Gay, Single and Not 21 Anymore

Aging is a fact of life, but aging in the LGBTQ community, especially when your single may be another matter entirely. While there are certainly serious concerns to worry about, dating and socializing can be more of one than most of us care to admit. In many areas, especially if you don’t live in the big city, gay life revolves around that beloved institution, the gay bar. While this might have worked great when you were young and didn’t really care if you showed up at work hungover the next day, it’s a bit less appropriate when you have a mortgage, aging parents, and two dogs who really don’t like to be left home alone most of the night. While many people pair off as they get older and meet that Mr. Right, maybe you’re newly out of the closet, newly broken up, or just haven’t been that lucky yet. How can you maintain a social life, have fun and still make it to work in the morning?

If you have been single all along, you can probably stop reading right now. You likely have the social life you want, simply because it’s never been significantly changed in one way or the other and has evolved to meet your interests and lifestyle. There is nothing at all wrong with being happily single and living a full life on your own.

More of us, however, are single due to being either newly out or newly broken up. While you might have meandered into your local gay bar and found yourself either ignored or fresh meat, depending on your community, perhaps this is not what you’re looking for at all. You can meet people, find friends and develop relationships within the gay and lesbian community without setting foot in a drag show, drinking shots out of test tubes or otherwise potentially embarrassing yourself in a drunken stupor.

What can you do? Even in smaller cities, you do have many options to meet people outside of the bar subculture. First, become involved in things you love that matter. It does not matter if that is the local animal shelter or the local arts scene. Consider volunteering your time with gay, lesbian and other queer causes. Many of those who volunteer are in a place in their lives that is also incompatible with weekends drinking in the bars. Be open and honest about who you are, whenever you feel safe and comfortable doing so. You might be surprised who you can meet. Moreover, making the most of your life and your time will make for a happy and full life, whether you are alone or not. Once you feel comfortable in your own skin and your own life, if you want to actively pursue finding a relationship, consider on line dating options, social networking sites, and even just putting the word out to friends that you’re looking. Many great relationships have been made by matchmaking friends.

Guys Clothes Now Easier to Find

Sooner would have been better for this since Christmas is just around the corner but this can still be a useful took for finding the exact clothes you have seen someone else wearing or just want to find a new shirt to wear out.

We are excited to bring you something you can really use in this day of too much information and never being able to find anything online.  There are many, many websites that make things too hard to find coupons, discounts, sales and most anything for the male consumer.  It was even hard to find the Men’s Express clothing store in some malls and online.

I have compiled a search engine that makes it so you can search out specific things such as mens hoodies, belts, and hard to find cuffs and bracelets.  You will be able to find Puma shoes, converse, and cute tighty undies from sites such as Andrew Christian in the search.  I have included gay retailers, the biggest trend setting retailers such as MetroPark, The Buckle, Ed Hardy, Guess, A/X, and Hollister.  Department stores such as Macy’s large database can also be found in here.

Feel free to comment to add a store that you feel is not included in the search.  I will check out as many magazines like Instinct and Details to find the hottest fashions for guys and make sure those links are included for this search engine to seek out.

This is a really cool project and will be fun to get all of these clothing stores and smaller shops together into one search without having to weed through all the junk on the internet.  These will be the more fashionable retailers for college, teen, and young adults.

We expect to have one of these available for the girls next year so stay tuned and send us suggestions for both.

Rachel Maddow brings new quality trend to TV Journalism

If you have not seen Rachel Maddow on cable news then you are watching the wrong channel.

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow is finding her way into millions of American households and has improved the network’s ratings during the 9:00 PM hour. She’s insightful, liberal, politically savvy and openly gay. Maddow started her public media career on Air America with her own liberal talk radio show. Maddow’s radio show covers both headline news and the political analysis behind the headlines. She appeared on both CNN and MSNBC in 2005 and 2006, adding her voice to election coverage on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now. In January, 2008 she was named a political analyst for MSNBC, appearing on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and “Race for the White House”. The Rachel Maddow Show began on MSNBC on September 8, 2008, airing at 9:00 PM Eastern every weekday. She continues her Air America radio program nightly at 6:00 PM Eastern. Maddow’s show, along with Olbermann’s, provides MSNBC viewers with a full three hours of liberal commentary, debate and discussion weeknight.

