Log In, Get Off, Tax Write Off? Charitable Pornography Making A Stand

With vision and the internet, you can basically do anything anymore. Two organizations are showing how that is possible using the pornography industry to raise money for different types of charities. I’ll let you read that again if it seems surprising.

A newly-launched all-male porn studio—Boys Town Studios—will be releasing videos and donating all profits to the lgbt community to support gay rights.

Mike Kulich, owner of Monarchy Distribution, says that in order to benefit from the charity, “Anyone will be able to write Boys Town Studios and tell their stories about how bigotry and homophobia has affected their lives, and we will step in to help those victims as much as we can.” The first video’s profits will go toward helping queer Russian refugees because of everything happening to the lgbt community in Russia.

The first film to be released is entitled Deep In The Dark sometime in October, and the studio is planning to release at least two films per month, including branching into genres like twinks, bears, s&m, and other fetishes. Kulich’s reasons for launching the not-for-profit porn studio is because he wants “to help the people suffering all over the world and living in persecuting countries using the best way I know how: making quality porn.”

Not only will the studio have videos, they’ll also be branching out into other markets. As Kulich explained, “100 percent of the profits from all these movies, including DVD sales, video-on-demand, cable and broadcast will be donated to our newly created non-profit.” Monarchy Distribution is the parent company for the new studio and primarily handles straight titles, so it should be able to give a quality backing for everything Boys Town Studios creates.

Another creative solution to issues facing queer people worldwide comes in the form of something you can not only buy, but actually participate in.

Michael Wondercub has created a Rockethub, a “crowdfunding machine” similar to Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, for his brainchild “Benevidz—Sex for Charity” project. The website is made up of webcam models who perform for money, and then can donate between 10 and 15 percent of what they make during their time online to a specific charity, of which the site has six so far willing to accept donated money from sex workers.

The Rockethub announcement describes the idea stemming from Wondercub’s past, and why charities he has lined up include aiding victims of domestic abuse and cancer research. He also got the idea for cams for charity from his college days, when according to an interview with The Huffington Post he raised money for college masturbating online and felt empowered by it.

Benevidz.com will have male, female, and trans performers; gay, straight, old, and young (over 18 of course), and work to appeal to a large range of people. Wondercub hopes that if he can tap into just a tiny percentage of the adult entertainment industry, he could donate more than $1 million to charities in all of his causes, which his video speaks a lot to.

Wondercub is looking to raise $15,000 for overhead costs associated with starting up the website in order to more quickly be able to donate money toward his causes. He’s hoping that you’ll be able to give you a helping hand so he can give you one back when his website goes live. You can also sign up to be part of the action and star in your own show.

Maybe the world of pornography is changing, or maybe porn studios are hoping people will pay for pornography based on moral grounds. If both endeavors are successful, it sounds like they’ll be doing good things for everyone involved, so be on the lookout for some new things.

“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.

 

Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”

 

L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”

Illegal.

 

Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-KfROu8AaU

Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.

 

Mainstream Hollywood Needs To Come Out A Little

This year marks the first year GLAAD, an organization that works with media (social, cultural, and entertainment) on the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and issues, has released a report that measures the representation of lgbt people in the mainstream film industry.

GLAAD reports that it has followed and advocated for lgbt character and issue inclusion in television for almost twenty years, and that this year, because of how quickly television shows have become inclusive, the organization has shifted its focus to the behind-the-times film industry. It started the research because “major film studios appear reluctant to include LGBT characters in significant roles or franchises,” and from its research, that certainly seems to be the case.

The “Studio Responsibility Index” looked at the six largest film studios in Hollywood: 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, and The Walt Disney Studios. Only films released during the 2012 calendar year were chosen, amounting to 101 films (and Dalmatians). What was searched for in each film was an lgbt character, they were classified into minor or major characters, and then counted under demographic information, including race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity.

What the report found is that less than 14% of the films had a character which identified as lgbt. The majority of these (56%) were gay males, followed by lesbians (33%), although male representation almost doubled females. Almost 84% of all queer characters were white, and none were Asian, Pacific Islanders, or multi-racial. The films which were the most inclusive? Comedies, while no family-oriented movies contained a hint of queerness in them.

Of the six studios studied, none got a passing grade. Two—20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Studios—are considered failing, with one lgbt character between the two studio powerhouses.

