C O N V E R S AT I O N PLUS!
with TUV Editor’s
ORANGE MOUND to T H E S TA R S DON’T MISS IT!
Miss Sophia The Real Gay Queen Of Comedy RADIO PERSONALITY | COMEDIAN | HOST | THE REAL QUEEN O F C O M E DY With a Career spanning over 25+ years Miss Sophia McIntosh is still touring and in high demand. Sophia is also the premiere host for Black PRIDES, Pageants and shows all over the country.
Trent Simmons is a Celebrity Make-Up Artist to some of Hollywood Biggest Stars
DAQ UA N STUDWOOD Plus Size Male Model Determined to Change Beauty Standards
B L AC K PRIDES
The argument for existence inside an ecosystem of privilege
L OV I N G
Mother’s Day Letter of Support & Hope
THE PRIDE I S SUE
IMPORTANT FACTS FOR BIKTARVY®
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MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BIKTARVY
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIKTARVY
BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including:
BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: � Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section. � Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that may have been hidden in your body. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY. � Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY. � Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. � Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. � The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%).
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HOW TO TAKE BIKTARVY Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food.
GET MORE INFORMATION � This is only a brief summary of important information
about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.
� Go to BIKTARVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 � If you need help paying for your medicine,
visit BIKTARVY.com for program information.
BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, KEEP CREATING, and LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. Version date: February 2021 © 2021 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. BVYC0370 04/21
| THE UNLEASHED VOICE
CHAD LIVING WITH HIV SINCE 2018 REAL BIKTARVY PATIENT
Because HIV doesn’t change who you are.
BIKTARVY® is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in certain adults. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.
Ask your healthcare provider if BIKTARVY is right for you. See Chad’s story at BIKTARVY.com. Featured patient compensated by Gilead.
Please see Important Facts about BIKTARVY, including important warnings, on the previous page and visit BIKTARVY.com. THE UNLEASHED VOICE |
Ad Deadline June 12, 2021
Next Issue July | August 2021
10Cover & Story 11 Sophia McIntosh Comedian, Actress, Radio Personality 06 | Editor’s Letter Gwendolyn D. Clemons
Dr. Davin D. Clemons, DMin
15 | Spirituality
20 | Loving Our LGBTQ Children
Beth Trouy Our Glorious Wounds
16 | Fashion URBAN SAUCE One To Watch
19 | Special Contributor Marvin Anderson My Why Was Simply An Answer
08 & 09 Special Feature Trent Simmons Celebrity Make-up Artist
22 | Wedding Announcements Meet The McCarleys Meet The Starnes
23 | Opinion Why Are Black Prides Important?
24 | Schedule The Tristate Black Pride
Health & Wellness 4
Diandra Marie Mental Health Advocate
Entertainment News DaQuan Studwood Modeling Advocate for Inclusivity
Shawn M. Clemons Administration/ Fashion Director
Gregory Graphics Layout/Design
Diandra Marie Guest Contributor
Monick Monell Talent Director & New York Correspondent
Whitney Johnson Chief Editor
Renae Taylor Transgender Correspondent
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Finding My Why! and why I could not catch a break. I had been
a mental prison that I needed to be freed
not even get an interview. I was qualified and,
each time I poured out to others, GOD was
applying to different employers and could
in my opinion, met and exceeded most of the qualifications for the jobs I were applying for. In the midst of my outburst, it seemed that GOD appeared in the passenger seat and
began to answer my questions. Someone
everything would be alright.
I spent the next 10 years working for my
employer, but I was no longer working in
torment. It was clear that my purpose was
tied to my work and that the greater good I
was providing daily would benefit me in the
my way to work.
This morning was
different because I
was incredibly sad and
crying. It was almost 6 a.m.,
and I was having an intimate conversation
with GOD about my desire to find a better job
free and no longer a prisoner anymore to the many demons I was battling.
career that saved my life. I owe a lot to Shelby
crying but walking with a certainty that
Memphis, TN on
walls. I found that I could not leave until I was
my ride. During this 20-minute drive, I asked time I had made it to work, I was no longer
1-240 loop in
found my why while working within the prison
On April 06, 2021, I bid farewell to my
questions out loud, and I got answers. By the
I was riding the
building and restoring me for my NEXT! I
was in the car with me because I felt a sense of calm energy enter the car with me during
ne gloomy morning,
from. I had a great deal of healing to do, and
next position that GOD was preparing me for. I worked in Corrections as a Supervisor over
employer after 25 years of dedication to a
County Government Division of Corrections
because that place raised me into the woman I am today. I thank GOD for not taking her hands off me and for providing me with a
vision to see what was in store for me once
I had completed my assignment. The strong sense of WHY I was assigned to work with
the “least of these” is tied to the work I am
committed to continuing for the rest of my
life. What other way is there to live a life other than one of service?
a Behavioral Modifications Unit. I worked
Welcome to the 2021 PRIDE Issue! PRIDE
spent the latter part of my 25-year tenure
celebrate collectively around the world about
in the “Belly of the Beast,” as we called it. I helping incarcerated men so that when they returned to society, they would be better than when they had entered the prison.
Initially, I thought my job was to help others, but this is the place where I found and
received my healing. I was in my own prison,
Month is the time where LGBTQ folks
the beauty of living their “Otherness”. This is
the time when the Stonewall riots of 1969 are commemorated as a place where Queer and
Trans folks changed the dynamics of how we chose to be seen. In this issue, we celebrate the impact LGBTQ people have had in their respective communities, organizations, cultures, and families.
