This week was full of preparations for the national eating contest -- or what some call the Thanksgiving holiday. It's a day filled with dodging awkward questions from relatives, throwing elbows at the dinner table and, of course, eating. Maggie Mull is excited for Thanksgiving, but for reasons other than the food: "Thanksgiving is the only day of year when my grandma yelling 'I dropped a breast on the floor and the dogs eating it!' isn't a 911 emergency."
In other news this week, the non-indictment of police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown got a lot of people on Twitter (and in real life) really riled up. "*Cracks knuckles* time to unfriend some racists on Facebook," Twitter user PeachCoffin tweeted. Truth.
Shari Vanderwerf summed up the week perfectly when she tweeted, "Why not announce the grand jury decision on Thanksgiving when we're too bloated to riot?" Maybe not riot, but protest peacefully? Definitely.
For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.
Be that family member that drinks wine out of the bottle and ruins Thanksgiving dinner for everyone.
In honor of one of our favorite holidays, we're taking a look at some of this delicious day's biggest queer secrets. From gay pilgrims to gay turkeys to drag-tastic desserts, here at 10 queer ways of looking at Thanksgiving that you might not have thought about before.
2. Think The Pilgrims Landed In Plymouth? Think Again.
While history tell us that the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, they actually arrived in one of the gayest towns in the world -- good ol' Provincetown.
No word on whether they indulged in tea dances or hanky panky under the docks, but here's to hoping! Think there weren't any gay pilgrims to join in on the fun? Well...
4. Thanksgiving's Unofficial Fruit
It's believed the term '"fruit" first became used to refer to gay men in 1935, and some believe it was due to the word's prior association with "a girl or woman willing to oblige." Gay men have long been connected to slang that serves to emasculate them -- and "fruit" most likely falls into that category.
Make sure to indulge in lots of fruits this holiday!
5. Clueless About Cooking? Ask These Drag Queens
Pandora Boxx, one of our favorite "RuPaul's Drag Race" queens and a blogger for HuffPost Gay Voices, joins Daphne Dumount and Saltina Obama Bouvier to help you make a drag-tastic holiday dessert.
6. The Gay Art Of Thanksgiving
Gay illustrator J.C. Leyendecker's Thanksgiving covers were published almost exclusively for "The Saturday Evening Post." "Between the Post, his work for U.S. military campaign posters and promotions, and his art for menβs fashion companies β most notably the Arrow Shirt Collar Co. β Leyendecker created a gold mine of male beauty," stated The Advocate. "His lucrative commissions financed a hedonistic Roaring Twenties lifestyle with his lover and favorite model, Charles Beach."
7. Abraham Lincoln Declared Thanksgiving An Annual National Holiday
And we all know the speculation surrounding Honest Abe's sexuality...
8. Native Americans And The Two-Spirit Tradition
Thanksgiving in present day America is a mix of Native American autumnal celebratory traditions and traditions brought to the New World by colonists.
The NorthEast Two-Spirit Society notes that there are roughly 400 indigenous Nations in the United States and 155 of those Nations have "documented multiple gender traditions" including those who are "Two Spirit," or individuals whose spirits "are a blending of male and female."
Curious to learn more about two-spirit identity? Head here.
9. Still not convinced about the queerness of Thanksgiving?
We'll just leave this gay pilgrim making a turkey here.
by Noah Michelson Comments Closed
From the wave of marriage equality wins that swept the nation this year to more stars, athletes and everyday people coming out of the closet and speaking up about their lives, we have a lot to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving.
But beyond the headlines, we want to hear from you -- our readers -- and find out what you're thankful for this year. So, we asked you to show us what you're thankful for in just one photo and tweet it using the hashtag #QueerThanks.
The responses we received are absolutely beautiful. From friends to family to pets and more, take a few minutes out of your Thanksgiving to witness what your fellow queers are grateful for on Thanksgiving 2014.
What are experiences like for gays and lesbians who travel home for the holidays to visit their families in 2014?
In pursuit of the answer, Target 10, a gay marketing agency for top-tier consumer brands, products and services, asked 150 gays and lesbians about their holiday travel experiences. Through these responses the company developed an infographic titled "Home for the Holigays" that provides a survey of what these trips are like for queers who visit their families during November and December.
