When news first broke of the queer Chechens being rounded up, beaten, imprisoned and murdered, it was honestly hard to believe. When The New Yorker covered it a few weeks later, I admit that my passivity on the topic turned sour, meaning my initial denial became full-blown fear. A lot of you reading are probably thinking, “OK” — well that just makes you an asshole, which is fair! But seriously I read so many things on the internet everyday, when it comes to LGBTQ+ community news, I’m always apprehensive to believe what’s being reported. We used to be a community that operated solely by word of mouth, and I think my gay heart still honors that. I first met Adam Eli in the street at Pride, which I note because he’s now a go-to voice for contemporary LGBTQ+ activism. He sent me a note about Voices 4 Chechnya which “is a group of New Yorkers who are passionate about using their privilege as out Americans to bring about change around the world.” On Saturday, October 14, they will rally at Stonewall and march to Tr*mp Tower to help raise awareness and money for those LGBTQ+ people attempting to flee Chechyna’s murderous escapade. V4C hopes to procure humanitarian parole visas and allocate proper funds for so LGBTQ+ Chechen’s can resettle. “Every day queer Chechens are rounded up, abducted, tortured and killed. Over twenty Chechens have escaped and are living in safe houses in mainland Russia, with no way out. Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence gay people in Chechnya, and refers to them as subhuman, including the approval of familial honor killings.” As Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera taught us, we have to speak up to bring safety to our global community.
The rainbow flag, which was designed by Gilbert Baker, whose life and legacy we honor in Issue 7, is going up permanently at the Stonewall National Monument. For those of you who may not know — which is totally okay, you learn something new everyday — Stonewall is the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation/rights movement. It’s only fitting that queer activists have succeeded in giving our community’s symbol of pride a home there. Also significant is that this is the first time that the rainbow flag has flown on federally funded land, “under the permanent stewardship of the National Park Service.” Cool, but what a contrast that our flag flies above federal ground for the first time less than a week after the US voted against a UN resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality. Michael Petrelis, the AIDS and LGBT activist who spearheaded this initiative, says, “It is a victory for our Community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power…. As we gather today, we are reminded of another October 11, thirty years ago, when the names of our fallen comrades were symbolically celebrated on another national monument — the AIDS Quilt — during the reign of another President who waged an attack against us.” The other October 11 that Petrelis is referring to is that of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian Gay Rights. October 11 “also marks the annual National Coming Out Day, a day celebrating the idea that all members of the LGBTQ community should be able to live their lives openly, honestly, and with pride.” The flag is to be unveiled at noon via a nice ceremony, but it’ll remain flying with unwavering courage, so make that pilgrimage to Greenwich Village and see it when you can. The weather is supposed to remain gorgeous — just like you — throughout the week, so you really have no excuse, love.
You probably all heard about the hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean so far this year. Irma and Maria, were probably the meanest ones so far, those bitches have not been very nice to the islands, especially what Maria did to Puerto Rico. The country is not in a good shape and as we all know the Cheeto-faced imbecile in the White House doesn’t really care, it seems that he learned that Puerto Rico is part of the United States just last week. Earlier this week he said “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack...” I mean what a dick? As if Puerto Ricans had any control over this natural disaster. He’s the most insensitive, disgusting man alive. I am stating the obvious, but I just had to let it out. Now let’s focus on something that we can do something about — here’s an event that we should support in any way we can, it’s a hurricane relief and fundraiser taking place at MoMa Ps1. “Continuing our efforts to support Puerto Rican relief initiatives and aid communities that have been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, MoMA PS1 is hosting a fundraiser organized in collaboration with MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach and NYC City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.” You must RSVP — click here, there’s a minimum donation of $20, you can pay there or in advance via mariafund.org. “All proceeds will benefit the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund.” Let’s come together and do what we can to help. If we don’t, no one will!
Unless you live under a rock or are named D*nald Tr*mp, you acknowledge the absolute devastation that Puerto Rico, a US territory with just about as many people as the state of Connecticut, is experiencing in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The situation is dire and thankfully people and organizations are stepping up to help, since our president won’t. “Chef Maria Grubb of Santurce’s Gallo Negro will be at The Brooklyn Kitchen for a party to raise money to support the hospitality workers in Puerto Rico through Service Santurce (a nonprofit still in formation following the storm). She will be serving up passed bites, while bartenders Rafa García Febles and Roberto Rosa shake up cocktails.” There will also be music by SAREEN and portraits by Kevin Alvir Draws You. To aid the fundraiser, there will be a dozen raffles by a variety of sponsors. If you want to help make a difference, but are not sure how to make a palpable impact, this may very well be a worthy option.
Earlier this week, the current “president” was on Twitter asserting that “the US government will not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military,” and then reasoned (without grammar as usual) that the medical costs for having transgender individuals in the military would be “disruptive” and “burdensome.” So yeah, this is just your weekly reminder that Donald Tr*mp is a fucking transphobic scum. Also, just a heads up that providing necessary services for troops who are trans would cost anywhere from 0.004-0.017% of the Defense Department’s $49.3 billion-dollar health care budget. It’s really important in a time when transgender and gender non-conforming communities are subject to discrimination and oppressive rhetoric that we speak up and support the “T” in our LBGTQ+ community. 2016 was the deadliest year for transgender americans with 27 individuals murdered (predominantly trans women of color), and so far in 2017 there have been 15 recorded murders. If you aren’t saying or doing anything about Tr*mp’s new ban or trans & gender non-conforming issues in general, donating to The National Center For Transgender Equality is a great place to start! They do vital work for trans and gender non-conforming communities. However you feel about the U.S. military, it’s important to recognize the effect this ban will have on the estimated 15,000 active serving transgender troops who are, as our fav Janet Mock put it, putting their lives on the line for a country and president that have not and will not fight for them. TRANS PEOPLE ARE NOT A BURDEN.
