Dec 26, 2014

Our Favorite Things from 2014!

As the year comes to a close Edugaytion would like to extend a mammoth-sized thank you to all of our kickass readers. Your continued support and help in making our site a hub for the urban LGBT community is much appreciated. This year has been filled with many changes and we promise more exciting developments in the future. But for now get into our 2014 favorite things list we’ve curated especially for you. This is a small token of our appreciation as each of these things are sure to put a smile on your face. Leggo!

Dec 18, 2014

Dec 17, 2014

Author J.K. Rowling responds to Question about LGBTQ+ Students at Hogwarts

Twitter user @claraoswiin asked J.K. Rowling (creator of the Harry Potter series) if she thought there were a lot of LGBTQ people at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, adding:

 "'s safe to assume that Hogwarts had a variety of people and I like to think it's a safe place for LGBT students." 

The author responded:

I also think that it would be safe to assume that, just like any other school system that involves children in a variety of ages, LGBTQ+ people were bullied by older, meaner students (not mentioning any house names Slytherin...) and that there were also straight allies for the cause. It's a shame this was never explored in any of the seven Harry Potter books, but it is glad to see Rowling's affirmation of the LGBTQ+ community. Not to mention, her response was pretty clever, don't you think? 

Dec 15, 2014

HBO's "Looking" Returns for a Second Season

Cuffing season is upon us. And with the cold weather months urging more indoor activity, TV networks are hoping to score your attention with their latest lineups. HBO recently announced its string of shows set to premiere this winter including the return of Looking. Now you may or may not be familiar with the series. The half hour dramedy debuted earlier this year. And while it received critical acclaim, ratings were lukewarm. But trust me when I say, this show is well worth the watch, and perfect for you and your wintertime bae.

What's it all about

Looking follows the lives of three friends living in San Francisco. Last season saw the trio endure several ups and downs as they chased their desires in the all-too-familiar pursuit of happiness. Patrick (Johnathan Groff), the show’s central character, blunders his way through a dicey dating life, ultimately ending in a love triangle with his boss. Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), the quintessential free spirit, finds himself unable to commit to a career as an artist, in the throes of a bitter breakup, and eventually homeless. Dom (Murray Bartlett), the eldest of the bunch, begrudgingly celebrates his 40th birthday while rushing to fulfill his dream of opening a restaurant before getting “too old”. Through each triumph and disappointment the comrades offer unwavering support to one another as well as copious amounts of unsolicited advice which makes for great laughs.

Why you should watch

Looking is beautifully shot utilizing the razzle-dazzle of big city locales. It actually resembles an indie film more than a TV show. But aside from great cinematography

Dec 9, 2014

10 Day Gay Wedding Package at Historic Japanese Temple!

Jessica Kozuka from Rocket News24 reports on the Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto Japan and their same sex marriage offerings in the still conservative country:

“We welcome every couple regardless of their faith or sexual orientation.”
Established in 1590, Shunkoin Temple follows Zen Buddhism and is an important site for a 20th-century school of thought that blends Zen and Western philosophy. They also take a strong stand on human rights, with their website proudly declaring, “Shunkoin Temple is against any forms of ‘Human Rights Violations’ in the world. No religion teaches how to hate others. Religion teaches how to love and respect others.”

The temple has been offering same sex marriages since 2011, but has only recently been pushing for publicity. 

the temple is working hard to attract overseas couples both through their English website and through a new partnership with queer-friendly hotel Granvia Kyoto and tour operator Out Travel Asia to offer a 10-day wedding package tour.

The wedding package cost

Dec 8, 2014

25 Examples of Heterosexual Privilege

Race has always been a hot topic here in the United States. But with recent events such as Ferguson, the film Dear White People, and John Stewart’s viral showdown with Bill O’Riley, talk is hotter than ever. Numerous think-pieces and social commentary have invaded media outlets, particularly on the subject of white privilege. Just in case you've been living under a rock, let me explain the concept. White privilege is the notion that certain advantages and/or immunities have been granted to and enjoyed by white people beyond those extended to all others. Some whites, e.g. Bill O’Riley, dispute the validity of white privilege. Others are, or have been until now, simply unaware. However, if anyone was to take an objective look at the issue, they would have a

