Start Your Engines! Drag Race Season 11 Fantasy League is here! — Thanks for Coming!

Grab a pen, some glitter, and secure those wigs, queens! Who is your fantasy squad for RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11? Here’s the TFC scoring rubric and all the shenanigooped deets: Activity Points Mini Challenge Winner 10 Main Challenge Winner 20 Bonus for Winner of Snatch Game 30 Queen is still on the Show 5 […]

via Start Your Engines! Drag Race Season 11 Fantasy League is here! — Thanks for Coming!

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Weekly Audit 1: What’re the Best Qualities You Bring to a Relationship?

The time has come to look in the mirror. What is it that makes you you? No relationship is the same, but there’s one thing I know to be true: That in order to have a successful relationship, you must first know yourself. The beautiful part about people and the relationships we experience, is that we’re constantly evolving; flourishing as individuals and elevating our relationships.

There’s probably not one person that has entered a relationship completely knowing themselves. And if they have? I’d dare to ask how many relationships they’d been in previously or what they learned from their last relationship. The point is that part of our evolution as couples is learning as we go; learning from mistakes and applying the changes as we work through it together.

Welcome to your first weekly audit with Gays in the Life! Now it’s time to focus on you for a second as I give you your first assignment. Here goes…

  • I’d like you to sit down with your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, and discuss the following topic: What are the best qualities you have to bring to a relationship?

If you happen to be single at the moment, feel free to gather some friends and discuss this amongst each other. I want us all to have fun with this. Please please please let me know how your first audit goes in the post comments or on the Facebook page. I’m always so delighted when I hear from you all.

Ready, go!

You didn’t think I was cutting out without sharing did you? Some of the best qualities I believe I have to offer in a relationship are:

Wisdom – I haven’t had as hard a life as most people in the world, but I’ve been through enough to be grateful for so much. My experience in life as a young, black, gay man has afforded me the ability to approach any bump in the relationship road with an open mind and clarity. I’ve had my fair share of questionable guys and have made terrible decisions in the past, but I’ve grown from each lesson. The ability to process issues and communicate clearly with S helps us thrive. S was not a communicator when we met, so I’m proud to say I’ve helped him morph in that way and I’ve learned much more about myself in the process.

Spice – I’m a spicy personality and there’s no getting around that. I present as a cool, zen queen that isn’t bothered by much. In relationships though, I tend to be the outspoken one and will keep you guessing. Bland has never been part of my brand, so don’t be surprised if one day my look suddenly changes, I want to go dancing, or you hear me schooling someone for something stupid they’ve just said. I love my couch and pajamas, but I love a good party and a bit of excitement too. Did I mention I’m contagious?

Strength – I stand firmly by those I love and think of myself as the foundation of the majority of my relationships. Whether it’s tough love, providing a sense of calm and support, or lifting you up when you’re down, people know they can count on me. In my marriage, I’m able to keep our foundation strong because I can go to my husband and check in; letting him know I’m there regardless of what. It’s the little things that have the biggest impact, people.

I hope you all enjoy your first assignment. Please feel free to share the assignments with friends and family, and let me know how it goes!

— J

Coming Next Week! Weekly Audits.

Hey there,

How often do you check in with your partner and yourself? When is the last time you both sat down and asked yourselves “are we happy?” A couple that’s cohesively existing together, under one roof and in a good place with their relationship would say they are happy.

Now don’t go looking for problems in every nook and cranny of your relationships! All I’m saying is that it’s important to talk about your relationship with the person you call your other half. Couples fear asking the hard questions because they’d have to be honest with themselves. It’s amazing how grown people freeze in the face truth.

“What makes you most happy about our relationship (or marriage)?”

“Are you okay? Honestly, how have you been?”

“What’s something we need to work on as a couple?”

These conversations don’t have to be hard at all. Put on some music to set the vibe, mix a couple cocktails, and chat about your relationship. This person is supposed to be your best friend, you know… And this should be fun! Think of it as free weekly therapy sessions.

If you’re a couple in a more turbulent relationship or going through a tough time, I suggest you face the issue(s) head on. Trying to dodge and avoid what needs to be faced will only cause your mental health harm. Get everything on the table, hash it out, and make a plan for improvement.

Starting next week, Gays in the Life will post weekly audits. These audits will consist of questions and thought provoking activities – to be done with your partners – that will inspire conversation about your relationships with one another.

Answering the questions together, listening and processing every word shared, will encourage openness. These audits only work if you’re honest and open with yourself, your partner, and your relationship.

I can’t wait to get this going!

Cheers,

 

Pizza for Two

S and I didn’t put much thought into Valentine’s Day this year. In the past, we’ve gone out and stayed in, so knowing which direction plans for this day can go each year is always a wildcard.

