#lgbtcommunity

Who are the 10 Most Influential Gay Porn Stars of the 2010 Decade?

The 2010 decade is almost over. Over the course of the past eight years, the gay porn industry has produced several iconic stars that have become quite influential for their work in and out of it. Question is… who has done the best at making a name for themselves and why?

We polled a ton of people this question: who is the most influential gay porn star of the 2010 decade? Influence can mean so many things: big personality on social media, mainstream attention, winning awards, looks… etc. Which men have been able to combine those things and become the force that they are today?

Take a look at our picks for the 10 most influential men in gay porn from the past decade.

 

 

On set of @mattshortfilm lets dewwwwww disssss

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Colby Jansen. What makes Colby such an influential star is that his kinks really know no limits. Sure, he does scenes that feature him with another dude (or dudes), but he also goes beyond that by entering himself into categories like bisexual, trans and so much more which really makes him such a versatile and award-winning performer.

 

Rocco Steele. The daddy of all daddies. For so many years, the norm in the gay porn industry veered towards the younger, muscular and hairless type. Rocco was one of the pivotal dudes to flip the switch on that by showcasing just how incredible men of a certain age can be on camera. This has led him to win a ton of awards for his work as well as creating a successful underwear line and launching one of the most followed OnlyFans account on the web today. Not too shabby.

 

 

Boomer Banks. Finding success out of the porn industry can be tough for many, but this New York City resident has proven he can do that and then some. He’s done some big (a pun that can easily be used on him indeed) things in the mainstream world like walking the runway for iconic designer Marco Marco and developing a close friendship with RPDR season 10 finalist Kameron Michaels (fashion line in the works soon?) He’s proof that you don’t need to be a one trick pony in life to become the star you deserve to be.

 

 

Sean Zevran. Shaved or not, Sean is one sexy dude. He started his career with Randy Blue before transitioning into multiple films with Falcon Studios and Raging Stallion. Along the way, he’s picked up Performer of the Year at the XBiz Awards and has become outspoken about many issues going on in the world today, most notably racism in and out of the adult industry.

 

 

3 years ago today

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Blake Mitchell. If Spiderman had a gay porn counterpart, Blake would be it. His influence primarily comes from being one of the most followed stars on Twitter and Instagram as well as his copious amounts of award-winning scenes with Helix Studios. His humor is also very bold and brash, like his hypothesis that SNL star Pete Davidson is packing. The latter later somewhat backed that up, so Blake may have been onto something (insert eggplant emoji).

 

 

Francois Sagat. He is considered by many to be somewhat of a “god” in the world of gay porn. The longevity that Francois has created for himself is truly remarkable, in that he entered the industry way back in the early 2000’s and is still very relevant to this day. He made his return to it recently, performing in scenes for Men.com (including a gay porn Justice League parody with RPDR legend Manila Luzon), and is still incredibly hot all this time later. Werk.  

 

 

#krisEvans #GayPornstar #Model

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Kris Evans. The walking Ken Doll. Kris is a superbly dreamy dude who happens to be one of Bel Ami’s biggest success stories over the past decade. He retired last year but made quite the impact as one of the most classically handsome dudes the industry has ever seen (according to many people).

 

 

A post shared by Dirk Caber (@dirkcaberxx) on

 

Dirk Caber. Dirk sort of rings true to what Rocco was described as earlier: a smoking hot daddy who plays that role to perfection. He has capitalized on that notion in many of his scenes, while also creating a versatility about himself that goes beyond sexual positioning. This includes his kink side, which can be seen at several different events like MAL (Mr. Atlantic Leather) and in certain scenes you can click on while perusing the internet. Woof.  

 

 

Sun in burning waiting for @chuchomartinx and then #timtales

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Tim Kruger. To go from being a simple star to running one of the most popular gay porn companies on the web is quite the accomplishment. Tim created TimTales many years ago, which he both performs and directs in. The website features tons of incredibly handsome men who perform quite well in an amateur type setting. All of his hard work has paid off, as Tim reportedly has a net worth of $14 million dollars. Not bad.  

 

 

Headed to San Diego.

A post shared by Brent Corrigan (@itsbrentcorrigan) on

 

Brent Corrigan. Quite possibly one of the most mainstream gay porn stars ever… so much so that a movie was made about him. Brent started his career in a very controversial way while with Cobra Video, but was able to get out of that situation and become a big star in the industry back in the early 2000’s. After taking a long hiatus from it, he returned recently to much fanfare and adoration. His interview with the web series Hey Qween earlier this year was one of their most popular, further proving that a little break can go a long way.

