In case you ever wondered what an explosion of go-go-boys, glitter and a gold ball gag would look like, Ryan W has taken out the guesswork for you with the music video for his new single, "Hardcore."r
“When other gay artists and drag queens drop beige, blasé tracks that aren’t even suitable for elevator music, then pair them with videos that only make you change the channel, it makes it a real challenge to be taken seriously and not seen as forgettable or throw-away. It's time for a change!”r
Get the party started, AFTER THE JUMP…rr
Joey walked in on me with the guy I was dating just kind of sitting on my lap. Straight guys don’t do that. He was like, ‘Dude, I don’t care.’ I’m like, ‘Surprise!’ Joey was just like, ‘Dude, I don’t care. I have so many gay friends — I don’t care… It was a few months after that before I told the [rest of] the guys. I don’t think anyone was surprised.”
The 2014 South By Southwest Festival kicks off this weekend in Austin, Texas and Towleroad will be providing updates on the best in LGBT-themed interactive, film and music from the week-long event. Here's a round-up of what's on our radar (click on the links for event details):r
Keep reading AFTER THE JUMP...rr
Building Empathic Games for Healthy Outcomes - Can you build emotional coping skills and empathy for people unlike yourself through a video game? LongStory, "a queer-positive dating game for pre-teens," hopes to do just that. The game's developers will discuss how we can make emotional reflection and growth part of a progressive social experience. (Friday, March 7 at 3:30PM)r
Speed Networking – LGBT Meet Up: A chance to connect with a bunch of LGBT folks, exchange ideas and Twitter handles and meet up later. (Friday, March 7 at 5PM)
Orgasm: The Broadband of Human Connection - Nicole Daedone — author of Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm — discusses orgasmic meditation and how it related to spirituality, gender communication and everyday living. (Friday, March 7 at 5PM)r
Life Lessons from a Professional Dominatrix - Princess Kali commands you to come and hear how her kinky career in “foot worship, latex catsuits, and a stable of full-time submissives” taught her a life’s worth of life-changing insights. (Saturday, March 8 at 1:15PM)r
Growth & Identity: A Dialogue with Burning Man - Over the past three decades, the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada has gone from a small tribal gathering of creative outsiders to one of the largest artistic and social events in the world. How can a small creative movement stay true to its ideals as it becomes increasingly mainstream? The LGBT community could probably learn a thing or two... (Saturday, March 8 at 8PM)r
Without Their Consent: Ending Revenge Porn - Anyone who has ever worried about having their private sexts and nakey-pics splashed across the web by an angry ex may want to hear about the rise of so-called "revenge porn" and what web users and companies are doing to fight it. (Saturday, March 8 at 5PM)r
A Virtual Conversation with Glenn Greenwald - Ever since he helped expose the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance of American citizens, gay journalist Glenn Greenwald has been called a criminal for doing journalism, has started a venture into independent media and now lives in Brazil with his harassed partner. At his live-cast he'll discuss the future of journalism, civil liberties and politics. (Monday, March 10 at 3:30pm)r
How Social Media Is Creating Marriage Equality - The USA's recent marriage equality victories have come about in part thanks to concerted viral messaging from passionate activists and real people harmed by anti-marriage laws. American Foundation for Equal Rights' Matt Baume and a YouTube official explain how Facebook and video-sharing sites have helped "win the hearts and minds of a nation." (Monday, March 10 at 5pm)r
Reducing Isolation in LGBT Communities - Homeless LGBT youth, isolated LGBT seniors and LGBT people living without constant internet access have remained voiceless and under-represented in the digital sphere. But mobile, social and web technologies are helping reduce this trend. Can we finally get an internet that reflects the true age, racial and socioeconomic makeup of the LGBT community? (Monday, March 10 at 12:30pm)r
Apple After Steve Jobs - How has Apple's not-so-openly gay CEO changed the iconic computer company now that the company's legendary co-founder has passed? Has it been for the better or "Did Apple's vision die with Steve Jobs?" A reporter who interviewed over 200 industry insiders takes a look. (Tuesday, March 11 at 2:30pm)r
