(Beaumont) – Anita Carrillo’s visit to the Goodyear Auto Service Center for an oil change did not flow too well.
The sticker placed in the top left of her windshield to remind her of her next oil change had an extra message: “UR GAY,” Carillo said.
“My shirt that I had on was multicolored, maybe he thought I was trying to represent gay pride or something, I have no clue,” she said.
To this day, Carrillo is not sure why the mechanic printed the message, but she knew it was not professional. So she contacted a manager.
“He didn’t really apologize for it, he just kind of made an excuse for it,” Carrillo said.
Carrillo took her complaint to Facebook and posted a picture of the altered sticker. It went viral in Southeast Texas and it got the attention of Goodyear.
“I got speak to a higher-up manager and he really apologized and he was like this shouldn’t have happened and he took action,” Carillo said.
On Tuesday, he gave Carrillo her money back, and a new sticker without any creative messages on it. Carrillo hopes her ordeal inspires others to put the brakes on bad customer service.
Carrillo said the manager told her the mechanic that put the offensive sticker on her SUV is no longer with Goodyear.
PFLAG Beaumont Presents: The Sock Hop
PFLAG Beaumont hosting the Sock Hop on October 20th, 2018, which will feature dance and costume contests for the LGBTQIA community.
Grease back your hair or whip out your poodle skirt for PFLAG Beaumont’s 1950s themed dance party, Saturday, October 20, beginning at 7 p.m. at The LogOn Café, located at 3805 Calder.
“I loved watching all the kids dancing at Sock Hops when I was growing up,” Calvin Jorden, PFLAG Beaumont treasurer, said. “They always had lots of fun and this going to a great time.”
The evening will begin at 7 p.m with dance instructor, J.P. Richards lending a helping hand to patrons wanting to hone their dancing skills. Richards will be instructing those interested in learning a few common steps of the era.
“You can’t help but want to dance when you hear all the bebop hits of the time,” Donny Avery, who will be emceeing the evening as his drag personality, Sparkle Motion, said. “We have been having the greatest time just getting our outfits together.”
The Sock Hop will feature a dance contest, costume contest and sock contest beginning at 9:30 p.m.
“We want to encourage community members to come even if they don’t know the Lindy Hop or own a poodle skirt,” Avery said. “The throwback music and nostalgic atmosphere aren’t offered every weekend – I think it is great we can offer a unique experience for the community.”
After awards are distributed, Olivia Gardner and Sparkle Motion will perform.
PFLAG Beaumont is a registered nonprofit. The organization’s mission is to educate, advocate and support the LGBTQIA community and allies.
“This event isn’t just for fun,” Jacqueline Hays, PFLAG Beaumont President said. “We will also have information available highlighting the trials the LGBTQIA community faced at social events during the Sock Hop era.”
For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.
Introducing Dr. Eric Walser – Trailblazer in Prostate Cancer Treatment
Just down near the Gulf in Galveston, Dr. Eric Walser and his team of talented medical health professionals at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Wavelengh Medical are tackling prostate cancer in a new way.
(GALVESTON) – There are a number of medical concerns that plague the LGBTIA community. When we think about health crises, a lot of thoughts can tend to center around topics such as HIV/AIDS, safe sex practices, hormone replacement therapy, and suicide coupled with the dangers of untreated mental health. While none of these issues are necessarily specific to just our community, they have historically played a larger role in the lives of LGBTQIA people than they have in other communities. However, it is important for queer-identifying people to remember that these are not the only concerns that could arise in their lives. Queer people, just like all other people, are susceptible to problems in all the other varying realms of healthcare. One of which that does not discriminate against people of any sexual orientation or gender identification is cancer.
Cancer appears in individuals of all sorts in various forms. For some, it can affect the brain, others the breasts, but can appear anywhere from within the bones to atop the skin and to any other part of the body. For many, this can mean the prostate. For those who aren’t familiar with the prostate, it is the gland that surrounds the bladder in people born anatomically male. It is the organ responsible for the propulsion of seminal fluid and the velocity of urination. And while it is known to be one of the more treatable cancers and has an extremely high survival rate, it is still an issue that—like all other cancers—can consume the patient’s life while undergoing treatment, especially so if left long undetected. Just like with all other cancers, the key to survival is early detection.
