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AN EMPOWERING

C O N V E R S AT I O N PLUS!

with TUV Editor’s

FROM

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

+

WHY ARE

B L AC K PRIDES

important?

The argument for existence inside an ecosystem of privilege

+

L OV I N G

our

LGBTQ

CHILDREN

Mother’s Day Letter of Support & Hope

VISIT TUVMAG.COM

THE PRIDE I S SUE


IMPORTANT FACTS FOR BIKTARVY®

This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.

(bik-TAR-vee)

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%).

� Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. Your

healthcare provider will test you for HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months, and may give you HBV medicine.

ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults and children who weigh at least 55 pounds. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. Do NOT take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains: � dofetilide � rifampin � any other medicines to treat HIV-1

BEFORE TAKING BIKTARVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: � Have or have had any kidney or liver problems,

including hepatitis infection. � Have any other health problems. � Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY. � Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: � Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-

counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist.

� BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other.

Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.

These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY.

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

2

| THE UNLEASHED VOICE


CHAD LIVING WITH HIV SINCE 2018 REAL BIKTARVY PATIENT

KEEP CREATING.

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 |

3


CONTENTS

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

14 17

Health & Wellness 4

Diandra Marie Mental Health Advocate

| CONTENTS

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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CONTENTS |

5


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

MBA, MSM.


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 |

7


T

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!

THE MOUND!

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.

CHURCH!

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

Who is

8

TRENT SIMMONS?

| 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.

COMING OUT!

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!

THE BREAKTHROUGH

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 |

9


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.

10

| 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 |

11


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

13

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

Having

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

I

’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

14

| 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!


M

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 |

15


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| FASHION

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Daquan

Studwood I

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. studwoodacademy@gmail.com Iamdaquanstudwood (he /him) Photo & Model Credits: Makeup artist: Niya.g.beauty Photographer: Eserie Studio: Pixeldemoi Creative Director:

Iamdaquanstudwood Stylist:

Iamdaquanstudwood

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.

ENTERTAINMENT |

17


18

| THE UNLEASHED VOICE


My Why Was Simply An Answer By Marvin Anderson → Empowerment Expert and Author

I

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 |

19


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.

20

| 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 |

21


McCarleys

Meet The

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!

Meet The

Starnes

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.

22

| THE UNLEASHED VOICE


Black Pride Events: LGBTQ+ ARE THE Y NECES SARY?

By Ami Dudley (Reprinted)

W

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 |

23


Profile for The Unleashed Voice Magazine

TUV Magazine May-June 2021 PRIDE Issue features the legendary Miss Sophia McIntosh on the Cover  

The Sensational Actress, Radio Host, and renowned Gay Queen of Comedy Miss Sophia McIntosh graces the 6th Annual PRIDE Issue of TUV Magazine...

TUV Magazine May-June 2021 PRIDE Issue features the legendary Miss Sophia McIntosh on the Cover  

The Sensational Actress, Radio Host, and renowned Gay Queen of Comedy Miss Sophia McIntosh graces the 6th Annual PRIDE Issue of TUV Magazine...

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