The report also establishes its own barometer test for the stereotyping and flatness involved in creating queer characters. The “Vito Russo Test” takes its name from GLAAD co-founder and celebrated film historian, has three points a film has to pass in order to be considered having a queer character that matters. The test takes direction from the famous “Bechdel Test” for women, and reads:

1.     The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.

 2.     That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity. I.E. they are made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another.

 3.     The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.

Of the 14 films identified with lgbt characters, less than half of them pass this test, showing that the “LGBT community may be increasingly well represented on television, but clearly there is a lot of work remaining in Hollywood film.”

Recommendations made by GLAAD for the film industry touch on the importance of queer characters and their positive portrayal, especially in greater frequency and in more important roles, though at the very least in “normalizing” roles of everyday encounters. The report also underscored the importance of diversity which the entire entertainment industry has been struggling with for years. Issues of race, gender, socio-economic background, religion, and age are just as important as lgbt issues and are routinely glazed over. Lastly and perhaps most expectedly, there needs to be far more improvements when it comes to transgender inclusion in film. GLAAD points out that “transgender representations remain at least 20 years behind the curve [in both film and television].” They go on to say that since there has been more publicity about trans issues nationwide, the portrayal of trans issues should keep pace, rather than contribute to the marginalization of the trans community, something that has been becoming far too commonplace.

Picture this Romance: Gorgeous Lesbian Indian Wedding Photos

Apart from Love, everything passes away.

The way to Heaven is in your heart.

Open and lift the wings of Love!

When Love’s wings are strong, you need no ladder.

– Rumi

“We are a typical couple, at least to us. We are an interracial couple of Indian and American descent who found love at first sight. Well, let’s make that Shannon found love at first sight. The day I met Seema, I was teaching one of my boot camp classes and I turned to another instructor and said ‘I’m going to marry her.’ Of course, Seema fell in love shortly after, and six years later it became true.”

Shannon and Seema, to Buzzfeed

With Love, From Shannon and Seema

Bringing with it all the vibrant, colorful imagery of Deepa Mehta’s “Fire,” this story, these images—it’s the stuff of modern myth—but what a beautiful surprise—this is in fact the real deal.

Huffington Post Gay Voices recently profiled photographer Steph Grant and her dear friends, newly-wedded couple Shannon and Seema, complemented with gorgeous, romantic and exquisitely rich images of two women who are deeply in love.

Put A Ring On It And Take A Picture, Please

“I have photographed Indian weddings before and I have photographed gay and lesbian weddings before, but never have I ever shot an Indian lesbian wedding,” photographer Steph Grant wrote about her recent (and lovely) wedding photography assignment.

While it is decidedly challenging to be out and proud in India (most especially for women) as well as in Indian diasporic culture, this recent news item is a hopeful reminder that change is possible. The wedding itself took place in Los Angeles, though the ceremony incorporated Indian wedding traditions and attire.

Continuing the story on her blog, Grant enthused, “I have been anticipating this wedding for years now! Shannon and Seema are special to me and I am honored that they chose me to be their wedding photographer. I flew into Los Angeles a few hours before the wedding festivities began. I was greeted by a house full of friends, family and a lot of laughter. It was going to be an exciting day.”

“Beautiful Indian culture, stunning brides & style for miles!” she continued. “Couldn’t ask for more. WOW. My heart! There was so much love that consumed the SmogShoppe that evening. Friends and family came pouring in with smiles, hugs and tears… these two are clearly loved and in love. I am writing this blog a month after the wedding and I am proud to say that so much progress has been made in our country with the Supreme Court striking down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 in California! Love wins. ALWAYS. Congrats Shannon & Seema. Love you guys!”

To check out the rest of the exclusive photos from this auspicious occasion, visit Steph Grant’s blog here: http://www.stephgrantphotography.com/blog/shannon-seema-indian-lesbian-wedding-los-angeles-ca

Have you ever seen such fabulous wedding photographs? And do you think you’ll ever get hitched? If you do, will you go “flossy-flossy” fancy, or do you think you’ll elope instead? Share your thoughts, Darl’s.

 

LZ Granderson: The Myth of The Gay Agenda

“…I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture – I can even pat myself on the back when necessary…. There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect. And anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

– Arnold from “Torch Song Trilogy.”

Visit Bing or Yahoo. Google or Duck Duck Go.

(Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)

Now: search for the words “Gay Agenda.”

