10.21.16 / v.10 – i.23 It’s On The Qt!
Memes are not simply the humorous images we’ve all seen on Facebook, but rather an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. But allow me to use the former to explain the latter.
Last week or so an image appeared on Facebook showing a confederate flag kicking an LGBTQ flag. I was one of those people who reposted it. I was outraged by it. My anger rose as I saw this as a homophobic slight to our community. An invitation to hate with violence against those of us who find ourselves either to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or queer.
It was an affront to my humanity and right to live freely.
Outrage ensued as the meme went viral, and rightly so. It was a form of intimidation against us.
Quickly, I began seeing another meme, one that was reversed this time . . . the LGBTQ flag was Kicking back! Yes, queers bashing back. I reposted it.
We have a responsibility to stand up and say “no more” by fighting back, to defend ourselves in the face of bashing. To be righteously indignant as we confront those who would spread hate and discord and to stick up for those whose voices are silent through fear or intimidation.
Then two more memes arrived on Facebook. One harder than the other to accept.
The first one was the confederate flag shaking hands with the LGBTQ flag. Imagine that. No fighting but shaking of hands. What does it mean? Is it possible? Do I want to? And what of my anti-LGBTQ brethren who struck out against me first? I was conflicted. Could I reach across the divide of homophobia and shake hands with those who would hate me to violence?
But the good conscience of the American psyche has taught me that we must be bridge builders and not be isolationists. We must be willing to say no to the hate and violence, but in a way, that helps to change hearts and minds.
A handshake, something so simple yet extremely profound. Am I hoping for too much in a sincere handshake?
However, it is what is needed to achieve the ideal of the last meme, to embrace each other in forgiveness.
Can we achieve this level of forgiveness? Of course, we can; we see it throughout human history, but it is not an easy thing, especially when contrition on another’s part is involved.
We cannot force contrition on others but we can try to enlighten and educated. We have far to go still as individuals and a nation, but our idea, our truth, that we hold must be spread from people to people starting with a handshake and leading ultimately to the embrace of forgiveness.
What It Looks Like From Here
Eye for Trans*
You could say that transgender has definitely become a topic being discussed in the arena of public opinion in America. It’s everything from a curiosity to a genuine acceptance of the diversity of gender that informs us of a changing and all-encompassing world. Transgender people can both repel and attract others at the same time. Acceptance and understanding are tantamount to allowing individuals to truly be themselves. Is that so difficult to comprehend and allow? Really!
Veteran photographer Mark Seliger is probably not the artist who you would expect to spend his time capturing images of the transgender community who populate his neighborhood of New York City’s legendary alternative Greenwich Village as he’s heterosexual and established as someone who has some level of acclaim for shooting celebrities from Bruce Springsteen to Julia Roberts for major publications like Vanity Fair, GQ and Rolling Stone.
But Seliger has recently released this month On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories, an impressive and engaging coffee-table book of more than 70-plus transgender individuals in black-and-white images of 160 pages for the Italian art publisher, Rizzoli, with a forward by the author and transgender activist Janet Mock.
While he’s pleased to capture on film who inhabits his neighborhood, Seliger is, as his editor at Vanity Fair Susan White said, “a seeker of new things and a man who goes from photographing professorial presidents to eyeliner-wearing rock gods.”
“He’s at ease no matter the situation,” she told The New York Times, calling him the spiritual heir to lesbian art portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz, whose images have graced the pages of the same magazines as does Selinger.
Like so many neighborhoods in Manhattan that have been undergoing an aggressive and rapid gentrification, Seliger decided only three years ago that he better begin documenting the transition in progress before there was nothing left of the Greenwich Village that he knew and loved for decades.
He quickly realized that for him the most interesting people to shoot on the streets were the transgender community. But it wasn’t particularly that easy in the beginning as he explained that many transgender people were suspicious of his interest and motives.
But, happily, he recalls, he won them over and his subjects “were thrilled at the prospect of finally being recognized and having this existence validated.”
“For them, it was often the first time they’d photographed as their new selves,” Seliger said proudly without being boastful or self-indulgent, suggesting just how much he admires and respects the transgender community that is the subject of his images and book.
Sex it Up on the Qt!
Always following the male skin trail, whether gay and hetero, without discrimination, Queerty has unearthed the whereabouts of Austin St. John.
Formerly the “Red Ranger” of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the former reality TV star has been revving up for something though we don’t know exactly what. In the meantime, recent online shirtless shots of St. John suggest that he has definitely been spending overtime in the gym and literally turned into not a fantasy character but a real “gorgeous hunk of a man.”
While he waits for his next big break, it’s been discovered that St. John is currently moonlighting as “Brock” on “straight guys getting off” on the popular gay skin web site SeanCody.com.
Most of his gay fans from his days as a Power Ranger always found St. John sexy so they’re not disappointed with his career choice for now but look forward to more of him in mainstream roles.
Continuing along the male skin trail, who wouldn’t want to run into the arms of Scott Evans? The popular daytime soap opera star of One Life to Live’s public “outing” has a twist like no other as he was pushed out of the proverbial closet when his younger brother actor, Chris Evans, “accidentally revealed his younger brother’s sexual orientation in a press interview on WeLoveSoaps.net.
The web site’s editors pointed out that “the idea of outing celebrities is a controversial one. How much privacy do closeted famous persons deserve? Arguably, a lot! Also arguably, none at all.” But usually we blame the press of the blogs for pushing celebs out of the closet but unusual for the person doing the “outing” to be a family member.