ON THE COVER: MISS SOPHIA MCINTOSH is the Real Gay Queen of Comedy. Miss Sophia has a
career that has spanned a period of over
25+ years of hosting prime time radio, TV, pageants, and Gay Prides. We celebrate
Miss Sophia for all of her contributions to LGBTQ culture though comedy! Be Well and Do Well My friends,
Gwendolyn D. Clemons, 6
| EDITOR’S LETTER
Black Gay Prides s we enter the 2021 Gay Pride Month of June in the midst of a
global pandemic, I just sit and think about how we made it over and
survived thus far with all of the adversities in our way. Here in Memphis,
TN we will be celebrating Black Gay Pride, known as Tri State Black Pride,
and 2021’s theme is “Doing It For The Culture”. However, I also really like NYC’s
Gay Pride Theme, “The Fight Continues”, which reflects the multitude of battles that have been fought both throughout the country and the city.
NYC’s theme resonates with me as we struggle to gain funding to host Black Gay Pride in Memphis. The fight continues as we compete with White Gay Pride, who
gets all of the funding without any resistance from the powers that be. It’s the same
song year after year: We send requests for sponsorship to entities who make millions off of black folks’ bodies in
the industries of medicine, retail, and government, but we can’t get a dime back in return. As the fight continues,
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
These systemically different experiences in Gay Pride events across the nation exacerbate the need for more
wealth in Black Gay Pride, but also make it more difficult to build that wealth in the first place. Making sure that Black Gay Prides have the same access to funding as White Gay Prides does not only require equal funding opportunities, but also requires new and innovative approaches to shrinking the racial wealth gap.
In order to accomplish this task at hand, the Black Gay Prides must adopt tenets of Black Nationalism, which believed that equality could only happen if there was an independent African American
community. Since Black Nationalists believed that equality could only happen through the creation of an independent society, they advocated for the economic and social empowerment of black folks. The ironic thing is that black folks still don’t work together in 2021 as we continue to fight against the establishment, but the fight continues. We must do better, and we have to do better, in order to stay in the fight.
Now, listen up Black Gay Prides: Make your next move your best
move, and let’s find out where
the money resides!
Dr. Davin D. Clemons, DMin.
EDITOR’S LETTER |
rent Simmons aka “Make Up Surgeon” is a native Memphian born and raised in Orange Mound.
Trent was raised by his grandmother along with his two siblings Memphis, TN because of his mother’s
battled substance abuse. The rough streets of Orange Mound served Trent many life lessons, some that
helped shaped his successful career as a Make-Up Artist. In Trent own words, here is his story!
Growing up in the streets of Orange Mound was difficult in many ways, I was constantly under peer pressure
to be like my environment. I had my share of dealing
with the wrong crowd and doing things I know were not
favorable or conducive to a healthy and meaningful life.
My grandmother took me to Mt. Gilliam MBC Church where I learned to play the organ and sing in the choir. This was where I got an understanding of faith and God’s favor. Church taught me to take
accountability for my actions. Church also taught me that what I put out in the world is what I would
get in return. These teachings helped me later in life
because the Favor of God protected me in situations where many did not survive.
E A R LY Y E A R S !
I attended Melrose High School and dropped out in the 11th grade and welcomed my son in the world
| THE UNLEASHED VOICE
at 17 years of age. During this time, I had a lot on my plate and because I thought I was grown I made a
lot of mistakes. I understand now that I made them
because I did not have the necessary tools to navigate life at that age. This lack of knowledge led me to
make many bad decisions. I can remember working at a warehouse and being paid minimum wage. My grandmother told me that I better keep that job
because I would never get a job better than what I had. I did not hold what she said to me against her because I understood she was projecting her fears on to me.
However, I knew that I wanted my life to be different
than the one she had seen for me and different from what I had seen from everyone else in my hood.
I came out as a gay man 2 months before my 19th
birthday. While eating at a local restaurant I ran into one
of my childhood friends Keosha Cassadine.
operating in my calling. I finally was hired
and I later promoted to doing the main cast
woman. She invited me to go out with her
fine tune my craft.
God because things were finally starting
Keosha was now living as a transgendered to this club called N-Cognito and I obliged.
That was one of the best experiences of my life. I saw so many different people. I saw so many variations of gay. I saw feminine and
masculine guys, as we called them back then
Drag Queens. I was in awe!!! I was speechless. I fell in love with this club and wanted to go every time it opened. I later quit the job at
the warehouse. Yes, the one my grandmother told me to never quit because I wanted to
hang out and be at Gay club and get my life!
M Y G AY FA M I LY, THE CASSADINE’S
by MAC Cosmetics where I learned how to Prior to working at MAC Cosmetics, I
only knew how to do Drag Makeup. This
opportunity to final land my dream job with
a brand that helped develop my artistry and
creativity. As faith would have it, I grew tired
of working at a makeup counter and wanted something different, something bigger,
something more challenging so I moved
to Atlanta, GA. I worked at the MAC store
and met so many talented people. Prior to
moving to ATL, I was told by so many people not to move there. They felt that it would be harder for me to make a name for myself.
the next season. All this time I was thanking to pay off, but this was a new level. At the same time, I was also about to encounter a different devil. I went through so much drama dealing with the entertainment
industry. Everyone looks at these types of
opportunities from the outside and think it is so glamorous. But what they don’t know is that this business is not for the weak hearted. You must have tough skin and
you must cover yourself with the armor of
God because it’s a lot of hard work. I am so grateful for being in this business because it’s been very lucrative and rewarding.
