“Black Trans Woman Heckled, Nearly Arrested at Stonewall Inn”

stonewall

Privilege, especially white, cis-male privilege, within the LGBTQIA+ community is a topic that needs ALL of the attention. We’ve lost at least 11 of our trans sisters of color in 2019 so far. The fact that I even have to say “so far…” my heart hurts.  This kind of behavior at The Stonewall Inn is just beyond ignorant and disrespectful. Trans women of color are the reason you get to party at Stonewall – ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UPRISING, mind you – while doing whatever for the gram and social media.  Some of us in the community need to do much better. MUCH, better.  Shout-out to The Read for reading all of you on their show and for alerting me of this story.

marsha and sylvia
(Marsha P. Johnson & Sylvia Rivera)
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Welcome Home, Lil Nas X!

Lil Nas X surprised the world by coming out on the last day of Pride Month, and to that, I say “hell yeah!” 

Being completely transparent with all of you, readers, I had no idea who Lil Nas X was until about the second week of June. I’m not one to turn on the radio, EVER, so I tend to miss the Top 40 trends unless they’re being discussed on one of the many podcasts I enjoy. 

Old Town Road began to haunt my earbuds and speakers after I stumbled across a clip on my Instagram feed; probably some trade twerking to the song, I’m sure. From that moment on I’ve been listening to the track on repeat and have added it to my overall music rotation. Also – I finally got a chance to sit with his latest project, 7, and have been digging it more and more with each listen. 

Here are the tweets Nas X shared:

nasx tweet 1

nasx tweet 2

(X highlights Pride colors on the cover of his EP, 7.)

 

I connect with his first tweet so deeply. I vividly remember the night I decided to come out to my closest friends and family. I was away at my first semester of college in Indiana and they were four hours behind in Alaska; MySpace was the main social girl back then, Facebook was still blooming, so I wasn’t creating any epic posts back in 2005. 

The email I sent to my inner circle had a similar tone as Lil Nax X’s tweet: “Hey, this is me. We can be cool, or y’all can have a nice life without me.” I won’t get too much into comparing my coming out to Lil Nas X’s because this is his moment; and what a moment it is! You’ll hear more about my coming out story on a future episode of my podcast, Thanks for Coming

Nax X also encouraged us all to listen to the lyrics of the track, C7osure (You Like) closely:

“True say

I want and I need

To let go

Use my time to be free

It’s like it’s always what you like

It’s always what you like

Why it’s always what you like?

It’s always what you like, huh

Ain’t no more actin’, man that forecast say I should just let me grow

No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go

Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take a hold

This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old

Brand new places I’ll choose and I’ll go, I know

Embracing this news I behold unfolding

I know, I know, I know it don’t feel like it’s time

But I look back at this moment, I’ll see that I’m fine

I know, I know, I know it don’t feel like it’s time

I set boundaries for myself, it’s time to cross the line

True say

I want and I need

To let go

Use my time to be free

It’s like it’s always what you like

It’s always what you like

Why it’s always what you like?

It’s always what you like, huh

Ain’t no more actin’, man that forecast say I should just let me grow

No more red light for me, baby, only green, I gotta go

Pack my past up in the back, oh, let my future take a hold

This is what I gotta do, can’t be regretting when I’m old”

Source: LyricFind

In the end, Lil Nas X was ready to live his truth, out and proud. Not only is he making waves on the country charts – after all that controversy and ignorance he faced – as a black man, but now he’s facing the hip-hop/rap part of the industry. We’ve seen queer artists break the mold in other areas of music, but hip-hop and rap historically have been tougher audiences for queer performers to capture. While toxic masculinity is definitely a thing, and we won’t dive into that today, there has been an outpouring of support and love shown by peers of X online. This makes me very happy.

One last note for all you readers as more comes out about Lil Nas X, queerness in hip-hop/rap, sexuality and representation:

Continue to love and support the artists and music you love. If somehow you’re reading this blog and don’t fully support LGBTQIA+ rights, I charge you to be open and move in a more positive direction. Now that the rapper has come out as gay doesn’t make the song any less of a hit, or him any less of a human being. 