This isn’t just a problem for men, however. Often, the relevance of the prostate can even expand to transgender women, regardless of whether or not they’ve undergone reassignment surgery from male to female. As it turns out, during transitional surgeries (which often happen over the course of several procedures and after intensive hormone replacement therapy) the prostate is not typically removed due to potential complications with the surrounding nerves and blood vessels surrounding it. That said, trans women and those who identify as gender nonbinary, like cisgender men, should be cognizant of the need for prostate cancer screenings.
For this to happen, between the ages of 40 and 50-years-old, a person should be meeting regularly with a licensed physician (typically a primary care physician if the person has one) to begin having the prostate checked regularly throughout the remainder of their adult life. When this happens, the physician will be checking the patient’s prostate-specific antigen (or PSA) typically through blood test, looking to see if the patient has normal PSA levels. What is considerably adequate for good prostate health is a level under 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) in the blood draw. However, if that number is upward of 4 ng/mL, the doctor will monitor these levels to watch for an uptick. Because PSA levels are not diagnostic, they are not necessarily indicative of prostate cancer. This is only the first step in the process of obtaining a conclusive diagnosis. In fact, stimulation of the prostate resulting in an active gland can cause these levels to rise through exercise, manual labor, or sexual activity. The uptake in PSA levels could also very simply be due to a prostate that is inflamed, but not breeding cancerous cells. That being said, to rule out the chance of prostate cancer, the patient’s physician will at this point refer the patient to a specialist. From there, the specialist—a urologist (or a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract) in this case— will carry out measures to ascertain a diagnosis.
Now, this is where things get a bit more complicated. The most commonly practiced method for diagnosing prostate cancer from this point is for the urologist to perform what is known as a “blind” biopsy. What is meant by the word ‘blind’ is that the urologist has not performed an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) in order to assess whether or not a cancerous lesion is visible on the prostate. The process of performing a biopsy without an MRI involves sticking approximately 12-15 needles into the gland to take samples.
Enter Dr. Eric Walser, an interventional radiologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and physician at Wavelength Medical practice who believes that this may not be the best practice of diagnosing prostate cancer. As a radiologist, Dr. Walser understands the importance and benefits of not performing a biopsy without imaging, and instead has the MRI performed preemptive of the poking and prodding in order to see if a biopsy is even necessary. By performing the scan ahead of the biopsy, Dr. Walser is able to screen for cancerous lesions in the prostate. If a lesion is found, a biopsy can then be ordered with a more specific target zone so that only 2-3 needles need to be inserted into the gland as opposed to the aforementioned 12-15. By minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure, Dr. Walser’s methods can decrease the chance of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction that can often be side effects of the biopsy. Additionally, a patient who undergoes a biopsy will still likely be asked to undergo an MRI, as well. Unfortunately due to the amount of blood that will appear on the scan if done too soon after biopsy, the patient can often be asked to wait anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to have the MRI performed if the biopsy comes back positive. And while this isn’t the standard practice for physicians in this field, evidence supporting it is appearing rapidly. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study just this past May, which concluded that having an MRI performed before a biopsy, or having an MRI-targeted biopsy performed, is the superior method of diagnosis.
But diagnosis isn’t where Dr. Walser’s interest in prostate cancer ends; and understanding his next move may come easier with a little background on his career. Dr. Walser once practiced medicine at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida where he was researching focal laser ablation (or surgical removal) of cancer from the lungs and liver. While researching these methods of treatment, Dr. Walser saw the opportunity to make a difference with those suffering from prostate cancer. For a long time, there were only a few options for conquering prostate cancer, which are still the most commonly practiced today. The first of which is radiation therapy (whether it be internal or external) to try to kill the cancer cells, which is sometimes accompanied by hormone therapy. Hormone therapy (though not a cure for cancer) is a method by which a physician will reduce the level of androgens in the body in order to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells, as cancer cells feed off androgens and use them to grow. Radiation, however, does not come without side effects, as radiation is toxic to organic matter, of which the human body is composed. According the American Cancer Society, radiation in its varied forms can lead to troubles with the bowels, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and impotency. The other option, and often one of the more popular among physicians and their patients, is total removal of the prostate, or prostatectomy. This too can lead to issues of urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, but also can leave damaging amounts of scar tissue that may affect a physician’s ability to cut through and reach the area necessary to treat the patient again if the cancer were to recur.
