#lgbtproud

Watch: Older Gay Men Try New Gay Slang

This can't get any cuter!

INTO just uploaded a video featuring three very handsome older gay men who are trying to pronounce words and phrases that are commonly used by younger gays and then react to their meaning. And yes, "Bussy" happens to be one of them. 

Other phrases that young gay men are saying that they try to figure out the meaning of include "beat for the gods" where one of them translates it to "one wild masturbation session," "extra" or in their case, "someone who is special," and so much more.

The hilarity continues over the five-minute clip, but there is something so endearing about these men as they were ones who paved the way for us to be able to use many of these expressions as freely as we do today.

Watch: 

Urban Bear Weekend Gets Hairy in New York City

Urban Bear Weekend is an annual gathering that takes place smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and showcases a ton of fantastic events with the bear and bear friendly community in mind.  Whether it is dancing the night away, checking out some great vendors in the Meatpacking district (no pun intended), or seeing what makes this city so great, this super fun weekend has something for everybody.

The annual event celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with hundreds of smoking hot bears lining the streets of Manhattan for a weekend of food, fun, debauchery and more. 

Urban Bear Weekend is essentially Manhattan's answer to the uber popular Bear Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Some of the festivities throughout the three days included the infamous Underbear Party taken place at the legendary Rockbar on Christopher Street and the Urban Bear Street Fair. The latter is the culmination of the entire weekend, where hundreds gather to do a little shopping at the bear-friendly vendors, eat a ton of meat and dance the day away.

Events like these are a reminder of how strong our community is, as Manhattan has become a place where gay bars are continually being shut down in favor of luxury condos and restaurants that stay open for a month before closing down. The comradery of this community is seen in full force when it comes to occasions like Urban Bear, and its a reminder that we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

For more information on Urban Bear Weekend, check out their official site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stoli Vodka Launches Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle

​Stoli® Vodka, a brand that has been a massive supporter of the LGBTQ community for many years now, has come out with a limited edition bottle that celebrates one of our biggest and most beloved icons. 

Stoli® Vodka, the original premium vodka with uncompromising quality since 1938, announced today the launch of the Stoli® Harvey Milk Limited Edition bottle. Designed to celebrate the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition bottle continues Stoli®’s long-time history supporting the LGBTQ community and commemorates the 40th anniversary of Milk taking office in 1978 as the first openly gay elected official in California.

Each bottle is individually numbered and the bottle’s label was inspired by a mural by Paraguayan artist Oz Montania featuring the famed Milk quote, “Hope will never be silent.” The initiative will help raise funds for the Florida-based Harvey Milk Foundation.

Stoli is unveiling the limited-edition bottle today, May 22nd, also know as Harvey Milk Day, with a kick-off event at San Francisco's The Cafe, where Montania will unveil a new Harvey Milk mural inspired by his original mural at an LGBT community center in Paraguay. The event will feature remarks by Global LGBTQ rights campaigner Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk's nephew and the co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, who will speak about the impact his uncle has had on equality and freedom across the globe.

The limited edition bottle is a part of Stoli’s “Raising the Bar” program, the brand platform dedicated to the LGBTQ equality movement. “Raising the Bar” celebrates individuals and organizations central to advancing diversity and originality within the LGBTQ community. This reinforces Stoli’s recently launched “Loud and Clear” global advertising campaign, created to encourage people to find what drives them and celebrate their bold and authentic selves.

The Harvey Milk Foundation inspires individuals, communities and organizations to carry on Harvey’s values in a timeless vision for a better, more inclusive world. Stoli has worked with the Harvey Milk Foundation for years and is donating to the nonprofit to support its award-winning work towards global equality and acceptance. Proudly produced and bottled at the historic Latvijas Balzams, the donations from the Stoli Vodka Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle will help support Harvey Milk Foundation’s LGBTQ programming in Eastern Europe and the Baltic nations.