Who would you put on this list? Anyone on here that you disagree with?

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

The Life of a Title Holder in the Gay Community and All That Comes With

The world of title holders in the gay community is one you feel like would be documented on MTV’s True Life back in the early 2000’s. Sure, we have films and shows like Paris is Burning, The Queen and now POSE on F/X when it comes to getting a peek into what goes on in this sort of environment … but what about the other kinds that run the muck within our community?

The lunch room and tables within what a title holder can be continues to get bigger and bigger. “Category is,” can run aplenty for the amount of titles someone can have in a certain portion of this community. A variety of contests for people with fetishes like pup play and leather all the way to more traditional “societal pageant” norms do exist in this interesting cafeteria.

Is this something that will find a mainstream audience eventually, similar to what drag has, or will it remain a mystery that only the people who show up, attend and compete in them will ever know about.

In an Instinct exclusive, I spoke with New York City’s very own Ted Bishop Nieves, who currently holds not one, but two titles: Mr. Urban Bear 2018 and Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018. He spoke about the world of title holding, his journey into it, how friendly or shady everyone can truly be and his best advice to someone who wants to get involved.

How did you find yourself in this "title holding" world? Was it something that interested you for many years in the community?

It wasn’t something that I had sought out really.  My fiancé, Kory Harmon, is very close friends with a title holder, Mr. Eagle 2017, John-John.  I had never known or been around any previous title holders really, but through their relationship and their relationships with other title holders, I was able to see that these titles were a great deal more than just fetish pageants for leather and gear lovers.  There is awesome work involved and a certain responsibility to help our communities that these titles serve as a platform. 

As Mr. Eagle 2017, John-John brought a great deal of awareness and support for issues affecting some of the more marginalized members of our communities, such as trans people of color, and he also helped to shed light on those issues, spreading awareness and letting people know ways in which they could help.  I also witnessed how another friend, Dan Jimenez, used his title Mr. Fire Island Bear 2017, to do a lot more with it than any other person with that title had done before him. That had a lot to do with why I decided to compete.  I had just won the first Mr. Urban Bear 2018 title on a whim and had already wanted to do more with it.  When the opportunity presented itself and I was urged to compete for Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018, I couldn’t pass it up.  So, I ran with it and here I am.  A title whore with two titles for the year. LOL. Now the things that I will be able to do with these titles are ones that I’ve always wanted to do, but had a hard time figuring out how to go about starting.  Raising funds and working to shed light on charities and issues that mean a lot to me is probably the most important part of being a titleholder.  Same thing with being a role model.  These are very important things to me, so I hope that I am most successful on that part.

Does a lot of what goes on behind the scenes ring true to what drag pageants are?

I’d have to say that it’s different in that appearance isn’t as big a focus, per se.  You still have to deal with the selection of outfits and making sure that you meet all the criteria expected of you, but I haven’t quite reached that title level.  The most important thing, I feel, is to be yourself.  Be absolutely true to who you are at your core and I think that you can succeed as a title holder.  That is probably the biggest thing that drag pageants and the title holder world share in common.

You currently have two titles. What are they and when did you win them?

I am currently the first ever Mr. Urban Bear 2018 sponsored by Robert Valin and the Urban Bear team.  I won that title back on May 20th of this year at the Urban Bear Street Festival.  It was such a hoot.  Robert really put together an awesome party and it was just a purely fun event for me.
Then I won Mr. Fire Island Bear 2018 on June 9th during Shane Tate’s AMAZING Fire Island Bear Weekend event. That was also an incredibly fun weekend made all the more special by having won this title.

Were you shocked that you took the title for either... or both?

I was actually shocked that I took both titles.  Mr. Urban Bear I decided to do on a whim fueled by a few drinks lol.  I truly wasn’t expecting to win and the guys I competed with were so much fun as well.

Mr. Fire Island Bear I had not really had much intention of running for, but a friend urged me on and, again, after a few drinks, I decided to go for it.  This was a much different experience as there was an interview involved and I knew that it was a different level than what I was expecting.

 I know a lot of hateration goes on (hello, this is the gay community) when it comes to the winners and the ones who don't. How do you deal with it and not get sucked into all the bulls**t?

”Hateration”. There’s a word I haven’t heard in a while. lol. I have to tell you that I have not had that experience AT ALL.  I’m not going to lie and say that it doesn’t exist because we all know that it does.  I can share with you the experience of one of my fellow title holders.  My predecessor, Dan Jimenez, did an incredible photo shoot for Fire Island Bear Weekend with some really fun and campy photos.  Some of the responses on social media, however, seemed to take offense to the fact that Dan was not reflecting what they thought was the masculine ideal for a title holder and sent some pretty nasty messages. 

