8 Films in 2019 to Get Excited About

8 films in 2019 to get excited about

Grab your popcorn and get ready

2018 was a great year for LGBTI audiences at the movies.
From Love, Simon to Colette, there was an abundance of diversity and representation on the big screen. Some of those films, like Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite, is also posing as a strong contender for awards season.
Hoping to keep that momentum going, here are eight films you should be excited about in 2019.
Captain Marvel

Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel may only be queer in Marvel fans’ hearts, but that isn’t stopping everyone from declaring themselves gay for Brie Larson in the upcoming superhero flick.

Captain Marvel is Marvel Studios’ first solo female superhero film and it’s been a long time coming.

Fans’ first hint at her character, a hybrid human-alien hero, was in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War. Following her own solo film, Larson will appear as Captain Marvel in April’s Avengers: Endgame.

Captain Marvel comes out 8 March.

Rocketman

Bohemian Rhapsody became the highest grossing music biopic of all time this year. Will next year’s biopic about the legendary Elton John try to attempt to break that record once more?

Taron Egerton stars as the openly gay singer in the upcoming film. John released his debut album, Empty Sky, in 1969 and this movie recounts his rise to fame.

Egerton also recently detailed a sex scene he shares with former Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden in the film.

Rocketman comes out 31 May.

Men in Black: International

Queer actor Tessa Thompson. In a suit. Flirting with Emma Thompson. Need I say more?

That’s all anyone could talk about when the first trailer for the new Men in Black spinoff premiered.

The film takes the premise of the original movies starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and launches it into the global arena. Top-secret organization MIB, meant to monitor alien activity on Earth, goes to London in this new film.

Thompson stars as a new agent teaming up with a veteran agent played by her Thor: Ragnarok co-star Chris Hemsworth.

Men in Black: International comes out 14 June.

Untitled Richard Curtis and Kate McKinnon film

Not much is known about this as-yet unnamed movie, but it’s a comedy-musical written by Richard Curtis and starring Kate McKinnon. Therefore, it’s at the very top of my list.

Danny Boyle directs and other stars include Lily James (who wowed us this summer in the musical sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Himseh Patel, and Ed Sheeran.

In March, Boyle and Curtis revealed the movie is set in the 1960s/70s about a struggling musician ‘who thinks he’s the only person who can remember the Beatles’.

This movie comes out 28 June.

The Lion King

Beyoncé as lioness Nala singing Elton John songs in a photorealistic live-action remake of one of Disney’s most beloved animated films.

John returned to the film to help rework his songs for this new project. Beyoncé also signed on to rework the music with John, as well as perform in the film.

In February, John reported that he, Beyoncé, and Tim Rice were creating a new song for the end credits.

Here’s hoping Beyoncé gets an epic solo song as Nala in the movie — perhaps Shadowland from the Broadway musical?

Comedian Billy Eichner is also in the film as Timon.

The Lion King comes out 19 July.

Charlie’s Angels

When Kristen Stewart was announced to be one of the new Angels in Elizabeth Banks’ upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot, excitement shot through the roof.

She’ll star alongside Naomi Scott, known for her work in the recent Power Rangers movie and Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin, as well as newcomer Ella Balinska.

But what we all really want is for Stewart’s Angel to be queer, obviously.

Charlie’s Angels comes out 1 November.

Frozen 2

Please, please, please let Elsa get a girlfriend in the highly anticipated Disney sequel.

After numerous missteps with LGBTI representation, Disney could really use this as a chance to win back some disenchanted fans. Plus, we all know Let It Go is totally a coming out anthem.

Frozen 2 comes out 22 November.

Cats

When it comes to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats, you either love it or hate it.

That debate will come to a head in the new Tom Hooper-direction adaptation of it for the big screen. The musical depicts a single night of a tribe of cats who perform the Jellicle choice. They must decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

The all-star cast includes Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellan, Idris Elba, Judy Dench, Rebel Wilson, and more.

Cats comes out 20 December.

And keep an eye out for indie films, as they tend to have good representation but without the needed publicity to make waves.

Check out the original story here: Gay Star News.

