Entertainment

Tips From A Queer Man About Living Your Most Authentic Life

It’s 2018. The old ways of looking at queer culture are crumbling and fading away. We’re not all the way there yet: there are still plenty of haters out there, and some, well, weird portrayals of queer men and queer culture out there in the media. But the world’s most fabulous alternative lifestyle is giving all that noise a quick up-down, and moving on. Despite the odd stragglers, a lot of true queer culture is getting mainstreamed and a clearer picture of the culture is emerging. LGBT culture is being recognized as creative, devoted, hard-working, hard-playing, courageous, and just utterly fabulous. Ally or enemy, curious or furious, there are a lot of things about gay culture that can help the straight man be way more fabulous. Read on for advice, from gay men to straight men, that will enrich your life, make you more secure, improve your communication, and grow.

Be Your Truest, Most Authentic Self

Credit: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar/Amblin Entertainment/Universal Films

Be your truest and most authentic self. Many gay men know what it’s like to live a lie, to pretend to be something you’re not, or pretend not to be something you are. For most, the journey out of the closet was a ceaseless uphill struggle against obstacles outside and in. We’ll never forget the time we spent rejecting who we really are, and will never ever go back. And coming out is only half the battle: portrayals in the media, even positive ones, make it difficult to embrace an authentic identity: promiscuous, feminine, educated, creative, loud: these aren’t true of the queer community in general, but, as with many stereotypes, are true of some. How to separate the wheat from the chaff? Easy: Be the definition of yourself, and reject all other definitions. 

Be That Self in All Your Relationships

Credit: Glee/Fox Broadcasting Company

Be your true and authentic self in all your relationships, especially romantic relationships. Most people, gay or straight, give and give early in relationships. That giving is usually returned. But it’s not unusual for one or both of the partners to fall into a role that isn’t authentic, to be a satellite to the other person, and to abandon much of their truest self. Don’t let that happen: it’s destructive to your identity and destructive to your relationship. The healthiest relationships grow and see each partner grow as well. Be sure that you have everything you need in yourself. That’s not to say that a relationship shouldn’t be a source of support and stimulation; just make sure that other other person isn’t rounding out your identity for you, because it won’t really be your identity.

Be Around People Who Care

Credit: The Rocky Horror Picture Show/Michael White Productions

Be around people who care. About you, obviously, but also about something, anything. Be with warriors, with knife-fighters for what’s right. Be with the fearless, people who have your back not just because they need but because you’re doing what’s right, and so will they. Gay men don’t associate with the apathetic too much. No time for that. 

Define Your Relationships

Credit: Brokeback Mountain/Focus Features

I see this with my straight friends much too often: a relationship that isn’t defined, or where one partner wants something very different from what the other wants. One wants a long-term relationship, the other just wants some one-and-dones. Or neither knows what the other really wants. If it’s just sex, there’s nothing wrong with that. If the idea is to build something that will last and grow, that’s great, too. But you’ve got to be clear, and be kind. Gay men tend to be pretty upfront about what they’re looking for, and it saves a lot of time and grief.

Don’t Lock Anyone Out, Don’t Burn Any Bridges

Credit: Rebel Without a Cause/Warner Brothers 

This doesn’t really apply with haters, but straight men have to deal with them a lot less than gay men. You don’t have to let everyone in–in fact you’re better off not to; but make sure there’s room in your life, even on the surface, for everyone. For gay men, this hasn’t really been a choice: most people are not gay, and even some of our closest friends don’t agree with some parts of our lifestyles. We can cut off very few people without ending up totally homogeneous, or even isolated. And don’t forget that people can change: don’t burn a bridge that someone will want to get back across someday. 

Talk to Women Like They’re Friends

Credit: Rent/Revolution Studios

The derisive terms for women who are close to gay men come from how threatened straight men can be by those friendships. It doesn’t have to be that way. The reason gay men are so close to straight women is that we don’t distinguish them from our male friends. They’re just friends: we have great laughter, companionship, and support with them. We want to tell them about us and we want to hear about them. I find many straight men struggling to have these kinds of relationships. Don’t focus on the one thing you want: you might not get it. Your chances are better if you actively pursue a friendship.

Swing the Bat

Credit: Mysterious Skin/Tartan Films

That said, I find many straight men hesitating to talk to women at all. That’s a tough field to cross. Consider this: before a gay man approaches a man they’re interested in, they have to know or guess whether they’re gay or straight. That can be pretty scary. Swing the bat: you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Chances are she will be polite and kind, willing to talk and learn more about you, and won’t reject you outright unless there’s a really good reason, like a current relationship or a different sexual identity.

Value the Circumstances and People Around You Right Now

Credit: Torchsong Trilogy/New Line Cinema

It’s okay to strive for more in life, work, and relationships, but don’t lose track of what you do have. You worked hard for it. Many gay men grew up with their very identities at stake, and continue to face the prospects of losing friends and opportunities because of who we are. So we value the friends, the life, the work that we have right now. 