The Dog - During the summer of 1972, John Wojtowicz robbed a Brooklyn bank to pay for his lover’s gender reassignment surgery. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the incident was later turned into a movie with Al Pacino called Dog Day Afternoon. Now you can hear Wojtowicz tell his story “in his own unique, offensive, hilarious and heartbreaking way.”r
Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival Filmmaker Brunch - The southwest’s oldest and largest LGBTQI film festival holds an excellent brunch with its usual mix of opinionated organizers, charming schmoozers and good-lookin’ folks. Mimosas anyone? Kindly RSVP.r
EASY - Openly gay director Daniel Laabs presents the world premiere of his dramatic narrative short about two brothers, one on the verge of adulthood, the other on the verge on adolesence.r
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz - A documentary examining the legacy of the bisexual Reddit co-founder who committed suicide at age 26 amid a two-year legal battle involving access to digital information.r
LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story - You may remember Kristin Beck, the former Navy Seal who came out as trans in her book Warrior Princess and later called convicted transgender Wikileaker, Private Chelsea Manning, “a traitor to me personally.” She’s now in a documentary discussing her own transformative journey.rr
Ukraine Is Not A Brothel - The Ukrainian "sextremist" feminist group FEMEN has dedicated itself to "fighting patriarchy in its three manifestations - sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion." But how can these women beat sex trafficking while using their own sexual bodies as a protest? Director Kitty Green goes inside FEMEN to find out.r
Stage Fright - Becoming a Broadway diva isn't all it's cracked up to be; especially when someone in the show cracks and starts murdering people left and right. Will starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson live through the final curtain call or will she find herself lethally cut from the cast?rr
Premature - This teenage comedy about an ambitious young man reliving the same day of his life has a plot similar to Groundhog Day. Only, instead of an alarm clock playing Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," this young man repeats his day after prematurely climaxing from a handjob. (Warning trailer: NSFWish)r
The Case Against 8 - Five years in the making, The Case Against 8 follows two same-sex couples at the heart of California’s marriage battle and looks behind-the-scenes at the lives and legal issues surrounding the infamous anti-gay law known as Proposition 8.r
Unicorn Council - A stop-motion animated short about sassy space unicorns that save a city from an evil man-eating cat. Oh yes.r
Chef - Bisexual actor John Leguizamo appears in this culinary drama about a celebrated chef who tries business on his own as a food-trucker after being fired from a hoity-toity restaurant.r
It can be hard to tell which bands have LGBT members in them because most bands put their sound ahead of their individual identities. That being said, a few musicians in this year's line-up are letting their rainbow flags fly. Click on the band names for show times and venues.r
HYENAZ - Costumes, synthesizers and pastiche makes for a mesmerizing brew with Hyenaz, a European electronic group that has worked with Peaches, Bonaparte, DJ Hell and Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.r
Las Kumbia Queers - These six women from Argentina and Mexico chicas reinterpret romantic Latin-American machismo with a sensual swirl of fun and politics for a Tropi-punk that has been rockin' Europe for the past few years.r
Mom Jeans This low-fi garage punk band takes pleasures in the small transgressions of smoking weed at church, before school and your grandma's house. Their SXSW profile says, "PORCH PUNK//PIZZA GOSPEL//QUEER CHZBURGERS//ILLUMINAUGHTY." No, literally, that's all it says.rr
Jef Barbara - If Roxy Music, David Bowie and an unnamed dance diva all had a glamorous love-child, that kid would pretty much be Jef Barbara, a performer who bares his soul when singing about impaired communication, artistic quackery, chronic lateness and erotic longing.r
Magic Mouth - The punk-soul-funk blend of Portland's Magic Mouth weaves a religious aura around their captivating concerts — the sort that gets your body moving, your brow sweating and your ears jamming along to their intoxicating beat.r
Wheelchair Sports Camp - Of this Denver-based rapper, The Village Voice once wrote, "If there were ever a moment for a queer, disabled rapper with a love for pot, jokes, and revolution to be a star, the moment is now."r