 

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Adam Lambert & Cyndi Lauper Slay in Cher Tributes At Kennedy Center Honors

Last night, CBS aired this year’s Kennedy Center Honors which recognizes those in the performing arts for a lifetime of achievement.

This year’s honorees included Cher, Reba McEntire, composer Philip Glass and jazz legend Wayne Short.

And, for the first time, the Kennedy Center honored a groundbreaking work of art: Hamilton. The blockbuster Broadway musicals creators – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler and Alex Lacamoire – received special honors for their work.

Many spectacular performances were thrown down during the telecast, but it was the tribute to Oscar & Grammy winner, Cher, that left the audience wiped out.

Whoopi Goldberg, in a sequin dress perfect for the moment, took to the stage to offer spoken tribute to the goddess.

Little Big Town rocked a medley of “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “I Found Someone” and “Baby Don’t Go;” the indomitable Cyndi Lauper laid down her take on “(If I Could) Turn Back Time” as well as dueting with Adam Lambert for a show-closing “I Got You Babe.”

But Adam Lambert’s intimate-to-soaring performance of Cher’s iconic “Believe” left us shook.

Set in an orchestral soundscape, Lambert turned the 1998 dance hit into an stunning, emotional pop anthem with diva-worthy vocals building to the American Idol alum’s signature high notes.

Cher took to Twitter after the telecast to express her feelings about the tribute.

“Tried 2 write Feelings About Adam Lambert Singing Believe In Words, but Cant seem 2,” Cher shared on Twitter. “When Your senses are Overwhelmed All Can you feel with your [heart].”

“I Was Shocked AND Over The MOON When Cindi (Lauper) came out Rocking the house,” the diva continued. “Shocked Because SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS IN LA, & Over The Moon Because My Friend CINDI Is One Of Our ‘Great’ Singers. When Adam & Cindi Sang Together It=Heaven. ‘Little Big Town’ Were Adorable, & Harmonies. Amanda Was Genuine & Dear & When Whoopi Came Out In ”Cher Outfit” She brought Down House.”

Check out the original story here: Instinct Magazine.

 

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Same-Sex Couple Has Pride Flag Stolen, Replaced by American Flag

Neighbors Fly Rainbow Flag in Solidarity After Theft

After the crime, there was a happy ending for the women and their kids.

After a female couple had a rainbow flag stolen at their home, neighbors in their Chicago neighborhood responded by flying their own Pride flags, and even incorporating it into Christmas displays.

“The fact that this story might make someone smile, maybe it’s not so bad, and maybe the hate we see so much is not the mass of people but individuals,” theft victim Casey Handal told the Chicago Tribune.

During a gingerbread decorating party at her home earlier this month, Handal discovered somebody had stolen the Pride flag flying on a pole in their backyard and had replaced it with the American flag.

The swap added insult to the act. “The message was quite clear,” she said. “It was sort of the intolerant view vs. the inclusive liberal view. I think if somebody would have just taken the flag and not replaced it with anything, that wouldn’t necessarily have sent quite the same message. It’s more premeditated this way.”

But after word spread on social media about the theft, dozens of residents in the Fox Point neighborhood made a group order for decorations and displayed rainbow flag iconography, whether in holiday decorations, on mailboxes, or near their homes. A Secret Santa holiday drive was also set up for the family.

Handal and fiancée Zadette Rosadohave moved to the neighborhood with their two children in May.

Some neighbors report even politically conservative homeowners in the region participated in the gift drive. “They’ve come together,” said Fox Point Homeowners Association social chair Stephanie Paine. “Everyone wanted to do their best to make this right.”

Check out the original story here: The Advocate Magazine.

 

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8 People to Cast in the Upcoming ‘Queer As Folk’ Reboot

Making 'Queer as Folk' Queer Again

Making ‘Queer as Folk’ Queer Again

A Queer as Folk reboot that no one asked for is finally in the works. According to Variety, Russell T Davies, the creator of the original UK series, is developing an updated version of the show with Bravo.