Dec 4, 2014

I Don't F*ck With You

I recently heard a new song by Big Sean called I Don’t Fuck With You. It’s quite the listen, and has been in constant rotation on my playlist ever since. In the song, Big Sean goes on a post romance rant about moving on after a seemingly nasty break-up. Although the entire song knocks, the hook is what stands out the most. It’s bold, catchy and gets the point across — all the things a hook is supposed to be and do:

I don’t fuck with you
You lil stupid ass bitch, I ain’t fuckin’ with you
You lil, you lil dumb ass bitch, I ain’t fuckin’ with you
I got a million trillion things I’d rather fuckin’ do
Than to be fuckin’ with you, lil stupid ass

I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck
I don’t, I don’t, I don’t give a fuck
Bitch, I don’t give a fuck about you, or anything that you do
Don’t give a fuck about you, or anything that you do

It sounds better than it reads. But don't take my word, check it out for yourself:

Beneath the bravado (and what some may consider vulgarity) actually lies a pretty empowering sentiment, and would have served as an excellent foundation for a gay anthem. I know, I know, but follow me for a second. All too often gay people find themselves fighting and hankering for acceptance among the general public. That’s all and well when

Nov 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Approaches: Do not forget the Poor LGBT Youth

Cajun fried turkey, cornbread dressing, garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie, red velvet cake… hungry yet? Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and in households across America families will gather for an annual feast. But unfortunately for many LGBT teens Thanksgiving will come and go as just another day.

Each year numerous LGBT youth are pushed out of their homes. According to a recent Williams Institute study, most of these young people turn to shelters and/or the streets because of family rejection. The study cites the top five reasons LGBT youth are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless as: 

The National Coalition for the Homeless says 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBT. That statistic is particularly alarming when only 7% of the general youth population label themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The numbers are overwhelming disproportionate.

This tragedy seldom garners the national attention it deserves. Even within the LGBT community the topic isn't discussed as it should be. And while there are organizations dedicated to assisting homeless LGBT youth, the work remains plentiful. This Thanksgiving Edugaytion would like to encourage supporters to reach out to the homeless LGBT youth in their local city. Here are some ways you can help:
  • share a meal 
  • give a jacket/coat
  • create and distribute homeless “survival kits” (toiletries, blankets, snacks, socks, books, etc.)
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • organize an event for a shelter (board game/movie night, musical performance, holiday party, etc.)
* For a local listing of shelters and organizations committed to LGBT youth homelessness, see the following link:

Remember that no single kind act is too small. And if we all do whatever we can, our collective effort will make a great impact. So take some time, and resources, next week to brighten the holiday season for those who need it most. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Oct 29, 2014

(In 2014) Church Summons Gay Man for Membership Hearing Regarding his "Homosexual Lifestyle"

Not all Christians are haters of the LGBTQ+ community. As a matter of fact, if some denominations of various protestant Christianity have come to embrace the LGBTQ+ community through outreach, church liturgy, proclamations, and amendments in church policies. And I'm talking about entire denominations, not just individual church congregations in larger urban areas. For instance, the Lutheran and the Episcopalian churches as a whole accept members and allows them to be ordained in the ministry. Other denominations such as the United Methodists and Presbyterian Church are divided on issues surrounding homosexuals.

Some denominations are so divided on various matters, that they require another level of denomination. Enter the Presbyterian Church United States of America (PCUSA) vs. the Presbyterian Churches of America (PCA). One of these denominations has recently changed its stance on the opposition of same sex marriage. On June 19, 2014, the PCUSA, the largest U.S. Presbyterian body, voted to change its definition of marriage and allow its pastors to officiate same-sex ceremonies in states where gay marriage is legal.

However, on October 24, 2014, a PCA church based in the Seattle area sent one of its, now, former members a summons to church court for openly proclaiming his homosexuality on social media (Facebook) and not denying the charges when confronted in person. It sounds unbelievable, but Reddit user /Byeuji posted a letter that his friend "Justin" received last week:





There really are no more words...
Justin wrote his own response, which you can see by clicking here.
You can read more about the discussion surrounding Justin and what he did by clicking here.

