#lgbtcommunity

Can Older and Younger Gay Men Forge a Friendship Without Physical Attraction?

When you go to your run-of-the-mill gay bar, chances are that you will see an assortment of men hanging out with one another, maybe making out or more, on any given night. The age range in each group tends to be within 5-10 years of each other, as you usually don’t see a 21-year-old hanging out with guys almost three times his age.

Judgment from other gay men usually does happen when that sort of thing becomes a visibility, where snarkiness ensues and the assumption is that the younger man in question is being paid to hang out with someone much older than him or that they are simply in a sexual situation. This usually isn’t the case (and if it is, it’s no one’s business but their own), but it does beg the question about if men from much different generations can forge a friendship without physical intimacy being involved.

It's not just the bar scene where this is seen and discussed. You will find these sorts of scenarios happening at popular gay eateries or at any major gay event across the country. Take for instance the younger guy being the only one in a group of men twice their age while they are out and about. What does the impressionable lad have in common with men who have had many years of experience on them (left open to interpretation) that can lead to him being simply friends with all of them without the thought of sex getting in the way? 

I asked this question to my friends on social media last week to get their perspective: "Can older and younger gay men forge a friendship without physical attraction?" The answer to that question primarily was a big ole “YES”, but others gave their two cents on why it isn't that simple.

Some wondered why I was even asking this, as they thought that I viewed our gay brethren as “simple”, but these are issues that are talked about in the gay community quite often. Take a look at what many of them said about this:

"Yes it is! Just set boundaries, always do things outside of the house. Don’t flirt."

"I’m going to say yes but most of the older generation seems to lump (at least the young 20s like me) into a group where they just expect either things to get sexual or you to be a flake to them. Although I’ve met some amazing older men that took a chance and are happy being friends now."

"Tough one. After sex you can become friends.”

"Yes, it's entirely possible. It's also possible for gay men to have friendships with men of all ages, add "benefits" to the friendship and still have a good friendship, whether the benefits are short-term or last for years."

"As a 40 year man who appreciates the value of intergenerational friendships, I’m always rather annoyed by the assumption that there MUST be a sexual component (or that if there is a sexual component, that it somehow fucks things up). There is immense value in the experience and wisdom of the generation above you, and I say that being the generation immediately following the missing generation of gay men who would have been my mentors and friends and sometimes even my sexual instructors, had AIDS not decimated them.  The generation below mine should at least be aware (if not grateful) that the generation above them even exists, whether they want to fuck them or not."

"Definitely possible, but some men are incapable of this."

"Most of my friends are in their mid to late 20s or in their early to mid 30s. The only one I have anything sexual going on with is my BF who is 29."

"It’s just perspective and healthy behaviors for relationships - millennials can sexualize and situation just as easily as any other generation. The question already has implicit bias."

What are your thoughts on this topic? Can gay men from much different age ranges find friendship without it leading to the bedroom?

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

FINALLY! Will & Grace Tease a 'Big Fat Gay Wedding' For The Upcoming Season

We will definitely drink to this: a "Big Fat Gay Wedding" on the upcoming season of the Will & Grace revival.

There's already so much information about season 2 of the hit NBC series that we are practically salivating at its return. For one, there are several guest stars slated to appear (some new, some returning). This includes David Schwimmer, Chelsea Handler, Adam Rippon, Matt Bomer and Minnie Driver just to name a few. Yay!

Now, the show's official Twitter account just teased that a gay wedding will happen in the upcoming season... which officially premieres October 4th on NBC.

 

 

The tagline in the hilarious video is "Being single is so last season," while Etta James' classic hit "At Last" plays in the background. All four of the cast members (Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally) are all trying to catch the bouquet, so this leaves a lot of questions as to who will be walking down the aisle.

For one, we know that David Schwimmer will be a recurring character as Grace's love interest (and he won't be playing Ross, folks). In the season one finale, Karen sticks with Stan and ditches Malcolm (Alec Baldwin), Will remains painfully single and Jack returns from Ibiza with a guy named Estefan (Brian Jordan Alvarez). There is also the cliffhanger about Will's mother Marilyn (Blythe Danner) and Grace's father Martin (Robert Klein) getting married... but they aren't gay.