Style: Make Some Decisions (or at least look like you have)

Credit: Boys in the Band/Cinema Center Films

Style is intimidating. It can be costly (but doesn’t need to be), and it opens you up to judgment. But making decisions is easy and free. Many of the cultural role models for gay men, plus our mothers and sisters and aunts, have shown us what it’s like to make decisions. So if you’re heading out to a job interview or a matinee of La Boheme with your double-breasted navy suit jacket with the gold buttons, wearing khaki pants, a black belt, and brown shoes, you haven’t made any decisions. If you’re throwing a lavender comforter on the bed in the room with the powder blue walls, you haven’t made any decisions. Design some color schemes and stick with them. Just make it clear that you’ve tried, and haven’t just thrown around whatever is available.

Learn a Little About Food and Wine and Non-Pop Music

Credit: Will & Grace/Warner Brothers

It’s a stereotype, for sure: not all gay men are educated, cultured, and refined. But many are. We expose ourselves to new and better things, refine our tastes as much as we can, and strive to learn about the finer things in life. It doesn’t take much effort to slowly introduce a little bit of that kind of finery. It’s really just a lot of very pleasant experimenting. There is so much more to life beyond the boundaries we grow up with.

Beards Yes; Moustaches, Goatees, Sideburns No

Credit: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One/Warner Brothers

Very few men, straight or queer, can make moustaches, goatees, or sideburns work for them. If you don’t know if you are one of them (it’s unlikely), err on the side of caution and try a full beard: it makes up for a lot. A beard can hide blemishes and scars, help to shape your face and define cheekbones, and add a little maturity to even a very young man. Just keep it neat. And clean. Remember, though, that if your partner doesn’t like it, all bets are probably off.

Design Your Life

Credit: Call Me By Your Name/Sony Pictures Classics

Don’t settle, and, if you can help it, don’t build your life around your work, relationships, or social connections. It should be the other way around. This is pretty much Life 101 for gay men, who can’t be in a place that rejects them. We do our best to be in situations where we can grow. This includes everything from work to relationships to the part of the world you live in and more. You don’t often find gay men settling for anything, but always making things work for them and fit into their lives.

Develop Positivity and Positive Habits

Credit: Moonlight/A24

There’s a lot of noise in being gay, both in person and from the media: the endless stereotypes, even the best-intentioned ones, can drag you down and leave you feeling negative. Gay men try to block it out as much as possible, and straight men should, too. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum: negativity is everywhere. Trying to limit exposure to negative people and situations only goes so far. It’s important to learn to be positive in a negative situation and with negative people. Develop your own positivity about things, and positive habits. Learn to see challenges as opportunities. The positivity you earn this way feels better, goes deeper, and lasts longer than simply cutting negativity out of your life.

Be Fearless

Credit: Philadelphia/TriStar Pictures

It’s getting better now, but there was a time when a gay man was taking a risk every time he stepped outside. Giving in to that kind of fear would have been worse than death. It’s a lesson learned, but not easily: Be intimidated, be anxious, be frightened, be worried, but don’t let those things stop you. Courage is retroactive: you get the bravery to do the crazy-scary thing after you’ve done it. I know it should be other way around, but that’s how it works. Trust me. You’ve just got to be made out of something more than flesh and bone. Something that can’t be broken.

Be Honest with Yourself

Credit: Milk/Focus Features

Lies are a currency that too many people pay with. Lying can seem inevitable, but it’s not. Learning to accept yourself no matter what society thinks is a key to being an honest person and it’s a step most gay men have had to take at some point. Be honest with yourself in all things. Don’t deceive yourself about who you are, about the people around you, or about what you want. Find the truth and live it fully. 

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Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Mike Windler / Getty Images

Ricky Martin has long been an international superstar – even long before ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ took over virtually every airway in the world. But it’s hard to deny that with that song, the Puerto Rican singer entered the global mainstream and ever since he’s been a pop icon.

From being one of the first major pop stars to publicly come out as gay, to acting in popular TV series, and getting married and becoming a father of four, Ricky Martin has always been a very busy man.

And despite a global pandemic that has forced all of us to stay at home and find a ‘new normal,’ Martin has forged a path forward. He recently sat down for an interview with Billboard to discuss everything from new music, the global Coronavirus pandemic, and his identity as an out and proud gay Latino.

Considering we’re all still living amid a global pandemic, the Billboard interview started on this very relevant topic.

Billboard points out that Martin and his family live in a very big and beautiful house in Beverly Hills, which likely makes staying at home a bit easier compared to the rest of us. However, Martin points out that he has a very loud home – with four kids and his mom all living under one roof. But he admits, “…I am very lucky. I am in a comfortable home where my kids can play.”

