Delusions of Equality

EqualityPatriotic

So, You Think We Have Rights?

Were we, as LGBTQ people, tricked into supporting legalized marriage? Seems like a shocking thing to say, right? How hard is it to believe that the powers that be convinced us to change our fight for rights to something more controllable?  We have fought for our rights that the Constitution gave every American citizen long before the Stonewall riots of 1960, it was that even that solidified our movement forward. That isn’t where our history began. Somewhere between the events of 1960 and now we changed our focus on activism to push for Marriage Equality. We were tricked into believing that would make us more acceptable and would be the means in which we achieved the rights of our heteronormative counterparts. This very focus changed what we viewed as important and what we were protesting over.

1500 Rights and an Equal Symbol

The Constitution guarantees us certain inalienable rights, but did you know that those people who are licensed to officiate a marriage also have the ability to grant married couple 1500 rights that single people do not have. What makes these people so special that they can grant rights that the Constitution cannot? The answer to that is simply a piece of paper and recognition by the state in which they reside. I state this because I am legally able to perform wedding ceremonies. In Ohio, it cost me $10, that was a filing fee. Some of these rights include the ability to receive discounted rates for homeowners’, auto insurance, ability to make medical decisions about their spouse, get health insurance through their spouse’s job, Medicare, and Social Security. All things that are not given to single people. As a single person, there is a fair change that any benefit that you leave to your siblings, relatives, friends or lovers could be contested and even absorbed back into the system that you paid into. We were somehow duped into believing that these are rights deserved by marriage only. The HRC has been famous for parading out people to show how marriage equality would have prevented any issues. Take for example Edith Windsor whose 84-year-old partner died in 2009. Upon her death Edith was faced with estate taxes of $400,000 and the court case argued that if she had been married this wouldn’t have been an issue. Windsor became a poster child for marriage equality. The New York Times made Windsor out to be a slightly impoverished victim of not having the right to marry, in fact it was later proved that her net worth was over $10,000,000. HRC backed the case and continued to make sure she was the victim. During Pride season it was common to see t-shirts and posters showing “I AM Edith Windsor.”

Where was HRC and the media showing how this would affect those of lesser means and why weren’t they the example to be held up. HRC is famous for only showing the social elite in its media presentations, like for instance Chicago’s reclusive gay media mogul, Fred Eychaner who commands a large fortune and even held private meetings with President Obama. These are the ones that are chosen as our representatives for marriage equality, not the ones struggling to get by on food stamps and living in horrible conditions because landlords will not rent to LGBTQ people. What has HRC given us in return for all of this? The erasure of part of our LGBTQ history by replacing the rainbow with the blue and yellow equality symbol. A symbol to represent unification without the supposed boundaries of the rainbow, but one built only on the examples of privileged LGBTQ people.

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The Painful Truth of the Stonewall Riots*

2009 was the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots and is often used as a means to draw parallels between the Gay Rights Movement of then versus now. During that same year, a column was written by Frank Rich of The New York Times, in this column he described the events of the riots: “The younger gay men and scattered women who acted up at Stonewall on those early summer nights in 1969 had little in common with their contemporaries in the front-page political movements of the time.” The stranger truth of this is that the riots were started by drag queens and the transgendered people of the time and were the very types of people that most gay men didn’t associate with, in the first place. Even still today, these groups are marginalized by our own community. The very people who propelled the movement into the modern era are rarely in the media as who rights will affect. The group that sparked the Stonewall riots were considered the fringe of the LGBTQ lifestyle, many were prostitutes, homeless youth, effeminate young men, and butch lesbians. These were the groups most often arrested by the police and were distanced from by the early homophile groups. These groups believed that gays should assimilate into heterosexual culture, without distinction.

