Author Archives: Wyatt O'Brian Evans

Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse

The Hushed Whispers of IPV/A

     Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) is a serious, potentially life-threatening—but preventable–public health problem that impacts millions of Americans. Specifically, IPV/A describes the physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological harm perpetrated by a current or former partner or spouse who is LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning). 

     This type of violence also can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples, and does not require sexual intimacy. Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence and abuse are growing problems, but are often underreported–particularly amongst same-sex couples.  The data below underscores the heavy toll of this violence and the negative health conditions/impacts associated with these forms of violence throughout the United States.

      In the U.S., about 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men experience some form of intimate partner sexual violence, intimate partner physical violence, and/or intimate partner stalking during their lifetime. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime.   

      Equally as alarming, nearly 23 million women and 1.7 million men have been the victims of completed or attempted rape at some point in their lives.  An estimated 6.8 million men were made to penetrate another person in their lifetime.

     In this country, more than 27% of women and 11% of men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and have experienced an intimate partner violence- related impact.  The CDC reports that 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. And get this:  on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

Man with a black eye

     Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) accounts for 15% of all violent crime.  According to the Department of Justice, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped in their lifetime. Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.

    And this is alarming:  a study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders. This study revealed that 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female. Moreover, further studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence, and depression and suicidal behavior.

     Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) is a real social health concern; however, often times it is the topic that we avoid or simply overlook because it does not affect us directly.  Additionally, for Gay or same-gender-loving (SGL) individuals, there has been very little academic studies or statistical information collected. There is also very little information collected about Black SGL men in any of the scholarly works. A recent study highlights this by stating that the medical community has responded to the public health problem of IPV/A with a range of efforts, from screening reminders in the electronic medical records of female patients to hospital-based IPV/A programs. While such efforts are necessary and important, they are notable for whom they exclude. Indeed, male victims of IPV/A, including SGL male victims, have received little attention in the health care field.

     The IPV/A screening instruments across the country generally do not have specific questions that address men or same-gender-loving males. Unfortunately, this has resulted in void, under-reporting and silence–particularly with SGL men.  This also leads us to not really understanding the importance or the impact that IPV/A is playing in the Gay and bisexual male communities throughout the United States. 

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on this demoralizing, horrific, and potentially life-threatening cycle of behavior.  We must Rise Up…And Tell!  Someone.  Anyone Who Will Listen. We must make our “Great Escape.”  

     And, always remember:  the most powerful weapon the abuser has in his/her arsenal is…SILENCE.  

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).  

     I have a special IPV/A section right here at Wyattevans.com that lists resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

It's OK to be Gay #Pride

B-MORE Swaggers with Its PRIDE!

     Baltimore Black Pride has arrived!  The yearly—and much anticipated—celebration kicked off on October 3 and ends the 9th

     I managed to “get my hands” on Mr. Carlton R. Smith, the influential and well-respected gay rights activist.  Mr. Smith is the Executive Director/CEO of the Center for Black Equity (CBE) and Co-founder of Baltimore Black Pride.  Having resided in Baltimore for decades, many (including myself) have affectionately bestowed upon him the title of “Mr. Mayor.”  

     Here’s my rundown with “Mr. Duchess” (another one of Carlton’s many titles.  LOL).  We discuss the impact of CBE, the importance of Black Pride—and more.

CARLTON SMITH

     WYATT:  The Center for Black Equity (CBE)—of which you are a founding

member–began as Baltimore Black Pride, Inc.  What was the impetus behind you helping establish this storied organization?

     CARLTON:  There was a sense to be connected to the African American LGBTQ community and social life.  And, there was such a need to rapidly respond to critical health issues (including HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, and diabetes) among gay/same gender loving (SGL) and bisexual men. 

     CARLTON:  There was also a definite need for the artistic community to know the larger Black LGBTQ community.  And lastly, it was a vehicle to foster working   together to transcend racial and cultural boundaries, while simultaneously celebrating diversity. 

     WYATT:  What’s the vision and mission of the CBE?  

     CARLTON: Our vision is to eradicate social inequality of Black LGBTQ persons.  And, our mission is to improve the well-being and quality of life of Black LGBTQ individuals and their allies by setting the standard of excellence in the Black LGBTQ community through health and wellness, spiritual and economic empowerment, social justice, and coalition building.  

     WYATT:  What are the three major goals of Black Prides?

     CARLTON:  Well, they vary from city to state.  The International Federation of Black Prides (Center for Black Equity Leadership Forum) organizers merged as a coalition of Black Prides to promote a multinational network of LGBTQ Prides dedicated to building solidarity, promoting unity, and ensuring the development of education and economic empowerment. These are similar to Kwanzaa principles.

     WYATT:  Is there a continuing need for Black Gay Prides?  Actually aren’t we discriminating when we hold our own?

     CARLTON:  Baltimore Black Pride’s focus and commitment have been to take the lead on not only the needs of our own African-American LGBTQ community– but the community’s needs as a whole. In fact, we collectively have been involved with voter registration, same-sex marriage, trans-equality, and housing assistance.  We want the community to have a better understanding of the political process and impact within the Black community.  #blackgaylivesmatter!  

     WYATT:  Carlton, what’s been on tap for this year’s B-MORE Black Pride?

     CARLTON:  Well Wyatt, I’m not giving away specifics; however, we have an entire slate of exciting events that appeal to everyone.   You gotta be there!

     WYATT:  Carlton, some folks say that Prides are just one big “partay!”  Any truth in that?

     CARLTON:  Well, that’s a matter of opinion, and who’s going to the party!  My generation (he’s 54) considers Pride a great way to socialize and see friends or acquaintances that they have seen in years.  The younger generation will consider it “a party for the masses.” 

     WYATT:  Bruh, let’s say that a Brotha From Anotha Planet with a mocha complexion and workin’ a HAWT bear physique crash landed on earth in the middle of Baltimore Black Pride!  Now, what would in the world would he think?  What would be his takeaways?

     CARLTON:  So, I would like to think that this Brotha From Anotha Planet would be a non-binary being.  They would probably get into their groove first and then invite the humans into the space ship like Parliament Funkadelic, and jam into the morning!  And meanwhile, spraying the humans with some kind of space mist that keeps their kink up before leaving the spaceship! The rest I’ll leave to our readers’ imagination.

     WYATT:  Mr. Smith, what is your special Pride message?

     CARLTON:  I personally want to THANK the community for their patronage, and for supporting the leadership of Baltimore Black Pride throughout 15 years.  And remember: “We Embrace and Celebrate Our Blackness Every Day.”   This affirms my love and legacy throughout the SGL communities. 

     WYATT:  Mr. Mayor, Mr. Duchess—thanks for taking the time to drop by Wyattevans.com. 

     CARLTON:  My pleasure, Wyatt!

The “FRENZY!” of IPV/A 

     Just what does the (possibly) a little odd, a tad exotic acronym “IPV/A” stand for? 

     Well, it refers to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, which is generally known as domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the LGBTQ community.  Sadly and unfortunately, this demeaning and horrendous cycle of behavior is an ongoing serious societal issue.   And more prevalent than was once believed.     

     As a journalist, I’ve extensively researched and reported on this urgent social problem.  And as a radio personality, motivational speaker, advocate, and an interviewee/guest of numerous print, broadcast and online media, I vigorously promote awareness by continuing to shine a bright light on this insidious and corrosive cancer that impacts our society in so many, many ways. 

     October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DWAM), which was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).  In recognition of DVAM, I’m presenting a very special series of articles and features the entire month of October.  It’s my mission to continue to shine a bright light on this heinous cycle of abuse–which can be life-threatening. 

     Since Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse can be taboo in the LGBTQ community, I felt that it would be more palatable–and not such a “bitter pill to swallow”–if it were addressed in the form of a work of fiction.  That’s why as an author, I pen the popular and well-received “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels, which has IPV/A as its overarching theme.  “FRENZY!” is the latest installment in the series. 

     The following is an excerpt from “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” that puts Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse front and center.

     So, without further ado, I present “The Battering.”      

        ‘Tonio and Wes have become a monogamous couple.  Unfortunately for them, they face daunting obstacles to and serious struggles in their relationship.  Making matters worse is a devious and deadly individual who masterfully manipulates ‘Tonio into believing that Wes has been unfaithful!  Of course, Wes has remained true to his partner.  Unfortunately, as a result, ‘Tonio physically confronts Wes.  

     Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined what would happen next!   ‘Tonio, my bodyguard, my life partner, my soul mate—all 6’4” and 280 pounds of magnificently chiseled muscle– towered over me.  And in a heartbeat, in a flash, in less than a blink of an eye, BigGuy (‘Tonio) jerked me up by my tee, and then slammed me directly into the wall!   Gawd, the pain that ripped through my body!   At the same time, my head snapped back, also smashing into that surface.

     “Why’d ya haveta hurt me like dis?  I wish we’d nevah gotten ‘tagetha’ (together)!” ‘Tonio railed, growling like some rabid dog.  He actually seemed to be foaming at the mouth!  Next, he smashed me into that wall once again. 

     Then all of a sudden, the instances of abuse I suffered as a child fast-forwarded through my brain!   All of the humiliation, the torment, and the tears were revisited.  My body went as limp as a frayed, wet, overused dishrag.

    BigGuy had me jacked up and pinned against the wall, his huge, clammy left hand now grasping my neck.  I couldn’t move!  My brain cells were in overload.  I was having difficulty breathing.  

     He continued yelling, “How could ya do dis ta me?  How?  How?”  His grimace was undeniably monstrous!   He was a man possessed, thoroughly having lost touch with reality.                                                                   

     All the while, the following thoughts played in my head:   “This cannot be happening!  How can my soul mate, the one who’s professed his undying love over and over, be doing this to me?  How can this man who’s vowed to protect me, kick my ass like this?  HOW???”   

     BigGuy continued to loom over me.  “When we hooked up, I told ya we had ta be monogamous!  And you agreed!  (Pause.)  What tha FUCK’S wrong wit’cha anyways?  Huh?  Huh?”  He repeatedly shoved one of his thick fingers in my face.

     Finally, I shook myself from my stupor!  My survival instinct had kicked in. 

    Once more, I tried logic. “I…I’ve kept my promise–my solemn vow, ‘Tonio!  Please stop this!  We promised that no matter what, we wouldn’t physically abuse one another.  Remember?” 

    My appeal didn’t faze him!   Not one iota.  ‘Tonio wasn’t hearing or listening to me because his overwhelming fury and all-consuming wrath were at their peak, their tipping point. 

   “And ya promised you’d NEVAH cheat on me!  Rememba dat?” 

     Next, in no time flat, he aimed his thick, steely right hand squarely at me.

     My internal alarm blared!  I whimpered, “ANTONIO!  No!  Don’t!  Wha…what are you doin’?”  I tried to fend him off. 

     But that was futile. 

     “Bitch, don’t you…!”   

     And then…! 

NATHANIEL OCTAVIUS-NERDO

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 16

Love Is Not Always Blind

Guest Writer: R. L. Norman  

       I stood at the door to the apartment, preparing myself for the mystery that was in store for me.  

     “Behind this door might be my perfect soulmate,” I thought.

     I checked my clothes, my breath, my hair—everything.  I had to make sure that I was totally “on point.”

     My hopes soaring, I got up the nerve to knock on the door. A voice told me to come in.  So, I opened the door and slowly walked into a dimly lit room. I hesitated just a bit to give my eyes tine to adjust to the darkness.

     As I got closer and closer, I noticed a man sitting on a chair in the middle of the room. I stopped dead in my tracks when I realized that the man was completely naked.

     “Norman, is that you?”

     “Yes. Are you Jimmy?”

     “Yes.”   I just stood there as he made small talk, recounting our previous conversations via phone and text messages.

     Suddenly, I heard some noise coming from another room!  Quickly, I stepped back because I assumed we were alone. And then in a blink of an eye, another person came into the room.

     Also naked! 

     Befuddled, perplexed–I took another step back.

     “Norman, meet Timmy,” Jimmy announced.

     Timmy was his twin brother!  It was then I realized why Jimmy always said something about “two tons of fun.”   Next, they informed me that they wanted to have a threesome.

     I didn’t know what to expect–but I was not expecting this!  Unfortunately for them, I couldn’t even handle one ton!  (LOL.)   I quickly declined, and left.

     Blind dates are a trip.

    As I walked to my car, I was wondering if this was the best way to find a man. I drove home disappointed yet again, and climbed into my lonely bed.

     As I lay there, I started thinking about my previous dates.  You see, this was another date that I had made on line through one of those dating apps. I don’t normally do the blind dating thing–but what’s a lonely man to do?

     And I was a lonely man.

     I had a regular routine of work, home, cooking dinner, watching TV and going to bed. And the next morning began the “rinse and repeat” cycle.  I’d been single since my divorce three years ago. I was used to it, though. 

     To an extent.

     But do you know the worst part?   It was at night, when I had to face the reality that no one was laying on the other side of my bed.   And only my six pillows against my back were helping me imagine that there was a man right next to me.  

     There was no warm body to cuddle up with, and to hug and hold during the night.  And sometimes, the pain of loneliness would be so bad that the tears would well up in my eyes.  I’d grab my pillows tight to try not to face the fact that I was scared of being lonely—and alone–forever.

     However, I discovered how to solve the problem to find that perfect soulmate. On the weekends, I would peruse the so-called “dating” sites for that temporary fix:  holding, cuddling and possibly having sex with someone–if even for a moment. 

     I was looking for someone to give me that temporary feeling of love.

    But at the same time, I’d hoped to meet the man of my dreams!   

     I remember Tracey, a guy I met on Adam4Adam, one of those dating apps.  I would say to myself, “There’s just got to be someone on this app who’s looking for more than just sex!”

     I’d been talking to Tracey for months, and the vibe between us was great! My only issue was that he was twenty years my junior. And you know those young guys have those famous lines: “I like older men” or, “I can’t relate to men my own age.”

     Eventually, I visited him at his home.  As we conversed and drank for a while, we developed an awesome connection–everything was going rather well!

      Until slowly, he revealed his true intentions. 

     He began asking about my income, house, car, etc. Suddenly, he seemed more interested in material things.  Bottom line:  he was looking for a sugar daddy!   

     I couldn’t afford to take care of me; so there was no way I could take care of him.  That “relationship” ended before it started.

     Next, there was James, the man that changed my name!  And it was not that he had a short memory span: he just decided to call me by different names.

     I met James on the Tango app.  I always thought it was to video chat between friends and family. Who knew you could also pick up men!

     Before meeting in person, James and I spoke for months.  We had so much in common that we spoke particularly every day for hours.  He had my heart. Or should I say that his voice had my heart.

     Finally, we decided to meet in person. I was so excited!  I knocked on his door, and this “phine,” sexy man greeted me.  As they say, “tall, dark and handsome.”

     I followed him to the living room, and that’s when it happened. He suddenly turned around, and before I knew it, he was kissing me–tongue and all!   He was doing such a good job that I just gave in and returned the favor. And I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly, my clothes fell off!  And there we were on the floor, exploring each other’s manly bodies–and in more ways than one.

     During that encounter is when he changed my name. It was not Norman anymore. It was Baby, Honey, Sweetie, etc.  And he added “love you” to that numerous times.  Either I was good at what I was doing, or he was crazy!  I would like to think I was good.  Come to find out, it was both.

     But after some time, I had too slowly disappear out of his life. He was moving to fast. He was calling me constantly, and actually started stalking me. I made the mistake early on in giving him my address. He popped up everywhere, and knew my every move. It got scary.

     So, tell me:  what does a lonely man do? Does he continue to search the internet for love and affection? Or does he just continue to live alone and lonely? There are so many lonely people in the world that I figured that sooner or later, I’d find him or he’d find me.

     So I continued my search.  And one night, I knocked on another door.

     It was opened by a very nice-looking man.  He was about 6′ 2″, 220 lbs. of muscle.  Brown skinned, he sported a mustache, beard and bald head.  

     And let’s not forget his beautiful smile!  He was my kind of man.  

