Hello World! The 2019 May - June Enlightenment Issue is HERE!

Page 1



2019 Tennessee Pride of Champions EARL FOWLKES, JR.


Apostle Yvonne Harrison, founder of


The female spiritual leader searching for a respective place for women to lead and teach the Gospel.

PASTOR WILL HORN Author of The Handbook




in 2020 Memphis, TN local election






























Gwendolyn Clemons

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Yvonne Harrison Cover Story


Gwendolyn D. Clemons, MBA

(Dear Momma) | Editor’s Letter


Kay Martinez

Afro-latinx, “One to Watch” by Monick Monell


Marck Angel

Pop/R&B OutMusic Artist

Page 07 Editor’s Letter Dr. Davin D. Clemons

08 MSM | Eddie Wiley Blame it On My Juice

09 Entertainment Tre Floyd presents Love, Sex, & Marriage

12 & 13 Special Contributor Pastor Will Horn | The Handbook

14 & 15 Feature Story Earl Fowlkes, The Fighter for LGBT Equality

18 Community News OUTMEMPHIS Metamorphosis Project

19 Transgender News The Ultimate Guide for Coming Out As Transgender

20 Entertainment Men Who Brunch

25 Community News BOITALK an Initiative of SisterReach

26 Fashion Andre Hammonds | Celebrity Stylist

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Dear Momma, I

Empowering Conversation with Gwendolyn D. Clemons, MBA, Editor-in-Chief

’ll never forget the dreadful call I received at 9:42 a.m. on March 17, 2019. Ring, ring… “Hello, Gwen!” “Yes, mother.” The rest of the conversation was inaudible, and I knew immediately something was wrong. As I sprung from my bed, I woke my wife to call 911 as I dashed into the bathroom to quickly get dressed. I called my son and my sister and stressed for them to meet me at your house.

I know I got dressed in less than a minute and raced out the door to your aid. It’s a good thing that we live in the vicinity of each other because I made it to your house in less than five minutes. I’ll never forget the moment I saw you slumped in your chair, face twisted, left side limp, and that glaring look in your eyes. Although I couldn’t understand your words, I am sure you knew I was there to help. As I held you in my arms with tears streaming down my face, the only words I could muster were, “Hold on, help is on the way.” Fortunately, we arrived at the ER in time for the modern medicine they use to reverse strokes to take effect.


You’ve been away from home for what seems like an eternity. As you go through your rigorous physical therapy, I am amazed by how strong you are. Each day, I’ve watched you improve with hopes that you will soon be coming home. My letter is for you to know that just as you’ve taken care of so many of your children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, we will be caring for you. The trauma and pain that accompanied this illness has been one of the most trying times of my life. I cry almost every day because I want my momma back! I want you restored. I want you home. I want you to live a long and prosperous life, a life void of physical limitations and pain. As we battle this fight together, I truly have a new respect and understanding about love, people, and caregivers. This Mother’s Day may be different due to your illness, but nevertheless it will be special. We’ll get to make more memories because I believe in MIRACLES!

The theme for this month is “The Enlightenment Issue” because we believe a new day is on the horizon, and everyday ordinary people are making our world phenomenal. No matter where you are in life, there has to come a time when you learn to back your beliefs up with action. This is why the big questions for this issue are timely: What are you doing to enlighten yourself about the people and the world around you? What inspires you to get up daily? Do your beliefs matter enough for you to defend them? On the Cover: We are extremely excited to introduce Apostle Yvonne Harrison to our readers. Apostle Harrison is the founder of “Woman Can Preach Too” which is a coalition of powerful women leading in the pulpits. It is our hope that you’ll enjoy what you read on each page, and that each story inspires you to believe in MIRACLES too! I love you, and get well, Momma!



watch and programs like the Blue Suede Brigade downtown, and even simple things like increasing street lights in South Downtown’s booming developments are necessary.

By: Dr. Davin D. Clemons


s a native Memphian, philanthropist, advocate, fighter for equity, and proud resident of this district for nearly all my life, I have been committed to service of my community. Whether it’s through my work as a police officer, as an ordained elder and minister, as a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, or as an entrepreneur and magazine publisher, I’ve sought to help ensure that Memphis is a place where people feel like they belong, are safe, and can thrive.

Right now, I believe we are at a special moment in Memphis. We have the momentum of opportunity, but we are also at a crossroads. There is so much friction, so much anxiety about what’s next; there’s division and dysfunction. And so much is at stake. We have a chance to make sure that the momentum we see in some parts of our city benefits all of our city. District 6 runs from Whitehaven all the way up to downtown, and encompasses some of the most dynamic as well as some of the most troubled areas in Memphis. 38126 is the poorest ZIP code in the city and likely one of the poorest in the entire country. As

