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Why Does Gold’s Gym Hate The Gays?

October 22, 2010

The CEO of Gold’s Gym donated $2 million to American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s organization that focuses on electing antigay politicians to office, according to Change.org. Given that Gold’s Gym has a rather large LGBT client base, this is downright dumb.

The Seattle Gay Scene blog posted about this story that ran in The Advocate. While it’s important they’ve brought this to the community’s attention, I’m apprehensive in agreeing with their idea that people should “dump Gold’s Gym.”

I workout at Gold’s Gym on Capitol Hill. While canceling my contract now would mean paying less in the long run than what I would pay until it runs out, I can’t afford to drop $125.00 at once, and I definitely can’t afford to pay the start-up fees to join another gym, as well as the expensive, mandatory training sessions that most likely come along with the agreement.

Has Gold’s Gym donated to an antigay group in efforts to get a large population of its clients to make an impulsive decision to cancel their gym memberships and pay the cancellation fee without acknowledging the financial reasoning behind doing so? Is it worth it for LGBT people to continue using Gold’s Gym’s services and know to cancel when they hit the one-year-mark?

There is a petition you can sign, being against this donation (SO PLEASE DO!).

If you do the math, and you can afford to cancel and switch gyms, then I urge you to do so. But if you live paycheck-to-paycheck like me, please think about your reasoning behind this decision – you could very well be giving Gold’s Gym more money without realizing it.

To Grindr or not to Grindr?

June 23, 2010

Image borrowed from Grindr.comDating. Everybody loves it, and everybody loves to hate it. Getting caught up in that whirlwind of loving like-liking someone so much that you can’t wait to see them again. Until you do, they’re at the forefront of your thoughts leading up to that pivotal (and lately non-existent) second date.

Having asked in April 22′s post, “My date with Anderson Cooper,” “should I focus my efforts elsewhere?” when it comes to dating, specifically regarding my convenient, short-term success with the mobile gaydar app Grindr. I’ve since eliminated the app from my phone and mobile routine entirely. Several reasons led to this decision. One being that I was recognized on the street by someone who knew my Grindr name, granted I’d never had any interaction with the creeper whatsoever.

The more tangible reason for axing Grindr came from reading Edge columnist Angelo Pezzote‘s article “Man or Machine.”  His analysis of how Grindr (and technology in general) desensitizes the gay dating process brings to light recurring themes of rejection many ‘mos face throughout their lives.

Pezzote asks “Do gay men find it easier to be rejected by a machine than a real person?” Yes, they do. Assuming he’s drawing on past experiences to which many gay men relate –whether it be his, mine or yours — there are too many platforms gay men can find answers regarding dating and hook-up scenarios. Grindr interactions usually result in banter, potential dirty talk and photo-swappings that amalgamate…to nothing; a temporary, literal and visual stimulant of visceral and candid sharings of intimate expectations. Whether intrigued or insensitive, hardly anything comes of it.

After quitting Grindr, I take Pezzote’s findings to heart. Not because I identify with what he says regarding this particular instance, but because he acknowledges how gay men think and engage. Defaulting to irrational behavior when everyone else  deems it appropriate is an easy task — it’s easier, less involved, looks cooler, and you know it!

Maybe our answers to dating rely not in the technological conveniences we’ve developed but in advancements we’ve achieved. Should our focus as gay men be directed toward establishing an elite status among the same sex, or should we focus on expanding our demographic in every facet to implement a resonating presence?

A link to Angelo Pezzote’s website: http://www.askangelo.com/.

The Power of the Booty

June 14, 2010

What do you get when you combine viral video marketing, gay-friendly businesses and Katy Perry? Only the GREATEST YOUTUBE VIDEO TO HIT SUMMER OF 2010! Seattle-based, yet nationally expanding, UnicornBooty.com made waves last week with its tribute video to Katy Perry’s latest hit “California Gurls.”