     His name was Lenny.

     He led me into the living room that was dimly lit by a fire burning in the fireplace.

     I noticed a blanket and a picnic basket on the floor in front of the fireplace. Also, there was some wine and a platter which consisted of mixed strawberries, grapes and melon.  What a delightful surprise!

     Lenny and I stretched out on the blanket, eating and drinking particularly all night long, as songs filled the room. We talked, laughed and cuddled.

     The first kiss happened while we were listening to Teddy Pendergrass singing “When Somebody Loves You Back.”  It was then I was in heaven!  It was then that I knew I’d met my perfect stranger. This date made up for all the disastrous ones I’d gone on.

     After reflecting on all the blind dates I’d had, I would never have believed meeting him was possible!   But I had gone from loneliness to happiness. And Lenny was my happiness because this was the anniversary of our first date two years ago.

     But now, here’s the funny thing:  I didn’t meet Lenny via an app, or on line.  Actually, I met him in line–at a grocery store!  He just started talking to me.  And then he asked me out for a drink, right then and there.

     And now here we are.

     Now, I’m not discouraging people from doing the “blind on line dating thing” because I’ve met some very wonderful people in the process.  Just keep your options open, because your partner might be in the grocery store also.

     I’m simply saying that loneliness is hard at times. It’s probably the hardest thing to deal with in life. Because regardless of your circumstances, being lonely and alone make your situation seem ten times worst.   

     Your perfect stranger is out there somewhere, and you will find each other. Just be patient, and one day you’ll turn around and he/she will be right there.

      So you see, love is not always blind. You just have to open your eyes and keep the faith, and let your Lord fight your battle of loneliness.  You simply have to keep your mind and heart open. Trust and believe that your God has your back.

     As singer-songwriter and record producer Faith Evans says, “Keep the Faith.”


R. L. Norman is a writer, performer and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.” The fourth and latest installment is “Love Is Complicated.”  The sequel will be available soon.  As well, he performs“Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series. R. L. also is writing a play based on “Honey Let Me Tell You.”  All of these endeavors are part of the production company he’s forming.  You may reach R. L. at his on line home, www.rlnorman1.wix.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at: rl.norman@aol.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram:rlnorman1.

Peeling Back the Curtain On IPV/A

       IPV/A, the acronym for Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, is generally referred to as domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the LGBTQ community.  Sadly and unfortunately, this horrific behavior continues to be a critical issue.  

     What makes matters worse is that stigma is a driving force that keeps this demeaning and demoralizing cycle of abuse “swept under the rug.” It’s the “elephant in the room.”  This leads to IPV/A being notoriously under-reported.

     As a journalist, I’ve extensively researched and reported on this urgent social problem.  And as a radio personality, motivational speaker, advocate, and an interviewee/guest of numerous print, broadcast and online media, I vigorously promote awareness by continuing to shine a bright light on this insidious and corrosive cancer that impacts our society in so many, many ways. 

     Since Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse can be taboo in the LGBTQ community, I felt that it would be more palatable–and not such a “bitter pill to swallow”–if it were addressed in the form of a work of fiction.  That’s why as an author, I pen the popular and well-received “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels, which has IPV/A as its overarching theme.  “FRENZY!” is the latest installment in the series.

 

     The former is my mission statement.  Listening to the heartbreaking experiences of scores of victims and survivors have urged me to become a fierce IPV/A advocate.    

     This heinous cycle of abuse can be potentially life-threatening.  More than we’d like, we continue to hear and read about individuals being emotionally and mentally scarred, physically assaulted, or/and murdered by their partners.  So you see, Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse is serious business.  Deadly, in fact.

     And there’s another reason why I’m so passionate about IPV/A.  I’m a  survivor.  You can read about my experience in an exclusive commentary I wrote for The Advocate, the oldest, largest and most influential LGBTQ print and online publication.  Visit:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/12/06/making-great-escape-abusive-relationship 

     Every October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DWAM).  It evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).  In recognition of DVAM, I’m presenting a very special series of articles and features the entire month of October.  It’s my mission to continue to shine a bright light on this heinous cycle of abuse– which can be life-threatening.

 

The Straight Dope on IPV/A 

     The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines IPV/A or DVA as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      New research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  And each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way. 

     According to psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:  to gain and maintain total control over you. 

     “An abuser doesn’t ‘play fair.’  Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’  Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.”

     Here’s the bottom line:  abusive behavior is never acceptable.  You deserve to feel respected and valued.  And most of all, you absolutely deserve to be safe.

 

It’s All About CONTROL. 

     There are multiple signs of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  The most telling is fear of your partner, that you feel you have to “walk on eggshells” around him/her.  Other prominent signs:  explaining/excusing frequent injuries as “accidents;” agreeing to everything your partner says/does; being forced into sexual activity.

     Segal and Smith write that abusers employ a variety of methods and schemes to manipulate you and wield their power.  These include:

  • Dominance.  Abusers need to feel in charge of the relationship.
  • Humiliation.  Abusers will do everything to make you feel worthless; therefore, you’re less likely to leave. 
  • Isolation.  In efforts to increase your dependence, abusers will cut you off from the outside world.   
  • Intimidation.  Your abuser may use a number of tactics designed to frighten you into submission. 
  • Threats.  Abusers commonly use threats to keep you from leaving or to scare you into dropping criminal charges.   

 

     What’s complete cycle of IPV/A?  According to the psychologists, it usually works like this:

  • Abuse.  It’s a power play intended to “keep you in line, and show you who’s boss.”
  • Guilt.  After abusing you, your partner feels guilt—but not over what he/she’s done!  The abuser is more concerned about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences.
  • Excuses.  Your abuser rationalizes what he/she has done, devising a string of excuses or blaming you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
  • “Normal” Behavior.  The abuser does everything to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship.  Your abuser may act as if nothing has occurred.  His/her apologies and loving overtures in between abusive episodes can make it difficult for you to leave.  Your abuser may make you believe that you are the only person who can help, that things will be different, and that he/she truly loves you.  However, the dangers of staying are very real.
  • Fantasy and Planning.  Your abuser starts to fantasize about abusing you again, spending a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done “wrong” and how he/she’ll make you pay.  Next, the abuser devises a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.  

 

     A common question I receive in my seminars and workshops is, “Can abusers really control their behavior?”  Well, my answer is:  “Oh, yes they can!”  

  • Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse.    
  • Abusers carefully choose when and where to strike.   
  • Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t be seen. 

And:

  • Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them.  When it’s to their advantage, they immediately end their abusive behavior (for example, when the police arrive).   

Makin’ Your “Great Escape!”

     So, how can you make your “Great Escape,” the term I’ve coined for my seminars and workshops?

    The Women’s Justice Center (www.justicewomen.com), which is headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, outlines various steps: 

  • Your struggle to escape is heroic.  Continually remind yourself that yours is one of the most worthy and difficult struggles of all.   
  • Reawaken your dreams.   Oftentimes, IPVA or DVA can snuff out all of your hopes and dreams.  However, to free yourself, you’ll need those hopes and dreams to help carry you through the obstacles and tough times of escaping. 
  • Dealing with fears, risks.  The majority of IPV/A victims feel fear, which can immobilize them from acting on their own behalf.  However, you can help alleviate your fears by having the courage to tell anyone who will listen.    
  • Don’t be ashamed if you still love him/her.   At the same time, however, be mindful and determined that the violence and abuse must be stopped—because the abuser’s not going to stop on his/her own. 
  • Often, the best strategy for breaking free of IPV/A is the exact opposite of the strategy for surviving it.  In order to survive IPV/A, the victim usually does everything possible to avoid offending or upsetting the abuser, and exposing him/her.  However, freeing yourself from IPV/Arequires the exact opposite strategy. 
  • You deserve help.  You need it.   You can find it.  It’s important to remember that it’s the abuser who caused you to feel this way and that it’s his/her behavior that’s criminal and unacceptable—not yours. 
  • Know your legal rights.  You have a right to equal protection of the law, and to live free of any kind of abuse.  Do your research!   
  • There are officials and institutions that can help you safely escape IPV/A.  These include the 911 operator, police, county jail, district attorney and victim assistance.  Become knowledgeable about, and avail yourself of these critical resources. 

 

     So, stay tuned and glued to Wyattevans.com the entire month of October.  It’s imperative that we fully understand how serious this demoralizing, demeaning and life-threatening cycle of abuse really is, the ramifications, latest statistics, etc.        

    And, I’ll feature engrossing and riveting stories from Gay/SGL (same gender loving) IPV/A survivors who are accomplished in their respective fields of entertainment.   

     You CAN make your “Great Escape” from IPV/A.  However, it involves careful planning—if at all possible.  Utilize any and all resources at your disposal. 

     And so importantly:  you must not and cannot keep silent!  You have to tell!  Someone.  Anyone who will listen.  Keep in mind that silence is the most potent, effective and deadliest weapon in the abuser’s arsenal.

     And always remember:  anyone—and I do mean ANYONE—regardless of size, strength, age, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and/or income, can become a victim of IPV/A.         

      How do I know this? 

     Because I’m a Survivor.

 

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901). 

     I have a special IPV/A section right here at Wyattevans.com that lists resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/

     The time is NOW to break the cycle.

Hot Tea and Ice 15

Roll With Being A Role Model!

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins  

     Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  Trusting you are well and staying cool this summer. I’m currently giving thanks every day for air conditioning, cool beverages, and lightweight clothing.  Although I’m a Southerner by birth, this heat is something else!

     Despite the high temperatures, I spent this past Fourth of July outside surrounded by my extended family. I considered it a blessing to be in the company of five generations ranging from my great aunt–who recently celebrated her 93rd birthday–to my twin third-cousins from Virginia who was spending the summer with their grandmother.  I ate too much, sipped on something…and had a chance to bask in the stories of days gone by.

     One thing I realized between bites was that I have so many role models within my family. My great-uncle, who has spent over fifty years being the only black barber in Brunswick County, North Carolina, sat beside his nephew, a U.S. Army veteran, retired fire captain and the father of two exceptional daughters. Across from them sat my younger cousin who, in her forty plus years, has lived several lifetimes:  she’s been a college student and ferry boat worker, and currently earns her pay as a nuclear power plant worker. She’s a devoted wife, exceptional big sister–and knows how to stunt on a motorcycle like nobody’s business!

     Too often, we look to celebrities and big names to be role models. We sometimes forget just being the people we are–lovers, friends, and family members–we are setting examples for others to follow. Celebrate that by doing what you do and doing it well:  this inspires others to step their game up. Roll with being a role model.

     I would venture that if you sit down and really think about all that you have done in life, you’d realize that you have accomplished at least three things no one expected to do. Because of that, you have the potential to encourage someone to push him/herself to be better.

     Two of my biggest role models are young men who live vastly different lives in two different states, but they each inspire me to do better. Calvin was a high school football stand-out who had potential to make it big. Instead, he decided to be a family man who nurtures and shapes the lives of his daughter and sons.  His social media pages are filled with pictures of his children, his wife and his family.   

     Calvin is a devoted family man who works hard to provide when so many of his former teammates are living it up. Despite having a frame that made an opposing player drop the ball rather than be tackled during a high school game, he is so gentle and affectionate with his children that it leaves me in awe.

     Leslie spent the first thirteen years of his life as a young Black boy in a small coastal town where he was the only Black student in his pre-K program.  He  spent his early education years being one of a few–if not the only–student of color in his advanced classes. Now he’s a globe-trotting, MBA-having, Eagle-Scout who “handles his bizness” for a Fortune 100 company.  And, he still keeps me cracking up with well-timed texts and social media posts.

     And then there’s Laura. Of Caribbean heritage, her family immigrated to America from Canada when she was eight. She worked hard, and earned her Master’s in community agency counseling in two years in a hostile educational environment. Laura works with children with mental health issues, takes splendid care of her friends and pets–and is the only person I know for sure who has read everything I have written in the past four years.

     We are all somebody’s role models. Own it and hold your head high because your actions help prove to someone else that whatever you want is possible. No setback is permanent, and we should see obstacles as opportunities.

     Walk in the reality that you are someone’s role model…and stay cool.

     Until next time, Adios, au revoir, and I “holler!” 


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya  earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is an active member of the, The Black Lesbian Literary Collective,a non-profit organization organized in N.C.  The Collective’s mission is to create a nurturing and sustainable environment for Black lesbian and queer women of color writers. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, latoyahankins.com ; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com;
Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins;
and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

 

HIV VIRUS

The “Undetectability” Of It All, Part Two

     This past March, I penned “The Undetectability Of It All,” for Wyattevans.com.  The article stated that the AIDS United Public Policy Committee declared that it has “strongly affirmed the conclusive evidence proving that people living with HIV who have achieved a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners.  This evidence-based declaration reinforces AIDS United’s programmatic, policy and advocacy work to expand access to antiretroviral medications to all people living with HIV.”  AIDS United is the largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations.

     And now, there’s additional evidence that supports the AIDS United declaration.  But before we examine those findings, let’s answer the question:  what does it truly mean to be undetectable?   

     Well, it doesn’t mean that the HIV-positive individual is cured.  However, it does mean that antiretroviral treatment is being effective, and that the amount of HIV in the blood is so low that even the best available tests don’t detect it.

     To have an undetectable viral load means that there are fewer than 20 copies of the virus in one milliliter of blood.  Typically, the tests of those who have just been diagnosed and not having undergone treatment show millions of copies in the exact same sample size.

     Now, let’s examine the new study that supports the AIDS United proclamation.  The findings demonstrate that there were no transmissions of the virus within mixed-HIV-status couples when the partner living with the virus was on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and had a fully suppressed viral load.

     This study, entitled Opposites Attract, was comprised of gay/SGL (same gender loving) couples that had nearly 600 cumulative years of follow-up data and about 12,000 reported acts of condomless penetration.  These acts excluded any for which the HIV-neg partner was taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).

     Based on the Opposites Attract data, the investigators were able to estimate that the annual risk of HIV transmission in which only one infected partner with an undetectable viral load is between zero and 1.56 percent.

UNDETECTABLE8

     According to Poz.com, Andrew Grulich, PhD, an HIV epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and chief investigator of the study, stated, “’We think this is a really exciting result and adds to a body of research that HIV is not passed on in the context of undetectable viral load, even with high rates of sexually transmitted infections’.”

     Opposites Attract did not restrict potential participants according to whether they used condoms or had undetectable viral loads.  By the end of last year, the study had enrolled 358 gay/SGL male couples in which one partner was poz (158 from Australia, 105 from Thailand, 96 from Brazil).

     So, just how was the study conducted?  “Researchers collected information about sexual behaviors from the HIV-negative partner at each study visit,” stated Poz.com.  “These partners received HIV testing along with sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing upon entering the study and at all subsequent study visits.  The HIV-positive partners received viral load and STI testing at each study visit.

     “The investigators defined an undetectable viral load as less than 200.  For all new HIV infections in the initially HIV-negative partners, generic testing was conducted to determine whether these men likely contracted the virus from their partner in the study.

     “A total of 343 couples made at least one follow-up visit, contributing 591 cumulative years of follow-up data.  (Each year of data on a couple counted as one year of follow-up.)  The men reported anal sex with any man beside their study partner at 57.4 percent of these visits.”

     The online publication continued.  “Upon their entry into the study, 79.9 percent of HIV-positive men were on ARVs and 77.9 percent had an undetectable viral load.  A total of 75.2 percent of the men on HIV treatment maintained a fully suppressed virus throughout their participation in the study.

      “Overall, 14.3 percent and 11.7 percent of the HIV-positive and -negative men, respectively, were diagnosed with an STI during the study.

     “A total of 73.8 percent of the couples reported engaging in condomless sex during the study.  These men provided 318 cumulative years of follow-up data on periods when they reported engaging in condomless intercourse within their study partnership, including a total of 16,889 reported such acts.”

     Grulich concluded the following about the Opposites Attract findings.  “’This is life-changing news for couples of differing HIV status’.” 