City Councilor, I want to make sure that the residents of my district, along with all the stakeholders we need on board to realize our full potential, are represented and brought to the table. I believe I’m someone who can bring us together at a time when we need more unity to achieve solutions to the problems in front of us. I was born in South Memphis, went to college at LeMoyne Owen and Memphis Theological Seminary, have served as an officer in the Memphis Police Department for 16 years, andlive downtown. I’ve seen this district and this city from every angle, and it’s that unique experience and outlook, those deep roots, that I think make me the leader this District needs. So what do I want to do? I want to focus on core issues of economic equity, community safety, smart development, and improved governance. Memphis has come a long way on crime, but we still have a long way to go. My philosophy is that one of the first things we need to do to combat crime is to give people options to keep them out of it in the first place: good jobs, vocational training opportunities, and development that prioritizes hiring and benefits for city residents. These are long-term solutions, but we’ve got to focus on them now to make sure crime doesn’t remain a longterm problem. We’ve also got to figure out how those people who have gotten stuck in a life of crime can get unstuck. We need to cut back on recidivism, and to do that we’ve got to give people a chance to get into the workforce. I’d like to see us implement a “ban the box” program to eliminate disclosure of criminal record on job applications for people who have paid their debt and served their time. I also want to work across city and county government to help develop a jail-to-job vocational program so that these people have something to do when they are released. I know this isn’t going to fix everything, of course. I want to make sure we have a well compensated and supported police force, cultivate better partnerships in the community to expand neighborhood

Fixing our crime problem is going require a comprehensive look at it from every angle. We’ve got to really think about our homelessness issue. It’s not just a safety question but it’s a moral one, and we could do a lot more to help keep people off the streets. Memphis needs a shelter people can access without having to panhandle to pay an entry fee for one thing, and we need expanded options for the people our shelters don’t currently accept. To do that, we need to work with the non-profit and philanthropic community, as well as our existing institutions and service agencies. And we need to have services for especially vulnerable populations—women and children, teens, LGBT youth, people dealing with mental health issues. Another area I want to work on as Councilor is economic equity and development. First thing first: I want our City Government to have a productive relationship with the people who make our city work through improved relations and partnerships with the city unions and employee associations. We can’t treat them with the disrespect that’s become normal in the past couple of years. They’re the foundation of a functioning Memphis, and we owe them—from our firefighters and police officers, to our clerical and custodial workers, to our sanitation workers and everyone in between—dignity and respect. We’ve also got to figure out how to make sure our development projects create prosperity for all Memphians, not just the few. I don’t want to put the brakes on the exciting momentum our city has right now, but I want to make sure we’re all on board. Working with business partners, I’d like to see us have more jobs guaranteed for Memphis residents and our trades and craft unions; commitments to affordable housing set-asides; good wages and benefits. And I want to make sure that we’re connecting our students in the school system to the jobs that are being created in our community. That’s why I’m running, and I’m asking for your support—through a commitment to support this campaign by making a donation, promoting it to your colleagues and in your network, and if you can, with your vote on October 3. Visit www.davinclemons.com CashApp - $DavinDClemons Campaign to Elect Davin D. Clemons P.O. Box 2054, Memphis, TN 38103



Blame it on my war


“No, I’m not a snack at all. Look, baby, I’m the whole damn meal.” T

hese have been my words of self-love for the past few months. I’m not simply a snack… I’m the whole damn meal. Dealing with body image issues has always been a challenge for me. I can remember these challenges dating back to my childhood. A lack of body positivity led to many insecure and ignorant decisions that I’ve made in my life. Recently, I’ve decided to love my entire self and the extra pounds. Growing up, I didn’t see the guys that looked like me on TV or in magazines. I saw the chiseled bodies and washboard abs. Their bodies were the ultimate desire of men and women alike. I wanted my body to look like that too. But as I looked in the mirror, my body was far from it. There were a few more pounds that I saw looking back at me. I grew up hating my body and doing my best to wear the biggest clothes I could find. I foolishly thought this helped. But I’ve come to learn that it didn’t hide anything… not even my shame. I had this fantasy of being someone that I really wasn’t, and it was harmful to my discovery of individuality. It was tough being young, queer, and chubby. I didn’t know which part I hated the most. During my college years, I came closer to my comfort level after finally “coming out”. I lost a little weight and started to feel myself. But that


didn’t stop the body shaming. I still tried to find clothing that hid certain parts of my body that I was ashamed of. I would wear undershirts to give a smoother illusion. Chile, I was wearing layers in the scorching heat. I did not see myself as desirable or sexy. This was problematic because it ultimately led to me dealing with a lot of bull in relationships. It got even worse when I was dating a guy who told me, “I totally love being with you mentally and emotionally, but physically you’re too big.” This devastated me because I was at the lowest weight I had been in YEARS. Nonetheless, that guy is out of the picture. Unfortunately, his words still haunted me for years to come. I believe I was more devastated after the fact. I was devastated at my reaction to his statement. I immediately wanted to scrape off my stomach and throw it in the trash. I was also devastated because I believed him. I believed I had a charming personality, but that nobody would want me because of my weight. At this point, I decided to live a healthier lifestyle and go shopping. It’s what they call a quintessential “glow up”. Even after my glow up, I still had to unlearn a lot of s**t. I would stand in the fitting room and hear, “You’re cute for a thick boy,” or, “Your face is cute, but that body needs work.” People’s opinions weighed more heavily on me than my actual weight. My scale, the mirror, and I were at war. I would obsess over diets and even