In 2018, there’s a lot that needs to be updated. Both the original UK version and the more widely-known US version centered mostly around the sex lives of gay men. Though the show was an empowering and unmatched form of representation during its time, it featured predatory romantic storylines, frequent misogyny, poz-phobia, internalized homophobia, no actors of color in the main cast, and a general lack of body fat. We’ve drafted a cast of some of our favorite LGBTQ performers who could give these characters the reboot they so desperately need.

Stuart/Brian - Ezra Miller

Stuart/Brian – Ezra Miller

In both the UK and US versions, this character was a typically chauvinistic bachelor type. He had a well-paid, glamorous job that helped him maintain his high end style. He could also bed any guy he wanted.

And if there’s one person who lives up to that last part, it’s definitely Ezra Miller. He’s the epitome of fluid sex appeal, makes a great villain, and he has a bold sense of style that can more than rival Brian’s. Let’s just hope an update of this character would leave his more problematic qualities in 2005.

Vince/Michael - Keiynan Lonsdale

Vince/Michael – Keiynan Lonsdale

In previous versions, this character was Stuart/Brian’s childhood friend. Charming in a boy-next-door kind of way, he was a socially awkward comic book nerd through and through. While their relationship remained platonic, there was always some subtle flirtation between the two friends.

Keiynan Lonsdale has become the queer community’s boy next door. Although more adventurous in his style and self expression than the original character, he can certainly pull off the innocent charm.

Nathan/Justin - Jeremy McClain

Nathan/Justin – Jeremy McClain

This character was literally a minor when he lost his virginity to an almost 30-year-old Stuart/Brian. Although he grew throughout the show, he was ultimately naive and adventurous.

Jeremy McClain certainly made an impression as a member of the House of Abundance inPosethis year. And with a face like that, he can certainly sell youth and venturesome. But maybe we can do without the statutory rape this time around.

Alexander/Emmett - Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman

Alexander/Emmett – Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman

This character received conflicting responses from the community. Although some saw him as a toxic, shameless stereotype, others found him to be a bold representation of gay men when there was very little representation at all.

In 2018, it’s important to give this character the proper treatment. Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman could definitely provide a nuanced and contemporary context to the exploration of this character’s femininity.

Phil/Ted - Daniel Franzese

Phil/Ted – Daniel Franzese

Phil/Ted represented a part of the queer community that struggles to fit into a heteronormative society. In the UK version, he quickly met a tragic end after a drug overdose. While that plot point came up in the US adaptation, he survived and went on to fight his addiction.

Daniel Franzese served a quality performance in HBO’s Looking that makes us think he has the range to handle such an emotional roll. Plus, it’s about time we start showing more love for the thicc boys.

Romey/Lindsay - Tessa Thompson

Romey/Lindsay – Tessa Thompson

This character is an old and close friend of Stuart/Brian who surrogates her and her partner’s son. In the US version, she was a very artistic and loving character.

Tessa Thompson has won over audiences in films likeDear White People,Sorry to Bother You, andAnnihilation. She always gives quite the performance with a beautiful and feisty range. She’s the perfect person to play this passionate, dynamic character.

Lisa/Melanie - Trace Lysette

Lisa/Melanie – Trace Lysette

As Romey/Lindsay’s partner, their complicated relationship was filled with both love and deceit. A lawyer, she had a very confrontational personality that often led her to butt heads with Stuart/Brian.

Trace Lysette has been all over our TV screens, fromTransparenttoPose. Her characters have a cunning wit, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a total babe. She could certainly demand the screen while serving Stuart/Brian some entertaining reads.

Hazel/Debbie - Wanda Sykes

Hazel/Debbie – Wanda Sykes

Mother of Vince/Michael, she was the heart of the show and the queer community’s fiercest ally. As the mama bear for the entire group, she never refrained from sharing her piece and making a statement.

Wanda Sykes is just that – a comedian and actress who’s been making statements her entire career. She’s the perfect performer to do such a role justice. Plus, we want to see her play Keiynan Lonsdale’s mom.

Check out the original story here: Out Magazine.

 

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Comedian Stacey Harkey Comes Out as Gay to Raise Awareness of LGBTQ Youth Suicide

“Fun Fact: I’m gay.”