HIV/AIDS Shaped Health Benefit Battles

With the onset of the 1980s, activism shifted due to the increasing devastation caused by AIDS. We watched as our community was ravaged by this disease and all denied the ability to be with our loved ones as they were dying in hospitals. This was due to the fact that we were not seen as family members or couples. The early roots of marriage equality were sparked from these sad affronts. Why were only heterosexual couples given this “special” right to be with their loved ones in the hospital. We were told that we did not matter because we were not related, and our love was illegal. As so many gay men were dying, it was our lesbian sisters who took up the cause for pushing through legislation about healthcare reform and how AIDS research was handled. The AIDS Quilt was put into place to memorialize those that we had lost to this monster of a disease. Still, we were not allowed to be with our loved ones in their last struggles. The fight for marriage started. In the same article by Frank Rich intimated that had gays been bestowed the rights of marriage unto them, the struggle with AIDS would not have been so bad. That somehow our suffering only happened because we did not have marriage equality. The truth is that healthcare reform should have come to singles and not just married couples. There should not have been the division of rights that would have prevented us from having adequate health care coverage or the ability for our loved ones to be by our side

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Is Healthcare The Goal?

As of now, it was argued that gay marriage would be a way to extend healthcare to our lovers, through the union of marriage. Our current administration is working to subvert this very right granted by the union. If you haven’t been paying attention, Trump is pushing for the HHS (Health and Human Services) to change how healthcare is doled out to the masses. He is working to make sure that anything about gender is removed from the language and working to allow healthcare workers the ability to turn away patients that are against their religious beliefs. So, the principles that groups like HRC and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have convinced us to work towards are on the verge of being taken away because of religion. So much for separation of church and state. This is the very proof that we have worked all the years for a goal that in effect means absolutely nothing. We should have been working on making sure that healthcare was accessible by all people, regardless of their standing as a couple. We should have been working to make sure that education reform was put into place that would change how the masses view minorities

Gay Marriage, The Cure All*

In 2008 there was an uptake in youth suicides due to the effects of relentless bullying by peers based on a presumption of the youth being gay. This led to many gays and straight advocates of making an assumption that the legalization of gay marriage would have an effect of lowering the stigma of being gay and thereby aiding in lowering the rates of suicide and making queer and queer identified teens appear more normal. What actually can be inferred from this assumption is that all social problems are directly tied to marriage and the rights that union bestows upon people. It would seem more logical that proper education and inclusion training would do better to diminish this negative outcome more than marriage equality would have an effect upon. In December of 2009, Melissa Harris-Lacewell wrote about her lesbian niece and the suffering she endured at her school. It was so bad that she eventually transferred to another school to escape it. Harris-Lacewell argued that marriage equality should be passed to ensure her niece did not have to go through this trauma. Her arguments state that marriage equality would make life easier for the LGBTQ people. The statistics for LGBTQ youth that attempt suicide are staggering and those numbers are from those who feel they cannot bear to live in a homophobic world. They experience bullying from their peers, negativity from the family situation, and constantly being told how they are wrong or sinful. They already live in a word that tells them how they will not accept any form of deviation from the norm. Pushing for marriage equality is telling our LGBTQ people that conformity is the only way to survive in this world and that any form of nonconformity can and should lead to death.

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Union of Individuality

I am not opposed to anyone wanting to spend the rest of their lives with the ones they love. Each person needs to make that decision on their own. The history of marriage shows that it is more about keeping wealth and power in a given family, as opposed to being about love. It is a union that is sanctioned by a State and Federal Government contract that gives you rights that should be available for all people. Perhaps we should have worked to use different wording that could be used to express the love we say we are joining over. Our fight should be for achieving the same rights that others have, not change the fact that we are different from others. That is the key to all humanity, no one is like another person. Celebrate what makes us who we are, embrace the differences, and love the ones that can lift us up in spite of them.

*Against Equality: Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusions” Edited by Ryan Conrad copyright 2014

 

The annual Pride Parade is replaced with a Resist March as members of the LGBT community protest President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California
The annual Pride Parade is replaced with a Resist March as members of the LGBT community protest President Donald Trump in West Hollywood, California, U.S. June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Soul Food

Every now and then, it is good to just listen to words that help nourish the soul. Ted Talks are great for that, so check out a few and enjoy your weekend.