Oct 28, 2014

Dear White People, the Morehouse Football Team, and the Black Community as it relates to LGBTQ+ People

Recently, I posted this video to Youtube:

During the video, I asked my viewers to go see Dear White People and respond on how their particular audience replied to the male-male kiss scenes. While messages are mixed, there is a majority reaction. One viewer writes:

Had the same experience in my theatre. It left me so uncomfortable because I didn't know if I was surrounded by homophobes or if they were disgusted by the situation (I'm gay and also thought it was a gross kiss). I was put at ease after the second kiss and someone said "why we have to see all of that"

Another viewer responded with a story that I hadn't seen:

You probably already heard about this, but you asked, and here we are:

That link took me to this story which, at first, figuratively caused my blood to boil. Having attended and been graduated from an HBCU, I know all too well the type of reaction that Miller described. And while comments from various other articles on the same story make concession for the behavior of these young men,

i mean college kids are immature, what do you want? teach them better and they'll deliver something better, but as for now, they only act according to what their surroundings show them. granted, SOME people can rise above that, but not everyone. lets be serious.

I see this collective reaction to be indicative of a greater problem within the black community. It's no secret that We, on the whole, have a problem with homosexuality or any other aspect of the LGBTQ+ community (unless, of course, we count tranvestism as "queer", because, you know, Tyler Perry and every other black man that has ever dressed in drag for the sake of comedy). To argue against that point would be missing the forest for the trees. 

The first article that I saw regarding homophobia in Dear White People was one posted by Alex van der Hoek. In it, Alex speaks about the reactions of those people, a majority of whom were black, during the male-male kiss scenes. After posting that article to my Facebook page, one of the loudest arguments was the idea of sensationalism in the title of the post. One person comments:

"Black Homophobia"....because it's different from "white homophobia"....please continue telling me how exceptionally wrong Black people are in comparison to other races despite their actions being similar. It's fascinating... Speaking to the article... Especially, the title. There's no such thing as "Black homophobia." The article would mean the very same thing if it simply said "Homophobia Emerges..." Homophobia is homophobia no matter the race of the person.

And while I agree that homophobia is homophobia, we can't begin to pretend that homophobia in the black community isn't stunting the growth of many LGBTQ+ in our own community, a community that wants nothing to do with and actively works against, suppresses and denies anything LGBTQ+ related. Morehouse's football team is only a byproduct of this culture that has been brooding against anything gay, queer, or different. 

And while homophobia is homophobia, we need to clean up around our own house, because there are plenty of (how do I put this politically correct?) "mainstream" anti bullying and anti homophobia ad campaigns, but We look at Them and say "It's none of my business" when fact of the matter is the exact opposite, considering the number of gay people in, say, the black church, which is one of the main institutions driving homophobia in the black community. However, all of this will fall on (not really) deaf ears, as all the mainstream heterosexual blacks have to do is not respond and carry on with the cover ups, the denial, and the acceptance of DL culture, and people who speak up for the LGBTQ+ blacks will be labeled nothing more than folks who talk too much about "that gay shit." 

At the end of the day, Morehouse is a black institution lead by some sort of governing body possessing a morality compass founded on some very core principles. It's their school, so they make the rules, but we need to take a look at why certain items like the "Appropriate Attire Policy" exist*. We need to look at why stripping an individual of his identity is a principle that this body approves of. College is a time of self discovery, not just for non-white kids, but for black kids as well. The sooner Morehouse and the black community at large realize this, the sooner We will be on track to doing better as a whole. It's a Catch 22 though, because this is about a black institution, and is therefore a "black" problem. White people don't care about this, and a majority of blacks damn sure don't care about it, so LGBTQ+ ppl of color (specifically, and especially, in the black community) will continue to be oppressed.

*before any of you say "well it doesn't only stop men from wearing feminine clothing but stops other men from sagging pants and wearing grills": 1) Personal Opinion: Feeling comfortable with who you are (dressing in clothes that you feel suit you), or, by a reach, tranvestism, should not be compared to incorrectly wearing clothes to the point that your ass is hanging out in public, and I don't think that anybody is arguing that people should or should not be clothed, so don't try to use nudists as a counterpoint here. 2) Instead of banning grills and extremely baggy clothing, as a way to keep non students from campus, why not increase security? It is, after all, a private institution. 