Comedy star Stacey Harkey has come out publicly in a powerful statement to his followers, laying down his mission to be a positive role model for LGBTQ youth.

The star – who is a part of the comedy group Studio C – is a practising Mormon and made the decision to come out because of high suicide rates among LGBTQ youth in his home US state of Utah.

“No this isn’t a joke/prank and yes I am telling the world,” he wrote on Instagram, after telling his followers that he is a gay man. “You might be wondering why I need to announce this? Why do I need to reveal this to a community that could potentially respond in a hostile or critical way? Why do I need to make something private sooo public?

“Did you know LGBT youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth? I spent a large portion of my life trying to ‘fix’ myself. I put so much energy into trying to mend what I thought was a ‘broken me’. Those years were very hard for me and I can’t say I always loved/liked myself during that time.

View this post on Instagram

Fun Fact: I’m gay. No this isn’t a joke/prank and yes I am telling the world. You might be wondering why I need to announce this? Why do I need to reveal this to a community that could potentially respond in a hostile or critical way? Why do I need to make something private sooo public? Did you know LGBT youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth? I spent a large portion of my life trying to “fix” myself. I put so much energy into trying to mend what I thought was a “broken me”. Those years were very hard for me and I can’t say I always loved/liked myself during that time. In the recent past, I found myself on my knees praying and begging to know how to move forward… and that beautiful experience helped me realize that I’m not broken. I’m exactly who I need to be. I really didn’t have to come out publicly and I’m sorry if this bothers you, but it is more important to me that people going through the same thing understand that they’re not broken. I know this opens me up to judgment, ridicule and criticism, but if it helps one person avoid suicide or just feel better about themself, then that’s enough for me. Please, feel free to reach out, ask me questions, and share your insights. I’m not ashamed of who I am and I welcome the chance to connect and chat about this. If you want/need to talk to someone, I’m here for you. Call me, text me, DM me and I swear I’ll keep your info private and between us. You’re not alone in this. I’m so sorry if you wanted to hear this from me in person and if that’s the case please call me/message me and let’s chat. Guys, in all honesty, I’m happy. This isn’t a sad thing or something to lament. I’m stoked and excited about what the future holds.

A post shared by Stacey Harkey – JK! Studios (@staceyharkey) on

“In the recent past, I found myself on my knees praying and begging to know how to move forward… and that beautiful experience helped me realize that I’m not broken. I’m exactly who I need to be.”

Stacey added: “I really didn’t have to come out publicly and I’m sorry if this bothers you, but it is more important to me that people going through the same thing understand that they’re not broken.

“I know this opens me up to judgment, ridicule and criticism, but if it helps one person avoid suicide or just feel better about themself, then that’s enough for me.

“Please, feel free to reach out, ask me questions, and share your insights. I’m not ashamed of who I am and I welcome the chance to connect and chat about this.

“If you want/need to talk to someone, I’m here for you. Call me, text me, DM me and I swear I’ll keep your info private and between us. You’re not alone in this. I’m so sorry if you wanted to hear this from me in person and if that’s the case please call me/message me and let’s chat.

“Guys, in all honesty, I’m happy. This isn’t a sad thing or something to lament. I’m stoked and excited about what the future holds.”

Congratulations Stacey! Well said.

Check out the original story here: Gay Times Magazine.

 

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The ultimate LGBTQ Christmas Survival Guide

Homophobic relatives, bad presents, too many carbs – Christmas can be a minefield for the LGBTQ community. Here’s our ultimate survival guide to those festive family get-togethers.

1. Keep yourself busy. 

If you’re being forced to see people you don’t want to see, bring something to do. Be sure to bring your cell phone charger, some headphones, a book, a notebook, or maybe a handheld video game? Just bring something that makes you happy, and that can distract you if things start going sour.

2. Have a safety plan.

This is another tip if you’re being forced to see someone you don’t want to. Make sure to have a third party person (like a friend, or someone you trust) that you can call at any point during your family gathering to pick you up if needed. Nothing is worse than getting into a dangerous situation with no plan. I usually go by the motto of “plan for the worst, but hope for the best.”