“We are excited to take our partnership with Stoli to a higher level this year as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of my uncle's historic 11 months of public service,” said Stuart Milk, Global LGBT advocate and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. “The Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle recognizes our history and commemorates who helped lead us forward towards visibility, a visibility that will be enhanced by this wonderful tribute from a creative and passionate brand."

“Stoli has a long-time history of championing the LGBTQ community and giving back through a variety of philanthropic initiatives,” said Stoli LGBT National Brand Ambassador, Patrik Gallineaux. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with the Harvey Milk Foundation and honor one of the most important activists in the community.”

The Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle is 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), and a suggested retail price of $19.99 for 750ml.

To learn how you can join Stoli in supporting global equality and acceptance, please visit Milkfoundation.org and HeroesRaisingTheBar.com. For more information, visit www.stoli.com or follow Stoli on Instagram @Stoli, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stoli and on Twitter @Stoli.

 

 

Instinct Hottie of the Week is Award-Winning Director Brandon Deyette

Could he seriously be any cuter?

Instinct Magazine's Hottie of the Week is someone who you may be getting to know quite a lot over the next couple of years, as Brandon Deyette's career in the entertainment world continues to rise.

 

 

His directorial debut for the 2015 film Proxy (which he also starred in) won him a bunch of accolades and honors a couple of years back at several different film festivals. The movie details eight different characters who become connected and forever changed by the choice one man makes (it also stars actor Charlie Harding, who we featured on Instinct last year). The film is available for purchase here

 

 

His next big project is an upcoming documentary called Latter Day Glory, which details the high rise in suicide rates among LGBT Mormon youth. The film follows two gay ex-Mormon missionaries, comic book artist Terry Blas and celebrity hair stylist Jonathon Levi Powell (check out our exclusive with him here) as they travel across the United States to confront their past and explore their futures, while discussing with other gay Mormons and ex-Mormons about the rejection, oppression and the reality of a growing number of suicides they face in the LDS community.

During the film, they meet with former and current members off the LDS community including State Senator Jim DabakisNeon Trees' frontman Tyler Glenn, and Real World alumni Chris Ammon. It will premiere in the summer of 2018.

Brandon, who is now based in Los Angeles after living several years in New York City, is also in the process of developing a feature film on LGBT homeless called Kitty. Definitely someone who is on the rise in the world of filmmaking, both in and out of the community, and one you should look out for very, very soon.

For more information on Brandon, please check out his official site

 

One on One With Chef Extraordinaire Jonathan Bardzik!

Gay, handsome and can cook? Sign us up! Jonathan Bardzik has become one of the hottest chefs in and out of the Washington D.C. area, as his farm to table type of cuisine has lit up farmers markets, private gatherings, and even on the shelves at your local bookstore. 

He has developed a wonderful career for himself where he earns his coins by making other people happy and full. And who doesn't like that? He also is the author of three incredible cookbooks:  Simple Summer, Seasons to Taste, and Fresh and Magical Vinaigrettes, all of which are chock full of delicious recipes that you can make for your own friends, family or that special someone all year round.

What's even better about Jonathan is that he tells a story with his food. I've been apart of these types of events that he has hoted that have been nothing short of magical where he invites you into his table and gives you more than what is on the plate. It's a "culinary boner" if you will, as he is able to turn you on in so many ways when it comes to his cooking that you will have no choice but to leave a little sweaty and with a smile on your face.

Jonathan sat down with me at Instinct to discuss his rise in the culinary scene, including his inspirations, his major love affair with his sexy partner and how that began, and where he sees his booming career going in the future. Check it out. 

What got you into the culinary world in the first place?

I love cooking. And I love sharing the magic and joy of cooking with other people. So that’s why I started cooking seriously in my early 20’s. It took me almost 20 more years to figure out how to turn that passion into a career and where I fit in the culinary world as a storyteller, cook, keynote speaker and author.

Did you have any major inspirations growing up that helped shape you into the chef that you are today?