Oct 24, 2014

Scandal's Gun Control vs. LGBT Rights

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me. Not only was I slayed once again by Olivia Pope and Associates, but I executed one of my duties as an American by (early) voting for the senators and representatives who I believe have my best interest in mind, as well as weighing in on a couple state amendments. It seems that everyone goes out to the polls when it’s time for us to choose a president, but these not-so-big elections can actually mean a lot, and that idea has really resonated with me for the past few weeks, thanks to Ms. Shonda Rhimes.
          The “yasss” factor of Scandal is at an all time high, but there are issues that mimic real life that are easy to overlook if you’re too focused on Kerry Washington’s sport coats. Since the beginning of the season, there has been a story arch that centers around the passing of stricter gun legislature, which would be uncharacteristic of President Grant’s Republican White House. It’s probably safe to say that the life (or death) of this fictional bill is still up in the air, but it’s very interesting to see how different lies, secrets, and ultimatums guide how something as simple as gun regulation can turn into a real scandal. It also must be mentioned that the passing of this left-leaning legislation would surely affect how Fitz’s supporters might vote in the future. So what does this have to do with anything? In my opinion, this story line couldn’t have better timing, considering some members of the GOP’s latest stretch to support gay rights.
          It goes without saying

Oct 23, 2014

Jennifer Hudson Speaks Out for Marriage Equality

Here's something that surprised me. The Advocate reports in an exclusive story; Jennifer Hudson, good ole Baptist-raised, American Idol contestant, Dream Girls star, Weight Watchers spokes person, JHUD, has joined forces with the Human Rights Campaign for their Turn Down Fuh What Turn it Up for Change movement.

When asked what she would say to anyone who tried to tell her marriage equality isn’t a family value, JHUD responded: 

“Do you hear yourself? Because that doesn’t make any sense... Family is not based on sex or your partner. Family is defined by love.”

Hudson is also quoted as saying:

“The gay community has meant so much to me throughout my life, and there have been many gay people who have been positive influences for me... From my best friend to many of my teachers, my first producer, and more — there have been so many. That’s why I feel like this campaign is a perfect fit, because it’s something I’m fully supportive and passionate about. I’m glad to be a part of it.”

The Turn it Up for Change initiative by the HRC aims to continue the fight for marriage equality and equal employment opportunity for all citizens in the United States of America, which is perhaps why they've given Hudson this opportunity. 

Make sure to check out the entire article by clicking here, and gain some insight as to how Jennifer grew up and made the decision for herself to be an ally of the LGBTQ community.

Oct 22, 2014

Is Homosexuality Accepted in Japan?

It's a question that a lot of people have asked, including myself. The answer varies from person to person, but Rachel & Jun, my latest Youtube obsession break it down for us in the video below.

From what their Japanese fans said, it would seem that historically, Japan has been rather accepting of homosexuality and that it wasn't until western cultures came in that homosexuality was viewed any differently. One commenter writes:

I'm gay, the first thing I want to say is that in Japan I have received almost no violence or verbal abuse. Most people tolerate, or at the very least, are polite to gay people. So, I think anyone can live happily in Japan. But, understanding of gay and transgender is still pretty low, and there's a fair amount of prejudice. For example, TV producers lump the various sexual minorities together into a category called 'One' (オネエ) to drive up views. So you don't see One people who wear clothes, talk, or express themselves emotionally in a way that's considered to be heterosexually male. So, if I come out as gay, people will assume that I'm female inside and they'll assume I'm interested in cross dressing or a sex change like those entertainers who speak like One. So, gay people don't come out because if they do, that storm of prejudice pours down on them. But, if you're just visiting, I believe there's absolutely no problem and Japan is a safe country. 

This is a very interesting explanation and shows that even in a polite country like Japan, it is necessary for people to edugayted on the different parts that comprise the LGBTQ community.

Make sure to subscribe to Rachel & Jun by clicking here.

Oct 17, 2014

LGBTQ Rights Throughout the African Continent

In recent years we've heard of various countries on the African continent as they relate to LGBTQ rights (or the lack thereof). Below is a map that shows us just how much more work there is to be done. Equality will have to start with a small ripple, but if we take an interest and are persistent, are armed with knowledge, and make our voices known, we can make waves!

Oct 16, 2014

High School Cancels Student Production of "Almost, Maine" Because of Gay Characters

A North Carolina school's decision to not allow students to perform a popular school play has stirred controversy in local affairs and on the internet. The theater department at Maiden High School had already begun rehearsing for the play “Almost, Maine” when the principal decided to cancel the performance.


...the high school I attended has recently just cancelled a production of "Almost, Maine" because there's two gay characters in a scene. I was a proud member of the theater department, which is basically one of the only safe places for gay people in my school, which I no longer feel very comfortable calling my school...they already paid for the scripts and everything and now only have like 2 dollars left in their budget. They use the profits from this play to pay for the next production and now that won't be able to happen.