The first is Jok Church, originally from Stow, Ohio. Its short but very deep.

 

The next is Morgana Bailey and the danger of hiding your true self. It’s important to understand that we often times hide part of ourselves for reasons we self impose. Conformity becomes normal and hiding is how we cope with it. Each aspect of us is important to the very fiber of who we are, as a person. You may not want to be defined as a “gay” or a “lesbian” or whatever, but the very act of hiding what we are and not embracing it as a part of is can have just a severely negative aspects on our health and welfare. Not expressing and sharing it can also have consequences on others actions and welfare. Be an advocate, if not for someone else, be it for your own self and the effects it will have on your own world. Those very actions will cause ripples of change in the environment at large.

 

Lastly, Geena Rocero and her journey of coming out and becoming who she is as a transgender person.Its about the importance of not living by the boxes that others put us into. Gender is not the limitation of the labels imposed upon it. This is her struggle to become who she was supposed to be.

Spanking the Monkey or Flicking the Bean

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A recent study in May, which should come as a complete shock to everyone, released that LGB people masturbate more often than our straight counterparts, a whopping 23% more on average per week. This study was released by the pleasure brand TENGA, provider of male pleasure products. This survey also found that LGB people are more comfortable talking about sex and sexual behaviors. Again, this really isn’t a huge surprise, hell we have to make sure that our partners are comfortable with the same things we like and how we do them.

The survey was conducted between February and March and polled 18 countries, including the UK, the US, France, and Kenya. 86% of heterosexual people polled admitted to having tried masturbation at some point, while 97% of LGB people advised they had partaken in solo pleasure. While 71% of the Lesbian, Gays, and Bisexuals polled said they do talk about sex with their friends, only 42% of heterosexuals admit to discussing the matter. That in and of itself is a sad revelation of the world we live in.

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This survey is heavily skewed to UK numbers, as the research itself is from a UK company. This study found that more than one third of the UK population indulge in self pleasure weekly, there was no information for American engagement. The people polled were asked how frequently people masturbate regularly and they advised that they felt about 65% of the people did so weekly. The actual results from the survey show that it was actually 78% enjoyed it weekly. 49% of the UK respondents believed that masturbation had health benefits. We do know that men who frequently masturbate are at a lower frequency of prostate cancer. As an aside there is a recent study from the University of Arkansas shows that more women have more frequent orgasms with other women than they do with men. The study was called “Are Women’s Orgasms Hindered by Phallocentric Imperatives?” and polled 2300 respondents. The results found that 33% more likely to orgasm with another woman and on average 55 times per month. This survey is cognizant that women tend to focus more on women’s pleasure than men seem to focus. This study shows that in women having sex with men that it is far more phallocentric, meaning that it seems to be more about the male receiving pleasure. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise either, since there has always been a long-standing urban myth about the best orgasms or know how to please a person is achieved from members of the same sex.

Let’s take a look at some habits from the UK respondents. 15% of the British population admitted to having pleasuring themselves during their commute, whether by car, plane, or train, I have seen the videos on YouPorn and the like proving that result and I must say I ain’t mad. In the US, that happens to, but it’s usually the creepy guy that is urinating in the corners. This shorty study also showed that Brits are the biggest users of sex toys at 28% with the US only trailing at 27%. Makes me wonder who were sent these questions.

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The study also did a bit of probing into Sex Ed teaching practices. These touched some topics that are heavily discussed in the news today. People ages 18 – 34 were asked if they discussed sexual consent during their Sex Ed classes and 40% said they had. People 35 – 54 were asked the same questions and only 22% said that topic had come up during their discussions. Same group of people 35- 54 were asked about sexual assault being discussed and a mere 9% said they remember discussing it. 15% of the people asked in the age group of 55 and above about discussing masturbation in Sex Ed and results showed that only 14% had discussed it (or remembered). 16% of 35 – 54 and 22% of 18 – 34 years old people had remembered discussing masturbation.