3. Chosen family is still family.

If you have no biological family that you can spend the holidays with, try to find someone in your area that you can spend the holidays with. Check to see if your local LGBT center is hosting any events. Some centers may even offer a gift exchange program. If you live in a rural area with little resources check out some online groups. You may find a group of people who are also in your situation. Finding comfort in other people who share the same struggles is helpful for a lot of folks.

4. Don’t be afraid to say no.

If you’re old enough to reject invitations, know that you have the right to say no. You do not have to see people you do not want to see around the holidays. Do not let people emotionally manipulate you into seeing someone who you don’t feel comfortable interacting with. Trust your gut feeling, and do what you think is right.

5. Practice self-care.

When going through a difficult time, self-care is one if the best things you can do to help yourself. So please be nice to yourself. If you family disowned you because of your gender identity or sexual orientation, know that it isn’t your fault. Movie theaters tend to be open on Christmas day, as well as Chinese food restaurants. If you know Christmas Day is going to be emotional, treat yourself to a movie and a nice dinner.

6. Validate your feelings.

Keep reminding yourself that it is okay to feel the way that you’re feeling. Don’t let your folks make you feel bad for having feelings. Go within your comfort levels, and be firm about what you want and need. Try to surround yourself with positive people. Some find that talking about will allow you to open up, and release these negative feelings in a safe environment.


The holiday season can be a rough time for many LGBTQ folks. Know that it’s only a season and that these feelings are temporary. It’s not always going to be like this. One day you’re going to look back on yourself and be proud. Having the courage to be yourself also makes you extremely brave. So please, stay strong, take care of yourself, and hope that everything works out in your favor this season.

 

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Just One Gay Acquaintance Can Change Hearts and Minds on LGBTQ Rights, Study Finds

Image: Paulo Torres, left, dances with his husband, Victor Tsang, after the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade in June 2015.

The study confirms what many have already known anecdotally: “Coming out works as a strategy for changing minds” on LGBTQ rights.

When Dr. Nelson Bonheim first discovered that the new female physician hired by his medical practice was living with another woman, he was “a little uneasy about inviting her to his golf club,” he recalled. Now, 25 years later, the 76-year-old retired gastroenterologist looks back on that uneasiness and thinks about how much he has evolved.

Bonheim said once he got to know his colleague, a lesbian 15 years his junior, they quickly became close friends. In fact, he said he eventually considered himself the younger doctor’s “surrogate father or brother.”

By the time his colleague married her female partner, Bonheim said he realized they “were like any other couple.” He even spoke at her wedding, a wedding he said her own parents, who are Orthodox Jews, refused to attend because they didn’t fully accept her relationship.

“I was never opposed to same-sex marriage; people have a right to do what they want to do,” Bonheim added, “but I wasn’t as accepting as I am now.”

He said he and his former colleague, who’s now in her 60s, still regularly have dinner with each other and their spouses.

Bonheim is not alone in evolving on LGBTQ rights and acceptance after befriending a gay person. A new study confirms what many have already known anecdotally: Having at least one gay or lesbian acquaintance not only makes straight people more likely to support gay rights, but also makes them more accepting of gay people in general.

The phenomenon is known as “contact theory,” according to Daniel DellaPosta, the study’s author and an assistant sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University. DellaPosta, who is gay, said he has both a “personal and academic interest” in the topic and was inspired to research it after finding data that showed acceptance of homosexuality grew five-fold between 1973 and 2016.

“I wanted to understand the sources of that drastic change,” he told NBC News.

DellaPosta said his study, titled “Gay Acquaintanceship and Attitudes Toward Homosexuality: A Conservative Test,” is the first to provide an empirical examination of how straight people are affected by tangential relationships with gay and lesbian people. In order to do this, he compared data from the 2006, 2008 and 2010 General Social Survey (GSS), which since 1972 has been gathering thousands of Americans’ opinions on a range of social issues.

His analysis, which has since been published in the peer-reviewed journal Socius, found that “respondents who were acquainted with at least one gay or lesbian person in 2006 exhibited greater shifts toward increased acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage in 2008 and 2010.”