     However, the chief investigator of the study cautioned, “’But it is important that the HIV-positive partner is under regular medical care and does not miss any of their antiretroviral medication in order to ensure they maintain an undetectable viral load.  Our data add to previous studies that show that there has never been a recorded case of HIV transmission from an HIV-positive person to their HIV-negative sexual partner when the HIV-positive partner had an undetectable viral load’.”

Not a Box of Crayons, Yo 

     For most of the long Independence Day Holiday, I was “takin’ a (generous) bite outta” the Big Apple! (LOL)  And at one of the parties I attended, an incident got deep under my skin and really rankled me.

     This particular soiree was interracial:  roughly, the breakdown was 50% Black, 30 % Caucasian and 20 % Latino/Blatino.  And, it was mostly a “singles thang;” which meant that more than a few of the “menz” were “on the prowl!”  (LOL)

     As I socialized, I heard inane and nauseating crap like:       

     “Oh no, dahling!  I can’t get down (in more ways than one, if you catch my drift!) with that one!  He’s much too dark.  Now, if he wasn’t, well…”  A brotha with a paper-brown complexion uttered that insulting drivel to his buddy.

     “Nah, that guy’s much too ‘black’ for my tastes!  (Pause.)  And don’t you think his features are too…‘African’?”  A white guy delivered that assessment to his group of “flamers.”

     Shaking my head, I ruminated:  “’Gawd, dang’!  We are in the year 2017, aren’t we?”   After I shook my head a couple of times, my spirit rejoined the “ju-say par-tay,” filled to the brim with mucho eye candy.

    However, what I heard became lodged in the recesses of my fertile mind.

     The term colorism sounds innocuous, a little exotic—you think?   

     Well actually, not by a long shot.

     Colorism is an insidious form of racial discrimination that continues to be waged against African-Americans.  Born during the advent of slavery, colorism is the practice of using the differences in complexions to pit one group of oppressed people of color against another—a strategy of “divide and conquer.”  It was an effective “skin tone scheme” that the slaves had to adopt in order to survive.

     Colorism is a form of racial discrimination in which individuals are accorded different social status and treatment based on skin color. As well, the term is used to label the phenomenon of persons discriminating within their own ethnic groups. 

     When African-Americans level it against one another—weaponize it, if you will—they are practicing self-hatred.  It’s racism internalized.  You see, these Blacks believe that anything white is superior, the best of the best.

      Now, let’s delve deeper into this crippling, destructive malady. 

We Definitely Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Crayola Crayons Here

     Colorism is based on the ideal that an individual’s worth is directly related to the color of his or her skin, valuing lighter hues over darker ones.  Armstrong Williams, conservative African-American columnist, media personality and entrepreneur, has stated, “This brand of racism is particularly insidious because it is subtle.  Unlike the time when racists donned pointed hats and stomped down the streets, the colorist is subtle, their contempt concealed beneath the still waters of social etiquette.”

     In “The Color Complex: The Politics of Skin Color Among African-Americans,” co-author Dr. Midge Wilson traced the origins of colorism, and laid out its devastating implications and ramifications.  “To understand the root of this deviant behavior, we have to go back to when slavery was in full effect,” she wrote.  “Fair-skinned slaves automatically were selected for the better jobs, which were located in the master’s house.  After gaining the trust of their masters, many of these fair-skinned slaves traveled throughout the nation and abroad with their masters and families, therefore affording them the opportunity to be exposed to the finer things, and many became educated as a result.”

     Dr. Wilson continued, “The darker-tone peers labored relentlessly in the fields.  They were the ones who were beaten, burned and hanged, the ones permanently condemned to be the lowest of the low in U.S. society.  For them, even the three ‘Rs’—reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic—were illegal.  Consequently, these actions resulted in a caste system.  It seems the closer you were to your master, the better off you were—‘good’ hair, good clothes, good jobs, and an education were an inevitable result from those actions.”  Prior to the Civil War, social status among Blacks was strongly associated with skin color.

Blue Veins…and Paper Bags 

     Twelve years ago, the ABC news program “20/20” aired “Skin-Deep Discrimination: Colorism Shows We’re a Long Way from a Color-Blind Society.” The program reported that historians state that friction between Blacks of different skin tones originated during slavery because light-skinned Blacks—often the children of slaves and their white masters—received better treatment.  “They were the ones who maybe worked in the house, as opposed to the darker-skinned Africans who worked in the fields who were beaten more readily,” explained historian Anthony Browder.

     The program featured Marita Golden, author of “Don’t Play in the Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex,” who stated that the lighter skin began to be associated with privilege and beauty.  She added that after emancipation, skin color continued to divide Blacks.  And then, light-skinned Blacks formed exclusive clubs.

     “These groups of people were called Blue Vein societies, because in order to ‘belong,’ the test of how light you were was could you see your blue veins through your skin?  And if they could, you were in,” she commented.

     Golden also referred to the “paper bag test,” a criterion one had to pass to get into some churches, fraternities, and nightclubs.  “The paper bag would be held against your skin.  And if you were darker than the paper bag, you weren’t admitted,” she said.

     “Animosity had to grow out of that unfair relationship,” Browder added.  “Darker-skinned Blacks began to resent light-skinned Blacks who were given opportunities to succeed.”

     Let me simply close with this:  Traditions—particularly discriminatory, self-defeating, odious and hateful ones—sometimes die hard. Or not at all. 

     You think? 

CLAIMING YOUR BEST LIFE!

          Wyatt’s Man Cave makes its grand return to the awesome LesBe Real Radio Talk and Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way, tackling a critical societal issue with a very special guest!

         That individual is Mr. HARTSEL C. SHIRLEY:  author, vocalist—and Intimate Partner Violence & Abuse (IPV/A) survivor.  Mr. Shirley reveals just how he overcame his harrowing experience with Intimate Partner Violence & Abuse—and then claimed his Best Life!   

     Then, Hartsel dishes about his captivating latest novel and slammin’ new CD.  All in all, it’s engrossing, riveting and inspiring talk! 

     To hear the uncut show, click on the link:

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/claiming-his-best-life-hartsel-c-shirley-enters-wyatts-man-cave/?

     And, to hear the complete Wyatt’s Man Cave Library, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/

NATHANIEL OCTAVIUS-NERDO

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 15

“Four Simple Words of Comfort”

Guest Writer: R. L. Norman 

     It was so dark in the room that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was so dark that I could probably hear a pin drop; that’s if a pin did drop. I know that if I were a kid, I would probably be scared, calling for my mommy.

    But I wasn’t scared! I actually felt safe. I felt like nothing or no one could harm me. I felt like I could handle anything in life. But that wasn’t always the case.

      A friend of mine told me this one day while we were having lunch. I have known Kevin since our college days at Tuskegee University. After graduation, he went into the military and traveled all over the world until he settled down in North Carolina and became a stock broker. I went to New York and became an engineer. And, we’ve kept in touch over the years and became great friends.

     During the years, we talked several times a month; and due to our busy schedules, we’d see each other occasionally.  And from time to time, we’d get together for weekends–either in North Carolina or New York.

     But this particular weekend, we decided to meet half-way and spend the weekend in Washington, D.C. We both had never been there, and were excited to see Obama’s House: the White House.

     So, on this particular Friday afternoon, we met in the lobby of the same hotel we were booked in.  For almost two years, I hadn’t seen him face-to-face; therefore, I was understandably excited.

     I arrived at the lobby first, anticipating the arrival of my old friend. I stared at the elevator doors, waiting for them to open for what seemed like an eternity. As I waited, I was thinking about the first time I met HIM. He was dating my slut of a roommate who was cheating on him with every Tom, Dick–and sometimes John. I felt bad for Kevin, and befriended him once he found out the truth by catching my roommate in bed with another guy! That was so long ago, and there we were.

     When the elevator doors finally opened, I was surprised to see that my once broad-shouldered, 220 pounds, 6’2” friend was now practically a skeleton of a man!  Now, he was about a “buck fifty,” bald, very slim–and walked with a cane. I tried my best not to show the surprised and concerned expression on my face.  However, I’m sure he immediately noticed it.

     As we did our welcome embrace, I was afraid I was hugging him to hard. I thought I might break him because he seemed so fragile. We stood there for a while and did out usual laughing and joking. It was just like old times except for the fact that I could not help but have the thought in the back of my mind that something was terribly wrong with him.

     We decided to go to lunch before we began sightseeing.  After that, we had dinner before we did the D.C. nightlife, looking for men.

     At lunch, we did our usual catching up on each other’s lives. He told me about his job as a stock broker, which he truly relished.  He loved “playing with other people’s money,” as he put it.

     I told him about working on Park Avenue in New York.  He remembered that I’d always dreamed about working there. And I told him that I was single mainly because I worked a lot—which he also did.  But on this trip, we both decided to forget about work and do a lot of playing.

     After some chit-chat back and forth, and laughing about this and that, he got silent for a moment.  I just stared at him because it was obvious that he had something on his mind. 

     The silence was eventually broken when he said “Honey, I have to tell you something.” He was smiling as he stared at me for another brief moment.

     “Sure, what’s up?” I replied, a concerned tone enveloping my voice. As I listened with great interests, he told me his story.

     “Well,” he said,” one day out of the blue, I woke up with chest pains. I didn’t think much of it. I just thought it was something I ate the night before. The pain would come and go, and still I didn’t think that it was serious. And you know how most of us Black men are; we don’t want to go to the doctor. We are supposed to be big strong men that can handle anything. But of course, sometimes that’s not true. Women are the strong ones and I commend them for that.

     “Anyway” he continued, “after a few weeks I decided to go to the doctor. I finally made it after canceling several appointments, thinking and praying my pain would go away.

     “After many tests, I went back to the doctor for my results. That’s when he informed me that I had lung cancer and that it was serious.”

     Needless to say, Kevin’s revelation took me aback!  But not just because he divulged this like he was telling me some “everyday event in his life.”  It was because he told me this with such a positive attitude, confidence and smile on his face.   And, I was especially affected by him adding that even if the radiation and chemo didn’t work, he’d “one day pass away to heaven.”

     Kevin admitted that he hesitated to tell people–especially his closest friends–because they immediately treated him differently. Obviously, I was concerned and sad when I realized the seriousness of all that he said. After a few comforting words from me and some words of assurance from him, he was still smiling like he was on top of the world; while I, on the other hand, tried my best to smile.

     I asked him:   “How can you be so upbeat about this?” 

     He responded that from time to time, he’d let the world stand still and listened to God tell him the four little words of comfort. I was confused by what he meant.

      Until he explained it.     

     He said, “When I first received my diagnosis, I sat on my couch numb from shock! I sat there for what seemed like hours. It felt like time stood still as I sat there alone. And I felt like I didn’t have anyone in the world…and I was scared!  Scared of what the future may hold or should I say, ‘may not hold’.

     “Finally I went into my bedroom and drew all the curtains to make the room completely dark. Then I lay on my bed. It was so dark in the room that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was so dark that I could probably hear a pin drop; that is, if a pin did drop. I know that if I were a kid, I’d probably be scared and calling for my mommy. I wanted to shut the world out for a while. To make it seem like the world stood still while I came to grips with the reality of my situation.

     “I laid there for what seemed like an eternity until suddenly I wasn’t scared anymore. I actually felt safe!  I felt like nothing or no one could harm me. I felt like I could handle anything in life.

     “That’s because suddenly, I swore I heard God whisper in my ear the four simple words of comfort.  He whispered, ‘Everything’s gonna be alright’.

And then the Bible verse of Philippians 4: 6-7 filled my mind. It basically reads, ‘I can do anything with God who strengthens me if I just have faith’.

     “After a while of thinking about those four simple words, I realized that it was true:  “Everything IS gonna be alright’!  I can handle this.

     “And from that moment on, I smiled and enjoyed life the best I could. I realized that some things in life are going to be a test of faith: a test to make us stronger in life’s ups, down, trials and tribulations.

     “I decided that I was going to be strong and think positive. That’s why every day, I wake up with a smile on my face and count my blessings. Even though sometimes the chemo or radiation is so bad that I can hardly move. And sometimes, I get real sick and can’t get out of bed for a while. But I know everything’s gonna be alright.

     “So eventually, I got up, opened the curtains and let the sun and the world back into my blessed life.

     “But of course, like anyone else, sometimes I get down and lonely. Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and whisper in my ear, ‘Everything’s gonna be alright’. 

     “Sometimes we go through stuff and don’t tell anyone. We keep it locked away because we don’t want to be a burden to anyone.

     “But sometimes, we just need for them to give us a hug and whisper in our ear.”

     At that moment I stood, pulling Kevin up with me. I then hugged my dear friend and whispered in his ear, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” 

     It was such an extraordinary moment!  As we both exhaled, it seemed as if his positive energy was transferred to me  It seemed like the precious feeling of God’s love flowed through our bodies as I suddenly felt like I, too, could handle anything.

     That was five years ago. And today, Kevin is doing well. And from time to time, we still meet and chase men.

     Thinking back to that day, I realize that a positive attitude does indeed make a difference.   That’s why I always try to have a smile on my face to share with the world. A smile to let people know that life is great; and hopefully, that positive attitude will make someone’s day.

    To all the people out there who are going through trials and tribulations in their lives, you are not alone. Your God is by your side. 

    And it’s those people that we should give such simple things as a hug and a whisper of those four simple words of comfort in their ear.

    So hug someone today and whisper, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”


R. L. Norman is a writer, performer and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.” The fourth and latest installment is “Love Is Complicated.”  The sequel will be available soon.  As well, he performs“Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series. R. L. also is writing a play based on “Honey Let Me Tell You.”  All of these endeavors are part of the production company he’s forming.  You may reach R. L. at his on line home, www.rlnorman1.wix.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at: rl.norman@aol.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram:rlnorman1.

Hot Tea and Ice 14

Parents Are People, Too!

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins

     Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers! I send a virtual shower of confetti and a round of kudos for the college graduates and their family members partaking of this month’s literary offering.  Regardless how long the journey took, you made it to the end and you should be celebrated.

     Along with college graduations, May meant Mother’s Day. Based on the cascade of profile pictures which blanketed social media, a lot of you have pretty fly mothers who know how to accessorize and strut. I also realize that for every picture of Momma and Mini-Me, there are those whose posts about that second Sunday reflected mothers who didn’t have the time, inclination or ability to be there for their offspring. Many people are estranged from their mothers due to old hurts, and the fresh pain of rejection.

     For many of us, that distance is necessary for our mental–and sometimes physical–safety.  But for others, it’s because they are clinching too tightly to things that happened in childhood.

     For many years, I was in the latter category. But this spring day, my advice to you is that sometimes, we have to let some of that stuff go.  If possible, we need to see our parents as persons now that we are adults–and stop seeing them with the eyes of a child.

Parents

     This is not to diminish the hurt, or disregard the damage done. But in order to heal, we have to really see and then try to understand the choices our parents have made.    Being adults ourselves, you know that adults make mistakes all the time; and if possible, we need to extend understanding and grace to our parents so that we can move beyond the past. 

     When I was six months old, my mother and I parted ways.  She sent me to my grandmother and great-grandmother to be raised in my hometown while she worked and attended school in the District of Columbia.  My mom wasn’t there when I lost my first tooth–or second or third, for that matter. She didn’t teach me how to ride a bike.  Nor did she stand by my side when I got my first library card.

     She was there when I had major surgery when I was five–but only for a brief period before she headed back to D.C. We didn’t reconnect until I was eight.  That was when my grandmother died and she came back home to live with my great-grandmother and me.

     My mom and I didn’t live together on our own until I was eleven.  Unfortunately, her reaction to something that occurred just added to my feeling of disconnection from her.  It was an incident with a neighborhood boy who simply didn’t understand that “no meant no.”

     You see, I loved my mom; however, I just didn’t like her that much. After all, you really can’t like someone whom you don’t know.

     So many times, we have trouble understanding the motivation behind our parents’ actions because we can’t see them as people.  We give more credit to people who cross our paths than to the woman who gave us life. Depending on the circumstances, I would like to suggest they deserve better.