Dan decided to turn that negative into a positive and came up with a project called Title Holders and Tiaras, a calendar with a different title holder for each month breaking down the barriers between what we consider unhealthy masculine ideals and the reality of our every day.  I have the pleasure of being part of this project as Mr. November with my fiancé.  The calendar will be available for sale at A Man For Every Season event at the Eagle on August 17th and the proceeds will go to the Tyler Clementi Foundation which battles bullying and suicide. At the end of the day, I am very fortunate to say that my experience has been nothing but positive and supportive from the people in my circle and other title holders as well.

Do you plan on competing for any other titles this year?

Right now, I’m focused on working on a few fundraisers, beginning with one that I’m doing with the current reigning Mr. Eagle 2018, Joseph Macchia, called Colors, a Dance Party.  That will be taking place on September 20th at the Eagle NYC.  We’re raising funds for the True Colors Fund, who work to help homeless LGBTQ youth around the country.  Plus, I have my DJing which is keeping me busy with events in Sept with Antonio Cedeno (The Male Room 1 Year Anniversary at ReBar Chelsea), John-John (Purgatory Thursdays on Sept 27th at RockBar NYC) and Matty Bryan and Julio Rios (Soaked on Friday Sept. 21st also at RockBar NYC). After I’ve done at least one more fundraiser, I will consider what my options might be.

What would you say to someone who wants to get involved in this arena but is too shy to do so?

I would tell them to just do it.  You never know what you might be capable of if you keep yourself out of the spotlight.  Shine, be yourself and most of all, have FUN!

Gay Porn Star Wesley Woods & His Friends Are Victims of Alleged Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Gay porn star Wesley Woods opened up on Friday about being part of an alleged anti-gay hate crime in West Hollywood of all places.

He spoke out about the incident on his Twitter page, where he claimed that three heterosexual white men attacked him and his best friend while they were walking down the sidewalk.

Wesley went into complete detail about it all in the one minute video that he posted on the social media platform. He has visible cuts and bruises from the alleged altercation as a result.  

 

 

"Hi, friends. Wesley Woods here... your friendly neighborhood ho," he started. "On Wednesday, August 8th, 2018, my best friend and I were brutally attacked by three straight, white, hetero men in West Hollywood, California."

"Why you might ask? For being gay. Now we weren't technically being gay at that exact moment, we were just walking down the sidewalk," he continued. "You see, being gay is the act... that's when you have a d**k in your a**. We just happened to be walking down the sidewalk, minding our own business."

He also spoke about how we are still not safe in 2018, and to be mindful of our surroundings no matter where we are. "I'm not posting this video for sympathy. I'm posting this video for awareness. You're not always safe in the places that you think you are. Always have someone next to you. Always be aware of your surroundings... and be prepared to fight for your life. I'm not saying that is a first means, and is always necessary, but in some cases it is."

He finished the video by saying "I wish you love, I wish you happiness and I hope that if you guys see me out this weekend baring my scars... you'll say hello."

Wesley also issued a caption with the video he posted that read as follows: "The enemy wants u to be afraid, they want to force you into their idea of normal. I am not, you aren’t, none of us are— “normal.” We live this life the best we can w/ what we’ve been given in hopes of being our true self. Do not hide, fight for your space to exist & ALWAYS be YOU."

 

Disowned Gay Teen Exceeds GoFundMe Goal to go to Georgetown University

What an absolutely inspiring story for our community. 

Seth Owen, who shared his story about being disowned by his parents last month, has a lot to smile about now as the GoFundMe page that was started by one of his teachers has now exceeded its goal for him to go to Georgetown University in the fall.

In less than two months, the page has raised $129.178 (as of Friday afternoon) for him when the goal itself was only $20,000! Over 1,800 people from all 50 states & 20 countries have chipped in to help pay his tuition. So awesome.

Seth's story was shared on local Florida affiliate WJAX last week, where he spoke about how his parents disowned him for being gay earlier this year. This process originally began during his sophomore year when his father took his phone and discovered he was gay. 

His parents then gave him an ultimatum: submit to so-called “conversion therapy” counseling and attend their anti-LGBTQ church or leave the house. He put his foot down for as long as he could about that, which resulted in his parents kicking him out back in February. 

He was left to sleep on other friends couches and hold down jobs to support himself after that happened, all while maintaining a 4.6 GPA at his high school that made him a co-valedictorian by year's end. 

