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Nora’s Home Gets Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus Donation

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The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus Presents $25,000 to Nora’s Home

Houston (March 9, 2018) -The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus has stepped up to support Nora’s Home, Houston’s haven for organ failure and transplant patients receiving care in the Texas Medical Center, by presenting a check to the organization for $25,000 on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The Order’s primary purpose is charitable work related to medical humanitarian care. The mission of the Grand Priory of America’s Charitable and Hospitaller work is to support The Order’s two flagship programs: Organ/Tissue donation awareness and Hansen’s disease (leprosy).

“The Order is dedicated to creating awareness for organ and tissue donation along with educating others about the importance of saving lives,” said Chuck Riepe, Member of The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus. “We’re confident that Nora’s Home will help spread awareness and education throughout the Houston community and beyond while it continues to support organ patients and their families.”

The Order has a strong commitment to the field of Hansen’s disease and all aspects of organ and tissue donation including awareness and pre and post-transplant care. To continue supporting its programs, The Order’s National Conference will be held in Houston on Thursday-Saturday, October 11-13, 2018. The Grand Prior, Kenneth Moritsugu, is a former United States Surgeon General and advocate of organ donation and transplantation.

Natalie Raymer, Executive Director, Nora’s Home added: “Nora’s Home is grateful for The Order’s generous assistance as we prepare to more than double in size. As we grow, we will continue to grow our efforts in educating our community about the gift of organ donation.”
Nora’s Home collaborates with many of the Texas Medical Center’s health care providers and hospitals to make Houston the national leader in caring for patients facing the unique challenges of end-stage organ disease and transplantation. This haven has provided over 20,000 stays to more than 800 patients and their families from across the U.S. since opening its doors in 2013. Currently, Nora’s Home can only accommodate one out of every five requests for lodging due to the high demand.
For more information about Nora’s Home, please contact Natalie Raymer, Executive Director, at 832-831-3721 or email natalie@norashome.org.

About Nora’s Home

Opened in 2013 as the first transplant hospitality home in the Gulf Coast region, Nora’s Home welcomes patients and their families at any stage of the transplant journey. The hospitality home aims to ease burdens many patients face by helping reduce the immense expense and stress incurred while undergoing transplant care by providing affordable lodging in a loving, home-like environment. Located at 8300 El Rio Street in Houston near the Texas Medical Center, the self-supporting facility includes 16 private bedrooms and baths, a fully-equipped kitchen, community room, meditation room, education center, and provides free shuttle services to and from the medical center. In the summer of 2018, Nora’s Home will more than double in size with the addition of 16 rooms, communal kitchen, and multiple family areas and meeting rooms. For more information, visit www.norashome.org, call 832-831-3720 or follow us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

About News is the digital news format for About Magazine | About Publications. Providing the latest, and breaking news for the LGBT+ society.

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Concerts

Country Superstar Ty Herndon To Perform At Rich’s Friday Night

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Country Music’s Sexy Cowboy Ty Herndon Returns To Houston Friday Night For Special Performance At Rich’s

HOUSTON – It’s rodeo time and one of country music’s biggest hearts and brightest stars, Ty Herndon is heading to Houston for a ‘one night only’ performance at Rich’s in Midtown. Herndon, known for hits like “Living in the Moment,” and “What Mattered Most,” garnered three number ones, four top ten hits. Beyond charting more than 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, Ty Herndon makes his return to Texas tomorrow night.

In an exclusive interview the day before his Houston concert, About Magazine sat down with Ty in his downtown Nashville condo. From the open patio doors sounds of tourists and bachelorette parties can be heard drifting up, Ty sits across the room in a wingback chair; he’s wearing his trademark black t-shirt and skinny jeans and has a big smile. It’s 8:20 am and he’s full of energy.

Ty Herndon

Award Winning Country Superstar Ty Herndon to perform at Rich’s Houston on Friday March 15, 2019.

“I absolutely love Houston,” he says when asked about his return. ” I might as well be from Texas! I feel like I have spent half my life there.” Ty explains he has a deep history, passion and love for Texas. “I have two of the most amazing little God-sons in Houston with the most affirming parents.” Ty hits that stage at Rich’s Houston on Friday, March 15, 2019.