And that’s where Dr. Walser’s love of focal laser ablation is helping those with prostate cancer. With his method, Dr. Walser is using focal laser ablation to excise cancer with a laser rather than removing the entirety of the prostate or poisoning the body with radiation in order to keep the prostate intact and, in turn, minimize the invasiveness of the entire course of treatment—from diagnosis to recovery. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, recurrence of prostate cancer can happen in anywhere from 30-90% of people after initial remission. This relapse generally takes places after 5-7 years of treatment and remission. However, through his studies and practices, Dr. Walser is coming to find that the chances of recurrence using his methods is somewhere near 15%—a drastic difference. However, since laser ablation for prostate cancer is new, there is not enough follow up to fully compare it to traditional therapies.
The process of the procedure is typically quite simple. Candidates for Dr. Walser’s program travel to UTMB on a Thursday night or Friday morning for a busy weekend. The first step in this process includes a mid-morning appointment with Dr. Walser’s in-house nurse practitioner, Anne Nance (APRN, NP-C), who talks with patients about their family histories, symptoms, plans, then rounds out to a procedure on a Saturday or Sunday with Dr. Walser (who kindly works weekends to better accommodate the schedules of his patients, who often travel from far beyond Galveston for treatment). The day of the procedure, patients can expect the ablation to last to last approximately 4 hours. From there, a catheter will be inserted into the patient due to the prostate swelling postoperatively, which closes the urethra and prevents urination. The catheter could be worn anywhere from 3-5 days, but sometimes even as little as 2. After that, the patient should take the time to recover for 1-2 weeks. Most patients can go back to normal activities of daily life soon after ablation, but should be mindful not to overexert themselves.
But like all good tales, this story, too, has its down side. Because focal laser ablation of prostate cancer is new to this field of medicine, insurance companies typically do not cover the procedure, which can leave patients having to spend more money to have this performed. But that isn’t a deterrent for Dr. Walser and his team at UTMB, and isn’t always one for his patients. In fact, the team’s biggest concern is making sure that patient’s get treatment and are diagnosed adequately. Speaking with Rebecca White (MBA, BSN, RN) of Dr. Walser’s team at Wavelength Medical, she stated, “Let us help you with the diagnosis. [Patients] may not be able to afford the treatment, but the process of diagnosis is usually covered by insurance.” She went on to say that by having the MRI performed before the biopsy, it could eliminate an additional cost to patients who don’t need the biopsy performed if there are no lesions found by MRI. And the way Dr. Walser and his team are practicing their methods of diagnosis, that could end up being the case for many, as White also states that due to the practice of blind biopsy, there’s a large chance for misdiagnosis or over-diagnosis in this field.
So, even if it comes down to not being able to afford this specific method of treatment, at least the folks at UTMB’s Wavelength Medical can help guide patients through the process of diagnosing in a way that could end up being more cost-effective and to a lesser degree of pain and wait time than many other practitioners in their field. Just because the “disposable gay income” isn’t a myth for everyone in the LGBTQIA community does not mean that money has to be thrown away on tests that could prove to be unnecessary. And Dr. Walser and his staff are only truly concerned about the health and lifespan of those they treat and diagnose. If that means getting a person treated by way of radiation or prostatectomy because focal laser ablation is unaffordable, that’s what these fine people will help you to make happen. It’s also worth noting for the LGBTQIA community that UTMB was recently one of only three Houston-area medical facilities to be named as a “leader” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) when it released its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index. This status bestowed upon UTMB is specifically awarded to the best of best, and is held in the highest regard with the HRC. In order for a facility to land this honor, they must score a perfect 100% on the HRC’s index, which takes into account a variety of factors, most notably LGBTQIA patient care and community outreach.