Seth's dreams of wanting to go to Georgetown University was thwarted prior to the GoFundMe page being set up. He was granted a $50,000 scholarship by the Ivy League university, but his parents were still responsible for the remaining $27,000 of the $77,000 annual tuition. 

Given that they weren't going to support him, his biology teacher stepped up to create the GoFundMe page, where she spoke very kindly about the student and person that he is. That resonated with thousands, and now they have raised enough money to cover tuition costs for years to come.

Seth released a statement today about all of this today:

Thank you. Thank you to all of my supporters in Jacksonville and across the globe who have given their time, talents, and financial support to help me make my dream of attending Georgetown University a reality.

Thank you to the staff and professionals at the Georgetown University Office of Student Financial Services. Over the past several months, the Office of Student Financial Services has worked to address the situation that I faced after I was forced to leave my home, in February. In mid-June of this year, the Office of Student Financial Affairs adjusted my aid package to take into account my circumstances; however, there was still a gap that would need to be filled by private loans. These loans were not a viable option for me, as my parents would not act as the necessary guarantors of the loans. At this point, I thought my dream of attending Georgetown University was over.

Hearing of this situation, my former teacher, Jane Martin, started a Go-Fund-Me campaign. To date, the goals of the campaign have been met many times over. While the campaign has been ongoing, the professionals at the Office of Student Financial Services have continued to work with me to make my dream a reality. Due to their efforts and attention, they were able to adjust my aid package even further, my expected contribution is now $0. With these new adjustments, I will be able to attend Georgetown University this fall.

The Office of Student Financial Services was instrumental in helping me enroll in the Georgetown Scholarship Program, whose purpose is to make attendance at Georgetown possible for students in a financial situation similar to my own. This program also includes mentoring and networking opportunities which will help me to assist others in situations similar to the one I found myself in earlier this year.

Georgetown is my dream school because of the limitless opportunities it provides to its students. In particular, my interest in the school was piqued by the prestigious program of study in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. I am honored to be selected to attend Georgetown University and am elated that I am now able to attend Georgetown because of the gracious donations to the GoFundMe campaign and the efforts of the Office of Student Financial Services.

Thank you to all who have donated to the campaign. Your generosity will help me succeed academically this year and in the years to come. At the moment, I am in process of exploring the establishment of a scholarship to help LGBTQ+ scholars who find themselves in the circumstance I was in earlier this year. I am looking forward to utilizing the resources of Georgetown to help with this effort.

Again, a simple "Thank You" seems to be not enough for all of the support I’ve received from so many. I will be seeking to pass on the kindness and generosity that I have been shown.

Best regards,

Seth Owen

If you would like to donate to Seth, please click here.

 

 

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Insecurity in the Gay Community

I’ve been an out and proud gay man for 20 years now. Coming out so young in life (around my freshman year of high school), I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown up in a conservative area yet was never bullied or made to feel less than due to my sexuality.  I had the same experience when I went to college in New England for five years, and even though my experience with the gay world there was small up until that point, it was never negative. Then I came home to New York City, where things became drastically different for me.

I never saw my size as a hindrance growing up.  What was a hindrance, however, was being gay: not because anyone picked on me for it but because I truly was the only out person in my school and felt somewhat like I was in this heterosexual bubble that I couldn't get myself out of.  I needed to be around like-minded people, which is why I chose to go to college in an area that was known for its acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Weight became an issue for me when I tried to enter the gay community in NYC when I was around 23 and got the sense that your overall being can be judged very heavily (no pun intended}. This include factors outside of size such as race, economic background and an array of others facets that for someone as young as I was became a bit much for me to handle.  

I would walk through Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, workout at the local gyms and consistently be surrounded by men I saw as inferior to me. This caused me to constantly compare myself to them and wonder where I could improve as a result. The funny thing is, I never did this growing up.  I felt like all of this was making up for lost time as both men and women tend to do these things to an extreme when they are in middle school & high school as this is when insecurities breed on such a higher level as you are stuck with hundreds of the same people daily.   

This time around, it was happening in my adulthood and I feared that it would send me into a depression if I didn't get some sort of validation from this community on the point that even if I had a great personality, charming and/or funny, that it really came down to if I was good looking or not.  Sad but true, a good part of the gay community relies on vanity in order to determine friendships, f**k buddies, relationships, and so much more.  Deny it as much as you want, but it’s true.