     Getting to know the woman she was before she became your mother sometimes helps clear up misunderstandings, and helps form a bridge that will allow you to move closer together.

     Because so much of my early years was not spent with my mother, I never fully appreciated her and the sacrifices she made until I was well into my adult years. My mother–like so many others–sacrificed her time, talent and treasures in order to make a better place in the world for herself and myself.

     So last year, we began talking about who she was before, during, and after I made my appearance into the world. We addressed misgivings and hurt feelings and began building a stronger relationship.

     It is not going to be an easy fix, but I feel it’s worth the effort to start understanding the woman that is my mother. I encourage others who are ready to entertain the thought to reach out.

     Until next time, Adios, au revoir, and I “holler!”


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is a co-founder and currently serves as the chair of Shades of Pride (SOP), a LGBTQ organization that hosts a yearly event in the Triangle area. SOP’s mission is to create opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ communities. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, www.latoyahankins.com; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins; and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

The “Electric Eroticism” of Aaron Paul

     Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) has returned to the awesome LesBe Real Radio Talk and Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way!

     This very special eppy of Wyatt’s Man Cave is a “Salute to Mr. Aaron Paul!”   I welcome this innovative and sensational British international recording artist, who was discovered by the one-and-only Simon Cowell!

    Aaron dishes about how he met Simon; his continuing musical journey; and of course, “Electric Erotic”–his dynamic, critically-acclaimed new album!  And, my irrepressible sidekick, Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot–Drag Queen Supreme–mixes it up with Aaron!  All in all, it’s engaging, absorbing and stimulating talk!   

One-On-One With Angela!

     Recently, I had the honor and distinct pleasure of being Angela Stribling’s special guest on her wildly popular radio show, “Pillow Talk With Angela.” The program is “an aural aphrodisiac of provocative relationship talk set to a sexy soundtrack of top shelf R&B, jazz and lounge” music. 

     Arguably, the iconic Ms. Stribling is best known for her TV career on Black Entertainment Television (BET) as host of “Screen Scene,” that network’s premier entertainment news program.  As well, she launched “BET Jazz.”  Her prodigious broadcast career also includes noteworthy positions at WTTG-TV, WJZ-TV, WOL-AM Radio and American Urban Radio Networks. 

     The centerpiece of our in-depth conversation was Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  We examined this demoralizing and potentially life-threatening behavior:  its root causes, warning signs, and complete cycle of abuse.  As well, I discussed how victims can make their “Great Escape”— the term I’ve coined for my national seminars and workshops.

     Finally, we “dished” about my latest novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  The overarching theme of “FRENZY!”  is IPV/A.  All in all, it was an informative—and riveting—experience!

    “Pillow Talk With Angela” airs Tuesday through Saturday, from Midnight ‘till 2 a.m., on Howard University Radio (WHUR 96.3 FM and Whur.com).

    To listen to the full, uncut interview, click:  here. 

Accelerate Those Positive Affirmations! 

         I’m  Special Consultant to ViiV Healthcare’s “Positive Affirmations–ACCELERATE!” Initiative, a bold community engagement effort targeted to Black Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With men (MSM) who reside in and around Baltimore, Maryland.  This groundbreaking Initiative is designed to empower these individuals through health and wellness.

         The overarching goals of “Positive Affirmations–ACCELERATE!” are:  “(1) to connect Black men who identify as Gay, Bisexual, Same Gender Loving or practice MSM Behavior to both formal and personal networks of support; 2) to assist in breaking down stigma and isolation; and 3) to tackle challenges related to homophobia, racism, HIV, mental health and substance abuse. The program efforts will also expand Black Gay men’s knowledge and understanding of how to access care, advocate for high-quality HIV prevention, treatment and care as well as assist them in meeting their goals to obtain the best quality health care.”    

         So, “ACCELERATE!” your “Positive Affirmations!”  Join us for our second Saturday’s ManDate Baltimore “Get Together” Meeting which is scheduled on May 20th, from 4PM-7PMat the GLCCB (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center), located at 2530 North. Charles Street (3rd Floor), Baltimore, MD, 21218 (N. Charles & 25th Sts).  Do spread the word, and invite/bring individuals with you.  A delicious meal will served.    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carlton Smith (carltonsmith@gmail.com) or Duane Taylor (duane@taylor-wilksgroup.com .) Or, call:  443-218-2478.  And, visit the ManDate Baltimore Meeting Event Page on Facebook.

         In particular, I’ll be lending my expertise involving Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) to the Initiative.    As a journalist, motivational speaker and advocate, IPV/A is my signature issue.  And, IPV/A is the overarching theme of my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  To learn what esteemed individuals have stated about “FRENZY!”,visit:  wyattevans.com/what-folks-are-sayin-about-frenzy/

        The Center for Black Equity Baltimore and the Taylor-Wilks Group are administering this crucial Initiative.

Refuge from the Storm

     With his continuing lies, deceit, (attempted) obfuscation, and reckless and injurious strokes of the pen (executive actions) Trump continues to dismantle and defame this country—bit by bit, piece by piece.  He’s hard and assiduously at work violating the Emoluments Clause; enriching himself, his family and friends; shredding the safety net; and chipping away at the hard-fought gains that LGBTQ and minority individuals have made. 

      The latest wreckage:  with his “dedicated assistance,” those craven lizards and greedy crocodiles in the House has passed Repeal and Replace, which is really just a “hugely big” gift of a tax cut gift for the already wealthy.  Nearly 900 billion (not million!) from Medicaid—the medical lifeline for so many Americans—is earmarked to be slashed. 

     And transferred to the rich.

     LGBTQ and minority individuals are right to be acutely concerned about what could very well to happen to them during the next four years—and unfortunately, quite possibly the next eight.  And the way events are unfolding, thing’s ain’t lookin’ pretty.  And, you don’t have to “Captain Obvious” to know that The Orange One is trying to obliterate President Obama’s legacy because of his hatred for him.

     Since the inauguration, I’ve talked with many folks in our Community who repeatedly ask, “How are we gonna survive this maniac?”

     Well, lemme tell you the very first thing you must do in order to survive Trump.  You must look deep within yourself…and safeguard and nourish your soul!

 

     Sometime ago, a certain experience caused a profound shift in my thinking process.  You see, I had the good fortune of stumbling across Wishes Fulfilled, the PBS television special based on the wildly popular book of the same title.

     Dr. Wayne Dyer, motivational speaker and international best-selling author, penned Wishes Fulfilled.  The tome’s overarching message is:  “a change in feeling—and thinking—results in a change in destiny.”

    So in this column, I’m going to encapsulate Wishes Fulfilled so that perhaps you—like I did—can a form and maintain a mind set that will enable you to be  even more successful in the various areas of your life. 

     Ready?  Well then, let’s “rock and roll!”

     There are three basic tenets to Wishes Fulfilled.  Dr. Dyer states that the first is:  “If you want to accomplish something, you must expect it of yourself.”  That’s quite straightforward.

     According to the author/motivational speaker, the second tenet is:  “I AM.”  Every time you say things to yourself like, “I am weak…I am incapable…I am not successful,” you defile the name of God.  Therefore, you must retrain your subconscious mind to attract what you really want.

     The third tenet is composed of five parts, which Dr. Dyer names “The Foundations.”  Actually, after analysis, they’re pretty commonsensical.  They are as follows:

  • Imagination. According to Dr. Dyer, “You must place in your imagination what you want to be reality, and then fervently believe it.”
  • Living from the end. The popular author/motivational speaker says, “You must staunchly believe that you already possess what you want to achieve—which is the end result.”
  • Assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled. According to Dr. Dyer, “You must actually feel what it is that you want—as if you already have it.”
  • Attention. Dr. Dyer asks, “What kind of attention do you place on your desires? How much effort are you actually expending to achieve your goals?”  He explains, “Don’t complain, don’t explain what you place into your imagination.  Don’t allow anyone to tell you what is possible or impossible for you.”
  • Now I lay me down to sleep. Dr. Dyer states that it is when we sleep that the subconscious mind is busy at work, when negative instructions are being sealed into your subconscious.  He elaborates, “During the last five minutes, you’ll marinate in your subconscious mind for the next eight hours.  Most people use the last five minutes before sleep on the negative; it’s our ‘worry time’.”  He emphasizes, therefore, that you must reverse the process.  “So, in those last five moments before drifting off to sleep, you should say to yourself:  ‘I am successful!  I am capable! I am a winner’!”  Dr. Dyer advises to let go of your senses, others’ opinions of you, your fears, etc.

     The bottom line?  You have to SEE your Wishes Fulfilled –that which has not yet come to pass as if it is NOW with you.

      And always remember:  a change in feeling—and thinking—results in a change in destiny.

Mark’s Surreality 3

The Things We Do,” Part One

 Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes 

     “I’m so drained, Evan,” Derrick mumbled to me through his meaty palms. “I’m so fucking drained with no semblance of an end in sight.”

     I sat across Derrick at a seemingly swanky restaurant (until they brought out the oxymoronic monstrosity of gummy, stale pasta) as he spilled his frustrations onto the table like a tall glass of the finest southern tea. His puppy dog expression, complete with a full luggage set under his eyes and the weariness of a two-term president, matched his woeful words perfectly. This pained me. I’m used to gazing hours on end into his brown eyes, and wishing like hell that I could stare into them on an ironclad intimate level. Preferably in one of our bedrooms.

     Instead, the person who sat across from me was a black void in human form. A man who has ran the marathon of life so roughly to only get towards the next level and have the finish line lunge out of his grasp. Again, I’m not used to this version of Derrick Kent. The Derrick Kent I know (of admittedly a short period of time) was more jovial, yet comically twisted, and all around inspiring. Exuberating a nice balance of sheer intelligence and criminally sexiness, Derrick was pretty much sex personified and left men and women weeping in his path, both sexes yearning for more of his intellectual prowess.

     “Man, what are you doing to combat your fatigue?” I asked, taking a sip of my rum and coke. “This is the worst time to let the doldrums of life interfere with your winning streak of achievements. I mean you killed it tonight during your acceptance speech. The crowd loved you. Will always love you, actually.”

     The crowd in question was the throngs of people who came to congratulate Derrick on being published by a major publishing house with a six-figure deal for his first novel through the company right out of the stables. The novel, “Timeless Paramour,” wasn’t Derrick’s first novel by far, but it was the one that managed to snatch the attention of a well-renowned editor and manager for Macmillan Books. His writing stood on the boundaries between classic thriller and modern satire, with a twinge of irony thrown in for good taste. His unique blend of those top genres garnered a lot of support over the years, even before I knew of his existence. His fan base continues to grow weekly, if not daily, and some of the people who were in the audience tonight had traveled as far as New York City, Florida, and even London to see Derrick in his moment before he became a national best selling author.

     Derrick shook his head wearily. “No, that’s not what I mean. There’s a lot on my mind and it’s sucking the life out of me. Plus, work isn’t exactly being a grand help either. I just need space and a break.”

     “But you have this promotional tour coming up…”

     “That could serve as the break that I need.”

     “A break from what? Derrick, you’re on top of the world now. There’s a six-figure writing contract for a book that’s going to eventually become and international bestseller and a movie within the next two years, you have a bulldog of a manager, a twenty-city tour across America to promote said book… Your future is bright, Dee, so… Excuse me for drawing blanks on why you are not doing the backhand bounce while drinking from a bottle of the finest champagne on the planet?”

     “It’s my job, man. It’s killing me. This tour will be heaven on a bus. No nagging ass calls about collections. No shity ass lunch breaks. No triple necked bosses monitoring what I’m doing and when I take a shit. For two whole months, it can just be me and my brain and a whole host of crazy mothafuckers waiting for their time to shine in the pages of my upcoming books.”

     I nod in agreement, despite not believing one word he was saying.

     “You don’t believe a word that I’m saying, do you?” Derrick always managed to read me like a skilled, literary professor.

     “No, I don’t,” I replied, not blinking an eye. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that there is some heavier mojo at work besides daily tiffs with the corporate establishment. But I’m not going to force whatever it is that’s ailing you until you give me the green light to do so. I’m sure this isn’t the night that you want to go into detail over something dark. In fact, it’s neither the night nor the time for any detractions from your happiness and the good luck bestowed upon you. So let’s just focus on the positives now. The dreg of “the work force” can be dealt with on another day. Preferably in a later novel, perhaps?”

     Derrick chuckled after my lame speech. He knew it came from the heart. I could tell. It was the first time he had smiled genuinely since we sat down to talk in the restaurant. Knowing that I had managed to conjure that heart-stopping smile, which only he could pull off with an up tuck at the corner of his lips, sent my soul on a satisfying victory lap throughout every inch of my body.

     “You’re so good to me,” Derrick said, his eyes piercing into mine. “Do you know I’ve always wanted to tell you that? You have the sheer knack for knowing how to talk a man off a proverbial ledge. So many nights I doubted myself in every avenue possible and you have always been there to slay the Procrastinator, the Doubter, and any other Writing Demons that prowl my mind. I truly appreciate you, Evan. And everything that you do.”

     On the surface I only blushed a little and smiled graciously in return. But on the inside… My mind had the biggest orgasm it had ever experienced since learning the existence of the excess check while in college. It took strong will power to not lean over the table; casually, but tenderly, grab Derrick’s face; and gently kiss those pink luscious lips of his. Instead, I silently cursed every force in nature keeping us from becoming one big happy gay existence. Or rather why he never saw me in the same light as I saw him…

     “Thanks, Derrick,” I managed to sputter out. “That means a lot. Really.”

     Derrick nodded. “And I want you to know that the green light is yours.”

     “The green light to do what?” asked a syrupy voice that sliced clean through my calm demeanor and sliver of happiness.

     Severing our connection to acknowledge the happy-go-lucky intruder into our conversation, Derrick smiled as a stacked female doused in white Chanel-everything (possibly panties as well) with long black hair teased to the salon gods stepped into our sights. “Hey, babe,” Derrick greeted, standing to kiss the woman lovingly. I nearly barfed all over the table.

     Meet Asia Wainright. AKA Derrick’s fiancée. AKA one of those forces I silently cursed only moments earlier.

     “I thought you were sleep,” Derrick cooed to Asia. “I didn’t want to wake you up, so I called up Evan and we decided to grab a bite to eat.”

     “I was asleep, but the guests in the room next to us decided to rehash an argument from ten years ago. I know the date because they continued to refer to it ad nauseam to the point that I woke up, tried to figure out what exactly what I was doing on May 23rd, 2005, and eventually gave up. I called your phone. Did you not get my messages?”

     Derrick patted his pants for his phone and pulled it out to check it. “Must have forgotten to take it off silence. Yep, I see two missed calls and one voicemail. I’m sorry, babe.” He kissed her again for emphasis on his regretful lapse of judgment on not checking his phone. I continue to sit and look like a doofus while playing with the rubbery pasta in front of me.

     “It’s fine, Derrick. I figured you were down here eating, anyway. If you weren’t, then I would have had an APB put out immediately. No officer in Memphis was going to rest tonight until you were safe in bed with me.” She paused and turned to me as like I was a bothersome afterthought. “Oh, hey, Evan.”

     “Hello,” I replied.

     “So, what was this green light you were talking about?” Asia asked Derrick. “Hopefully it’s green light to something special you’re cooking up for me…”

     Not missing a beat, Derrick took the chance and followed through with his prepared lie. “Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. You’ll just have to find out. In fact, I was actually just bouncing ideas off of Evan over some bad pasta and drinks.”

     “Oh, Derrick, you didn’t have to bother Evan for that,” she chuckled. “I’m sure he has something to do other than sit here and listen to you babble all night like a human springboard.”

     Um, wrong. I was enjoying myself quite immensely being Derrick’s “human springboard.”

     Hell, in fact, if I could I would morph into an actual cork board for Derrick to place his ideas on, because it would have been the only sort of way for his fingers to brush against my body. But I remained calm and collected as Asia continued to dismiss my existence and purr into Derrick’s ear like an alley cat in heat.

     “Well, he didn’t seem to mind. Did you, Evan?”