“Almost, Maine”, a romantic comedy by John Cariani, has become a popular production in schools and professional theatres across the U.S. It depicts multiple love stories, including one shared between two men. According to sources, parents and area churches complained to the school about a play involving a same-sex couple.

the school’s principal, Rob Bliss, released a

Oct 15, 2014

The Bushwick Trans Beating and The Black Community's Relationship with LGBTQ People

On Sunday night at 11:30 pm, a victim only being described as a transgender woman was attacked and brutally beaten by 4 men, two of whom are black (as seen in police surveillance footage). See the story below for details:

via 7Online (see full story here)
They punched and kicked the victim, 28, then one suspect threw a Plexiglas board at her, striking the victim in the head. The suspects also made anti-gay statements, police said. The victim was taken to Elmhurst hospital, where she remains in critical condition. There have been no arrests.

The first suspect is described as a male black, last seen wearing a gray sleeveless sweatshirt with the word "Freedom" on it, along with a dark long sleeve shirt, gray sweatpants, white sneakers and ski cap. The second suspect is described as a male black with close-cut hair, last seen wearing a blue Nike hooded sweatshirt with blue sweatpants.

Gay, lesbian and transgender rights activists say there is no doubt about what motivated the attack.

"I think it's very clear that this was an attack because she was a transgender woman. The nature of the slurs against her and

Oct 13, 2014

Edugaytion Podcast Searching for Additional Panelists

It's no secret that new episodes of the podcast have not been in production. A lot of fans have emailed, facebook messaged, and tweeted asking "When is the podcast coming back!?" The truth is, due to varying schedule conflicts, it is very difficult for our current panel to come together every single week and bring you the very latest opinions on LGBTQ hot topics, but that shouldn't mean there can't be a podcast!

That's why we are opening auditions for additional panelists and giving the Edugaytion Podcast a face lift:

LGBTQ Podcast Needs COMMITTED Panelists
Auditioning for a group of panelists who can speak confidently about their views and opinions on hot topics and issues relating to the LGBTQ community. This is for a 2 year running video/audio podcast available on Youtube, iTunes, and Soundcloud. Applicants must be able to meet once a week to discuss topics for one hour. This is an UNPAID position and should only be considered if one has a strong desire to help further the LGBTQ community.

It doesn't matter if you're a fan of the show, or just now finding out about this because someone referred you. We want to further the cause and keep the discussion going, so if you think you have what it takes and are willing to commit your time, send an email to Johnathan!

Send an email to with your biography.

Oct 11, 2014

Happy National Coming Out Day

Coming out is a delicate process for some, but an important one for the advancement of the LGBTQ community. For some, they may have been forced out by family members, for others, they may have planned things to the T, or written letters and left them for their parents to see. Here, I share with you all my own "coming out story."

Oct 9, 2014

The Cost of HIV

A few weeks ago one of my best friends told me that he tested positive for HIV, and would begin treatment soon. As unfortunate as this news was, it’s such a blessing to live in a time where you can confidently say, “with proper treatment, I’ll be just fine”. If our foremothers had access to the medications we have access to today, it would have been a different world, and so many people would have been saved. As soon as he showed me how much his medications were each month, though, I couldn’t help but realize that many people still don’t have access to the proper medications, not because the medical industry hasn’t given us options, but because the medical industry needs to keep their workers rich.

I’m a little strange. I tend to make things make sense in my mind based on fictional settings and characters, and vampires are one of those things. Religion is the topic I enjoy drawing the comparisons to vampirism most, but the cost of beating a disease like HIV was presented to us this summer in the final season of the HBO show, “True Blood”. A very clear commentary on HIV (sheathed by a fictitious vampire-eliminating epidemic) showed us that in this country, more money can be made by quelling symptoms of death rather than curing them. With thousands of gay men paying nearly $3,000 a month, why give them the cure and shoot your own profits in the foot? I hate to have thoughts that make me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but does the concept not make complete sense? We could quite possibly be involved in one of the most atrocious schemes in history and not even realize it.