My weight has spiraled up and down over the years: my lightest I was at 215, heaviest I was at 270.  Now I’m somewhere in the middle and can honestly say that I am content with where I am. So, what caused this shift in perception several years after my initial fears were brought to the forefront?  It’s simple- you start to realize that all that chaos that you create in your head is just that.  You hopefully develop a maturity as you go throughout life and realize what’s truly important to you and the high school bulls**t you thought was vital to your everyday life becomes non-existent.  I’m happy that I have never really conformed in this community when it comes only hanging out with a certain body type or group as the years go on.

I still deal with the shade that comes with this community, the gossip and some of the negative connotations associated with.  We all do; however, I try not to let it get to me anymore as all that is simply is chatter.  I'm aware of who I am and my worth and that has taken years and years of confidence building and a great support system to understand that.  Even if your situation seems bleak, understand that there is at least one person who greatly cares for you regardless.  

See the positive, see the glass half full.  Find that unconditional love that is important in life.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

‘Pose’ is What’s Needed for Our Community Now More Than Ever

I was a little late to the party… err ball in this equation when it came to the Ryan Murphy produced drama series Pose on F/X.

Not that I wasn’t interested in watching it, it just took me a little while. Over the course of two nights, I watched all eight episodes, and was completely mesmerized from start to finish. It takes a lot for me to warm up to any show that is specifically about the LGBTQ community (minus a couple of great ones like Will & Grace and Queer Eye), however Pose captivated me in a way that I felt was not only a want but a need given our current climate.

I have struggled for many years to find a show that the entire community, not L or B or G or T or Q, can really enjoy with one another. Yes, we have RuPaul’s Drag Race, but Pose is the original RPDR in that I don’t believe the show would really be what it is today if we didn’t have the real-life events based on what the scripted show is all about.

Pose takes a major page out of the highly-acclaimed documentary Paris is Burning and brings it back to light nearly 30 years later. It centers around the magnificent ball scene that resonated throughout Harlem in the late 80’s, where the glitz and glam are on display in every episode but the realities of what each character was facing throughout that time was definitely there too. The way that Ryan along with several writers including Janet Mock were able to blend both together really is awe-inspiring and made for a great first season of a show that I hope will air for quite some time.

The storylines for each are rich in all areas of who they are and the show brilliantly develops them as time goes on. You have the storyline of Blanca Rodriguez (MJ Rodriguez, who deserves all the awards for her role), who starts as one of the children of Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson) in the House of Abundance before leaving to start her own family.

She quickly develops her own house, the House of Evangelista, with three talented individuals: dancer Damon Richards (Ryan Jamaal Swain), Lil Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel) and Angel (Indya Moore). Damon gets kicked out of his home after his parents discover that he’s gay, while Papi and Angel work the streets of New York City in their own way.

A big part of the show focuses on the ball scene, which is hosted by a charismatic man named Pray Tell (played unbelievably brilliantly by theatre legend Billy Porter). The unapologetic, bold and brash way they treat each contestant who displays themselves in each category rings true to how it was done in Paris is Burning and I am so glad that they didn’t shy away from any of that.

The show dives into many aspects of their lives, including one of a Wall Street type of dude named Stan Bowes (Evan Peters), who picks up Angel off the streets one night and begins a very complicated relationship with her. Stan is married to a biological woman in real life with two kids, but finds himself falling for Angel, who is openly trans. He finds every which sort of way to see her throughout the series which includes him visiting her where she works at an adult video store, but the two can’t seem to see eye to eye on where their relationship goes. This leads to an awkward encounter by his wife Patty (Kate Mara), who discovers he’s having an affair and goes to great lengths to find Angel in the process.

Damon develops a relationship of his own with a dude named Ricky (Dyllon Burnside), where he experiences a scare with HIV early in the series after he gets a fever. HIV and AIDS play a major part in this series, as some of the characters have it (Blanca, Pray Tell) and others who have a scare but turn out to be negative. This disease was (and still is) a major part of the LGBTQ community back in the late 80’s, and I am once again thrilled that the show discussed this at length as opposed to keeping this about the drama between all the houses.

There’s so much more to dive into, like Elektra’s rough exterior being chipped away by season’s end for a myriad of reasons, Blanca’s complicated relationship with her family and Pray Tell’s partner at the end stages of his life due to AIDS, but I don’t want to give too much away. I will say this: the show is f***ing needed in our world today.

We have done shows in the past that were about gay men (Queer as Folk, Looking), lesbians (The L Word), trans individuals (Transparent), but never one that really brought us together on a dramatic circuit. Pose is that, and I am elated that it got a second season renewal and hopefully many more as it needs to be seen especially by the younger generations who could use an education on what life was like in this community 30 years ago.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

When Your Weight Becomes Someone’s Tricky & Confusing Fetish

No matter what your background is, albeit straight, gay, bi and everything in between, we all have aspects to another person that we like.  When it comes to the sexual aspects of a partner or partners, it can often lead to the term “fetish” which can either turn someone on or completely off depending on what it particularly is.  As someone who has always been a bigger dude, my weight or “huskiness” has been a particular weakness in other guys who find me attractive, but some take it to extremes that lead me to ask the question: Are you into me for me, or my weight?