Because there were so many established
I have had the grand opportunity to work
and taught me about the gay families. It was
refused to listen and leaned on my faith
places because of my talent. I have worked
each other with hugs. I saw so much talent
to lose? I was young, carefree, and I took a
at the Drag Shows and trying to figure out
They were right. ATL was over saturated with
why was their makeup so extreme? Why was
the makeup industry. I was knocked on my
This journey has been both rewarding and
I later met Tanisha Cassadine and she was
to Memphis. I moved to Atlanta a total of 4
a place that I prayed to God to grant me
humble opinion, she took to me and I moved
knew you couldn’t make it there.” But that
makeup for shows and pageants and I was so
determined to make it. What my critics did
was applying makeup. I asked her to teach me
I planted a seed, and I watered those seeds
good thing is, I knew how to draw so it was
When it was time to reap my harvest, it was
faces” (doing make-up) and practicing on any
vain. I’ve learned that sometimes times you
to “paint” exactly like her, but she always
when you think it won’t work and that’s what
Keosha Cassadine became my “Gay Mom”
makeup artists already there. However, I
like a new world to me, everyone greeted
and took a chance anyway. What did I have
living under one roof. I remember looking
chance and leaped.
how did the queens had hips and breast and
people trying to come up or make a name in
their hair so big?
butt a few times and had to come back home
the beat drag makeup artist in Memphis in my
times and of course I heard “I told you” or “I
in with her. She would always do everyone’s
did not stop me or deter me because I was
enamored and fascinated with the way she
not know is that every time I moved to ATL
and allow me to shadow her and she did. The
with patience, tenacity, resilience, and faith.
easy for me to catch on. I started “painting
plentiful because all my hard work was not in
and everyone who would allow me. I wanted
have to fight through tough situations even
challenged me and encouraged me to create
my childhood and upbringing taught me.
because it paid off big time!
my own style and that was a great lesson
with many celebrities and travel to many
with Brandy, Yolanda Adams, Angela Bassett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and the list go on and on. I worked on several TV shows and
movies like The Game, Sunday Best, Hunger Games, Star, and Coming to America 2.
hard, but I am so thankful because I’m in access too. I spoke these things into my
life. I have learned that you must be very
careful of what you call into your life. Your
words have power so speak greatness over
yourself and it will come. It’s called POSITIVE AFFIRMATION!
I would not change my journey for anything because everything I’ve been through was necessary to get to this place. My best advice is to Dream Big and don’t listen
to the naysayers! Surround yourself with
people who believe in your vision and want to see you win. Fall as many times as you
need to, just remember to get back up and dust yourself off and try again. Every time
In ATL I met the soul singer named Angie
you fall you learn more about what you
At first, I didn’t know you could get paid
shoot, she created a glam squad agency
unapologetically great! We all deserve to
just to do someone makeup. I would later
introduced me to some ladies who did make
doing it. Thank you, Gwen Clemons and The
I worked different jobs to have a stable life,
working on a tv show called “The Game.”
light on me. I’m humbled!
DISCOVERING MY GIFT
Stone. After doing her makeup for a photo
need to make it through your journey. Be
to do makeup, I thought it was a privilege
called First Class Glam Squad. Angie
do what we love and to make a great living
learn that it was very lucrative occupation.
up for TV and Film and they were currently
Unleashed Voice magazine, for shining this
but I was never happy because I was not
I was brought to do background make-up THE UNLEASHED VOICE |
TELL US ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF MISS SOPHIA MCINTOSH. Originally, my name was Vanessa, after Vanessa
Williams. But once she got dethroned, I decided I
had to change my name. So, since I was majoring in theater at the time, I took the “Sophia” from Sophia Loren’s name because she was just a
beautiful actress who always had everything in
place every time I saw her. Her hair, her make-up, her outfit, the way she talked, I just admired all
of that about her. And then since I was minoring in computer science, I took the McIntosh from
Macintosh computers. Back then my singing girl was Diana Ross, though, so if she had already
been an actress at that time, it probably would have been Diana McIntosh.
Miss Sophia is based on women that I grew up with and women that I’ve met throughout my journey.
| COVER STORY
Everything is rooted in gospel. With all of the strong black women who were in my life, my mother, my grandmothers
on both sides, my aunts, everything was rooted in religion, Jesus, God. And that’s why when I do shows, the majority of the time, I’m going to do a gospel song. When I first
started doing the shows, a lot of people had issues with me doing gospel songs, saying, “How can you be doing gospel in the club?” But to me, it’s like, “God is everywhere. God
knows where I am. God knows what I’m doing. Everybody else is paying homage to the R&B, and the rap, and blues, so why not give God a slot?” Now I notice people look
forward to somebody doing the gospel because people are going through so many different things. People look forward to that because a lot of people don’t even go to
church because they’re so turned off by the church now.
So, a lot of times that’s the only religion some people get, is somebody doing a gospel number on a show. So now more people are doing gospel than ever before. It’s no longer like, “Oh, I wouldn’t dare do gospel in the club.”