Cancer is scary; and prostate cancer gone undetected could considerably affect the lives of a great number of LGBTQIA people. Like other cancers, it can metastasize to other parts of the body and put a person at risk of larger health issues, some even resulting in death in the worst case. But with the help of people like Dr. Walser, Anne Nance, Rebecca White, and the rest of the incredible team at UTMB’s Wavelength Medical, it doesn’t have to come to that. With innovation like Dr. Walser’s and medical literature supporting these methods being researched and released consistently, their team is here to provide people who may be suffering prostate cancer with the opportunity to live a life not ruled by disease in a brand new way, while also redefining how prostate cancer is treated and the outcomes for patients.
Sipping the Galveston “T”
T-Time, hosted by Drew O’Hara and Andy Tamez, is making a splash in the Galveston gay waters, as both hosts tackle island rumors and do their best to set the record straight.
(GALVESTON) – About Magazine sat down last month to talk to Drew and Andy about how their popular Facebook Live show came to be, how its popularity has grown, and what they’d like to do to give back to Galveston’s LGBTQIA community. The two best friends opened up about these topics and so much more. They stated that even though their show seems gossipy, “that is not what they focus on.” In fact, when asked, their end goals include promoting local talent, entertainers, and trying to bridge gaps within the community.
Read more below.
About Magazine: What inspired the show?
Drew O’Hara: It came for me by having different groups of people that would hang out in different locations on the island. Then, to hear someone say something about someone else, and that information would relayed by someone else from a third party, and it would blow up to something bigger. When originally what was said was not offensive but got telephoned into something offensive. It was happening all the time, this miscommunication, this ‘he-said-she-said’ telephone game. It was putting us in the middle because we are friends with everyone.
[The show] is about hearing it from the horses mouth. If you have something to say, come say it here.
Andy Tamez: It became a lot, and it was hard to hear everybody just going back and forth. It got to the point where it was holding people accountable for what [they’re] doing and saying. It was stressing us out, so we were like, “You know what? We’ll just put this on [Facebook] Live. And that’s what started it. Then we had people that wanted to come on the show and talk about certain things. The whole premise of the show was to have a platform to come in and tell your own story, say your truth, and own up to your actions.
What are the topics you cover?
DO: We have different segments. We have people come on the show to talk about things that are going on around the area. We will interview someone like special sponsors that sponsor certain events that are happening in town. T-Time was predominantly […] somebody saying what’s on their mind, but that is not what we focus on. Now we have segments, if you watch the show. We do the ending of our show with [a segment called] “What Would You Do?”. It’s just a way to communicate with somebody while also getting the information out there in a way that people will pay attention to.
Who is your audience?
AT: It’s a pretty large demographic. It ranges anywhere from Galveston to Houston. And we are finding that even straight people are watching the show. As I went to Chick-Fil-A, some girl was there saying, “Hey! You’re the one doing that Facebook show!”
DO: She said, “Y’all are Drandy!” And we were like, “Yes … We have no idea who you are, but thank you.”
AT: We had no idea we had an audience the way we do.
DO: It’s being called the local talk show. So it went from T-Time to just saying what is on your mind to helping community members get their thoughts out there to actually graduating to plugging any events. And now it’s just all three of them combined. We want to just help the community, and we are ripping off all of these Band-Aids. We have already seen a change. There are always new events going on, on the island, so there is always going to be something going on that we can stream out, and revitalize and actually get the concept out and see the changes of individuals. We get an average of fifty audience members that will watch live, but HUNDREDS that will watch after we air off.
Who do you interview and why?
DO: Local community leaders that we find beneficial to help get the information out. For example, Kiki Dion Van Wales. She is not only the show director here at 23rd [Street Station], but she is the owner of Pride Galveston. We interviewed her because we wanted to get the information out there to let people know this is where the donations are, this is how it’s working, this is what it’s going towards. Just using Kiki as an example. We want to give Galveston as much attention as possible, and help the community as well. Because if we can help, we’re going to.
How is the feedback when you air off?
DO: Depends on the timing. If we have a guest on the show that ripped someone apart, then we would have people that were very aggravated. So we had something for a while when things got a little shaky called Make-Up Mondays where the next day we have to go in and be like you know this is what’s going on, mend it, and assure our audience realizes we weren’t trying to be assholes.
What are you doing with your popularity?