Let’s take for instance the hilarity I find in online apps and guys who just randomly message me on Facebook with photos and questions they would never say in person.  Being greeted with lines like “God, you are a cute & chunky fella” to “You are hot for your size”, isn’t exactly something that’s going to turn me on in an instant, yet it does for other guys.  It gets them off knowing that someone finds them sexually appealing because they have weight to them.  For me, it’s a bit confusing as I’m OK with being a bigger dude, but not so sure that I like hearing that from someone else as the potential sole reason to why they are reaching out to me in the first place.

I have detailed this in other articles where my weight goes up and down and up and down, and in doing so brings in a new portion of gay men who find me hot with the weight off, and shuns away men who preferred when my waist size was a couple of rungs up. There is also that interesting middle space where you are “not a cub, not yet a chub”in sort of a Britney reference where your playing field is somewhat open to many, but when it comes down to it, does it make you feel good when someone is objectifying you to a degree because of your size?

I had a situation where I hung out with a guy out while on vacation once.  We had a better friendship than anything, yet when we were intimate, he would spend his time literally grabbing my stomach fat and other areas as opposed to holding me or other ways to be intimate.  It was odd, kind of hurt, and did nothing for me besides have it become a bit painful, yet he loved it.  It got him off.  It got me annoyed. 

He would try to explain at length that he just found me so attractive and loves that aspect on a guy, yet for me it just didn’t make me feel good.  The gay community has a sense of doing that when it comes to weight, so it’s not like this is anything new for me and many others out there.

Weight and the gay community kind of go together like peanut butter and jelly in that it's a topic that is discussed endlessly in a variety of ways.  We all struggle with our own version of how we want to look for not only a desired partner in life (or for a night), but also to the community as a whole. 

Many of us expect to find ourselves on media-driven shows in the movies and television, hence the fierce backlash of LOGO’s show “Fire Island”, in which a good portion of the community complained that it once again highlighted the stereotypical “in shape” type of dudes. It leads to a complicated viewpoint from guys who are of a certain size who can’t seem to figure out if this is what society deems they should be or if they should ignore it and not feel that the media should determine how they should look.

Ultimately, is this insecurity in my own looks? Probably.  I might just hate that I don’t enjoy being looked at because of my weight, and maybe I should be in better shape and whatnot. That’s for me to decide, and not some random dude at a bar or online though.  This community can be so built on sex and top/bottom/vers appeal and so much more, that it can really break someone down who simply wants so much more than to be viewed as in that way. 

Maybe it comes down to this: if you enjoy it, have at it.  However if you are in a situation with a partner where it makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up.  Don’t allow someone’s fetish to spark your insecurities, its not fair for you in the moment and in life.


 

*** The Adipophilia Pride Flag show above is a proposed fat fetishism flag created in 2011 by Kevin Seguin for use by the associated fat fetish community. It is intended to describe the wide variety of different fetishes represented by the community, and is meant to represent fat fetishists of all genders and sexual orientations. - Wikimedia Commons.com

 


This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

A Better Understanding of the Term 'Empathy' in the Gay Community

 

This is a contributing piece done by Ali Mushtaq, Ph.D. He was the winner of Mr. Long Beach Leather 2016 and has been featured in several prominent publications including The New York TimesManhattan Digest, the Los Angeles Times and Instinct Magazine. You can learn more about him by clicking here.


We live in a world where many well-meaning people do bad things to others. They didn’t “mean” to do it. Often, this is because of something called, “privilege.” When we have privilege, we forget the needs other people that do not have privilege (minority groups). For example, in a recent article I penned for GayLA, I wrote about multiple experiences with discrimination. In these experiences, I’ve dealt with microaggressions to overt forms of discrimination.  If you are one of those people who “accidentally” marginalizes minority groups, and if you care about the well-being of other people, you need to remember a concept called, “empathy.”

What is Empathy?