     I was about to concur when Asia pulled Derrick a bit closer to her, reached into his pocket and pulled out a few twenty-dollar bills and laid them on the table.

     “Well, whether if he didn’t mind or not, I’m releasing him to go live his life on this beautiful Friday night while it’s still young. Maybe you can snag you a boyfriend, Evan?” 

     “He already has one, Asia,” Derrick reminded her. “Remember you met him? His name is Juan?”

     Asia blinked before casually placing her hand on her forehead in a fake ass “Duh!” expression. “Right! I totally forgot about him since I never see him with you, Evan. Is he really busy or something?”

     Bitch.

     “Actually, he’s not into big crowds,” I stated as calmly as my reserve would let me. But even then my reserve was way past ‘empty.’ The gall of this bitch…

     Sensing the tension forming, Derrick pulled out another twenty-dollar bill and placed it on the table. “Well, I guess we could mosey on upstairs. I have to start work on the next chapter of Massive Heat anyway.”

     “Can’t wait to read it,” I chimed in, thankful for the interference.

     “Not before I finish the book in its entirety,” Asia interjected as she sauntered off, not even offering a half-assed wave.

     Derrick stood watching her for a moment before he broke his gaze long enough to look at me and say, “Sorry about that, Evan. The green light still stands. I’ll call you.”

     Then he stalked off to catch up with Asia.

     I continued to sit at the table and sip on my Long Island Iced Tea, replaying what just transpired over in my head a couple of times. It was apparent that Asia knew how I felt about Derrick. That was as abundantly crystal clear as the numerous work she’s had done to her face.

     She sniffed that fact out ages ago, like a true bitch guarding her territory would. That’s not what was playing through my head though. At least not the full culprit. I was pondering about Derrick’s gaze before he offered an apology for Asia’s behavior. He was pissed. And I don’t mean ‘pissed’ in an “I can’t believe you embarrassed me” pissed, but in a “Bitch, I can’t fucking stand you” pissed.

     Trouble in paradise? Possibly. Despite her confidence in putting together a fashionable outfit to go along with her sadistic (and unnecessary) penchant for reading people for filth, Asia seemed to also carry the characteristic of those people on Instagram who constantly post pics and quotes showcasing their sickeningly sweet love affair and reminding the unfortunate bystanders that they’re simply pressed to not have a “bae” in their lives. But in reality, those very people are fighting tooth and nail to retain said ‘blissful relationship,’ because it’s simply ‘pathetic’ in this day and age to not have someone cuffed to your side at all times.

     Although, I’m sure Asia could effortlessly pull someone else if she and Derrick were to take a one-way trip to Splitsville without blinking any of her carefully applied eyelashes.  I would also wager that her Venus flytrap type of personality has a reputation that transcends her sexual partners. Her caramel piece of ass may be considered the Louis Vuitton of Asses in the Mid-South, but the price to even sample her snatch had to be too rich for any sane man’s blood. Which brings me to the puzzling query of exactly what the hell did Derrick see in that woman? Class? Beauty? Great head? Whatever magic Asia possessed between her legs, it obviously wasn’t hitting enough home runs to clear the funk that was haunting Derrick as of late. So what gives?

     One thing was for certain: twice tonight I’d seen two new facets of Derrick Kent that I never knew existed, and they both intrigued me to no end. As if he wasn’t already intriguing enough…

     I had downed my last glass of Long Island Iced Tea (fourth in all) and was prepping my mind for the ride home when my cell phone began singing the chorus to Kid Cudi’s “Heart of a Lion” — Derrick’s assigned ring tone.

     “Hello?” I answered, wondering how he’d manage to wrestle Asia off his neck.

     “Hey, Evan. Are you still up for that green light?”

     Slowly, a goofy ass grin spread across my face…

     Of course I was.

To Be Continued….


Mark O. Estes is a writer, editor, columnist and librarian, who earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  Mr. Estes is a writer and editor for both The Big Boy Project and The Male Media Mind, dynamic and cutting edge infotainment sites that are specifically designed for larger men—and those who have an affinity for them.  Also, Mark is penning his debut novel.  You may reach Mark at buildingmysteries.wordpress.com; Twitter, @theanticritic; Instagram, markoestes.

The Circle’s In the Man Cave!

COME INTO MY DOMAIN. 

     On Thursday, May 11 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) floats back to the awesome Mixcloud in an amazin’ way!  In this WMCinstallment, I welcome the D.C. Metro Circle of Friends, a social network for LGBTQ professionals living in the D.C., Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia corridor. 

     Mr. Tony Collins, Coordinator, will give us the 411 on this energetic and notable organization’s mission, plans–and how The Circle makes such a positive difference in the LGBTQ community. 

     And, I’ll ask Tony tantalizing questions regarding relationship issues!  All in all, it’s gonna be one helluva absorbing and stimulating experience!

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!”

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/lesberealradiotalk/

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/the-buff-the-frenzy-wyatts-man-cave/

Wyatt's Man Cave

Hot Tea and Ice 13

Spring Cleaning the Negativity Out of Your Life

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins

     Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  We are now officially in the middle of spring; and depending on your faith, past the pastel parade that is Easter Sunday when it seems that everyone has to break out the suits in shades of sherbets.  For the most part, the weather is better and people are making plans to get together for weekend cookouts, family road trips, and just being out and about. Good things abound and while the living may not be totally easy, the only ice to be found is in glasses.

     Warmer temperatures tend to put people in a better frame of mind. It’s just something about the sun shining that seems to make things seem not so overwhelming.  However, even when it’s warm enough to break out the open toe shoes and short sleeves, some people seem fixated on holding onto people who and situations that have nothing good to offer.  The reasons for this are numerous.  They include, for example, that we’re comfortable, complacent or confused about something better being possible.  And unfortunately, the results are the same.

     Too many of us are tied to negative thinking, to the point that it clouds our vision to what good there is within and around us.  I’ve been guilty of being down hearted about things I couldn’t change, while totally ignoring the opportunity to celebrate the thing turning out right.

     Let this be the year when we leave negativity behind like those corduroy pants we bought that were too tight when we left the store. We just have to be prepared to do some spring cleaning and shake the dust off our feet, and “keep it moving” when it comes to negativity.

     Just as flowers are beginning to break through the dirt to emerge, we have to push through all the dirt that will hold us down and embrace the possibility of positive thinking.

     Now like all things worth doing, a spring cleaning of the negativity in your life will not be easy. Negative thinking is hard to break.  And sometimes, the most negative person in your life has been there the longest.

     The key is to step back and evaluate the matters at hand. Does focusing on what went wrong really solve the problem? Is it really worth spending time listening to your friend complaining?  You have to stop and realize that while negativity seems like a comfortable blanket that wraps around you so neatly and tightly, there’s no need for it when you can avail yourself of so much warmth outside.

     Challenge yourself to get rid of attitudes and people that no longer work. Put on mothballs that self-doubt and that one friend who never has anything good to say about anybody.

     Just as when we do spring cleaning, we start with one room at a time, ridding yourself of the negativity.  Start in one area of your life at a time.  Slowly cease  hanging out altogether with that person who seems to have a perpetual grey cloud hanging over his/her head, or who possesses a mouth that utters a complaint instead of a compliment.  Instead of doubting your ability, find something to do that brings you happiness.

     It will take time to change your social circle and your outlook, but it’s well worth the effort.  It will be like having clean windows: everything will be clearer, and you will be able to make better choices.  

     Hopefully, having a lighter outlook will attract more positive things into your life.   As well, that perspective should attract people to fill the space left vacant when you cut loose of those that weigh you down. 

     Until next time, Adios, au revoir, and I “holler.”


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is a co-founder and currently serves as the chair of Shades of Pride (SOP), a LGBTQ organization that hosts a yearly event in the Triangle area. SOP’s mission is to create opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ communities. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, www.latoyahankins.com; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins; and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

Man Cave Interview with Tancredo

The Buff & The “FRENZY!”

COME INTO MY DOMAIN

On Thursday, April 27 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) returns to the awesome Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way!  This episode’s special return guest is the sizzlin’ HOT adult performer, Mr. Tancredo Buff!

     Mr. Buff also is my special Co-Host, interviewing me on my hawt and decidedly DEE-LI-CIOUS new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”

     Afterwards, we’ll find out just what Tancredo has been UP to since his last WMC appearance.  And, I’ll have a burning—and delightfully salacious–question for “The Prince of Porn!”   It’s gonna be like…Freakin’ Caliente!!!

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!”

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/lesberealradiotalk/

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/salute-to-carlton-r-smith-wyatts-man-cave/

Wyatt's Man Cave

The “Man of the Evening” Returns!

“Love can be so, so…well, over-rated.” 

     As so many of you recall, I published “Interview With An Escort:  An Update” last summer.  It was a raw and revealing follow-up with “Jase,” an exclusive and popular NYC gay/SGL “Man of the Evening,” whom I first interviewed in March 2015.

     I’ve decided to build a series around this individual.  Why?  Three basic reasons:  the first is that the utilization of “specialized” services of escorts arguably is a staple of gay and bisexual male culture.  Second, this person’s continuing story has been one of the most popular articles on Wyattevans.com.  Third–and certainly most appetizingly—Jase is a fascinating brotha with charisma oozing outta his pores.  

     I’ll never share Jase’s website and contact information because this series is NOT about advertising or promoting his services.  Instead, it’s to give you, the reader, an illuminating bird’s-eye view of his world–one you just might step into one day.

     In this installment, we finally learn about a pivotal life experience that shaped  Jase, thrusting him on the path that he currently treads.

 

     Prelude.   

     A few years ago, a Huffington Post article entitled, “Sex for Tuition:  Gay Male College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ to Pay Off Loan Debt,”featured a New York University student who was desperately trying to manage his $50,000 tuition bill. 

     His solution?  Midway through college, Kirk started turning tricks in order to pay the bill.

     And even after graduation, the young man continued to escort.  According to that Huffington Post article, “He has continued selling his wares on what he describes as ‘virtual street corners’—websites where young gay men seek out the companionship of wealthy older suitors.”

     Kirk is far from the only man, be he young or not-so-young, who’s amongst the ranks of “the oldest profession.”  Sometimes, while on my promotional trips to Manhattan (NYC), I’ve sat down with arguably one of that city’s most popular escorts.  To “get into his head,” I asked him a wide range of questions. 

     I’m not using his real name (or the “handle” he uses, for that matter) because it’s not my purpose to give him free promotion.   My purpose is to give you some insight into the life of an escort.    

     Actually, “Jase’s” story mirrors Kirk’s.  He, too, got into the “bizness” to settle his college debts.  And like Kirk, even after he earned his degree in communications (rather apropos, don’tcha think?), the articulate, sophisticated and charming Jase continues to escort.  He’s been at it for nearly seven years now. 

     Uncommonly handsome, dominant and very self-assured, Jase (early thirties) exudes raw sexuality!  And, let’s not even talk about swagger.

     At 6’2”, 228 pounds, this African-American is hugely and thickly muscled.  He sports a military haircut, ‘stache and goatee.  Being well-groomed is his hallmark.   

     Superbly masculine, he’s very accessible.  His dazzling white smile and smoldering eyes are disarming. 

     Although personable, Jase is all bizness.  You don’t mess with him, you don’t cheat him.  You don’t fuck (with) him.

     ‘Cause, ya see, he’s ALL about the money.

 

His-Story

     (It’s March 2015.)

     WYATT:  Jase, thanks for this interview.

     JASE:  No problem, glad to do it.

     WYATT:  Let’s just jump right into it.  Why did you become an escort?  Did childhood experiences somehow coerce, force you into it?

     JASE:  Oh, hell no!  Although you hear that a lot about other folk, that wasn’t the case with me.  For me, it’s all about money:  after the economy imploded in 2007, there’s a “whole new world order.”  You’ve had to find different streams of income.  I was drowning in student debt, and I believed that escorting was the best way of quickly getting the most cash possible.  (The stud has one helluva deep, melodious voice.)

     WYATT:  And you continue to escort even after you paid down your debt, after you graduated and found a decent job?

     JASE:  As you know, graduates have tens of thousands of debt.  It’ll take almost forever to wipe it out.  That’s the new world order.  And even though I was lucky to get a good job, it still doesn’t pay what I would like.  So, I decided to continue “seeing” guys.  (Then, he flashes a wide grin.) Besides, I enjoy it!

     WYATT:  Well, what appeals to you most about escorting?

     JASE:  I’m highly—and I do mean highly—sexual!  I like the thrill of being with multiple guys—of different ages, races, body types, personalities.  And man, look at me (hearty laugh)—folks should pay to sleep with me!

     WYATT:  Jase, do you sleep with guys and not get paid for it?  Like, “recreational sex?”

     JASE:  Nope.  Not at all.

     WYATT:  Really?

     JASE:  Really.

     WYATT:  I see.  Are you gay–or “gay for pay?”

     JASE:  Totally gay…totally into men.  Been there and done that with women!  A woman can’t do anything for me.

     WYATT:  Jase, describe your clientele.

     JASE:  Although I’m open to all races/ethnicities, my clientele is mostly white, professional, well-to-do, married.  The percentage breakdown is, like, 65 (white)/25 (black)/10 (Latino).

     WYATT:  You appear to be pretty exact!

     JASE:  Mos’ definitely!  I’m a professional, very methodical.  I treat “everythang” in life as a bizness.  You have to.

     WYATT:  Do you use drugs with your clients?

     JASE:  Hell no!  If a client wants to when he’s with me, that’s cool.  However, I refuse to indulge.  For my safety, I can’t afford to be mentally impaired.  (Pause.)  And where anal sex is concerned, it’s condoms all the way!  None of this bareback crap.

     WYATT:  I assume you’re top?

     JASE:  Oh, so totally. 

     WYATT:  Well Jase, exactly what do you do in bed with your clients?

     JASE:  I’m a top, both anally and oral.  Lots of body contact.  I like to deep kiss—as long as there are no breath issues.  Heavily into licking and sucking nips.  And, I just love “tossin’ salad”…before I give my client the main course, if you catch my drift!    Also, I get into role playing: daddy/son, prison guard/inmate, etc., etc.  

     WYATT:  What sexual act with a client do you most enjoy?

     JASE:  Hmmmm…getting my dick s**ked.  Hands down!  Bro, how I “LUV” the feel of a slick, wet, hot mouth up and down and all over my throbbing, rock hard, juicy “thang.”

     WYATT:  Jase, our readers and I wanna know:  just how BIG are you?

     JASE:  Nine and a half.  Wide and “phat” (fat).  Nice mushroom head.  Curves to the right.  (He chuckles.) Yo, he’s my Buddy!  My money maker.

     WYATT:  Whoa.

     JASE:  Lemme stop talking about this!  I can get hard at the drop of a hat. 

     WYATT:  On the average, how many clients do you see a week?

     JASE:  Three, sometimes four.  I have a good deal of regulars.  

     WYATT:  So, you get your clients via the internet?

     JASE:  Definitely.  That’s the safest, most efficacious way to go.  As you know, I have an elaborate website.

     WYATT:  You certainly do. Have you ever been busted by the cops?

     JASE:  Not once, knock on wood!  I’m very low key, if you will.  If you’re sane in this bizness, sure, you have concerns.  You’re must always be vigilant.  And, I put potential clients through a detailed, lengthy interview.  After that, I can tell if the guy is “on the level.” 

     Besides, my site specifically states “companionship”—and that’s what the client is paying for.  Companionship.   Now, being consenting adults, if after meeting we decide to have sex, well…

     WYATT:  Jase, have you ever found yourself in a dangerous situation with a client?

     JASE:  Fortunately, no.  My physical size and demeanor prevents that from happening.  However, I’ve had a couple of escort buddies who weren’t so lucky.

     WYATT:  What happened?

     JASE:  Well, one was set up by a cop.  Another was raped by a client and his friends.

     WYATT:  Have you ever been stiffed by a client?

