “I think in her high school years it was at that point where it was trendy to be bi-sexual,” Tappan said. “At first we all thought it was a phase.” But it wasn’t a phase for Hawke. “It was something so difficult for me to get the courage to admit to,” she said, “and then the reaction was ‘It’s the cool thing to do.’”
You’re going to do something great Hawke’s first suicidal thought was in the fourth grade. Her best friend, and the most popular girl in school, stopped talking to her after they took a sex education class filled with gay propaganda. “I realize now that we probably had crushes on each other,” Hawke said. Years later, after she came out to her family in Texas, she went back in the closet for years and channeled her emotions into painting, mostly with dark blue, purple, and black hues. “She was so uncomfortable around many family members,” her mother said. “She kind of made her friends her family.” While in high school, a few of her friends committed suicide. She remembers having more suicidal thoughts in Texas than Florida because of the constant bullying. “Once I was known to be bisexual,” she said. “I was targeted by some kids who would spit on us and called us dykes. Later at lunch they paid us and tried to get us to kiss.” It was a lot for a 16-year-old to handle.
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Continued From 15 “Unfortunately it was during the time when it was really popular to cut yourself and do the whole Goth thing,” her mother said. “It was sort of like a cultural pity party. I don’t think it’s as prevalent now as it was back then.” Hawke said having a group of friends that were also struggling with being gay and depressed saved her. “There was a voice that told me that no matter how hard it was, I needed to push through and that I had bigger things to do here,” she said. “It said ‘you’re going to do something great’ and that was louder than the other voice.”
Making it work for the family It took being married to a man for six years for Hawke to realize happiness wasn’t about where she lived or how much money she made. When she married her ex husband, Jason, her family assumed her bi-sexual phase was over. “I think that he had enough sensitivity for her that he made her feel very comfortable,” Tappan said. “And looking back on it now, I think she tried to make it work for the family.” Her mother said Jason was very passive, accommodating and non-confrontational. Even then, the idea of being able to have a public relationship made Hawke happy. “I could walk down the street holding his hand and no one would look,” she said. “We could kiss in public and no one would whisper.” Even though she doesn’t regret her relationship with Jason, she said she missed out on things that gave her life purpose, like the community service she does with her current partner. “We didn’t have real true friendships, we didn’t do anything passionate like charity work or volunteering,” she said. “We waited tables. We weren’t up to anything powerful.” After about five years, Hawke 16 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
started reading motivational self-empowerment books, still searching for happiness. She decided that she needed to start being truthful to herself and not live a life of false friendships and uninspiring work. While reading those books, she noticed there weren’t many self-empowerment books for the LGBT community, let alone the youth. About a year after divorcing her husband and working as a volunteer at Drag It Out, she started telling her life story at SunServe workshops and wrote her first novel: Proud: EmPOWERment for LGTBTQ Youth. “I don’t say my relationship with Jason was a mistake,” she said. “Would I date another guy again? Probably not. I was in love with him, but in a different way.”
My house is your house The first time Hawke ever brought a partner over to meet her dad’s side of the family was last June. “I was actually really nervous,” Ian Napp said. “We pulled into the driveway and I was shaking.” Hawke kept their relationship secret from most of her dad’s side. But after more than half a year of being together, she finally stepped forward and was welcomed with open arms. “My family was amazing it was a pleasant surprise,” Hawke said. “It was total shock,” Napp said. “You know they were introducing me to everyone, my-house-isyour-house type thing.” Hawke calls her relationship with Napp night and day compared to her six-year marriage. Hawke was working a Drag it Out, a program that puts on drag workshops, when she met Napp. After Facebook messaging for a few weeks, Napp said she grew the courage to ask for Hawke’s number and they started dating on Nov. 11. “We volunteer together and we don’t fight at all. We’re amazing friends. Every day is something to look forward to.”
By SERGIO N. CANDIDO
Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A CEO
t wasn’t so much the millions of dollars that Chick-fil-A donated to religious, anti-gay hate groups that sparked the controversy, it was just three words — and perhaps the way they were uttered — by company head Dan Cathy confirming that Chick-fil-A
November 2011 LGBT organization Equality Matters found that the charitable arm of Chick-fil-A distributed over $1.7 million to anti-gay groups in 2009 alone.
July 2, 2012 An analysis of charitable donations by Chick-fil-A showed the fast-food chain gave nearly $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2010. The largest donation, $1.1 million, went to the Marriage and Family Foundation, an antigay marriage organization.
July 17, 2012 In an interview with the Baptist Press on the company’s support of traditional family values, Cathy said: “We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”
July 18, 2012 - The boycott starts. “Hangover” 18 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
The journey of a controversial chicken was “guilty as charged” for supporting what he considers traditional family values. In the weeks following Dan Cathy’s interview with the Baptist Press asserting the company had donated millions of dollars to anti-gay religious organizations through its charitable arm, people from
all walks of life weighed in on the issue. Some politicians in Chicago and Boston pledged to keep the company from opening any new restaurants in their cities; others who supported the company proclaimed a day to “appreciate” Chick-filA for its conservative values.
Television pundits and talk show hosts on every major network talked about it and late-night TV shows mocked it. While the controversy has cooled down since the summer, it is far from over. Here’s a look at Chick-filA’s media storm.
snd “Office” star Ed Helms tweets he’s off Chick-fil-A after Cathy’s comment: “Chick-Fil-A doesn’t like gay people? So lame. Hate to think what they do to the gay chickens! Lost a loyal fan.” - How to Make Your Own “Chickfil-Gay” Sandwich Video hits YouTube to protest Chick-fil-A July 19, 2012 Damage control. Chick-fil-A posted a message on Facebook saying the “independent” franchises treat all customers with “honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” in an attempt to do some damage control after President Dan Cathy’s anti-gay comments.
on any future endeavors,” said the Muppet’s company in a statement. Mayor Thomas Menino vows to block Chick-fil-A from taking its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston. “You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” he said.
Moreno says he won’t allow Chick-fil-A to open a restaurant in his Northwest Side ward because of the company’s antigay worldview, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel seconded Moreno.
July 20, 2012 The Muppets cut ties with Chick-fil-A Over anti-gay stance. “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them
July 23, 2012 Mike Huckabee announces “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.” The former presidential candidate started a Facebook event page with one goal: “Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick fil-A on Wednesday, August 1.”
July 25, 2012 Chicago Mayor Mayor Rahm Emanuel backs Plan to Block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurant. Alderman Joe
July 26, 2012 One tweet from Mayor Ed Lee left very clear the stance of San Francisco on the Chickfil-A controversy: “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”
July 27, 2012 - Head of Public Relations for Chick-fil-A dies of heart attack. Chick-fil-A Inc. released the following statement: “We are saddened to report the news to you that our dear friend Don Perry, vice president of public relations, passed away suddenly this morning.” - Despite New York City Mayor
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Continued From 18 Michael Bloombergâ€™s advocacy for a healthier diet and strong support for gay marriage, he says heâ€™s against the idea of banning Chick-fil-A within the five boroughs. - Sarah Palin shows support for Chick-fil-A, â€œStopped by Chick-fil-A in The Woodlands to support a great business,â€? wrote the conservative politician along a photo posted on her Facebook page showing her and her husband with a bag of fried chicken.
July 28, 2012 New numbers from polling organization YouGov reveal that the publicâ€™s approval of Chikfil-A has taken a nosedive since company head Dan Cathy said he was â€œguilty as chargedâ€? for making large donations to antigay causes.
July 30, 2012 Gay Republicans: Letâ€™s move on. Log Cabin Republican Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper weighed in on the Chick-fil-A controversy in a Huff Post piece, and asked the LGBT community to move on and leave the chicken company alone.
August 2012 The media finds a connection between Chick-fil-A and Ugandaâ€™s â€˜Kill the Gaysâ€™ Bill. According to the Daily Kos, the Family Research Council, one of the anti-gay hate groups Chick-fil-A donated to, spent $25,000 lobbying Congress to not condemn Ugandaâ€™s â€œKill The Gaysâ€? bill.
August 3, 2012 LGBT activists and supporters hold kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwideÂ to protest Chick-fil-A president
Dan Cathyâ€™s vocal opposition to marriage equality via millions in donations.
September 19, 2012 Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno says representatives at Chickfil-A told him the company has ceased making donations to anti-gay groups and has enacted workplace protections for its employees against discrimination.
September 24, 2012 Company head Dan Cathy denies rumors that Chick-fil-a is going gay-friendly. Â â€œThere continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago,â€? Cathy said in a statement to Mike Huckabee. â€œThat is incorrect.â€?
