Saturday, February 28, 2015

"The GIFt of Love..."

"This is the beauty of love..."

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Just Let Love Be... Live Fearlessly"

"The Truth About Love..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Views To Love..."


"This Made Me Smile..."

Those "Hollywood Types"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1941"

"Love Always Finds A Way..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"Why The Truth Matters..."


Jase Peeples

Earlier this month, Out magazine published an interview with Jack Falahee, who plays How to Get Away With Murder’s openly gay character Connor Walsh. In it, the 25-year-old actor declined to talk about his real-life sexuality because it “seemed reductive.”

“I don’t think answering who I’m sleeping with accomplishes anything other than quenching the thirst of curiosity,” he said.

It's not like he's the only person to have ever said this. I work in LGBT media; Falahee’s point of view isn't new, among celebrities or everyday people.

The first time this attitude left a lasting impression that reverberated through my psyche was in 2013. 60 Minutes profiled gay teen science prodigy Jack Andraka regarding his work developing a new method to detect pancreatic cancer. Its piece completely scrubbed any mention of the fact that he was an out gay teen, so I wrote a piece about it. A wave of comments followed from readers: “I still cannot see how the young man’s sexual orientation has anything to do with his accomplishments,” wrote one reader, while another asked, “Unless, I’m having sex with him, why should I care?”

Since then, I’ve seen the same scenario play out several times when including a passing mention of how a person identifies in news stories, including a lively debate that recently ensued on our Facebook page after I reported on Lady Gaga’s recent engagement to Taylor Kinney, noting that the singer is bisexual. “Why did you have to mention that she’s bi?” asked one commenter. In another news post about Mother Monster days later, readers called the mention an “off-topic attempted pot-shot at her sexuality” and asked, “What has her sexuality got to do with anything?”

Falahee and our readers say a person’s sexuality doesn’t have anything to do with his or her accomplishments or talents. Agreed.

But there’s a vital piece missing from any argument that poses it is unimportant to include how a person identifies — because visibility matters.

Of course I completely understand resistance to LGBT people being pigeonholed as LGBT first and an artist, athlete, politician, or anything else second. But there’s a difference between being referred to as an LGBT person and a person who happens to be LGBT. Including how we identify doesn’t necessarily overshadow our accomplishments or talents. However, it does fight negative stereotypes by providing solid examples that queer people come from all walks of life and can accomplish anything our heterosexual and cisgender counterparts can. By negatively reacting to the inclusion of how a person identifies — or refusing to answer at all — we run the risk of entering a new closeted age; one where queer youth learn that proudly proclaiming who they are is “reductive” and there’s no need to come out because it “shoudn’t matter.”

Except it does matter.

I was reminded of this recently as I sat in the press room of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Sam Smith, the first openly gay singer I have seen come out of the closet before his debut album even dropped and still go on to amass international popularity, was the artist on everyone’s lips that night. From Taylor Swift mentioning how she loves that Smith is “always true to himself” during the live telecast to the numerous times he embraced his sexuality with honest answers during his final Q&A with the media after becoming a four-time Grammy winner that night, I couldn’t help smiling. Smith wasn’t being defined as a “gay artist.” He is an artist who happened to be gay — and he was being celebrated while refusing to censor himself for fear of being “reductive.”

I left that night thinking back to the first time I ever saw another gay teen on television when I was 16 years old and the positive impact it had on my own life. I thought about the thousands of LGBT youth who were watching Sam Smith that night, and I wondered if young people like Leelah Alcorn, Carlos Vigil, Jamey Rodemeyer, Josh Pacheco, and Tyler Clementi would have felt there were alternative options to taking their own lives if they had seen more images like the one Smith provides.

Of course Smith isn’t the only out celebrity who has become a beacon of hope for LGBT people everywhere by publicly embracing who he is. Ellen DeGeneres, George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris, Laverne Cox, Matt Bomer, Ian McKellen, Jason Collins, Anna Paquin, Brittney Griner, Robin Roberts, Jack Andraka, RuPaul, and yes, Lady Gaga are among the many people who send the same message each time they include how they identify as just another adjective to describe who they are.

But even with the growing number of out people in high-profile positions, the moments of visibility they provide are a small fraction when compared to the millions of heteronormative images LGBT people are bombarded with every day. And until that disparity is corrected, visibility absolutely still matters.