So there's a lot of balls up in the air over who will walk down the aisle and what will make this wedding big, fat and gay. Can't wait to see what happens when the show returns in one month!

 

'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown Opens Up About His Past Suicide Attempt

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown got very real with his millions of followers on Thursday by revealing that he attempted suicide many years ago.

The 37-year-old shared his story on Instagram that was accompanied by a video of a performer singing the words "...Said I Made It... anybody been through the storm anybody been through the rain...” as it related to what he was talking about. 

"Today in 2006 I was sitting on my couch alone, attempting to commit suicide. In my mind life was over for me," Karamo revealed. "But I got mental health support & worked each day to believe again. And here I am happy & healthy. I made it and If you’re going through something you can make it too!" He also include the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the bottom of the post (1-800-273-8255).

The comments section from that post was flooded with supportive comments for the charismatic television star. "I had no idea- thank you for sharing. You are amazing," and "i’m so glad you posted this, it’s so inspiring and you have opened so many eyes and helped others feel comfortable in their own skin , so thank you" were just two of the many left for him after he bravely shared the news.

He followed that initial post up with a video message later on in the day. “Hey friends… today in 2006 I did attempt to commit suicide,” he began. “You know, I was in a very dark place. I just felt like life could not get any better, everything that was happening to me was never going to change, and I tried to take my own life.”

He continued, “And if it wasn’t for my best friends Raymond and Tre calling the ambulance, getting me off the couch, I probably would not be here today.”

He went on to discuss the prevalence of mental health struggles going on in today's world. “I want you all to know that as you see me on Queer Eye helping people with their mental health… it’s because it’s important to me… because I know so many of us suffer from mental health issues and we just don’t know where to turn,” he said.

“Every day it seems darker and darker, but I want you to know that things do get better,” he shared. “If you get help and you do the work daily, your life can change. I’m living proof of that. And if you know someone in your life who’s going through it, reach out to them. You could be their support.”

If you or anyone you know if suffering, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

 

Colton Haynes Shares Emotional Message From His Late Mother

Colton Haynes shared a funny yet emotional message that his late mother left for him on his Instagram Tuesday.

Dana Mitchell, Colton's mom, passed away in late March due to kidney complications. He first shared about her grim diagnosis only a month beforehand, where she was suffering from advanced cirrhosis of the liver & kidney failure and how her doctors recommended that they stay focused on her quality of life as opposed to the quantity.

 

 

He posted a photo of a message she left him months after her passing, that really read as something anyone would want to hear from their parent or a loved one.

 

 

"Colton you little shit...I will come back & haunt you if you don't follow through on your dreams. My love to my 4 beautiful children. Mom" it read. 

The Arrow actor finished the caption up with "My moms last written words. I got u mom. Are they ready? Haha...this town has never been ready for us Kansas folk...get ready."

 

Who are the 10 Most Influential Gay Porn Stars of the 2010 Decade?

The 2010 decade is almost over. Over the course of the past eight years, the gay porn industry has produced several iconic stars that have become quite influential for their work in and out of it. Question is… who has done the best at making a name for themselves and why?

We polled a ton of people this question: who is the most influential gay porn star of the 2010 decade? Influence can mean so many things: big personality on social media, mainstream attention, winning awards, looks… etc. Which men have been able to combine those things and become the force that they are today?

Take a look at our picks for the 10 most influential men in gay porn from the past decade.

 

 

On set of @mattshortfilm lets dewwwwww disssss

A post shared by Colby Jansen (@colbyjansen) on

 

Colby Jansen. What makes Colby such an influential star is that his kinks really know no limits. Sure, he does scenes that feature him with another dude (or dudes), but he also goes beyond that by entering himself into categories like bisexual, trans and so much more which really makes him such a versatile and award-winning performer.

 

Rocco Steele. The daddy of all daddies. For so many years, the norm in the gay porn industry veered towards the younger, muscular and hairless type. Rocco was one of the pivotal dudes to flip the switch on that by showcasing just how incredible men of a certain age can be on camera. This has led him to win a ton of awards for his work as well as creating a successful underwear line and launching one of the most followed OnlyFans account on the web today. Not too shabby.