Though his performance is not part of the official Rodeo Houston concert series, Herndon will headline “The Stockyard at Rich’s,” an LGBT country music-themed night hosted by Al Farb. “It’s going to be an exciting show, I am excited to be performing for all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Ty says.

“I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TEXAS, I FEEL LIKE I AM FROM THERE, AND EXCITED TO RETURN TOMORROW!” -Ty Herndon

In its first-ever country night, Rich’s has pulled out all the stops to ensure Herndon’s performance and the crowd enjoys rodeo season. “My love for country music and country bars for more than 15 years has lead me to tomorrow night,” Jeff Harmon, owner of Rich’s says. “One of the most amazing country music DJ from the Round-Up in Dallas, DJ Jeff Doll will be here to keep the music alive.”

Recently Herndon returned from Las Vegas after being invited to sing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo. “The NFR just had an openly gay dude sing the National Anthem on the world stage,” Ty is referring to the progress made by the LGBT community.

As an outspoken LGBT Advocate, Herndon, along with GLAAD and CMT produce “Love & Acceptance,” a concert held in Nashville during CMA Fest each year. “We will announce all of our talent in the next few weeks,” Herndon says. ” We have had everyone from Vince Gill to Tanya Tucker to Michael Ray in the past.”

This year is gearing up to be the biggest yet. Love & Acceptance takes place on June 6 at the legendary WildHorse Saloon.

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How to pick the unconditional Electronic Data Rooms and to spin money out

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It stands to reason that the Electronic Data Rooms are popular in the whole world in these modern days wherethrough they offer us varied effective instruments we can use for our work. In these modern days, there are a lot of sophisticated repositories. On the other side, not everybody knows whereby to choose the sophisticated one. It is self-evident that everybody can pick the most valuable virtual venues which will definitely be okay. But whereby to choose the beyond reproach Electronic Repositories and not to be left with ruins?

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  • We can maintain that traditionally, the overpriced Due Diligence rooms waste heaps of money on advertisement. Thus, their price does not imply that they are the most popular Secure Online Data Rooms in the entire world.
  • Nobody will argue that you have a desire to spin money out. Flipside, we would like you not to carry things to extremes. You should decide on the Up-to-date Deal Rooms which offer you much space for storing your paper trail, the around-the-clock professional support, the machine translator, the sophisticated degree of safeness, and the Questions&Answers module. All other features are additive.
  • We are sure that you know that the majority of VDR services suggest you different trials. It is a general knowledge that the cheapest subscription does not give you all the possibilities. In the most cases, all the companies want to have the best and select the crazy expensive trials. If it is so, you are to think about the merits which this Online Deal Room offers you. Perhaps, you will realize that the instruments of the cheapest option are quite enough. As it happens, you must give preference to the Alternative Data Rooms and their subscriptions in correspondence with your demands.

As it happens, we can claim that it is possible to give preference to the ideal Electronic Data Rooms without overpaying. On the other hand, it is preferable to choose the providers with all the necessary opportunities.

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Entertainment News

Michael Blume Release New Track “Blunder”

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Michael Blume Blunder LGBTQ Music Singer

(NEW YORK CITY) – Today, NYC-based indie/soul artist Michael Blume has released a brand new single “Blunder.” – premiered via Billboard.com. Ignited by pensive lyrics, “Blunder” bursts with palpable intensity and emotion as dynamic production builds into an explosive vocal riff. The song is available now on iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon and Spotify and is from Michael’s forthcoming EP due out later this year.

Fans can catch him live later this month on Friday, February 23rd at Brooklyn Steel in NYC as support for City of the Sun, and again on Saturday, February 24th at Paradise Rock Club in Boston opening up a sold-out show for Ripe. This summer he will once again hit the festival circuit performing sets at Emerge Impact + Music in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, April 7th and Bonnaroo Music & Arts festival in Manchester, TN on Sunday, June 10th. For more information and all upcoming announcements, please visit: www.mblumemusic.com/.