Maddow is a former Rhodes Scholar with a P.h.D. in political science from Lincoln College at Oxford University. Prior to her work as a political commentator and television and radio host, she worked in both HIV/AIDS activism and prison reform, making these the subject of her doctoral dissertation. Her radio career began on stations in Massachusetts, eventually leaving for Air America’s Unfiltered and later her own show.

Rachel Maddow’s shows, both on radio and TV, offer a funny and quick moving look at the news of the day, politics and pop culture. Her radio show typically includes a look at the war and life in wartime in Iraq, “underbelly” which looks at the politics behind the news, and interviews with various political and pop culture icons. Her MSNBC show offers interviews with journalists and newsmakers of all sorts, a look at underreported news stories, and a regular segment called “Talk Me Down” about the day’s news.

She is open about her personal life, and was the first out gay or lesbian individual to become a Rhodes Scholar. Today, she splits her time between New York City and a home in rural Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula. The couple has been together since 1999.

In 2008, Maddow topped Out Magazines “Out 100 List” of the most culture moving gay men and women in America. Whether you consider her a broadcaster, a news anchor or a political pundit, Rachel Maddow has brought a new face and a new voice to both a major news network. Maddow is an intelligent voice for liberal politics and a liberal agenda, but does it with class, grace and top notch debating skills.  She also received the cover of the Advocate magazine and named the “Smartest Woman on Television.”

Here are some quotes we have seen on blogs about Rachel Maddow’s success on MSNBC:

“It is so good to see a SMART woman who doesn’t have bleached blond hair with low cut dresses on as a host of a good “talking heads” show…and of course, I agree with her most of the time.  I sometimes catch her at 1 am and usually do not watch during prime time but guess I should record (I am often up at 1 am)” – Mary, Chicago

People overall seem to like Rachel because she is nice and smart without being as cocky as her male counterparts.  We still watch Keith Olbermann on Countdown but love the addition to MSNBC.  I have to at least watch his special comments and the Worst Persons in the World showdown.  I am mostly happy about her beating Sean Hannity and Colmes in some of the ratings because we deserve good, quality reporting and journalism instead of all the trash repeated all day on Fox News.  The funny thing about all of this is that I originally had a dream Rachel would get her own show on MSNBC then she started filling in for Keith and it all began.

Out in Hollywood

More and more actors are slowly tiptoeing out of the closet in Hollywood today. While out actors and actresses used to be largely limited to Broadway, today several openly gay actors and actresses can be seen on television and in movies on a regular basis. Media coverage of out celebrities’ gay weddings has increased and relationships are no longer as hidden. Some young actors and actresses are simply choosing to live openly, even if they do not officially come out of the closet.

Two out gay actors can be seen on major network television each week. Neil Patrick Harris has a major role as Barney Stinson in CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight is also out of the closet and open about his sexuality. Both play straight characters and both were first outed by the incessant rumor mills of Hollywood, but acknowledged their sexuality publicly and openly. While based in Britain, Sir Ian McKellan is perhaps the most famous gay actor working in films today. McKellan came out in 1988 and is a prominent voice for gay men in television and films. Out gay men in Hollywood remain a rarity. Rumors fly that leading men are gay or bisexual, but they keep their private lives private to preserve their careers in a homophobic world.

Out lesbians are more common, and possibly more accepted in Hollywood. Ellen and Portia’s recent wedding made the cover of major magazines in grocery stores across America. Rosie O’Donnell has been out for several years and remains a vocal figure in the entertainment world. Lindsay Lohan’s recent acknowledgement of her relationship reveals a new generation of young, out celebrities. Criminal Minds’ star Kristin Vangsness and Fringe actress Jasika Nicole are both open about their sexuality. While Jodie Foster has guarded her privacy for many years, she did out herself in a thanks to her partner Cyndey Bernard in December of 2007. Comedian Wanda Sykes officially outed herself in the wake of the Proposition 8 vote. Sex in the City actress Cynthia Nixon has also come out publicly, with no harm done to her career. Women clearly can keep their careers and sex appeal in Hollywood in a way that gay men may not yet be capable of, even if they are willing to let the public know about their private relationships.