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO THE LONGEVITY OF YOUR CAREER AND STAYING SO RELENTLESSLY IN DEMAND FOR ALL THESE YEARS? One, it’s always God. Everything, like I
said, is rooted in God and being guided
by Him, knowing that he is using you, and you’re just the instrument He is using to
get His message across. So, I always say, “Thy will be done.” And then also being
current and knowing what’s going on in the world, not just what’s going on in the gay community. What’s going on in politics? MISS SOPHIA MCINTOSH IS A LGBTQ LEGEND in comedy and real life. Sophia McIntosh who
real name is Joe Taylor is known as one of the top
premier host for pageants, LGBTQ Prides, and parties
across the nation. Once a
radio host on V103 Atlanta
radio station she now airing daily on WERU radio and YouTube nightly.
What better way to pay
homage to a legend other than by celebrating them while they are living!
I can’t tell you how many times people come up to me after a show, even just me doing
my comedy, making people laugh, or doing gospel songs, and they’ll say, “My friends
know that I haven’t laughed in a while, and they wanted me to come here. And just
being here with you, this is the first time I
have laughed in a long time. I lost my mom, I lost my sister, I lost my grandmother, I
lost somebody, I was diagnosed with this,
I’m dealing with this, I’m dealing with that.” People come up to you, and they let you
know, “You made me laugh and forget about
all the things that I’ve been dealing with. So I just wanted to thank you.” So, when you get
stuff like that, that’s confirmation that you’re doing the right thing, and that there is no
issue. God doesn’t have a problem with you doing gospel in the club.
What’s going on in sports? What’s going on in entertainment? What’s going on
internationally? What are the breaking news stories every day? Then you’re relevant
WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP THAT WE SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO CHECKING OUT?
because your stuff is not something that
I was on the first episode and the season
stuff that you’re up on now. I didn’t wait until
Experience on WE TV, so that whole first
you’re dealing with from back in the day. It’s a black president was running before I got involved in politics. I was already involved in politics, so that way I could explain to
newcomers what was going on because I
already know how the government works. I’m already up on what’s going on with
tennis because I was watching it before
Venus and Serena became hot. I’m already up on what’s going on with basketball and football because those are sports that I
like. And because I was into entertainment, and reporting on entertainment, I had to
be on top of what was relevant. When you
know this stuff, you can put your own spin on it. Anybody can tell you what’s going
on. But you have to have something that’s
different about you and the way you deliver it, so you’re giving something that nobody else is giving. Everyone is reporting on
Serena Williams and Tiger Woods winning
tournaments, but what makes the difference is the stuff you add to it. It’s just like they say with singers, “Anybody can sing
finale episode of the TS Madison
season is done and online. Before the
pandemic, I was already on the road with
TS Madison and Funky Dineva, as a part of The Queens Supreme Court. So now that
they’re getting this Covid-19 under control
with a lot of people taking their vaccinations and a lot of stuff opening back up, we’re
looking forward to going back out on the road. It looks like our first show back is going to be in Philadelphia.
I’m getting ready to also select a venue to do a comedy workshop, a comedy
masterclass in Atlanta during this summer, for people who want to do shows and
people who want to do comedy because a lot of people are hitting me up and asking me about that. I’m also getting a group of
people together to work on an anniversary
celebration of me being in the entertainment industry all these years, and I may decide to do that in Houston since that’s where I’m from originally.
a Whitney Houston song, but we don’t need
Besides those events in the works, Club Chit
mimicking Whitney Houston. We need you
streaming on weekdays from 2:00 to 6:00
that I do with stories that I’m covering, or
Traffik, here in Atlanta, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00
own spin and how I deliver it.
of the month, we do another brunch with
you sounding like Whitney Houston and
Chat With Miss Sophia is on WERUradio.com,
to make it your own.” So, it’s the same thing
p.m. I also host a brunch every Sunday at
when I’m doing entertainment. It’s just my
p.m. And on the first and last Saturday dinner called DRAGAKON at 6:30 p.m.
COVER STORY |
IF YOU WANT A SINGING CAREER, STAY AWAY FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE.
Ellie, Age 57 Her partner, Karen Florida
Ellie’s severe asthma attacks were triggered by secondhand smoke at work. She and her partner have to live with its effects forever. If you or someone you know wants free help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. #CDCTips
EDITOR’S LETTER |
on definition alone, our Pride is rooted in how we see ourselves. How we see
ourselves is rooted in our psyche, so our mental health plays a big part in 1, how
we perceive ourselves and our value, and 2, how we justifiably love ourselves. If
we are struggling with our mental health, we are less likely to see ourselves as
worthy and special, placed here to fulfill a purpose. We lose our sense of Pride and feel like we are just another number in
this world, with no one who cares or loves us (including ourselves). Lack of Pride
to Rise By Diandra Marie
usually results in carelessness and may
lead to hopelessness. So, I hope we can
all understand why Pride month and Pride in general is important, not just to the
LGBTQ+ community, but all marginalized communities & intersections.