In 2006, about 45 percent of people with a gay or lesbian acquaintance supported same-sex marriage, but by 2010 the figure had increased to 61 percent. Of the respondents who did not have a gay or lesbian acquaintance, only 22 percent approved of same-sex marriage in 2006. Four years later, just 18 percent of the same respondents supported gay marriage.

DellaPosta said he “wasn’t surprised by the baseline findings” but rather by “who was changed” and how. He said his analysis showed that straight people with no gay friends who encounter a gay or lesbian individual superficially, like in a grocery store or on the subway, could have their prejudices “reinforced.” But things change when you go one step further.

“If you take the next level to mere acquaintanceship — someone whose name you know, someone who, if you saw them on the street, you might stop and chat with them for a moment — the ‘contact effect’ sets in,” he told NBC News. “When you suddenly have to interact with someone from an ‘out group’ as an individual, it forces you to reconsider your biases.”

DellaPosta also found that while “older, politically conservative” straight people were the ones most likely to be against same-sex marriage in 2006, they were also the ones most likely to change their views on homosexuality and gay rights upon gaining a gay or lesbian acquaintance in subsequent years.

Liz Owen, a spokesperson for PFLAG, the first and largest organization for LGBTQ people, their family and allies, said “the data bears out what we’ve known anecdotally.”

“Those who were previously opposed or ambivalent about gay and lesbian people can change their hearts and minds,” Owen said.

A big “takeaway” from this study, according to DellaPosta, is that “coming out works as a strategy for changing minds.” This philosophy dates back to at least the beginning of the gay rights movement of the ’60s and ’70s and one of its pioneering leaders, Harvey Milk, whom DellaPosta said inspired his research.

Milk, who was assassinated in San Francisco 40 years ago, famously encouraged gay people to come out in a letter that was only made public after his death.

“I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know,” Milk wrote. “That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”

DellaPosta acknowledged that not everyone who has a gay acquaintance will have a change of heart when it comes to gay people and LGBTQ rights. But, he added, “broadly speaking, it works.”

Check out the original story here: NBC Out.

 

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‘Queer Eye’ Star Antoni Porowski Confirms New Boyfriend On Instagram

The Netflix series’ food and wine guru is dating Trace Lehnhoff of Bravo’s “Flipping Out.”

Antoni Porowski is officially off the market once again.

Netflix’s “Queer Eye” food and wine expert confirmed his relationship with interior designer Trace Lehnhoff on Instagram Tuesday with an oh-so-dapper photo of the two gents holding hands. The pair had been romantically linked in the press since September.

Lehnhoff, who starred on the Bravo series “Flipping Out,” followed suit with a similar, albeit more laid-back, image of the couple overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The Instagram confirmation was particularly fitting as the men are believed to have first met on the photo-sharing app. They made their red carpet debut Dec. 6 at GQ’s Men of the Year party in Los Angeles. 

Trace Lehnhoff (left) and Antoni Porowski attended GQ's Men of the Year party Dec. 6 in Los Angeles. 

According to US Weekly, the men began dating after Porowski split from photographer Joey Krietemeyer earlier this year. Porowski and Krietemeyer had reportedly been together for seven years prior to the breakup.

“Antoni brought Trace Lehnhoff from ‘Flipping Out’ to Emmy parties [in September], and Trace was clearly there as his date,” a source told the magazine. “They weren’t trying to hide it.”

Porowski opened up about his “fluid” sexuality in an interview with the U.K.-based magazine Gay Times published in May.

“For me personally, I’ve never really had a label for myself. Today I’m gay, I’m in a gay relationship, and that’s where I am,” he said at the time. “That’s good enough for me.

Check out the original story here: HuffPost.

 

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The Four Ways I Knew That My Kinky Relationship Had Become Abusive

How do you know when a kinky relationship becomes abusive? One domestic abuse survivor reveals what happened to him: 

When I was younger, I always loved getting tied up by a friend.

It started as boys rough-housing. And then, one day, my best friend got a skipping rope and tied my arms behind my back.

It turned me on, feeling both helpless and fighting against the strain.

We did it more. Somewhere along the line, it became him trying out new ways of tying me up.