working out. I weighed myself constantly, and nothing really made me feel better about my weight. I still felt like the “fat friend” or the “funny thick guy”. It was difficult getting over the things people said about me, but it was highly rewarding in the end. It took me realizing that my outward appearance was never going to please everyone. Everyone would have a critique on the way I dressed, all the way down to my man boobs. However, it was up to me to love every crease, every fold, and every stretch mark. I decided to reclaim my own version of “sexy” and not be afraid to show it. I look in the mirror now and love the person that I see. I take selfies and no longer have to take 30 to get the perfect angle that hides my gut or titties. I’ve learned three things since accepting myself: He’s thick. He’s eccentric. He’s beautiful. I stand up in my comfort, in hopes that other “thick bois” will redefine what beautiful means for them. We don’t talk about body image issues enough for men, and especially for same-gender loving men.

It’s time to stop the body shaming, and it starts with yourself. Sometimes the best juice comes from the juiciest fruit. #ShakeShitUp

Love Sex and Marriage gives an entertaining encounter of a superstar Darrin! The ladies love

him and the guys want to be him. Little does everyone know, Darrin is a closeted gay man, signed to a homophobic music label, Now that his manager knows Darrin is gay, his manager pairs him with a female artist on the label so the media won’t suspect anything. The plan is working fine until Darrin meets a guy at one of his concerts. Now Darrin has to decide if he wants to do what he loves (be a mainstream artist) or be with who is falling in love with (Ken, a mean he recently met). This groundbreaking stage play demystifies the relationship between homosexual and heterosexual men in a funny and relatable way‌ Love sex and Marriage is a modern day coming of age story of a man who is afraid of rejection by his family, church, friends, as he has to decide his path in life. This play is enjoyable and entertaining for all genders and all ages. You will leave laughing and informed.


WOMEN PREACH TOO Apostle Yvonne M. Harrison Interview by Gwendolyn D. Clemons


Q: What was your motivation to form the organization Women Can Preach Too?

A: Women Can Preach Too is a covenanted,

interdenominational, multicultural branch of ministry that was established to provide an ecumenical platform for women preachers to effectively operate, cultivate, nurture, and strengthen their gift of preaching. This ministerial alliance was designed to operate in a spirit of Episcopal excellence without compromising the integrity, character, or worth of a preacher. It is my mandate to strengthen women preachers through impartation, spiritual edification, empowerment, resources, and counsel. We exist to provide accountability, strength, and a platform where women can be empowered, equipped, encouraged, and enriched in their areas of service. We all have varied experiences, and we cultivate an atmosphere conducive for all women to be prepared to fulfill their destiny in Christ. Q: What challenges have you faced when entering traditional religious spaces as a female Christian leader?

A: Women’s leadership roles in the

21st century have been expanding and evolving. Many of the challenges that I faced have been more along the lines of collaborative projects with mainstream church. Whether it’s the perception of whether or not women can preach or pastor (which is still highly debated in certain traditional forums), systematic barriers within the church, or lack of support from the traditional denominations and congregations, I am


committed to the continuous work necessary to develop and create innovative ways to bridge the gap between mainstream and affirming ministries. I believe that we are making progress in unifying a partnership in which we can serve together in spreading and advancing the gospel. Q: When did you realize that it was time for you to pass the torch as Senior Pastor of Restoration Temple Ministries?

A: Succession of any kind stirs up a

plethora of emotions, particularly for those intricately connected to a particular organization. However, in ministry, the Bible is replete with examples of succession and God being the mastermind behind guiding those willing to admit and freely recognize that their assignment is complete in one particular area. When I fully embraced the Apostolic mantle on my life, I knew God was calling me to further advance the kingdom. It was necessary for me to display what I’ve done for the entirety of my ministry: develop, cultivate, nurture, and release. As I was elevated within the five-fold ministry, I would have done the Pastorate a disservice by remaining in a place that no longer fit God’s mold for the assignment on my life. As we grow and mature, assignments change and evolve.

Eight months after my succession and affirmation service, I still get inquiries of disbelief. However, I am obedient to God. While it may have been delicate and complex for many, it was a peaceful transition for myself and my Executive Pastor. We literally walked handin-hand utilizing the instructions that God gave me. I followed the example in the Old Testament of Moses to Joshua, which was a powerful and authentic account that I used to help prepare the church for the next phase in the life of our ministry. If you are familiar with Moses’ journey, to many, he seemed irreplaceable. Moses was the one who answered God’s call to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was the one who challenged Pharaoh. Moses was the one who received the Ten Commandments. The most critical but poignant assessment of his leadership was his ability to understand the importance of succession. God answered my prayer as he did giving Moses Joshua. He gave me (us) Pastor Rose Hardy. She is a phenomenal leader, and she is the one chosen to take Restoration to the Promised Land. Spiritually, I’m stationed in Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world for a new level and dimension of ministry.