The findings are intriguing. According to Target 10, 90 percent of gays and lesbians visiting their families sleep in the same bedroom, even outside of the more liberal eastern and western coastal regions. Additionally, "the majority of couples showed mostly unchanged levels of affection in front of family, whereas only about half of single respondents are even out to their entire family."
Curious to learn more? Check out the infographic above.
by James Nichols Comments Closed
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the things we are most grateful for in our lives. Often these are the people in our lives who love and cherish us and who continue helping us grow.
This year for Thanksgiving, HuffPost Religion invited our readers to reflect on the people in their lives who have offered them guidance and inspiration in a spiritual realm. We gathered some of these messages of gratitude and encourage you to share your own using the hashtag #ThankASpiritualMentor.
Give it up for the spiritual mentors!
My dear friend and pastor Nema LeCuyer of El Calvario United Methodist in Las Cruces, NM!!! --Deidra Schaub
Ernest Holmes, founder of the Religious Science / Science of Mind / Centers for Spiritual Living movement, who wrote the Science of Mind textbook. He reminded me of Truths that I already knew deep down inside me. Truths that I had yet to put into my own words. Reading him was an affirmation of what I already knew to be True, and an affirmation of my connection with the All. --Beau Lewis Smith
Janice Onigbinde Boy oh boy have you been a spiritual mentor for me love you, girly You are a light. Keep on shining on... --Haley Phelps
Thank you to Miriam L. Gentile and Bob Gentile for answering all my questions with patience! --Alison Teliha Lively
Apostle DrPreston T Adams & Bishop DrTom Benjamin Jr. #ThankASpiritualMentor --Nicolas Von O'Rourke
My good friend and Sikh brother Sat Sangeet Singh. --Nicklas Niranjan Singh Foresti
My friend J. Paul Womack guided me though some very hard times and deepened my understanding of my own spirituality. He changed my life. --Beth Maxwell Boyle
My wonderful kind and loving mother. --Florence Mattar
Loyal Bishop. He was my pastor in the 70's, got me through a very hard time in my life, and years later, officiated at my son's wedding to his wife. --Lee Meyers
My awesome sponsor! My spiritual mentor for sure! --Matthew Thomas Mccune
I don't have a mum, but this angel from heaven was sent to me from the time I needed my nappies changed. She's been there for me through my life when I needed her and quietly retreated as I've travelled, worked, moved, lived. When I had my first baby I had terrible PND and she came marching back into my life with a cup of tea to make it all better. If it weren't for her I wouldn't be here today and neither would my boys. She held my hand when I gave birth to my second son. She's my 'Mum', my best friend, my husband's mother-in-law and my boy's granny. I am so blessed to have her in my life. --Shannon Smith Gukelberger
by Antonia Blumberg Comments Closed
As a reluctant HIV-positive activist, I am often bombarded with the secret misgivings of closeted HIV-positive men from across the country. No matter how much or how little they know about HIV or how short or how long they have been living with the virus, there seems to be only one singular concern on their mind: They are afraid of being rejected by a potential love interest because of their HIV status. These boys are looking for answers, but they are afraid of the one they might get.
You are going to be rejected.
It is true, and it is going to happen eventually. Someone is going to shut you down before they get to know you because you are living with HIV. It sucks, it isn't fair, and there is nothing that you can do about how they feel.
But maybe you think you can overshadow the fear that your potential mate has of HIV. You think that you can charm someone with your personality and dazzle your date with your dashing good looks so much that they just won't be able to let you go, HIV status be damned. You think maybe if you wait a couple of beats before disclosing your status, they will get to know you and look past your HIV symbol. You speak softly and explain that it doesn't make a difference, that your viral load is undetectable, that it is totally safe.
But make no mistake: If he is the kind of guy who would shut you down before a first date, it doesn't matter how cute you are or how hard he laughs at your jokes. There are some people who are either blindly fearful of anything in the gay community with a plus sign attached to it or, for whatever reason, shallow enough to reject you because of the social stigma that comes with the package. Either way, you might as well be reciting the national anthem of Ethiopia, because his ears turned off the second you said "HIV."
It is hard to accept that some people are unwilling to give you a chance because of something that you cannot change. But there is something you can do about how you react to it.
Stop equating rejection with loss.
You didn't lose anything, and you most certainly saved the time you would have wasted on a guy who wasn't right for you. Whether you are HIV-positive or not, the first step to having a healthy outlook on love and relationships is to realize that you are happier by yourself than miserable with the wrong man.
