March 26, 2015

The Silver Lining of LGBT Bigotry

Similar to many Millennials, and the generations before us, my activism kicked into full swing when I began college in 2007.

It was a glorious and interesting year: The Anaheim Ducks clinched their 1st-ever playoff berth and Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche, was released.

Wait, sorry. I think that was 1997.

My Alma mater, Canisius College, is a small, Jesuit-institution fueled with liberal and humanitarian beliefs, so I assumed I’d stumble upon a great relationship. My coming out to friends, family and classmates was relatively seamless, so in my mind, it made sense that a healthy and happy courtship was on the horizon.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

Sure, I had some nice relationships and flings, but the worst people I dated in my life were in college. And that’s a good thing. To be fair, the good people I dated were students at Canisius. And my ________ at Canisius. “Ooooops.”

I was advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights – a lot of my pursuits based upon LGBT acceptance and legalizing gay marriage – when it hit me.

“What the fuck am I fighting for?”

It was a little surreal to fight for marriage equality in New York, and nationally, while I was dating assholes who would make terrible husbands. The more I wrote, and planned, and protested, I thought: What type of man do I want to marry? What type of person represents the ideals of a (generally) happy marriage?

And further, what type of qualities would make me a great husband? I was in my early 20’s, so needless to say, I wasn’t the ideal partner, either. Weren’t we all so awesome as college sophomores?

When I mention LGBT bigotry, I’d never like to suggest that hate crimes have a silver lining attached to them, but I suppose as an undercover minority (I’m white! I’m male! I live in Park Slope!), I’ve seen the juxtapose of initially being accepted by some people, and then ignored or disrespected. I’ve had to see the silver lining in a lot of bad situations; many, or most, outside of my identity in the LGBT community.

As a Millennial, I was raised on the cusp of the of the gay rights movement. In a weird way, I thank the political bigots who are against same-sex marriage in helping me understand what I want out of a husband, a marriage and a family.

That being said, I will never disrespect the gay activists of the past and marry an asshole.

March 9, 2015

Road Trip

It was the late 1990's,
Buffalo was back east,
The van veered,
And came to a stop,
Somewhere near the California border.

A hushed argument,
If there is such a thing,
And everything outside looked dusty.

It wasn't even time for dinner yet.

"Take half. And get out."
I'm driving, you said.
We'll figure it out ourselves, you said.

"We aren't going to Disney anymore?"

As the money was counted,
I thought to myself,
Does it cost that much to travel for two weeks?

It got a little louder, but in a short time,
The money was put back in the glove box.

"You're done, right?"

We arrived home a few weeks later,
And when I was asked about my favorite part of the trip,
I lied and said Disney.

December 18, 2014

Michelle Obama: Target Employee of the Year

There's no place for racism, sexism, homophobia or any form of discrimination in the world. 

There's also no place for talking crap about my hometown of Buffalo, but I try to let that one side.

In a recent interview with People, the Obama's opened up about racism in their own lives. While I am not undermining the terrible things that have happened to them, or the everyday racism that occurs in the United States, I found one of her quotes a little upsetting:

"I tell this story - I mean, even as the first lady - during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn't see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn't anything new."

Why is this quote upsetting? Well, she had a completely different spin on the situation a few years ago when she appeared on Late Show With David Letterman:

"I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent aisle, and she said - I kid you not - she said, 'Excuse me, I just have to ask you something,' and I thought, 'Oh, cover's blown.' She said, 'Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?" I kid you not ... And the only thing she said - I reached up, 'cause she was short, and I reached up, pulled it down - she said, 'Well, you didn't have to make it look so easy.' That was my interaction. I felt so good ... She had no idea who I was. I thought, as soon as she walked up - I was with my assistant, and I said, 'This is it, it's over. We're going to have to leave.' She just needed the detergent."

You can watch the clip here.

This article is dedicated to anyone who asked me for fashion advice in 2009. Back then, I thought you were just asking a friend, but now I know what you really meant. 