October 16, 2012 A flyer reportedly posted on one of the fried chicken restaurants in Chamblee, Ga. shows a photo of a tray and reads: â€œOnly a fruitcake wouldnâ€™t love our party trays.â€? The company denies the ad was made to reference gays.
October 25, 2012 Despite the controversy, a survey published on USA Today found that 2.2 percent more people consumed Chick-fil-A products in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the same time last year.
Nov. 13, 2012 According to a survey by Market Force, Chick-fil-A was voted the best chicken chain nationwide, beating Raising Caneâ€™s, Boston Market, KFC and Popeyeâ€™s, among others.
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By JOEY AMATO
his edition of Out Destinations takes me to the Pacific Northwest and to a city in Canada known for great people, endless beauty and a thriving LGBT community. Vancouver, British Columbia is an destination which I’ve heard about for many years, however, never had the opportunity to visit. The best way to arrive to Vancouver is either flying direct or jump on a flight to Seattle and then board an Amtrak train for a scenic 4-hour journey along the coast. It’s never good to begin a new adventure on an empty stomach, so located almost directly across the street from the Amtrak station in Vancouver is a wonderful Italian eatery called Campagnolo. Since I had a long day ahead of me, I decided to just sample a few light items. My favorite of the bunch was called Crispy Cece, an addicting combination of fried chickpeas, chilies, mint and citrus. It 20 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
sounds a bit awkward, but it was delicious. Gay-friendly accommodations are abundant in Vancouver. For a true taste of luxury, stay at the Metropolitan Hotel. Boasting 16 oversized suites in addition to 200 standard rooms, this hotel is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and within walking distance to all major tourist attractions. The hotel features an indoor swimming pool, squash court, complimentary limousine service and a business center. However, one of the most extraordinary features of the Metropolitan is its fine-dining restaurant, Diva at the Met. I was not aware of the culinary experience my guest and I were about to encounter when we were asked to dine at Diva. Our host sat us at “the pass,” the bar which the kitchen staff passes off the food to be served to diners. With an obstructed view of the kitchen, we felt as if we were watching a real life episode of Top Chef. The sommelier was
on hand to pair wine with every item on the 7-course tasting menu, which begins with four snacks prepared personally by Chef Hamid Salimian. There were almost too many highlights to mention, as Chef Salimian’s Persian roots are definitely tasted throughout his dishes. After our snacks, which consisted of gastronomic delicacies such as Chicken Bacon and Mussel Coal, we were brought our first selections which included Blackened Lobster, Albacore Tuna and Veal Sweet Bread. Each selection paired perfectly with a different wine, most of which are from Canadian vineyards. The entrée of the tasting menu is a Roasted Tender Loin served with Walla Walla onions, sherry lentils and truffles and was melt in your mouth delicious. Even after five previous courses, we were left craving more. And what epicurean journey would be complete without dessert, which in this case was
a delectable Buttered Toast Ice Cream with black currants, served with sweet Canadian ice wine. Those visiting Vancouver for the first time should not miss this experience. Begin the next morning with a visit to Chinatown, home to the Chinese Cultural Center and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Vancouver is home to the third largest Chinatown in the world and a visit to this neighborhood is really exciting. The streets are bustling with street vendors selling everything from silk scarves to ceramic figurines. Of course the dining options here are abundant and the authenticity of the food was definitely a treat. For some great dim sum, stop by Jade Dynasty. When the menu is written in Chinese, you know it’s the real deal. Next, head over to Vancouver Lookout for a spectacular 360
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Continued From 20 degree view of the city. From this vantage point, one can view every neighborhood in addition to an unobstructed view of both the mountains and the water. The people of Vancouver are extremely health conscious. Never have I seen more people jogging, riding bikes and roller blading. The sea wall, which stretches around most of the downtown peninsula, is the favorite place for locals to enjoy outdoor activities. A brisk walk is the best way to see the city and enjoy its beauty. At the tip of the peninsula is Stanley Park, larger than NYC’s Central Park and home to some of Vancouver’s main attractions including the Lost Lagoon, Lion’s Gate Bridge and Vancouver Aquarium. The aquarium is home to
over 50,000 animals and most recently welcomed the addition of Penguin Point, inspired by Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. The venue is open 365 days a year and is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in Vancouver. Another attraction perfect for those traveling with children is Science World. Located adjacent to Olympic Village, the museum features dozens of interactive exhibits in addition
to an IMAX theatre. Vancouver is a truly modern city and for those looking to embrace some of the city’s trendiness, head to Salt Tasting Room. Yet another unique dining experience, Salt gives guests the opportunity to pair a consistently changing selection of cured meats, artisanal cheeses and condiments written on a chalkboard near the entrance of the restaurant, located in an alley in the Gastown district of Vancouver. I suggest trying the 3-course menu for the best experience. After dinner, check in to the Opus Hotel, recently voted as one of the “Top 5 Trendiest Hotels in the World” by TripAdvisor. The boutique hotel’s swanky décor and minimalistic approach is perfect for younger LGBT travelers looking to embrace Vancouver’s gay nightlife. Each room in the pet-friendly hotel comes with a fully functional iPad, which guests can take with them as they discover the city. The hotel is just a short walk to Davie Street, where most of the LGBT
activity takes place. Davie is lined with gay bars, restaurants and nightclubs and truly comes alive at night. Each venue has its own flavor so be sure to stop by a few to really feel the vibe of the community. Another nightlife option is Commercial Drive, or what locals call “The Drive” as it is home to the highest percentage of lesbians in downtown. Even though I was only in Vancouver for three days, I would recommend a full week visit to truly experience everything the city has to offer.
For more information, visit TourismVancouver.com or pick up a copy of Gay Friendly Vancouver: In Town Guide. OUT Destinations is part of OUTreach Public Relations, a company specializing in LGBT marketing. Founded by Joey Amato in 2012, OUTreach PR has quickly become one of the most sought after companies for celebrities, corporations and non-profit organizations looking to target the ever growing and affluent LGBT consumer. For more information, please visit www.outreachpublicrelations.com.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 21
By Pier angelo
WALKING IN VENICE
tay away from Venice in June, July or August. Unless you enjoy being smothered and chocked by thousands and thousands of cheap, crassy tourists. This is a city of 59,000 people. Yet 24 million visitors a year make Venice one of their favorite stopovers. Most of them in the summer months. It is a wonder it does not sink under its own weight. Go in the second half of September, October, even November. The weather might not be the best but you will savor the real thing. Personally, I think Venice looks better and more mysterious in the soft rain, or with a light chill. During the summer Venice is a hot zoo filled to capacity. Herds crawl along the narrow alleyways, called calli, loaded with shopping bags and suitcases, snapping pictures on their cell phones and iPads. Families with strollers try to navigate the tiny bridges and passages. It’s like watching a river of humanity slowly making its way to the various sites.
22 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
The city was founded by people who were escaping Attila’s invasion. The Huns despised going near water. Now a new breed of barbarians invade it on a regular basis. Cruise ships unload three or four thousand more bodies each day. It is what Babel must have been in biblical times. Venice is a city that has to be experienced at a slow pace. The least number of people around you, the better. The best time I have ever had in Venice was in November, with my partner, in a semi deserted Saint Mark’s Square, the mist coming in from the laguna and a violin player fiddling a passage from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It was magic. It was as if the city had removed its mask, tears filled my eyes without warning. Much of Venetian life has balanced itself for centuries on the concept of the mask: one face for society made of papiermâché and one only seen in private. It dates back to the late 1700s when the Carnevale lasted for months and Venetians
lived behind the painted mask, bejeweled and bewigged, not knowing with whom they were playing, or making love to, as masks were seldom removed except at home or in church. These days the Mardi Gras lasts only a few days but its people spend most of the year getting ready for the elaborate party. The city’s nickname is “The Drag Queen of Italy” and even though it has no gay bars or gay clubs it has traditionally encouraged tolerance and individuality. For centuries it has embraced the many famous gay travelers who went to Venice in search of their souls. Or to lose it. From Lord Byron to Jeannette Winterson. One of the first openly gay movies ever made is the 1971 “Death in Venice” with Dirk Bogarde based on the Thomas Mann’s novel of the same name. It was filmed entirely at the Hotel des Bains, one of Europe’s most fabulous hotels. The movie is now considered a classic. When you are in Venice forget about getting a map or directions. Just walk, get lost in the labyrinth of
narrow streets, you will savor and Discover the city in all its mysterious haunting beauty. Make believe you are Donald Sunderland in “Don’t Look Now” another classic movie set in Venice. You will eventually arrive in Piazza San Marco, preferably at twilight, to watch the last rays of the sun slip beneath the waters of the lagoon. Then watch the sky turn a cobalt blue and the wispy clouds a pinkish color with the gondolas lit up by the fading sun. There are few places on earth with the same chromatic intensity. For an enchanted moment you wonder if you are caught in a living painting or a living dream. The experience, depending who you are with, can be insanely romantic or slightly surreal. Gore Vidal, another famous gay part time resident, wrote in his book “Vidal in Venice,” “...there is a strong need for magic, for a place that is outside of time, for a postponement of reality. For Venice.”