Some of you have children, and I KNOW the kids absolutely go crazy for Old Town Road. Don’t let your ignorance steal that joy from your kids or yourselves! Let the damned song play, keep YOUR mind out of the gutter, and don’t form narratives that aren’t present because you may view the artist a little differently. 

Allies! Continue to share the love with Lil Nas X, support his art, and help people understand how big a deal this is. We are in a time where discussion on topics of race, inclusion, and equal human rights is of the utmost importance – especially for queer people of color. The work will never be done, so let’s continue to lift Nas X up on this new adventure. 

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I’m going to listen to “7” again 🙂

More on the Country removing “Old Town Road” from the Billboard charts.

 

Pride Started With A Riot.

Pride is a time of joy, celebration, and being unapologetic in how you exist in today’s world. While Pride events take place all year round, let us not forget how we came to be as out and proud queer individuals who can – for the most part – celebrate in our fiercest heels, tightest tanks, and deliciously worn leather during the entire month of June. Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

“Pride started with a riot.” This quote has been haunting me on Instagram and Twitter. Okay, fine. It’s probably just the internet doing what it does best and marketing to its target audience, but I feel a way about it. I’m now 32 years old and have had plenty of time to reflect on my journey as a gay, black man as I exist in the queer community. I think about the day I figured out I was gay. I reflect on all my relationships and how they’ve matured or stayed in my past as I’ve grown into my queerness. I think about how I was in my early twenties when it came to navigating new queer relationships. I think about what my interracial, gay marriage means to me and the message we want to send as a couple to our communities.

Every year I look out and around at the LGBTQIA+ community members and think if they’ve taken a shot or twerked in the name of any epic queer leaders. People like Marsha P. Johnson,  Sylvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Alexya Salvador, Laverne Cox, or those who were peacefully enjoying themselves at the Stonewall Inn when the riots broke out in Summer of 1969.

My intention is not to make a blanket statement and imply that we as a community don’t take moments to remember these powerful individuals. I’m just curious if we know our history and reflect on them in our Pride celebrations. As mentioned above: Pride is a time of remembrance and reflection as much as it is a party.

With all of this in mind, I want to encourage all members of the LGBTQIA+ to continue educating family, friends, and allies.

I’m particularly triggered when people accuse myself or others of throwing our sexuality in their faces. “What do you mean throwing my sexuality in your face? By sharing my experience and by existing?” I usually find myself mildly entertained and suppressing the urge to raise an eyebrow or two when I get comments on the blog as they relate to fragile male egos or ignorance in general.  Please remember to be safe and respectful of everyone’s boundaries on topics of queer culture and what Pride means, but don’t ever let anyone diminish your existence. Internet trolls are going to troll, but give those who may require some time a chance at understanding. We get to choose our circles and family, you know?

I’ll leave you with some items to reflect on as our respective Pride celebrations approach:

  • Our trans brothers and sisters need our love, protection and support. ESPECIALLY TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR. In 2019 already, there have been six fatal attacks on trans women of color.Say their names:  Dana Martin (31), Jazzaline Ware, Ashanti Carmon (27), Claire Legato (21), Muhlaysia Booker (23), Michele “Tamika” Washington (40), and now only hours ago, Chynal Lindsey (26).
  • Racism and a lack of body positivity exists within the queer community still. “No fats, no fems, no Asians… White only, please… BBC (big black c**k) this way!” is what you will find on plenty Grindr profiles. Don’t be one of those queens online that fetishize myself or other based on who they are as people; only wanting them for that. We aren’t objects. We are human beings and most of us have been battling identity issues our entire lives. Do better and call your “friends” out politely when you catch them slipping.
  • Respect the pronoun. Please try to use peoples’ preferred pronouns. We are past the excuse of “It’s too hard to change now after all these years!” Try. Be a decent human being and have some manners.