Ricky Martin is also working on new music. He released Pausa in May, and now as he works on new music the world is a very different place. He told Billboard: “I started working on my music maybe nine months ago. In my mind, the album was going to be called Movimiento, which means movement. But with all this [pandemic], it just told me… “The way it was, was not working. Let’s do it differently.” I have music with rhythm, but I was not going to tell people to move! So I named it Pausa.”

He also speaks about his close relationship with fellow Puerto Rican, El Conejo Malo.

Shortly after Billboard released its history-making cover with Bad Bunny on the the cover, Martin described San Benito as a “Latin queer icon.” Many people – of all backgrounds – took issue with that. But Ricky Martin tells Billboard that “allies are so important. Without them, our fight for equality is impossible. It really tickles me to see Bad Bunny as a gay icon — just like Cher could be. Why not?”

The Puerto Rican singer shared what his coming out experience was like and reveals he never tires of sharing it.

In the interview, Martin is very open about his coming out as gay. The singer came out as gay in 2010, married husband Jwan Yosef in 2017, and together the couple is raising four children.

Rolling Stone asked Martin, 48, what it was like to remain closeted during “the most public, exposed period” of his life.

“I had moments of extreme positivity, and not so positive [moments],” Martin answered. “Life was a bit on steroids in those days. Everything was really intense, but I could take it! I come from a school of military discipline when it comes to training for music, dance, and acting. I started when I was 12. So for me, it was about not being ready to open [up]. When you open an egg from the outside, what comes out is death. But when the egg opens from the inside, what comes out is life. It’s something that needs to come from within. Every time someone forces someone to come out, what you’re doing is you’re destroying the natural flow of the self-discovery.”

When asked what motivated him to come out publicly, Martin said that a kid somewhere in America needs to see positive headlines about coming out.

“Today I woke up to this beautiful headline that I know someone out there is in need of. The headline was something like, ‘I came out. And ever since I’ve been the happiest.’ Something like that, something… My heart is beating faster because I know today a kid somewhere in America woke up needing to hear those words. A lot of people say they get tired of talking about the same thing. Why would I? Are you kidding me? For so many years I had to keep it inside. And then the effect of someone… What people are getting from it in their healing process?”

Billboard also asked Martin his feelings on how the media is profiting and accepting Puerto Rican and Latinx culture.

When asked if he feels that the American media has gotten better or more open to understanding Puerto Rican culture, Martin responded: “We certainly have a long way to go, but the important thing is that we see that there’s an audience that is interested. And it’s up to us to bring [the] education.”

And he’s absolutely right. This year has seen several Latino artists rise to the top of all sorts of charts. Bad Bunny and J Balvin are among the most streamed artists globally and Bad Bunny is one of the most streamed artists on YouTube as well.

Meanwhile, Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are working on a film that will be out early next year. The Emmy’s, VMAs, and other award shows finally had decent representation of artists of color – particularly among the Latinx community.

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The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

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The Pope Tells Parents of LGBT Children That ‘God Loves Your Children As They Are.’

Pope Francis is, once again, making headlines for his progressive views on contemporary issues. Since his election to papal office in 2013, Pope Francis has largely been considered open-minded due to his comparatively laid-back stances on controversial topics like divorce, climate change, and LGBT issues.

On Thursday, the Jesuit publication American Magazine reported that Pope Francis recently told the parents of LGBT children that “God loves your children as they are.”

via Getty Images

According to the publication, the Pope was having a dialogue with the parent of a lapsed-Catholic gay child who had left the church because “he did not feel accepted in his diversity”. The woman, whose name is Mara Grassi, is the Vice President of an association called “Jonathan’s Tent,” which “welcomes and provides information and formation to L.G.B.T. Christians, their families and pastoral workers.”

Before describing her interaction with the Pope, Grassi explained her journey as a Catholic parent of a gay child to American Magazine. “For many years I was like a blind person,” she said.

“After I came to know that my son was homosexual, I suffered a lot because the rules of the church made me think that he was excluded from the love of God. Nobody helped me,” Grassi added.

via Getty Images

It was only when Grassi attended a Catholic vigil against homophobia and connected with other parents of gay children that she realized that “faith and homosexuality are not in opposition” and that “God loves my son as he is.” And according to this most recent report, the Pope’s opinion seems to be in accordance with Grassi’s beliefs.

Grassi told American Magazine that she told the Pope she wanted to “create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them.” It was in response to this statement that the Pope told her: “The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”

According to the same report, before he left, Jonathan’s Tent gifted the Pope a rainbow-colored T-shirt with the words “In love there is no fear” written across the front.

Considering the Catholic Church’s traditionally conservative stances on gay issues, the Pope’s statement was surprising to many. In the past, the Catholic Church’s stance has been that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”

The Pope himself also has a complicated track record on gay rights, implying that gay marriage “threatens” the “very institution of marriage”. However, he has also previously expressed sympathy and modest support for people in the queer community as well as their loved ones, saying “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”.

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