It awakened something in me, something that would change how I would forever see sex, relationships and submission.

I think I masturbated to bondage and fetish gay porn even before I knew what vanilla sex was.

It didn’t matter if it was a man or woman doing the domination, it just mattered that a man was submitting and feeling powerless.

I couldn’t help but want to be the same; a slave in service to a master.

As I went through various time-wasters and fantasists in my early 20s, I finally met a man that felt different. I was 25. He was 20 years older, he was strict, he was in charge, and I immediately fell for him hard.

Each message from him online sent a stir down inside. Each picture I sent of my body in submissive poses would make me want to cum. I had to meet him.

The first time we met, we had an instant connection. When he tied me up and fucked me, I felt cared for. Domination felt like an embrace.

For the next month or so, we played almost every day. It was like a secret, knowing that I belonged to someone else. I walked in the world as a free man but I knew deep down I was a slave.

And then he offered to take it further: a 24/7 bondage relationship. It had come at the right time. I had just been fired from my job, and I had no idea what I was going to do or where to live next.

He offered to take care of me, look after me, in return for 24/7 submission. How could I refuse?

1 He didn’t trust me

One of the first things he did was put a tracker on my phone. He could track where my phone was at any time. So if he told me to go to food shopping, he would look to see if I went anywhere else. If I did, I would be punished.

His jealousy was also something else.

At first I loved being his ‘model’ on Recon. He would demonstrate his rope technique on me in a bid to welcome other boys in his dungeon.

But then we’d get messages asking to ‘use’ the boy in the photos. He would accuse me of being a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore’. The words were coming out of anger.

If we were out at a club, he would punish me for flirting – even if I was just speaking to another guy. Punishment became his favorite way of exercising his jealousy.

2 He didn’t respect my limits

And then there was the punishment. When we first met, starting to engage in a kinky relationship, I said a hard limit was watersports. I never wanted to get peed on. It’s fine if you like it, but it wasn’t for me.

It became one of his favorite punishments for me, especially because he knew I didn’t like it.

I told him, several times, that I didn’t want to do it. And then, afterwards, he said he had been ‘caught up in the moment’.

3 He isolated me from friends and family

Becoming a 24/7 ‘slave’ was exhausting. He would wait for me to make plans with friends and then force me to cancel on them at the last minute.

This one time, a long-time friend was having his birthday. As I was getting ready to leave, he told me I wasn’t allowed to leave. I had to have sex with him instead.

Why didn’t I just go anyway? Why didn’t I fight back? I wish I had. But he kept saying I would have nowhere to live without him.

People stopped calling. I stopped getting invited to things. I thought no one cared and he was right. He was the only one I had left.

4 He thought he knew what was ‘best’ for me

That’s the one thing I remember he always said: he knew what was ‘best’.

He said he knew what was best for me emotionally, physically, sexually. But for that year, I was trapped. Trapped in a turn on that had turned toxic.

I remember, one day, a friend reached out. They asked, ‘Are you OK? I’m worried about you.’

And I just stopped. No one had asked me that, a genuine question of concern, in a long time. I said no, I wasn’t. And we kept on talking.

It’s been three years since then. Taking myself out of that situation was so hard. I realize I had been manipulated at a time when I was at my lowest point. And because I was looking for help, and affection, in any form it took, I took it where I could find it.

It was a long time before I engaged in kink again. It took some therapy and reconnecting with friends, but I think I’m OK again.

I’ve even ventured back out there on the dating scene. And in the kinky world, I’ve come to realize there are definitely guys that believe in consent and respect. I can’t wait to meet the one that’s right for me.

Need help?

If you are experiencing any signs of domestic abuse, remember – you’re not alone.

Are you in the US? Contact The Anti-Violence Project hotline: 1-212-714-1141.

Are you in the UK? Contact Galop, who run the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428

Or see our list of global support services for LGBTI people, in alphabetical order.

If you want to share your story of domestic abuse, please contact James Besanvalle or Joe Morgan.

Growing Up Southern Baptist and Finding My Queer Identity

sean-mungur

I was probably 12 years old when I realized my religion didn’t accept me.