The recent release of Milk has left some asking whether straight actors can and should play gay when it’s appropriate or if gay actors should be favored for gay roles.  While Milk, like Brokeback Mountain, includes prominent Hollywood actors, they are all straight actors. Many gay actors find themselves nearly exclusively limited to gay roles. It is no significant surprise that many gay and lesbian actors simply keep their private lives hidden from public view to avoid losing access to good roles and opportunities.

Who’s Next?

The cover of OUT Magazine had Paul Wentz from Fall Out Boy declaring he was a “Fa-g” but for reals we know better than that.  He is one hell of a hot metrosexual. American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken came out in 2008 but we all sort of knew that was coming.  Who will be the next Celebrity to come out of the closet? Stay tuned for what 2009 has in store!

Blending Finances with a Partner

The process of blending finances with your significant other is a challenging one, and different couples make different choices in this situation. Whether you have married or are moving in together, some amount of joint financial affairs may make life easier and help to cement your relationship. The choices you make may depend on whether you come into the relationship with established incomes and investments, whether one or both of you have children, and your own financial styles. In any case, beginning your shared financial future with a willingness to communicate openly about money is critical.

One option that some couples choose is to simply retain their own finances. They split expenses in a way that is even and fair, share the costs of entertainment, food, and dining out, and retain two checking accounts, separate savings and investments. They may or may not have a joint account to cover household expenses and split those accordingly. This option can make managing vacations, home purchases, and major costs of that sort more challenging, but also protects each partner’s financial independence. This option is less effective if there is a significant financial disparity between partners, if one becomes unemployed, or if a partner stays home to raise children. This choice may be wise if the two of you find communicating about money matters especially challenging.

A middle of the road option allows both couples to contribute to joint savings, investments and checking accounts. Financial decisions are made jointly; however, both partners retain their own individual checking and credit accounts and free access to their own funds. This option does require more willingness to discuss money regularly and analyze how money is being used, amounts being contributed, etc. Should one partner be unemployed or there be a substantial financial disparity, this may require additional discussion to keep financial equality within the relationship.

Finally, the couple may choose to simply combine their financial affairs, agree upon a budget and maintain entirely joint accounts. This option can be more challenging if the relationship fails, since both partners’ money is entangled in joint financial affairs. It is, however, a more equitable choice if one partner is staying at home with children. Do be sure that you have good communication over money if sharing finances this fully. You may need to discuss spending on a regular basis and be certain to have a budget and stick to that budget.

Whichever financial choice you make as you blend households, keep in mind that money is a problem for many couples. If you find yourselves struggling with communication issues related to money early on, consider meeting with a relationship counselor or financial advisor to help you plan your financial future.

Relationship Resources

Every relationship, gay or straight, hits rough times. Unfortunately, many of the relationship resources out there, including workshops, counseling and self help books are geared toward heterosexual couples. While some of the ideas and information is relevant to any couple, the stresses and concerns of GLBTQ couples can be somewhat different. How can you find a counselor to help with your relationship struggles? Are there books out there that you can actually read without ignoring much of the irrelevant information and which address the specific stressors and concerns of a queer relationship? Making things a bit harder is the lack of research into gay and lesbian relationships. For an overview of what is known about communication styles in gay and lesbian relationships, see this article at Time Magazine.

Many people read self help books now and again, and some of the most popular concern relationships. Keeping a long term relationship happy, passionate and loving can be a challenge regardless of the gender of your partner. Fortunately, there are a number of books on the market specifically dedicated to gay and lesbian relationships. Consider taking a look at Mackey, O’Brien, and Mackey’s Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships, Betty Berzon’s Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships that Last, and Tina Tessina’s Gay Relationships as a starting point if you have concerns or questions about your relationship. You may also find it helpful to read resources intended for straight couples, including the well regarded The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Do keep in mind that some of the information in resources aimed at heterosexual couples may not be useful to you, and that research does show that gay and lesbian couples often communicate quite differently due to the lack of gender roles typically present.