AT: It’s very humbling and surprising. I didn’t think that it was going to be like this at all,
DO: I thought it was just going to be our friends watching, and then one we started hitting hundreds of views, we were like, “Oh, shit! People are actually watching.” Our popularity has grown by each show.
Pride Galveston Is Making Waves
As we begin our journey into June, we also foray into Pride Month. And what could be better in the heat of summer than a seaside Pride celebration just a short drive down to Galveston?
(GALVESTON) – With all the excitement in the news surrounding The Woodlands’ inaugural Pride festival and the vamped-up bustle of Pride Houston’s 40th Anniversary, it’s good to remember that all across the state of Texas, Pride festivals are prepping for action. Galveston, Texas, the island town known for its rich history and exuberant attractions, is no stranger to the LGBTQIA community. With queer bars staggered across the island and a large population of LGBTQIA people, its no wonder why Pride Galveston is hustling into its sophomore year with a three-day celebration that is certain to … well … make waves.
And though this is only the second annual Pride Galveston, its certain to be a big year with events spanning from Friday, June 8th until Sunday, June 10th. Friday brings about the annual Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston Pageant at local gay bar, 23rd St. Station at 10 PM. Saturday will consist of the annual Beach Bash at East Beach from 10 AM to 5 PM, immediately followed by the Pride Galveston Block Party (also at 23rd St. Station) from 5 PM until 10 PM. The block party will be headlined by Mykul J. Valentine and Tiffany Hunter, who will be performing along with DJ Chris Luera featuring Athenz. Once again at 23rd, Sunday will wrap up the weekend with T-Dance.
But, again, this is only Pride Galveston’s second year (and its first as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit). Before 2017, the Pride celebrations in Galveston were sparse and existed under different names, which was noted by married couple and Pride Galveston founders Jamie and Terry Fuller-Waymire, who took over for last year’s Pride. Jamie, a local DJ and promoter, and his husband Terry, who is more famously known in drag as Kiki Dion Van Wales, have put all their eggs into the proverbial basket with Pride Galveston, and the city has been there to back them up. Walgreens, Antiques Amour, Galveston.com + Co., and many more have become sponsors of Pride Galveston 2018. And because About Magazine is also an official sponsor of Pride Galveston, we got to chat with the aforementioned dynamic duo behind the big event.
About Magazine: Can you give me a brief history of Pride Galveston before you two took over?
Currently, the event is officially called Pride Galveston. Before we took over the last time it [a Pride celebration] was held was in 2013, and was under the banner of Galveston Pride. From 2009 until 2012 it was called Pride Fest. So, there was a 4-year gap when there was no official Pride celebration in Galveston. There were some informal beach events that a now-defunct local bar called Third Coast organized. The current home bar for Pride Galveston is 23rd St. Station.
What led to you taking on the challenge of taking this task on?
We wanted to revive Pride in Galveston; and it all started last year as just a beach bash and it just took off within a few months time. That is when we decided to add the block party to accommodate everyone. Some folks wanted just the beach, others wanted a block party, and many wanted both. Then the idea of a Mr. & Miss Pride Pageant was presented to us and, with our previous pageant promotion experience, this was an obvious event we needed to add. This year, of course, Pride is a 3-day event with the addition of the T-Dance on Sunday with a host of male and female dancers.
Last year was the first year the two of you ran Pride Galveston (correct me if I’m wrong). What do you think you learned from that event and what do you think you’re going to change this year?
Correct. Last year was our first go at Pride Galveston, and we learned a lot last year as I am sure we will learn a lot this year. For instance, last year the event exploded so fast that we learned to take on volunteers as often as we could. It can be a bit overwhelming organizing the pageant, the beach bash, the block party, and the T-Dance. There are so many variables involved, like DJ setup for the beach (a free event, save for parking), food organizing (which was free last year and [is] again this year), setting up the vendors and sponsors at the block party (another free event), setting up the stage, setting up the effects lighting, bringing in Porta Potties, extra trash bins, coordinating with the city on road closure and police allocation. Next year we are looking to put the block party and beach bash on different days so it’s not so overwhelming.
Since last year we have developed our websites, which both provide a wealth of information about the upcoming events on June 8, 9, & 10, 2018. The websites also allow for vendor sign-up, sponsor sign-up, pageant sign-up, and there is also a handy contact link if more information is needed.