It’s Pride in who we are that allows us to rise
up against the lies we are told by society, our peers, and sometimes ourselves, that we are
’m so excited because we are approaching June, y’all! For some of us, this means the
start of Summer, celebrating Black liberation on Juneteenth, & for my LGBTQ+ siblings,
Pride month. For the uninitiated, Pride month marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and the protests that led to
progressing gay rights for people in America. Most of our ancestors who paved the way during these riots were Black/POC and of Trans experience (shoutout to mothers
Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera). This is a time where we literally let our Pride flags
fly while embracing and loving who we are.
This is also a time of reflection, knowing that it was once illegal to be gay and those who
did identify as LGBTQ were subject to being outcasts, dissociated from their families,
and violence. While I am so grateful to those who paved the way for me to experience
Queer liberation, I still have to admit there are struggles we continue to face.
There are currently states passing legislation making it more difficult for our Trans siblings to simply be who they are. As I’m writing this, 13 Black Trans women have been
violently murdered…this year. The average
| HEALTH & WELLNESS
life expectancy for Black Trans women is 35 which is honestly unacceptable since
cisgender people have a life expectancy of 78. I also don’t want to fail to mention that 40% of LGBTQ+ teens seriously consider
committing suicide. We are still faced with
being demonized by religious groups, kicked out of our parent’s homes and experience higher rates of homelessness, as well as
hate crimes. This article isn’t meant to be
depressing, but I have to set the scene for
why Pride in our community is so important.
It is because of Pride that we can continue to show up fully as our authentic selves.
We are able to be accepted and fully loved by God & ourselves in the midst of what society wants us to believe.
What does Pride have to do with mental
health Diandra? Well, I’m glad you asked. Pride is defined as a positive emotional
response to something with an intimate
connection to oneself, due to its perceived value. We can feel Pride from our
accomplishments, where we are from, and our positive characteristics. American
philosopher, Richard Taylor, defined Pride as “the justified love of oneself”. Based
undeserving nobodies. It’s Pride that gives us
the courage to rise up against our oppressors and wrongdoers of humanity to continue to demand equality and justice. Pride is what
we all need at our core to recognize that we deserve to be unconditionally loved, even if that love flows from ourselves. To be clear, I’m not talking about pride in the sense
of a deadly sin, false pride, or narcissism.
That sort of pride causes us to be haughty, thinking of ourselves more highly than we
ought to, which usually leads to emotional, mental, and physical abuse toward others. Remember, the Pride I’m speaking of is
justified, not puffed up. The beautiful part is, we all have free access to it, as long as we
work with ourselves daily to experience it. I encourage you to have the Pride (& power)
to rise out of any thought or situation that’s trying to hold you down and make you feel
like you don’t have purpose. While you may
not be able to show Pride of your identity in concern of your safety, I hope you can find still rise intrinsically & make progress with your mental health. No matter where you fall on the LGBTQ+ or gender spectrum, I send you love and light while wishing you a HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
y pastor said, “The Glorious Wounds of Christ” and I thought to myself as
he said in response (as if reading my mind), “those 2 words don’t go together very
well.” They sure don’t. What wounds are
ever glorious? Wounds are nasty, painful, burdensome and sometimes even lethal. But glorious?
I thought about the deepest wounds within me that so many in the LGBTQ community have suffered: rejection, discrimination, violence, shame, isolation, injustice,
self-doubt. Growing up with these scars
changed the course of my own life and one time, nearly brought me to death. A part of
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
"Our Glorious Wounds" By Beth Trouy
us does in fact die with each blow: our self-
esteem, our confidence, our trust in others; all wither away and we fight not to become the very thing harming us. Suffering,
especially unjust suffering, irreparably
changes us. We develop coping skills and
addictions that continue to wound us as we struggle to survive. And yet…
It was suffering that brought me closer to
God for I had no one else to cling to when I was abandoned: Christ knew exactly how I
our sight is restored, we see with a wisdom that defines our purpose. Glorious wounds indeed. My “glorious wounds” brought me to find my best self.
Our best selves often rise from the ashes
of our worst days. In his book, Simon Sinek
challenges people to find their best selves, their “why” in life. This “why” is defined as,
“that thing that most inspires us to do great things to change the world, however we
can, for the better.” My glorious suffering paved my path to my career, my faith, my inspiration. I work as a physical therapist specializing in wound care and I’m the
coordinator of the Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons. I work with healing physically visible wounds on
bodies as well as the invisible emotional ones inside. Sometimes they heal and
sometimes in spite of my best efforts,
they get worse. A good cleansing, some
education and the right dressing can often
be the best course for most of the physical ones. Wounds that get the right attention
usually improve. Being present to another who is suffering is medicine in itself.
felt. Suffering also brought me wisdom at a
The final gift of our glorious wounds is that
answers and sometimes, it’s just plain wrong
suffer and in return, we too are healed. It’s
very young age: religion does not have all the so choose your Church wisely. I also learned to trust my innermost compass more than I trusted the world: I am not in fact broken
and I am worthy and lovable just as I am. But most of all, suffering laid me down at the
feet of others who knew my pain and in our shared grief, we found healing. Their arms and hearts were always open and home
became a space between kindred spirits;
my family of choice. If not for suffering and
dying some inside, I would never have risen
to such a life of love, strength and resilience
today. Suffering blinds us for a time but when
they compel us to lift others up who also
our “paying it forward.” It’s investment not only in the one present to us, but also in
ourselves and the future of those to come. The motivation and inspiration of all our
efforts? Love. God’s love for me brought
me out of my tomb. My faith community’s love for me just as I am deepened my
desire to forgive and serve others. The
love from my chosen family inspires me to seek out others needing to feel loved. It’s
ironic that the very thing I prayed would go away, the curse of being gay, has become the cornerstone and blessing in my life.