MICHAEL BLUME 2018 TOUR DATES:

February 23           Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

February 24           Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

April 7                   Las Vegas, NV @ Emerge Impact + Music

June 10                  Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

This announcement comes on the heels of a busy year that saw Blume achieve many accolades. Prior to unveiling this new single, Blume released two tracks last year “Lifting You” which premiered via Time and “I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)” which debuted via Nylon. On the road, he sold out three headlining performances in New York City at Mercury Lounge and Baby’s All Right and graced the lineups of major music festivals across the country including South By Southwest, Governor’s Ball in his hometown of New York City, Firefly Music Festival and Lollapalooza. With critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, Time, Billboard, GQ, Nylon, Ladygunn, Pigeons & Planes, Huffington Post and more, Michael Blume has shaped his career by being unapologetically himself.


Reviews for “Blunder”

[“I Am Not A Trend (No Rules)”] “…a bop brimming with self-empowerment…The trumpets add a triumphant flair, complementing the soul Blume’s voice carries.” – Nylon

“But the through-line across his growing catalogue is music that harnesses and reflects on the power of individuality and self-knowledge, a message he matches in his bold fashion, exuberance in live performance and advocacy for equal rights… ” – Time

“Through his music and sense of style, Blume expresses his identity and addresses the issues at hand” – Billboard

“Blume’s heart is in his work entirely… It’s refreshing and inspiring.” – DuJour

“His voice is captivating and his music a fantastical tour of harmonies, conscious lyrics, beats, and layers of sound that unite in a soulful blast.” – Ladygunn

[“Lifting You”] “…a powerful track”Huffington Post

 

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Drag News

RuPaul’s Werq the World Tour Lands in Houston

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RuPaul's Werq the World Tour Houston Jones Hall Drag JR's

The event will be held at Jones Hall tonight at 8 PM with a queen-filled after-party at JR’s

(HOUSTON) Tonight is the night that the lovely queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race will stop on their Werq the World tour tonight at Jones Hall. The show, which begins at 8 PM, features performances by RuPaul favorites,Detox, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Peppermint, Shangela, Valentina and Violet Chachki. This is the second time a set of RuPaul queens has dropped by Houston since Hurricane Harvey, with the AAA Girls (Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Willam) having played Fitzgerald’s in the fall of last year.

In related news, owner of JR’s Bar and Grill in Montrose, Charles Armstrong, has released a statement that the queens themselves will be dropping by JR’s tonight.

Valentina will perform on the JR’s stage tonight following the RuPaul’s show at Jones Hall. Most of the queens will pop into JR’s tonight for the Official After-Party. Don’t miss this epic party. As always, never a cover.

-Charles Armstrong

About Magazine’s entertainment correspondent, Morena Roas, will be covering the event. About has also secured an interview with drag favorite Latrice Royale that will be available in the coming days. You can get your tickets to the event here.

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About Trans

By Any Other Pronoun ft. Nene Leakes

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Pronouns,

How would it make you feel?

Let’s get a few things straight: we’re not worried about someone’s sensitivity. We’re worried about human decency. And a part of being a decent human being is understanding that pronouns are important to people – especially trans and nonbinary people.

More often than not, young children are raised under the impression that there is a gender binary. There are two genders: male and female. Males are supposed to like sports, and cars, and superheroes. They’re supposed to run for president and be doctors. Females are supposed to shoot for the stars, too. In fact, their role models are usually princesses from fairy tales who either inherited or married into money.

What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, that’s what.

There are two real issues with this. The first of these is that we’re still associating character traits with gender and sex. That school of thought isn’t just antiquated … it’s stupid. The second issue here is that just weeks out from the year 2018, we’re still looking at gender in the binary, or as having only two parts (male and female). The idea of there being a third, non-binary gender is nothing new. This year, California became the first state to recognize a third, non-binary gender. But centuries ago, many Native American tribes (or as I like to call them, the OGs of the continent) recognized as many as four separate genders (though this also could prove problematic, as they still dealt with masculine-feminine stereotypes).

Look, the fact of the matter is that (especially so in our community) there is a large chunk of people who identify as non-binary (meaning neither female nor male) or identify as male or female and just so happen to possess qualities that seem more masculine or feminine than what is considered to be the “norm.” Even I, a cis-gender, gay male who has chin-length hair, a feminine personality, and who sometimes wears makeup, am often referred to by strangers using the she/her/hers pronouns. And the truth of the matter is that it can be a little embarrassing, just like it can be for trans people and nonbinary people. And why? Because in spite of the fact that I am the most colorful fruit in the produce department at the Montrose Kroger, I am a cisgender male and identify as such.

