I’m 32 and Haven’t Experienced an LTR: Cause for Concern?

Living in the digital age that we are in, many of us are constantly bombarded by endless “love” related social media posts. No matter what you identify as on the LGBTQ spectrum, it’s something that we see all the time (relationship, engaged, married, adopting, buying a house, etc).

So, what happens when you are in your early 30’s (for me, 32) and have never been in a long-term relationship? Does seeing these posts only intensify your desire to want to find that true one in hopes that you’ll eventually make your loved ones jealous of your own romantic success?

I know many people who have treated finding love as an Olympic sport. At the end of the day, they want that metaphoric gold medal in finding their true soul mate of sorts to spend their life with (or more than one, if polyamory is your thing). For me, I treated my 20’s as a way to build my career, as writing is something I’ve always wanted yet finding a full-time job in it was incredibly difficult to do.

I climbed up on that ladder of journalism success over the past decade and made that my true focus. Love was something I was also desiring, but when you live in a big city like New York, sometimes you can find yourself thinking elsewhere in terms of how you are going to pay next month’s rent as opposed to finding the man of your dreams.

My love life has not been a total fail up to this point. I have had some great relationships that have come and gone, many even hit the 3-5-month mark. My longest relationship was around 10 months, and it happened when I was 20 and the other guy was 21. It occurred at college in New England, where I met the guy off a bear app for a one-night stand that turned into something completely different.

We said, “I Love You” to each other on the third date, so that shows just how ready I was for an actual relationship. The two of us ended things around the holidays that year and I haven’t heard from him since, but it broke me in on the do’s and don’ts of finding your mate. Saying “I Love You” within a week of knowing each other: bad (IMHO). Making time for the guy you think could be something special: good. Life is really all about learning from your mistakes, so you don’t take them with you.

The 3-5-month relationships all ended for different reasons. One guy I wanted to marry, yes actually marry, as the feelings between us were so intensified that I felt that he really was the one. Then a lot of baggage and bulls**t got in the way, and things ended. I still think about him to this day as “the one that got away” but am fully aware that the timing and many other factors were off, so I had and have to let that go.

The others ended basically because we weren’t right for each other. I don’t speak to any of them anymore, but I do wonder if these short-term flops I had has caused me to be jaded when it comes to the world of love. Does it really matter that I’m at the age that I am and haven’t found anyone yet?

I asked my friends that same question, and here’s what they said:

My longest relationship started when I was 32.

I’m 30. Same boat

No. It’s about 32 or so that I met my first long termer after a decade of Six Monthers. And it wasn’t till the second one that it really took.

Nope. It’s who you’re with not when that really matters.

Nah. When you hit 48?

It bothers everyone *but* me that I’ve never been in a relationship. Not sure why they care so much

There is no should or shouldn’t. Don’t put unnecessary expectations on yourself. It’ll happen when it happens.

Not at all - I was much older before I had a proper relationship. Better to wait for the right man than just mr right now

Do you feel lonely? Are you seeking companionship? Do you feel the need to love and care for another beautiful man? Then that's when you're ready

I entered my first long-term relationship at 53. Now I'm 59 and happily single. Don't rush into anything.

Nope. Too many people grab o to anyone and hold onto the relationship because they are afraid to be alone or they don't enjoy their own company. That's not a relationship; that's fear. If you want to meet the right person, keep being yourself solo.

I think the consensus from all of this is to not worry, don’t let social media bug you, and let it happen when it does. Bottom line: focus on what’s best for you and let things happen naturally.

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.

America’s First All Openly Gay Boy Band Release Debut Single

Although several boy bands in the past have had one of its members come out as gay at some point (Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block, Lance Bass of *NSYNC), there has never been one that has truly consisted of five openly gay men in one band... until now.

Jay, Mike, Randy, Devin and Gama are Echo V, five guys with distinct, echoing voices that combine to create one beautiful sound.  By all outward appearances, they seem to be the typical boy band with good looks, lush harmonies and killer choreography, but they have one important difference: they’re all gay.   Their debut single, “Rainbow,” reflects their decision to be out about their sexuality.  While it is a fun, high energy pop anthem with an explosive hook that will get listeners dancing and singing, it also has an important message. “Be proud,” explained Jay.  “Our hope is that the song inspires people to stand up and claim their truth, be happy with who they are and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.” 

“The narrative in ‘Rainbow’ is personal,” Jay continued from the Los Angeles studio where the band recorded the song. “It kind of came from a place deep within that was filled with despair and even frustration.  The first few lines of the song are about finding yourself.  It then continues with how the struggle to conform to society’s standards can be harmful to some. In the second verse, there is a moment of acceptance and defiance where we come to terms with how this one life is for us and not for them.” 

“Rainbow is about unapologetically owning your multifaceted-ness and realizing that you have to live for yourself. It’s a journey to self-discovery and the strength it takes to live life in the open, day in and out.” 

Part of what the boys of Echo V are hoping to break is the stereotype that being an out, gay musician is a nail in the coffin of an artist’s career. In 2018, the entertainment industry is more vibrant than ever with the mainstream success of television shows like Queer Eye and RuPaul’s Drag Race; but there is still progress to be made, especially in the music arena.  “We hope our album can be enjoyed by all regardless of age, gender, sexuality or race because art and creation is universal,” says Mike.   