(We’ll be right here, so be sure to come back. Better yet, open up another window or tab. There you go.)

Here’s what you’ll find: you’ll discover and learn more about us here at GayAgenda.com (please do that!).

You’ll also see many, many other “interesting” finds. Most notably, you’ll encounter a lot of people who have coined the hateful term and idea of the “gay agenda,” words we happily reclaim.

Among the search results you’ll find will be CNN reporter-journalist LZ Granderson’s world renowned, fact-filled, heartwarming and humorous TED Talk, “The Myth of the Gay Agenda.”

Remember that “Gay Agenda” search engine quest from before? LZ really, really went there too—in fact, he went into some extended search action…!

The results he found included a wealth of hate-monger speech and ignorance-laden articles and updates about the “dangerous gay lifestyle,” and the “dangerous gay agenda.”

On thumbing through result after result of anti-gay propaganda, Granderson reflects: “If I’m gay and I’m doing something that’s going to destroy civilization, I need to figure out what this stuff is. And, I need to stop doing it right now!” [The audience laughs.]

“I took a look at my life—a hard look at my life,” he goes on, “And I saw some things very disturbing. And I want to begin sharing these ‘evil’ things that I’ve been doing with you, starting with my mornings.

[The audience continues laughing along with LZ.] He continues the in-joke: “I drink coffee. Not only do I drink coffee. I know other people who drink coffee.”

Granderson directs us to the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation with the laughable title, “The Super Duper Evil Gay Lifestyle,” emblazoned with the rainbow flag.

He walks us through his happily partnered life and the daily goings on of being a busy parent. He then goes on to masterfully, ironically illustrate his points. “Run for your heterosexual lives, people!” Granderson humorously “threatens” during the conference, dismantling the hateful rhetoric that anti-gay bigots just so happen to throw around.

At the end of the day, LZ Granderson’s presentation fights for, in his own words, “Love and respect….trying to find your place in the world.” It seems so simple—the real “agenda” has to do with those who seek to complicate it. To destroy rights that have already been granted, and to prevent acquisition of others.

Finding and enjoying “love and respect:” in essence, this is everyone’s “agenda.” Granderson brilliantly brings these and other heartening ideas to the fore.

When he talks about love, his family, adoption and marriage equality, your eyes will get misty, your lips will quiver, you’ll be reminded of your own humanity. His talk is quite lovely and forever relevant.

LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He spoke at TEDx Grand Rapids in May 2012. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website. (http://www.tedxhappyvalley.com/lz-granderson-the-myth-of-the-gay-agenda/)

You can tweet your reactions and support to LZ  @Locs_n_Laughs.

Click here to watch the video—with choreographed light saber moves and all the belly laughs you can stand included. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CstD6O95L-o)

So what did you think of LZ Granderson’s TED Talk ?

Keep It Together: Resources and Support for LGBTQ Families

It’s All in the Family

“Keep it together in the family

They’re a reminder of your history

Brothers and sisters they hold the key

To your heart and your soul

Don’t forget that your family is gold.”

– Madonna, from “Keep It Together”

For those who may oppose or who may not understand LGBTQIA culture (which often includes ourselves, those in-community), it can be easy to forget we are individuals who come from families. Who make up families. Who make up families of choice.

As we seek out kin, allies, a tribe, BFFs, support, resources and fellowship, because it is so common for LGBTQIA persons to experience marginalization even for supporting queer culture (as well as of course for being in it), we forget about our extended family. We don’t realize the broad spectrum of resources made available to us for finding connections, assistance, and even family-focused entertainment or advantages (such as social, educational financial or medical help).

We may then perhaps lose hope for reconciliation with our birth family, and/or don’t seek alternatives for creating new and more empowering familial networks.

Partying, playing and freedom of sexual expression is all well and good: it’s a blessing to have an opportunity to fully express all sides of ourselves (and fight for our rights in places where this is not yet a reality).

When it’s time to come down, gather together, find home and hearth, your family/family of choice is your go-to place to touch down, reboot, chillax. Find peace of mind.

But what happens if you don’t have a family, your community doesn’t support your family, or you don’t have a stable family?

Here are a few helpful resources, for finding family support and structure, below:

 

Get Help, Find Fam, Keep It Together

PFLAG / Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – http://www.pflag.org

In addition to education, outreach and public speaking, PFLAG provides regionally-based support groups for queer and questioning persons (including youth), as well as for people who are trying to understand their LGBTQ family members, or people who do not have family support.