“The greatest reward is seeing all the smiling faces of folks who are happy to see Pride back on the island.”
There are lots of events going on that are PG-related. Tell us about some of those?
Pride Galveston 2018 gets underway on Friday June 8th, 2018 with the Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston Pageant which starts at promptly at 9 PM at 23rd St. Station. The winners will reign as Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston for one year. The prize package includes a big crown for each winner, a brilliant Pride sash, category awards, future bookings with Island Diva Promotions as the reigning Mr. & Miss Pride Galveston 2018, and a cash prize as well!
Saturday June 9th, 2018, is a big day with the Beach Bash getting underway at 9 AM and running until 5 PM (an all ages event). The Beach Bash will have (from Numbers fame) DJ Houseman spinning live on the beach under the Pride Galveston canopies. We will also be serving free hotdogs under the Pride Galveston canopies and you can meet your hosts: Jamie Waymire (DJ Jamie) & Terry Fuller (Kiki Dion Van Wales). Some of our entertainers will also be present on the beach. Immediately following the Beach Bash, the Block Party gets underway at 5 PM (a free event for all ages) with live DJs Chris Luera & Athenz. We will also have some street performers present, as well as many vendors who will be selling Pride-related items, food, miscellaneous items, and services. The big show outside at the Block Party will get under way at 8 PM with our headliners, Tiffany Hunter and Mykul Valentine, both of who have won national pageant titles — royalty in the flesh! The Block Party ends at 10 PM and everything shifts inside to 23rd St. Station, which is 21 and up to get in with no cover. The back patio will have live DJs battling for the crowd, and there will be numerous roaming dancers both male and female to delight the crowd. The party at 23rd St. Station continues until 2 AM. On Sunday, June 10th, the T-Dance takes place at 23 St. Station with no cover starting at noon with free food, roaming dancers both inside and on the patio in the back. Pride concludes Sunday evening.
What is the significance of Galveston having its own Pride celebration?
We felt like the city needed its own Pride Celebration again so that our residents and tourists have a tool of empowerment which increases visibility. Our incarnation of Pride Galveston celebrates our community as a whole, not just gay, lesbian, trans, bi, queer, but our straight allies as well. We want it to be an all-inclusive celebration and feel like it is time to unite as one, rather than be divided into categories. We feel like the mission and meaning of Pride needs to evolve for the future and not be left in the past as a relic of days gone by.
How do people who want to help out volunteer to be a part of Pride Galveston?
Anyone who wishes to volunteer for Pride Galveston can go here and we will be sure to respond ASAP. We can use all the help we can get. We learned last year that it’s very hard to do without help.
What’s the biggest challenge in throwing a Pride celebration together? What are the greatest rewards?
The biggest challenge to putting together a Pride celebration is coordination with all the people, venues, and variable involved to make it work. We work closely with the city of Galveston to make this event a success and have the support needed to complete our mission. The greatest reward is seeing all the smiling faces of folks who are happy to see Pride back on the island. We made sure all of our events were free to attend so that even those with limited income could join us. This is why sponsors are so vital! They make these events possible and free!
Safety is always a big issue and something that everyone wants to ensure. What safety measures are being taken to protect those coming to the festival?
Glad this question was asked and we have this concern covered! The Galveston Police Department will be at both entry points to the block party and will ensure a peaceful event. We also will have up fencing this year and access to the event will be strictly controlled. No firearms are allowed, and no food or beverage will be allowed in or out of the event. We will also have many volunteers help keep watch over the event.
What are you most excited about for Pride?
We are most excited to see the growth and all the smiling faces that will occur due to the event. For instance, last year we had a make-shift stage that I (Jamie) built with minimal lighting and sound. This year is much different as we have a full-on stage thanks to our friends at Stagedrop.com, a mobile dressing room complete with an AC unit for the outdoor entertainers, and full-range lighting and sound systems!
What are some ways that the community can do to help support Pride Galveston and make it a huge success?
Getting the word out the primary way to support Pride Galveston and make it an even bigger success than its first year! Volunteers, sponsors, and vendors all help to promote the event, but word of mouth in the community is key! Of course, directing those who wish to participate in some form can be directed to our Facebook Event Page or at the previously mentioned websites.