What we can see from this study is that trends area moving to be more progressive in discussing a broader range of sexual health and behaviors. It does seem that, per the usual, American seems to be on the slower side of that trend. It shows that the topic is still fairly taboo and needs to be addressed and brought more into the light. Conversations earlier in life can lead to them becoming a much more relaxed conversation with our sexual partners and people in general. It is hard for many men or women to have discussions with their physicians about sexual dysfunctions or concerns. This definitely should not be the case, there is no need for shame in discussing such an important part of our human condition.

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Personally, I am more comfortable discussing sexual topics with people and that changed a lot after coming out. Though I do admit to tailoring that to the comfort level of people that I am around, if you aren’t as comfortable, I tend to be or react similarly. How about you? Are you comfortable discussing these types of things with those close to you? Are you shocked by the results of this study? How does this study make you feel? Let me know in the comments below.

 

The Truth About Dating

People always seemed shocked when they hear that I haven’t dated much, since moving to the Cleveland area. Really, I think that they are equating dating with having sex. At least it seems that is what they are thinking. Usually when they ask, and I say I haven’t met the right person yet, it is always followed by the ever-popular question, “don’t you get lonely?” Hell yes I get lonely. But that isn’t really the topic here, so let’s dive into the actual issue. Why do people seem to equate dating and sex as the same thing?

Dating, for me anyway, is a pretty simple idea. You meet someone and you go out, while you are on this outing you share information about one another. This information is used to create a frame of reference about the person you have met. You learn a little bit about their background, their likes and dislikes, why they may be single now, and what kind of person they may be looking for in someone else. It is a pretty simple formula. How the actual meeting takes place can vary from situation to situation. Its really a litmus test of sorts, designed to see how you two get along and what they may be like in a public situation. A means of seeing if there is compatibility. It could lead to sex, but it is not a must. Most of the time I am too nervous meeting someone new that the idea of sex is the last thing I am thinking about. Then again, I am usually the type that overthinks situations a little too much.

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Now speaking from a gay male point of view, gay men have been known to have the stance that love shouldn’t be so conventional. Multiple partners and not really settling down has been the nom de plume in the earlier years. Maybe that is why many gay men think that dating is the same as having sex. As Miquel Brown said, “so many men, so little time.” Why be tied down when there is a veritable buffet of men in the world. Many didn’t even talk more than just exchanging a name they went by and off to the races. To be tied down was tantamount to a “straight” relationship and if they didn’t accept us, why should we accept the limitation of their relationship ideals.

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I have mentioned previously (insert link) that I am a bit old fashioned, at times. One of them is when it comes to dating. Guys get a bit frustrated talking to me because I actually try to talk to them. Conversation is one of the biggest things that can turn me on and I like learning about someone. Too many times have I been fooled by the pretty package and quick wit and not learning more about a person. That is partly because I still cling to an old notion of actually meeting someone, I want to spend time with, not just a few hot and steamy minutes. It is actually nice having someone you can talk to about things and share feelings with. I want someone who can carry on a conversation about something more than the size of their dick and what position they prefer to screw in. I have that in several profiles and it never ceases to amaze me that they use that line when the contact me, but it is always followed by some lame, overly sexualized pickup line.

I am not a prude, that is for sure. I have the same thoughts as everyone else when I am meeting someone new. How are they going to look? Will they fill out a pair of Levi’s the way that would make a cowgirl swoon? How quick can I get them naked and will it be as good as I picture it? But I try to keep my other head in the game as well. Can we talk about our favorite movies or books? Do we have similar tastes in cuisine? You know the normal stuff. My phone is just as full of hookup apps as any other horny gay male. And yes, my lustful desires can often win out but so far, I have kept them in their cage. I want to meet people not just for conquests but also for a friendship base. For me, there is no use in fucking someone if you cannot stand to be around them. I mean when you finish the deed and you are laying there trying to catch your breath before dashing to the door, you need something more than a languish look around the room only to say, “nice drapes.”