Over the past two years, these “paint bar” nights, or “drink & draw” have become increasingly popular across Long Island and wine-moms and white-teens have started to act like they have a BFA in my favorite medium, which they don’t. They just have blonde highlights from my mom who is usually their hairdresser. It’s a small world out there. What’s cute is that I’ve seen photos of some instructors wearing Britney Spears microphones, like saying “lift your brush” really needs to be heard out of an industrial speaker. Listen, I’ve seen some of these canvases results and I will just say they’re always some wonky, on-mushrooms looking sunsets. Anyway, I am such a fake bitch because I stay talking shit about these types of events but this one is in Brooklyn so I was like… yas! I’m not transparent, whatever. While I was browsing this event online, someone in the comments asked “What’s a live figure model?” You’re always going to encounter one or two dummies who should really be attending the Long Island iterations of these kinds of things, but The Living Gallery is a wonderful place that, in a city full of struggling artists and dreamers, deserves our support. The space provides all proper materials; the essential wine and aforementioned live model, which, to answer that woman’s question (and maybe yours too) is a person who will stand before the room and you are expected to draw them. Often, they are naked. Ok work!
Fuck catching a train, and then a bus, and then a ferry to Fire Island — Manhattan has all the homo cruising and sunbathing action you could ask for... In the ‘70s and ‘80s, The Christopher Street Pier (actually a group of piers) was a hotbed of homo action. At night, the abandoned warehouses were filled with more mano-a-mano action than the bathhouses of ancient Rome. These days, the most popular pier at the end of Christopher St., Pier 45, has been redeveloped and turned into a public space. A long grass lawn runs down the middle of it, and water installations keep people cool as the temperature rises. It may have lost its former grime and glory, but it’s still cruis-y — especially at this time of year, when it’s overrun with sunbathing homos from all over the city. Bring sunscreen, poppers...and condoms.
Don't let him think he is welcomed!
Today, May 4, as you may know, Donald Trump arrives in New York. The visit will be his first as POTUS. “In the last 100 days, he’s threatened to deport our neighbors, take away our healthcare, reject refugees from our shores and give even more tax breaks to billionaires. Not to mention spend millions of our money to protect Trump tower.”
The rally, which will meet and begin on 12th Avenue between 52nd and 54th, is a “Cacerolazo.” A Cacerolazo (or casserole) is a protest that is something akin to New Years Eve, but today is not a celebration, it’s a battle cry. For this specific kind of rally, you’re meant to bring your pots, pans, and stainless steel utensils. This kind of kitchen-wear is representative of Latin American countries, and with every hand locked and loaded with metal to clang together, the cacerolazo will bang their way to Trump’s gaudy tower on 5th Ave. If all goes well (as it probably will, New Yorkers love to yell and throw shit) the noise of the protest will drown out anything Trump even attempts to think.
“Wear white in honor of past immigrant and civil rights movements and bring pots and pans to drown out Trump and show that he and his policies are NOT welcome in New York.”
Take a late lunch at 2:00pm and get over to the gathering. He needs to be reminded we’ve heard enough out of his trash mouth. …
This event is the kind of thing that is only possible in a population dense city like New York. I mean, could you imagine trying to throw a successful corgi meet up in a place like Scranton, PA? Ludicrous! In NYC you could throw an ‘eldery corgies with diabetes’ meet up and still pack the dog run. “Spring is here! Join us Sunday April 23rd starting at 2pm for our April corgi meet up at Washington Square Park. Rules: Must be a corgi owner or have a corgi, or a dog to enter the dog run. Try not to bring more than 2 guests because we don’t want the dog run to get crowded with humans looking to pet corgi’s. Non-Corgi owners / non-dog owners please observe from the outside. We are sure you will get to pet a corgi as they enter and exit the dog run.” As stated in the “rules” having a corgi is not mandatory, but like a VIP wristband at a club, it’ll certainly help you get closer to the doggies. Judging by the number of people already going on their Facebook page I have a feeling this will overflow into the park, so stress not if you are sans corgie — you’ll have plenty of chances to be around the Queen’s favorite breed of dog, I am very sure of that.
Ice skating can be soooo much fun. I haven’t done it since last Winter at the rink at Prospect Park. That’s a pretty beautiful rink, but it is often filled with straight people and kids who skate too fast and like scaring those travelling at a more leisurely pace. Which is why I’m excited for this event. It takes place at the Bryant Park Skate Rink, which I believe is a little bigger than the Prospect Park one, and it’s gonna be filled with a bunch of gays. Even better “a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Ali Forney Center.” At times like these we all need to let our hair down, and do some good for LGBTQ charities. Strap on your skates and head over to the rink for some good wholesome fun. Well, maybe not so wholesome. Skating is way better when you’re a little drunk or after a couple of puff puffs. The gliding feels so much better...