You were only asking because I am gay. You homophobes.

December 10, 2014

Holly Jolly GUMBO Party at Galapagos Art Space

The GUMBO dudes, Casey Fitzpatrick & Ben Harvey, are throwing their 5th annual party at Galapagos Art Space on Friday, December 12th. I've been attending these events ever since I moved from Los Angeles three years ago, and I always have an awesome time!

Some highlights:

- Home of the original GUMBO NYC party
- DJs: Bradley Stern (MuuMuse) & Jon Ali
- Dirty Sugar photo booth holiday cards
- Free ExoFab cases for first 50 guests
- Free Underwear Expert underwear for early birds
- Free haircuts from sexy singer/stylist, L.Be
- Drink specials all-night
- To reserve a table for 10+ on the indoor lake, email

Galapagos Art Space

16 Main Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn
F to York | A to High | 1 stop into BK
$10 before midnight

Friday, December 12, 2014 

9:00pm - 2:00am

This will be their last event at Galapagos, as the space is relocating to Detroit. The GUMBO dudes had this to say regarding the move:

"Five years ago 100 gays came together to drink, dance, and mingle at a birthday party under the Brooklyn Bridge at Galapagos Art Space. That night was the beginning of a gay party in DUMBO and the inspiration for GUMBO NYC events, which now pop-out all over New York City. There have been countless special moments, but stand outs for us include the hilarious photo shoots by dirty sugar photography, the time Sky Ferreira rocked out to a sold out crowd, The House of Ninja's epic floguing performance, our signature live haircuts by the sexy L.Be, and of course our DJs who always get the night ending right with a sea of gays dancing on the Galapagos stage. We don't know what's planned for the venue, but we hope it lives on - and maybe this won't be the end of (Gay.DUMBO.Party!), but rather just a new beginning!"

You can buy advance tickets here and RSVP on Facebook.

Invite design: Made In Forest Hills

October 24, 2014

Gays And Lesbians Face Retirement Crisis

A new report from SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) finds that LGBT Americans experience more problems approaching retirement in comparison to their heterosexual elders.

SAGE, the largest group in the nation that advocates for LGBT elders, and Harris Poll surveyed 1,857 LGBT and 519 non-LGBT people between the ages of 45 t0 75.

"There is a retirement crisis for older LGBT people. They face some of the same things other older Americans face, but they're exacerbated by their particular circumstances," said Michael Adams, SAGE's executive director.

Some insight from the survey:

27% believe that volunteer or work opportunities will no longer be open to them if others know their sexual orientation or gender identity.

36% of older LGBT people (and 43% of single LGBT people) say their health care providers don't know their sexual orientation, which may lead to discrimination, if revealed.

43% of older LGBT people are very or extremely concerned they won't be able to deal with unexpected, major emergencies in retirement, compared to 30% on non-LGBT older people.

One highlight found that 14% of LGBT elders are likely to mentor others, compared to 7% of non-LGBT older people.

Please click here to read the comprehensive report.

September 3, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Parade Allows Gay Group to March in New York City

On Wednesday, the organziers of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade said they will be lifting the ban on gay groups participating in the march.

Gays were allowed to march in the past, but were unable to carry anything identifying them as a group. What?

This year, Mayor Bill de Blasio had once again threatened to boycott the parade if the ban wasn't lifted. The organizers were also facing pressure from NBC Universal, which broadcasts the parade.

“Organizers have diligently worked to keep politics—of any kind—out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event,” the Parade Committee said in a statement. “Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade. This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner.

“This change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics as it moves into its 253rd year, all the while remaining loyal to church teachings and the principles that have guided the parade committee for so many decades.”

Fun fact: The acceptance rate of gay marriage in Ireland (76%) is higher than America (55%)! Well, I suppose this isn't necessarily a "fun" fact. Let me try this again.

Fun fact: The image above was taken when I visited Dublin last year!

