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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The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Entertainment

The Cast of ‘Glee’ Along With Demi Lovato Paid Tribute to Naya Rivera At the GLAAD Awards

Photo via Getty

On Thursday, the cast of “Glee” paid tribute to Naya Rivera at the GLAAD Media Awards. Rivera was a once-in-a-lifetime talent the touched so many lives personally and through the screen while she was alive. But perhaps none of Naya’s roles were as impactful as Santana Lopez was.

This year, GLAAD decided to take time to honor the impact Naya Rivera had on LGBTQ representation onscreen.

During a time when LGBTQ represenation onscreen was rare, Santana Lopez was groundbreaking for being both queer and Latina. Santana went from a shut-off closeted cheerleader to an out-and-proud lesbian woman. This was a story arc many queer kids had never seen before.

Demi Lovato introduced the cast of “Glee” with a touching speech. She described how honored she was (and still is) to have played Santana’s girlfriend, Dani, on the show.

“I don’t have to tell you that this year was a tough, tough year,” Lovato said. “A particular moment of heartbreak stands out for me: losing my friend Naya Rivera. I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee.’”

“The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls — like I was at the time,” she went on. “And her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”

Then, dozens of former “Glee” cast members gathered via Zoom to pay tribute to Naya Rivera.

The tribute featured former “Glee” actors like Darren Criss, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Colfer, and Kevin McHale. There were also many others.

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition,” read the statement. “When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that and she said ‘I feel great about it!'”

“This year marks the tenth anniversary that Naya’s character, Santana Lopez, came out on ‘Glee’,” said Dot-Marie Jones, who played Coach Beast on the Fox series.

“Santana basically got disowned by her family. And as alot of us know, that’s a feeling too many LGBTQ kids know too well,” continued Chris Colfer, who played Kurt Hummel.

The loving tribute then ended with a written statement from Naya Rivera’s mother Yolanda Previtire, who couldn’t make it to the call.

“Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community. Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice.

“She continued: “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

“Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice,” the message read, in part. “I don’t believe that she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other.”

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Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Tells Senate to Pass Equality Act, Credits Gay Community with Launching Her Music Career

After the Equality Act was recently passed in the House, Selena Gomez is now telling the Senate to pass the bill that would give added federal protections to the LGBTQ+ community. The Mexican-American pop star also talked about her history with the gay community and how they helped support her music career.

The Equality Act would extend protections from the Civil Rights Act to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Equality Act was first introduced in 2015. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to extend protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity when it came to employment, housing, education, and other public and federal accommodations. In 2019, the Senate under President Donald Trump refused to vote on the bill.

The Equality Act recently passed through the House and now Gomez wants the Senate to pass it as well.

In February, the Equality Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives. The bill passed through the House for a second time on Feb. 25. In a recent interview with the Recording Academy, the institution that hosts the Grammy Awards, Gomez is telling the Senate to vote on the bill this time and pass it through.

“We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years, but we have so much further to go,” Gomez said about the progress of LGBTQ+ rights in the country. “The Senate must pass the Equality Act. It’s absurd that this is even being debated in 2021.”

Gomez says the gay community helped support her 2009 breakthrough hit “Naturally.”

While Gomez was promoting her Latin music EP Revelación, she also revisited a few of her past hits. In 2009, she launched her music career with her band The Scene. Later that year, Gomez got her first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with her breakthrough smash “Naturally.” While talking about her relationship with the gay community, she says they were the first ones to show that song love.

“Earlier you mentioned my song ‘Naturally’ and I remember when it was released, it truly started getting played in the gay bars before anywhere else,” she said. “I would hear from older friends that they heard when they went out. I was so jealous that I was too young to be out and dancing to it with everyone. The LGBTQ+ community has been there for me and I don’t take them for granted.”

The Equality Act is waiting to be debated by the Senate. This is Gomez’s first time speaking in support of the bill. Last year, she launched the Black Equality Fund to support groups like the Movement for Black Lives.  In March, she also asked for the Senate to pass the People Act.

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Read: Selena Gomez and Myke Towers’ “Dámelo To’” is Everything: Listen to the ‘Revelación’ Standout

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