Pastor Will Horn Releases


Q: You just released a book that addresses religion and sexuality. What was the motivation for you to write the book? A: In 2015, I started the process of

putting thoughts and words together that would eventually become what we call now The Handbook. Although I started writing in 2015, the journey began way back in 1981 when I was an 11-year-old 6th grader who had just been hit hard by puberty! When all the other boys my age were talking about girls, I had no interest in the conversation… at all. Because I was a smart kid, I was able to understand pretty quickly that my fascination with a boy in my class was not “normal.” For a couple of years prior to this epiphany, I knew something about me was different. By 1981, I knew exactly what that difference was and what to call it. In my role as a faith leader, I’ve had people from all over the world to reach out and seek counsel regarding how they could reconcile their faith and their orientation. They begged me to please write down the information that I had shared with them and share the “secret” to what helped me to find a place of peace and confidence. I heard the spirit of the Lord say, “Put it in a handbook,” and to make it easy for people to read and understand. After wrestling with this for four years, I finally I published the book to help those people. I must admit, however, that my greatest motivation was to create something for that 11-year-old 6th grader and that terrified teenager I had once been. I can only imagine how different my life would be if I had had a handbook when I was a young person.

Q: How has the demand for “The Handbook been?” A: Since The Handbook’s release,

I have been amazed by the number of people who have reached out to purchase it and give feedback regarding how eye-opening it has been for them. Not only have we had a great response here in the U.S., but people

from Australia, South Africa, The U.K., and Sweden have ordered the book! I’ve also been surprised by how many people who identify as heterosexual have purchased the book. I am so humbled that people see so much value in something that came out of me.

Q: Why do you think “homosexuality” is such a taboo in the Black Church & Black Community? A: People often ask me why the

Black Church has such a hard time with this subject, and why the topic of homosexuality is so taboo. I think there are two predominant reasons. First, and most important, the inability or unwillingness to understand scripture and put it in its proper context has caused the institution to take positions that are not supported by the Bible. I think many of the people who take issue with homosexuality do so from a sincere, yet uninformed,

desire to adhere to the tenants of what they believe to be Christian doctrine. Just like slavery, separation of the races, and the oppression of women have been justified by scripture, so has the condemnation of LGBT people. Second, I believe that same misinterpretation of scripture has perpetuated a patriarchal hyper-masculine culture that sees homosexuality as a threat. The grand irony here is that the LGBT community has always been the bedrock of the Black Church experience. From lifechanging preaching, to the amazing gifts demonstrated in the arts, to consistent financial support, our community has been the backbone of the church. I believe that we have entered a time when our community is standing up and reclaiming our dignity by educating ourselves regarding what the Bible really says about us. As we continue to empower ourselves with knowledge through resources like The Handbook, we will lead the church to a place of true inclusion.



Earl Fowlkes The Earl is the founder and President/ CEO of the Center for Black Equity (formerly the International Federation of Black Prides) and recently completed 21 years of involvement with DC Black Pride. He is the Chair of the Democratic National Committee LGBT Caucus and is completing his 4th one-year term as President of the DC Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which is the 2nd oldest LGBTQ political club in the US. Earl also serves as Chair of the DC Commission on Human Rights.


1. An interesting question that keeps surfacing in major U.S. cities that host Black Prides is: “Why are there two PRIDES?” Can you explain the need for LGBT Black Prides? I have been involved with DC Black Pride since 1997, and I have been asked many times about the relevancy of Black Prides, and in fact why Black Prides are needed. First of all, Black Prides were created to provide safe spaces for Black LGBTQ community members to engage one another in a social and culturally appropriate context that was, and often still is, missing in the greater LGBTQ Pride community experience. Black Prides come from a tradition of Black LGBTQ+ creating social spaces for ourselves all over the United States since the 1920’s. Secondly, DC Black Pride has been a positive entry point for thousands of

Black LGBTQ men and women of all ages to come “out” into the LGBTQ experience. The Black Pride movement, now in over 50 communities around the world, allows attendees to celebrate their duality of being a person of African descent and LGBTQ+ in a world that can be both homophobic and racist. Black Pride is not meant to replace Community Prides nor allow Community Pride organizers off the hook from being more diverse and inclusive, but is an opportunity to, in the words of Isaiah, “Rejoice in hope and be patient in tribulation.”

2. In the current polarized political climate, what is the biggest threat to the LGBT and the HIV/AIDS community? The biggest threat to the LGBTQ+ and HIV/ AIDS community is the continued election


Fighter for LGBT EQUALITY of myopic anti-LGBTQ+ candidates to all levels of government all over the United States. There are people who run for office who have, by their words and deeds, made clear their disdain towards communities of color, the LGBTQ+ (especially Transgender men and women), immigrants, religious minorities, women, and those who appear different frovm themselves. We are bearing witness to the slow undoing of participatory democracy through gerrymandering and voter suppression, particularly directed at African Americans, especially in the South. These same people are working, with some degree of success, to undo many LGBTQ+ policies by passing laws, adopting policies, and appointing right wing anti LGBTQ+ judges to the Supreme Court and Federal benches. (And please note that these are lifetime appointments.) And as for the HIV/AIDS community, who are predominately Black and Men Who Have Sex with Men, we can expect further reduction in funding for

HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, along with further policy restrictions (e.g. not using the term Transgender, which will continue to marginalize this community) and more criminalization of HIV laws.