“Yes he outed me. Well, outed me publicly. I outed me when I was nineteen. He outed me publicly. When that article came out, he took a lot of flack from a lot of his friends who said, “I can’t believe you did that. Immediately I got a phone call from him. He left me this message freaking out, Are you okay with this? I didn’t mean to do this, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was like, Dude, I don’t care. It’s as if you said Scott Evans has blonde hair and blue eyes. It’s who I am, I don’t really care. He was relieved to hear that, but he still comes up and says, Dude, I’m sorry about that. I’m like, I don’t care. I’m glad that he’s comfortable enough to talk about it and he’s not ashamed.”
Of course, leave it up to TMZ to share this juicy tidbit: “I mean, there were so many situations that happened when we were teenagers. He’s gay. He’s been gay since he was probably five . . . The family literally used to take bets on what age he would come out, and then all of the sudden he got married!”
Who is talking about whom? An unidentified woman claiming to be a distant cousin of Dean Sheremet, the current husband of singer-actress LeAnn Rimes, might have outed her famous actor cousin.
It seems, according to TMZ, that “straight” Sheremet was recently caught in the act of cheating on Rimes with also “straight” co-star Eddie Cibrain. At this point, no one knows if these guys are gay, bisexual or if they’ll chalk up their hookup to “sexual fluidity,” the latest trending among celebrity types. No comment from jilted Rimes so far.
Rumors at the corporate offices of Playgirl’s magazine are true. When editors at Queerty asked the gang at the publication famous for willingly sharing demigods in full throttle (we say tongue-in-cheek): “Is supermodel Ronnie Kroell going full-frontal in the January issue of Playgirl?
Yes, definitely, to kick off the new year of 2017, the Make Me A Supermodel contestant was recently photographed by Lope Navo at the Grace Hotel in New York.
Playgirl frontman Daniel Nardicio blasted via email to the media. “I have to say, it’s going to be groundbreaking for Playgirl. The shots are amazing, and Ronnie is yes, hard and full frontal. You will GAG!”
has been named Attitude’s
Man of the Year. The sexy, handsome, young queer actor graces the cover of the well-respected, long-term gay British lifestyle magazine. Inside, it’s not all flesh and beauty, but centers rather seriously on Miller’s
struggles with self-acceptance, leading to serious bouts of depression and even suicide attempts. Upon the occasion of his public coming out in 2013, activist Miller in an open letter declined an invitation to Putin’s Russia due to the regime’s anti-LGBTQ “propaganda laws.” During a personally troubling time in his life, Miller was mocked on
The Lad Bible’s Facebook page for the post
weight gain. He was direct and frank, revealing that he was suicidal at the time, prompting an apology from the online media source. In a liberatingly free and frank interview, Wentworth gives advice to LGBTQ youth who are struggling with the same issues he has had to work through over the years. “I would say what others have said: it gets better. One day, you’ll find your tribe. You just have to trust that people are out there waiting to love you and celebrate you for who you are,” as he intentionally addressed young people. “In the meantime, the reality is you might have to be your own tribe. You might have to be your own best friend. That’s not something they’re going to teach you in school. So start the work of loving yourself,” he advised. Last month, Miller starred in a suicide prevention video. He further encouraged youth in jeopardy to seek help through groups like Anxiety and Depression Association of America
. For those in most serious crisis, he said to contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK or text “START” to 741-741.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, 52, gave the scope about his true sexual orientation to the Huffington Post. Finally, after speculations about him being gay as the subject of tabloid rumors for years, Smith came out as gay this month that celebrates National Coming Out Day. At the same time, in a stunning move, Smith also defended embattled Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, who was asked to leave his top post at the network earlier this year in the wake of sexual harassment claims by Fox News host Gretchen Carlson and a variety of other women at the network. During the interview, the journalist asked if Ailes had asked him to remain closeted for the conservative network. “That’s not true,” Smith said of Ailes. “He was as nice as he could be to me. I loved him like a father. I trusted him with my career and with – I trusted him and trust were betrayed. People outside this company can’t know [how painful that betrayal was]. This place has its enemies, but inside, it was very personal, and very scarring and horrifying.” Did Ailes ever make “homophobic remarks” that Smith was aware? “No, never,” he said. “He treated me with respect, just respect,” Smith continued. Still, Smith and Ailes issued a joint address to dispel the rumor to TVNewser. “This story is 100% false and a complete fabrication,” they said. “As colleagues and close friends at Fox News for 18 years, our relationship has always been rooted in a mutual respect, deep admiration, loyalty, trust, and full support both professionally and personally.”
After all the controversy, scandal and what seemed to be an overwhelmingly negative social media campaign among the gay male population, Logo’s Finding Prince Charming, hosted by out ex-boy-band member Lance Bass is returning for a second season. Why? Because the show featuring interior designer, Robert Sepulveda Jr. in the first season as the sought-after prince charming who is searching for the man of his dreams, eliminating various suitors, one by one, until Prince Charming chooses one ideal man who wins his heart is, incredibly, “in the midst of a hot ratings streak,” reported by Queerty. Its third episode on September 22 was up 22% from its season premiere and up 9% above the previous week, according to “Nielsen” and Logo. Season to date and across all platforms, Finding Prince Charming has reached 3 million plus viewers. Finding Prince Charming, combined with the solid ratings of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, led Logo to its highest-rated Thursday (September 22) in network history. For season two, casting has already begun by viewers, where in an interactive campaign viewers are invited to participate in literally influencing, according to producers Brian Graden and Dave Mace, the new lineup of dreamy men as contestants. From November 3 to 16, “potential suitors can submit a photo or video via hashtag through Instagram or Twitter showing the public why they should have a chance at love on the next season of the dating competition series.” Fans of the show will vote from the top potential suitors and the winner will vie for Prince Charming’s heart. Enjoy participating in the guilty pleasure of the unintentional tomfoolery of finding Mr. Right even as a fantasy prince!
James Duggan Thom Cardwell
John Adam Di Pietro Michael Feighan
David Schellenberg Matthew Paterno
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