While I grew up in Southern Baptist circles, my parents weren’t active churchgoers. But in Jackson, Mississippi, children couldn’t quite grow up without the interference of Christianity. Vacation bible school and youth service were common among my peers. In my town, there was The 180, a former conventional skating rink that had been converted into a massive social space for teens and preteens to skateboard, play pool, eat a burger, and praise Jesus at youth-oriented services.

During one such service, a man asked us to raise our hands if we had not been saved. I raised mine. Before I left, he escorted me and a few others into a room where he “saved” us. I wasn’t quite sure what he was saving us from, but he told us all we had to do now was to ask forgiveness and our sins would be washed away.

Apparently, no matter what I did to right the wrongs in my life, it didn’t matter if I didn’t ask for forgiveness. This sudden realization felt like I was constantly being watched and judged. And there are so many sins to keep up with, I frequently found myself fearing eternal damnation. So it became a nervous tick to recite to myself, “Please forgive me for my sins, Lord. In your name I pray, amen.”

Around this time, I asked my mom to buy me this bible for teens from Walmart. It was a paperback with footnotes that explained Bible verses in terms that our little brains could comprehend. When I got home, I flipped to the index at the back and found “homosexuality.” It led me to a couple of ambiguous verses that plenty of self-proclaimed Christians consistently use to oppress LGBTQ people. And in the footnotes, it said something to the effect of, “Don’t fool yourself. Homosexuality is a sin. Any act on same-sex desires will surely be judged in the end.”

As a pubescent closeted queer boy, this was quite the time to learn that the things coming so naturally to my mind were sinful. I looked for ways to change myself, but it felt useless. I remember seeing But I’m a Cheerleader, and thinking maybe there’s hope if I can find a place like this.

But as I began discovering myself, both mentally and physically, I started to truly understand shame. I began masturbating about as frequently as I ate, which as an adolescent boy was a lot. And everytime I finished, the act was immediately followed with an unwavering sense of self-loathing.

“Please forgive me for my sins, Lord. In your name I pray, amen.”

At some point in my late teen years, I found the courage to come out. Even though I still considered myself a Christian, I knew it was the only way I’d be happy. I was no longer going to church, but I tried to live by what I thought it meant to be a Christian.

As a queer Christian, I looked for other progressive Christians who could help me debunk these centuries-old verses that so many believed to denounce my identity. There were plenty just like me, seeking those same answers, defining God’s words as all-loving and therefore accepting of queer people.

But I still found the bible consistently thrown in my face as justification for homophobia, racism, war, and all the other atrocities that right-wing America continues to commit. I’d tell my queer friends that those people aren’t real Christians. That’s not what Christianity is about.

It wasn’t until I discovered Safe Harbor Family Church when I was back home in Jackson for an extended stay, that everything fell into place. This beautiful congregation was made up of mostly queer people that did not feel welcome in other religious spaces. They’d been discreetly meeting since the ‘90s, providing a safe space for queer Christians and their allies.

The people there took me in with open arms and treated me like one of their own. But as I sat through the service, I began to see things in a different light. It was the first time I’d seen my own spirituality through an objective lens. I was sitting in a pew as a pastor read centuries-old bible verses to us like a children’s book.

This was what I was supposed to shape my life around, an intangible, unproven concept thought up by people who are no longer around to defend it. And for centuries, it’s hurt more people than it’s helped.

I consider myself to have a pretty decent moral compass, I know right from wrong. And I can believe there might be a higher power, whether it’s God or nature, but how am I supposed to blindly say I know what it is? Is this God such a narcissist that every good thing you do has to be out of your devotion for him or her, instead of just doing it because it’s the right thing to do?

I admire anyone with strong moral convictions, regardless of what religion they may or not be in service of. But I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m not a Christian, as much as that might break my mother’s heart. It feels like coming out all over again.

As a 27 year old queer atheist, I still frequently find myself asking forgiveness for my sins. It’s a habit. But it also let’s me know that my moral compass and whatever qualities I wished to preserve from my former Christianity are still intact.

Check out the original story here: Out Magazine.

 

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