3. How can we expand NAACP involvement with the LGBTQ community in the South ? There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the NAACP’s

involvement and interaction with and on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community in the South. The national office has stood very publicly with the LGBTQ+ community over the past 15 years thanks to Julian Bond, Ben Jealous, Alice Huffman, Hazel Dukes, Leon Russell, and Derrick Johnson providing courageous leadership. We all

know that the resistance to our issues often comes from the local level. We can continue to complain about the lack of support for human rights for all people from the local chapters of the NAACP, or we could, as I have done, become a dues paying member (Silver Lifetime member) of the local chapter of the NAACP, thus giving me a voice as well as my place at the table. Bringing 10 or so of your friends to a NAACP chapter meeting regularly can easily change the dynamics of that chapter. However, you have to be consistent and patient. Combating homophobia in our community institutions has to be a priority, especially since we really need to work together to overcome society’s barriers erected to keep all of us down — not just the poor, those caught in the criminal justice system, the uneducated, or LGBTQ+, but all of us.



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.




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. 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. 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.

ABOUT BIKTARVY BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults. 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,

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Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take:

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� 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.

� This is only a brief summary of important information

� 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.

Get HIV support by downloading a free app at


GET MORE INFORMATION about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.

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BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, DAILY CHARGE, the DAILY CHARGE Logo, KEEP PUSHING, LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. Version date: December 2018 © 2019 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. BVYC0102 01/19


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.

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Please see Important Facts about BIKTARVY, including important warnings, on the previous page and visit BIKTARVY.com.


OUTMEMPHIS OUTMemphis’ Metamorphosis Project Groundbreaking


emphis, TN, March 15, 2019: OUTMemphis announced this week that they will break ground on their Youth Emergency Center, which will serve as Memphis’s only LGBTQ specific emergency shelter and the only drop-in center in the city that serves youth experiencing homelessness. The Center’s response to the absence of services for LGBTQ young adults in the region, the Metamorphosis Project is a holistic, wrap-around approach to helping LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness gain independence. five years ago, OUTMemphis’ programs for young people were continually overwhelmed by youth contacting the center seeking emergency housing services. “One night, I received three calls in an hour from youth across the state looking for housing services. That very night, we decided enough was enough. We needed to do something drastic to serve our kids,” says Stephanie Reyes, who launched OUTMemphis’ Youth Services programs and has spearheaded all aspects of the Metamorphosis project, and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Development. “For years, LGBTQ youth in Memphis have had to endure shelters that were not safe, free or welcoming. Now we will have a space of our own, so our youth can not only survive but thrive,” says Reyes. LGBTQ young people ages 18-24, who make up 40% of youth experiencing homelessness, are at increased risk of the long-term consequences of housing instability. After piloting possible solutions, including host families and hotel vouchers, OUTMemphis began pursuing the The Metamorphosis Project, our long-term solution to this issue. The Metamorphosis Project includes three arms of care: Youth Emergency Services (YES), Rapid Re-Housing, and The Youth Emergency


Center. YES includes hygiene supplies, food, clothes, bus passes, case management and more. Rapid Re-Housing, which the organization began providing in 2017, provides participants with one year of rental assistance alongside guidance on renting your first home. The final arm is the shelter, which OUTMemphis believes will have the most significant impact. In addition to hosting youth services staff, workshops, hygiene services, and case management, the Metamorphosis Center will solve the critical gap between the moment a young adult contacts OUTMemphis and our ability to link to longer term housing. “This space will be the first and only drop-in center and shelter for youth in Memphis; we will unite the community through education, social groups, connections to our food pantry, hygiene care, health care, and emergency housing. This will be the city’s first chance to change the lives of those most vulnerable,” says Stephanie Bell, Youth Services Manager at OUTMemphis. According to the Community Alliance for the Homeless 2018 Point-in-Time/Youth Count, 57% of youth utilize emergency shelters and 43% use transitional housing. In Shelby County, 51% of unaccompanied youth are 18-24, the critical age range that the Metamorphosis Project focuses on. Molly Quinn, Executive Director of OUTMemphis, says, “40% of youth experiencing homelessness in the US identify as LGBTQ, many as a result of family conflict, and the consequences of homelessness can have permanent consequences on young people, including increased risk of mental and physical harm, sexual abuse and exploitation, HIV, addiction, social stigma, and discrimination. OUTMemphis is proud to lead the charge in

providing this lifesaving space, among less than 20 shelters for LGBTQ young people nationwide. The Memphis community has supported these efforts since they were first piloted nearly five years ago – we hope to see that support continue as the shelter opens and expands.” The Memphis community helped make this dream a reality. A large matching grant was offered by the Assisi Foundation in 2017 and was matched by the Plough Foundation for the capital needed to build the facility. Other individuals and groups such as Mystic Krewe of Pegasus, Friends of George’s and Manna House were also major contributors. “It showed us that we were not the only people in this city to see this need and want to help. From the moment it was announced, the Metamorphosis Project has been supported by the Memphis LGBTQ community and our allies. People rallied together to make this happen, and we expect to see that significant support continue as the emergency shelter begins operations and, hopefully, expands,” says Reyes. The Metamorphosis building will start with four beds, a classroom, meeting and office space, a kitchen, laundry, storage, and parking. For more information about OUTMemphis, please contact Martavius Hampton as the media contact representative OUR MISSION: OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South. OUR VISION: LGBTQ individuals live in a world where everyone has equal rights, and is safe, respected and celebrated.