 

 

Boomer Banks. Finding success out of the porn industry can be tough for many, but this New York City resident has proven he can do that and then some. He’s done some big (a pun that can easily be used on him indeed) things in the mainstream world like walking the runway for iconic designer Marco Marco and developing a close friendship with RPDR season 10 finalist Kameron Michaels (fashion line in the works soon?) He’s proof that you don’t need to be a one trick pony in life to become the star you deserve to be.

 

 

Sean Zevran. Shaved or not, Sean is one sexy dude. He started his career with Randy Blue before transitioning into multiple films with Falcon Studios and Raging Stallion. Along the way, he’s picked up Performer of the Year at the XBiz Awards and has become outspoken about many issues going on in the world today, most notably racism in and out of the adult industry.

 

 

3 years ago today

A post shared by Blake Mitchell (@mrblakemitchell) on

 

Blake Mitchell. If Spiderman had a gay porn counterpart, Blake would be it. His influence primarily comes from being one of the most followed stars on Twitter and Instagram as well as his copious amounts of award-winning scenes with Helix Studios. His humor is also very bold and brash, like his hypothesis that SNL star Pete Davidson is packing. The latter later somewhat backed that up, so Blake may have been onto something (insert eggplant emoji).

 

 

Francois Sagat. He is considered by many to be somewhat of a “god” in the world of gay porn. The longevity that Francois has created for himself is truly remarkable, in that he entered the industry way back in the early 2000’s and is still very relevant to this day. He made his return to it recently, performing in scenes for Men.com (including a gay porn Justice League parody with RPDR legend Manila Luzon), and is still incredibly hot all this time later. Werk.  

 

 

#krisEvans #GayPornstar #Model

A post shared by William Columbian O'Donnell (@liamodomhnaill1980) on

 

Kris Evans. The walking Ken Doll. Kris is a superbly dreamy dude who happens to be one of Bel Ami’s biggest success stories over the past decade. He retired last year but made quite the impact as one of the most classically handsome dudes the industry has ever seen (according to many people).

 

 

A post shared by Dirk Caber (@dirkcaberxx) on

 

Dirk Caber. Dirk sort of rings true to what Rocco was described as earlier: a smoking hot daddy who plays that role to perfection. He has capitalized on that notion in many of his scenes, while also creating a versatility about himself that goes beyond sexual positioning. This includes his kink side, which can be seen at several different events like MAL (Mr. Atlantic Leather) and in certain scenes you can click on while perusing the internet. Woof.  

 

 

Sun in burning waiting for @chuchomartinx and then #timtales

A post shared by Tim Kruger (@timkrugerx) on

 

Tim Kruger. To go from being a simple star to running one of the most popular gay porn companies on the web is quite the accomplishment. Tim created TimTales many years ago, which he both performs and directs in. The website features tons of incredibly handsome men who perform quite well in an amateur type setting. All of his hard work has paid off, as Tim reportedly has a net worth of $14 million dollars. Not bad.  

 

 

Headed to San Diego.

A post shared by Brent Corrigan (@itsbrentcorrigan) on

 

Brent Corrigan. Quite possibly one of the most mainstream gay porn stars ever… so much so that a movie was made about him. Brent started his career in a very controversial way while with Cobra Video, but was able to get out of that situation and become a big star in the industry back in the early 2000’s. After taking a long hiatus from it, he returned recently to much fanfare and adoration. His interview with the web series Hey Qween earlier this year was one of their most popular, further proving that a little break can go a long way.

Who would you put on this list? Anyone on here that you disagree with?

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

The Life of a Title Holder in the Gay Community and All That Comes With

The world of title holders in the gay community is one you feel like would be documented on MTV’s True Life back in the early 2000’s. Sure, we have films and shows like Paris is Burning, The Queen and now POSE on F/X when it comes to getting a peek into what goes on in this sort of environment … but what about the other kinds that run the muck within our community?

The lunch room and tables within what a title holder can be continues to get bigger and bigger. “Category is,” can run aplenty for the amount of titles someone can have in a certain portion of this community. A variety of contests for people with fetishes like pup play and leather all the way to more traditional “societal pageant” norms do exist in this interesting cafeteria.

Is this something that will find a mainstream audience eventually, similar to what drag has, or will it remain a mystery that only the people who show up, attend and compete in them will ever know about.