I know everyone says Mom, but it’s true.  Her greatest joy in life was being a mother and a homemaker. We didn’t have much money when I was young, so she gardened to grow most of our produce, Dad had chickens for fresh eggs and meat and Mom baked all the bread I ate until I was at least four years-old.

My first employer after college, Fred Dabney, was also a major influence. He did all the cooking at home and cooked well. I lived with he and his wife for a few months and we’d get to the house from work at 8 or 9 at night and he’d cook these amazing meals. I think it was my first example of someone cooking just because they loved to with no expectation that – as a mother or wife – that they had to.

Kathy Bugbee, the mother of my best friend Sandy, was the first person who demonstrated the importance of technique. I could follow these complex, sexy, foodie recipes, but she would throw a roast in the oven without looking at a recipe. I was in awe of just knowing how to cook something like that, and it’s all about technique.

How would you describe the foodie scene in Washington D.C. where you currently live?

D.C.’s food scene is a joy! This city has grown so much during the 15 years I’ve been here. In addition to the rich culinary history of the black community that has called this city home for generations, there is such an amazing community of restaurateurs and producers making everything from charcuterie to gin. When I travel home to western Mass, which also has a pretty amazing food and farming culture, I realize just how much access I have to cuts of meat, cheeses and so many other ingredients. This is a great place to cook and eat.

Do you find it harder for gay chefs to find their footing in the culinary industry?

I’ve never been a restaurant chef. My sense of that world is that it has been heavily male driven, like so many professions, and being gay, a woman, a person of color, have all presented challenges, but as our workforce changes more broadly I think it becomes easier – not easy – but easier.

For me, my early question was would my audiences accept me as a gay man talking about my husband and my life at home. The answer has been an unequivocal welcoming “yes.”

You've been with your partner Jason for many years now. Do you have a favorite dish that you made him that still brings back some incredible memories?

On our first anniversary I was in the middle of a ten-day business trip to Omaha, Nebraska, working 14-18 hour days. I sent a text message at about 10pm wishing him a happy anniversary. I never sent flowers and I returned home without a gift. Every year now I make up for that by making pan con tomate y jamón – Spanish tomato bread with ham, which was a favorite of Jason’s when we spent our honeymoon in Spain. I use $150 per pound jamón Ibérico de bellota – because that’s what you do every year when you forget your first anniversary. It’s a treat for us both.

What has been your proudest culinary moment to date?

Gosh, I have new ones all the time: catering a wedding for 150 on a farm without a kitchen, cooking at National Geographic and USDA, nailing a perfect Hollandaise sauce… My proudest might be the day my Mom and Dad looked through the PDF of my first book with me. It was truly a love letter to them and their marriage. We were all crying by the end.

Any chefs you are dying to work with?

So many! Every time I eat in a restaurant or watch an episode of the Mind of the Chef I think, “I would love to spend a couple hours, days, weeks in the kitchen or the office learning from them about cooking or business.” Local chef and restaurateur, Aaron Silverman of Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury fame would be a pleasure to spend a few hours talking with how he develops plates and took the risk to open such unique and uniquely priced venues. Though not a chef, I would love to talk with Martha Stewart about personal branding and creating joy for others through food and entertaining.

Ultimately, what is your biggest goal in your culinary career and are you hopeful that it will come to fruition?

I would be proud to follow in the footsteps of people like Julia Child and Martha Stewart who have fundamentally changed America’s relationship with food. Specifically, I believe that life can and should be lived well, and that living well is within reach – across many economic levels - each and every day by preparing a simple meal, setting a table and sharing it with those you love, even – and maybe especially – when that is a table for one.

We broadly see food and cooking from perspectives of fear and competition. Learning is wonderful and rewarding, but we don’t need to be chefs at home, we just need to have fun! And food should stop being looked at as lethal or medicating – we’re all looking for the next miracle or life-threatening ingredient. Real food, whole ingredients, enjoyed in a balanced diet with moderation is healthy. The rest just needs to be delicious.

For more information on Jonathan Bardzik, please check out his official website here.