The parade committee also announced that OUT@NBCUniversal, an LGBT support group, will be the first gay group to march in the parade on March 17, 2015.

It will be the first time a gay group will be allowed to march under its own banner in the parade's 252-year history.

Bill O'Reilly, a spokesperson for the organizers, said that other groups will be free to apply in the future.

August 14, 2014

De Blasio Advises New Yorkers: Submit to Arrest

Mayor de Blasio shared some important insight: If you're arrested, don't resist.

"When a police officer comes to that decision that it's time to arrest someone, that individual is obligated to submit to arrest," he said during a press conference in Harlem on Wednesday

"They will then have every opportunity for due process in our court system.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton agrees. He recently told WNYC's Brian Lehrer that "the place to argue your case is in court, not in the middle of the street."

Police officers in Times Square were too busy checking their cell phones and posing for photos with tourists to be reached for comment.

August 11, 2014

America's Most & Least Religious Colleges

The Princeton Review recently released it's annual college ranking list for the 2014-2015 school year. 

The most and least religious students were ranked, but unfortunately, there are no stats on those who believe in Santa Claus.

Most Religious

1. Brigham Young University
2. Thomas Aquinas College
3. Wheaton College
4. Hillsdale College
5. Gordon College

Least Religious

1. Vassar College
2. Lewis & Clark College
3. Pomona College
4. Reed College
5. Bard College

While very few Americans identify as atheists or agnostics, a 2013 study found that 32% of college students were spiritual but not religious and 28% considered themselves secular. Of the secular students, most of them identified as "none" -- meaning they have no religious identity.

After much speculation, there is still no word on if student loan debt will follow graduates to Heaven or Hell.

July 30, 2014

Hi, I'm Calling On Behalf of Mother Jones

Earlier today, I realized that my first paid job after college graduation was working in a call center in Los Angeles. What a joke.

I don't believe in Hell, but if I did, it would most likely be that dingy, piece of shit office that was nestled in the heart of Koreatown.

It was the summer of 2011 and I had just relocated from Buffalo, New York. I was interning for free at The Advocate and needed to, um, actually pay my bills.

Note: I had made a pact with my great grandmother on her death bed years before; I promised that I would never resort to prostitution, so that was obviously out of the question. Just kidding.

"Uh, where were you?" My supervisor asked one day, looking at the glass of water in my hand, as he stopped me in the hallway.

"The kitchen."

"Did you log out of the system?"

Employees had been instructed to "log out" when we went to the bathroom, or even left our desks. We were only paid for time spent on the phone, requesting donations for campaigns and organizations such as: Human Rights Campaign, Mother Jones, and the reelection campaign of Barack Obama

"Oh. So you want me to dock my own pay to get something to drink?"

Needless to say, I only lasted two weeks or so. Maybe I was in a naive cloud after moving to Los Angeles, but looking back, it's shocking that liberal organizations had contracts with this shady company -- especially Mother Jones, who never SHUTS THE FUCK UP about minimum wage, workers rights, etc.

Also, spoiler alert: the reelection campaign of Barack Obama was successful. He won!

July 28, 2014

Study: Same-Sex Couples Are Leaving Gay Neighborhoods

New research finds that historic gay neighborhoods, such as New York's Chelsea and San Francisco's Castro, are changing as a growing number of heterosexuals move into the area.

The study, led by University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Chaziani, is considered one of the largest studies on sexuality in the United States.

In the past ten years, there has been an eight percent drop of gay male couples residing in these gay enclaves, and a thirteen percent drop for their lesbian counterparts.

Chaziani gives serval reasons for this shift, such as the changing attitudes of the LGBT community and the growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.

“Gay neighbourhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions, from politics to poetry to music and fashion,” says Ghaziani. “The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying these findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces."

Fun fact: I met my boyfriend in the "gay neighborhood" of Chelsea. We're, like, so cool.

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