John Merrick, the Elephant Man said, “My life is full because I know that I am loved.” God’s love was always there. My greatest
suffering has become my greatest source
of love. It also led me from my worst days to my best self. Glorious indeed.
THE UNLEASHED VOICE |
URBAN SAUCE is a streetwear
brand established in Memphis, TN by
entrepreneur Ashley Tipton. Ashley has always been passionate about urban fashion and unique styles. In 2017
Tipton decided to invest her creativity into birthing and growing URBAN SAUCE into household name.
The meaning behind the brand is no
matter how you rock it we provide the unique style. Shop URBAN SAUCE affordable dope clothing.
am Daquan Studwood and I am a model. The photo you see of me is a direct
reflection of a masculine and feminine
model. One who is confident in his skin
and stand before the world to show there
is no correct way to be a man rather, you’re gay, straight, trans, non-binary etc. By
using these images, we can help alleviate
some current issues among the LGBTQIA community by enlightening others on the struggle we experienced. For example, a
father would not be upset if his daughter
decided to pick up a race car instead of a Barbie Doll to play with. However, would
that same father be okay if his son picked
up a makeup kit or Barbie Doll to play with? Why then he would label his son as weird,
troubled, or lost? Do you think he accepts his son for just being him?
In this article I would like to share how I
grew into my skin. I want you to see the signs of body positive in every aspect
of my life. I reside in Harlem, New York. For the last 28 years of living in New
York, I have been inspired by living in
Harlem, a place that has a rich history of being culturally diverse. However, living in Harlem has not always been easy. I
have had my share of getting teased by kids in my neighborhood for not being
masculine enough. I remember getting
teased for having a lisp, a soft voice and being too big for my age. When I was
younger, I used to hate going shopping because there was always a limited
option of clothing available for my size and frame. I could not understand why there were not a large selection of
fashionable options for folxs like me.
As I got older, I became more comfortable with my sexuality and body. I knew I had to be the change needed in the fashion industry. This need for change pushed me to become a designer for plus size people. I started attending fashion
As I am growing in my experiences of modeling, I realize that there are still
limitations for plus size male models. The
fashion and modeling industry claim they are looking for plus size men, but they
must be six feet tall and three sandwiches away from a six pack. These barriers
confirmed that it was time for me to open my modeling school to help encourage
not only plus size men who are a certain
height and weight, but for anyone who the world believes should not be considered a typical model.
shows in 2017, and among the many
WHAT IS MY WHY?
they lacked diversity among men and
the modeling industry. I plan to continue
shows I attended that year I noticed that
My why is to continue to break barriers in
plus size models. I was hoping to see a
to show people it is OK to live in your truth.
representation of myself and others in
my community. The lack of representation gave me an unsettling feeling and my
mind was flooded with questions such as: Why was the fashion industry in a box or only contained certain folx?
What can I do to change this? Where is our representation?
Afterward, I consulted with a family
member with previous experience in the fashion industry, which in turn led me to taking modeling classes. My first cast
was in 2018, in New York Fashion Week in the “Walk Fashion Show.” As a body
positive advocate, I am here to empower
individuals no matter their weight or size
to challenge the way society presents or views our physical body.
I am devoted to living my life educating
folx that there is no one way to be a man. I
strive to give hope to my fellow man in this world to let them know that just because you are big and have moobs you can still be beautiful. So, live in your truth! Studwood Agency LLC. email@example.com Iamdaquanstudwood (he /him) Photo & Model Credits: Makeup artist: Niya.g.beauty Photographer: Eserie Studio: Pixeldemoi Creative Director:
You can find me on social media in nude and underwear photos showing others
that plus size men who model does exist. I did my first major shoot with the “The Everymen Project” which
connected me to another great
opportunity where I met Ryan McGinley which was a major turning point in
my life. You can also find me in a few
campaigns, one of which I am featured in a painting in the Manhattan museum.
| THE UNLEASHED VOICE
My Why Was Simply An Answer By Marvin Anderson → Empowerment Expert and Author
remember sitting in my cubicle each day
for hours processing documents. I didn’t
have to interact with people and I was
getting a direct deposit every two weeks
The processing center had acquired a 3-year contract from Xerox and was a tier one
producer, which means I would be the last to go if anything happened. I had struck gold!
Well actually I had struck out. I had struck out on what I thought was the job of my life.
My work companion would be the headset that I was allowed to bring into the cubicle with me. For a while it carried me, but
eventually the playlist got old and quite frankly boring. I had no interaction with humanity, I had minimal conversation,
because I was focused on meeting daily quotas and staying out of the way. I
began to notice something. Even though, I specifically asked to be transferred to
this department because it had the least
interaction with people, the highlight of my day was going to the breakroom and lunch
where I got to connect with co-workers and other employees. I had no idea what was happening, until it happened.
One day I walked into the breakroom for
lunch and someone said, “Dr. Phil is here
and I been waiting on you!”. I looked around the room and of course there was no Dr. Phil and then they said “We are talking
about you” what took you so long we been
waiting on you. Two of my co-workers then
began to argue over whose table I would sit at, because they were waiting on me first. At the time I thought it was because I was handsome or comical, it was neither!
