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Intersex Awareness Day 2017

Intersex Awareness Day 2017
A graphic created by Anthony Ramirez for Intersex Awareness Day 2017.

Everything you need to know about what it means to be intersex on Intersex Awareness Day

(HOUSTON) — For many in the LGBTQ community, there’s a tendency to forget that the spectrum doesn’t stop at the Q. In fact, the acronym often includes a + at the end, to maintain inclusivity of all the people who aren’t abbreviated in the acronym. However it is seldom remembered that LGBTQ+ is actually LGBTQIA: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual.

Many of these terms have been imbedded into our memory by now. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual are the most simple to understand for people outside the community, with trans seeming new to straight, cis-gender people (it’s not new, by the way). Asexuality could be perceived as simple explain to anyone who has no grasp on the subject. But when the word ‘intersex’ is thrown around, most people (including many in the LGBTQIA community) don’t have a clear understanding of what being intersex means.

Today, October 26th is National Intersex Awareness Day. The date marks fourteen years since the Intersex Society of North America (which ceased operations last year in 2016) first commemorated of the event back in 2003. The significance of October 26th, however, comes from that very date back in 1996 when the first public demonstration of intersex awareness was made in Boston by the ISNA. Despite the dissolving of the ISNA, October 26th (as well as National Intersex Day of Solidarity on November 8th) are currently maintained and promoted by the the Intersex Day Project, headed by Morgan Carpenter and Laura Inter since 2015.

Still, the question remains for many people within and outside of the community: what exactly is it to be intersex? Many people (wrongly) associate being intersex with being trans. This is not the case. In fact, it’s completely different altogether. So, to help spread awareness and clear up these misconceptions about being intersex on Intersex Awareness Day, I’ve compiled a list of facts about being intersex that will hopefully serve to create a better understanding of the subject.

  1. What exactly does intersex mean?

The trouble with that question is that being intersex has several aspects. In fact, the term is an umbrella for many variations of similar body types. According to IntersexDay.org, “Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that don’t meet medical and social norms for female or male bodies.” This can many any number of things, with innumerable variations of genitals and reproductive organs that don’t correlate to binary standards.

  1. Is being intersex the same as being a hermaphrodite?

No. For years, hermaphrodite was used synonymously with intersex. This lasted until the mid-20th century, but modern medicine has since begun to segregate the two from one another. By definition, a hermaphrodite is a living organism with both male and female reproductive organs. However due the complexity and presentation of intersex genitalia, including the varieties in which the reproductive organs present, the two have become medically disassociated with one another.

  1. How common is intersexuality?

According to the website for for the Intersex Society of North America, calculating these numbers can be tricky and often controversial. To let them better explain, we have provided a link to their FAQ page where the topic can be summed up in more detail, which can be found here

  1. What happens when intersex is identified at birth?

When identified at birth, many parents make the decision to take medical action to assign their child one binary gender. However, due to the the medical complexities behind intersexuality, a child who is assigned a binary gender at birth may not grow up to identify with the gender they were assigned. Intersex pertains not only to the presentation of the person’s genitalia, but also to the hormones the body produces and the functions of the body—which often are neither male nor female, but instead sometimes somewhere in between. One intersex person—who identifies as female—said in an interview with Cosmo that while she identifies with female and presents with fully-functional female reproductive organs, her body does not produce natural estrogen. This is just one of many ways that intersex can present itself in the human body.

  1. How do intersex people identify in terms of sexual orientation?

Just like with all other people, gender and sexuality are mutually exclusive of one another and are fluid. Intersex people are just people! They’re sexually active and enjoy dating just like all other people. Just like all the other important members of the LGBTQIA spectrum, it’s important to recognize that no matter with which gender or orientation intersex people identify, they were born who they are.

It’s time for people on and off the LGBTQIA spectrum to start being more cognizant of intersex people and to be more inclusive of them. A great starting point is with Intersex Awareness Day, and Intersex Day of Solidarity on November 8th. Ignorance on the matter only leads to exclusivity, and just like all other people—straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans, cis, and asexual—intersex people should be recognized and celebrated.