Katy Perry’s California Gurls feat. the Washington Boys” debuted at a favorite Seattle gay bar of mine, The Lobby Bar, Monday, June 7. Wanting to go viral from the get-go, Unicorn Booty founders Kevin Farrell and Nick Vivion were unpleasantly surprised when their video debuted via YouTube, only to be pulled moments later by Perry’s label EMIGlobal for reasons not quite clearly defined. What was clear, however, was the multitude of tribute videos fans have made using Perry’s songs, as well as those from other artists like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, which record labels have not pulled from public YouTube access. Funny — in a really demeaning way — that the only video EMIGlobal struck from YouTube was that featuring seven good-looking gay boys dancing in the desert to honor a current pop icon who’s been fairly well-received by the friends of Dorothy.

What better way for a video to go viral than to have it pulled from the public because a major record label thinks it’s too gay?!? Thankfully, with help from Queerty.com, Perez Hilton (love that you featured this on your site, Perez, but calling the “Washington Boys” video “cute” is synonymous with when girls told me I was “like a brother” back when I thought I was straight), and a social media bombardment from disgruntled ‘mos and allies regarding EMI pulling the tribute video from the very service Unicorn Booty utilizes daily to promote gay-friendly businesses with its “Daily Gay Giveaway,” “Katy Perry’s California Gurls feat. the Washington Boys” has been reinstated on YouTube for your ultimate viewing pleasure (maybe they were afraid Unicorn Booty’s ability to reroute viewers to Vimeo.com would take away from its user-generated mantra?).

Make a pit-stop at UnicornBooty.com at least once a day. Just comment on their blog for a chance to win that day’s prize, and spread the word on your Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and other social media platforms to increase your chances of winning. Winners are selected at random and prizes are off the hook!

I’ll let you know I haven’t won anything yet, and I don’t care. As someone who’s admittedly at the whim of the best consumer culture has to offer, the fact that Unicorn Booty introduced me to brands like Bonobos (which I spent at least 45 minutes online with the other day, gawking at boat shoes and pants), SharkStores and Shakers Vodka, proves that they provide valuable and leveraged insight on products I want and need..but mainly want. What’s even better is that participating retailers are interested in establishing and furthering themselves as gay-friendly, which is pretty effing smart considering we gays collectively spend about $825 billion a year. What’s even more marvelous is that Unicorn Booty donates 10 percent of proceeds to a non-profit organization. A new non-profit is selected each quarter (with this qaurter’s being Lifelong AIDS Alliance), as chosen by users of the site. It’s the ultimate audience-derived, social media driven experienced, and it’s available to you every day, for free.

Get on the horn and check out Unicorn Booty each and every day. A great service and cause encapsulated by an entertaining website. It only takes a few minutes a day to contribute and potentially win a product provided by companies who care about you, sincerely.

OUT for Sustainability goes GreenFest 2010

June 8, 2010

Seattle non-profit OUT for Sustainability (O4S) made an impact during this weekend’s Seattle Green Festival (hereby referred to as “GreenFest”), a two-day convention on Northwest sustainability trends, services and culture. We did so much in fact that it must be presented in bulleted form, for each feat is deserving of its own…bullet (that really doesn’t sound special, but it is):

  • O4S founders Gerod Rody and Julian O’Reilley, and VP Elan Keehn spoke during the two-day event: Rody and O’Reilly on O4S as an LGBTQ sustainability organization; and Keehn contributing to a panel on Youth Action, speaking on O4S’s new LGBTQ Youth Environmental Leadership program.
  • The O4S Board of Directors (of which I am a member) succeeded in spreading word of the “gay and green” community. Located in the community action space, we tabled during GreenFest in its entirety and greeted enthusiastic passersby who were glad to see all six colors of the rainbow amidst a sea of green.
  • O4S announced the launch of its new, redesigned website, which I am once again featuring in link form, here.
  • In addition to the new website, we were able to promote our upcoming events:
    • O4S’s June Social Hour, hosted by STILL Liqour, happening June 17, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Fun fact: STILL Liquor is located at the recently re-purposed Melrose Triangle building between Pike and Pine. They will feature organic drinks in honor of our hosting the event there. This promises to be a great way to celebrate Pride month. Unfortunately this event is 21 and over, but look for July’s Social Hour to be held at an all ages venue.
    • O4S’s 2010 Green(er) Pride campaign.
    • Our July 24 hike with the Sierra Club. There will be more on this later. A lot more.
  • A few out-of-town attendees of Seattle GreenFest 2010 expressing interest in starting O4S chapters in D.C., North Carolina, San Francisco and Tacoma, Wash. Not to mention our current L.A. chapter still in development mode. Gotta love prospects.