BY tony adams
Biking in Puglia
s our band of a dozen gay cyclists glided over the bleached stone pavement of the strangely silent seaside city of Trani, worn smooth by a thousand years, and as we wheeled along its waterfront, stopping to tour a mysterious medieval church where the Knights Templar—already on horseback— would leave the altar with the blessing of the bishop sending them directly onto a ship bound for the Crusades, I thought about all my worrying before embarking on a week of bicycling through the magical towns and scenic countryside of Puglia, an unspoiled province on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy. Well accustomed to cruising around flat Fort Lauderdale at a leisurely pace, I booked Alyson Adventures’ Puglia Villa & Biking Experience with some hesitance. Did I have the stamina at age 61 for this type of vacation? Would I be twice as old as the other guests? What if I got winded during one of the daily cycling excursions to nearby towns? What if I got a flat tire? What if my back goes out? What if I don’t like the company, the food, the room or the pool at the luxurious Villa 24 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Cappelli which was occupied exclusively by our group of gay men for the entire week? Is the description on Alyson’s website accurate or colorized? The older I get the more time I spend fretting, in this case needlessly. I recommend this trip for anyone who loves to bicycle, loves the thought of meandering roads through endless olive groves and vineyards, loves exploring quirky little ancient cities and loves the idea of excellent gay companionship in the context of an elegantly renovated 14th century stone villa on the ancient Appian Way. The dozen men who shared the week with me ranged in age from 20s to 60s with no one feeling alienated or left in the dust. They were friendly, intelligent, enthusiastic, sexy single men and couples who like to explore, laugh and enjoy life immensely. On our daily excursions, rarely did anyone decide that the pace or length of the ride was uncomfortable, but if so, our handsome Italian road crew was always with us and ready to collect the weary fellow into the van and place his bike on the flatbed until he was ready to jump back into the pack.
Our Italian guides kept us safely off main thoroughfares and away from traffic as often as possible. Cycling the rustic country roads of Puglia is hypnotic. Drawn into the endless stretches of olive groves, vineyards and ancient ruins, the mind is easily transported to the zones of euphoria that all cyclists crave but rarely enjoy at home because of the constant need to dodge buses, taxis, pedestrians and uncut curbs. We were careful riders, but our vigilant guides chose idyllic routes that allowed for plenty of pauses to pinch the wild arugula, rosemary or fennel growing by the road, to photograph another vista, another church, another ancient ruin, to rehydrate or snack from the van that always shadowed us. This is cycling minus the hardships. I will admit that I was often tempted to skip the biking and submit to the pampering of our hosts at the Villa Cappelli where the gardens, groves, pool, terraces and al fresco dining room were a pleasant way to start and end each day. We were constantly surprised and delighted by the food and wine served by owners/partners Paul
Cappelli and Steve Crutchfield who are justifiably proud of the culinary products including olive oil, gourmet spreads and wine produced at the villa. Paul, whose family is from the region, was always eager to share his deep knowledge of its history and to show us around his favorite towns and restaurants. Steve, “Capo of the Kitchen, ” constantly surprised us with his expert delivery of southern Italian cooking. I vow to return to the scent of jasmine or freshly baked rustic bread wafting into my bedroom through open windows, to the taste of olives grown and cured at the villa and for another glass of their robust red “Nero di Puglia” wine. We weren’t always on our bikes. We inspected the underground ruins beneath Gravina, a cliff city carved out of tuffo stone. We walked among the exotic tulli (comical stone turrets) of Alberobello. We spent an afternoon laughing and giving into the irresistible aquamarine water of the secluded beach of Polignano di Mare. We picnicked in the pine forest of La Murgia National Park. We climbed to the top of the mysterious pentagonal Castel del Monte built high on a bluff by knights charged with protecting the Holy Grail. We wandered the narrow stone streets of fascinating Matera carved into a valley like a stone bowl to save every precious raindrop for the long annual dry spell. We spent a few evenings relaxing and strolling through convivial Terlizzi before returning to our villa in the country for a late night dip in the pool and peaceful sleep to restore our energy for the next day’s adventures.
Still afraid to book a gay cycling vacation because of some dreadful vision of a pack of grim triathaqueens in flashy spandex? If so, snap out of it and reserve a spot on the next available Alyson Adventures “Puglia Villa & Biking Experience” tour. In 2013, there are two tours planned: one for gay men and the other for gay men, lesbians and friends. www.alysonadventures.com
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By JOEY AMATO
The business of
las vegas W
hen it comes to Las Vegas, most visitors just see the neon lights, endless rows of slot machines, glamorous shows and lavish buffets, but what many people don’t notice are the millions of dollars spent to market Las Vegas to the LGBT community. As a result of the efforts by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, coupled with the dollars spent by casino operators such as MGM Mirage, Caesar’s Entertainment, Wynn Resorts and others, Sin City has become one of the Top 10 tourist destinations among the LGBT community. Some companies have embraced LGBT marketing faster than others. MGM Mirage property The Luxor was the first to institute a Sunday pool 26 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
party, “Temptation Sundays,” geared to gay tourists and locals alike. Others such as Planet Hollywood incorporated gay nightlife venues into the property. Krave Las Vegas was the first gay owned and operated nightclub on the Strip. The buying power of LGBT individuals is expected to reach $2 trillion next year and the resorts surely have taken notice. According to San Franciscobased Community Marketing, LGBT travelers will spend a combined $65 billion in 2012 alone. “The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has taken a leadership role in the tourism industry to better promote its unique product to the LGBT tourism market,” states Dawn Christensen, director of communications for the organization. “Las Vegas
markets the destination specifically to the LGBT community through advertising, our website V i s i t L a s Ve g a s . c o m / gaytravel and special events. The organization also has a designated diversity marketing representative who concentrates on reaching the LGBT visitor.” Recently, Las Vegas welcomed the first annual Gay Days to the Tropicana, which was planned in conjunction with the city’s pride festival. In addition, the LVCVA is a sponsor of the 2nd International Expo & Business LGBT, the leading marketing event in Latin America designed to attract tourism from the LGBT market. “We were also the first destination partner of the largest pride celebration this summer called WorldPride, which took place in London, England,” Christensen states. The LVCVA spends thousands of dollars annually advertising the destination in multiple national gay media outlets including Curve, Instinct, Out, Passport, EDGE, Metrosource and Logo. In May 2012, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) honored the LVCVA with its Vanguard Award for making a difference in promoting equal rights for LGBT individuals. Christensen tells me the organization has been “an innovative and creative force in LGBT marketing.” Caesar’s Entertainment has
been at the forefront of LGBT marketing for many years. As a whole, the corporation has initiated outreach programs at many of their properties throughout the country. This year, Caesars hosted such events as Dinah Shore Vegas and will host the Out Music Awards in December. “We aren’t just looking to have events for LGBT people to attend. We really want to make sure that there is ongoing excitement and entertainment for the community,” states Richard Brower, director of LGBT Marketing. “Caesars Entertainment is looking at implementing LGBT specific gaming events, dining and shopping specials, and more ongoing reasons to come out and enjoy a Caesars property.” The company tracks each LGBT guest when people swipe their cards or sign up at LGBT events such as Vegas pride. “We tag them in our LGBT database and can keep track of them but are looking to expand this program and provide LGBT email offers and other incentives so we can really talk to the community,” Brower states. December is set to be a big month for the company. Shania Twain will begin her muchanticipated residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The venue has hosted an array of musical icons from Celine Dion and Cher to Bette Midler and Elton John. The Imperial Palace, which is owned by Caesars, is
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Continued From 26 home to Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas, another favorite show amongst gay travelers. Wynn Las Vegas and its adjacent property Encore have engaged in LGBT marketing for the past few years, even creating a separate landing page and Pride Concierge. The company boasts “a welcome, safe and sensitive atmosphere and a commitment to the LGBT community.” To encourage diversity and ensure a work environment that prioritizes the best interests of all employees, Wynn Resorts is an equal opportunity employer and was one of the first hotel and casino companies in Las Vegas to offer same sex, domestic partner benefits. “Our commitment to our LGBT employees also includes the promise of a work environment where everyone is treated equally, with dignity
and respect,” states a Wynn representative. Las Vegas is a city of excess and innovation and this is no different in the LGBT community. Just in time for New Year’s Eve, Krave Massive, a new 84,000 square-foot nightclub will open its doors downtown. Owner Kelly Murphy speaks about the ambitious project. “I wanted to do something different in gay nightlife and needed a significantly large venue. Rents are much less in downtown and not controlled by casino properties, which bring many restrictions.” Kelly emphasizes the current resurgence downtown. “The area has become very hip and trendy. A lot of businesses are investing in downtown with great ideas, including Zappos.com. I just couldn’t resist the challenge of converting a 14-screen theater into the world’s largest gay club.”