After all, they’re only human. They just want to be treated as such and seen by the rest of the world.

So, today, celebrate an intersex person in your life. If you don’t know anyone who is intersex, celebrate the entire intersex community. Show your support and lift them up. Explain to someone who doesn’t know what it means to be intersex. Spread awareness so that intersex people don’t continue to be swept under the rug.

For more information on intersex awareness, visit IntersexDayProject.org or ISNA.org.

Houston Face Awards

Love Me Tinder, Pt. I

Less Than Butterflies Gay Dating Houston

Less Than Butterflies Column

“Some people are settling down; some people are settling; and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.”

–Candace Bushnell

Generally speaking, dating can be fun. Dating in Houston, on the other hand, can often feel . . . obligatory. In a city of over five million people, one might think that the options available are vast and perennial. After all, all our friends are doing it. Right? If they aren’t, they’ve probably already settled down or have at least settled for someone because they were tired of mining through the endless herds of undatable people.

For gay men in Houston, it’s usually always the same sort. There’s lives-with-his-parents guy, has-too-many-roommates guy, just-wants-to-hook-up guy, wants-to-fall-in-love-immediately guy, and often even gay-republican guy—the worst of them all. And the dates? Well, they all seem repetitive, too. Dinner at Cyclone Anaya’s in Midtown; $10 bottles of wine at Barnaby’s (an option I don’t particularly hate); ice skating at Discovery Green in the wintertime; dancing and doing coke at South Beach (FYI: not a date, gentlemen).

Inevitably, there comes the postcoital wave of regretlooking over at a stranger who is just as ready for you to leave as you are to leave; sneaking out of some shitty Montrose hellhole apartment in the wee hours of the morning, just as the sprinklers of the neighborswhose luxurious townhome you’d hoped to be hooking up inpower on; forgetting you Ubered to your hook-up.

For we Millennials, a subtle escape from this trap has been air-dropped into our phones. Several, actually. Tinder, Scruff, J-Date, Farmer’s Only, GrindrI’m still waiting on the lesbian hookup app called Lickr. Still, there’s a certain conceit behind dating in queer culture—especially so following the introduction of these dating apps. They’ve stepped in and started minimizing the once boastful, giddy romance of meeting the right person. There are no meet-cutes anymore. There are no accidental run-ins at the bookshop or a coffee house. Romance has left the building, now replaced by right swipes and recognizable pings coming from cell phones when someone attractive is nearby.

I, personally, have never taken Tinder seriously. Still, every now and again a conversation might spark between me and no one in particular that would ultimately lead down a rabbit hole of realizations that we had nothing in common and that the person on the opposite side was only looking for sex. Neither suited my fancy; and I never even entertained the idea of meeting any of these men.

There was, however, one occasion in which I was able to hold a decent conversation with a man, and we kept it going sporadically for a couple months to follow. Our interests were quite similar: musicals, books, etc. Once or twice I even thought maybe I should ask this boy—we’ll call him Ezra Rochester—for a date. Still, I found myself at a loss of nerves and never made the leap to do so. I knew little about him, other than the fact that he loved musicals as much as I did and that he had an adorable dog I was probably more interested in meeting than I was him.

As the time passed, I found myself in a relationship with a boy I’d met at The Room Bar in North Houston. We dated briefly before I realized he was dumber than a hot bag of stones, but it was just long enough for me to have rid myself of my Tinder app. When the guy from the bar and I broke up, I didn’t think about Ezra. He was just a picture and a conversation in an app I’d deleted. It never occurred to me that in a city of over five million people, chance might bring us together.


Ezra turned out to be much cuter in person than he was in photos. Not to say that he wasn’t attractive in his pictures. After all, I’d swiped right for some reason. He was shorter than me, but not terribly so. He had forsaken his glasses in the name of Lasik. He was clean-shaven; and he didn’t have terrible teeth. It was enough for me.