Mother's Day Doesn't Have to Be That Difficult If Your Own Has Passed

The loss of the person you call "mom", no matter what your personal relationship is with her, is something that leaves a profound impact on one's life when they pass on. For some of us, we are left with happy memories as the relationship we had with them ended on good terms. For others, it can lead to a lifetime of questions as there were too many issues we had with one another that weren't resolved prior to her death. And for many of us in the LGBTQ community, we had mothers who didn't approve of our lifestyle and we never really got to wonder if they ever came to terms with who we are before they died.

Mother's Day can easily be the roughest out of the entire year for anyone who has lost their own mom, or "mum" or however you would like to refer to her. From my personal experience, it is tougher than the holidays, her birthday, my own birthday and many others as it is a day designed specifically for the mother in our life, and the constant distraction of Hallmark cards, social media posts and friends checking in to see if you are OK can be completely overwhelming.

It has been over a decade since my own mother passed from cancer, and the pain of her loss still resonates greatly with me today. Often times I wonder about the hypothetical "road not taken", except in this case it was a road that I was unable to turn onto as I couldn't become that superhero of sorts and get that disgusting cancer out of her body.

She was a fantastic woman, great parent, sister, daughter... you name it. She had a lot of issues with my sexuality when I told her I was gay, but as time went by she accepted me for who I was and it's pretty much a "mental" guarantee that she would be super supportive of me so many years later if she was here in the physical world.

Yet, when I wake up on Mother's Day, I get this overwhelming sense of grief that only happens a couple of times a year at this point. A friend of mine put it best: "Losing your mother is like a knife. The blade dulls, but it can still cut you at a moments notice." For someone like me, I never want to wake up feeling sad or think about going through the day in a depressed state, so how do you actually get through Mother's Day without having to go through either of those?

Something I have done over the past couple of years, especially if you are active on social media, is to make a post about her a day in advance of Mother's Day. Because come Sunday morning, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc will be filled with endless photos and posts about your friend's mothers that are incredibly heartfelt and touching. For me, I see it as something that emotionally exhausts me, and you never want to put yourself in that situation. Post about it a day in advance, and if you really can, stay off social media for 24 hours. Consider it a detox of sorts.

Another tip that I always find works is to search for things to make you laugh. That is the best distraction, no matter what relationship you had with your mother, is in order to really enjoy your day without the worriment that you'll be reaching for the tissues. Heck, reach for the tissues for a completely different reason there (wink, wink)! Whatever you can do to keep yourself upbeat ultimately will relieve you of the stress that is this day.

If you are someone who recently lost your mother, let's say five years or less, you are gonna get a lot of texts and calls asking "Are you OK?" Here is where you are in control. If you aren't OK... tell them! Tell the people you know will be there for you. Don't give them a PC answer of "Oh yeah, it's just another day," talk to the friends and family who will do whatever they can to make you happy. Heck, they may even take you out for a drink or dinner to cheer you up, and who can turn that down?

The bottom line is, don't be stuck in grief. Don't be stuck in misery over something you cannot control. At the end of the day (Mother's or not), it's simply not worth it.

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. 

5 Music Videos That Helped Me Figure Out I Was Gay

I consider the generation who was born in the mid to late 80's the last ones who really grew up without the emergence of technology (iPhone, iPads, Macs, etc) taking over our lives.

Yes, we had television, movies, and all of that, but there was an innocence that we got to experience that this generation doesn't. The ones growing up today also doesn't really appreciate just how amazing music videos were back in the day and how they shaped not only the lives of the artists who made them but also for a lot of people who identify as LGBTQIA. 

What I mean by that is there has been hundreds of music videos made that has helped many of us on the sleigh ride to our sexuality.  Maybe it was a beat, maybe it was a shirtless guy, maybe it was an icon that we were so drawn to that it brought us to another level in determining who we were on the spectrum of LGBTQIA.