Everyone gets rejected, whether you are HIV-positive, too short, not short enough, too quiet, too loud, a slob, a clean freak, too attached to your mom, not attached enough, whatever. It doesn't matter. You most likely have voided a relationship for a reason as shallow as an HIV status before, and you will most likely do it again. The key is to do it without malice, to be respectful of other people for who they are, and to not hold it against someone for not wanting you.
Now, regarding the whole "love" thing: People fall in love with those who have love for themselves. You may not realize it, but you already have a boyfriend, and he is staring right back at you in the mirror. If you are constantly wondering whether you will ever find love again and think of yourself as a lost cause, you need to slap yourself right across the face, because you are the worst boyfriend you could have. And guess what? The guy you have a date with is going to notice.
If you can't treat yourself with the respect you deserve, you can never expect anyone else to respect you, much less want to call you his boyfriend. Conversely, self-respect and self-love have ways of placing you in just the right place to meet the one who is right for you.
The only way to ever be sure if he is the right man for you is to be certain that you aren't with him just because you are worried he might be the last one who would want the job. You should be with him because he truly makes you happy and you don't have a problem with walking away if that ever changes.
Rejection is a part of life, and, if exercised properly, it can be a healthy and affirmative practice. You should reject anyone who makes you feel as if you aren't good enough. You should reject the notion that you aren't deserving of happiness, love and nothing less than fireworks. Most importantly, you should reject the notion that anyone worth your time could possibly reject you for being HIV-positive.
Fall in love with yourself, then get your ass out there and meet someone worth it.
by Tyler Curry Comments Closed
This week I talked with Justin Luke Zirilli about his new book, The Gay Gospel, a survival guide written specifically for 20-something gay men that tackles everything they need to know after coming out. It's a first-of-its-kind guidebook addressing dating, sex, breakups, family issues, personal finance and more. Zirilli is one of New York City's leading gay promoters, presenting three of the largest weekly gay dance parties with his nightlife company BoiParty. In The Gay Gospel he draws from his personal experience surviving his own tumultuous 20s, and from the countless requests for personal advice that he receives from party guests and friends alike. A quick, easy, fun read with no-nonsense and sometimes hysterical nuggets of wisdom and advice, The Gay Gospel is a bible for young gay men wading into adulthood.
I also talked with Zirilli about his spin on LGBT issues. When asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years, he stated:
I would absolutely like to see marriage equality in all 50 of the states. I would also love to see the end of discrimination in the workplace for those in the LGBT community. We have very simple beginnings. I live in Manhattan, and it's still hard to believe there are certain states where your very identity can endanger your ability to work. We start there, and from there we can go anywhere else. That is absolutely, for me, the most important thing to get nailed down in the next few years.
Justin Luke Zirilli is the president of the New York-based gay nightlife company BoiParty, which he co-owns with his business partner Alan Picus. He is also the creator of "Gorgeous, Gay and Twenty-Something," a private international Facebook group now comprising over 8,000 members. Besides The Gay Gospel, Zirilli has authored the bestselling gay novels Gulliver Takes Manhattan and Gulliver Takes Five. Recently he also launched a new fragrance, Pink Boi. He lives in New York City with his boyfriend, mashup DJ JoeRedHead.
On Sunday last week, after a wonderful screening of Back on Board: Greg Louganis, I had an opportunity to indulge my other passion, acting! We had a wonderful backers' reading of Spring at the Willowbrook Inn. It was great to play with the amazingly talented actors Sean McDermott, Justin Lore, and Jason Patrick Sands under the guidance and direction of Scott Wojcik. Spring at the Willowbrook Inn is a lovely play written by Jonathan Van Dyke and Douglas C. Evans. It's a sweet, touching love story spanning from the late 1960s, addressing the pain of the mores of the time (real and imagined), to today, where marriage equality is a reality. It was quite the emotional journey.
I know for many it was quite a jump to see me go from Olympic diver to actor, and yes, I have seen many an eye roll -- "Oh, not another one!" -- but performing is where it all began for me. I was on stage by the time I was 3, singing and tap dancing. I have quite a number of acting credits to my name, mostly theater -- Cinderella, Jeffrey, Nunsense A-Men, and Dan Butler's one-man show The Only thing Worse You Could Have Told Me... -- but some film: Touch Me, Watercolors, Saber Dance, and the soon-to-be-released Entourage: The Movie.