Family Equality Council – http://www.familyequality.org/get_involved/programs

Per their website, “The Family Equality Council is a community of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren who for 30 years have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.” While they do quite a bit of advocacy work, they also sponsor Family Equality Pride events and regionally-based family outreach programs (such as support groups and activities for queer parents and the community).

COLAGE – http://www.colage.org

For people with an LGBTQ parent: focused mostly on kids and teenagers, COLAGE unites peer-based networks and helps youth find support. Their specialty, in their own words is to help: “nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities.”

Transforming Family http://transformingfamily.org/about-us

Championed by Chaz Bono. With a trans* focused outreach in its purview, Transforming Family is a Los Angeles based family support group creating a positive environment for children, adolescents and their families to explore issues of gender identity.

Our Family Coalition http://www.ourfamily.org/programs

This is a community of leaders who provide family-based policy and advocacy for change as well as sponsoring various family functions and social events.

Gay Parent Magazine –http://www.gayparentmag.com

A leader in gay parenting resources – founded in 1998.

API Family Pride http://www.apifamilypride.org

The mission of Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride is to end the isolation of Asian and Pacific Islander families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members through support, education, and dialogue.

Soffa Support – http://soffasupport.tumblr.com

An online zine that helps to connect people with support and advice for significant others, family, friends, and allies of the trans* community.

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov

The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is an information resource of the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They help to provide various resources of support for many, including LGBTQIA-specific assistance, referrals and education.

Intersex Society of North America

Support Groups and FAQ (For FAQ, Click FAQ Link on this page) http://www.isna.org/support

The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) was founded in 1993 in an effort to advocate for patients and families who felt they had been harmed by their experiences with the health care system. From these scrappy, brave, and confrontational beginnings, ISNA evolved into an important resource for clinicians, parents, and affected individuals who require basic information about disorders of sex development (DSDs) and for how to improve the health care and overall well-being of people with DSDs.

R Family Vacations – http://www.rfamilyvacations.com

R Family Vacations is an LGBT vacation entertainment company that provides luxury cruise ship trips with a focus on inclusive activities for children and services including same-sex marriage ceremonies.

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging –http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org

Resources include – Caregiving services, Aging in Place Providers, LGBT Organizations, referrals, help for LGBT older adults or caregivers.

JQY / JQYouth – http://www.jqyouth.org

JQY is a nonprofit organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews and their families in the Orthodox community.

 

A Word About Finding Local Resources

If you find these suggestions aren’t close to you, don’t be afraid to shout them out on social media, email or call them, and ask for help finding resources that are local for you. Should they be unable to, they’ll be able to provide other alternatives for you. Never give up.

There are many more resources where these came from. Have you got a good recommendation? Please let us know.

When times get tough or you’re looking for support, who do you call your “family?”

 

Why LGBTQ or GLBT? Why Trans* or Trans? A Look at Queering the Acronym

We communicate, therefore we abbreviate.

Social media may be viral, but without the words we say and the language we speak, it would have no foundation from which to travel and spread ideas.

Culturally, words are important to LGBTQIA folks. Not only for communicating concepts, but for fighting for our rights, for inclusivity, for assisting in diversity training, and of course, for us to find and to connect with each other among many other helpful purposes.

For instance, writing the word trans* with an asterisk at the end has its own special meaning. In short, the addition of the asterisk is more inclusive. Please click here to learn more about that in a full context.

Also, there are many people who find the word “transman” or “transwoman” to be dehumanizing or offensive, and who feel you should insert a space between each word for that reason.

But then of course, language is complex and contradictory. For example, the organization Black Transmen articulates the experience of trans* men by writing “transmen” as one word in their official parlance.

This brings to mind similar linguistic differences reminiscent of calling oneself “gay” versus calling oneself “same gender loving” or SGL. (“SGL” was a term created in generally African American circles, initiated to take one’s focus away from sex and place it on relationships, but SGL automatically excludes many trans* persons).

Or, there’s articulating queer culture as being “gay” rather than the more inclusive “LGBT” “GLBT,” that’s another example. Too, people can be attached to the order of the letters, favoring starting with “G” or “L.”). Next, there is “LGBTQ.” However, writing or saying “queer” can be an issue to some, as if there is something so-called “wrong” with being gay or having another sexual or gender orientation, rather than the intended meaning of reclaiming the insult as a word of empowerment (“We’re here, we’re queer. Get used to it.”).