Music, for me, will always be my greatest love. It has given me moments, when I was growing up, that helped me truly figure out my sexuality at a time when being gay wasn't the "in" thing yet. A lot of these videos aren't necessarily "gay", nor are they sung and acted out by people in our community, but from my point of view, they helped me come out when I was in high school and were a big part of why I have been an out and proud gay man for almost two decades.

Here are five music videos that helped me along the path to being happily gay.

LL Cool J- "Doin It"

LL will be my eternal crush, as he exemplifies so many traits that I find hot in a man. It was around 1996 when I was starting to really understand my attraction towards men instead of women, and when I saw this video, it pretty much pushed me over the edge to really grasping that I may just be gay. 

Madonna- "Vogue"

I was entranced by this video from the moment I saw it. The dancing in it was a technique that I had no idea about, and learned where it was inspired from when I first saw the movie Paris is Burning back in the late 90's. After seeing that film, I understood why this video had such an impact on me as a gay kid growing up in this decade, as these people represented freedom and evolution in a time where homophobia was still rampant.

George Michael- "Faith"

His butt in those jeans. Nothing more needs to be said.

Spice Girls- "Wannabe"

Here's what I love and continue to love about The Spice Girls. Their whole presence in the 90's was about "girl power". When I was figuring out my sexuality, I was able to loosely translate what they were doing and find the "girl power" inside myself that really was just being able to be an openly gay person without fear of what other people would think. I still to this day do not think they have a clue as to the impact they have made on the LGBTQIA community twenty plus years later.

Ricky Martin- "Livin La Vida Loca"

I like all types of men, no matter what their background is. However, Ricky was my first true crush outside of LL Cool J, and seeing him in this video solidified that. Call me sometime, Ricky (I know you are married, but I can dream.)

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.

Top 4 Most Amazing Moments From the GLAAD Awards are Here

The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards took place this past Saturday night at the New York Hilton Midtown.  The event was hosted by the one and only Ross Matthews, and had several celebrity guest appearances including Nyle DiMarco, Laverne Cox, Lea Michele and more.

The event celebrates another wonderful year of all the incredible things that GLAAD is doing for the LGBTQ community as well as awarding major movies, magazines, television shows and more that have impacted us in a truly positive way.  

It was a true honor to be there that night, as the room itself was electrified with so many amazing moments that showcased how amazing our community can be when we all get together and try to do something.  Here is a recap of the four best moments from the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

 

 

Adam Lambert and Melissa Etheridge, who are not exactly wallflowers when it comes to how they perform, literally brought the house down with a mind blowing performance of her 1993 Grammy-nominated hit "I'm The Only One." I definitely wasn't the "only one" who noticed just how amazing these two are on stage, as their energy with one another was nothing short of electric.  

 

 

Orange is the New Black and Handmaid's Tale star Samira Wiley was the recipient of the Vito Russo Award on Saturday night, and took the opportunity to discuss her coming out story as well as her incredible marriage with her wife Lauren.  She also had a very important message to give to our LGBTQ youth while on stage: "You are loved. You have a community that is here for you. Is dedicated to protecting to you. And accepts you for exactly who you are, right in this moment."

 

 

Jay-Z's mother Gloria Carter received a special recognition award that was presented to her by legendary journalist and Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts. Her son featured her on his song "Smile", which tells of his mother’s struggles and of his unwavering love and support for her: “Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian. Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian. Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate. Society shame and the pain was too much to take. Cried tears of joy when you fell in love. Don't matter to me if it's a him or her. I just wanna see you smile through all the hate." 

During her speech on stage, she discussed the impact of what coming out has had on her family and several others across the world. The most powerful moment from her speech came when she said "“Love gave me the courage to take the power that I allowed other people to have over my life for fear of them revealing my secret.” 

 

 

The most emotional moment of the night, at least for me, was when NBA star Reggie Bullock came to the stage to discuss his transgender sister Mia Henderson, who he lost to fatal violence back in 2014.  The whole speech brought tears to my eyes, but when he mentioned how he wanted to be the first NBA player to wear a rainbow jersey, I nearly lost myself. 