Born out of a desire to give the transgender community everything they need, GI Collection is a revolutionary company that is changing the trends of society as we know it. A young, multi-faceted brand, GI Collection includes unique products and services all aimed exclusively at the transgender market, many of which you just wouldn’t find on your local high street. The range includes the world’s first and only lingerie brand designed specifically for transgender women. These custom designed lingerie pieces offer a truly sexy and feminine feel that is simply unheard of – a stark contrast to the ghastly and humiliating products available today. GI Collection also provide different on-demand services aimed to educate and inspire transgender women, including ‘phone a friend’ – a way for transitioning people to get help in situations where advice is sparse or inaccurate. Founded by Carmen Liu, the entire brand is built around what GI stands for – “get it.” Every offering is designed at getting something, whether its transgender women ‘getting’ products that make their lives easier or cis-gendered people ‘getting’ that trans people are human too – and don’t deserve to be treated differently than anybody else. Life as a transgender person isn’t an easy journey – Carmen dealt with many tough situations during her transition, often struggling with a lack of advice and moral support. But it’s this experience that drives her passion for the brand, where she puts a hard focus on getting transgender people out of the dark when it comes to their everyday lives and changing the way society views transgender people. Despite elements of progress over the last few years, transgender people are still shunned from society and discriminated against unfairly, plus they often lack psychological/ emotional support when it comes to making the transition. But GI Collection’s Carmen Liu is aiming to change things, one leap at a time.


For more information/comments, to review, or for more high-res images, please contact Hasan at hasan@sanity-marketing.com



Men Who Brunch



here are three things that many LGBT persons absolutely love: good cocktails, good food, and good parties. Parties have been a way for LGBT persons to come together, especially for queer persons of color. The recent homophobic attack against Jussie Smollett signifies a need for gay spaces where we can feel safe and comfortable. Jussie was unjustly attacked for being black and gay. Even though homosexuality seems to be more acceptable today many black gay men and I continue to feel ostracized and many times fearful in certain spaces. Party promoters have helped to preserve spaces where LGBT persons can gather safely amongst each other. Party promoters are people who influence others to attend a party or an event. Their massive influence derives from both their online and physical presence; many promoters have an Instagram following in the thousands or have an excess amount of Snapchat followers. Even without a strong social media presence promoter can still influence the social circuit in their city. Many people claim party promoting is not


a real job or that it’s easy. From personal experience I understand the challenges of promoting an event or party. It’s much more than sending emails and mass text messages. You need a good marketing strategy, secured resources, and most importantly stamina. There’s been times when I barely had little to no sleep while planning an event. Another misconception is that party promoters organize events solely for financial reasons. Most party promoters have the best intentions of bringing people together in spaces where they can enjoy themselves and not feel excluded based on their sexual identity. Within LGBT communities of color party/ event promoters play a major social role. Some of the most prominent ones are James Saunders, Charles Jackson, Darryl Wilson, and Laurence Pickney. They’ve influenced the Black/Latin gay social scene which is largely present in club venues and bars. Within these establishments LGBT persons of color can interact with one another and freely express themselves without feeling discriminated. Back in the day LGBT parties for persons of color were commonly thrown in

warehouses and other secluded spaces. At these parties’ persons would dance to house music in strobe lit rooms and face off in intense dance competitions. As time passed and mainstream society became more tolerant of homosexuality party promoters and event organizers began to organize parties in more visible settings including bars and nightclubs. Places like Secrets (New York), Colors (Atlanta), Traxx (Washington DC), Soakies (Kansas City), Jewels Catch One (Los Angeles), Continental (Detroit), Jeffrey Pub (Chicago) were safe havens where black gays enjoyed themselves and danced their feet away. Sadly though, many of those black gay establishments have been shut down due to gentrification and related reasons. Many LGBT persons would claim that LGBT parties were most enjoyable during the 90s era. Even though homosexuality has become more acceptable within society there are still limited LGBT spaces especially within ethnic communities. However, the LGBT social scene remains lively thanks largely in part to party/event promoters.

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Kay Martinez Afro-latinx, Qu they/them they/them Interviewed by Monick Monel

M.M 1. I can feel the passion when you speak of your work. Please explain, how did you find your passion? At what moment did you know that people needed to listen and learn about themselves and the community? K.M My background is in education. I have a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, and I focused my 10+ years in the academy on supporting Queer Trans Black Indigenous People of Color. I know I was driven to do that work because I didn’t have anyone who looked like me in my undergraduate or graduate studies. You know that saying, “Be who you needed to be when you were


younger”? I guess that’s why I got into that work. At some point, I wanted to do something else, and I got into focusing more on LGBTQ work and centering QTBIPOC which is where I’m at now. I’m driven by supporting the future and fighting with our community for our present.