“Do you think our Valentine’s Day plans are boring?” He asks just nervous enough, but still hungry for my response. “Not really. I like our plans. We’ve both had so much going on at work, so a chill night in sounds perfect to me.” His tone is relaxed now. “I just haven’t really thought about it.” Nor had I.

The truth is we had talked about our plans for Valentine’s Day. A couple weeks back we decided that we’d have a quiet night in – cooking low-carb pizza and having some champagne. We try not to drink during the week, so the fact that this day happened to fall on a Wednesday made it a treat in itself.

We settled on a simple bacon and cheese pizza. The crust consisted of cream cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese, almond flour, and we topped it with a low-sugar pizza sauce. We typically do pepperoni and sausage pizza, but we forgot to put pepperoni on the grocery list. Whoops! Not that this should be considered creative at all, but we decided on bacon when we realized our mistake. There’s always bacon around here though.

 

Pizza 2

 

I tend to be a big cheeseball, so you could argue that I would expect a surge in romance on this day. Maybe it’s because we’ve been together for going on seven years, maybe it’s because we’re both thirty-one years old now, but this day is hardly considered romantic or important to us. I’ve written about this previously – check out that post here – but what about the other 364 days of the year?! If you’re going to be cute, warm and fuzzy, just surprise me with your heart.

We had some good pizza, crispy champagne, and each other… we’re full.

*Reblog* One Night Dance

Original post here.

I embrace the dark, pulsing, cloud of people that is the dance floor at the bar. Dancing is something I have to be in the mood for, and tonight I would turn up the heat.  Scorpio season’s influence is heavy in the air as I begin to wind up – serving up my best Beyonce – and feel the rhythm of the sounds around me.  It’s not long before my friends and I are in the zone, and wondering eyes find their attention on our group.  I turn around and make instant eye contact with the buzzed and beefy stranger who would become my dance partner for the better part of the following hour. Not moving an inch out of my personal circumference, I watch him approach; his interest growing with every step he takes. I don’t miss a beat as he enters my bubble. “Hi” he speaks over the music, and syncs his movements to mine. “Good evening” I respond as I let his palm meet my chest. Together we move like one of the ocean’s traveling waves, and communicate only with our eyes.  His buzzed head, thick frame, and fitted jeans move in ways I appreciate greatly. The only thing that would send this moment completely over the top would be if S were standing in the corner watching. “You’re good at this” he breathes into my ear, before turning around to offer his backside, and run his hands up and down my thigh. “Well, I did get you to come over here… and thanks.” I allow him to enjoy me for a little while longer before I find his eyes again. “It’s past my bedtime, sir. Thanks for an amazing dance.” “Would you like company?” he offers with eyes both timid and curious. “Not tonight, but thanks.” Using one hand, I pull his belt buckle loose, flash a smile, and exit the bar.

Go. Vote.

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It’s so important for all of us to get out there and vote today. I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again… As a black gay male, I’m terrified! The best I can do is be present for my future and for all the progress our country has seen over recent years.

Losing my right to be married to my husband… continued unjust treatment to black and brown people… I can’t begin to imagine what would happen if for some reason he-who-must-not-be-named were to take office. I’m most certainly not down for being forced back into any closets or back into slavery. Maybe that’s too much, but really, is it?

At least race relations is a real conversation this country is FINALLY having. It’ll get way worse before it gets better. I’m doing my best to remain hopeful and positive. I hope  you are too.

Have a lovely day, everyone! And happy voting.

Swirl in the City

I’d really like for this to be my last time writing about Black Lives Matter. With that being said, however, I understand that right now my voice is one of the most important. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me how I was feeling in lieu of the tragedies affecting the Black Community. I answered honestly, stating that I was drained and was at a loss for words most of the time, and explained how important it was to share my perspective without forcing it onto others. Comments I hear in passing – at work, mind you – like “why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television channel?!” are microaggressions that fuel the smallest of fires that burn behind the bullets killing our melanin-kissed brothers and sisters.  

 

Black Lives Matter does not mean anti-white. I would know this because my husband is white. Not only is he white, but he’s from Southern Indiana, grew up raising horses, and hops around randomly and calls it dancing; especially to a fierce Lady Gaga track. All jokes aside, I have an interesting perspective and more to consider when it comes to my life in relation to everything that’s going on currently. S and I live in a pretty quiet area on the west side of Indianapolis. There’s not much traffic in our neighborhood, and the presence of other people of color is sparse. Lately I’ve been haunted by thoughts of me getting taken out by some uneducated, neighborhood watch tool or a policeman, while I’m peacefully walking our dog. I know this seems extreme, but I find it sad that I’m unsure of my safety anymore. Not only for myself, but for our tiny family we’ve created.