Now let’s think about how that must feel for trans/non-binary folks. These are people who have struggled most of (if not all of) their lives with the gender they were assigned at birth. No matter how long they’ve been out as trans, or if they even are, a superfluity of emotions can stir inside a person when they’re called by the wrong pronoun.

I posed this question on my Facebook, where some of my friends chimed in.  

Pronoun Status

The responses came in quickly.

Cis and mildly passive-aggressive:

Non-binary:

Trans:

Cis and honestly trying to correlate: 

Cis and understanding:

So what does that mean you should do? 

 

ASSSSSSKKKKKKK!

It’s perfectly okay to ask. In fact, most people (whether they be trans, cis, or nonbinary) would prefer that you ask. I mean, you wouldn’t want someone walking around calling you a chef if you weren’t a chef. Would you? You wouldn’t want someone walking around calling you an octopus if you weren’t an octopus. Would you? Why would a trans man want you walking around calling him a woman?

He wouldn’t.

So, ask what your newfound friend’s pronouns are! It’s okay. And it will save you some embarrassment. Maybe you’ll feel more comfortable asking this person to the side or away from a large group of people. That’s okay, too. Ask and don’t be uncomfortable about it, and don’t put people on display.

OH, BUT HOLD UP! Here’s something you should never ask: 


NEVER ask a person about their genitalia that you are not having a consensual, sexual relationship with. Why?

BECAUSE IT’S NOT ANY OF YO DAMN BITNESS.

So, here to explain to me some of the responses you might get when you ask these questions is our good friend Nene Leakes.

Woman – She, Her, Hers

A woman is any person who identifies as a woman. This can mean that maybe they were born in a male or female body, but now in their life identify as a woman. Use the she/her/hers pronouns here.

Man – He, Him, His

Same goes for men. This is any person who was assigned a certain sex at birth, but now identifies as a man. Use the he/him/his pronouns in this case.

Non-binary – They, Them, Their

Some people are assigned a female or male gender at birth (or maybe they aren’t) and grow up to realize that they’re not … well … either. Some people (despite the body they were born in) don’t feel like a boy or a girl. They just want to be a person. And that’s equally okay. For them, we use the they/them/their pronouns.

See? It’s that easy! Just ask. It’s just like asking any other question. Like what their sexual orientation is:

Or what they do for a living: 

But remember that it is a sensitive topic, so be respectful. Kind of like asking what size someone wears:

 

Or what their beliefs are:

And like all other things, everyone has the right not to answer your questions if they aren’t comfortable doing so.


So what have we learned?

It’s okay to ask about pronouns! Just be respectful, and let the person know that you’re only asking because you care about their feelings. And remember: treat others the way you want to be treated. Oh, and that Nene Leakes is still a #kween.

We’re a community, and we have to love each other.

 

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About Trans

Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017

A note from the editor-in-chief.

Today is 18th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). It is a day not only to be acknowledged by the world’s trans community, but by the world as a whole. This is because trans people should not be pigeonholed to just their community, or even just to the LGBTQIA community. Just like cisgender people, transgender people are just … people.

Trans Day of Remembrance has been annually recognized since 1999, when it was established by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith. Smith started the memorialization in response to the murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered the year before. In the years since its inception, TDoR has become a vigil not only for Hester, but for all the trans people who have lost their lives to violence in the years since.

Today, we can see that violence against the trans community has not changed much. In 2017, 25 trans people have been victim to a fatal crime, including Texas’s own Stephanie Montez, a 47-year-old trans woman from Robstown. The majority of those people were trans women of color; and those numbers are up by 2 from 2016, with still a month and a half of the year left to go before the beginning of 2018.