CHRISTEENE - If you haven't seen this self-proclaimed drag-terrorist parade her be-pantied male dancers onstage like a pair of pretty pony-slaves, you haven't actually lived. And if her scandalously over-the-top floor show doesn't hook you, her shameless raps about hetero sodomy, African Mayonnaise and vaginal percipitation will.r
GAYBIGAYGAY - GayBiGayGay, a queer music festival cobbled together annually by Austin's delightfully weird creative community. The glitter-trash decorations and occasionally costumed cuties are icing on a day-long rainbow-cake filled with great music, a picnic atmosphere and a DIY spirit. That being said, the organizers do their damndest to keep the event free, so donations are totally welcome. More about their line-up here. (Sunday, March 16 all-day)r
(GayBiGayGay image above via)
Pastor Larry Tomczak has seen the execution of God's will and the punishment He enacts on gays and lesbians for being who they were born to be. Citing Romans 1:27, which states that gays and lesbians "receive in their own bodies the penalty for their sin," he remarkably avoids the low-hanging fruit of HIV/AIDS and instead says that this "penalty" is that gay men become more effeminate and lesbians become more "mannish." Yes, deviating from "God's loving design and plan" means the Almighty will curse one with gender non-conformity.r
While I could anecdotally provide a dozen or so gay men so masculine they'd make Marlon Brando or James Dean seem queer, the validity in Tomczak's assertion that heterosexual relationships encourage masculine behavior can be found rather easily in Marcus Bachmann.r
You can see Pastor Tomczak's remarks AFTER THE JUMP...rr
Virginia’s House of Delegates on Thursday unanimously passed in a 100 to 0 vote a bill that would eliminate the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy that criminalized oral and anal sex since 1950, ThinkProgress reports. Previously approved by the Virginia state senate in a similar unanimous vote, the bill now awaits Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s signature or veto.r
The statute in question, Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, technically should have been made defunct after the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas which found that the state could not infringe on the rights of adult individuals to have consensual sex. However, many Republican legislators in Virginia, including former gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, fought to keep it in place. The sodomy ban was battered in the courts and the Supreme Court made sure to keep clear of the case. Court rulings have also caused additional complications for those backing the law:r
Last year, the federal courts overturned the conviction of a man charged, under Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law, of soliciting a 17-year-old female for oral sex — a felony under the statute. Because that law — first enacted in 1950 to prohibit oral and anal sex, as well as bestiality — had not been updated, the court ruled it was unenforceable, putting the convictions of other sexual offenders and child predators at risk.r
In response, Sen. Thomas A. Garrett (R) filed a bill in December that would have eliminated the ban on adult consensual sodomy, but would have made oral sex between 17-year-olds a felony, even if they were legally married. After ThinkProgress reported on this possibly unintended consequence, Garrett and the Senate Courts of Justice Committee agreed on a substitute version that generally treats all sex equally.r
More than a decade after the Lawrence decision, several other states still have sodomy bans on the books, including Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
Britney knows how to treat a superfan.
BIG, FAT LIAR: Christie claims Democrats are the intolerant ones.
Crimea votes to become part of Russia. This should go over well.
Ghanaian movie posters are beyond.
TOTALLY AWESOME 2000s: Aaron Carter misses Hilary Duff.
Johnny Weir & his shady husband take a bite out of crime.
ON THE RADIO: Blogger blah-blah-blahs on the air tonight.
Will Harry Styles join the Wicked movie?
Fabuous Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor limited editions raise $ vs. HIV:
Nicole Kidman pretending to be Grace Kelly.
Prince is no longer cool on any level.
Darrell Issa is a complete jerk, CBC wants him out.
Desperately Seeking the Exit returns to NYC, like herpes—but funny!
This odd animation is not exactly rah-rah if you suss out the meaning, but it's oddly captivating if you're in the mood for a dark chuckle and some borderline erotic melancholia...