I was incredibly impressed with all the work OUT for Sustainability did this weekend, and that which we continue to do in the next couple months. When I began tabling Saturday afternoon, the first person who greeted me said something along the lines of: “It’s so great you’re here, but I think the gay community is too apathetic when it comes to sustainability.” Interesting. Because the rest of the ‘mos and straight allies who greeted our table — who were there because it was a SUSTAINABILITY CONVENTION — pretty much said “it was about time the LGBTQ community did something for the sustainability movement.”

What say you? Was the first and only nay-sayer I encountered during GreenFest right to say we gays are too apathetic to care about the sustainability movement? Are “we” so jaded to be green? And if no — and by the way, NO! — what do you think needs to be done to promote the continuous bridging of the LGBTQ community with the sustainability movement? This isn’t just a question to contemplate — your comments could lead to the development of this movement. Don’t be shy.

Words with Friends

April 27, 2010

Not only a great app on the iPhone, but “words with friends” is what I’ve had the last few months regarding a few particular words (un)becoming of the LGBTQ community: “queer” and “gay lifestyle.” My “un” is parenthetical due to differing views within the community regarding these two terms. Some people identify as queer because they feel it best encapsulates their sexual orientation. Some look down on the phrase “gay lifestyle” because it describes a life led and looked upon differently than that of a heterosexual.

The term “queer,” in its most literal interpretation, conflicts with my own views toward homosexuality, as it describes something strange and abnormal. Even the dictionary agrees with me. Identifying as something other than straight is perfectly normal, but why has this word come into play as a categorical term of reference in the LGBTQ community?

Theory.org.uk provides an interesting explanation regarding queer theory:

Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are…Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and non-predictable ways.

If queer theory revolves around the notion that a identity is not the end-all-be-all factor determining “who we are,” how has a word conveying such literal negatively been lumped into this progressive outlook on being?

While I do not identify as queer, I’ve come to terms with others’ qualms over the phrase “gay lifestyle” — how it passively establishes a sentiment of otherness while trying to sound politically correct. If I wanted correct politics, do you think I’d live in the U.S. of A.? Probably…but still! Thanks to the wise words of my friend Gerod Rody, what with me being so new to the “family” and all, I share this view in thinking one phrase; two words can be offensive. At the same time, there are people using this word I find negative to define their orientation, but I simultaneously see and respect it as the caboose of the political acronym I’ve come to know and love: “LGBTQ.”

Is it necessary to embrace all facets of political correctness when engaging with people from all walks of life? When is a word only a word, and when is it divided into two conflicting frames of thought?

My date with Anderson Cooper

April 22, 2010

Photo obtained from "Out in Hollywood"

I went on a date tonight with Anderson Cooper. Not “the Anderson Cooper,” but a guy who bears a striking resemblance to my favorite, silver-foxy anchorman. It even came up in conversation.

From dinner, to coffee, to “goodnight” — the date was quintessential. My qualm, however, lies within his closing remarks of “Give me a call sometime if you want.” What the hell is that? If I want. If I don’t want, I will of course not call him. And if I do want, do I want to call someone who prefaces the end of a date with “If you want” to see me again, go ahead and make it happen?