We met like any other two people who had once upon a time matched on Tinder. I, the volunteer chair for Pride Houston, was hosting an orientation a few weeks out from the parade and festival. He was there to learn the ins-and-outs of being a volunteer. I didn’t recognize him at first. If I had to remember the face of every man I’ve ever seen on Tinder, I’d be in a great deal of trouble. It wasn’t until he was gone and I had already been doing a great deal of flirting (as pointed out by my friend Alice) that I took it upon myself to Facebook-stalk him.

“Omigod,” I muttered to Alice. “We matched on Tinder like in the fall of last year. Christ. I was just shamelessly flirting with him.”

“You really were,” Alice muttered.

“Was he flirting back?” I asked.

Alice looked thoughtful for a moment—a common look that crosses her face but often remains stuck to it once the thought has passed or imploded. “I don’t know. I think maybe a little. It’s hard to tell.”

I made up my mind then. I had for the first time met someone from Tinder—even if unintentionally. I wasn’t sure whether or not I believed in coincidence, but I knew that in a city as large, as spread-out, and as heavily populated as Houston, two people didn’t just happen upon each other in this way very often. It could have meant nothing. In fact, it probably didn’t mean a thing at all. Still, I wasn’t going to find out if I didn’t see it through.

The day of the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration 2017, Ezra spent nearly the entire day volunteering and was even the last of my volunteers to leave. To say things wouldn’t have gotten done without him—at least not as quickly as they did—would be an understatement. And at the end of it all, as he, Alice, and I watched the last U-Haul drive off carrying supplies, looking back up at Houston’s City Hall, Ezra turned his attention back us both, gave an awkward smile, and said, “Well . . . see you next year.”

“Next year?!” I shrieked as soon as he was out of earshot. “I don’t even know if I like him yet or not and I have to wait until next year to find out?”

“You could just go over there and ask him out,” Alice suggested.

Not an option.

I didn’t then nor do I feel it’s fair to ask someone out after a 12-hour volunteer shift in the splintering sun. No rational decisions could be made. Still, there was something compelling about him that I didn’t quite understand at the time. He was cute, and completely awkward and nerdy (my default type). It could have been the way that he had a playfully combative response to each and every witty thing that I said. It could have even been the dryness of his humor. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that a boy put a smile on my face while I was altogether sober that I hadn’t met in a bar like so many before him.

Continue to Part II

Houston Face Awards

RuPaul’s Michelle Visage Will Co-Host Halloween Contest In Montrose

RuPaul's Michelle Visage Halloween Montrose

RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge Michelle Visage Heads To South Beach, Jr’s Bar & Grill To Co-Host Halloween’s Biggest Block Party In Houston And Judge Costume Contest In South Beach

(Houston) — How could Houston’s LGBTQ+ annual Halloween block party get better? By adding a big-bosomed personality known as Michelle Visage is how! South Beach and Jr’s Bar & Grill in Montrose will welcome Michelle to co-host the annual Halloween shindig on Saturday, October 28. (Prior to Halloween.)Starting at 9:00 PM inside South Beach.

South Beach, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Montrose has become notorious for booking the ‘best of the best’ from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The club welcomes at least one RuPaul contestant a week.

597b74912100008860fc9281-676x1024 RuPaul's Michelle Visage Will Co-Host Halloween Contest In Montrose

You probably know Michelle Visage best as the beautiful, big-bosomed sidekick to Ru Paul on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her personality fills the screen more than the competing queens and her cascading breasts combined. Her sense of humor is bone dry and a little bit filthy, all things required in the Houston scene.

South Beach the nightclub, along with Jr’s Bar & Grill join the City of Houston, with a street closure in Montrose in the 800 Pacific Street occurring promptly at 9 PM. Drag Superstar Kofi will host the popular outdoor events that will include a Halloween costume contest.