Mike helped to conceptualize the music video for “Rainbow,” along with videographer Chris Greenwell and editor Adam Amore. They drew inspiration from The Wizard of Oz in terms of color scheme and the switch from black and white to color. (Sharp listeners will notice the lyrics of the song also draw inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.) The video cuts back and forth between Echo V singing and real people of all different shapes, sizes and colors marching in Pride parades.  Mike felt it important that the video show the personalities of each boy in the band but also show something bigger than ECHO V:  the diverse world around us.

“It seemed only fitting that a song called ‘Rainbow’ show a rainbow of people,” he explained.



ECHO V’s “Rainbow” is available via the band’s website.  

We Want to Know: What Has Been Your Biggest 'Pride' Moment?

Pride Month is an incredibly important time for the LGBTQ community. It brings us together in ways that no other month does, and is a major reminder of how tight knit we truly are and just how many millions of people out there really do support us.

There is undoubtedly at least one major moment that has happened to each and every single one of us in our community that makes us think of the word "pride" more than any other. Perhaps it was when you came out, or when you marched in your first pride parade, and so on and so forth. 

I polled several of my friends with that particular question: what has been your biggest "pride" moment in your life? Take a look at what they had to say:

"June 26, 2015 - the Obergefell ruling. One of the greatest days ever."

"Holding my husband's hand in the street in the sun during the parade and looking over at him smiling and telling me how much he loved me."

 "Seeing LGBTQA+ and straight allies unite to help those affected by the Pulse massacre." 

"Performing my heart out for my sister that passed away a month prior to pride. Living my life to the fullest and knowing that she loved me for who i was."

"A few years ago...and it wasn't planned...but I ran into like 15 people from an online world/game i was apart of...then back to a bud's place who's roof deck was all forest and landscaped so awesome that you could not tell u was in Manhattan. Had an awesome last minute party with some good food, drinks and peeps."

"The first time that i went to pride parade in Chicago . It was just a few months after I moved from the Middle East. The most amazing feeling seeing the rainbow flag and everyone was happy. That was the first time that I felt it was okay to be gay,"

"Seeing the dykes on bikes at my first pride parade."

"Being in front of Stonewall Inn after the Supreme Court found in favor of Edie Windsor. Maybe one of the best moments of my life."

"In June of 2007 I arranged a meeting at my UU church between a group of LGBT families with our state representative. He had voted against gay marriage multiple times. At our meeting we learned he was changing his vote. That week a vote in the Massachusetts State House to put an anti-gay measure on the ballot lost by six votes - the anti-gay marriage measure was not on the 2008 ballot, and gay marriage in Massachusetts was preserved. On the day of the vote I found myself face-to-face with the head of the Massachusetts Family Association - took a wide stance that blocked his entrance to my state senator's office, and debated him on marriage rights. I was NOT expecting this confrontation, and was a bit overwhelmed facing off in a spontaneous debate with this abhorrent guy, but I had the advantage of having just overheard a secretary whisper in her phone that the senator was changing his vote - to protect gay marriage. I stalled him from entering the office for a few minutes, and, hopefully set him off-guard. Within an hour the vote was taken and gay marriage won the day!"

So Instinct Magazine followers, tell us... what has been your biggest "Pride" moment?

NYC Pride and GLAAD Host Incredible 'Game Changers' Series

SVA Theater played host to a very memorable evening this past Friday in New York City, where NYC Pride and GLAAD partnered up to launch an event called Game Changers that featured some of the top transgender talent on television today. 

Award-winning journalist Diana Tourjée moderated a discussion between three of the most prominent actors and actresses on TV. This included Brian Michael Smith (OWN’s Queen Sugar), Amiyah Scott (FOX’s Star), and Jamie Clayton (Netflix’s Sense8).

The four of them bounced off one another beautifully during the hour long discussion of transgender images in the media and its progression over the past several years. One of the major takeaways from that night included Jamie wanting transgender talent to simply be referred to as the character they are playing and not as someone who is playing the role of a trans individual.

Another noticeable moment discussed how long it took for each of them (including Diana) to find any sort of inspiration on television when it came to seeing an actual trans individual. The sentiment was that there are doors that have been knocked down, but there are still plenty more that need to be broken into for the trans community in the entertainment industry.

For more information on NYC Pride, please click here. For more information on GLAAD, please click here.

How One Police Officer is Bringing LGBTQ Inclusivity to His Entire State

Hubba hubba, indeed.

Lieutenant James Tracy not only protects his entire community of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, but he is also going out of his way to bring LGBTQ inclusivity to the police departments across Bergen County in the northeastern corner of his state.

NBC News released quite an incredible profile and interview with James, who helped initiate Bergen County Police Academy's first LGBTQ bias training program two years ago. He is now looking to expand this program throughout the whole state. 

Lieutenant Tracy started an initiative during LGBTQ Pride Month last June where every officer in his department wore "rainbow pride bracelets." This was intended to show the town's LGBTQ community that the police officers in their area are dedicated to being inclusive and support everyone's rights no matter who you are.

It also opened a dialogue between officers and residents who asked questions about the bracelets and how they themselves could get one. He has also dedicated some of his time to engaging with youth and training the next generation of law enforcement officers.

Oh, and what's even better is that he is an out and proud gay man, which he talks about in the interview with NBC News. He also discusses what inspired him to start the training program on LGBTQ bias in his hometown and some fantastic advice to other agencies that are interested in doing this. 

Check out the full interview here.