Also, many acronyms and terms exist to behoove inclusivity-focused communication (e.g. LGBTQIAU for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex persons, allies and undeclared), and the lists go on and on.

Here are a few others:

SOFFA – Significant Other, Friends, Families and Allies – Generally used in trans* culture.

GAY – (This word didn’t begin as an acronym, but it has become one. Aside from literally meaning “homosexual,” “happy” or as shorthand for “LGBTQ”) – Gifted and Young, Good As You, Gay. Are You?

IMRU – I’m Queer/Gay. Are You?

LGBTQ / TBLG / LGBTQQIAAS / GLB / LGBTQIAP Any combination or order of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, straight, pansexual and so forth. When letters are excluded, this might have to do with, for instance, trans* activists who are exploring ideas of inclusivity when it comes to trans* culture. They might say, “We deserve to have a voice at this convention where the majority of the speakers are LGB-only.”

LGBTIH Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed and “hijira” (third gender).

TS Two-Spirit.

FABGLITTER Shorthand for Fetish and BDSM community, Allies or Polyamorous.

QUILTBAG Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer.

Social critics and in-community critics tend to think of all of these acronyms as “over-corrected political correctness,” too focused on sexuality, not separating sexual and gender expression properly, or too exclusive in nature.

Generally, living in queer culture involves many elements of culture, lifestyle, privilege, preference, sexual expression, race, class, gender identity, social and hierarchical challenges, religious and moral backgrounds, geographical diversity, preferences not to be labeled, and so much more that is exceedingly difficult to encapsulate or summarize.

If anything, the acronyms can become a code, a way of transacting in the world, a way to find and befriend allies, a way to encourage others to think differently or more broadly, or a way to regain respect and grounding among others in our environment who would seek to derail or exclude others.

As a communicator and mediator myself, this can make communication, sharing information and reportage seem somewhat challenging, but not impossibly so. Prosaically, I do tend to use many different terms interchangeably as well as alternating them—so it’s likely that will offend some or many without having an intention to do so.

Personally, I tend to go by the M.O. of: “I’ll address you respectfully and earnestly in the way you prefer to be addressed. I’ll do my best to honor y/our culture going on what I know, today, and using the breadth of terminology that’s available to us, so that we can all connect.”

Which acronym, term or shorthand do you prefer? (“None” counts, too.)

“Would You Rather…?” And Other Random Comedy Hijinks With Billy on the Street

Meet Billy on the Street.

While minding your own business strolling down the streets of New York City, would you rather:

A) Get “Quizzed in the Face.”

B) Subject yourself to a“Lesbian Lightning Round” game with a pack of wild lesbians for cash or prizes.

C) List sex moves in front of Mr. Rogers.

D) Fight in public about Denzel Washington.

E) Watch Billy Eichner humiliate Will Ferrell.

 

….for a dollar. Hurry up—quick, dammit! Choose your final answer.

 

[Insert your answer here.]

 

Do you accept that as your final answer?

Sorry, no! You’re wrong.

 

Guess what—there is no right answer!

 

Get At Me, Billy: Cray Cray Gay Videos

Something wicked this way comes: it’s Billy on the Street, a different kind of game show featuring your host, Billy Eichner (Bob’s Burgers, Upright Citizens Brigade).

Billy on the Street will shove his microphone directly in your face, scream out questions, random facts or celebrity’s names, chase you as you flee from him, run toward you like a freight train, or just plain scream.

And this ain’t no “Cash Cab” or “Price is Right.”

Quizzically queer himself, Billy loves spouting off occasional gay dude jokes with no real punchlines, and his show’s all about silly spectacle, gay-centric chaotic confusion and the comedy of the awkward.

This show is all about smart-ass #LOLZ for smarties, “Makin’ dreams come true” courtesy of FUSE TV, a US-based cable outlet.

“Do you like FUSE?” Eichner asks impromptu contestant “Mr. Singh. “They play, like, five-hour long blocks of Rihanna videos. You’ll love it!”

For those of you playing the home game, as you can tell by now, nothing and no one is sacred here.