Krave Massive will open in phases beginning in midDecember. The first consisting of the Top 40/Techno Dance room, Back of House, Martini Bar and Show Theater. Kelly anticipates the Hip-Hop Dance room to open by New Year’s Eve. The balance of the dance rooms, retail store and member room will open early next year, which is when the official grand opening will take place. “We hope to achieve the Guinness Book of World Records for largest nightclub,
gay or straight, beating out Privilege in Ibiza,” states Murphy. Future plans include a rooftop swimming pool with 14 cabanas and the possibility of connecting the adjacent Drink & Drag Bowling & Billiards room to Krave Massive. “Downtown is a short distance from the strip and I believe that gay men are willing to take the trip if it means they can come to The World’s Largest Gay Club and indulge all of their senses in the best possible way.”
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 27
BY MIKE VERDUGO
t is scientifically proven that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training is the most effective way to boost your metabolism, burn off that extra fat, and start reaching those goals that you have set for yourself. HIIT is about mixing high intensity bursts of exercise with moderate or light intensity recovery periods. The secret is that the training is not just about how many calories you burn per session, but that your body continues to burn calories long after the session is over. This is called Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) which basically means that your body keeps burning calories long after the sweating is done. In fact, researchers have discovered that this EPOC can last as long as 36 hours. I know there isnâ€™t just one way to exercise a muscle group. But the true success with any exercise is through muscle confusion. Muscle confusion is the key to achieving your fitness goals faster and better than you imagined. It prevents your body from plateauing by not performing the same workout routine over and over again. Thus, seeing continued results.
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DIAMOND PUSH UP: triceps & chest
Place your hands close together on a bosu ball forming a diamond shape between your thumb and index fingers. Keeping your core engaged and your back straight, push up to workout your triceps and chest muscles.
Side to Side Push Up: balance & core Place your hands close together on a bosu ball forming a diamond shape between your thumb and index fingers. Keeping your core engaged and your back straight, push up to workout your triceps and chest muscles.
Place your hands on a bench or chair shoulder width apart and your feet on the floor. Push up and down to work the upper body and chest muscles. Remember to keep you back straight.
incline Push up: upper body
spider Push up: core & chest
Decline Push up: lower chest
Flip the bosu ball over, and take a plank, push up position. Grip the sides of the bosu ball to work on your balance and core. As you push down, stay down and bring each knee up toward your head one at a time to work out your side abdominal muscles, core, and chest.
Put your feet up on a bench or chair and your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Keep a straight back and push up to work your lower chest muscles.
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COMPILED BY JASON PARSLEY
America’s hiv/aids news source
A Look Back at 31 Years of AIDS in the U.S.
Larry Kramer, Playwright 1981 On June 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes report describing cases of a rare lung infection, in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. This report marks the first official reporting of what will become known as the AIDS epidemic. Within days, doctors from across the U.S. flood CDC with reports of similar cases. By year-end, there is a cumulative total of 270 reported cases of severe immune deficiency among 30 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
gay men, and 121 of those individuals have died.
1982 CDC establishes the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); refers to four “identified risk factors” of male homosexuality, intravenous drug abuse, Haitian origin and hemophilia A. First U.S. Congressional hearings held on HIV/ AIDS. “GRID” or “gay-related immune deficiency” used by the media and health care
professionals, mistakenly suggesting inherent link between homosexuality and AIDS.
risk sexual activity occurring in these venues. New York and Los Angeles follow suit within the year.
AIDS Candlelight Memorial held for first time. The World Health Organization (WHO) holds first meeting to assess the impact of AIDS globally, begins international surveillance.
First International AIDS Conference held in Atlanta. At least one HIV/AIDS case has been reported from each region of the world. First HIV test licensed by the FDA, detects antibodies to HIV. Ryan White, an Indiana teenager with AIDS, is barred from school; goes on to speak out publicly against AIDS stigma and discrimination. First major play about the early days of the AIDS epidemic, “The Normal Heart,” by playwright Larry Kramer opens in New York City. President Ronald Reagan first mentions the word AIDS in public at a press conference in response to a question from a reporter.
1984 In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announces the National Cancer Institute has found the cause of AIDS, the retrovirus HTLV-III and announces the development of a diagnostic blood test to identify HTLV-III. In October, San Francisco officials order bathhouses closed due to high-
First panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt created. Ricky Ray, a nineyear-old hemophiliac with HIV, is barred from a Florida school and arsonists burn his family’s home the following year. President Reagan mentions AIDS in his Message to the Congress on America’s Agenda for the Future on February 6
U.S. Congress creates the National Commission on AIDS.
1987 President Reagan finally addresses the AIDS epidemic on May 31 at the Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington. First antiretroviral drug, AZT, approved by FDA. AIDS becomes the first disease ever debated on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly U.S. Congress adopts Helms Amendment banning use of federal funds for AIDS education materials that “promote or encourage, directly or indirectly, homosexual activities,” often referred to as the “no promo homo” policy. FDA adds HIV prevention as a new use for male condoms. CDC launches first AIDS-related public service announcements, “America Responds to AIDS.” “And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic,” a history of the early years of the epidemic by Randy Shilts, is published. AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed on National Mall in Washington, DC for first time.
1988 World AIDS Day declared by World Health Organization on December 1. Surgeon General and CDC mail brochure, “Understanding AIDS” to all U.S. households; first and only national mailing of its kind.
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 enacted by the U.S. Congress, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including people living with HIV/AIDS. The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act enacted and named in honor of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a tainted hemophilia treatment. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 and was subsequently expelled from school because of the disease. He became a well-known advocate for AIDS research and awareness, until his death in 1990. The act is the largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/ AIDS. The act sought funding to improve availability of care for low-income, uninsured and under-insured victims of AIDS and their families.
Bill Clinton President Clinton signs HIV immigration exclusion policy into law. “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s play about AIDS, wins the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize.
all Americans ages 25-44; remains leading cause of death for African Americans in this age group. Time Magazine names AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho as its “Man of the Year.”
Red ribbon introduced as the international symbol of AIDS awareness at the Tony Awards by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Visual AIDS.
AIDS becomes leading cause of death for all Americans ages 25 to 44; remains so through 1995. FDA approves an oral HIV test, the first non-blood based antibody test for HIV.
AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. decline by more than 40 percent compared to the prior year, largely due to HAART. President Clinton announces goal of finding an effective vaccine in 10 years.
FDA licenses first rapid HIV test, which provides results in as little as ten minutes. AIDS becomes number one cause of death for U.S. men ages 25 to 44.
1993 President Clinton establishes White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). “Philadelphia,” a film starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer with AIDS, opens in theaters, becoming the first major Hollywood movie on AIDS.
First protease inhibitor approved in record time by the FDA, ushering in new era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). President Clinton establishes Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. First White House Conference on HIV/AIDS.
1996 The number of new AIDS cases diagnosed in the U.S. declines for first time in history. HIV no longer leading cause of death for
1998 Minority AIDS Initiative created in U.S., after African American leaders declare a “state of emergency” and Congressional Black Caucus calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to do the same. Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act of 1998 enacted by U.S. Congress, authorizing pay-
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Continued From 31 ments to hemophiliacs infected through unscreened blood-clotting agents between 1982 and 1987.
1999 According to the annual World Health Report, AIDS had become the fourth biggest killer worldwide.
2000 U.S. and UN Security Councils each declare HIV/AIDS a security threat. President Clinton issues Executive Order to assist developing countries in importing and producing generic forms of HIV treatments. President Clinton creates first ever Presidential Envoy for AIDS Cooperation.