Kristen Bell, who is leading a fight against paparazzi who take images of celebrity children, is playing hardball—check out the proviso sent to media regarding Monday's premiere of her Veronica Mars feature film.
Do you think the media should self-police on this issue?
Black gay men are having a moment, and it’s about damn time.
That was the sentiment that came to me when, in the course of a few weeks, both gay men who made history in the two biggest professional sports leagues ended up being black. It’s not a coincidence, entirely, football and basketball are sports dominated by black men.
Jason Collins’ just signed a second 10-day contract with Brooklyn Nets. Michael Sam is preparing for the NFL draft, where he is expected to be selected in the middle rounds. That they are both black is a major opportunity to change the way Americans see black gay men, and how black gay men see themselves.
Being both Black and gay in America is hardly the life of misery that some would have you believe, but it is not without its challenges. I actually live on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, NY, where Pastor James David Manning claimed in big block letters on the sign of Atlah World Missionary Church that “Obama Has Released The Homo Demons On The Black Man.” In a world that is just now starting to be introduced to Black gay images, it becomes very easy for homophobes within the Black community (and outside of it) to claim that our existence is a recent development. When I see that sign and others like it, it makes me furious, but also doubly committed to living life as an out gay Black man.
Even within the gay community, the images of sexy and successful Black gay men have been virtually nonexistent. It has sometimes seemed like Black gay men existed on some other plane away from the rest of the gay community. We were either completely ignored, hyper-sexualized or accepted only when we slapped on a wig and some makeup and lip-synched to dance music. The images of us were just not as varied as our white male counterparts. While white gays can be seen as political wonks, military men, music stars and everything in between, Black gay images are limited at best.
Since Noah’s Arc left TV screens there have been only two television shows with Black gay leads (DTLA and Shirts and Skins, both coincidentally on LOGO) and the three “great gay hope” network comedies Partners, The New Normal and Sean Saves The World had no Black gay characters, preferring instead to adhere to the dated stereotype of “gay” being something that is exclusively the domain of slightly fey, upper middle-class white guys who shop for furniture at Crate and Barrel and clothing at Banana Republic.
Even in 2014, Black gay men are rarely placed on the covers of gay-oriented magazines or in ad campaigns targeted to gay media (with the exception of HIV medication or testing campaigns). Of course, there are Black gay icons like James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin, but it is important to move beyond these historical figures and to embrace more current ones. That there are major out black media figures like CNN’s Don Lemon and ESPN’s LZ Granderson is a great start, but there need to be more, which is exactly where Sam and Collins come in.
When men like these come barreling out of the closet in traditionally “masculine” fields, they challenge the mainstream idea of what “gay” is in a way that very few men have before them. For black gays in particular, they become instant role models for a generation of young black gay men who struggle to find images in mainstream gay America that they can connect to.
A black athletic teenager who’s struggling with his sexuality in high school may not be able to relate to Kurt and Blaine on Glee, but he can definitely gain something from seeing Jason Collins walk onto a professional basketball court as a proud gay man and then help the Brooklyn Nets secure a win against their West Coast rivals.
I’ve never bought into the theory that it’s harder for Black men to come out than it is for their white counterparts. In fact, due to complicated factors of privilege and class the opposite may be true, but for all of us it is easier to be out when there are leaders in various fields that are forging a path and rapidly opening hearts and changing minds.
When I see Jason Collins making a difference for his team or read one of the many stories about Michael Sam and his road to the NFL as an openly gay player, as a black gay man I feel a strong sense of pride that these two men who are breaking barriers. Their skin color is important. Their skin color is relevant. Their skin color means that for me and millions of others like me, I am finally a part of the conversation about what it means to be gay in America.
Thanks to Jason Collins and Michael Sam, Black gay men are having a moment. And it’s about damn time.
Rob Smith is an openly gay Iraq war veteran, writer, and LGBT activist. His memoir Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army is available now at Amazon.com and wherever LGBT books are sold.