Should you dare to answer Billy’s questions correctly and win, you may or may not get a prize valued at around a dollar.* Then, Eichner will immediately run away from you or shoo you away with an accompanying “Thank you—bye now,” “Get the f—out of here,” or other such quickly-pummeled pleasantries.

Should you happen to answer incorrectly and lose, you’ll experience public humiliation (be forced to wear chicken suits or wear sandwich boards telling people how idiotic you are). So either way, the viewers always win.

(*In all fairness, sometimes Billy will reward you with a honkin’ huge chunk of cash—as in a hundred dollars or more, or prize equivalent. However, that too is random.)

Give the People What They Want: Manic-Comedic Fire Drills

Moreover, Billy’s improv antics, random celebrity sightings and occasional cattiness have earned him a Daytime Emmy nomination. For going on four whole seasons, Eichner’s been annoying folks just trying to get to work or take in a solo tour of New York in peace, while he amuses the rest of us.

His persona? It’s pure-grade a-hole. The absolute nerve…!

Billy Eichner will find you and eff with you. It will be filmed for posterity and guffaws. You will become Internet-infamous for less than 15 minutes, and the world will laugh at you. It’s just a matter of time.

FUSE, iTunes, Funny or Die and YouTube jointly host clips and full episodes of the Billy on the Street series.

Take a shot at a random interaction with Billy @BILLYEICHNER, tweet your aggro quiz questions to #BILLYONTHESTREET, or click here to visit him at YouTube.

#FTW! Watch Billy quiz a gay man in the face: just how much do you know about vaginas? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN70ur7-Q7A

 

 

First Openly LGBT American To Run For U.S Public Office Dies

Jose Julio Sarria Dies At Age 91
Nowadays, it’s not that unusual to find LGBT persons running for political office. Tammy Baldwin is Senator of Wisconsin; Jared Polis is a Senator in Colorado, and Christine Quinn is running for Mayor of New York City, to name a few. But to run as a gay man for San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961 takes guts. LGBT politicians owe their current positions to a trailblazing icon for equality, Jose Sarria.

“The Rosa Parks of the Gay Rights Movement” – Nicole Ramirez, San Diego City Commissioner
Although he did not win the Board of Supervisors’ election, Jose Julio Sarria has the distinction of being the first openly gay American to run for office. California Senator Mark Leno called Sarria a “fearless community leader.” “When Jose threw his hat into the ring for San Francisco Supervisor more than fifty years ago, he became one of the first to publicly proclaim that there is no reason, constitutional or otherwise, to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people first-class citizenship, respect and dignity under the law. Jose’s visionary and legendary leadership helped build the foundation for our successful, modern-day LGBT civil rights movement.”

In his honor, in 2006, the City of San Francisco named a section of 16th Street in the city’s Castro district Jose Sarria Court. Although Sarria did not win a seat on the Board of Supervisors (with his 6,000 votes), his indefatigable support of Harvey Milk, who did become the first openly gay person in 1977, helped Milk be elected to the Board of Supervisors. He supported Milk’s first campaign in 1973 as well. Sarria’s and Milk’s Castro District became a gay voting block in San Francisco.

Past History
Born in San Francisco, Sarria attained the rank of Staff Sargent in WWII before being honorably discharged at the end of his service in 1945.He was a drag Queen, using the name Empress Jose, the Widow Norton as well as The Nightingale of Montgomery Street where he performed at San Francisco’s The Black Cat until it closed in 1964.

“He was a national LGBT icon” – Toni Atkins, Ca. State Assembly Majority Leader
Besides being a waiter, drag queen, LGBT rights activist, Sarria formed The Tavern Guild, the county’s first Gay Business Association. He also developed an International Court System from a loose alliance of social groups, with associated Chapters in over sixty-eight cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Said Nicole Ramirez, who succeeded Sarria in 2007 as the International Chairperson of this fraternal LGBT charity organization, “ the Imperial Courts are like the gay Shriners/Elks of North America and have raised millions of dollars.” In 1961, he helped to form one of the first gay rights organizations in the U.S. and the first gay non-profit registered in California, the League for Civil Education. Two years later, he co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR)

For his efforts, Sarria was given numerous awards, including the Harvey Milk Humanitarian Award. His collection of GLBT historic documents are at the LGBT Historic Society of San Francisco and the Smithsonian Institution.