The names of the people lost in 2017 are as follows: Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow (28), Mesha Caldwell (41), Sean Hake (age unknown), Jojo Striker (23), Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond (24), Jaquarrius Holland (18), Chyna Doll Dupree (31), Ciara McElveen (21), Alphonza Watson (38), Chayviss Reed (age unknown), Kenneth Bostick (59), Sherrell Faulkner (46), Kenne McFadden (26), Josie Berrios (28), Ava Le Ray Barrin (17), Ebony Morgan (28), Troy “Tee Tee” Dangerfield (32), Gwenyvere River Song (26), Kiwi Herring (30), Kashmire Redd (28), Derricka Banner (26), Ally Steinfeld (17), Stephanie Montez (47), and Candace Towns (30).

Sadly, the attitude toward the trans community around the country is not generally improving – especially so with a president in the Oval Office who perpetuates antiquated and ridiculous stereotypes about the trans community by trying to ban trans servicemen and women from the military. From there, it trickles down. It trickles down to his supporters, those who are unsure of him, but who still listen, and then to the children of all of those people. Children who, if I might add, we should be educating about equality, about not seeing gender identity or sexual orientation or color or religion or nationality.

That’s why here at About Magazine, I’m making it a personal mission to make About Magazine + About News just as inclusive of our trans community as it is of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and pansexual community. We will also be more inclusive of the intersex and asexual communities, so that no one is left behind.

To do so, we will be launching in 2018 our first page on the website for trans-only content, aptly titled About Trans. Currently, we are looking for trans writers and editors to be a part of this initiative. Until then, I will oversee it. However, I am a cis person, and in order for this operation to be genuine and authentic, it is my earnest belief that this portion of our site should be trans-run. If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of About Trans, feel free to email me at anthony@about-online.com.

Going forward, let’s remember what today stands for, and remind ourselves and our trans friends, neighbors, and loved ones that they are just as important as anyone else, and that we’re there to aid them if they should ever need it in any way. Give them your love, and give them your support, because they are just as much a part of the LGBTQIA community as anyone else that falls into any of those other categories. And if you don’t believe this to be true, read a little bit of our content today so that you can understand why trans people are so important to the queer cause. Because as genderqueer activist and musician C.N. Lester said, “Even when we are confused about someone’s gender, and don’t have a greater awareness of what it means to be trans, we have a choice to respond with kindness rather than cruelty.”

Choose kindness.

Choose community.

Choose love.

 

Anthony Ramirez

Editor-in-Chief

 

For more information on Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit the GLADD website here. 

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2018 Brings More Trans Content to About

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About Magazine to produce trans site extension, “About Trans,” beginning in January

(HOUSTON) — As a part of the promise to expand and rebrand their site, About will be adding a new page to its site, entitled About Trans on the first day of 2018.

About Trans will offer trans and non-binary content for the Houston trans community. About editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez, also states that he will be looking for a trans associate editor for the page, and hopes that all the content written for About Trans will be written exclusively by trans community members.

The page will be piloted by About’s trans edition coming Monday, November 20th, in honor of Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR). TDoR was incepted in 1999 by transgender woman Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman, in response to and in remembrance of the murder of Rita Hester. The edition will feature articles an interview with parents of a non-binary child, a personal essay from Houston drag king and trans man, Ian Syder, a listicle on the importance of pronouns, and more.

Those interested in participating in About Trans in 2018 should email Ramirez at anthony@about-online.com.

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Isobel Explains It All

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Isobel O'Hare, writer, poet, queer, sexual assault, explain.

Isobel O’Hare tactfully corrects sexual assault statements of Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, and more in their series of erasure poems

(TAOS, NEW MEXICO) —  The ensuing conversation and controversy surrounding Hollywood’s elite recently is anything but shocking. Women, queer people, trans people, and people of color are not strangers to sexual assault and violence committed by people perceived to possess more “power” or “authority.” Still, this behavior has been perpetuated to sickening extremes throughout the history of the human race.