M.M 2. Identifying as GNC/Afro-Latinx, do you feel people approach you differently in settings such as restaurants, gyms, or colleges? K.M I get treated differently because of so many variables. When my hair is short or long, that changes how people interact with me. It depends what part of the country I’m in too. It also depends how much indignation i’m willing to put up with at the risk of my safety. Folks expect us to always cater to them and be subjugated in one way or another and if you catch

me on the right day, I’m not doing that. It has brought in me into harm’s way for sure. But in those moments, I feel free.

M.M 3. It has been brought to my attention that you have an upcoming event at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center. As one of the panelists, can you explain the importance of these spaces and any information regarding the event? K.M I will be a panelist on sex & relationships at REDEFINING SOFT which is a 2-day healing event for masculine of center lesbian women and trans identifying men (https://lgbtbrooklyn.org/portfolio/ redefining-soft/). I’m so honored and

hundreds of people reach out to me to tell me how much my stories resonated with them. I’ve written a few articles about some of the things I’ve been dealing with this year -- hate crime violence, workplace harassment, toxic masculinity -- and I am constantly surprised with the feedback I get from people who feel the same way.

ueer, GNC excited to be a part of this space. They started it last year and I couldn’t make it, so i’m excited to catch it this time as it continues to grow. These spaces are so important for us to be with folks like us and give us some feeling of safety, visibility, and respite. The world at large does not offer us these things, so I’m grateful to be a part of space making.

M.M 4. Since many people reach out to you after your presentations and speeches, can you share any of those stories of when their lives and ideas of themselves changed? K.M Social media is a trip. It can absolutely be used for superficial and materialistic purposes, but I have been able to use it in ways to share my story, hold institutions accountable, and make significant change with comrades all over the world. By sharing my story via social media, I have had


K.M I’ve been fortunate to live in Boston, Oakland, Philly and New Orleans. I’ve recently travelled to Kansas and Charlotte, and I’m in and out of NYC often. I think QTBIPOC people have to think about their context and safety, unfortunately, all the time. Not all of us can safely be our full selves, so I think many in our community have to weigh variables often. We aren’t safe everywhere, so we each have very personal decisions and consequences we are always considering.

M.M 5. Do you believe that there will be a change in the future for there to be more open-minded M.M 7. The Unleashed individuals and more available queer spaces to Voice magazine is honored to have you in the support us? “Enlightenment Issue”. K.M I hope we are moving towards a Do you have some words future where there are more opento share in regards to minded individuals who are working to make this world safer and better for enlightenment? QTBIPOC people. I say I hope because some days I really don’t know. I feel like we are living through a backlash against some of the legislative and cultural progress QTBIPOC people have made in the US in particular. Every action has a reaction and whenever marginalized people make some advancements, there are repercussions. I hope though we will continue to make strides and inspire a new generation to keep this moving which will result in more queer spaces to support us. We know younger folks are transitioning earlier and coming out earlier and we see more LGBTQ being out than ever before. I’m optimistic about the future but I am often afraid.

M.M 6. From your past travels, do you feel there is a difference in the way others present themselves? When I lived in Hampton, Virginia the queer community was very “hush hush” and there were very limited spaces for us.

K.M I feel like I am enlightened all the time. Every day. I have so much to learn and unlearn, and I try to surround myself with people and media which pushes my thinking. I also try to own up to the times when I make mistakes and harm folks in my learning process. Learning how to apologize is one of the most important skills anyone can have if we’re trying to advance our understanding.

M.M 8. I believe our ancestors gave us purpose and knowledge. Do you feel QTPOC are changing the world? Are our voices being heard as sources of inspiration, help, and protection? K.M QTBIPOC are absolutely changing the world. We have always existed, and we always will, despite people’s efforts to contain, oppress, and do other things to us. You can’t stop us! I know that not all of our voices are being heard. Even within the LGBTQ and QTBIPOC community, we marginalize different aspects of our community,





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Doors open at 6pm Show: 7pm

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“BOITALK – a program of SisterReach, is designed to provide an exclusive, safe and confidential space for masculine-presenting, womxn of color to dialogue and learn about issues impacting our communities, our reproductive and sexual health, and overall wellness. BOITALK members participate in activities that build camaraderie, such as our book club, “BOIS Night Out”, peer-to-peer mentoring, Tri-State Black Pride and MidSouth Pride events. This program is led for us, by us. Our goal is to support MOC womxn to live and access healthy lives, relationships and build healthy community together. Participate in our monthly meetings in person or virtually! For more information on BOITALK, contact Elise Saulsberry, Community Education and Training Associate at elise@sisterreach.org or 901.614.9906. Follow us via social media: Facebook: BOITALK/IG & Twitter: BOITALK2”