Are there any details I’m missing that you’d like to let me everyone know?
The big change over last year is that we are now officially a non-profit entity. Last years success prompted the application with the State and subsequent approval. We are so excited about this year’s events and look forward to growing in the years to come. We even added a board member, Mr. Jon Vance, who is a local pageant promoter as well with the Continental pageant system. We have him to thank for bringing in Tiffany Hunter and Mykul Valentine. He is also a sponsor, along with his husband Dean Weir under their JD Productions banner. We hope to see everyone come out and have a blast this year!
No Mardi Gras Plans? Grab Your Toga & Get to Galveston
The Krewe of Bacchus, Texas is throwing a Roman toga party in Galveston this weekend.
(GALVESTON) Bummed you don’t have plans for Mardi Gras? Grab your toga and head down to the Four Points Sheraton in Galveston for BACCHANAL, a Roman-themed toga party thrown by the Krewe of Bacchus, Texas. There you’ll find a cash bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres, live music, and dancing. From 6:30 until 7:30, there will be a crowning of the king and queen. From 7:30 until midnight, it’s a giant party.
The Krewe of Bacchus is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds benefiting other Galveston organizations and the surrounding community. They have been serving and giving back to the Galveston community for eight years and will be crowning the new king and queen of the Bacchus at the toga ball. Additionally, they are dedicated to the preservation of Mardi Gras in Galveston and support the Galveston College School of Culinary Arts and the East End Theatre Company.
Tickets to the ball are $45 and can be purchased at the door. The address to Four Points by Sheraton is located at 2300 Seawall Blvd. Galveston, TX 77550. Come enjoy yourself!
About Adds New Editors, New Business
2018 Will Bring New Editors Into About Magazine, About Editions, The Magazine’s Publishing Company.
(HOUSTON) – In addition to its new trans-specific content page, About Magazine will be adding two new editors to its staff in 2018. The first of which is Jessica Olsen, who will serve as the assistant editor for About Magazine under editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez. The second of which will be Ian Townsley, who will serve as the associate editor for About’s trans-content page, About Trans. Additionally, Ramirez’s publishing company, Black Magic Media, will be absorbed by About Magazine in December. The new publishing company will be a branch of About Magazine, called About Editions.
Olsen has worked with Ramirez at Black Magic Media as the editor of fiction. Her responsibilities will include content editing and generating creative ideas for new content. Though not LGBTQIA herself, Olsen is an avid supporter of LGBTQIA rights and an ally to the entire community.
Townsley is an outspoken advocate for the trans community who hosts support groups at the Montrose Center and local churches around Houston. He is also a drag king who performs in and puts on numerous benefits to serve the trans community in obtaining gender-affirmative surgery. Additionally, he has taken on the endeavor of helping trans people legally change their gender status. Syder-Blake himself is an out trans man.
Though Black Magic Media was not strictly LGBTQIA content before (though many of its titles were written by queer writers), it will be after it’s first season of books. The first book, a collection of poetry by Short Story America prize winner Mathieu Cailler (May I Have This Dance?) will be released December 14th, 2017. The remaining books to be published throughout 2018 are How to Break My Neck (Jessica L. Walsh), Heart Radicals (Les Kay, Sandra Marchetti, Allie Marini, and Janeen Rastall), Lifelong Learning (Ezekiel Jarvis), the second edition of Ramirez’s novel Witches of the Deep South, Space Baby (Nicole Oquendo), Nesting (Kristen Figgins), Lady Leda’s Dancing Girls (Amber Edmondson), q & a (Steven and Ben Ostrowski), i was born dead (Caseyrenée Lopez), Maleficium (Witches of the Deep South #2 (Ramirez), Naomi and the Reckoning (Christine Stoddard), and Shotgun Mirage (David Rawson).
Mathieu Cailler’s May I Have This Dance can be pre-ordered here.
About Magazine Announces New Chief Editor
LGBT News Platform About Magazine Names Anthony Ramirez as Editor In Chief
(HOUSTON) — About Magazine + About News today announced that Anthony Ramirez has been appointed editor-in-chief of the About News platform. Ramirez succeeds Cade Michals, executive publisher, and founder since 2008, who is stepping aside for Ramirez to take lead. Michals will step back from his post as executive publisher of the LGBT news platform on November 7.