This marks date number two this week, having rescheduled with a guy last night in order to watch the GREATEST EPISODE OF “GLEE” EVER (shallow much?). I potentially have four dates this week. All first dates. No, I’m not promiscuous, just eager. The first was too short (me 6’3”; him 5’5”), too nice (he’s in higher ed.) and too cookie-cutter — I felt awkward dropping an “F” bomb because he didn’t curse…at all. Not even a “damn.”

At least Anderson and I were convivial. Granted slightly older than I – “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number” — I talked pop cultural references, current events and generational pastimes better with him than with most guys my age. And by “talked” I mean I know what the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” is, and I’m an avid watcher via Hulu. Thankfully he keeps up with “GLEE”.

Boy slotted for date-number-three is under the weather, so he’s tentative. Number four takes place Sunday at 7:00 p.m., PST. He is the one I bumped for “GLEE” — that’s three references in one post, FOX! Part of me feels bad. Another part of me thinks about whether he’ll find this blog post and realize where he stands on my priority list. And the biggest part of me doesn’t really care that much. Callous, I know, but lately first dates have been more let-downs than lead-ons. Why not prioritize the things in my life I know I’ll enjoy before I embark on something that has as much potential as finding that perfect jacket at Crossroads — it’s possible and easily achieved, but you’re not surprised when you leave the store empty-handed.

Maybe it’s the method in which I made the dates that has prompted such a cynical response prior to even shaking hands with the men — Grindr. While I’ve had better luck meeting men with mobile gaydar than  in bars or clubs, should I focus my efforts elsewhere? And where is elsewhere by the way? Being an invisible minority makes it a little hard to branch out, not gonna lie.

I seem to be the only one of my gay group of friends who is actively dating. Whether partnered, playing or swearing off men for two years (really Jay?), I am the only one in my group dating with a purpose. However, wherever, and whomever I meet, the questions remain: Are gay people subject to online matchmaking and flirting in bars more than the average straight person because our options are limited when we walk into any other establishment? Are we subjected to this guess-and-check process when it comes to dating with intent, more so than hetero-folk?

A Capitol Hill Sunday

October 5, 2009

A tall, stoic man plays a purple, electric harp. A wannabe Pirate with a three-corner hat gazes in amusement. Perhaps he’s sidetracked, late for a game of Dungeons and Dragons. His friend’s mother’s basement can wait.

I pass by a couple necking near the bus stop. Either she’s insanely short or he’s awkwardly tall. It’s all relative.

Heads and shoulders sit convivially, lounging on food and drink, telling stories of what happened when on which day this weekend, and what’s to come this week while working away until Friday.

As I leave the ATM, the tall-short-necking couple approach. Even odd couples need quick cash.

I cross back to the other side of the street, almost tripping on a jutted-out reflector, and Pat Benetar blares from the metrosexual-friendly retail establishment. “Love is a Battlefield” is quickly drowned out by the Electric Harp Man’s serene tune. It’s a shame his open instrument case is empty, especially considering I have ample singles in my back pocket.

I question in my head where the Pirate fellow went when out he walks from the Rite Aide with a bottle of Mt. Dew and two dollars in hand. I assume the money will fill Electric Harp Man’s empty case and this makes me feel better about withholding my contribution.

I ascend down the hill and a woman carrying groceries and emotional baggage flings her half-empty coffee cup to the ground. The crashing splash is upstaged by the woman’s weeping. I wouldn’t have noticed her had it not been for this. She’s well-dressed — some may call her “trendy” — and her emotional state is visible to passersby and patrons on sidewalk patios; visible to everyone but her. Why wouldn’t it be? She turns a sharp right into a dark alley. I hope she’s together enough to make it home. Not 50 seconds later I arrive at my front door.

Thin layers of wood and paint separate my feet from the blaring bass beating melodically on the gay bar’s ceiling. The jukebox is a crowd favorite.

This is a place riddled with awkward and satisfying love, public displays of blinded angst, and musical musings for whomever will listen.

I love this city.

Seattle Panaramic

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