Stand firm in who you are. What does Pride mean to you and what has your journey on the rainbow road been like? Pride is supposed to be fun, so have your fun, queens! Just remember to take time to reflect, check in, and support the community you love and are very much a part of.

J,

5 Married Years Later

Today is S and I’s fifth marriage anniversary. This question is beyond cliche to ask in a post like this, but, where did the time go? Five years isn’t a long time at all, and so far our history together has felt like a whirlwind and a lifetime all at once.

Let’s see, we started dating Summer of 2011, moved in together Summer of 2013, got engaged, bought a condo, got a puppy, got married in 2014, I completed my degree at Indiana University, we’ve both been on massive career journeys, and during all of this have had a lovely niece and two nephews join our family.

Life is going to life, and it did just that. We’ve faced our ups and downs and have managed to navigate darker days with the grace of a Swan Lake prima ballerina. Our relationship has been an easy one for the most part, yes, but that’s not to say we haven’t had our bumps in the road.

At times my content can slow down because I’ve been busy, sure, but it’s also because I may not feel like I have anything to share. I love seeing happy couples post on Instagram and in other corners of the internet, but I have to wonder, how many of them are actually happy? Are they posting all this lovey-dovey bullshit just for the gram to grab a like or two? I’m so not into that.

I love love, but love is hard. If what I’m seeing from happy couples online is their truth, then great! That’s amazing. I try to be honest with my readers and followers, and I connect more with those I follow who share this sentiment.

 

jamal stony 1

(Us on New Years Eve 2011, a few months into dating)

 

S and I have been married for five years, but come October, we will be together a total of eight years. I’ve written about what we’ve learned in our relationship a number of times on Gays in the Life, but one major lesson sticks out to us in this moment:

Honesty. You have to be honest with yourself, and with yourselves as a unit. If you’re not, you will fail.

I’ll leave all my lovers out there with this tip. Seriously, take this with you moving forward; it’ll change the game:

Check in with each other! Check in on each other’s personal goals, any issues you both may be working through, mental health, happiness, and darkness. Over the years we’ve learned not to take reactions or things said personally because you never know what someone is going through.  If you’re able to level with yourself in honesty, you’ll be able to help your relationship stay just as honest and strong.

Happy Anniversary, S! I love you so much, and thank you for being a constant source of strength and inspiration for me. 

XXOO,

Game Of Thrones: Where Is It Okay To Be Gay In Westeros? — KitoDiaries

Planning a queer getaway to Westeros? We’ve got you covered. Okay, so a holiday to the beloved (and often dangerous) locales of Game of Thrones may not actually be possible, but if it were, we wondered: Where is LGBTQ-friendly, and where should you steer clear of? We used information from both the books and the…

via Game Of Thrones: Where Is It Okay To Be Gay In Westeros? — KitoDiaries

What’s Making Me Happy This Week?

Good morning, friends!

I’m writing this just before 8:30 am Eastern time, so excuse the exclamation. You’re probably thinking “turn down, dude, it’s way too early for that.” Forgive me, I’m just trying to will some energy into this post and today’s intentions.

In honor of one of my favorite NPR podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, I wanted to start sharing what’s making me happy on a weekly basis. The daily grind can be extremely draining and make it hard to strive for excellence, so it’s important to focus on the little things; the simple bits of joy that keep anxiety and stress at bay.

It’s been a trying winter season and the seasonal depression that came along with it has been real. With that being said, what’s making me happy this week is being able to refocus. With the arrival of warmer, get-outside-and-take-the-dog-for-longer-walks weather, has come a much needed boost of energy. For the past few weeks I’ve been meeting workout goals and getting back to feeling good; inside and out.

Something I’ve discovered about myself is that I need alignment in my life. If I’m eating healthy, staying physically active, and taking moments to enjoy happiness, I feel so much better than I do while I’m getting caught up in what task I may or may not have time to get to today.

This isn’t to say I’m not getting work done and having a ball. Think of it as a daily refresh and remember: how you organize your life influences the kind of energy you keep around.

What’s making you happy this week? Let me know in the comments wherever you’re reading this.

 

J.

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!

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