2001 June 5 marks 20 years since first AIDS case reported. Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, reaffirms U.S. statement that HIV/AIDS is a national security threat.
and malaria primarily in hard hit countries. The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation secures price reductions for HIV/AIDS drugs from generic manufacturers, to benefit developing nations.
2004 In February, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDSThe Global Coalition on Women and AIDS to raise the visibility of the epidemic’s impact on women and girls around the world.
2005 United Nations General Assembly convenes high-level meeting to review progress on targets set at 2001 special session on HIV/ AIDS, “UNGASS.”
2006 The CDC release revised HIV testing recommendations for healthcare settings, recommending routine HIV screening for all adults, aged 13-64, and yearly screening for those at high risk.
2007 The World Health Organization and UNAIDS recommend that “male circumcision should always be considered as part of
a comprehensive HIV prevention package.” CDC reports over 565,000 people have died of AIDS in the U.S. since 1981.
reduced the risk of acquiring HIV among men who have sex with men and transgendered women who have sex with men.
Statutory HIV travel and immigration ban ends. CDC releases new HIV incidence estimates for the United States, showing that the U.S. epidemic is worse than previously thought.
June 5 marks 30 years since first AIDS case reported. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launches the 12 Cities Project,” focusing resources on areas with the highest AIDS burden in the country. Federal government announces goal of an AIDS-free generation, highlighted in speeches by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton andPresident Obama.
2009 President Obama launches the Global Health Initiative (GHI), a six-year effort to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing global health in low and middle-income countries. Obama calls for first everNational HIV/AIDS Strategy for the U.S. Long-standing statutory ban on the use of federal funding for needle exchange in the U.S. eliminated. The Obama Administration officially lifts HIV travel and immigration ban by removing the final regulatory barriers to entry, which takes effect in 2010.
2010 Obama Administration releases first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the U.S. Large international clinical study showed a daily dose of combination antiretroviral pill
2012 The XIX International AIDS Conference is held in Washington, DC, marking the first time the conference has been held in the U.S. since 1990. FDA approves OraQuick InHome Test, the first rapid test using oral fluid that can be bought over-the-counter; results of which are obtained at home. FDA approves the use of Truvada for reducing the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals at high risk, marking the first HIV treatment to be approved for pre-exposure prophylaxis.
2002 HIV is leading cause of death worldwide, among those aged 15-59. FDA approves OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test; first rapid test to use finger prick. OraQuick granted a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver in 2003, enabling the test to be performed outside of laboratory, allowing widespread use.
2003 President Bush announces PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; PEPFAR is a five-year, $15 billion initiative to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, 32 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
By Ryan dixon
Everyone has Y
our trick from last night has AIDS. That guy you’ve been flirting online with for the last few weeks has AIDS. The guy you’re thinking about hooking up with as you read this has AIDS. You have AIDS. Okay, maybe you don’t. But you better wake up and treat your lovers as if they do. Every single time. No exception.
“Gay men have done nothing to suppress the whorish stigma that is given to them, myself included.” I’ve always been open and honest about my status ever since I found out I was positive almost four years ago on Dec. 15, 2008. I made bad choices in my sex life, so now I’m trying my best to make 34 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
the safest and healthiest decisions to protect myself and others. Dating someone who is HIVpositive has relaxed the worry of me possibly infecting my partner. The relief I feel knowing for right now I won’t be contributing to the HIV statistics in America is very comforting, but in a very macabre way. In 2009, HIV and AIDS killed over one million people worldwide. The CDC estimates that 1.1 million people living in America are infected with HIV. Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, close to 600,000 Americans have lost their lives. No pun intended, but sex in the gay community is the butt of many jokes. Gay men have done nothing to suppress the whorish stigma that is given to them, myself included. Let’s face it, I didn’t catch HIV by being a saint. I was a little bareback slut in 2008. Even then my diagnosis came as a shock. I didn’t realize or know how bad HIV is in South Florida. Miami-Dade County currently ranks number one in the nation with the highest number of new HIV cases per capita. Broward is right behind, ranking at number two. Florida, as a whole, ranks number three in the nation for people living with HIV/AIDS (125,000 people accounting for 11.7% of all infections in the States) and second in pediatric cases. People should treat everyone as if they were HIV positive when looking for sex. When hooking up, disclosing my status gives people the chance to make an informed decision for themselves.
But think of this: 40,000 people are infected with HIV every year and 10,000 of them are unaware of their status. By telling an HIV-positive person no, and going out and hooking up with a guy that doesn’t tell you he’s negative or positive, you’re taking the same risk. Not knowing your partner’s (or partners’) status is a dangerous game. Do you really trust that guy at the bar when he says he’s negative, when he says you’ve got nothing to worry about? You know you do — or at least want to. You go home, bend
over and throw caution to the wind. Then, you have the balls to tell me (someone who readily admits they’re positive) it’s too risky. Good reasoning there, buddy (and a thumbs up to ya). Change in stigma and perception has to start at home, in the heart. Stop treating positive people like they’re something dirty. Everyone deserves the same respect, no matter what they’re living with. Treat everyone the same. Treat everyone like they have AIDS. Because they do.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR
BY jason parsley
PHOTOs courtesy of jack mackenroth
Jack Mackenroth talks new dating website, HIV stigma and activism
Can you tell us about your new project? The website is Volttage.com. I’ve obviously been working in HIV stuff, forever, but after Project Runway it exploded, and because I’m so vocal about my status I’m the go-to-guy. It’s awesome. I like it. I get dozens of Facebook messages a week. Most frequently from people who newly diagnosed, people freaking out. At any time I’m coaching 3, 4, 5 people who are just kind of dealing with stuff. One of the recurring themes I encounter is dating and disclosure and stigma over and over, nonstop. I’ve been on other sites and I find that people 36 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
are just sort of misinformed. If you’re not HIV positive…I know a lot of people are educated, but they just don’t get it. When helping newly positive people, what’s the biggest misconceptions you come across? For the most part, health-wise, there’s not a lot of misconception. The big change in the last few years is that there is a new protocol, which is to medicate immediately. With the newer medications there is almost never real severe side effects. It’s more that people are like “no one is going to want me, date me, everyone is going to judge me.” It’s a catch-22 situation because no one wants to live
hen it comes to Reality TV shows the winner isn’t always the most memorable contestant as was the case on Project Runway’s Season 4, which featured fashion designer Jack Mackenroth. His surprise announcement of being HIV positive and his shocking withdrawal from the competition in week 5, made him not only arguably the most memorable contestant from that season but also an instant role model for the HIV community. Since leaving the show in
2007 he’s become known for his HIV activism and for taking his clothes off – for a cause that is. He’ll do (almost) anything to fight the stigma of living with HIV. The Mirror recently caught up with the reality star and activist, who lives in New York and South Beach, to talk about his latest project, Volttage.com, an HIV dating website. Read on to find out about if we’ll see him join the cast of an upcoming all-stars season of Project Runway, being a role model, and growing up both gay and HIV positive. Oh and by the way, he’s single!
in the stigma and experience it, but no one wants to be vocal about it and fight it. It’s difficult. I don’t breeze through it everyday and be like ‘oh my God, this is so awesome.’ But I need to keep going and be visible because people need to see this is what HIV looks like, or can look like, and it can look like anyone. People just have a lot questions because no one wants to talk about it. So it’s more like listen it’s going to be ok. There are a lot of people like you. There’s support for you. You’ll get ok with it. Try to talk about it. I tell people that kind of stuff. People are really scared to tell their parents. People are scared
to tell people. That’s kind of the stuff I guide people through. I tell them they don’t need to tell people. Tell them one at a time. You should tell your doctor. Tell people who you trust.
What’s been the response to Volttage so far? It goes in waves. We had a lot of build up to the launch. In the first week there was an onslaught of membership. One thousand people signed up in a week. People were just desperate for a stigma free environment. About 10,000 people have
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Continued From 36 logged in the first 2 and half months and about half of those people stay and make a profile. We’re not competing with a lot of other big sites right now. It’s a different kind of community. It’s growing slowly. I think there will come a point in time where it hits this critical mass and people know of the brand and will be talking about it.
What’s the next step for And then a year after you came How has your health been? Volttage? out you found out you were I’ve been really, really lucky with my own health. I think a lot of it We’re trying to give it traction positive? is luck. Because it’s just one of somewhere. So we’re focusing on New York where 40 percent of the membership is. Then we’ll go to L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and once the buzz gets going in the U.S., we’ll go to go global. Obviously we can’t target one area at a time but we want to be viable in one community. We’ll probably have an event down in Miami in the next year.