For more information on GLAAD, please check out their official website

2018’s Bears You Should Know: Who Made the Inspiring List?

Sometimes the bear community gets so wrapped up in its own issues that we forget just how wonderful this group really is.  Last year, Manhattan Digest featured several different men who have done some inspirational and heartfelt things in and out of the bear community, and this year is no different.

The 2018 list for Bears You Should Know spans the globe from New York City to all the way down under in Australia.  These are men who are going above and beyond the call in many facets of life including some of the amazing charity work that they do which helps thousands upon thousands of other people in the process.  Outside of that, they are all superbly kind, generous and sweet men that you should definitely get to know in 2018 and beyond.

Here is the outstanding list of the men who made 2018’s Bears You Should Know.  Take a look.

Leland Coffey: Cleveland, Ohio

He’s a former military man, father of two, and all around good guy who may have an intimidating look to him but that could not be further from the case.  The current Cleveland resident, who used to reside in South Carolina, has developed a major following on social media as he has become one of the biggest bear models in the world. Leland has also been able to pose for legendary photographers like Mack Sturgis and Michael Alago and has also become one of the go to go-go dancers in New York City and beyond.  He also happens to be one of the nicest people you will ever meet, as he has a compassion and kindness about him that everyone in the world should have. 

Michael Wright- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michael, who is originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina but now calls Philadelphia home, has also become a major force in the bear modeling world as his social media pages rank in the thousands with the variety of photos he takes that features a ton of apparel from gay-owned businesses. On top of that, Michael is a business owner in himself, as he runs an adult day care center, something that his own mother started to do almost thirty years ago.  He is also developing his own line of T-shirts called Beardedikon as well as a nutrition program which is in the works.  Consider him a bear “Jack of all trades” kind of dude.

Keoki Smith: Sydney, Australia

Try not to drool here when it comes to how incredibly handsome Keoki is.  The Atlanta native, who currently resides in Sydney, Australia, has an incredibly charitable heart both in and out of the bear community.  He has worked in the past with programs that deliver meals to those in the community who can’t afford proper nutrition or are too sick to prepare their own meals.  It’s something he says is his favorite to do as you get to meet people from all walks of life who have such incredible stories to share.  He’s also taken part in several AIDS walks in Atlanta and has helped children in need during the holiday season.  All of this just makes you want to give him a big bear hug for what he does in terms of giving back.

Steve Rees: Manchester, United Kingdom

Steve is a fellow writer and journalist who runs a gay bears publication with Grahame Robertson called Bears United Magazine, which is a digital magazine aimed at the bear, cub and admirer community in the United Kingdom and Ireland.  It’s a publication that is written and designed entirely by volunteers, as they aim to offer a unique, fresh and funny approach on being a bear, cub or admirer.  Outside of the wonderful world of journalism that Steve inhabits, he also works with a group called Manbears-Manchester that organizes to big events across the pond including The Great British bear Bash in May and Pre-Hibeearnation coming up in November.  Consider him an all-encompassing bear when it comes to highlighting the positives in what our community can really be.

Travis Smith & Chris Bale: Palm Springs, California

Modern Bear creators Travis Smith and Chris Bale have already had a busy year. It started in February with their hugely successful annual PopulArt Party held during IBC. Thinking outside the "bear box," the duo curated an art exhibit of local Palm Springs artists, threw in a DJ and Go-Go Bears, and suddenly, it wasn't your average art show!  They just filmed a comedic appearance in an episode of "Where The Bears Are," and are working with Bear World TV to create new programming, something they are very excited about. Travis elaborates; "Chris and I have written several pilot scripts for different concepts, and it feels good that BWT is excited as we are in producing one of them. It would be so awesome to get a bear-related show a production deal!"