Michelle joined RuPaul’s Drag Race for the third season and has won the hearts of the viewers and queens with her straight to the point critiques, her passion and her love for the LGBTQ+ community.

For more information visit South Beach or Jr’s Bar & Grill on their social media pages.

Houston Face Awards

6th Annual G.L.U.E. Weekend Raises Thousands For Houston Charity

About Magazine GLUE Weekend 2017
Mister Third Coast Leather 2017 John Miley (center) and Judges (left to right) Rylee Janus Spire, Dan Ronneberg, David Bailey, (and on the right) Ralph Bruneau and Dirk Caber (Jack Parton)

As The 6th Annual G.L.U.E. Weekend Ends, The Event Raises Thousands Of Dollars For A Local Charity.

(HOUSTON) — Misfits Houston celebrated their 25th anniversary this year by presenting the 6th Annual GLUE Weekend, held October 6th through the 8th. G.L.U.E (Gear, Leather, Uniform, Etc.) Weekend an annual fundraising event held every Columbus Day Weekend that raises money for local LGBTQ+ Charities.

The 2017 recipient was Gender Infinity that provides aid and counseling to members of the Houston Trans community. With the help and generosity of Houston’s LGBTQ+ and Leather Community, over $7500 raised for Gender Infinity.

GLUE Weekend hosted a variety of activities including a pool party at Club Houston, lunch with Sandy “Mama” Reinhardt,  an ongoing vendor mart with Leather Masters and House of MarKus, with the two main events being the Mister Third Coast Gear and Mister Third Coast Leather Contests held at the RIPCORD.

IMG_1513-199x300 6th Annual G.L.U.E. Weekend Raises Thousands For Houston Charity
Celebrity Barber Pete Karjalainen grooming Celebrity Judge Dirk Caber

 

During these events, the Misfits, assisted by the Houston Firedancers, conducted silent auctions to raise money additional funds for charity. Guest Celebrity Barber Pete was on hand all weekend keeping guys (and gals) looking their best and donating his fees to the charity.

“We were extremely privileged to have been joined by International Mister Leather 2017, Ralph Bruneau, who was our head judge for the Mister Third Coast Leather contest as well as the Keynote Speaker at our Officer’s Luncheon on Sunday,” Misfits Houston President Michael Snyder tells About Magazine.

“He spoke passionately about his work with the #BornPerfect campaign to stop harmful conversion therapy here in America and around the world. His speech brought tears to the eyes of many who have lived through their own hardships in a world which would see us change to fit their ideals rather than accept and love us the way we are. When finished we were all on our feet applauding him and his efforts. “

George Country Sports Bar welcomed the Victory Party, as a DJ entertained under outdoor tents. Celebrity Guest Judge Dirk Caber, along with Misfits Houston’s Krash Masters, raised over $300 in additional donations via a 50/50 raffle! Barber Pete, ever the trooper, spent several hot hours during the victory party grooming the men to perfection.

IMG_1512-1024x793 6th Annual G.L.U.E. Weekend Raises Thousands For Houston Charity
Mister Third Coast Leather 2017 John Miley (center) and Judges (left to right) Rylee Janus Spire, Dan Ronneberg, David Bailey, (and on the right) Ralph Bruneau and Dirk Caber (Jack Parton)

Event judges included Ralph Brunea, David Bailey, Dan Ronneberg, Rylee Janus Spire and Dirk Caber for the Leather contest.  Mama Reinhardt, Paul Fox Gonzales and Chip Ware for the Gear contest. Event host emcee, Loyd Powell for the leather contest and co-emcee Crystal Rae Lee Love for the gear contest. Heather Thomas shined as always as a performer during the Leather contest.

Official venues included: The Houston Ripcord, George Country Sports Bar, Club Houston, and the Crown Plaza Houston River Oaks. For a complete list of those who made this weekend so epic check out the Misfits Houston Facebook or GLUE Weekend.

GLUE Weekend will be held Friday, October 5th through Sunday, October 7th in 2018, mark your calendars now.

Houston Face Awards