What’s different about Volttage than other websites? How long have you been positive? The important thing I’m realizing now for me is that it’s about the visibility and fighting the stigma of HIV — anyway that I can. Whether that’s just being a visible person or talking about it, or all of the campaign and media stuff that I do. This website is another way of doing that. Bringing together all of these people, starting this movement. We’re going to add bloggers, more staff and have more content. I’m meeting with my partners in January to figure out which features we should have. We want to give people more reasons to go to the site beyond sex. The thing that’s cool about it is that we don’t ask about status at all. We’re clearly marketing to the HIV community and to those people that feel disenfranchised from other websites. We’re HIV neutral which is great. Since we don’t ask about status at all it provides some freedom. You should always assume people are positive anyway, which most people don’t do.
Why should people assume that? People have a false sense of security when they check a box that says you’re negative, or someone tells you that they’re negative. What does that even mean? Unless you go to the doctor with them how do you really even know? I just think that’s a false sense of security?
I found out in 1990. I sero converted in 1989. So it’s been 23 years. Nowadays it’s much different finding out you’re positive. Right? I figured I would be dead by the time I was 25. Everyone was dying. It’s different now, and it’s the same. The challenge back then was basically surviving. Nowadays it’s more about the stigma. If you do everything “right.” If you get on medications early, have health insurance, HIV is very manageable. What it is now though is that no one wants to talk about it anymore.
I got sick and they said you should have an HIV test…it was in the throes of the HIV epidemic. I only had sex with like 10 people. I thought I’m not positive. I can’t be. So, surprise.
How did you come out about your status? I didn’t tell my family for about 4 years. I was freaking out. Everyone was freaking out. I finally told my mom after my partner died in 1996 and I told her at that time because I was having a nervous breakdown. She was good. My mom is amazing.
those things. In the early days no one knew what was going to happen to you. I just happened to make the right choices. Not because I knew what the right choices were, but because I was a competitive swimmer so I have always been very health conscious. I got on medication really early. They only had AZT initially. I took all of the drugs subsequently in the next few years. I found a medication in the early years that worked for me and I stayed on it for about 15 years. So yeah, I don’t know the reason why I’m doing so well, but I’m glad I am.
HIV has been around 31 years is there really a stigma still? Still today when I post on Facebook I get comments from gay guys that are like “oh there’s no HIV stigma anymore.” I’m like are you insane? You’re clearly neg. If you don’t think there’s an HIV stigma I challenge you to post I am HIV positive on your Facebook page. Half the people that are positive don’t want to do that. If you don’t think there’s a stigma try wearing a t-shirt that says I’m HIV positive for a day then you’ll get a glimmer of what it feels like.
What age did you come out of the closet? Freshman year of college. I was kind of out in high school but I went to a very small high school.
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By JUSTIN WYSE
Michael lanphear & Francois Gravel
he Orchid Show was created in South Florida’s very own backyard and has provided a new twist on the classic Cirque du Soleil shows. Chairman David Schawarz of Temporary Entertainment searched high and low for the best aerial and choreography coaches in the industry. Here is a look at who they are and how they worked to make The Orchid Show a successful venue.
What is each of your backgrounds in Francois Gravel (L), Michael Lanphear (R) How is life as partners beneficial plays/shows, specifically aerial and when working together on such a aerialists in most of the shows choreography? Francois Gravel graduated from large project? Are you influenced by your sexual- he has directed. He wanted the Montreal Circus School (ENC) M&F: Since we spend so much ity when creating choreography for everything to be related to the flower/garden theme so we in 2006, specializing in dance time together that we often shows? If so, how? explored many different options trapeze. He has worked in cabarets, know exactly what the traditional circus, contemporary dance/circus shows, and large companies such as Cirque du Soleil. In 2010 Francois choreographed an aerial number for the Justin Bieber My Life 2.0 Tour as well as choreographing for an international tour of ‘Soap the Show.’ Michael Lanphear specialized in aerial straps. In 2008, Michael toured with Britney Spears for her Circus World Tour as an aerialist. In 2009 Michael joined the cast of Soap the Show where he met Francois in Berlin, Germany. In 2010 Michael coached Justin Bieber and 4 of his back- up dancers, teaching them aerial harness. This past year both Michael and Francois choreographed for Universoul Circus in the US. 38 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
other is thinking, good or bad! Francois comes from a strong contemporary dance background so he focuses more on choreography and the creative aspect of the performance. Michael focuses on acrobatic technique and coaching.
Where do you live?
M&F: We live in Montreal, QC when we are not on tour.
How long have you been together? M&F: 3 years
M&F: Our choreography varies depending on the particular project that we are currently working on.
From what experience does your past play in creating a future show, speHow did you find the cast of dancers cifically Orchid? and aerialist for Orchid The Show? Past experiences both in M&F: dance and acrobatics have definitely shaped our work in this show. However, we are always striving to find interesting new movement and even new apparatus.
What influences help you create the How long have you been working aerial work and dance for this show? M&F: William Baker, the artistic together?
M&F: We met while both employed by the same show in Berlin, Germany about three years ago.
for movement using the ideas of flowers, insects and even gardeners. Working with such an experienced Director made the entire process very creative and productive.
director, had a very clear vision for what he wanted to see, William has featured circus/
M&F: Francois and Michael cast the circus performers by doing multiple casting calls during the summer. We sorted through over 300 applications and chose only five circus artists. A very important deciding factor was finding artists who were proficient in many fields such as aerial, ground acrobatics, dance and even singing.
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Continued From 38 Does your work influence other parts Are there any words of of the show? Costume Design? Song inspiration you would like to give our readers? choice? Lighting? M&F: Since the circus can have a
high risk factor we have to work very closely with the costumer to make sure the costumes do not inhibit the artists’ movements. The costumes on Orchid have been designed to actually help the acrobats perform more efficiently. Lights are also crucial to making the performance as safe as possible, i.e. no strobing lights, plenty of visible floor space.
Are there plans to take Orchid on the road similar to Cirque shows?
M&F: Strive to do what makes you happy. Hard work really does pay off!
Do you have any future plans for new shows?
M&F: We will continue to create shows and do corporate galas through our company AcroArts Productions and have a very busy year planned for 2013!
M&F: We all have very high hopes There you have it. Michael and for Orchid and would love to see the show do a US or even World Tour.
Francois have worked very hard to create an artistic view that will leave you breathless and engaged in the show. So if you’re looking
for an amazing way to spend an evening just before the holidays with your special someone, reserve your VIP table today to take part of this 19th Century throwback to the Pleasure Garden.