The other side of this issue is that there are people out there that simply can’t pay to stay alive. Thankfully many people (my friend included) have the proper health insurance to cover this, but what about those who don’t? I’m not even sure that my “Obama Care” would cover that much in medications every month for the rest of my life. There are programs available to help people who can’t pay, I’m sure, but just imagine all of those forgotten souls who drop dead every day around the world not because they can’t be saved, but because they won’t be saved. We’ve come such a long way in making HIV something that people can live with, but what good is it if it’s being dangled over the heads of those who could never afford it? Do they not also deserve to reap the benefits of years of research and discovery?

So what are we supposed to do? It probably wouldn’t be smart to try and infiltrate the privately ran or government funded laboratories and make them give us the cure that some of us think exists, but we’re still not without power. Make sure you’re voting – with the right people in office we can at least guarantee the continuation of things like the Affordable Care Act, which helps people pay for their medications in some cases. Stay well read and educated on HIV, so that the stigmas behind the disease will disappear, even if the disease itself cannot. Most importantly, know your status. Discussions like these pave the way just as much as white lab coats and test tubes, and remaining silent is something we can’t afford – even more so than that $3,000 a month.

Oct 8, 2014

Raven Symone, Semantics, and the Default American

In a statement released to the Grio, Raven Symone has responded to what social media has had to say about her recent statements on the Oprah interview:

“I never said I wasn’t black … I want to make that very clear. I said, I am not African-American. I never expected my personal beliefs and comments to spark such emotion in people. I think it is only positive when we can openly discuss race and being labeled in America.”

Now, here we are at a battle of semantics. Many media outlets have posted about this story and the one that preceded it, and many commenters from around the blogsphere have had critical backlash to offer to Symone regarding her African ancestry. Raven has responded by defining herself by (get this) a label! 

I hate to harp on about it, since I blogged about it just yesterday, but it really seems like Raven Symone hasn't thought this all the way through. Right now, however, the hypocrisy is beside the point. Let's, instead, focus on what it is Raven is saying with this latest statement: she is an American. Specifically, she is a black American. 

I wholeheartedly understand from where she's coming with this, as well. I have often said on the Edugaytion Podcast that the term "African-American" is, if not offensive, inconsiderate at the very least. One of my friends, an American from Haiti, was filling out the bubbles on a standardized test in college, once. I'm sure you can imagine where this story is going. The same goes for us black Americans. Why are we being labelled and qualified by a country that has nothing to do with our culture, save the fact that it's the place from where our very distant ancestors came? 

Furthermore, what is a plain ole' regular "American"? I imagine that images of a upper middle class to upper class white family, including two children, one dog, and a house with a white picket fence come to mind. After all, for decades we've used that picture as the "American dream." Truth is, however, there are plenty of plain ole' regular "Americans" of color in the United States of America. Being a minority does not take away from one's citizenship. In the video above, "What Kind of Asian are You?" we see the very privileged ideal system by which a lot of people in this country operate:

Unless you are white, you're not the default American image.
If you are a person of color other than black, you MUST have come from somewhere else.
If you ARE black, you're "African-American." 

This exclusiveness, this divide that people have created when they think of traditionally "American" things is at the core of my frustrations with regard to the hyphenated label "African-American", and I believe that Raven Symone and I are alike in that respect. Until we can get past this hurdle, the country will continue to struggle with issues of race and nationality. 

Oct 7, 2014

Raven-Symoné: Don't Label Me 'Gay' Or 'African-American'

By now, you have probably heard about the things Raven Symone has said about being labelled "African-American" and "Gay." And while I understand where she is coming from, I have to ask: Doesn't Raven care about others who struggle every day to find acceptance in this melting pot of a country that is the United States of America? Does she possess even the smallest shred of sympathy for other black people and/or gay people who live here daily and are under the inescapable scrutiny of the "norm"? Does she not realize the power she has as a celebrity and public figure? Is she voluntarily owning up to a responsibility that could help further both the black and gay cause?

Raven Symone's public and private life are hers. There is no question there. I am just wondering if she realizes that with the public spotlight, comes a responsibility to help others. Right now, with the gay issue, it seems like she's playing both sides of the fence. In her interview with Oprah, she says that her family taught her to keep her private life private. Then why the tweet, a year ago, that she finally has the option to marry the person she loves? In one breath she's declaring her affiliation with the LGBTQ community, and in the very same action she is saying "don't label me." Nobody can be certain, but it seems almost as if Symone would rather not be affiliated with the label for superficial reasons.

