#lgbtqcommunity

What are the Safest Manhattan Neighborhoods for LGBTQ Travelers?

Manhattan is one of the biggest and best cities for gay culture. Thousands of people who identify within the LGBTQ spectrum visit "The Big Apple" every single year in hopes of finding some of the best food, entertainment, nightlife, and more while there.

It’s also important that our community is aware of what neighborhoods within Manhattan are its safest, as hate crimes unfortunately still exist here.

GeoSure, an award-winning smartphone app that helps travelers across the most reliable safety information available with easy-to-use ratings that range from 1-100 (the lower the score, the safer the neighborhood), developed their own list of the safest neighborhoods for LGBTQ travelers in

New York City overall ranked a 31 for a score.  Philadelphia comes in at 45, Washington DC in at 40, Fort Lauderdale at 39, and Miami at 49. 

Take a look at what areas of NYC ranked where below: (numbers at time of publication)

Manhattan Neighborhood   LGBTQ
Chelsea 32
Midtown East  32
Upper East Side 32
Hell's Kitchen  40
Gramercy Park 28
East Village  32
SoHo 32
TriBeca 28
West Village  40
Morningside Heights  33

Why the high numbers within Hell's Kitchen and West Village?  It is most likely because the app uses self-reporting to give the ratings of each region.  It seems more concerns have been reported within those two areas. Keep in mind the main number for the area is the overall rating and users must slide up to see the LGBTQ Rating. 

The app is still new and may not have a number for all of the cities out there.  As usage increases, the numbers will be more accurate. Just like YELP and other rating apps, GeoSure gives a good approximation of quality based on others opinions.

As always, be safe and look out for yourselves.

h/t: GeoSure

'Proud' Gay Man Wishes Death on Drag Queens & Transgender People

An Ontario based man, who calls himself "gay and proud", is under a ton of scrutiny and outrage over an truly alarming Facebook post that he made earlier this week.

Chris Sargent, who claims to be a volunteer at a local performing arts center where he lives, blatantly wrote that he wants people who identify as transgender and anyone who does drag for a living to "kill themselves." 

"I am gay and proud," he starts off. "I am not a fan of transgender nor drag queens it's complete and utter bulls**t. So yes I will voice my opinion on the subject from here on out. If you have a problem with it well to bad for you."

The post got much worse from there. "There is no need for it in this world both are just gross disgusting lifestyles to live. All people living them can go f***ing kill themselves and better yet be put in concentration camps and killed off that way."

Several members of the community have viciously gone after him since he made the post, with many calling the individual names like a "piece of s**t." Others found a photo of him where he dressed up in drag and used that as a way to say he was a huge hypocrite.

It got uglier from there, as infighting started to occur on his own Facebook page where people were insulting his weight outside of what he said. Some also contacted his several alleged places of work  to let them know what he had written (with screenshots). One particular guy summed it all up with this: "It’s LGBT. You’re either all in or you’re nothing."

His Facebook page still remains active to this day and he has not responded to any of several comments left for him. 

 

Marco Marco Delivers Dynamite Fashion Show That Features Only Transgender Models

Famed fashion house Marco Marco did something pretty incredible to finish Style Fashion Week New York during NYFW. Their latest line, Collection Seven, was only walked down the runway by fierce and fabulous transgendered models. 

Celebrity designer and underwear guru Marco Morante’s powerful show did this for the first time ever, where notable names in and out of the fashion and entertainment industry strutted their stuff at Hammerstein Ballroom on Saturday night. 

This included icons like Pose star Dominique JacksonAngelica RossMJ Rodriguez, Gigi Gorgeous, Trace LysetteOur Lady JGeena RoceroCarmen Carrera, and Laith Ashley.

“This is an incredibly huge step forward for the LGBTQ community. I’ve never seen a show like this before and I hope more designers take note,” said David Burtka, who sat front row. Other major celebs attended the historic making event including the one and only Paris Hilton.

For more information on Marco Marco, please check out their official website

Why I'm Officially Done Writing About The Bear Community

I have been a card-carrying member of the bear community for almost fifteen years, and even though I am still considerably young (32 years of age), I’ve had enough experience within it to get a true understanding of what the f**k is really going on.

Part of the reason why I journeyed into writing online many moons ago was to have a platform where I could openly discuss the myriad of issues that are going on in this community. It wasn’t for me to vent per se, but to chat about the hot button topics that are discussed online, in bars, and on a friend to friend basis. A lot of mainstream gay publications don’t really discuss bears, as they skew towards the muscular/jock/bro types, so there was this part of me that so wanted to be a voice for the thousands of us that feel like we aren’t heard.