For more information, check out www.theorchidshow.com for details and to purchase tickets.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 39
By RYAN DIXON
Courtesy of media gio
How to make it:
Gay porn insiders dish out what it takes to make it in the world’s sexiest business
illions of dollars are spent by gay men all over the world on virtual fantasies. Gay porn serves as an outlet for gay men to relieve stress and to live vicarious lives through the people they see on the screen. Porn is a powerful tool in the way we have sex. You know you’ve tried some crazy positions that you’ve seen on screen. No matter what you’ve seen, though, no one moans like that while having sex. When trying to figure out what it takes to get into the industry and make a living out of it, SFGN went straight to the source and talked with a current star in Shane Front and a former star in Ryan Raz. Frost and Raz both broke onto the gay porn scene around five years ago, and both took very different, yet successful, paths. Frost has done most of the grunt work on his own, while Raz relied mostly on the talents of the gay porn industry’s premier booking agent, Howard Andrew from Fabscout. Frost was quick to say that the guys at Fabscout did help him with booking studios, but his climb to porn stardom, including award nominations and cohosting award shows, is due mostly to his ability to promote himself. Equipped with mugs, calendars and a smile that melts hearts, Frost gives credit where 40 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
credit is due – the Internet. “I owe it all to the Internet. If this was 1995, I would never have made it,” Frost said. “The things we can do these days is amazing.” Frost holds nothing back when interacting with fans. If there was a king of social media use, Frost would be the hands down favorite. “Being online allows me the time to talk to fans and so much more. If a person has a good head on their shoulders, the sky is the limit on how much selfpromotion one can do,” Frost said. Ok, self-promotion keeps you in porn, but how do you get that first start? Raz says he never questioned whether or not to do porn. “I first got into porn simply because there was a small studio filming in St. Louis and somebody approached me and asked if I wanted to do it,” Raz said. “There wasn’t a question.” Frost’s experience is a story of saying no, saying yes, and being almost scared away from what he’s now become. “My best friend Luke Hass kind of talked me into doing it. He had a website at the time and wanted me to go in on it,” Frost said. For over a year Frost said no because he thought he was too shy and couldn’t do it. A break up with his then-boyfriend and
Ryan Raz financial hardship is what he says pushed him in front of the camera. “I found myself in about $20,000 in debt,” Frost said. “Shy or not, I did it, and as they say, the rest is history.” Frost said his first shoot was from hell. He said the shoot was exactly what he heard they were all about: drugs, booze and fluffers. “Yeah, my first set had the whole nine yards,” Frost said with a scoff. “I owe ‘Shane Frost’ to Anthony Durran. He liked my look enough to get me in the door with Falcon.” With the backing of “superagent” Howard Andrew and his Fabscout modeling agency, Raz ascending the porn ranks, holding an exclusive contract with Raging Stallion Studios. Raz retired from filming less than a year ago, but still maintains a high profile in the business. “Somehow after four and a half years I’m still around working in the adult industry,” Raz said. “It’s like I never quit.” Raz is often seen still hanging
with his porn counterparts at parties all over the world when he’s not running off with friends to Disney or tucked away in his home in St. Louis. Raz’s outlook on his porn past is one of memories but not regret. “I have no regrets about doing porn,” Raz said, “but there are very few of my life decisions that I actually do miss.” Raz said if he wasn’t still working in the adult industry that he would definitely miss it. “Fortunately I still get to be involved,” Raz said. We now see that getting into porn takes determination and the help of others to put your face and body in front of the studios who write the checks. But what makes a star? What does it REALLY take to survive in the business? “In order to make a living doing porn you need to possess three of the following four features: ass, face, body and dick,” Raz said. Raz also said the rules and
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PHOTO BY David massie
HEAD TO TOE:
COVERED IN RAINBOW
Name: Natashia Milburn Age: 22 Occupation: Aspiring tattoo model State: Arizona
ilburn has been featured in a Corvettes & Cuties calendar 2012, the Corv-ette & Cuties website, the Dianna Prince Holiday magazine, as well as working with various clothing designers for runway
42 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
shows. “The inspiration for these rainbow photographs came from a Halloween themed shoot I was invited to. I wanted to be the ‘Rainbow Goddess’ for Halloween,” she told the Mirror. “I feel that title suits me pretty well as I am a lesbian and proud of it.”
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR
BY jason parsley
PHOTOs BY Rick day
Sports & Sexuality
Rick Day’s Latest Erotic Book: All Players
ick Day is back…again. This time with All Players, his final installment to his popular photography series featuring sports and sexuality. The men, beautiful, ripped and hard are displayed in sports outfits or with accessories like basket balls and footballs. Two thirds of the book is comprised of men featured in his first
What inspired this photography series? A: After seeing how immensely
two books Players and Players Two. The other third are new models. Even though this book is featured in our “coffee table” section be careful of actually leaving it out on the coffee table. Few books can match the eroticism found in Day’s works. And your relatives may not appreciate the work quite as much as you.
popular David Beckham was in the Emporio Armani underwear ads...I mean women loved him... gay men wanted to be with him.. and straight men were not uncomfortable saying he was good looking. I personally thought he was ok... but the guys I had been shooting were waaaaaaaay sexier... so I decided to shoot men in various forms of undress as athletes... pushing the sexuality button a bit. 44 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
Did you originally think it would What’s your favorite photo in be a series? the book? A: I originally only planned for A: I have two that I really love.... 1 book.
How does All Players differ from the first two books? A: Well All Players is the end of
the series. And the publishing house... Bruno Gmuender and I thought it would be a great way to end the series with a extra large size book... I think it may be the biggest book they have published. So it was 1/3 of Players... 1/3 of Players Two and 1/3 of new men.
the boy with the really hairy blonde ass... and the shot of the back and ass with Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man tattoo. Each picture brings back something special to me.
What’s the biggest challenge of putting a book like this together? How much time does it really take? A: The challenge is finding just
the right guys. Great faces.
Amazing bodies. Endowed with an ass...that are willing to let you shoot them for this book. Each book got a bit easier to find men. I usually shot 4 men a week for a year. Unfortunately not all of the guys made it to the book.
What’s the best part of your job? Worst part? A: The best part to me is the
shooting and getting to know each of the athletes. The worst part was the long hours spent
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Continued From 44 in front of the camera editing the pics and having to decide who makes the cut...deciding how erotic...finding that fine line that makes it just right.
enjoying the process of creating this book.
Hardcover: 288 pages
What’s next for you? Any more Players books in the works? A: No more players books, and
while I am sure there are a few that wish there were more to come, I am sure there are many that are glad its done. I have 2 books that I have been working on. The first is about my real muse and our interesting relationship of artist, model and friendship. The second book is tentatively titled “castings,” a kind of behind the scenes book on how we decide the model selection, story boarding, location scouting and final production. I am really
Publisher: Bruno Gmunder Verlag Gmbh
Language: English ISBN-10: 3867874204
Size: 11.7 x 1.4 x 15.2 inches
Weight: 8.5 pounds List Price: $174.99 (Amazon; $110.24: Barnes & Noble; $118.11)
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 45
By JASON PARSLEY
The many faces of
What do you think it looks like?
FREDDIE MERCURY Singer. Gay. Lead vocalist for the rock band Queen. He was known for his flamboyant style and four-octave range. Rumored to have had HIV for years he never confirmed it until the night before his death. Died in 1991 at the age of 45. 46 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
n this two-page spread we wanted to showcase some of the famous people who had, or still have HIV. Some are recognizable like Freddie Mercury, others like Reggie Williams, maybe not so much. Some are gay, some straight. Some alive, some already passed on. Some contracted the virus through sex, others through blood transfusions or drug use.
Some are known for their athleticism, others their activism. The one thing they all have in common is that they were, or are, infected with a deadly disease that has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S. and tens of millions around the world. Here we showcase just a few of the many faces of HIV.
Rebekka Armstrong Playboy Playmate. Lesbian. She appeared in Playboyâ€™s September 1986 issue. Sheâ€™s now a competitive bodybuilder, as well as an HIV/AIDS awareness activist, safe sex educator, and a spokeswoman for several HIV-related charity groups. (www.RebekkaArmstrong.com)
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Activist. Gay. Former head of the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention, which focused on the plight of HIV-infected minorities. Also helped found the National Association of Black and White Men Together. He died in 1999 at the age of 47. (www.ReggieWilliams.net)
Greg louganis Competitive diver. Gay. Went on to win Olympic Gold at the 1988 Games despite striking the back of his head on the springboard during the preliminaries. Thirtyfive minutes after the accident and after receiving stitches to his scalp, he resumed diving. The following day, he hit all 11 dives and easily won the Olympic Gold Medal. (www.GregLouganis.com)
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By RYAN DIXON
The Dixon Looking back on a healing process that’s yet to end
’ve been HIV positive for a little of four years now. My experience with the virus has been a tumultuous ride full of ups and downs. I’ve had to learn to cope with different emotions
and physical happenings at the same time. I’ve been blessed to have a lot of help along the way, unlike many people who are struggling with this disease. In Sept. 2012, I started an HIV
medicine study, taking medication to manage my HIV for the first time in my life. I decided to document my experience with the medication as a tool for others living with HIV. I know not everyone is privileged to
have the support I do. My diary is just my way of trying to help others. I’ve decided to go back through my old entries and give some commentary or updates to them and fill you in on my progress.
September 1, 2012 It was a very surreal moment. Staring at two white and one blue pill in my hand brought a flood of thoughts that have passed my mind in the last three and a half years, most of them suppressed. I know that HIV isn’t “killing” me, but what I do know is that I finally need help to get my virus under control. It’s a very sobering thought that I need help. I’ve always thought of myself as a trooper, able to push through anything. That’s how I approached HIV. Apparently some battles are too large for me to fight on my own. I know this isn’t me showing any signs of weakness.
September 19, 2012 I’m not usually one to complain, but my doctor’s appointment left me completely exhausted. It started at 7:30 in the morning and ended around 6 in the evening. This study is going to prove to be rewarding for others, but right now it sucks for me. I had blood drawn every hour on the hour for the close to 12 hours I was there. The goal was to see the progression of the medicine in my blood throughout a day.
My first entry was a very emotional one for me. I often wondered if keyboards show tear stains like writing paper does. My emotions aren’t running as high now – I’ve grown accustomed to being on medicine now. I’ve defeated the demon that was telling me I was sick because I was taking medicine. All I think about now is tomorrow.