     JASE:  Two times, and two times only!  The first happened the first year I began escorting.  A bounced check! (Jase’s ire is rising.) That’s why I NEVER accept checks from non-regulars; a regular is someone I’ve seen for at least a year. 

     The other time also occurred during my first year.  After the session, the client claimed he “left his wallet at home.”  I remained in his hotel room for hours, having my way with him—if you know what I mean!  (Jase’s expression is simultaneously funny–and scary.)  Lessons learned…   

     WYATT:  So Jase, how long do you plan to continue escorting?

     JASE:  Honestly Wyatt, I don’t know.  It depends on the economy.  However, if I lose my spark, my desire for it, I’ll be done.  I’ll vanish.

     WYATT:  Jase, thanks for giving my audience a window into what’cha do.

     JASE:  It’s all good, Wyatt.  Now, you’ve gotta become a ghost, ‘cause I’ve gotta “break in” a new client in 30 (minutes)! 

    A few months after that, Jase took down his escort “shingle,” and pretty much became that “ghost.”

 

2016:  Returning to Form

     (It’s June 2016.)  

     WYATT:  Yo, Jase.  It’s good to speak with you again!  How have you been since our last talk?  Are you still on the, as we say, “straight and narrow?”

     JASE:  “Straight and narrow?”  (There’s his patented hearty laugh!)  A great way of putting it…

     WYATT:  Well?

     JASE:  Wyatt, I’ll be honest…

     WYATT:  I want you to be.  (I’m laughing now.)

     JASE:  I’m back in.

     WYATT:  The bizness?

     JASE:  Yes.

     WYATT:  Whoa!  What happened?

     JASE:  I was fired from my regular gig three months ago.  No severance, no nothing!

     WYATT:  Man, I’m really sorry to hear that. 

     JASE.  Thanks.  I saw it coming, and it was quite messy.

     WYATT:  Any prospects?

     JASE:  I’m interviewing like crazy!  Meanwhile, I got back into escorting.  I refuse to be financially compromised.  I gotta eat, if you know what I mean.

     WYATT:  I feel you.  Let me ask you:  when you find another position, will you continue to escort?

     JASE:  (Hesitating.)  To be honest, I couldn’t tell you for sure.  (Long pause.)  However, if you’d put a gun to my head, I’d have to say, “yes.”

     WYATT:  Really?

     JASE:  Yup.  And you know what?  I missed all the sex!

     WYATT:  Can you explain further?

     JASE:  Look:  as I said when we spoke last time, I crave sex…and with multiple guys!  And I have to admit that I “get off” on being desired…and being in control, sexually.  Point blank period.

     WYATT:  Well, that says it all.

     JASE:  It does.

     WYATT:  Jase, I hope you find a regular job soon, and one that really inspires you.  And, be careful out there.

     JASE:  No doubt, no doubt.

     WYATT:  Thanks for your time.

 

When Opportunity Knocks, Well Go On and Answer the Door!

     (While I was in the Big Apple in February meeting with producers on “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!,” Jase and I had a sit-down scheduled.  Unfortunately, an emergency on his part prevented that.  However, near the end of  March, I snagged an extended Skype session.)

     WYATT:  So Jase:  I trust everything turned out okay.

     JASE:  Everything’s all good now.

     WYATT:  Great!  You know, your story continues to be one of the more popular—and intriguingWyattevans.com articles.

     JASE:  Now that’s what’s up!  (That infectious laugh again!)

     WYATT:  It’s been nearly a year, and my readers wanna know just what you’ve been up to.  (Now, I’m doubling over in laughter.)

     JASE:  (A naughty glint in his eyes.)  Wyatt, what you really mean is, “WHOM I’ve been into.”

     WYATT:  Ahem…well, yeah!

     JASE:  Well, as you know, when we last spoke, I had gotten back into the biz.

     WYATT:  I recall.  But before we jump into that, let me ask: have you been able to land that mainstream job…you know, the one “on the reg?”

     JASE:  Knock on wood, yes! It’s a flexible consulting gig.  I’m lovin’ the positive energy, so I plan to keep it for more than a “minnit.”

     WYATT:  Does it pay well, may I ask?

     JASE:  (Grinning.)  What you’re really askin’ is if it’s enough for me to quit being a Man of the Evening.  And Morning.  And Afternoon.

     WYATT:  Oh, you clever devil, you!  Correctomundo!

     JASE:  I could kinda swing “thangs” with the consulting being my only source of income.  However…

     WYATT:  “However” what?

     JASE:  As I’ve said before, I’m a fuckin’ sexual connoisseur…a bedroom athlete and experimenter!  Translation:  I fuckin’ crave sex, and with more than a few “menz” (mens)!

     WYATT:  And in our last interview you admitted, and I quote, “I ‘get off’ on being desired…and being in control, sexually.  Point blank period.”

     JASE:  (Flashing his very own version of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s eye roll/scrunch.)  True dat.

     WYATT:  Jase, you’ve also said, and I quote, “Look at me!  Folks should pay to sleep with me!”

     JASE:  Hell yeah!  (The bruh’s dazzling white smile and smoldering eyes are as disarming as ever.) 

     WYATT:  So, your shingle’s still up?

     JASE:  Yup.  And that ain’t all!  You feelin’ me?  (He chuckles.  Oh, what a clever man!)

     WYATT:  (I’m LMAO!)  “Aight,” now.  I’m tryin’ to keep this clean!

     WYATT:  (I quickly interject:)  Jase, before I forget:  have you ever done porn?

     JASE:  Nada.  Once you do porn, you can’t take it back—your image is out there.  Porn can fuck up any career aspirations you have.

     WYATT:  Cool, cool.  Now, let’s go back to that shingle conversation.  As they say, “Inquiring minds wanna know.”

     JASE:  (Leaning back in his chair and getting quite comfy.)  I’ve drastically cut back on seeing clients, though.

     WYATT:  Really?  Why?

     JASE:  (Inhaling deeply, then throwing a playful wink.)  I’ve met someone.

     WYATT:  But in our previous talks, you said you don’t do recreational sex.

     JASE:  True dat.

     WYATT:  Well, do explain.

     JASE:  (Becoming serious.)  Okay, here’s the deal:  nearly three months after our last interview, this cray cray wealthy and connected gay German guy (“Helmut”) hired me as an escort for a couple of hours.  Things got so so freakin’ hawt that it turned into an over-nighter! 

     WYATT:  Whoa!  Interesting.

     JASE:  Bro, that ain’t the half of it!  (He’s grinning from ear to ear.)  Helmut kept coming back fo’ mo’…and more!  This led to him putting me on a very, very generous retainer. 

     And, it wasn’t just about the bedroom!  We began to go out socially, to get to know each other in different ways.   Helmut’s taken me to his mansion in L.A., and his compound right out of Berlin.  He was born and raised there.  (According to Jase, his “benefactor” also has a Manhattan apartment, and a home in Maui.)

     Then, right before Christmas, Helmut told me he was falling in love with me.  He wanted an exclusive arrangement, and for me to move in with him here in NYC, where he lives most of the year.

     WYATT:  Dang, Jase!  That’s a lot to take in.

     JASE:  For me, too!  At first.  But I played hard to get.

     WYATT:  “Inquiring minds wanna know…”

     JASE:  I told him that if I was gonna do this, I expected to be compensated—and very, very well!  A new vehicle titled in my name, credit cards in my name with continuing healthy monthly balances, etc.  And for now, I’d keep my consulting gig.

     WYATT:  Jase, I have to ask:  do you love him?

     JASE:  (He grimaces.)  Oh, no, no, no!  It ain’t about THAT.  Love can be so, so…well, over-rated.

     Now, truth be told, I’m fond of him.  And, I’ve told Helmut that.  He’s easy on the eyes, hot in bed.  He’s had valuable business and life experiences that can benefit me.  So for now, it’s a win-win.  For both of us.

     WYATT:  Man, I’m not being judgmental, but aren’t you leading him on?

     JASE:  (Becoming a tad agitated, slightly defensive.)  Not at all!  Look, he knows what he’s getting into:  I’m an escort, for gawdsakes!  However, I’ll always be upfront, and not disrespect him.

     WYATT:  Exactly what do you mean, Jase?

     JASE:  Now that we’ve hooked up, I’ve agreed not to see any other clients. However, there is a caveat.

     WYATT:  Which is?

     JASE:  As I’ve stated, I’m highly sexual!  I need variety.  Point blank period.

     WYATT:  You’ve told Helmut that?  How will you reconcile that and still have an exclusive arrangement with him?

     JASE:  (Clearing his throat.)  Yup, I’ve clued him in.  I told him that for me to be happy, we’d have to have threesomes from time to time.

     WYATT:  Did he go for it?

     JASE:  A little begrudgingly, but yeah.

     WYATT:  Jase, to be blunt:  will the third party pay you?

     JASE:  (Smiling.)  Of course!  Helmut has buddies with truckloads of cash.  And, I think he’s kinda turned on by the prospect.

     WYATT:  Now, let me play devil’s advocate.  Aren’t you screwin’ with this guy’s head, trashing his heart—in other words, using him?

     JASE:  (Quite assertive.  And on the “defensive tip.”)  No way Jose, Wyatt!  He knows what he’s in for, and I’ve been very clear about it.  He met me as an escort.  And, he’s fuckin’ lucky to have me! 

     Yo, I’m superb eye candy!  And, he’s got a man on his arm who’s refined, well spoken, and sophisticated.

     WYATT:  I see.  Now, I’d like to circle back to a certain issue, if I may.

     JASE:  Sure thang!  Give it your best shot.  (Having gotten stuff off his chest, he again flashes that helluva infectious smile!)

     WYATT:  (My eyes zero into his.)  Jase—why have you sworn off falling in love?  That seems like such an anathema to you.

     JASE:  (Becoming visibly vulnerable.)  You really wanna know?

     WYATT:  (Maintaining my laser-like eye contact.)  Yeah, I really do!  And, knowing will enable our readers to understand you better.

     JASE:  Okay, okay.  But first, lemme say that I’m not some cold, calculating bastard trying to roll over and get over on folk.  (Pause.)  As an escort, I satisfy a request for companionship—and it’s not always sexual.  It’s a transaction between two consenting adults, who both know what they’re getting into—and getting! 

     JASE:  (Now smiling and pointing at his divinely muscled body.)  Look at me!  There’s no false advertising here.  Hey: I don’t put a gun to any guy’s head, forcing them to use my services.

     (I’ve been careful not to interject, interrupt.  I want Jase to finally get to “the heart of the matter,” if you will.  He continues.) 

     JASE:  My dad, whom I worshipped, died suddenly when I was 15.  It hit me like a ton of bricks! 

     I was lost, and desperately needed a father figure.  Unfortunately, there was no one who stepped in to fill that void.

     JASE:  When I was 16 and a high school junior, I played football.  And then, my coach—a married man–entered the picture.

     JASE:  (Swallowing hard.)  I was attracted to him from the jump!  Man, he was built from head to toe, dominant, and had this incredible swagger about him!  Like a fuckin’ shark smelling blood in the water, he saw my extreme neediness.  And exploited it.

     WYATT:  Jase—so, you’re saying he sexually molested you?

     JASE:  Yes.   But first, he “groomed” me—giving me extra special attention, encouraging me, telling me over and over just how “wonderful” I was!  Made me think he was my greatest friend and supporter.  He flirted with me.  Seduced me.

     Needless to say, I fell hard for him!  He was like my best friend, brother…and daddy, all rolled into one.  It was sooooooo fuckin’ intoxicating.

     WYATT:  Man, I’m so sorry…

     JASE:  Eventually, he took me to bed—at his place one weekend when his wife was out of town.  The affair lasted months.  I have to admit that even to this day, Coach is the best I’ve ever had.

     WYATT:  I know it ended at some point; because more often than not, the abuser eventually disposes of his young victim. 

     JASE:   (Sadness—and a tear or two—begin to well up in his expressive eyes.)  Ain’t dat the truth! (Pause.) After a few months, he cut it off! (For dramatic effect, the big man runs his beefy hand under and across his neck.)   No warning, no explanations!  I was devastated.

     (He’s working hard to maintain his composure; doesn’t want to show any “chinks in the armor.”)

     JASE:  To this day, I can still remember what he said:  “I’m ending THIS.  What we’ve done together stays between us.  If you tell anybody, I’m gonna put you in a whole world of hurt!  In more ways than you could ever imagine.” 

     And hell yeah, I believed him!  Ya see, Coach was intimidating, imposing…he could be a thug if necessary. 

     WYATT:  Damn.

     JASE:  Yup.  So, I acted like nothing ever happened. 

     (Then suddenly, Jase snaps back to his “normal” self.)

     JASE:  That’s why I’ve vowed never to be emotionally vulnerable, never to open up and share my heart with another guy.  

     WYATT:  Jase, thanks for sharing your experience with us.  I really appreciate it.

     JASE:  Sure, Wyatt.  No prob.

     WYATT:  Any last thing you’d like to share about your current “arrangement?”

     JASE:  I’m gonna ride this gravy train for as long as I enjoy the ride!  And as long as it’s profitable.    Yo:  I’m covering my black ass in as many ways as I possibly can!  Ya feelin’ me?

Black Love

“Accelerate!” Your “Positive Affirmations!” 

         I’m  Special Consultant to ViiV Healthcare’s “Positive Affirmations–ACCELERATE!” Initiative, a bold community engagement effort targeted to Black Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex With men (MSM) who reside in and around Baltimore, Maryland.  This groundbreaking Initiative is designed to empower these individuals through health and wellness.

         The overarching goals of “Positive Affirmations–ACCELERATE!” are:  “(1) to connect Black men who identify as Gay, Bisexual, Same Gender Loving or practice MSM Behavior to both formal and personal networks of support; 2) to assist in breaking down stigma and isolation; and 3) to tackle challenges related to homophobia, racism, HIV, mental health and substance abuse.  The program efforts will also expand Black Gay men’s knowledge and understanding of how to access care, advocate for high-quality HIV prevention, treatment and care as well as assist them in meeting their goals to obtain the best quality health care.”

       In particular, I’ll be lending my expertise involving Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) to the Initiative.    As a journalist, motivational speaker and advocate, IPV/A is my signature issue.  And, IPV/A is the overarching theme of my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  To learn what esteemed individuals have stated about “FRENZY!”, visit:  wyattevans.com/what-folks-are-sayin-about-frenzy/    

        So, “ACCELERATE!” your “Positive Affirmations!”  Join us for our second Saturday’s ManDate Baltimore “Get Together” Meeting which is scheduled on April 8th, from PM – PM at the GLCCB (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center), located at 2530 N. Charles Street (3rd Floor), Baltimore, MD, 21218 (N. Charles & 25th Sts).  Do spread the word, and invite/bring individuals with you.  A delicious meal will served.    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carlton Smith (carltonsmith@gmail.com) or Duane Taylor (duane@taylor-wilksgroup.com .)  And, visit the ManDate Baltimore Meeting Event Page onFacebook.

     The Center for Black Equity Baltimore and the Taylor-Wilks Group are administering this crucial Initiative.

Salute to Carlton R. Smith!

COME INTO MY DOMAIN.    

     On Thursday, April 6 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) returns to the awesome Mixcloud in an amazing and inspiring way!  This episode’s installment is entitled, “Salute to Carlton R. Smith!” 

     For decades an advocate and activist for LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS issues–specifically regarding African-American men who have sex with men (MSM)–Mr. Smith continues to represent the diverse needs of LGBTQ individuals at the local, state and federal levels. 

     The Executive Director and one of the founding members of The Center for Black Equity-Baltimore (CBEB; formerly Baltimore Black Pride, Inc.), Carlton will discuss being a longtime HIV survivor, his advocacy and activism, and CBEB’s overall mission 

    And, Carlton will chat about “Positive Affirmations—ACCELERATE.”  This is the groundbreaking initiative that a group of Black professionals (that includes he and I) is administering.  “Positive Affirmations—ACCELERATE!” is geared to empower Black gay/SGL men who reside in and around Baltimore, Maryland, through health and wellness.