I sat down with Simone and she began to clear a space for my lunch and was very
inviting. She made sure I had the drink of my choice and that I was comfortable. The next thing she did was pull out a notebook and scoot her chair closer. I began to eat and
because I had to answer her questions and engage her. She reminded me of our last
conversation and even had notes of advice and wisdom I had given here.
Next, she dropped it on me. She said with
excitement “Marvin I got something to tell
you”, I looked and was like “Okay girl come
down. What is it”. We laughed and then she said “Today is my last day and I want to say thank you.” I was like well what did I do?
Simone opened the notebook and took me through several conversations we had and
gave me a checklist of her doing what I had told her. As a result she said “I’m quitting
this old boring ass job, that wanna pay you what they wanna pay you and treat you
any kinda way”. Lauren said “Marvin you
told me to go back to school and finish my last semester, get my degree and fly.” She told me that her parents were so excited they told her if she went back to school
they would take care of her living expense
because this is what they had been trying to get her to see, the value of education, but
stepping out on faith and pursuing my
passion. Well I am doing it, I’m going full
time into cosmetology and I want to thank you for helping me see I can make more
money and enjoy doing it!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in shock like what is happening here.
I realized in that moment, that the very
pulse of humanity that I wanted to run to a
cubicle and separate myself from, was they humanity that I was called to. Two weeks later I quit that job. I didn’t have a plan. I
didn’t have a savings. I didn’t have a strategy. However, I knew that I no longer wanted to
suffocate myself, I wanted to breath and live not just exist. I went to become a Certified Life coach in addition to being ordained in
ministry. I knew I was called to reach people outside of a religious setting. The next few years was a roller coaster, but I certainly
have enjoyed the ride. My destination was determined, because I was willing to help others with directions to get to theirs. I realized my Why Was Their Answer!
I was the one that convinced her and got
here to see the light. I hardly ate any of my food that day, but I left the table full as if I had eaten a full course meal!
A few months passed and it happened again. I walked from the parking lot and the closer I
got to the building I felt like I was suffocating, the job that I thought was perfect, I hated.
I walked onto the elevator and Shawn said to me “Hey Marvin, I’m so excited today is my last day!” I was like okay cool, where
you going? She said “Marvin you remember you told me I was wasting my cosmetology degree and short changing myself by not
I knew that I no longer wanted to suffocate myself, I wanted to breath and live not just exist.
she began to talk, then I had to stop eating THE UNLEASHED VOICE |
Loving Our T UV ’ S M AG A Z I N E: Mot h e r ’s Day Fe at u re
NIGEL AND LATONYA First, loving my son has nothing to do with his
gender preference. God is love, and he Blessed me with the most precious gift of all, a healthy baby
boy! Therefore, it was my duty to protect, provide and nurture what was given to me. I have always
supported my son and now even more as a Adult.
I’ve learned that love is colorful. Loving my son, I feel, has given him a sense of freedom to love himself and teach others that may be struggling with self-love or coming out to their parents.
SHARON AND DEEDEE I think that it is important to love your LGBTQIA child simply because they are your child. You can decide
the person whom you want to be a father or mother
to your child, but you cannot dictate the outcome of
your child. Your child is yours until you part this Earth. At the end of your term on Earth- what will
your child say about you? How do you think they will feel about you? Love your children unconditionally regardless to life.
| THE UNLEASHED VOICE
MOTHER: Freddie M. Porter, MHS
CHILD: Monika M. Picket, MHS, MBA Freddie M. Porter is a retired, twenty-five year, federal
correctional law enforcement officer for the District of
Columbia, Department of Corrections. She worked in the medical field before earning an under graduate degree
in Administration of Justice. Later, she earned a Master’s of Human Services from Lincoln University, Oxford, Pennsylvania in 1995.
Monika M. Pickett is a veteran of the United States
Army. She is a highly sought-after speaker and LGBTQ rights advocate. Monika is also the author of the #1
peers. Parents should love their children unconditionally. Although we may feel uncomfortable, it is important to
ask our children how and what they are feeling. We may not understand but our job as a parent is to support
them. Parents can also become advocates by learning appropriate LGBTQIA+ terms. Doing so will show your
child that you are making a sincere effort to support them. As parents, it is important to learn about issues that
impact our children and the LGBTQIA+ community such
as homophobia, rejection and suicidal tendencies. Being
rejected by family may cause LGBTQIA+ children to make unhealthy decision that lead to high-risk lifestyles.
international best-selling novel Pretty Boy Blue,
A child coming out is often just as difficult for parents.
Blue. She earned a MBA from Johns Hopkins
children. Seeking support groups may help parents
Second Edition, and its sequel, The Darkest Shade of University, Baltimore, Maryland in 2005.
“WHY IT IS IMPORTANT AS A PARENT TO LOVE AND
Unknowingly, we may mourn a life we wanted for our talk about the challenges and misconceptions of
raising LGBTQIA+ children in safe and supportive spaces without being judged.
SUPPORT YOUR LGBTQIA+ CHILD.”
Additionally, spending time getting to know your
When Monika came out at the age of thirteen, I was not
provide insight into their hopes and dreams.
aware that the LGBTQIA+ community existed. I thought
she was going through a phase. If I had known then, what I
know now, I would have supported her earlier. I would have recognized the signs of bullying and rejection from her
LGBTQIA+ child’s friends and significant other can I love my daughter just as much as I love my other
children. And yet, each day, I learn more about how much courage it takes to live her authentic life.