“Making Successes Possible” – Wilson Cruz, National Spokesman for GLAAD
“His work as a politician, humanitarian, and performer was unprecedented, and has rightfully earned him a place in history. He was an icon who stood his ground for himself and so many others when it was hardest to do so. He will forever reside in the hearts and minds of the LGBT and Latino communities and their allies. Thank you.”

Hey Hey Hey, It’s Disney’s Gay Days! – LGBT Weekend Travel Getaways

Know Your LGBT (Disney) History

 “’While Disney does not sponsor the event, the company accommodates any large group,’ said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman. Disney quietly cooperates with Gay Days, such as by selling meal packages with rainbow Mickey cookies. Gay Days started in 1998 with 2,500 people unofficially gathering in Disneyland. Groups had protested and boycotted Disneyland, saying the event was not family-friendly. But large-scale, organized protests have been absent for several years.”

– Sarah Tully, for The Orange County Register

In spite of marked recent controversies,the years-long “unofficially official” tradition of Disney’s Gay Days continues to thrive.

In Anaheim, California, home to Disneyland, Gay Days attracts tens of thousands of people each year (well over 30,000 in 2013), while in Orlando, Florida, Gay Days attracts hundreds of thousands.

Ever quietly and unofficially gay-friendly, the Disney franchise enjoyed a “coming out” of sorts this year as the Walt Disney World resort ushered in George Kalogridis as its first openly gay president. The California and Florida Disney’s have always been somewhat distinguished from one another (hence California’s Disney parks didn’t receive much flak from protesters), but with the welcoming in of Kalogridis (prior president of California’s Disneyland) changes are in motion.

Too, the new president is planning more gay-inclusive luxury vacation bundles, trips and soirees for the discerning Mousekateers in the building.

What that means for you, dear sun-seekers and vacation lovers, is more LGBT-inclusive play, perks, and parks! CA to FL vacation packages for Gay Days vaycays? That’s just gotta be in the works, dontcha think?

Gay Days continues to book the best entertainers, so mark your calendars now: planned performers and festivities for Anaheim alone include drag diva extraordinaire Miss Coco Peru, “Glee’s” Alex Newell (Unique), DJ Kimberly S., and An Intimate Conversation with Tabatha Coffee.

Gay Days aren’t all just fun and games—there’s chill time scheduled with each itinerary as well. Event planners will hook you up with luxuriant brunches, exclusive concierge service and affiliated spa deals, because unwinding is a must. January Disney Resort sea cruises are also in the works. Loving that.

The newly-launched Gay Days Las Vegas (held in September)  speaks to the continued success of and ongoing demand for more LGBT-inclusive and family-friendly events at Disney and beyond.

Of course, Orlando events are better than ever, virtually unaffected by recent attempts at inciting controversy.

Gay Days aren’t just for boys. Tours and parties are always planned exclusively for women, men, and of course “Bears only,” in addition to the main events.

Yes, We Are Still Family.

 “Evan, Alix and Jamie had a great time with their moms at Disney World on June 5. They loved Disney’s afternoon Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, which they watched right up front, by the castle. Thousands of gays and lesbians and their families surrounded them. ‘That was really awesome and empowering,’  [An attendee said.] ‘The kids really felt part of the bigger picture.’ For the Couchman-Spencer family, the only controversy about Gay Days was how long to stay. The kids got tired. By the time Disney’s big nighttime electrical parade was over, the family had been at the park for 12 hours.”

– John Cloud, for Time Magazine

No, “One Million Moms:” Gay Days events are not Greco-Roman orgies (on what planet would that happen during “Disney time?”). Kids get to meet Mickey and Minnie accompanied and supervised by LGBTQ parents and families without encountering homophobic scrutiny, and that’s a beautiful thing.

So pick a city and book your trip. True: you’ll encounter the obligatory rainbow-sprinkled souvenirs, have your corny and kitsch quotient filled up to the brim for the year, and most of all you’ll have a lot of whole-hearted, “Goofy” fun.

For more information, visit the links below.

Gay Days Las Vegas –  September 3-9, 2013

Gay Days at Disneyland Anaheim October 4–6, 2013

Gay Days Orlando June 3-9 2014

Queens in the Kingdom: The Ultimate Gay and Lesbian Guide to the Disney Theme Parks

Gay Days & Girls Gay Days are a time-honored queer tradition. Therefore, we are ordering you, “fam” and friends to go forth and party. Do not refuse us—this is an order!