all photos shot by Malik Daniels Instagram @Mdanielsphoto

André Hammonds Fashion | Lifestyle| Entertainment



ndre is a Los Angeles based Celebrity and Editorial Fashion Stylist originally from the Memphis based in the Los Angeles California area. His styling work has been seen on reality stars from shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Black Ink Crew Chicago, and Love & Hip Hop. Andre fashion editorials have been featured in digital and print publications like Ellements Magazine, Nude Magazine, and Trend Prive Magazine amongst many others. In addition to styling Andre is a media and TV personality. He has an upcoming appearance as an expert competitor on TV show the The Look: AllStars, a makeover series airing on The CW Network and HULU. He also hosts a segment for talk show, “Pop Fuzion TV”, which highlights the charitable efforts of celebrities and currently airs in Los Angeles, Virginia, and Atlanta.


NoRal Apparel NoRal Apparel creatively integrates pop culture elements into bold fabrication and a strong sense of individuality so that you get the attention you deserve. Kentucky native LaRon Hickerson, aka Ron DuWayne, designer and creator of all NoRal Apparel, graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in fashion design. He prides himself on infusing NoRal Apparel with innovative design and ingenious craftsmanship for a custom look that feels amazing to wear. Since May 2012, NoRal Apparel has headlined as the featured fashion show for Blatino Oasis in Palm Springs, CA. NoRal Apparel has appeared on Zane’s Original Cinemax Series The Jump Off, and has also been donned by choreographer Brian Friedman on So You Think You Can Dance, as well as by the character Raheim in the stage adaptation of B Boy Blues. Contact: @noralapparel (Instagram) Ron DuWayne (Facebook) noralapparel.com 323|646|6838



One to watch:

Marck Angel


Pop/R&B OutMusic Artist, Marck Angel has just released “WINGS” – the second music video/single

(and follow-up visual to over 2.5 million viewed video “MAYBE.” Angel is scheduled to release his upcoming album “Seraphim.” )

Follow Marck Angel on all social media platforms www.marckangel.com Marck Angel Youtube Marck Angel Facebook Marck Angel Twitter Marck Angel Instragram Marck Angel Tumblr



Human Rights Are Under Attack in the State of Tennessee

Below are some bills that equal rights activists are watching

Bill: SB1304/HB0836 What is it: As introduced,

prohibits a private licensed childplacing agency from being required to perform, assist, consent to, refer, or participate in any child placement for foster care or adoption that would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 1, Part 1. Sponsors: Representative Tim Rudd (R) and Senator Mark Pody (R) What it could mean for TN: If passed it could allow adoption and foster agencies to use religious beliefs as an excuse to deny families to prospective LGBTQ+ parents (as well as other groups) and children in the system a loving and stable family.

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Bill: SB364/HB563 What it is: Business and

Commerce - As introduced, prohibits state and local governmental entities from taking discriminatory action against a business based on that business’s internal policies. - Amends TCA Title 4; Title 5; Title 6; Title 7; Title 48; Title 61; Title 62 and Title 67. Sponsors: Senator Todd Gardenhire (R) Representative Jason Zachary (R) What it could mean for TN: Would prevent state and local government from taking disfavorable action against businesses with internal discrimination policies.

Bill: SB1499/HB1274 What is it: As introduced, expands

the attorney general and reporter’s duties to include representation of an LEA or certain LEA employees in a court or administrative tribunal arising out of the adoption of a policy requiring students, faculty, and staff to utilize the restroom, locker room, or other facility that corresponds to that individual’s biological sex. Amends TCA Title 8, Chapter 6. Sponsors: Senator Joey Hensley (R), Representative Andy Holt (R) What it could mean for TN: This bill would allow your taxpayer money to go to defending schools that discriminate against transgender children, teens, and faculty.


Among the bills passed in the 2019 Tennessee General Assembly are several pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. These bills could become the law if we don’t act and let our representatives know we want them to vote no.

Bill: SB1282/HB1369 What it is: As introduced, enacts

the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,” which states the policy of Tennessee to defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary. - Amends TCA Title 36.

Sponsors: Senator Mark Pody (R), Representative Jerry Sexton (R) What it could mean for TN: This bill jeopardizes marriage rights for LGBTQ+ Tennesseans, and going against the supreme court will most likely cause Tennessee to go through lengthy and expensive court battles.

How You Can Help

You can help by contacting the governor and members of the committees the bills have been assigned to and let them know that Tennesseans don’t want hateful legislation being passed. Governor Bill Lee 1st Floor, State Capitol Nashville, TN 37243 (615) 741-2001 Committee Members Senate Judiciary Committee Bills: SB1282, S1499, SB1304, SB1282




The Unleashed Voice Magazine will cultivate the stories of LGBTQ people with engaging and empowering conversation to people of the world about the multicultural LGBTQ Community.


The Unleashed Voice Magazine (TUV Magazine) will aid the LGBTQ Community and its allies in redefining how the diverse LGBTQ person wishes to be viewed or spoken about. TUV Magazine will be the optimal print and media hub for the affluent LGBTQ consumer and those who want to be included in the “Unleashing� movement.

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