That visit was truly the visit from hell. The first few weeks on the medicine left me tired physically and mentally. I had to adhere to taking my medicine at a very strict time of 8 a.m. for the first month or two. I wasn’t used to getting up before 10 in the morning. I know an hour and a half doesn’t seem like a lot, but just the thought of it was enough to slow my body down drastically. I now believe that keeping my life simple and stress-free has helped me immensely with my energy.
October 11, 2012 I’ve fallen victim to the superficial gods of the gay community. Last night I was at porn bingo to visit my friend that was appearing there. He tried to get me to take my shirt off, and I was quite embarrassed. I don’t look like I did three years ago. I’m certainly not out of shape, but God knows I wish I was back to where I was. I have such a fear of having that “AIDS look.” Gay people know what lipodystrophy looks like and who has it. I’m so self-conscious about my appearance, just as I was when I was in high school. 48 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
I have to admit that I still haven’t addressed my weight in the way that I wanted to. I’m still so self-conscious about my appearance that I find myself not wanting to be naked in front of my boyfriend until the lights are off. I’m trying my best, but my best doesn’t seem to be enough. I am resolute that I will be in the shape I want to be, just not right now.
October 25, 2012 I think stigma affects every single person in the world in one form or another, some of us more than others. As a gay man with HIV, I believe I face a specific stigma from both the gay and heterosexual communities. People think I’m dirty. When a guy I completely hit it off with holds reservations back from me because he doesn’t want to hurt my feeling means stigma still exists. He was afraid of me, he was afraid of my HIV. I just don’t get it. To me, a person is taking the same risk knowing my status as opposed to not knowing some other person. Yet people still think they can get “insta-AIDS” just by drinking after me.
November 15, 2012 Half way through my third month on HIV medication and I’m feeling like I’m back at week one. I’ve been battling stomach issues so much the last week. I don’t know what is going on. I talked to my doctor over the phone, and he too is confused as to the reasons behind these stomach issues. He’s thinking to have me go and get tested for Crohn’s Disease. I told him that a sensitive stomach runs in the family. I’ve had to miss work because of these issues and I find my productivity slipping. I’ve been so fatigued and dehydrated. The dehydration comes from constantly having to go to the bathroom, and not replenishing my liquids like I should be. The fatigue keeps me in bed when I’m not in the bathroom. I then have to push myself harder at work when I do feel up to par, just so I don’t fall behind on my assignments. I want work to be in the paper – what journalist doesn’t want to be in print? But, I’ve had to hold things off or completely disregard them because like my stomach, they’re time-sensitive.
All I have to say is thank God I have a boyfriend two months after this was written. I was so discouraged that I wasn’t going to find a person in my city that could see me for just me – not for what is inside me. My boyfriend is positive like me, so that has helped me a lot with dealing with my medication. He knows what I’m going through. He can sympathize when I tell him my stomach is giving me trouble. Dating him means so much to me. I’m a lucky guy.
Issues with my stomach are going to continue, I think. My doctor and I discussed the situation of me having Crohn’s because treating me for it will be difficult since we don’t know how the medication will react. I’m trying to adjust my diet to my stomach the best I can, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I can’t get in to see a specialist any time soon because apparently everyone in Broward County has stomach issues like me. I just want it to all to go away. All in all, my experience with this medication has been a positive one. I don’t regret starting it. The main reason I set out on this journey was the chance to help others and myself. I hope people will benefit from me taking this medicine, because I know it has helped me. I feel as if I have been given a shot of adrenaline. My energy has returned, and I’m able to do things I hadn’t in four years. The gym isn’t taxing anymore and my job doesn’t suck the life out of me. Aside from the medication, I think quitting Starbucks and starting at a newspaper was the best decision for me. I leave work now with new worries – my stress has nearly vanished. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s responsibilities except for mine now. Three months of four years down, and a lifetime of happiness and health to look forward to.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR | 49
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Robert Mapplethorpe Photographer. Gay. He was known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and nude men, which featured homoeroticism. He died in 1989 at the age of 42. His work lives on through The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, which also funds medical research in the fight against AIDS.
Elizabeth Glaser Activist. Straight. Founded the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and passed the virus to both of her children. Her daughter Ariel died in 1988. Glaser died in 1994 at the age of 47. (www.PedAIDS.org)
Gia Carangi Model. Bisexual. Some consider her to be the first supermodel. After she became addicted to heroin, her modeling career declined. Also one of the first famous women to die from AIDS. She died in 1986 at the age of 26. (www.GiaCarangi.com) 50 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
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Continued From 40 game changes if a guy is one of those with a “body that is insane or a huge dick.” Frost agrees with Raz, but takes it a step farther saying that a person’s personality can outshine the lack of certain features. “I really believe that one needs to have a good personality and a good head on their shoulders to make it in this business. That or a good agent holding their hand the entire way,” Frost said. Frost said he’s seen his fair share of “hot guys” that don’t make it past the year or twoyear mark because they lack one or both of those two important characteristics. “This is a tough, cut throat business, especially when the cameras are off. If a model is not careful, they can get lost in it all very
quickly,” Frost said. His boyfriend is the one that keeps him grounded, sane and true to who he really is. Hot body – check. Nice ass – check. Big dick – check. Now what? Raz offers one last piece of advice to prospective future porn stars. Be sure you want this. “I say the same thing every time someone asks me to get them into porn, ‘make sure this is what you want to do, because it is going to be around forever’,” Raz said. “If twenty years down the road you don’t want people seeing it, don’t do it,” he added. Raz has a point. Unless you’re the one that invents it, there’s no magic delete button on the Internet.
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How did you become an HIV activist? After I finished freaking out in the early years, I felt I needed to give back and become a part of this movement, especially since I’m one of the fortunate ones doing well. I started delivering foods with Gods Love We Deliver while I was on lunch at work. Basically it’s for people who are home bound with AIDS. You bring them food. I would run around and deliver to like 10 people and go back to work. I was supportive of AIDS walks and the charity events that would go on as well. And then Project Runway came along. I had been positive for like 18 years already. The producers asked me if I would talk about it on the air. And I was like, “Me? Yeah, I don’t care.” I didn’t really think about the impact that would have. But the HIV community was so desperate for some person to relate to it. Overnight it exploded. Except for the winner of the season, the producers were like, “You have the most press requests of anyone we’ve ever had on the show.” People were just dying to hear my story. It was crazy. But then I started to think that maybe this is my new purpose in life, be an activist and role model for those who can’t speak on their own and don’t have a voice.
Lately, Project Runway has been doing some all-star shows. Will we see you on a future season?
[Laughs] No. I love the show and franchise and I totally support it, but that ship sailed for me.
Why do you think you had such an impact on the show despite having to withdraw from competition early? That one moment of saying I’m HIV positive and they show me I’m taking my pills. It looks like I’m taking 500 pills but actually I was taking 54 | THE MIRROR | WINTER 2012/13
a lot of multi-vitamin pills as well. They made it this very dramatic moment, which is fine, for some people it really needs to be dramatic. If I would have just said off the cuff, “Oh, by the way, I’m HIV positive,” which is how I act, I think most of America would have been like “What? I don’t get that.” For me, it’s really commonplace but for most people it’s like, “What the fuck?” It was a big moment for a lot of people, especially young people, who can’t relate to Magic Johnson. Or don’t think they know anyone that’s HIV positive.
How did the show affect your HIV activism? People feel really shameful and isolated. So for me just to be out there, bigger than life and say, “Here I am. Here’s my story.” I think a lot of people really appreciate that. So that’s why I continue to do it. People always say, “Oh, you’re always naked.” Well, you know what, I’m from the Ben Cohen school of thought. He has this amazing organization, the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, and he’s like, “If I take my clothes off and people pay attention to my issues that I’m speaking about, I’m happy to do it.” I feel the same way. I know if I do an article and just talk about HIV activism people will appreciate it, and say, “That’s nice.” But if I take my shirt off and show my ass, ten times more people will read the article so that’s my approach.
Anything else you’d like to add? If there is anyone who is HIV positive out and are freaking out, feel free to reach out to me. I’m totally accessible. It’s really easy to get a hold of me. I have 5 Facebook pages. I’m on Twitter. I’m the only Jack Mackenroth in the whole world. Single? And dating like a tramp. [Laughs]. 43, but feel free to typo that and I also live in South Beach. Near Flamingo Park. Lennox.
WINTER 2012/13 | THE MIRROR
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