In an Instinct exclusive, I spoke with New York City’s very own Ted Bishop Nieves, who currently holds not one, but two titles: Mr. Urban Bear 2018 and Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018. He spoke about the world of title holding, his journey into it, how friendly or shady everyone can truly be and his best advice to someone who wants to get involved.

How did you find yourself in this "title holding" world? Was it something that interested you for many years in the community?

It wasn’t something that I had sought out really.  My fiancé, Kory Harmon, is very close friends with a title holder, Mr. Eagle 2017, John-John.  I had never known or been around any previous title holders really, but through their relationship and their relationships with other title holders, I was able to see that these titles were a great deal more than just fetish pageants for leather and gear lovers.  There is awesome work involved and a certain responsibility to help our communities that these titles serve as a platform. 

As Mr. Eagle 2017, John-John brought a great deal of awareness and support for issues affecting some of the more marginalized members of our communities, such as trans people of color, and he also helped to shed light on those issues, spreading awareness and letting people know ways in which they could help.  I also witnessed how another friend, Dan Jimenez, used his title Mr. Fire Island Bear 2017, to do a lot more with it than any other person with that title had done before him. That had a lot to do with why I decided to compete.  I had just won the first Mr. Urban Bear 2018 title on a whim and had already wanted to do more with it.  When the opportunity presented itself and I was urged to compete for Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018, I couldn’t pass it up.  So, I ran with it and here I am.  A title whore with two titles for the year. LOL. Now the things that I will be able to do with these titles are ones that I’ve always wanted to do, but had a hard time figuring out how to go about starting.  Raising funds and working to shed light on charities and issues that mean a lot to me is probably the most important part of being a titleholder.  Same thing with being a role model.  These are very important things to me, so I hope that I am most successful on that part.

Does a lot of what goes on behind the scenes ring true to what drag pageants are?

I’d have to say that it’s different in that appearance isn’t as big a focus, per se.  You still have to deal with the selection of outfits and making sure that you meet all the criteria expected of you, but I haven’t quite reached that title level.  The most important thing, I feel, is to be yourself.  Be absolutely true to who you are at your core and I think that you can succeed as a title holder.  That is probably the biggest thing that drag pageants and the title holder world share in common.

You currently have two titles. What are they and when did you win them?

I am currently the first ever Mr. Urban Bear 2018 sponsored by Robert Valin and the Urban Bear team.  I won that title back on May 20th of this year at the Urban Bear Street Festival.  It was such a hoot.  Robert really put together an awesome party and it was just a purely fun event for me.
Then I won Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018 on June 9th during Shane Tate’s AMAZING Fire Island Bear Weekend event. That was also an incredibly fun weekend made all the more special by having won this title.

Were you shocked that you took the title for either... or both?

I was actually shocked that I took both titles.  Mr. Urban Bear I decided to do on a whim fueled by a few drinks lol.  I truly wasn’t expecting to win and the guys I competed with were so much fun as well.

Mr. Fire Island Bear I had not really had much intention of running for, but a friend urged me on and, again, after a few drinks, I decided to go for it.  This was a much different experience as there was an interview involved and I knew that it was a different level than what I was expecting.

 I know a lot of hateration goes on (hello, this is the gay community) when it comes to the winners and the ones who don't. How do you deal with it and not get sucked into all the bulls**t?

”Hateration”. There’s a word I haven’t heard in a while. lol. I have to tell you that I have not had that experience AT ALL.  I’m not going to lie and say that it doesn’t exist because we all know that it does.  I can share with you the experience of one of my fellow title holders.  My predecessor, Dan Jimenez, did an incredible photo shoot for Fire Island Bear Weekend with some really fun and campy photos.  Some of the responses on social media, however, seemed to take offense to the fact that Dan was not reflecting what they thought was the masculine ideal for a title holder and sent some pretty nasty messages. 

Dan decided to turn that negative into a positive and came up with a project called Title Holders and Tiaras, a calendar with a different title holder for each month breaking down the barriers between what we consider unhealthy masculine ideals and the reality of our every day.  I have the pleasure of being part of this project as Mr. November with my fiancé.  The calendar will be available for sale at A Man For Every Season event at the Eagle on August 17th and the proceeds will go to the Tyler Clementi Foundation which battles bullying and suicide. At the end of the day, I am very fortunate to say that my experience has been nothing but positive and supportive from the people in my circle and other title holders as well.