The point I'm trying to get at is this: Don't give up on your dreams! Do what you love! I will continue to engage in activism for human rights and HIV education and awareness, and I will continue pursuing my passion for the sports of diving and dog agility. Speaking of the latter, I have the lofty goal of making it onto a team competing in the World Agility Championships with my next puppy -- whenever that might be, as I know the commitment that entails. In preparation, I'm doing my homework by following my mentor in the sport of dog agility, Susan Garrett.
We often impose limitations on ourselves based on the influence of others. Listen to your heart and follows your dreams. As I have said in the past, if you reach for the stars and don't encounter a few clouds, you aren't reaching high enough! Go for it! Don't limit yourself. Follow your heart and your passions. The ones who love you will support you unconditionally; anyone who doesn't support you doesn't really love you.
by Greg Louganis Comments Closed
Jennifer discovered from her husband Tom's emails that he was meeting Brad for sex. She came to see me, heartbroken, sure that her marriage to her "gay" husband was doomed. But when I examined Tom, I discovered he wasn't gay. He had been sexually abused by his coach when he was a boy, and his compulsion to have sex with men was a "trauma reenactment," which could be eliminated through therapy. Of course, Tom and Jennifer still had to work through the betrayal of his sexual acting out, but his issues did not present a fundamental impediment to the marriage. Had he been gay, then Tom and Jennifer's challenges would have been much greater.
Seeking sex with men does not make a man gay. Sexual orientation is a complex state of being. You aren't gay because you "act gay." You're gay because you are gay. When I examine a man who's questioning his sexual orientation, I ask him about childhood abuse and other traumas that can lead straight men to seek sex with men. I've also developed a checklist of characteristics of gay men to help me with diagnosis. These characteristics go beyond mere sexual acts. Here is a simplified list:
The beach test: Gay men see the men on a beach, not the women.
Youthful noticing: Before puberty, gay boys notice other boys with a kind of giggling delight, just as straight boys do girls.
Waking up: Straight guys, even those who have sex with men, don't want to wake up next to one.
Falling in love: A gay man can fall in romantic love with a man; straight men don't.
Romantic hopes and dreams with a male partner: After a period of promiscuous "gay adolescence," a gay man will yearn to "settle down."
Gay sex not degrading: Straight men sometimes interpret gay sex as humiliating. Gay men find it fundamentally joyful.
Homophobia: If a gay man is repressing his gay identity, he is often negative about gay people and the "gay lifestyle."
Many couples come to see me because the husband's unconventional sexual interests are interpreted as "gay." I'm amazed that people continue to believe that an interest in anal sex makes a man gay. Sometimes "kinks" are acted out as compulsions and need to be addressed by therapy to give the man more control over his impulses, but they usually are not "proof" that the man is gay.
Joel came to see me, afraid his wife might discover his secret. He was meeting couples to engage in very specific sex "scenes." He wanted to be "forced" by a woman to watch her make love to her husband -- even to help her make love to her husband -- but if the woman wasn't there, he wasn't interested. His compulsion for this kink (commonly called "cuckolding") might seem gay (because of the man in the room), but in fact I've never heard of a gay man with this interest.
I did help Joel become less compulsive. In his therapy we uncovered a complex situation in his childhood in which his mother doted on him when his father was absent on business trips but ignored him completely when his father was home. His longing to be included as a child had been sexualized in his psyche as a cuckolding kink. I could not "cure" him of his fantasy; he'll always be aroused by some version of it. What we achieved in therapy was freeing him from the compulsion to act on it. As a result, he didn't need to continue to meet with couples for sex.
When a married man and woman come to me for clarity, they end up in one of three situations:
The man is acting out a homosexual behavioral imprinting from childhood, which often fades with therapy.
The man is gay or bi, and the couple must decide how to stay together or part because of it.
The man has a kink whose compulsivity may be controlling and ruining his life (and the marriage), but through therapy he can learn to manage and moderate it, even though it will never go away entirely.
But wait! You want to know if your husband is gay. Without the terror of homophobia clouding our vision with horrendous legal and social consequences, it is relatively easy to determine if a man is gay. He can determine it himself, using the simple tools I noted above: beach test, youthful noticing, and so on. Bisexuality is subtler. The best way to tell if a man is bisexual is to sit down with him and talk about it.