While LGBT youth are still committing suicide because they feel alone and ashamed of who they are... visibility still matters.

While trans women are being murdered in the streets and it goes largely unreported... visibility still matters.

While we battle for marriage equality in every state and country around the globe... visibility still matters.

While LGBT people are being hunted, beaten, and jailed in countries like Russia, Egypt, and Uganda... visibility still matters.

While bi erasure continues... visibility still matters.

While stigma allows gay and bisexual men to contract HIV at alarmingly high rates for decades because we don't talk about it enough... visibility still matters.

While so-called reparative therapy is practiced... visibility still matters.

While churches preach that being gay is a sin... visibility still matters.

While you can be fired today in 29 states for who you love... visibility still matters.

While people believe they can treat you like you are less of a person because of who you are... visibility still matters.

The whole point of our sister publication The Advocate is to embrace our identities and celebrate them. If anything, omitting one's sexuality would denote there's something to hide or be ashamed of. Why closet ourselves when we don't have to? Why impose your shame and discomfort on someone else's identity? Of course one day it won't matter that the president of the United States is black or that the governor of Oregon is bisexual or the guy who just won four Grammys broke up with a man or that women direct films like Zero Dark Thirty or Selma. But all of that stuff — those labels, identities, categories — are used to oppress people in this world. Period. That's why it's important to say Lady Gaga is bisexual and Laverne Cox is the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy.

No, being LGBT shouldn’t make a difference in how we pursue our dreams, our talents, or our ability to do a job. However, it also shouldn’t make a difference when it’s a part of the conversation. Because the battle for LGBT equality won’t be won when we allow ourselves to be invisible. Being invisible or allowing people to misgender us or letting others tell us that our sexuality doesn't need to be "flaunted" didn't get us to where we are. Omitting our identities because we're told it’s "reductive" or "doesn't matter" didn't get us marriage equality or end "don't ask, don't tell." Instead, true acceptance and equality will be won when being gay is a characteristic that can be mentioned every time and no one bats an eye.

JASE PEEPLES is The Advocate's entertainment editor and a contributor for Out and


The truth matters because everyday young GLBT boy and girls (and some of us who are not so young) cry themselves to sleep contemplating a world where they might not have to feel the pain of having to live in fear... where they dream of not be hated by others for no other reason than being themselves... and where thoughts of ending their own lives seem more attractive than living another day in misery.  The truth matters because the real truth is that GLBT people are just as human as everyone else and everyone needs to see and know this.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"True Love Stories..."

My name is Muhammad and my partner is Nelson. We have been together for six years strong. 

We met back in 2009 on Myspace and we've been inseparable ever since. We are very much in love! 

It's always been our dream to have a big fairytale wedding, but unfortunately being Islamic its very difficult. 

My mother is hispanic and my father is from Afghanistan and I have no support except from my siblings. 

I want to get married and show the world that anything is possible and that anyone could be with anyone. I would love to have all my boyfriend's family and my cousins and siblings and friends there celebrating our joy of being in love. It would be a dream come true and the start of a new life, happy and married.

* True Love Stories: These are real stories of men in love, told in their own voice. These are our stories, these are true love stories.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Artist's Corner..."

Digital media

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"All Love Is Beautiful... Live Fearlessly"

"We Were Always There..."

Ken and Dee

"Adam and Andy..."

I love James Asal's "Adam and Andy" strip
Married life really is like this*.

"The Truth About Love..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"True Love Stories..."

We met on a gay app in September of 2014. 

From the start we have been barely inseparable and when we are, we are talking and texting every moment of everyday. I moved in, in December 2014. He works down the street and I sneak away every chance I can get to see him. He works weekends, so I join him for lunch almost everyday. People stop us and tell us how cute and what a great couple we are. 

It was love at first site and both of us were not expecting it to go as fast as it did. We weren't looking for a hook up, we were looking for each other. I am from Chicago and he is from New York. It is a New York love story with magic. We both are committed to each other and want each to grow as a couple and as individuals.