Do you plan on competing for any other titles this year?

Right now, I’m focused on working on a few fundraisers, beginning with one that I’m doing with the current reigning Mr. Eagle 2018, Joseph Macchia, called Colors, a Dance Party.  That will be taking place on September 20th at the Eagle NYC.  We’re raising funds for the True Colors Fund, who work to help homeless LGBTQ youth around the country.  Plus, I have my DJing which is keeping me busy with events in Sept with Antonio Cedeno (The Male Room 1 Year Anniversary at ReBar Chelsea), John-John (Purgatory Thursdays on Sept 27th at RockBar NYC) and Matty Bryan and Julio Rios (Soaked on Friday Sept. 21st also at RockBar NYC). After I’ve done at least one more fundraiser, I will consider what my options might be.

What would you say to someone who wants to get involved in this arena but is too shy to do so?

I would tell them to just do it.  You never know what you might be capable of if you keep yourself out of the spotlight.  Shine, be yourself and most of all, have FUN!

Gay Porn Star Wesley Woods & His Friends Are Victims of Alleged Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Gay porn star Wesley Woods opened up on Friday about being part of an alleged anti-gay hate crime in West Hollywood of all places.

He spoke out about the incident on his Twitter page, where he claimed that three heterosexual white men attacked him and his best friend while they were walking down the sidewalk.

Wesley went into complete detail about it all in the one minute video that he posted on the social media platform. He has visible cuts and bruises from the alleged altercation as a result.  

 

 

"Hi, friends. Wesley Woods here... your friendly neighborhood ho," he started. "On Wednesday, August 8th, 2018, my best friend and I were brutally attacked by three straight, white, hetero men in West Hollywood, California."

"Why you might ask? For being gay. Now we weren't technically being gay at that exact moment, we were just walking down the sidewalk," he continued. "You see, being gay is the act... that's when you have a d**k in your a**. We just happened to be walking down the sidewalk, minding our own business."

He also spoke about how we are still not safe in 2018, and to be mindful of our surroundings no matter where we are. "I'm not posting this video for sympathy. I'm posting this video for awareness. You're not always safe in the places that you think you are. Always have someone next to you. Always be aware of your surroundings... and be prepared to fight for your life. I'm not saying that is a first means, and is always necessary, but in some cases it is."

He finished the video by saying "I wish you love, I wish you happiness and I hope that if you guys see me out this weekend baring my scars... you'll say hello."

Wesley also issued a caption with the video he posted that read as follows: "The enemy wants u to be afraid, they want to force you into their idea of normal. I am not, you aren’t, none of us are— “normal.” We live this life the best we can w/ what we’ve been given in hopes of being our true self. Do not hide, fight for your space to exist & ALWAYS be YOU."

 

Disowned Gay Teen Exceeds GoFundMe Goal to go to Georgetown University

What an absolutely inspiring story for our community. 

Seth Owen, who shared his story about being disowned by his parents last month, has a lot to smile about now as the GoFundMe page that was started by one of his teachers has now exceeded its goal for him to go to Georgetown University in the fall.

In less than two months, the page has raised $129.178 (as of Friday afternoon) for him when the goal itself was only $20,000! Over 1,800 people from all 50 states & 20 countries have chipped in to help pay his tuition. So awesome.

Seth's story was shared on local Florida affiliate WJAX last week, where he spoke about how his parents disowned him for being gay earlier this year. This process originally began during his sophomore year when his father took his phone and discovered he was gay. 

His parents then gave him an ultimatum: submit to so-called “conversion therapy” counseling and attend their anti-LGBTQ church or leave the house. He put his foot down for as long as he could about that, which resulted in his parents kicking him out back in February. 

He was left to sleep on other friends couches and hold down jobs to support himself after that happened, all while maintaining a 4.6 GPA at his high school that made him a co-valedictorian by year's end. 

Seth's dreams of wanting to go to Georgetown University was thwarted prior to the GoFundMe page being set up. He was granted a $50,000 scholarship by the Ivy League university, but his parents were still responsible for the remaining $27,000 of the $77,000 annual tuition. 