Michals will continue to play a pivotal role behind the scenes with the organization and its multiple affiliates, but will no longer make editorial or day-to-day management decisions. Michals, also the founder and director of the LGBT award show in Houston the F.A.C.E. Awards, has been transitioning the award show to a non-profit over the past few months allowing the award show to continue.
Ramirez is no stranger to writing. He is credited with four published novels (The Write Thing, Witches of the Deep South, Where He Lay Down, and a collection of his About Magazine column entries, Less Than Butterflies). His novel, Where He Lay Down, was nominated for an honor by the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow GLBT Roundtable committee. Ramirez previously served as the editor of fiction and the director of social media and marketing for ELJ Publications. Last year he hosted the event Yas Queen: Out of the Margins (a reading of LGBTQ, POC, and women writers) at the American Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington D.C. He recently completed coursework for his Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
Starting with About News in June, Ramirez was an investigative reporter. With this transition, Ramirez plans to expand the brand into a multimedia platform that will include a boost in op-ed pieces, short fiction and poetry from LGBTQ writers around the state, video content, and spotlights on Texas-based LGBTQ civilians who impact the community in a positive way. In December of 2018, he opened About Media Group’s own LGBTQ book publishing house, About Editions. About Editions has gone on to publish 8 books thus far, with a scheduled 12 for the entire 2018 year. The house’s first book — a collection of poetry from writer Mathieu Cailler entitled May I Have This Dance? — was released in December 2017 and won the New England Book Festival Award for Poetry that same month. In June of 2018, Ramirez launched About Media Group’s first-ever television production company, About Media, which has since gone on to being production on its first original series (Round-Up with Mel Rose), pick-up the web series Wineding Down with Anthony for its second season, and begun preproduction on an original sitcom entitled The Anthony Project. About Media has two scripted drama series in the early stages of development based off the books How to Break My Neck (Jessica L. Walsh) and Lifelong Learning (Zeke Jarvis) from About Editions.
Beyond writing and journalism, Ramirez is also a performer of the stage and screen. He is the executive producer, head writer, and star of the aforementioned About Media shows Wineding Down with Anthony and the forthcoming sitcom The Anthony Project. Ramirez sings annually in the Kingwood Kabaret scholarship fundraising event for Lone Star College and served as the volunteer committee chair for Pride Houston, Inc. from summer of 2016 until stepping down in the summer of 2018.
As a means of achieving these goals, Ramirez is constantly looking for new writers, photographers, editors, web designers, event coordinators, and more.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
LeAnn Rimes Asks For Donations For Dickinson Nursing Home
LeAnn Rimes Ask For Donations For Houston Nursing Home Instead Of Gifts!
(HOUSTON) — Country superstar LeAnn Rimes celebrated her 35th birthday in Los Angeles this past week with Texas on her heart. Instead of birthday gifts, the Grammy-winning artist is asking for donations to assist the rebuilding of the La Vita Bella assisted-living facility in Dickinson, Texas.
The privately owned assisted living facility made national news when a photo on Twitter went viral as #HurricaneHarvey was spinning havoc on the city. Now the facility has gained the attention of country music sweetheart LeAnn Rimes.
After Mateo Sifuentes, a Houston native and the hairstylist for Rimes informed his client that his grandmother lived at the facility, Rimes felt a need to help.
Instead of gifts, Rimes asked for donations to the YouCaring fundraiser page to assist the facility in the re-building process. “Everyone has seen coverage on Harvey and its effects to Texas and Louisiana,” LeAnn Rimes said
“I was talking to my friend and hairstylist about a devastating image that I came across and it so happens that the woman in the photo was his friend’s grandmother,” Rimes said.
“So this year, instead of birthday gifts I ask you donate to his friend’s YouCaring account that will go directly to this nursing home clean up/rebuild going as soon as possible. Thank you!”
Rimes is a Texas native, growing up in Garland, Texas, a small suburb of Dallas. She was recently the headliner for the 2017 Pride Festival in Houston.