* True Love Stories: These are real stories of men in love, told in their own voice. These are our stories, these are true love stories.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1940"

"Love And Family Brings Joy To Life..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

"The Truth About Who We Are..."

photo by Kevin TruongDave, Jakarta, Indonesia

by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photos by Kevin Truong
Dave, in his own words: ". (Being gay means) being my own self. I mean, since I was a little boy, I was already attracted physically with other boys and I think it's natural. Because I don't know what we call it. When I grew up and became a teenager, that feeling became stronger, and never changed. I'm still attracted physically (and sometimes sexually) with men. There's no force, no pretending, it flew naturally, came from my feeling. I can't deny it. After I went to college, I understood about homosexuality. I'm a part of it. Being a gay, man (biologically has a penis) who is attracted physically and sexually to another man. But, sometimes, I think that I'm in a wrong body, a female in a male body. Hahahahaa.. So, I like to make over myself and become a female (crossdresser)

The biggest challenge in my life has been conservative people.. They won't accept us just like we are... We live in a Muslim (most of the religion) country with a lots of norms and rules that came from the conservative points of view.

(With regards to coming out) Actually I've already come out since I was a little boy... I told my friend (a boy) that I liked another boy too... In that time, I also acted like a girl, liked to play with girl's stuff, including wearing my mom's dress... And I enjoyed it... So, I guess, my parents already knew about it... They never asked me but, I can saw it from their attitude, they accepted me.. Maybe because I got good achievements at school and I was the one of my family who went to college... My brother used go against me, but now, he already accept me just like I used to be now.
There is lots of gay community in Jakarta. You can find them everywhere, but not the discreet groups. Usually, the discreet ones, use social media to make communications, and make appointments to meet each other in a secret place too (I mean maybe in a hotel, rented room, etc) not in a public areas. There's still a gap between the sissy ones with the manly ones (straight acting), the high end with the low end.

(Advice I'd give my younger self) Being gay isn't wrong. It's not a sin. It's natural. It comes from your feelings and heart. So, just accept yourself. Just being yourself, not pretending to be someone else. You are not alone."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Artist's Corner..."

Charcoal on fabric
Shane Wolf

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love Is The Truest Appreciation Of Nature... Live Fearlessly"

"This Made Me Smile..."

"We Were Always There..."

"Yep, we had love and a sense of humor..."

"Once Upon A Time In America..."

Once upon a time in America, the law of the land was if you wanted to serve in your country's military and  you're gay, keep it a secret... Hide the most intimate part of yourself.

This discriminatory policy was known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and it forced tens of thousands of patriotic Americans to lie about who they were and who they loved.

Then along came Barrack Hussein Obama, the commander in chief who realized that who you love doesn't change who you are or how much you can contribute... 

And an amazing thing happened when he made it so...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"And The Truth Shall Set You Free..."

Retired Minor League Pitcher Jason Burch Comes Out Publicly

Wishes he'd been more open about being gay during his playing days

Greg Hernandez
February 25, 2015

Jason Burch was a pitcher in the minor leagues for six seasons and played for four Major League Baseball franchises.

He did so as a gay man.

Burch confided in some teammates who asked but was still largely closeted when he left the sport in 2008 to pursue a law degree.

'Looking back, I wish I had told the whole world that I'm gay from day one,' he tells Outsports in a story published Tuesday (24 February).

As a closer, he was used to teammates relying on him to seal a victory and now wishes people could have had that feeling about him knowing he is a gay man.

'I think that would have been a powerful message,' he says. 'If we are talking about changing people's opinions, I do think that would have been a powerful message. But I wasn't really thinking about that at the time.'

But some teammates knew - because they simply asked.

During a game in his final year, a pitcher from Latin America asked Burch if he had a girlfriend.

He replied: 'I'm not interested in girls. I'm gay. And I don't have a boyfriend.'

But he did his fair share of under the radar dating.

'I came of age as a gay man in those six years,' he says. 'It was difficult because the only way I could regularly meet men was on the Internet, and that's just not how I relate to people. I like to see how people talk and listen. That's the only way I can take an interest in a man, to see him talk and see him walk. So that was the real difficulty for me, the means by which I could reliably meet men, sites like Manhunt and and Adam4Adam.'

Major League Baseball meanwhile still awaits its first active openly gay player. US soccer has Robbie Rogers, the NBA had Jason Collins and the NFL will have Michael Sam if a team takes him on.


Burch and his partner, Drew Raines

Congratulations Jason Burch!

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1939"

"Nothing Is More Handsome Than Two Men In Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.

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