One final thought: No one -- not even an "expert" -- has the right to tell you to panic and divorce. You most likely understand what you're dealing with better than anybody. You can choose for yourself. It's your future. You have options.
by Joe Kort, Ph.D. Comments Closed
In my world, gratitude is standard fare at Thanksgiving, along with the chestnuts and prunes and sweet potatoes smothered with toasted marshmallows. It's a nice antidote to the vicissitudes of daily family life, which is rife with difficult topics. Boy, don't I know that, as I catalogue my own list of what I'm grateful for, with the end of my standoff with my homophobic father near the top of the list. But more of that in a minute...
My kids shrink from the annual dinner tradition of reciting three things they're grateful for, but they participate nonetheless. If nothing else, it makes them think for a moment about how they've been aided along the way to enjoy the lives they are now living.
I imagine they think it's quite uncool to acknowledge gratitude. After all, who wants to admit all they've accomplished isn't all about them? Maybe I would have behaved the same way when I was their age, but the topic never came up.
I wish it had, because showing appreciation and saying thank you are acts of transformation. People change before your eyes when you take a moment to acknowledge how they've affected you in a positive way. Watch their facial expressions soften, listen to their voices change, maybe get a tiny bit husky with emotion that they normally stuff down. You can tell they feel good.
I love making people I care for feel good, if only for a few moments. Not in a fake way, obviously; I would never advocate saying something inauthentic. I've also noticed that saying thank you can change you. I feel my emotions rearrange themselves: any frustration or anger that's been hanging around vanishes; my sense of connection steps into the center and from that radiates a sense of contentment. Dare I say I feel happier, accepted, and accepting?
It's a short hop from gratitude to grace. Do you know about the practice of grace? That's another one that I love, but, for me, it's a more challenging one.
I only learned about grace about three years ago. I wish I had learned about it earlier, although I probably wasn't ready for the lesson, so deeply committed I was to harboring grudges and being righteously right, despite the personal cost of maintaining my position, whatever it might be in any given moment or argument.
Grace is the art of loving someone at their least lovable moments. It is based on the premise that we are all deeply flawed; we cannot help ourselves from behaving poorly. That does not mean excusing or justifying bad behavior. It means understanding the reality that the waters we all swim in are frigid and treacherous in places that we are poorly suited to traverse, and yet must. Just as others are flawed, so am I. I may bear my disfigurements in unique places, but they exist nonetheless, despite my dedication to identifying and healing my own damage.
I have battled my father for years about homosexuality. From a different era, with his own beliefs, he did not lightly accept my coming out at age 40. I remember dropping the letter addressed to him, my confessional coming out, in the mail, going out to lunch with a dear friend, and realizing there was no turning back. I remember his outreach to me a few days later, a terse email, "I got your letter; give me a few days." And, of course, I remember our first conversation, when he finally called me and I heard his disheartened tone, the spoken question, "are you sure?" begging for a reversal, and the absent "I love you," that usually ended our calls. I knew my confession disappointed him and worried that I had permanently damaged our relationship. To this day, I don't really know if I did.
I don't know how many emails I sent my father trying to convince him of the wrongness of his position that homosexuality was evidence of dysfunction at least, disease at worst. How many times did he ignore my arguments and respond with "try to understand." How infuriating! I was the wronged party, the person whose rights were denied. I was the victim, yet conciliation was up to me.
For years I told my partner I couldn't marry her in the event we were ever given the opportunity to marry. I couldn't have my father at my wedding, because I knew he'd be uncomfortable. I couldn't have my father miss my wedding, because I would miss his presence. I hated the position he put me in, and blamed him for his intransigence.
Washington State voters approved marriage equality.
Slowly, I stopped haranguing my father about homosexuality. I realized I was never going to get anywhere by pursuing the battle. He was wrong, I also realized. And yet, I loved him, despite his inability to shift his perspective, despite the pain he caused me by not being fully supportive.
I realized he wasn't going to support me in the way I longed for, and I still could go on and live my life as I saw fit. I didn't have to hold a grudge; nor did I have to deviate from my own path.
I got engaged to the woman of my dreams.
And then the unexpected happened: I told my father of my decision. I invited him to my wedding. He told me how very happy he was for me and for my intended.
And, he came to our wedding. Traveled three thousand miles. That's what grace bestowed upon me: his presence without my anguish. Love. Acceptance. Connection.
by Ginny Gilder Comments Closed