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I am not saying that a first date cannot or should not lead to a sexual situation, that my dear is strictly up to you to decide. And maybe there is something to be said for the old baths, walk in, get a key and a towel, drop your clothes off in a locker and browse until the compass points in the direction of your loins’ choosing. At forty-five, I just don’t think that is my scene. Most times I feel like that one old guy we all know from the bar that is hanging around until closing time just hoping someone may be horny enough to go home with us. I think I will pass on that image and go for the conversation upfront. See me at my best before you see me at the rest.

The point is, I haven’t dated much since I have been here and that does suck. When you want to meet someone with depth, but you always seem to get the cast offs from a bargain basement store, you really don’t want to settle. And yes, that leads to a barren salt flats of a sex life, but I would rather find someone I can talk to afterwards than just taking care of the deed because it and they have both popped up at the same time. I can do that at home, with good porn, and a hand and still look at myself in the morning with a bit of dignity.

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A Child Stuck In A Well

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I spent most of the month posting about body and sex positivity and I figured I would wrap it up with a reality check. The body positive movement is a good thing, for some people. Just like life, it isn’t a blanket statement. No one can ever tell you to love who you are for these “x” reasons. Each of us has things we don’t like about ourselves at any given time and they change almost as often as the weather. So you may be wondering why I would post those same kinds of messages if I’m now saying that it isn’t for everyone. And that is more of what this will be about.

We spend our entire lives in the body we are born with. We watch it grow and change every year. We know the flaws, that is a given. Hell, why wouldn’t we when all the places and media outlets we touch on a given day point them out to us? We know the days when our hair is on fleek and we are rocking the cutest outfit ever. Our emotions run from the darkest depths to the brightest of rainbow-clad skies. All because of the skin we live in. How we feel about ourselves in relation to what we perceive on a daily basis consumes a major amount of our time. What do we get out of all this focus? Heartache and stress are usually our sparkly prizes.

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I could give you the Cosmopolitan Top 10 list of what you can do to have a better body positive mindset. I could show you ways to reimagine how you look at yourself in the mirror and words to say to help shape how you feel. You can surround yourself by people who constantly tell you how beautiful you are and how much you are loved. But all it will take is one bad day to shake that to the very core of your foundation. It won’t work for you every time or at all. Guess what, it’s okay that it doesn’t. In fact, forcing those mindsets can be just as damaging as the negative ones. They create different kinds of stress and worries to become obsessed with. Working on accepting what we are should be a better focus.

Self-acceptance isn’t about body positivity, it’s simply actualizing that we are who we are. We are both good and bad it doesn’t lower our self worth. Instead of comparing we should realize similarities and what we offer. Not focusing on trying to be some unattainable ideal dictated by a society that changes fades every clothing season. It’s about allowing ourselves the room to be who we are, unconditionally, without more labels than necessary. THAT, my friends is just as hard to do and cannot be done overnight it’s a day-by-day struggle of picking yourself up and moving on. If someone insults us it hurts, we accept that it hurts and know that it will not destroy us. Just like we must keep our head when we get that elusive compliment and know that it will not change the world after the endorphins have left our systems.

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Wanting to change our bodies should be done for the right reasons and correctly. I’m not going to speak on medical reasons for change, those are personal and should be taken up with health care professionals and not some online personality or article. Hell, you can take any of what I am saying with a grain of salt; all I have to draw from is my experience. Being a gay male is just as hard as being a woman or a person of color, in certain respects. I have lived with the ideals that the greater gay community at large has of what is desirable and I have done and do things that can be extreme to try and fit into those parameters. All for the reason of trying to attract what I consider an ideal mate. My own perceptions colored by the very ideals that have shaped my obsession to change.