However, something sort of marvelous is happening: these dirty old men are being held accountable for their actions, because the victims of these assaults are owning their stories and honing their courage to step forward and say, “We’re not going to fucking take this anymore.” Because they’re being held accountable, men like Louis C.K., George Takei, Harvey Weinstein, Jeremy Piven, and Kevin Spacey have been preparing quick (albeit defensive) statements that encompass an entire spectrum of mansplained explanations. Takei, a long-time proponent of always believing the victims of sexual violence, has outright denied allegations (a la Bill Cosby). C.K. has at the very least had the nerve to own up to his actions and apologize. Spacey has blamed his actions on (and I’m paraphrasing here) being drunk and gay. As for that classless crotch-itch that is Harvey Weinstein? Well, he’s pretty much still just a gross old man who thinks his behavior is okay because he began his career in the 60’s and apparently thinks Mad Men is some sort of biopic or WikiHow video.

But the real beauty of these statements is not what the assailants themselves have said to their fans and followers. No, no. The real magic is what one queer writer/poet located in Taos, New Mexico has done with those aforementioned statements.

Their name is Isobel O’Hare (pronouns they/them/their), and they are making waves not just in the literary world as a writer, but also on a level where their poetry is being seen and shared by numerous media outlets and celebrity advocates such as Rose McGowan. In their series of erasure poems, “All This Can Be Yours,” O’Hare has taken the responsive statements of numerous sexual predators who have spent their careers in the spotlight and created erasure poems out of them.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with erasure (or black-out) poetry, it’s a form of found poetry that allows the writer to take a previously written text, black-out the words they do not need, and leave only the words that make-up a poem.

O’Hare’s erasure poem made from George Takei’s statement regarding allegations of sexual assault. 

After seeing writer O’Hare share their poems on Facebook, they agreed to talk to About Magazine about the queer perspective of sexual assault:

About Magazine: Sexual assault—especially so in the community of queer people, people of color, and women—is nothing new. Could you tell me a little bit about your initial reactions to these brave individuals coming out and standing up for themselves against such high-profile celebrities?

Isobel O’Hare: I think it is the ultimate bravery. Naming one’s abuse is a painful, exhausting process, especially in the face of a system that would prefer we stay silent and maintain decorum, and especially in a society where victims are constantly blamed for what happens to us. So often I have seen survivors point to a problem and then get blamed for that problem, or be responded to with deflection and distraction. So many of these men’s victims have been living in fear and intimidation, and so much of their art has been prevented, silenced, blotted out from the world due to this intimidation. My friend, the poet Dena Rash Guzman, wrote recently on Facebook, “I’m so tired of being the bad guy in this,” and I think most survivors can relate. And this isn’t just an issue in Hollywood. It exists in the literary community and probably in every artistic (and spiritual and political and and and…) community you can imagine. And I have never encountered a single person who approached the issue of a callout without giving it serious consideration, not least of all because of the damage and shame they would suffer themselves. Nobody does this for fame or money or any kind of reward. They do this to exorcise themselves and their communities of demons. And when those demons have all the money, power, support, and expensive lawyers at their disposal, you can imagine how terrifying that is.

I don’t think I have ever met a person who hasn’t been traumatized in some way, and I don’t think we as a species are quite ready to confront that yet, that we are all damaged in some way, all hurting. So instead we point at other people and label them the damaged ones, and they become scapegoats, when in reality those people are just the most open about their damage. We should be thanking them for showing us who we are.

It’s clear that the responses from the celebrities has sparked a certain rage in you (and I do mean that in the best way). Where did the inspiration come from to use their statements to create such moving erasure poetry?

My rage fueled these erasures. I have a lot of rage, and I have a lot of conversations with fellow artists about the uses of rage. It’s a poorly understood emotion. My original goal with these erasures was to make myself feel better about having to read this shit every single day, and I hoped that by sharing them on social media my friends could share in my catharsis. As I worked on them, the purpose of what I was doing became clearer to me: I was revealing the truth (as I see it) behind their PR statements, and I was reversing what they had done to their victims by erasing their voices, their creative work, and in some cases their careers. I had no idea that the erasures would blow up in the way that they have. It’s a tiny bit scary, but I’m so pleased to hear from so many people I’ve never met that the poems have contributed to their own healing in some way. That’s more than I ever could have hoped for.

You identify as a queer person. In the case of such names as Kevin Spacey and George Takei, do you believe that these men were under the impression that because they could blanket themselves under their queer status that they could get away with sexual violence?