But they are most proud to be "Guardian Angel" sponsors of Sanctuary, which provides a physical and emotional environment of health, education and kindness for LGBT teens in Foster Care in the Palm Springs area. Sanctuary enables LGBT teens who have been disowned by their families, a temporary home where they can re-group and have a safe place to live while they re-build their lives. "When we heard about Sanctuary, we immediately wanted to help, so we threw a Modern Bear Tea Dance and donated all the proceeds. The dance was such a hit, we will continue to do more of them throughout the year, to continue raising funding for Sanctuary," explains Chris.

Both Travis and Chris live busy lives in the gay Mecca Palm Springs, Chris as a Realtor specializing in Mid Century Modern properties popular in the area, and Travis is an interior designer for H3K Design, which specializes in restoring Mid Century period homes. Hmmm, sounds like a great TV show!

Mike Flanagan: Brooklyn, New York

Mike is a multi-award-winning songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has released two albums under his artist-name MRF; Elevator Music and the chart-topping Mob Music. Most recently, he won the Lennon Award in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Hip-Hop category for “Mob Music". Mike took home Humanitarian Songwriter of the Year Award in the 9th annual OUTmusic Awards, where he held 5 nominations (the highest for that year) and won for his ode to LGBT Youth, “Be Strong”. The Billboard-charting artist currently live in Brooklyn, NY and works with frequent collaborator Lisa Bello, preparing for the release of her new album Tommy Boy, out May 11th.  Mike performs a weekly residency at ReBar Chelsea on Sundays from 4-7PM and teaches songwriting part time at NYU. He will also be performing at the 2018 Urban Bear Street Fair on May 20th.  Be on the lookout for him as his musically-inclined star power continues to rise.

Peter Pablo Menuier: West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Peter is undergoing quite the mission right now, as he is training for a Tough Ruck marathon which is hosted by the Boston Marathon Association.  It’s something that supports military families, first responders and veterans along with anyone who lost their life in battle.  It’s something that he decided to join as a civilian as his roommate, who happens to be his best friend, has served and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s something that he did not only to support him, but also to support the LGBTQ community that is representing our country right now.  With all the controversy surrounding the transgender community and the military, it’s something that he is more than proud to step up to and show that we are all human and we are capable of doing anything regardless of your background.  This self-proclaimed “chubby gay man” will “ruck” 26.2 miles to support his military but most importantly his fellow LGBTQ family.  He claims that when he’s done, he’ll tweet his photo and medal to Donald Trump.  “Not everything is a choice, but for to support my beliefs was,” he said.

Greg Kerr: Portland, Oregon

Greg, 53, is a lifelong west coast Bear, as he was born and raised in Los Angeles, then moved to the Bay Area in 2009, and has called Portland his home for almost a decade now.  The work that he does professionally is truly inspirational, as he is part of a non-profit company whose mission is to help college students succeed.  Inside the bear community, Greg has found himself as an inspiration to other men who tell him he doesn’t fit a “particular mold” when it comes to finding yourself in this world.  “I really do give less f**ks about conforming and style and such, and hope that others uncomplicate their emotional attachments as a community and refocus that emotion towards each other, as individuals,” he exclaimed.  It’s that sort of mentality that has allowed several men to reach out to him either on social media and in real life, who seek him out for advice, wisdom, and guidance, which is something he feels honored to do.  “At the end of the day, I want guys to feel happy and accepting toward each other - regardless of race, gender identity, age, etc.  My message is to balance your time on social media, especially the apps, with face to face time because really, that's what it's important.  Be there of one another because we live in a scary world now.”

Stanley Hughes: New York, New York

Stanley has been helping the bear community by promoting large scale events like Beefcake, which is ultimately designed for bears, chubs, muscle bears, cubs and basically anyone that wants to have fun.  One that he also helps put together is the upcoming 6th Annual Beefcake Pride Cruise, which happens to be the biggest bear event during gay pride in New York City each year.  Outside of that, he is also a known photographer who loves to take photos of bears and promoting that you can be sexy no matter what your size is.  Within that, he loves taking photos of big men of colors who have had a hard time finding a place, bar or club to fit in.  It’s something that he enjoys doing as it promotes an environment where all types of men can feel comfortable, have fun, and be desired all at the same time.