Given that they weren't going to support him, his biology teacher stepped up to create the GoFundMe page, where she spoke very kindly about the student and person that he is. That resonated with thousands, and now they have raised enough money to cover tuition costs for years to come.

Seth released a statement today about all of this today:

Thank you. Thank you to all of my supporters in Jacksonville and across the globe who have given their time, talents, and financial support to help me make my dream of attending Georgetown University a reality.

Thank you to the staff and professionals at the Georgetown University Office of Student Financial Services. Over the past several months, the Office of Student Financial Services has worked to address the situation that I faced after I was forced to leave my home, in February. In mid-June of this year, the Office of Student Financial Affairs adjusted my aid package to take into account my circumstances; however, there was still a gap that would need to be filled by private loans. These loans were not a viable option for me, as my parents would not act as the necessary guarantors of the loans. At this point, I thought my dream of attending Georgetown University was over.

Hearing of this situation, my former teacher, Jane Martin, started a Go-Fund-Me campaign. To date, the goals of the campaign have been met many times over. While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality. Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.

The Office of Student Financial Services was instrumental in helping me enroll in the Georgetown Scholarship Program, whose purpose is to make attendance at Georgetown possible for students in a financial situation similar to my own. This program also includes mentoring and networking opportunities which will help me to assist others in situations similar to the one I found myself in earlier this year.

Georgetown is my dream school because of the limitless opportunities it provides to its students. In particular, my interest in the school was piqued by the prestigious program of study in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. I am honored to be selected to attend Georgetown University and am elated that I am now able to attend Georgetown because of the gracious donations to the GoFundMe campaign and the efforts of the Office of Student Financial Services.

Thank you to all who have donated to the campaign. Your generosity will help me succeed academically this year and in the years to come. At the moment, I am in process of exploring the establishment of a scholarship to help LGBTQ+ scholars who find themselves in the circumstance I was in earlier this year. I am looking forward to utilizing the resources of Georgetown to help with this effort.

Again, a simple "Thank You" seems to be not enough for all of the support I’ve received from so many. I will be seeking to pass on the kindness and generosity that I have been shown.

Best regards,

Seth Owen

If you would like to donate to Seth, please click here.

 

 

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Insecurity in the Gay Community

I’ve been an out and proud gay man for 20 years now. Coming out so young in life (around my freshman year of high school), I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown up in a conservative area yet was never bullied or made to feel less than due to my sexuality.  I had the same experience when I went to college in New England for five years, and even though my experience with the gay world there was small up until that point, it was never negative. Then I came home to New York City, where things became drastically different for me.

I never saw my size as a hindrance growing up.  What was a hindrance, however, was being gay: not because anyone picked on me for it but because I truly was the only out person in my school and felt somewhat like I was in this heterosexual bubble that I couldn't get myself out of.  I needed to be around like-minded people, which is why I chose to go to college in an area that was known for its acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Weight became an issue for me when I tried to enter the gay community in NYC when I was around 23 and got the sense that your overall being can be judged very heavily (no pun intended}. This include factors outside of size such as race, economic background and an array of others facets that for someone as young as I was became a bit much for me to handle.  

I would walk through Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, workout at the local gyms and consistently be surrounded by men I saw as inferior to me. This caused me to constantly compare myself to them and wonder where I could improve as a result. The funny thing is, I never did this growing up.  I felt like all of this was making up for lost time as both men and women tend to do these things to an extreme when they are in middle school & high school as this is when insecurities breed on such a higher level as you are stuck with hundreds of the same people daily.   

This time around, it was happening in my adulthood and I feared that it would send me into a depression if I didn't get some sort of validation from this community on the point that even if I had a great personality, charming and/or funny, that it really came down to if I was good looking or not.  Sad but true, a good part of the gay community relies on vanity in order to determine friendships, f**k buddies, relationships, and so much more.  Deny it as much as you want, but it’s true.

My weight has spiraled up and down over the years: my lightest I was at 215, heaviest I was at 270.  Now I’m somewhere in the middle and can honestly say that I am content with where I am. So, what caused this shift in perception several years after my initial fears were brought to the forefront?  It’s simple- you start to realize that all that chaos that you create in your head is just that.  You hopefully develop a maturity as you go throughout life and realize what’s truly important to you and the high school bulls**t you thought was vital to your everyday life becomes non-existent.  I’m happy that I have never really conformed in this community when it comes only hanging out with a certain body type or group as the years go on.