I absolutely do think that Kevin Spacey used his queer status as a tool of deflection in his statement. It is my opinion that predation and homosexuality have nothing inherently to do with one another, so to conflate the two the way he did does incredible harm to a community that already suffers from dangerous stigma and myths. I was very angry when I read those words because I have seen how the myth of gay perversion has affected my friends and members of my communities. Language has the power to move people to action, and action fueled by homophobia can and does lead to violence and death. You didn’t assault people because you are gay, Kevin. You assaulted people because you’re an asshole.

George Takei used his history of activism to deflect from the issue, which is that he harmed someone. And now he claims that the sexual assault allegations were manufactured and propagated by Russian bots, which I find ridiculous and insulting to Scott R. Brunton, the actual human being who claims to have been assaulted by him. My erasure of Takei’s statement seeks to highlight the fact that just because someone is a prominent and outspoken activist doesn’t mean they aren’t also hurting people. The feminist community knows all too well the disguise of the “nice guy” or the “male feminist” who is only in it to get laid. I hoped to draw attention to the fact that, despite George Takei addressing his fanbase as “Friends,” we really don’t know anything about him other than what he and his PR machine want us to know.

How personal is this issue to you? Understandably, it’s personal for so many people around the globe. 

This issue is very personal for me. I was first sexually assaulted at the age of 4, and I believe that early experience messed with my sense of personal boundaries to the extent that I became victimized many times over in my adolescence and early adulthood. I know firsthand how abuse like this transforms the shape of one’s life. I used to wonder what I could have been if these things hadn’t happened to me, but I’ve come to the understanding that I am not irreparably damaged and that I have a perspective on trauma that is actually valuable. I’ve managed to find my people in this life, and they are beautiful. And I am continuously learning how to claim and stand in my power, in large part thanks to them. In the immortal words of the butterfly in The Last Unicorn, “You can find the others if you are brave.”

We spoke specifically earlier about how other outlets are covering your poetry as if it’s solely from a “woman’s perspective,” but that they are glossing over (or possibly just don’t have the information to understand) that you identify as a queer person. Do you have anything you’d like to say to that point, or about why this is such an important queer issue, as well as one for women?

I think most outlets don’t realize I’m queer and non-binary, which is partly my fault because my website has a bio that uses the pronouns she/her. I am a queer non-binary femme and I’m fine with either they/them or she/her, but my heart does tend to sing a bit more with the former.

When the #MeToo campaign popped up after allegations against Harvey Weinstein, I saw a lot of people using the hashtag to silence queer and non-binary people, as well as men (whether queer or not) who have also been victims of sexual assault. I found that a disturbing aspect of a campaign that should have been about amplifying the voices of all survivors, not just the female ones. Yes, most predators are men and believe me, I am as filled with rage against men as anyone, but not all of their victims are women. We have seen how many men come out with stories about Kevin Spacey now? I know quite a few men who are sexual assault survivors, and I knew quite a few boys who were when I was growing up, and sometimes the language of popular survivor movements can alienate and erase these men’s experiences. I think it would be wonderful if survivors could prop each other up as much as possible at this moment.

The trans POC community statistically suffers from a greater deal of sexual and physical violence, but this is less discussed even within our own community. What do you think cis-gender/non-POC queer people can do during this movement to shed light onto the trans POC community’s issues in these cases?

I think those of us who are at a lower risk of violence need to amplify the voices of those who are most at risk. We need to share the insights of trans POC without arguing with them. If a trans POC says that something is problematic, racist, and/or transphobic, then their truth needs to be supported. We need to listen to and honor the needs of our trans colleagues, and we need to be prepared to risk our own safety for their sake. We need to support the creative work of queer and trans POC. The world needs that work desperately, and anyone with a platform should be supporting and urging that work on. We need to talk about the trans POC who are killed every day and not let their lives and their work simply disappear.

We also need to acknowledge the contributions POC have made to every single social justice movement we are a part of. For example, the #MeToo campaign was started, sans hashtag, by a black woman ten years ago. Too often we steal from the most marginalized people in our communities and pretend their genius wasn’t what started all of this in the first place. A few years ago, I attended an event in DC where my dear friend Dane Figueroa Edidi sang so powerfully and with such beautiful rage that my body nearly exploded, and I want more people to hear her voice. There is no reason why Edidi isn’t our President, to be honest.