Wyatt's Man Cave

    By the by:  my sidekick–the raucous, irrepressible and nastee Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot, Drag Queen Supreme–is back!  And, sumthin’ sumthin’ tells me she’ll be in rare form! 

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!” 

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/ 

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/the-onyx-man-cometh-wyatts-man-cave/

Crisean

Crisean:  Musical Breath of Fresh Air

“Being my authentic self—that is, openly gay—frees me to be more creative; it allows me to write and sing about things other than love and parties. I believe I have a duty to be visible.”  

      Poignant and sagacious words from the androgynous and openly-gay/SGL African-American musician known as Crisean (pronounced “Cris-Shawn”; born Christopher Snowden).  Innovative and uber-talented, he’d been singing Disney songs around the house and putting on shows for family members since the age of eight.  Crisean also dabbled in writing lyrics and creating topics for songs.

     Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, this exciting and emerging musical talent sat down with me last week to discuss his new album, Opus: I,which drops this summer.  The singles, “Blow Speakers” and “Light A Match,” have just been released. 

     EVANS:  Crisean, welcome to WYATTEVANS.COM.  You’re such a busy guy!

     CRISEAN:  I am, indeed—and loving it!  I’m blessed.  It’s good to be with you, Wyatt.

     EVANS:  Crisean, before we discuss “Opus: I,” the new album, let’s chat about you being an openly-gay/SGL (same gender loving) artist.  I commend you for that!  What was your coming out process like?

     CRISEAN:  Well, for a long time, I’d just basically lived how I wanted; I just didn’t tell my mother that I liked guys.  Then one day, my mother was telling me about a co-worker’s daughter whom she was planning to hook me up with.  So, I had to reveal my true sexual orientation.  After I told her, I went out to dinner.  When I came home, I found her in disbelieve!   

     She asked how she could have two gay sons, what did she do to “cause” it, and how did she go so wrong.  I told her that she did nothing wrong, and emphasized that she’d been blessed.  I ended with, “It’s just life.”

     I’m having to overcome the fact that I’m feminine and androgynous, and that some people have something negative to say about it.  However, I’m handling it much better.

     EVANS:  Crisean, how does being your authentic self—openly gay—free you to be more creative?  Isn’t it psychologically and emotionally draining when one covers up his/her true sexual orientation?

     CRISEAN:  Yes, being your authentic self definitely frees you to be more creative.  It truly is an emotional and psychological drain and burden hiding who you really are.  It was such vindication for me that I could actually be the artist I always knew I could be.  I believe that I have a duty to be visible.  Now, concealing things just won’t work.

     EVANS:  You’re an independent talent.  What does that mean, exactly?

     CRISEAN:  It means that you currently don’t have a record deal, or a company doing everything for you.  For the most part, you’re doing everything on your own.  Though in this way, you can get a keener and fuller understanding of the business.   

     EVANS:  Your music is pop, dance and soul/R&B infused.  Quite the intriguing and eclectic mix!  What prompted you to immerse yourself in those genres?

     CRISEAN:  I grew up around R&B, so that was just my upbringing. I came out a little commercially, so dance music was at the helm of that. (LOL). Watching Logo TV and really getting into gay history, dance music saved a lot of lives and it just pulls on my heart strings. I got into soul during my music classes. I just have a deep appreciation of the music and where soul comes from. It’s the pain and the heart that are poured into the genre.

     EVANS:  What are your musical influences–and why?

     CRISEAN:  Beyoncé is my biggest.  I have a lot of influences from Monica, Lady Gaga, and Adele to legends such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, The Temptations and Prince. They are my inspirations because they have painted their own lanes and they sing with so much soul in their voices. M.J., Bey, Gaga and Madonna just will shut down a stage in seconds!

     EVANS:  Crisean, before we jump into “Opus: I,” let’s talk about your previous album, “Sound Approved—EP,” which dropped in 2014What topics/issues did it explore and address?

     CRISEAN:  “Sound Approved—EP” addressed a lot of relationship problems, and me knowing my self-worth in every aspect of my life–from relationships and being a Black gay man.

     EVANS:  You wrote and produced each track?

     CRISEAN:  Yes, I wrote and produced every single track on “SA – EP,” as well as my upcoming “Opus: I.”  When you’re an independent artist, you do a lot of things on your own.

     EVANS:  I see.  So, how well was “Sound Approved—EP” received?

     CRISEAN:  It was great exposure!  And, it provided amazing opportunities to do things that I’ve always dreamed of, including preforming and getting press.

     EVANS:  Now, let’s delve into “Opus: I.”  What inspired you to record the album?  What was your muse?

     CRISEAN:  This album is a labor of love and forgiveness.  My muse was my life and what I’m going through. I’ve been through so much since the last project, and I have “war wounds” and heartbreak.  I’ve developed thicker skin and have grown.

     EVANS:  As with “Sound Approved—EP,” did you write and produce each track?

     CRISEAN:  Yes, I’ve written and produced each track. I even did some of my own mixing, and learning some techniques of engineering.

     EVANS:  Crisean, describe the album—what topics/issues are addressed?  In general, what emotions and feelings do the songs convey?  

     CRISEAN:  “Opus: I” explores the pain and heartbreak that I have gone through in the past couple of years–dealing with bad relationships, being on my own for the first time, and even having friendships fall apart. I’ve been inspired by what’s going on in the world and with people of color, where I stand as a gay Black male, my regrets, and forgiving myself and others for a lot of things.

     EVANS:  Crisean, I find your work to be romantic, innovative, clever, and bursting with energy! At times, it can be both playful and serious. And, it has that  “Prince-esque”, The Purple One vibe going on!  Is that pretty much an “on-point” assessment?  What qualities do you ascribe to your work?

     CRISEAN:  Why thank you, Wyatt! I will take that. That’s a compliment for the Gods (LOL)!  I have to write about serious issues because I have to get them off of my chest and not let my pain get bottled up. I also have to have fun and just live life. If you dwell on the bad, you can lose yourself or who you want to be.  And, I have to get on that stage and burn shit down!  (LOL)  

      EVANS:  Blow Speakers” and “Light a Match” are the new, just released tracks.  What are the meanings behind them?  What are they all about?

     CRISEAN:  “Blow Speakers” is just a fun song. I wanted something that I could just have fun with. It’s my first song that I didn’t have to think hard about. I just had fun making it. It’s becoming an anthem!  (LOL) My single friends love it because it’s liberating. It’s very much inspired and influenced by Baltimore club music.  Growing up, I loved club music.

     “Light a Match” is a pop/dance and EDM (electronic dance music) inspired song which makes you want to fall in love. It’s about my many nights going out to clubs and falling in love on the dance floor. Those relationships never amounted to shit for me, but were fun times.

     EVANS:  Describe, if you would, “The Crisean Brand.”   

     CRISEAN:  The Crisean Brand is composed of my talent.  Ever since I had the thought to want to become an entertainer, I have believed in myself.  Determined and hardworking, I have spent long hours on my craft–countless open mics, talent shows, etc.  I will keep persevering until there is nothing left in me; and then, I will have yet another go at it.

     EVANS:  What unique obstacles and struggles confront openly gay artists—in music, and in other fields of entertainment?

     CRISEAN:  I believe it’s the lack of support and visibility. People just can’t or don’t want to support us. Then it’s the lack of money: we don’t have the financial backing. So, it can be extremely difficult to have the chance to see if we can make it. Even though we’re living our lives and it’s very much real, we’re still an underground community.

     EVANS:  Crisean, what advice do you have for young people trying to break into the music business–particularly those who are LGBTQ?

     CRISEAN:  I will tell them the truth:  that there is no lane for us, and they will have to be a part of a bridge that is not yet finished.  It will take time, and it will be hard!  There are so many gay musicians and artists out there who are talented and driven, who inspire me each and every day.  I feel as gay people, we allow society to tell us what we can and cannot do.  Hopefully, I can reach such heights that young and old gay like can say, “It’s possible, because Crisean did it.”

     You can connect with and follow Crisean in the following ways:

The ONYX Man Cometh!

COME INTO MY DOMAIN.    

      On Thursday, March 23 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) returns to the awesome Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way!  This episode’s installment is entitled, “The ONYX Man Cometh,” with very special guest Mr. Khalid El-Bey!    

     A Full Brother of ONYX Mid-Atlantic and the Leatherman of Color 2016, Mr. El-Bey explains the inner workings of ONYX, chats about what being Leatherman of Color means to him, and describes his role as an activist.  As well, Khalid will clue us in on the numerous projects and events he has on tap for the year.      And who knows?   My UN-DE-NI-ABLY wild, raucous and nastee co-host might drop by:  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot… Drag Queen Supreme!  Mos’ def.

Wyatt's Man Cave

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!” 

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/ 

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/wyatts-man-cave-the-three-bs-big-bois-bears-and-body-image/?

Hot Tea and Ice 12

Who Do You Think You Arr?

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins

    Greetings, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for spring to officially arrive. I love the opportunity to bundle up with thick sweaters and strut my stuff in cute boots, but I’d much rather leave the house wearing a light jacket or long sleeves rather than worry about a bulky coat. But seasons come and seasons go. All we can do is carry on and look good in the process.

     For those who keep up with such things, March is recognized as Women’s History Month.  For 31 days, we aim to recognize those women who have made strides in so many different arenas, ranging from politics to business.  For example, you have Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.     

     Then there’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education, who at the age of 17 became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.  Ms. Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work against the suppression of children and young people, and her battle to help guarantee the right of education for all children.

     We honor Katherine Johnson, who helped send a man into space.  There’s Shonda Rhimes, who keeps us glued to our devices every Thursday. We celebrate our foremothers, our sister superstars and those who are up and coming. We pay tribute to those women who know who they are and what they are “working with”–and don’t shy away from letting others know who they are, what they have done, and can do.

     During Women’s History Month, we recognize those women who know the value of their achievements and didn’t shy away from being proud of their talents. As a woman who is not ashamed of admitting I Goggle myself to remind myself of all that I’ve achieved, I fully support being proud of the things that set you apart.

     As the saying goes, it’s not bragging if it’s true. If you have something to be proud of, celebrate it to the fullest!  Don’t hide your talent under a bush. Let your  little light shine.

    There’s no worth in doubting your value. Be vocal about all that makes you special and trumpet your talents. You are exceptional.   And while you may not have snatched up trophies on a national stage, you have conquered something.  Don’t  shy away from being proud of that achievement.

     My mother likes to tell the story of how she graduated top of her class in nursing school, but never really talked about it that much because she didn’t want to be seen as a show-off.  If I were able to work a full-time job, carry a full course load and still have time to catch Parliament Funkadelic shows whenever they came through D.C., I’d have no problem letting everyone know.

     If you don’t celebrate yourself, not one else will. Be proud and promote yourself.   I’m not endorsing purchasing a roadside billboard or a full page newspaper ad, but nothing is wrong with letting people know how and where your skill sets “soar.”

     If you know something about a topic, don’t be afraid to speak up and share your experience. Get involved in projects where your experience can be an asset. Trust that your achievements are worthy of being known, and that you’re the best person to make sure everyone knows how much of a superstar you are.

     For so long, the notion of being proud and sharing your achievements was looked down upon as being unseemly. Put But now more than ever, it’s important to let others know how you manage to excel because it serves as example that it can be done.   Put your pluses out there, and prove that success is possible.

     While March is Women’s History Month, seize the remaining days to celebrate and share your own points of pride. Who knows:  maybe your accomplishments will earn you a spot during an upcoming history month run-down!

     Until next time, Adios, au revoir, and I “holler.”


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is a co-founder and currently serves as the chair of Shades of Pride (SOP), a LGBTQ organization that hosts a yearly event in the Triangle area. SOP’s mission is to create opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ communities. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, www.latoyahankins.com; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins; and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

The “Undetectability” Of It All

     For years, I’ve been reporting and writing about HIV/AIDS.  When I’ve asked individuals the question, “Would you be sexually intimate with someone who’s undetectable?,”  I’ve gotten some rather blunt and curt responses.   Here are three:

    “Uh-uh.”

    “But doesn’t pre-cum contain the virus?”

    “Nah…I’ll think I’ll pass!” 

    However, the 44-member AIDS United Public Policy Committee—the largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations–strenuously begs to differ.  According to AIDS United, its Public Policy Committee very recently has “strongly affirmed the conclusive evidence proving that people living with HIV who have achieved a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners.  This evidence-based declaration reinforces AIDS United’s programmatic, policy and advocacy work to expand access to antiretroviral medications to all people living with HIV.”

     Before we go any further, let’s clearly and completely understand what it really means to be “undetectable.”   First, it doesn’t mean that the HIV-positive person is cured.  However, it does mean that antiretroviral treatment is being effective, and that the amount of HIV in the blood is so low that even the best available tests don’t detect it.

     To have an undetectable viral load means there are fewer than 20 copies of the virus in one milliliter of blood.  Typically, the tests of those who have just been diagnosed and not having undergone treatment show millions of copies in the exact same sample size.

     Therefore, on March 6, the AIDS United Public Policy Committee released the following statement:  “Substantial evidence strongly demonstrates that a person living with HIV who has a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV to another person.  Continued analysis of large-scale clinical trials has shown zero cases of HIV sexual transmission.  This expands on prior data that the risk of HIV transmission from a person living with HIV who is on antiretroviral therapy and has achieved an undetectable viral load (viral suppression) in their blood for at least 6 months is negligible to non-existent.”

     AIDS United concurs with the stance of the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC), which is “People living with HIV on ART (antiretroviral therapy) with an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible risk of sexual transmission of HIV.”  PAC “is a multi-agency health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by expanding access to HIV prevention, and empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information.”

     The AIDS United Public Policy Committee added, “Too many people living with HIV are not getting the message of this benefit of treatment and sustained viral suppression from their clinical providers or the HIV education and advocacy community.  Understanding that maintaining viral suppression through successful antiretroviral therapy not only maintains health but also prevents transmission can encourage people living with HIV to initiate and adhere to treatment regimens and may help reduce HIV-related stigma.  We acknowledge, however, that social and structural barriers exist that prevent some people living with HIV from achieving viral suppression.”

     Sadly, antiquated U.S. HIV laws and policies simply do not reflect the up-to-date science regarding HIV transmission risks.  “Scientific evidence about the reality of transmission risk based in this data about viral suppression and transmission risk has already had an impact on HIV criminalization statutes and prosecutions in Europe,” according to AIDS United.

     The organization, therefore, makes two critical recommendations:

  • That providers and educators consistently share the message that new evidence demonstrates that a person living with HIV who has a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV to another person.
  • That HIV criminal laws and policies in the United States be modernized to reflect the science related to viral suppression and HIV transmission risk.

    Jesse Milan, Jr., AIDS United president and CEO, termed the transmission evidence “a landmark development” that too few of us are hearing about.  “This development puts each one of us living with HIV at the forefront of stopping new infections,” stated Milan, Jr.  “It gives everyone strong, clear and direct language to stop the stigma and move all communities faster towards ending the epidemic.”

Mark’s Surreality 2

“The Greatest Love Affair of All”

 Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes     

       Picture, if you will, a young, Black man on a personal journey during the chaos known as New Orleans at Mardi Gras. He ends up in an establishment on Bourbon Street where the music is just as lively as the gyrating bodies keeping up with its heavy bass and melodic beats. In the middle of this vivacious crowd stands two older Black men, gay and deeply in love, dancing with each other passionately.

     The young Black man was mesmerized by this striking scene.  He realized that not only were these two lovers thoroughly enjoying themselves–apparently without a care in the world–but that also, the crowd around them seemed to feel the same way.

      There weren’t any stares of disgust. No forms of childish finger-pointing or giggling. Just harmonizing love.

      Peaceful, harmonizing love.

     And they did not care.  THEY did nocare

     This wrecking ball of a revelation crashed into something deeply personal for that young Black man.  That wrecking ball was always aimed at the fortress surrounding his mind and soul, but was never successful of breaking through—regardless of the person or literature delivering the message.

     “They” did not care.  Nobody cares, Mark.