Having been single for the better part of 15 years has left me in me in a place of trying to figure out how to get back into the dating scene. At 45, my body doesn’t have the bounce back for all of the things that many of us do to ourselves to be more attractive. I have shuttered myself away from the gay community because I know I’m not young, thin, and beautiful. Two and a half years ago I made a change in my life financially and mentally to leave what I knew to do something different. I am a work in progress and still trying to get back to socializing. And I still don’t accept my body completely, I know at times I can be attractive and it takes a bit of work. Mostly I try to be forgiving of myself and know that it is ok that I feel how I feel.

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This all means that we must not take ourselves too seriously. There is plenty of bad shit in the world, more than enough to go around. We have to get out of our heads and see there are other things that do need attention. Our lives may, in fact, have real things that need a more clear-headed approach. For me, one of those would be socializing. Getting out there so I can at least be seen. Hiding myself away is a crutch to justify not having to deal with being judged. Instead I should be accepting that I will be judged no matter where I am or what I do. Life is too short to shutter ourselves away and not enjoy it, regardless of opinions.

There is no cure-all for changing how you feel about your body. There is no red pill or blue pill, its a daily constant effort and as much as you feel like giving. The road does, however, start with acceptance. Acceptance that you are still a good person no matter how your body looks or others opinions of how you should look. Don’t be the child stuck in the well. Make your voice be heard regardless of who tells you differently. It is your life and you should enjoy it on your own terms.

Let’s all be a little easier on ourselves!

 

Looking For Light In The Darkness

The World can be a dark place, that’s for sure. Each time you turn on the TV, open Twitter or Facebook, check your Instagram posts, or even listen to your podcasts, there is always some note of darkness. This Administration is trying the damndest to roll back everything they can about protection status for our LGBTQ community. We need to break up that monotony with any ray of positivity we can. It is something I have been struggling with, as well.

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photo courtesy of sexualfreedom.org

Body positive and sex positive messages are so very necessary. Learning to love who you are unconditionally is key in being able to extend that love to others. Some have been fortunate enough to have our families bring them up in that kind of environment, but the majority of us have had to try to learn that where we can or if we can. I love looking for those kinds of people who promote that kind of message. Enter Corinne Kai, a sex educator and writer. Kai looks as the world through the lens of a pleasure activist and femme of center queer human. You can visit Kai’s Insta here where you will be treated with an array of beautifully shot images that are somewhere on the scale of feminine and LGBTQ. You can also find Kai on the “Femme, Collectively” podcast, here you can check out all their topics on gender intersection, sexuality, and healing. Be sure to check them out, their images are beautifully shot and guaranteed to get you to want to start changing your perception of your own inner beauty.

We all know that underwear can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves. A cute pair that is accentuates our curves in all the right places can make us feel like we are the sexiest person the planet. If this is you then Pyramid Seven Underwear is for you. Click their name to be taken to their Insta account. Pyramid Seven Underwear showcase that they “have underwear for everybody and EVERY body.” On their page you will be treated to fashion magazine quality images of all body and gender identity types. Their high quality fabric and array of color can definitely help give you a different perspective on body positivity.And I love supporting companies who support our community.

 

Being body and sex positive is important for our general and psychological health and unfortunately many parents aren’t equipped to teach their children about issues they, themselves, haven’t been taught to deal with. Are you a parent, know a new parent, or just want to help educate yourself in the possibility that you may be a parent then you need to check out Sex Positive Families . Sex Positive Families’ main goes is to “raise sexually healthy children one talk at a time.” This means discussing topics like consent and teach them in basic everyday ways of engaging with people. They also discuss some of the harder topics in new ways to make it easier for parents and children. Their belief is that shaping your child early will help them not have the issues we are today.