We also need to consider that there are likely many, many very marginalized people who are still being kept silent about their abuse right now. We might never hear their stories, but I am sure they exist.

More about the writing: how long have you been writing, and what are you interests in writing outside of erasure poetry?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. The first and only job I ever expressed wanting to have was that of a writer. Everything else I have ever done has been secondary to that, even though writing has brought me almost no money. My writing has always tended toward the darker aspects of life, and so my poems have often been fueled by my traumatic experiences, sometimes collaged with reworkings of old stories of maligned goddesses and observations made while watching old Forensic Files episodes. In terms of form, I have a chapbook of more traditional poems (by which I simply mean that they are not erasures), called Heartbreak Machinery, coming out from dancing girl press in 2018. I used to think, “I should probably write about something other than abuse and trauma,” but I’ve come to realize that those thoughts come from a place of shame that shouldn’t dictate how I channel my art. I’ll keep writing about these issues as long as I feel moved to, and if I’m moved to for the rest of my life, that’s OK too.

It seems that artists have long been undervalued in this country—especially queer writers. And yet writers like yourself are using art to bring such important topics to light and start a conversation we should have been having for a long time. Was this how you saw your writing career before you began as a professional writer—as a means of encouraging social action?

I didn’t have a plan or a vision for how I wanted my “writing career” to turn out, and I still laugh at the idea that I have a writing career at all. I’m a poet, which means I’m sort of chilling in this moist ditch while all the other, realer writers are driving their fancy cars by me, splashing me with dirty roadwater. At least, that’s the story that has been told about poets forever. And I’m still just starting out. When I was 14, a coworker told me, “Your mouth is going to get you in trouble someday,” and I think back to that all the time. I think she was right, and that that is probably a more accurate prediction of my trajectory as a writer than anything I could have dreamed of for myself or my writing up to this point. And if getting in trouble means challenging rich men who abuse their power, then I’m all for it.

As a queer writer, what would you like to see more of in poetry and literature—especially commercial poetry and literature? 

I would love to see more visual poetry. I mean, I obviously love erasure, and I especially love erasure that, like good satire, punches up rather than down. (Erases up?) I co-edit a literary journal with Carleen Tibbetts called Dream Pop, and we have been fortunate enough to receive some truly amazing visual poetry submissions ranging from erasure to collage to weird diagrams to fabric with poems stitched into it. It’s so much fun not only to read these things but to enjoy them as art objects, to think of poems as art objects, and to share those art objects with people who might not have ever thought that poetry could be this way. Additionally, we have received poems from queer and trans writers who are pushing the boundaries of language in relation to trauma and gender, and I’m excited to see where these writers go next. Specifically, I am thinking of poets like Chloe Rose and Linette Reeman. I see myself in the future drowning in a sea of queer poems, and I think that would be a pretty good way to go.

Do you see this conversation changing the landscape for queer people, trans people, people of color, and women? What do you think other writers can do to help paint that new landscape, and what advice would you give them? 

At this particular time, I do see the landscape shifting a little, but maybe you’ve just caught me at an optimistic moment. I do think this conversation will change the way a lot of us see people who hold positions of cultural power, and that we will question our devotion to and faith in such people. And I hope that that questioning will lead to a greater openness to the narratives of marginalized people.

I don’t feel like I’m terribly qualified to give other writers advice. All I can say is that the things I have written that hold, in my mind, the greatest power were the things I wrote when I was shaking with rage. I don’t know if that’s how everyone should do it, but maybe some of you out there are afraid of your rage (I once was, too!) and if that’s you, I hereby give you permission to embrace it, use it, follow its lead, and it might take you to a place you never expected full of other people who recognize you because they did the same and now you’re all here together.


To read more from Isobel, you can visit their website at IsobelOHare.com. You can also purchase A Shadow Map: An Anthology of Survivors of Sexual Assault, in which O’Hare contributed, edited by Joanna C. Valente. O’Hare is currently planning a collection of these poems, which they are currently working on.

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

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About Magazine GLUE Weekend 2017

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.

About Magazine GLUE Weekend 2017

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.

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)

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.

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