Pearse Egan: Dublin, Ireland

This half-Irish, half-Brazilian dude has developed quite a big resume for himself that spans the career choices of both sports and acting.  For one, he is a huge force in the field of rugby, so much so that he was featured in the 2015 documentary called Scrum, which is about the journey of three players on the Sydney Convicts team as they prepare physically and mentally for the 2014 Bingham Cup.  He’s also a budding actor, where outside of Scrum he was recently featured in the 2017 short Calling Home. It’s a career that he’s always loved, as he’s expressed himself as a natural storyteller but also enjoys immersing himself in another character which makes the experience so much more enticing for him.

What’s truly wonderful beyond that about Pearse is that he has taken his experience of being bullied as a kid and has fueled that into promoting self-love and compassion towards others, which is incredibly vital in our community today.

Dean Malka: Toronto, Canada

Dean is an owner of the wildly successful clothing company called Swish Embassy, which has a motto of “Wear a conversation piece.” A local to Toronto, Dean wanted to create a brand for gay men of all ages, shapes and sizes that would break through the app-focused social skills of today.  Swish Embassy is meant to deliver fun, social clothes that are especially relevant or topical in the gay community. It’s something that he did in part to create conversation pieces between gay men when they are out and about as it cuts the pressure of speaking to a stranger and telling that person “OMG! I love your shirt!”  At the same time, the aura is fun and approachable, and you can get away with wearing most of the designs as much at a gay bar as at a suburban big box store.  It’s something that gives Dean a big thrill, as he grins ear to ear whenever he sees a guy getting approached at a bar with someone commenting on his Swish Embassy shirt.

Matthew Principe: Astoria, New York

After years of performing onstage and subsequently working for classical music arts organizations like The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera, Matthew has also worked on independent projects focusing on several aspects of queer expression or sexuality.  He produced the GLAAD Media Award-winning stage play, Candy and Dorothy, as well as the award-winning short films Monsura is Waiting, Stag, ribbons, and Epiphany V.  As a member of the Diversity Committee in the Producers Guild of America East, he continues the conversation on LGBT inclusiveness in hiring practices as well as representation (and further, depiction) of LGBT subjects in media and content creation. Matthew is also a tireless advocate for queer voices in every instance of arts and culture, knowing freedom of expression is paramount to progress.

Tony Lima: Miami Shores, Florida

Tony, 44, is the Executive Director of SAVE, Florida’s longest serving organization dedicated to protecting people who are LGBTQ against discrimination.  Under his leadership, SAVE has had the biggest wins towards LGBTQ equality in the organizations’ 25-year history. In 2015, SAVE successfully sued the state of Florida to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2014, SAVE passed comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals at the Miami-Dade County Commission and the organization has also helped elect a record number of its endorsed candidates to win their elections.  Outside of his wonderful work, Tony is a lover of theater and dance who is happily partnered and loves spending time with his family, in particular his four nephews and niece.

 

5 Phenomenal Queer Couples Who Attended Prom in 2018

For as much hate as millennials get, one thing that they have gotten truly right is their ability to accept others for who they are.  This could not be truer than the vast amount of queer couples who have attended prom this year, as they have been showcasing just how special their night was all over social media.

Going to prom with someone with someone of the same sex or identifies with you as LGBTQ is something that is still somewhat frowned upon, but honestly, we are getting there. This was a non-issue even a decade ago as many of us would never dream of bringing our boyfriends or girlfriends to the prom.  Now, it's becoming more and more normal, and these incredible photos prove that and then some. Take this high school football star who went to prom with his swim team boyfriend.  Truly awesome. 

Here's hoping that this generation continues their compassion and kindness onto the next so homophobia will continue to be a thing of the past.  Glad that all these couples got to experience a one of a kind night with the person they love that will hopefully give them memories they will never, ever forget.

 

 

Prom 2k18 was one for the ages

A post shared by Jake Bain (@jake.bain) on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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