On the issue of being called American instead of African American, "American" is a label, and one that signifies that you and your roots have a foundation here, in the United States of America. You are making a declaration, and you want others to touch and agree with it. I understand and have said the exact same thing in a number of podcasts. I detest the "African-American" label. Yes, my ancestors came from Africa, and yes, I have a deep appreciation for that aspect of my culture. I am not, however, African. I am American, and my family has been American for a number of generations. Still, Symone is disassociating herself with one label in order to be labeled something else.

Right now, it's not looking too consistent, Raven. I understand that you may need time to think things through, to find yourself even more, but do that in private, the way your family told you to live your life. Don't go making declarations, and disowning communities, when, ultimately, whether you like it or not, you are a part.

Aug 1, 2014

Bottom Line 056: Memphis' Poser Podcast

Episode 56! We have special guests on to talk about things.
Check them out by clicking HERE

Jul 30, 2014

What the T?

No, really – what’s the T in LGBT? We all know the word transgender by now, but how much time do we spend really understanding all of the facets of this word and the communities of people this word represents? I’m by no means an expert when it comes to this sort of thing, but I certainly learned quite a bit from the Town Hall Meeting I attended at the Memphis LGBT Community Center on June 20, 2014, featuring Mara Keisling as the guest speaker.

Pennsylvania native Mara Keisling is a spokesperson and advocate for transgender rights, and is a founding executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality. What she described as “the coolest job in the world” includes talking with legislators, up and coming politicians, and legal experts, to find ways to forward the cause toward trans equality, as well as reaching out to transgender individuals throughout the country to hear the voice of the people she represents, and to spread the word about what’s

Can RnB Divas: Legends Pick Up Where Got2BReal Left Off?

Three months ago, OfficialShadeTV released what it hoped might be a follow up to the parody web series Got2BReal. I came across an episode just this morning when a friend posted it to my Facebook wall. My initial reaction to the idea that there was another web series parodying these divas was one of doubt. The creators of Got2BReal set the standard pretty high. What PattiLaHelle and company managed to accomplish was anything but easy. A lot of skill went into the writing, pacing, and editing of the insanely popular Got2BReal, and the results the series yielded are a good indication of the hard work put forth. With over six million views, two successful seasons, and recognition by the celebrities it portrays, Got2BReal is the established gold standard in the realm of shade throwing diva web series'.

It's no surprise that multiple other internet hopefuls have come along with similar offerings, many of which have fallen flat. Upon watching the introduction of OfficialShadeTV's RnB Divas: Legends, I was optimistic. The level of production seemed on par with G2BR, and then the episode began.

It's not that RnB Divas: Legends is bad. It's just not as good as Got2BReal, not yet, anyway. For one,

Gay and Bisexual Men vs the FDA: Let Us Donate Blood

  As most people know, there is a ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The ban on blood donation from gay and bisexual men was put into effect by the FDA in 1983. There is a petition on the White House’s website to strike down a decades-old, extremely outdated ban. The deadline for signatures is July 31, 2014. The ban was placed during the time when HIV/AIDS became a prevalent illness in the country and tests for diagnosis of HIV/AIDS didn’t exist. Before AIDS was known as AIDS, it was called GRID, or gay-related immunodeficiency disease. Gay men were thought to be the origin of the disease in the United States and the primary cause of it, so in order to prevent further spread, gay men were banned from donating blood.
                On July 11, 2014, the second National Gay Blood Drive took place in 61 cities across the country. Gay men showed up to donation centers with and ally or proxy, a straight friend or family member that would donate in their place. Some of the gay men filled out the paperwork only to be denied. They did this so that the organizers could send the paperwork, along with postcards written by the men on why they want to donate blood, to the FDA to show the number of gay men willing to donate if they could. It’s surprising and heartbreaking to see that there’s a huge shortage and that the amount of gay and bisexual men that want to donate could majorly offset the shortage.
                The AMA (American Medical Association) voted to

Jul 24, 2014

Final Fantasy XIV's Pride Parade

This is just awesome to me. In celebration of Square Enix's decision to include same sex marriage in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, gaymers  The Rough Trade Gaming Community organized a pride parade through the streets of Limsa Lominsa (Gilgamesh server).

One statement, from the in-game Free Company's leader said in a message to the game's director Naoki Yoshida:

Our guild's mission, continuing over 11 years across countless MMO games, is to provide a safe environment, free of hate speech for 18+ players of all walks of life, all over the world. 