That voice today is officially closed after I finish the last words of this article. The way I began writing this piece may come off to some as egotistical and narcissistic, but its more of just an introduction of what’s to come as I have reached my end when it comes to the jaded, cruel, and evil mindsets that have taken over this community.

Let’s begin on a high note. For starters, there are endless amounts of men who are fantastic examples of being a standup kind of person. I know many of them and many I have yet to meet and probably never will. They run the gamut when it comes to who they are, whether it’s their chronological age, background, geographical location and more. Bottom line: they are the good ones. And we have at least one of them in our lives (hopefully) who are there to cheer us up when we need it and better the world around us.

What’s started to become a festering, nasty problem in our community since the millennium are the individuals who do nothing but spew venom, hatred, unnecessary shade and so much more for whatever their reasons may be. I have been apart of this myself, but that’s not the focus. The amount of people I know who have told me their own personal horror stories that go on in the bear community and how some of us treat each other makes me really wonder why we even use the word "community" in the first place.

Just this year alone I have seen the following: blatant racism happening in person and online (telling an African-American man that you like “the way they smell” for example). Staying on that topic, which is still very much a pink elephant in our community: having older white men try to explain to men of different ethnicities why brown and black don’t belong on the rainbow flag and not listening to their answers which are completely justifiable. Let’s also discuss how the percentages of men who are not Caucasian are still painfully small at all the major bear runs across the world, and how they feel like the outsiders in a community that was built on having everyone fit in. And when they are there, they feel like they are being fetishized for one reason or another and not wholeheartedly wanted for their mind and spirit.

There’s also been a ton of men who have cried for help on social media as the ones that they are in relationships with are mentally, emotionally and physically torturing them. This isn’t bear specific but has been brought up by men in our community several times. The line between fantasy and reality when it comes to the kind of relationship you want to engage in gets blurred sometimes, and this is still an issue that gets thrown to the side quite a lot and not dealt with seriously. Using the angry or sad button on Facebook when someone is clearly asking for help isn’t helping them at all. In other words: we need to be there for each other if we are really going to keep calling ourselves a community, but there’s more to come on that.

Then there’s body shaming, which at this point I’ve written about ad nauseum. The term “bear” isn’t just one body type, it’s many and I think that’s a wonderful thing as from an outsider’s perspective, it would mean that we are a lot more accepting. Except, LOL, we aren’t. When there are countless men complaining about how they were body shamed at an event that is supposed to do the complete opposite, then there’s a problem there. Do I think 100 percent of those situations happened in real life? No, we all have our insecurities and these sorts of things can play mind tricks on you, but they do happen, and I’ve been witness to it hundreds of times over several years. As I’ve said before: body shaming makes you a d**k.

I never wanted our growing culture to ever feel like we need to be in a “kumbaya” state 24/7/365, but there should be some happy medium where we can accept and appreciate each other for who we are. A lot of men in this community have turned into bullies, which seems like they have just become the person who did this sort of behavior to them growing up. LGBTQ people have a history of being tortured endlessly during our middle and high school years, and some do a complete 180 and act this way towards others in our community once they find a clique that could be deemed popular (and ultimately above others) for several reasons. And before anyone says “oh that’s crap” … it’s not. It exists. The scene on the Real Housewives of New York City when Kelly Bensimon tells Bethenny Frankel “I’m up here, you’re down here” happens all the time. It’s juvenile and pathetic, in my honest opinion.

Comments sections on social media alone also breed toxicity. I’ve done my best to not read them, but they can be downright cruel. If one person stands up for another, you then have 5-7 other men telling them they are wrong and to pretty much stop typing. There are also ones who say disgusting and tacky things about men they despise on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts, which is hardly if ever justifiable. When did we become the teenage girls who overtly judge everyone and are mean? What does it help, as grown men, to annihilate someone’s character who you’ve never met before and don’t know?

Am I an innocent Pollyanna who has never done any of these things before? Hell no. But I can look back on things and realize when I hurt someone or said something terrible about them that shouldn’t have left my mouth in the first place. I was immensely jaded for many years in this community (primarily to how tough the NYC scene can be here), but you get older and find those lovely “gems” that become your true friends and you realize that all the drama, bulls**t, and other things that encompass the bear and gay world are simply not worth it.

As stated before, there are some fantastic guys in our world and I’m happy to know plenty of them. But this is a community that needs a lot of help, and I believe we are at a point of no return if that doesn’t shift quickly. If I can close with anything it would be this: be kind. This world is rough enough as is for the LGBTQ community, that infighting, hurtful words and so much more are only exacerbating that. My hope moving forward is for that sort of mindset to stop and for us to just truly enjoy each other for being our unique selves. I mean, isn’t that what makes us different and awesome in the first place?


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.

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.