Some of the time our relationships do need more help than old fashioned open communication and self help books can offer. Consider relationship counseling if you and your partner are struggling. If you are part of an inclusive faith community, you may find that pastoral counseling or even relationship workshops are an option for you and your partner. If this is not an option for you, your local gay and lesbian center may be the best starting point when looking for relationship help. Mental health referrals, including those for relationship counseling, are commonplace at gay and lesbian resource centers and you can be sure that your counselor is comfortable and experienced in assisting with the issues specific to GLBTQ couples.

The same basics are true for any relationship. In order to have a healthy relationship with your partner, you need love, passion, and open communication. You also need shared interests, goals, hopes and dreams. With these in place, many of the minor challenges and struggles can be overcome to allow you and your partner to share many happy years together.

Milk Movie Premiere Thanksgiving Week

sean penn as harvey milkThis Thanksgiving week we may not feel that we have much to be thankful for because of some setbacks in the last election towards gay rights.  Thanksgiving will be the premiere of the movie Milk starring Sean Penn directed by Gus Van Sant.  Hopefully there will be a big showing of movie theaters that will be carrying the movie across the US so we can all see it without having to travel too far.  The Milk Movie also stars Emile Hirsch and Josh Brolin.

Harvey Milk is known in San Francisco and around the country as a gay leader and hero.  There will also be Memorials held in various places in time for the 30th anniversary of Harvey Milk.

Harvey Milk Memorial 11-27-08 at 9pm on sidewalks of santa monica blvd where it meets san vicente.  To create an aerial candlelit equal sign demonstrating power of peace and unity.  A dignified ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Harvey Milk, a gay rights pioneer and the first openly gay man elected to public office.

Recently, a Harvey Milk day was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30.  This bill AB 2567 would require the governor proclaim May 22 each year as Harvey Milk Day.  It is too bad this did not pass but we should all go out and support the movie and attend his Memorial if in a city where either is going on.

Protests Across America in support of Gay Marriage

lesbians speaking at marriage support rallyThousand upon thousands of gays united across the country today to say that we want equal rights now when it comes to marriage.  We are tired of paying taxes just like every other family but not being equal.  There were protests held from Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, and 130 cities overall.

Everyone I speak to in the gay community think that Proposition 8 in California was the best thing to ever happen to gay rights.  It not only opened up the floodgates for the LGBT community to be motivated to get out there and be active but it is really bringing us together.  I attended the rally in Houston today at city hall and took some great photos of the event.

This was a highly respectable event with people dressed nicely and showing up to support love instead of hate.  I was so impressed with the speakers and the performance from Jason and deMarco who sung in a Capella.

Two lesbians took stage who have been married and not sure their current marriage status in California gave the most emotional speech.  It was an enlightening event to bring the gay community together and see so many gay youth attending.  This was no gay pride parade, nightclub, or house party but a meeting at city halls across the nation that really showed we want and deserve marriage rights just like anyone else.  America was made to give rights to minorities not to be taken away from majorities.  It was great to see everyone out and about coming together for our futures.

Networking in the LGBT Community

Networking within the gay community is a great way to make professional connections, friends, and socialize. For many of us, socializing within the LGBT community is more comfortable, relaxed and appealing. Unfortunately, especially in smaller cities, networking and socializing in the gay community often revolves around the local bars. Whether you simply prefer to avoid the bars, find that bar hopping conflicts with your other priorities, or just aren’t interested, there are ways to network and meet and greet within the gay community that do not, in fact, involve drag shows, test tube shots, and loud dance music.

First, if there is a local gay and lesbian center or organization in your area, this can be one of the best places to start looking for gay networking options. Okay, you may not be the support group type, nor in a place where you need help coming out, but quite often these centers can also offer resources, like local gay professional networking groups. If you have a local professional networking organization, this can be one of the best ways to meet other gay individuals in a relaxed setting, and might even help you make valuable professional connections. Some large corporations also maintain their own gay and lesbian professional groups within the company. If yours does, make time to participate.