 

I’m always on high alert now when I see a police car behind me. I try not to run errands at night at the risk of being profiled and pulled over – although we’ve seen that time of day really isn’t a factor. The fact that all police officers aren’t evil, racist assholes isn’t a lost realization floating around in the darkest parts of my brain, BUT at the same time, it’s something I’m forced to consider. Take S and I visiting his parents for example. He’s from a very small town where I’m convinced – whenever I’m visiting – that I’m the only black person present, and that everyone there will throw a tantrum if you bring up gun control. I’m going to separate the next few lines because they’re important…

 

Even with those thoughts in my head and the fact that I am, most likely, the only black person around those parts, I would never jump the gun and be hyper-protective and reactive. I remain open and try to look at more than just the book’s cover. Inside of me there’s still a voice that says “go with the flow and be your best self…” If any of these murderous officers – not all, but the ones with blood on their hands – had any ounce of humanity, they’d be able to consider the fact that a person’s skin color doesn’t make them a threat. They’d be open. How I’m able to think like this in times like these is beyond me, but I’ll take it as a sign of hope; A sign that hope still exists.

 

I’ve never played the race card in all of my twenty-nine years and don’t plan on doing so for any reason. What I will do is stand up for what’s right. Preaching on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform has never been my style. If ever there are comments made that I disagree with, I simply bring up facts, significant points, and anything that will get the opposition to think past themselves. Consider my Indiana family for example. I know they love me and that they’d do anything for S, myself, and my family. I’m wondering how having a gay, black man in the family has caused their thinking to shift. “Racism isn’t going anywhere. It’s just changing its face.” I have a feeling things will get way worse before they improve. Educating and providing views into life as a minority is key if the receiving subjects are willing to listen. Stay woke, everyone! And if you don’t know what “woke” means (as it relates to Black Lives Matter)? Chances are you aren’t.
Let love breathe,

Insanity is… 

…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 


This NY Daily News cover is pretty epic. It represents our country’s leadership and their fear of people who don’t look like them. It represents the truth in the fact that these senators are only worried about leading false prayers and false hope… But it’s all good as long as we have our guns! Don’t mind the mass shootings we can’t seem to keep up with these days! Boys (and girls) and their toys. We can only have so many moments of silence before something needs to be done. Wowzers.

 Read the full NY Daily News story here

Forward

I remember when I came out to my dad in the fall of 2005. “Well, now you have two strikes against you. “You’re black, AND you’re gay.” At the time I didn’t quite know how to process those words. I knew exactly what my dad meant, but chose to live life not letting those two traits define my whole being. “Challenge accepted” was the tone of my internal promise to myself as I said goodbye to my dad for while, and welcomed my new life as an out gay man.

 

Race and sexuality were two areas of life I’ve always navigated well. After the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, I’m feeling extremely heavy – weighed down by sadness, truths, and the pressure to persevere. As if the gravity of Black Lives Matter’s tragedies and struggles weren’t enough, I’m now faced with the task of processing my feelings as a gay man of color in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.

 

My father’s words seem to haunt me as I move through life. First the slew of wrongful deaths in the Black community by the hands of police, and now the senseless mass murder of fifty poor souls – most of which were Latino – at an LGBT safe haven.  

 

Living as a double minority brings a natural awareness in day-to-day life. I sense my responsibility to face these ghosts, and to figure out how to move forward in learning and growth. What do we do with tragedy of this magnitude? Just when we as a community thought we could breathe a little, a massive undertaking at Pulse Nightclub shakes us back to reality.
“You’re black, and you’re gay.” I can’t let these words fade away only to resurface and taunt me later down the road…

Pulse Reactions 

It’s just after midnight and I find myself unable to sleep. All the faces of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting haunt my thoughts and bring light to every dark corner in my mind this hour. So much life stolen. So much life wasted. So many lights dimmed only to become a flicker in my mind… When it’s already too late. Maybe these are just random thoughts and a suppressed guilt for not really being active in the LGBT community as I once was. Is living enough? Living by example of what my gay harmony in the United States of America is? I’m not positive, but I’m not positive about most things when a tragedy of this magnitude strikes. What’s one to think? What else is there to feel besides an extremely heavy sadness? How do we come back from this? These are just my raw and unfiltered thoughts and feelings. The faces of the victims are faces that I will remember. At least for a long, solemn while.

A brief note:

I wrote the reaction above using an app called Flowstate. Flowstate allows you to write for five, fifteen, or thirty minutes. In the case of this midnight reaction, I selected five minutes as my first Flowstate piece of writing. What makes this app so special? Well, if you stop typing for more than five seconds? Everything you’ve typed so far will disappear. No editing or saving until you’ve continuously typed for the selected amount of time. This forces the user to really dig deep and come across as honest and authentic as possible. I plan on using this app to stop over-editing and to write more on this topic.