I still deal with the shade that comes with this community, the gossip and some of the negative connotations associated with.  We all do; however, I try not to let it get to me anymore as all that is simply is chatter.  I'm aware of who I am and my worth and that has taken years and years of confidence building and a great support system to understand that.  Even if your situation seems bleak, understand that there is at least one person who greatly cares for you regardless.  

See the positive, see the glass half full.  Find that unconditional love that is important in life.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

‘Pose’ is What’s Needed for Our Community Now More Than Ever

I was a little late to the party… err ball in this equation when it came to the Ryan Murphy produced drama series Pose on F/X.

Not that I wasn’t interested in watching it, it just took me a little while. Over the course of two nights, I watched all eight episodes, and was completely mesmerized from start to finish. It takes a lot for me to warm up to any show that is specifically about the LGBTQ community (minus a couple of great ones like Will & Grace and Queer Eye), however Pose captivated me in a way that I felt was not only a want but a need given our current climate.

I have struggled for many years to find a show that the entire community, not L or B or G or T or Q, can really enjoy with one another. Yes, we have RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Pose is the original RPDR in that I don’t believe the show would really be what it is today if we didn’t have the real-life events based on what the scripted show is all about.

Pose takes a major page out of the highly-acclaimed documentary Paris is Burning and brings it back to light nearly 30 years later. It centers around the magnificent ball scene that resonated throughout Harlem in the late 80’s, where the glitz and glam are on display in every episode but the realities of what each character was facing throughout that time was definitely there too. The way that Ryan along with several writers including Janet Mock were able to blend both together really is awe-inspiring and made for a great first season of a show that I hope will air for quite some time.

The storylines for each are rich in all areas of who they are and the show brilliantly develops them as time goes on. You have the storyline of Blanca Rodriguez (MJ Rodriguez, who deserves all the awards for her role), who starts as one of the children of Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson) in the House of Abundance before leaving to start her own family.

She quickly develops her own house, the House of Evangelista, with three talented individuals: dancer Damon Richards (Ryan Jamaal Swain), Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) and Angel (Indya Moore). Damon gets kicked out of his home after his parents discover that he’s gay, while Papi and Angel work the streets of New York City in their own way.

A big part of the show focuses on the ball scene, which is hosted by a charismatic man named Pray Tell (played unbelievably brilliantly by theatre legend Billy Porter). The unapologetic, bold and brash way they treat each contestant who displays themselves in each category rings true to how it was done in Paris is Burning and I am so glad that they didn’t shy away from any of that.

The show dives into many aspects of their lives, including one of a Wall Street type of dude named Stan Bowes (Evan Peters), who picks up Angel off the streets one night and begins a very complicated relationship with her. Stan is married to a biological woman in real life with two kids, but finds himself falling for Angel, who is openly trans. He finds every which sort of way to see her throughout the series which includes him visiting her where she works at an adult video store, but the two can’t seem to see eye to eye on where their relationship goes. This leads to an awkward encounter by his wife Patty (Kate Mara), who discovers he’s having an affair and goes to great lengths to find Angel in the process.

Damon develops a relationship of his own with a dude named Ricky (Dyllon Burnside), where he experiences a scare with HIV early in the series after he gets a fever. HIV and AIDS play a major part in this series, as some of the characters have it (Blanca, Pray Tell) and others who have a scare but turn out to be negative. This disease was (and still is) a major part of the LGBTQ community back in the late 80’s, and I am once again thrilled that the show discussed this at length as opposed to keeping this about the drama between all the houses.

There’s so much more to dive into, like Elektra’s rough exterior being chipped away by season’s end for a myriad of reasons, Blanca’s complicated relationship with her family and Pray Tell’s partner at the end stages of his life due to AIDS, but I don’t want to give too much away. I will say this: the show is f***ing needed in our world today.

We have done shows in the past that were about gay men (Queer as Folk, Looking), lesbians (The L Word), trans individuals (Transparent), but never one that really brought us together on a dramatic circuit. Pose is that, and I am elated that it got a second season renewal and hopefully many more as it needs to be seen especially by the younger generations who could use an education on what life was like in this community 30 years ago.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

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