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Early and ongoing talks about sexual health can be powerful normalizers of a child’s experiences with their changing body, feelings, interactions with others and messages from the world around them. Parents and caregivers can wonder how much info is too much or when is the “right” time. Consider being proactive as a way to ensure a child receives the knowledge and safe space that helps them make informed choices from a place of awareness and not fear. . ⬆️Now available for download is our age-by-age guide with strategies for raising sexually healthy children from birth to beyond. Follow the bio link to snag your copy and start the talks that support the sexual health of a child in your world.

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Looking for culturally inclusive, sex positive, and an empowering LGBTQ group, the @altapride is for you. This is also one of the few blog out there that showcase gay and bi black men. They also cover a wide range of topics like HIV prevention and treatment, transgender issues, and anti-bullying. Scroll through and check out the insanely hot pics and gain some knowledge while your there. You won’t be let down.

Lastly, and certainly not least is Ruby Allegra. Ruby is a voice for an overlooked and marginalized community, LGBTQ people with disabilities. The media caters to a specific body type for all gender identities and Ruby becomes the advocate for those that don’t fit these molds. Ruby uses social media as a means of advocacy for those with both identities. Check out Ruby Allegra’s Insta here (https://www.instagram.com/rvbyallegra/?utm_source=ig_embed)

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I’m so excited and nervous to share that I will be performing as feature poet for @drawyourswordspoetry on December 6! There will be music from @effie.mp3 and some amazing talented folk in the open mic part of the evening! If you wanna come check it out, share some poetry or just hang with good people, it’ll be at @chateauapollo, doors at 7pm, $10 entry. This venue is accessible! 💗💙 Photo by @pamo.boutros . . . [Image descriptions: first image features Ruby sitting in their wheelchair in front of rows of desks and shelves in a library. Ruby is laughing with their hand partially covering their face, and they are wearing a pink tshirt under blue and white striped overalls. The second image is a promotional poster for Draw Your Swords, featuring a continuous line drawing of Ruby with a mint coloured background. On the left hand side is text reading “Draw your (S)Words: a night of spoken word. Chateau Apollo, 6 December, doors at 7, $10 entry. Featuring: Ruby Allegra (poetry), Effie (music).”]

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Changing perceptions isn’t easy but the first steps have to happen with us. Surrounding ourselves with more positive images helps us create a mindset that is conducive for loving ourselves for who we are at our core. When we do, we show that to the world and will accept nothing less from others. Start small and just learn to be at peace with who you are. If you find or have blogs or people you follow that offer you that needed body and sexy positive ideal, please share below in my comment section.

 

 

Cruise Control

“Knock three times on the ceiling, if you want me. Twice on the pipe if the answer is no…” The art of cruising has evolved so much over the years. The signals gay men once used to express interest are all but a lost art form. Mention hanky code and most may think you mean some kind of public acceptance of wiping your nose. With the onset of technology, we are able to dial down someone within a few hundred yards as opposed to carefully displaying ourselves and watching to see if there is interest. Taking a look at how we meet and even entertain ourselves seems important now that Tumblr is disappearing.

Our world today is fairly easy. We can whip out our smartphones and pull up the most recent iteration of a cruisy app to find other gay men around us. From there we can plan a hookup or possibly start a relationship. In the recent past it was a bit more convoluted. The 1920s was an era of decadence, one that had many bars and clubs owned by gay and lesbian men. As the economy crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s happened, many things changed. Many felt that the openness and experimentation of the 20s led to the current state of affairs. Laws were put into place that prohibited any gay person from congregation in public places. The once bars, restaurants, and cabarets ran by so many were not put in jeopardy. Establishments that employed them or allowed to them to gather where threatened with losing their liquor licenses. Movies were no longer allowed to show gay characters or themes.