THE UNLEASHED VOICE |
Dermeka McCarley & Cassandra Crutchfield McCarley met officially in the Summer of 2007 through mutual friends & two weeks later begin to work with each other.
Q: WHAT WAS THE DECIDING FACTOR TO MARRY? A: The deciding factor to marry was that we completed each other. We allowed each other to be ourselves. We became a blended family and found the love of the Creator! We have learned to live in our truth and honor the true meaning of LOVE! We both truly love each other and look forward to growing, building, and gaining for the rest of our lives!
Angie and Shuria Starnes were married on Aug 14, 2020. The nuptials met in 2018 while Angie was pledging Xi Kappa Kappa Fraternity Inc. At the time Shuria was the Dean of Pledges and Angie stated that she knew that Shuria was going to be her wife the first time she laid eyes on her. Shuria said that although her heart was in pieces, Angie brought peace to her and she is so ready for this journey to enjoy and grow.
| THE UNLEASHED VOICE
Black Pride Events: LGBTQ+ ARE THE Y NECES SARY?
By Ami Dudley (Reprinted)
ith inclusion being the paramount destination of the queer’s journey today, many queers find the existence of a queer persons of color event, like many
Black Prides hosted around the U.S. to be counteractive, citing what they perceive as voluntary exclusion. This is largely false. Excluding those queers who are antiassimilationists, the queer community has been knocking on the door of the dominant hetero-culture for decades, trying to get into the party. However, there is a thick lather of hypocrisy smeared on the queer community’s demand for solidarity when our own community is divided. In this context, such black gay pride events are seemingly counteractive. What is disregarded or unnoticed, however, is why these events came into exist. In this origin lies a buried truth that, when unearthed, makes evident that this isolation of queer persons of color was actually forcible, not voluntary. The seemingly great strides our society made in race-relations and the once presence of a president of color often cloaks the fact that just over 50 years ago, segregation was the law of the land. Until The Civil Rights Act of 1964, blacks and whites were much like oil and vinegar, coexisting but never actually mixing. It is comforting for many to advertise, in conversation, the great leap that we have taken in such a short period of time. While this leap should be celebrated, it should not dilute the still permeable prejudices that exist today. These prejudices are a continuation of an unyielding temperament. This is a temperament of “other” where the dominant culture views differing cultures as a lesser “other.”
While many may see this assessment as a sentimental one, the presence of segregation both in law and in practice was and still is a fact. Today, separate
establishments based on race exist for the governing reason of a lack of diversity in the dominant [white] establishments. The most exemplary establishments born from exclusion are in the entertainment industry, like the BET Awards which, when created, provided a stage for black artists who felt they would never see the curtain open on the white stages of other music award ceremonies. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite #GrammysSoWhite, #EmmysSoWhite, have continuously flooded our social media timelines because of the lack of persons of color represented in these nominations. Basically, any industry, including politics and corporate America, that has a hand in architecting our societal landscape is largely white. As a result, the “colored voices’’ go unheard. Likewise, queer media largely lacks diversity. Queer film, T.V.,
music, and press consist of predominately white faces and voices. So, the majority of experiences shared and portrayed are white queer experiences. This blueprint is the archetype for Queer Prides as well. Parallel to the plight of the Black American’s struggle for recognition and inclusion into society is that of Queer Black American. Queer persons of color pride events are essentially the Negro Leagues of Queer Pride events. Pride should not only be a time to celebrate our queerness but to also discuss and find solutions to the problems that result because of it. The intersection of race and queerness breeds numerous problems and should therefore be discussed, but it is largely
overlooked. As a queer person of color, I walk a different path in society, so the map you use may not be helpful to me. The queer Black American or any queer person of color has had to work doubly hard for inclusion because they are seeking solidarity with both the dominant white hetero-culture and the dominant white queer culture. They are knocking on the door of society, only to enter the home and find that the door to queer society’s room is locked. This struggle has inevitably led to the creation of black queer pride events. Following in the footsteps of our ancestors, we stopped knocking on the doors, our knuckles raw, and began to build our own homes. These “homes” welcome familiar faces and shared experiences. These “homes” provide long-awaited platforms for voices that grew hoarse from crying out to covered ears. We now look into a mirror instead of the window of the dominant white queer culture. To find fault in us for creating a mirror so that we can finally be able to see ourselves is simply selfish.
The question now is: “Is it necessary to maintain these queer persons of color events?” Because these establishments were birthed from exclusion, the answer to this question depends on the expiration of exclusion. These establishments are nourishing to queer people of color. So, if you are going to remove them, then you must replace this source of nourishment with another that is just as nourishing, if not more. The only source that qualifies for this is the absolute understanding of the queer person of color’s experience as different and therefore warranting of both recognition and advocacy. OPINION |
The Sensational Actress, Radio Host, and renowned Gay Queen of Comedy Miss Sophia McIntosh graces the 6th Annual PRIDE Issue of TUV Magazine...
Published on May 21, 2021
The Sensational Actress, Radio Host, and renowned Gay Queen of Comedy Miss Sophia McIntosh graces the 6th Annual PRIDE Issue of TUV Magazine...