Another great networking resource is local volunteer groups. You will find many LGBT folk volunteering at AIDS and HIV related organizations, but also working with queer youth, doing outreach education and volunteering in matters of sexual health. Spending some time helping out with LGBT related issues can allow you to meet others and share your skills in a meaningful way.

While it may sound simple, being out will help you to meet others. If you are open about your sexuality and relationships, you will find that others come out to you. No one is suggesting you go to work wrapped in your rainbow flag, but openness does send a message to those around you that you are comfortable in your own skin, and may allow you to meet others around you.

One website that really sticks out is Linkedin.com they feature a search where you can find other gay and lesbian professionals to show off your resume or befriend. There is also facebook but linkedin is more on the professional level for those looking to get ahead in a particular industry.

Fight to get Mormon Church TAXED!

We should all get together and find out where all this money came from to get Proposition 8 passsed in California and who funded the commercials in Florida.  If Churches are getting involved in politics THEY SHOULD get their TAX EXEMPT status taken away.  Hey, what better way to get our economy back in shape get some tax money from these Churches.

Churches seem to get the free ride when it comes to taxes and we all know they are dipping into politics way more than they should.  They should be taxed just like everyone else!  We at least need to make sure this is enforced.

We should have been undercover in the churches with small recording devices.  We damn well should have been doing this.

I think the best place to make a donation right now is lambdalegal.org to help get the ball running on this.  Marching and honking may make noise but the real noise is making phone calls and sending emails to people that can make a difference.

Here’s how you get it done:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the “Mormon” or LDS Church) has gone too far in promoting the 2008 California Proposition 8, which would claims to amend the California state constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman in order to supersede a state supreme court opinion issued earlier this year. [Whether the proposition was a lawful amendment or a revision that cannot legally be made by a voter initiative remains an open question.]

Section 501(c)(3) of US Code Title 26, which governs tax-exempt organizations, reads (emphasis added):

(3) Corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition (but only if no part of its activities involve the provision of athletic facilities or equipment), or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, no substantial part of the activities of which is carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided in subsection (h)), and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

(The “otherwise provided” clause does not apply, as the LDS Church, being a church, is a disqualified entity as described in subsection (h).)

The LDS church, through inciting its members to donate time and means to support Proposition 8 (resulting in millions of dollars of cash contributions from its members and countless volunteer hours), and in-kind campaign contributions to a group that supports Proposition 8, has now made a substantial part of its activities attempting to influence legislation.

You can help! Send the IRS an official complaint about the LDS Church’s activities, either by email, fax or US Mail.

  1. Prepare a copy of the Official LDS Prop. 8 Letter read in all LDS churches in California on 29 June 2008.
  2. Prepare one or more other articles of your choice (you can use these links, or do your own research) showing the LDS Church’s substantial activities attempting to influence this legislation.
  3. Prepare this Pre-Filled IRS Form 13909 and add your personal information, or fill out a Blank IRS Form 13909 from scratch with the information in the pre-filled form (these links and an alternative filled form are copied below in RESOURCES.)
  4. Don’t forget to date your referral at the top and include your submitter information. If you are a member of the Church, you may wish to check the box marked “I am concerned that I might face retaliation or retribution if my identity is disclosed.”
  5. Send it to the IRS, either by:
    * Email: Prepare your documents as PDF’s or web links, and send your complaint form with supporting documentation to eoclass@irs.gov.
    * Fax: fax your documents to (214) 413-5415
    * Mail: mail your documents to
    IRS EO Classification
    Mail Code 4910DAL
    1100 Commerce Street
    Dallas TX 75242-1198

RESOURCES:
Official IRS Complaint Process for Tax-Exempt Organizations
US Code Title 26, Section 501
Official LDS Prop. 8 Letter
List of LDS Entities (Source of Tax ID Number)

Information required for IRS Form 13909:
Name of Referred Organization: The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Street Address: 50 E. North Temple St., Salt Lake City UT 84150
Organization’s EIN: 23-7300405
For Section 4, see the Pre-Filled IRS Form 13909, or write your concerns in your own words. If your reader will not open that form, try the Alternative Pre-Filled 13909.

Thanks to a formerly faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (”the Church”) for the update to this for us to take action.

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