Thank you for supporting us and including us, we thought you might want to see a small sample of how many of us are on Gilgamesh. We'll continue to support you and FFXIV for a long, long time.

Moments like this often bring up the "why label yourself?" debate. Often times, as can be seen in the comments in the youtube video posted below, members of the gaming community, or people in general, will feel as though the game developers, the media, and homosexuals at large are attempting to "force" something on them. And, I would say that what these gamers fail to realize is that they have become so comfortable in the privilege of not being ridiculed for being who they are, but we're talking about the gaming community here, folks. Draw whatever conclusion about that statement you'd like.

Communities like Rough Trade are still very important within gaming due to the fact that, while the general climate is changing toward members of the LGBTQ community, we are still not fully accepted in society. Online, behind the protection of anonymity, rudeness, prejudice, and flat out hate are exacerbated. For people who want to express who they are without having to endure the ignorance, or even for those would rather not come in contact with any such language, these safe space communities exist online.

Check out the video below for a snippet of the awesomeness.

Jul 22, 2014

Bottom Line 055: Silent Sissies of the Pew

Episode 55! The guys talk about how church gays need to stand up and show the church that they're there.
The shirt in question:

(iTunes and Sound Cloud links coming soon)

Jul 17, 2014

Orientation isn't important. But it is.

Scrolling through my Facebook feed today I happened across a rather interesting “article” written over on io9. I only use quotes because it was a compendium of comments about the coming Constantine TV show. I won’t add all the comments—for that, you can see the article below. But it is very interesting to see the amount of people that are coming to the defense of this character’s sexuality. In the original comic series, John Constantine is a bisexual man. That’s not to say that that is the only thing that is important about him. As the commenters point out, “[in] this particular genre, sexuality of all sorts tends to be downplayed, so I'm not up in arms about it.” 

He has a valid point. In many comic series, it is not important whether or not Batman or Daredevil, for example, is gay or straight. They are crime fighters, vigilantes—general heroes to their populace. But there is certainly more to the characters than the kinds of things that are immediately apparent. In the case of Constantine, that same commenter, dkasper, goes on to say that “Erasure is in fact quite a big deal, so much so that characters who were "just" queer, who were queer without it being a major aspect of their lives, are incredibly rare” and he has a huge point here. In many forms of media—TV shows, movies, anime—sexuality is something that is just given. It’s something that isn’t brought up until it is pertinent to the story or a romance forms. I haven’t seen many shows of any kind that make a point to just include LGBT people and not make it about their orientation. I'm looking at you, TV shows that make flamboyant gays' gayness a joke, instead of giving them jokes.

Most recently, however, TNT’s new show The Last Ship, starring the ever "McSteamy" Eric Dane, broke the mold and brought things a step closer to the real world. The show revolves around Dane and his crew of marines shepherding a CDC scientist around to make medicine. That’s all I’m going to say so I don’t spoil it, but it’s a fabulous show—watch it. Back to my point… Well I think that this Tumblr post says it best.

And this character isn’t a minor character either—every episode so far she has been a major part of, with probably as much air-time as any other high-ranking officer. This is how writers for TV shows and movies take it to the next step. 

Back to Constantine, commenter (on io9) Adultosaur says “it would do so. so. so. much. for this character to be bisexual, and to have it be a complete non-issue. something that happens and isn't a huge part of the storyline. … REPRESENTATION BREEDS NORMALIZATION” [sic] and Jim Hague says (and much more) “I'll bet you anything that if DC released a new Batman TV show where his parents never got shot in a dark alley… that there would be people lining up on the streets screaming about how DC was "forgetting where the character came from.” I myself wholly agree with Mr. Hague. Even if it’s something small, all the minor details are truly important to forming a whole character. Even in this case, it’s not important that John Constantine is bisexual.  

That very thing is what is so important about the comic and the forthcoming TV show. It isn’t important. But the only way that society is going to progress and have different viewpoints on the matter is to realize that someone’s orientation isn’t important and it isn’t any of their business.

Good luck John, maybe you’ll come back to join us someday. Congrats to Lt. Alisha Granderson for her position as an officer on the USS Nathan James.

To read the article on io9, click here.
To see a trailer for The Last Ship (purely selfish, not an endorsement), click here.