There is no way anyone could have the same experiences as anyone else. There is no way anyone could read anyone else’s mind. But people have empathy. According to Psychology Today, “Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own.” So, if someone is accusing you of being racist, sexist, transphobic, sizeist, ageist, etc., this means that while you don’t think you’ve done something wrong, it doesn’t matter. You have done something to hurt someone. You are also helping to reinforce patterns that hurt people. Here are five practical tips for you to have more empathy:

Empathy Tip # 1: Shut Up, Listen, and Ask Questions

If someone is accusing you of marginalizing them in some way, try listening. Immediately getting defensive does not solve any problem. In fact, it makes you look guilty.  Try withholding your perspective, and instead, ask about statements you are not sure about.  The goal here is to understand the marginalized person’s experience. The other person is trying to communicate something, and for some reason, the message is being lost. Remember, you have privilege, so you must eventually realize that their experience is not yours. Remember, your goal is to affirm their experiences regardless of any reservations you might have.

Note: When trying to understand the other person, do not question their reality or experiences.

Empathy Tip 2: You are Making Choices that You Can Control

We all have biases. We all stereotype. We all live in vast structures beyond our control. Social scientists make careers about studying these processes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold yourself accountable for your actions!  When you choose to blame ‘stereotypes,” “society,” or the minority in question, realize that you are making a choice. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told “It’s not our fault. It’s not the [insert gay subculture here] community’s fault, but it’s society!” This is a move to derail the conversation away from your actions. It also takes away the community’s responsibility to deal with them problem collectively. Here, you are choosing to live in ignorance and withhold your empathy just because someone is different than you are. Rather than listening, you are choosing to shut down. So take responsibility for your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Also remember, the goal of any community is to make room for its most marginalized people. So not only do the individuals themselves bear responsibility, but the community also has some responsibility to ensure everyone is treated fairly.

Empathy Tip 3: Self-Reflection

A lot of social problems are institutional. That means that people have been antagonizing minority groups in different settings for ages. As a result, a lot of problems are simply naturalized within any given place. To fix this, we have to be better about making choices. We need ask ourselves these questions: “Is there any way I can help increase diversity in this space?”  “Have I done enough?” “Is there anything I can do?” “Has anyone pointed out any minority problems?” Specifically, “Are there minorities pointing out that I am doing something wrong?” Promoters for LGBTQ events and bar owners: go through ads from the last year. Ask yourselves, “How many models of [insert minority group] do I have in this year? What kinds of body types are they? Am I really being inclusive?”

Empathy Tip 4: Learn to Apologize

We all mess up. However, as someone who has privilege, you’re taught that you never mess up. You’re also taught that others are being “overly sensitive” and that they’re “being divisive”. No, just stop. Apologize. The most affirming thing you can do for someone, especially a minority, is to apologize. More will be written about this later.

Empathy Tip 5: Do Your Homework!

For a lot of people, empathy takes effort! Focus your time on reading about experiences on marginalized people. Learn about the kinds of language or behaviors that offend marginalized people. Unless you pay them (or their workshops/classes), they individually do not owe you explanations about how to be a better ally. You should use a magic device, called “Google,” and read about the various ways marginalized groups experience their lives. If you happen to have a marginalized friend that would be comfortable to share their experience, ask their permission, and get their perspective. But remember, it’s not their job to educate you.

After reading this, hopefully you start to understand that people are just human beings (like you)! As human beings, people like to be treated with respect. If you’re not actively trying to respect other people, then you are an asshole.  


Once again, this is a contributing piece done by Ali Mushtaq. You can learn more about him by clicking here. This was his opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other contributing writers.

London’s Heathrow Airport Declares Its Love of the LGBT Community

Who knew that a simple trip through an airport could mean so much to the LGBTQ community?

Heathrow Airport has embraced the colors of the rainbow in celebration of Pride in London and commissioned a unique interpretation of the iconic flag, created with the help of 6,000 passengers’ kisses. Populated by staff and passengers the flag will now fly above Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal until the end of July.

The unveiling of the flag is part of a week-long celebration of Pride, with Heathrow showing its support for the LGBT+ community and the colourful spirit of the event, ready to welcome 5% more passengers into London in the week ahead of Pride than the same time last year.

The piece of ‘kissing art’ - created with kisses rather than traditional paintbrush strokes - denotes the famous rainbow-colored flag and has been populated by international passengers. Each passenger placed their own individual ‘kiss’ stamp onto the crowd-sourced artwork, to show their own support for LGBT+ rights.

The flag started life in Terminal 2 on July 1st, positioned in departures, with passengers able to get involved and donate their mark of love for Pride by stamping their kiss in a choice of vibrant red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple lipstick, onto the blank canvas.

The artwork was quickly populated, with 84,303 passengers passing through the terminal, taking 6,000 kisses to be completed, with the final kisses donated by staff across the airport’s terminals as it took a tour of the control tower, fire station and BA Crew Centre, before being sealed and placed on the flag pole.