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During the 1930s, you also saw in increase of New York City Police using a 1923 statute that made it a criminal act for one gay male to invite another to have sex. This started the sting operations that haunted gay men cruising for sex for so long. These changes forced us to try to find new ways that we could meet each, adopting modes of dress, speech and even style. So how did that happen, you may ask. Well jewelry was a big indicator, wearing a single ear piercing in a certain ear was one of the easiest. Also the adoption of a pinky ring was another means to let others know. Around the 1960s, the Hanky Code was invented. This was an elaborate system of color, patterns, and what pocket to wear it from, all to give the viewer the knowledge if you were a top or a bottom or if like liked a certain fetish.

While these were great, sometimes it was not conducive for all men who were looking to hookup. So places became popular. The term “cruisy spot” was used to indicate a place where men who were looking for sex could meet other men. These places were prone to police raids and also became targets for violence. Bathhouses became other areas for this type of activity. Here you could carry your key or towel a certain way to show others your interest. Video booths were also popular places for the quick turn of trade. Video booths gave the added ability of purely anonymous sex and created a larger fetish scene of glory holes.

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During the 1960s, mainly in Britain, the language of Palori was used as a means of speaking to other gay men without being detected. One would be able to carry on a whole conversation or be able to use is sparsely so that others may be able to pick up on it. Many of the words used during that era have stayed with us through the ages. Butchto mean masculine or masculine lesbian, Chickento mean young person, Cottaging to refer to sex in public restrooms, and Fruitto mean gay man. Our very history has been shaped by the means of the past.

 

As the modern era approached, we saw the Internet start to become a large presence in the lives people. The LGBTQ people were quick to embrace it. I harken back to the days of the AOL chat rooms as a means of finding guys in a specific area. It was great if you were in a new town, you could log into a regional area or even city room to meet up. This lead way to sites like MySpace, LifeOut, and other early social media sites, becoming popular means of meeting and hooking up. The days of Craigslist were not far behind, gaining popularity and growing across the country. This caused many of the earlier means of identification to pass into memory, leaving things like the Hanky Code to be used in bars or leather clubs.

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As technology improved and became smaller, our phones became the way for hooking up. Combining the GPS feature and mobility allows members to find like-minded people anywhere they are in the world. Even today we still see usage of terms like bears, twinks, tops, bottoms, bully dyke, baby dykes, acdc, and bibi. Many apps have come and gone over the years, leaving the tried and true like Grindr, Scruff, and Growlr to serve most gay men on the go. Even these platforms are starting to change and evolve more.

We have also used the web and apps as a repository for our arts, history and porn. Apps like Tumblr allow members to curate content they like and share it with an audience that follows them, whether it be content they have found from other places or their own productions. As with much of our history, it is often times viewed through the outside lens of being obscene and many of these sites have very short life spans. Tumblr was started in 2007 to be a micro blogging platform. Allowing bloggers to post multimedia and short posts in a more bite sized consumable format. Tumblr gave an open format for blog owners to post adult related material, but if it was substantial amount posted that their blog be labeled as adult. The terms of service always stated that sexually explicit videos would not be allowed, but embedding code as a redirect could easily circumvent this.

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It is stated by outside sources that 22% of all traffic in and out of Tumblr has pornographic related content and that 16% of the blogs were solely NSFW related. While these numbers seem relatively small, they are the largest focus for the heat the site takes, As of December 17, 2018, Tumblr has issued that all adult content will be removed from their site, with a few exceptions/explanations to this rule. This comes from the long-standing battles about the amount of adult content and recent allegations of child pornography on the site. Adult content aside, this will be a pretty significant loss to the LGBTQ history. Tumblr was useful for many transgender people posting information about the process and life.  It was a means for many LGBTQ artists to showcase their art and express their views. Many of these will fall into the guidelines that Tumblr is now enforcing and will cease to exist on a social platform.

We have changed our ways of identifying ourselves throughout the years, we have adapted to society and technology as our needs saw fit. We have left outdated methods behind us or incorporated them in to new ways of usage. The lesson is that we will adapt to the changes, it may be difficult but we always find a way. How will the future change our interactions?

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