Now complete, the flag has been flown outside Terminal 2 and will remain on display until the end of the month for passengers to enjoy and capture on camera as they travel through the airport.

The Heathrow Pride takeover also sees the Heathrow logo receive a Pride makeover and many digital screens across the airport transformed into vibrant displays of rainbow colors.

"We’ve been getting into the spirit of Pride right across the airport to show our support for London and the rest of the UK, where diversity and equality are so strongly celebrated and equally valued across our employees and passengers alike," Carol Hui, Chief of Staff at Heathrow Airport commented. Many of the LGBT+ community travel into London, to celebrate this incredible festival so we wanted to give them a warm welcome by, quite literally, flying the flag for Pride.”

For more information on Pride in London, click here. For more on Heathrow Airport, click here.

Openly Gay Artist Will Sheridan Breaks Down His New EP 'LexIcon'

Brooklyn's Will Sheridan, who also goes by GIANT, is a jack of all trades when it comes to being a life-sized version of what the word "fabulous" really is.

The 33-year-old was originally a major college basketball player at Villanova University in 2003-2007 before shifting gears and immersing himself in the entertainment world. During these years, he came out publicly at the age of 26 after retiring from basketball, which eventually became a must-see interview on ESPN's Outside The Lines.

Music has been his focal area for several years now, where he has released two critically-acclaimed efforts: his first full-length album called G.I.A.N.T. back in 2012 and an EP called Ngoma in 2010. Both of which highlighted his beautiful lyricism, great beats and persona that matches who he is in real life.

Now he's back with his latest effort entitled LexIcon, which is a breath of fresh air in the boring world we live in today when it comes to what the music industry puts out. I spoke with Will exclusively about Lexicon, why he would love to work with Nicki Minaj, and so much more. Take a look.

What inspired you to get into the music industry in the first place?

I always loved to freestyle rap in my free time in college. I also have an undying passion for writing. When I first moved to NYC, I wrote for Source Magazine. While covering artists such as Kid Cudi, Wale and Drake, I thought to myself I can do this too. I never thought of getting into the music industry. I thought I want to make music that represented my journey and my narrative. Ten years later, here I am.

How would you describe your overall sound?

Eclectic, Energetic, based in Hip Hop with House influence. 

Do you have anyone in your life that you consider to be your biggest musical role model?

I never had a role model beyond my mom. I’ve always felt like there’s no blue print for my success or happiness in my life. So, I’ve just followed my heart and did it. 

Tell us about your EP LexIcon and how it came to be.

LexIcon is a result of me constantly asking DJ Lorant, my friend, tour DJ, producer and label exec for beats. He sent me mystic Data and I knew upon first listen that it was special. Then I asked him if we could revisit Fundamentals, a record from my first EP, NGOMA. He agreed to rework the song and I wrote all new lyrics with all new flows and it turned out to be amazing. Then we decided to package it with an eclectic group of remixes from some amazing producers and Boop- we had an EP. The title comes from my love for words and is a play on #GIANT being an Iconic word user.

Do you have a preference over which of the two songs you like more?

I love them all equally. “Do You Have Any” and “Mystic Data” are high level art!

Is this EP part of something bigger in the works?

All of my work, when looking back, is cohesive and fits together even the unofficial records that are SoundCloud exclusives. I’m was working on a full LP about the struggles on my life journey since late 2016 til now, but really wanted to put out something more fun and upbeat to showcase my rhyming talents while also reminding people that I’m chasing legendary iconic status. Right now, LexIcon is the most important project of my life because through adversity, I’m still here, still queer and still making next level music while getting better and perfecting my craft.

Picture you are on stage and a surprise guest comes out to perform with you. Who would it be and why? They can be dead or alive.

Hands down Nicki Minaj. Nicki Minaj is my favorite. She has so many different styles and hands the best female rapper of All Time! I wish She would sign me- I’d love to even be her hype man because I know all the words to all her songs and if we did a song together I know it would be larger than life, actually it would be #GIANT and that’s FACTS!

I really love Jay Z, Kanye, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott. I honestly wish queer rappers would collaborate more, but I’ve realized who I want to work with does not want to work with me for whatever reason. So I push forward. 

What are your biggest hopes in your career?

I just want to tour.  I’d love to have people really embrace my music and my brand. I really feel that when I pop through people will look back and discover all the musical gems I’ve cooked up and appreciate the artist I am.

Check out the official link for Lexicon here. For more information on Will, you can follow him on Twitter here, and Instagram here.

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