      As the young Black man watched this beautiful Black couple enjoy their life– their unconditional love serving as a beacon of hope–one of the lovers spotted him, possibly feeling the young Black man’s intense gaze upon him and his mate. The older Black gentleman matched his younger counterpart’s gaze of interest and awe; but instead of annoyance, there was an instant connection between the two.

     Maybe it was the sense of wonder emanating from the young Black man who encouraged the older gentleman to hold his gaze with this arresting person. Or maybe it was the freshly purchased rainbow pride flag clutched proudly in the younger man’s hand, its bright and bold colors reflecting the revelatory awakening spirit generating their connection at that very moment. Whatever the case, that moment was purely magical on so many levels; tear-inducing, almost.

      The older gentleman, still dancing seductively with his lover, gradually made his way to the young Black man holding the rainbow pride flag; surprisingly, their gaze never faltered! As the couple made their way off the dance floor, the older gentleman walked towards the young Black man with whom he’d just shared a temporary connection.  Then, he pounded fists with his new comrade, a knowing smile enveloping his face.

     The mutual gesture might seem menial to most people; but at that very instant, that fist pound served as the final strike against the blockage within that young man’s mind. Life began to seep through the cracks of his steely resolve until it couldn’t withstand the restless pressure, finally giving in to the weight of a long-awaited breath that was impossible to hold any longer.

     The young Black man became fluid in his surroundings.  The fear that had haunted him for most of his 30 years of existence evaporated into the hazy smoke and sultry environment of that New Orleans club’s atmosphere.  

     And at that moment, the young Black man – excuse me, I – started to really LIVE!

     That fist pound was like an electrical charge, a skeleton key, an inheritance of sorts to a life worth living!  It released me.  It demanded me to live in the moment– and to live for myself. 

     Yes, that message was drilled into my head since before college, but it was always a mirage of sorts when it came time for me to put the sound advice into play.

     I never believed it.  Not until that night!  That’s when I really felt it. The brick to the face divulgence felt supernatural, as if that specific fixed moment in time was supposed to happen. As if that mesmerizing beautiful couple were Angels manifested to properly deliver the message that was constantly getting returned to Sender. My God!  I’d never felt so emotionally free before in my entire life–and actually believed it.

     It’s incredible how something so small and innocent can change someone’s life around in one given, random moment. I hope that I will do the same for someone else one day; but until then, I will continue loving me.  I will continue building me. I will continue being me.

    Falling in love with yourself is the greatest love affair of all.  Everything else just comes naturally afterwards.


Mark O. Estes is a writer, editor, columnist and librarian, who earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  Mr. Estes is a writer and editor for both The Big Boy Project and The Male Media Mind, dynamic and cutting edge infotainment sites that are specifically designed for larger men—and those who have an affinity for them.  Also, Mark is penning his debut novel.  You may reach Mark at buildingmysteries.wordpress.com; Twitter, @theanticritic; Instagram, markoestes.

The Surreality & The 3B’s

COME INTO MY DOMAIN. 

     On Thursday, March 9 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) returns to the awesome Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way!  This episode’s special guest is columnist and writer Mr.  Mark O. Estes!  His column–right here on Wyattevans.com–is entitled,“Mark’s Surreality.”

     Mr. Estes will weigh in on the topic of this installment of WMC:  the “Three B’s: Big Bois, Bears and Body Image!  He’ll explain exactly what Big Boi/Bear Culture is all about–and means to him.  Next, Mark and I will tackle body image, an issue that bedevils and haunts far too many gay/SGL men!  And then, Mark will chat about the multiple projects he’s involved in.  

     WARNING!  My UN-DE-NI-ABLY wild, raucous and nastee co-host will drop  by:  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot… Drag Queen Supreme!  Mos’ def.

Wyatt's Man Cave

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!”

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/  

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/why-porn-part-two-wyatts-man-cave/

 

Balancing My Virtues and Vices

“The Virtues of Communication” 

Guest Writer:  Ja’Won T. Blackmon 

     After pondering my experiences as part of the LGBTQ community, I’ve learned so many things about myself, and the friends and acquaintances whom I have crossed paths with along the way. The variety and multitude of issues, facts and opinions are always interesting to listen–and respond to, as well.

    Whether it be relationships, acceptance, families and friends, money, professionalism–or just our culture in general–it’s never a dull moment!  And, it  allows me to see things for what they truly are—albeit contradictory or brutally honest. Therefore, after introducing myself, I figured I’d explore a continuing hot-button issue in our community:  how we as LGBTQ individuals communicate with one another. 

    But first:  just who is Ja’Won T. Blackmon?  Born in Belle Glade, Florida, I’m a Polymath Renaissance Man.  You may ask, “Exactly what is that?”  It means that while I have a pretty substantial base of knowledge, I’m continuing to learn, and acquire other talents.  I’m also part of the Big Boi Community (bears/big boys of color–and those who have an affinity for them).

    I’ve had a number of careers, including IT.  Currently, I’m social media specialist and peer counselor for STAND (Standing To Achieve New Directions), Inc., a non-profit organization.  STAND provides comprehensive solutions and evidence-based interventions to underserved individuals dealing with HIV, mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence and re-entry.   

     My passion is strongly rooted in helping people, particularly in the arenas of technology, teaching and mediating.  Twice, I discovered my talent for helping others. When I was a teacher’s aide in the eighth grade, I was given the opportunity to teach a sixth grade class for an entire year. The second time was when I saved a high school freshman from bullying, domestic violence and suicide.

     These experiences have given my life more meaning and purpose.  As a result, I felt that I wasn’t alone in this world with the conflicts that plagued it.  I realized that I, too, could make a difference.

     Now, let’s delve into how we communicate with one another–particularly in  dating and sex situations.  Do we consistently portray who we actually are?  Do we always openly and honestly convey what we’re really looking for and what we really want?     

     One’s true intention is a crucial component of open, honest and effective communication.  For example, have you ever had an exchange on a social media platform, and the individual says, “Hey,” “‘Sup,” or “Hi”; he follows up with vague and predictable questions regarding physical stats, along with arbitrary phrases (“Cool.” “Okay.”  “That’s what’s up!”)

     Then, he’s sometimes bold enough to take the “conversation” to the sexual realm with no type of substance or direction towards the actual motive.  Next, the conversation seems to “hit the corner of two main roads,” meaning that the conversation reaches a destination or point by avoiding the proper path of execution.  Picture it like this:  a driver can mess up the flow of traffic by purposely driving on the curve, causing bumps and damage to the vehicle, himself,  passenger(s), other drivers and pedestrians.

     Here’s another:  how about when someone tries to hide his true intentions, only to reveal those very intentions at the most annoying times?  What about the unwanted and unwarranted picture or video link that person sent that makes you question their existence?   What about those nude photos people post and send practically everywhere?  (Now, that can be quite risky:  do you know how folks will use them?)  And, what about the inexplicable dead air on a phone or video call?

     It’s my opinion that more than a few men need to seriously consider changing their behaviors. First and foremost, we need to be honest with ourselves before approaching and/or engaging with someone. Then, it’s imperative to be forthcoming and transparent.  There’s no need for hidden motives! (That’s for super villains.)  Besides, that’s such a waste of valuable time.

     In my humble opinion, the direct approach is always best. Say what you mean and mean what you say.  

     I find it quite interesting that one can work hard at communicating effectively on the job, but then struggle (or not) to put in the required effort when getting to know someone in social—and particularly intimate—situations.  Successful communication is absolutely crucial: be it in the work place, in familial and friendship relationships, in the process of getting to know one another romantically—or just for that booty call

     Here’s the bottom line:  we need to make our intentions crystal clear–and consistently.  If you’re hitting me up on a “dating” app, be clear whether you’re looking for a real date—or just sex. Remember the old adage, “Honesty is the best policy?”  Well, it actually is!  It cuts out confusion, and safeguards against hurt feelings.

     Open, honest and effective communication are sorely needed in our community. And, let’s not forget to include integrity and respect.  In other words, let’s get it right!

     And “back on point.”

     Until next time ….


Ja’Won T. Blackmon is arguably the quintessential “Polymath Renaissance Man.”  He’s had a number of diverse careers, including internet technology (IT).  Currently, Ja’Won is Social Media Specialist and Peer Counselor for STAND (Standing To Achieve New Directions), Inc., a non-profit organization.  STAND provides comprehensive solutions and evidence-based interventions to underserved individuals dealing with HIV, mental health issues, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence and re-entry.  Ja’Won is in the process of writing his first novel.  You may follow Ja’Won at his on line home, Jtbchronicles.wordpress.com, and on Facebook.

CALIENTE! Time with Tancredo Buff

COME INTO MY DOMAIN. 

     On Thursday, February 23 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) returns to the awesome Mixcloud in one helluva H-U-G-E way! This episode’s special guest is the sizzlin’ adult performer, Mr. Tancredo Buff!

     Mr. Buff will explain why—as a Man of a Certain Age—he decided to make porn a profession.  He will discuss the pros and cons of being in the industry– including discrimination and racism. 

     And guess what?  Tancredo will gives us his tips on how we can keep our sex lives red-hot!  It’s gonna be like…Freakin’ Caliente!!!

     WARNING!  My UN-DE-NI-ABLY wild, raucous and nastee co-host will drop  by:  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot… Drag Queen Supreme!  Mos’ def.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!”

     And, my UN-DE-NI-AB-LY wild and raucous co-host will be dropping by:  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot…Drag Queen Supreme!

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  http://www.mixcloud.com/lesberealradiotalk/    

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click:   https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/love-both-ways-by-dr-martin-luther-patrick-wyatts-man-cave/?

Wyatt Evans

The Douglas Coleman Show’s Got The “FRENZY!”

        Yo!   The “FRENZY!-fication” keeps rollin’ on…and on!!!    

     Just recently, I was the special guest on the internationally syndicated The Douglas Coleman Show!  Thousands of listeners tune in to each eppy of this insanely popular and well-regarded program. 

     Douglas and I chatted about the impetus behind writing “FRENZY!’, my journey as an author… as well as societal issues and the current events of the day!  It was fresh, provocative and revealing TALK! 

     So, to “git all FRENZY!-fied,” click on the link to the uncut show: 

https://www.spreaker.com/user/douglascoleman/the-douglas-coleman-show-w-wyatt-obrian-

Teens & IPV/A

     Recently, I was contacted by Ms. Katie Fitzpatrick, features editor of the  Torch, the official site of the Glenbrook North High School student-run newspaper, located in Northbrook, Illinois.  Ms. Fitzpatrick had read my Advocate Op-Ed entitled, “Making a Great Escape from an Abusive Relationship,” and wanted to interview me for an article she was co-writing on teens in abusive relationships.  (To read that Advocate Op-Ed, visit: wyattevans.com/making-a-great-escape-from-an-abusive-relationship/)  I was most happy to oblige.

     Sadly, Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) and Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) are on the rise in both the LGBTQ and heterosexual communities.  According to Fatima Smith, assistant director of sexual and intimate partner violence, stalking and advocacy services at Virginia Commonwealth University (whom Fitzpatrick also interviewed), “relationship abuse is ‘abusive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship’.”

     And Jeff Temple, director of behavioral health and research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (also interviewed), stated, “’Relationship abuse affects both adults and teenagers.  About 10 percent of high school kids nationwide experience physical (relationship) violence with many more victimized by psychological abuse’.”

     Temple added, “’Because teens may have less experience with relationships, they can have difficulty recognizing relationship abuse, especially psychological or emotional abuse’.”

     To read the complete Torch article, visit:  http://torch.glenbrook225.org/in-the-middle/2017/02/03/recognizing-relationship-abuse/

THE “FRENZY!” TOUR KEEPS ROLLIN’ ON!

     Exciting News!  On Sunday, February 12, 6 p.m., I’ll be the featured speaker at the Baltimore Chapter of Prime Timers Worldwide.  This special event will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, on St. Paul & 20th Streets, and is free and open to the public.

     I’ll perform excerpts from my new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  And, I’ll conduct a discussion on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), the overarching theme of “FRENZY!”

     Prime Timers Worldwide “is a social and educational organization that provides older gay and bisexual men the opportunity to enrich their lives.”  As well, it is open to younger men who desire to socially interact with mature men.  And, the organization “is emerging as a leading force in the gay and bisexual communities.”  Prime Timers has many chapters throughout North America and Australia.

     Mr. Steve Charing, reporter/writer, has written a piece on this event for the Washington Blade.  Visit:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2017/02/01/prime-timers-discuss-domestic-violence/

     I’ll be signing copies of “FRENZY!” at this special event, which you simply don’t wanna miss! 

    To get the 411 on “FRENZY!”, visit:  wyattevans.com/nothing-can-tear-us-apart-frenzy-book/

    See you there!

MLP’s In the Man Cave!

COME INTO MY DOMAIN. 

     On Thursday, February 9 @5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) is back on the awesome Mixcloud!  This episode’s special guest is British scholar, playwright and author Dr. Martin Luther Patrick!

      Dr. Patrick will give us the lowdown on “Love Both Ways,” his just-released novel.  Poignant and riveting, “Love Both Ways” is full of masculine romance that will grab ya, as well as rich drama and characterization.  It’s a must-read! 

     Also, Martin will weigh in on the topic of this installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave: Masculine Romance.  He’ll answer the following questions: “Is real romance ‘dead’ for us gay/SGL men?  Are we just resigned to booty calls and hookups? Is intergenerational dating your ‘cup of tea’—why or why not?”  And, we’ll get his take on Black Brit gay/SGL men vs. their American counterparts in regards to dating and relationships.  Y’all, it’s gonna be “HAWT up in here” on Thursday!

      Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues.  It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “oh so on Tha Real!”

     And, my UN-DE-NIAB-LY wild and raucous co-host will be dropping by, servin’ up her two cents (actually, more!):  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot…Drag Queen Supreme!

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is EARGASM for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe.  To get yours, visit:  www.mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/

     Wanna hear the previous episode of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

Honey, Let Me Tell You Something! 14

“The Power of Prayer”

Guest Writer: R. L. Norman  

  1. I pray that the doctors find out what illness my friend has, and cures him.
  2. I pray that my cousin graduates high school, continues on to college, and stops hanging with the wrong crowd–before he ends up in jail.
  3. I pray that my fifth novel, “Honey Hush, Don’t Ask and I Won’t Tell” (the next installment of my “Honey Let Me Tell You” book series), finally is released because it’s a year overdue.
  4. I pray that my most impoverished relative and friend both be bestowed with many blessings in 2016.

     You see, this list has been in a sealed envelope in my bible since January 1, 2016.

     So, on New Year’s Day 2017, I sat in a comfortable chair in my den. It’s that place in my home where I can relax and be at one with my thoughts. It’s  where I can think about the past, present and future. It’s that one area where I feel a sense of inner peace, and feel closer to God.

     It’s my inner sanctum.

     My understated, cozy den has a large shelf that spans the length of one wall, and is filled with all types of books–including my series of novels.       As the shadows from the fireplace illuminated the room and emanated a sense of calm, I reminisced about the past year.

     I thought about all the things that I had hoped to accomplish:  acquiring a new job and home, earning more money, writing another book–just so many things that I wanted to do.

     Every year we have hopes, dreams and goals for what we want to do in the coming year. We ponder those things that will make our lives better. Every year we make resolutions.

     And then at the end of the year, we sit around and think about what we have actually accomplished, and ruminated about the things we want to do in the next year. 

     We think about getting a new job.  Losing or gaining weight.  Changing our lifestyle, or entering into a relationship.

     We think about what we hope and wish for, and then we set out to accomplish those goals.

     But what do most of us end up doing? 

     For the first month or so, we do the best we can to meet our goals. We think about it, put our efforts into it–and strive to achieve it. We instill the thought of achievement in our minds and go for it.

     We try doing this practically every day until slowly but surely, the thrill is gone. The urge of achieving our goals eventually subsides. Then we forget about it until the next year, when the cycle of making and keeping New Year’s resolutions starts all over again.

     For example, a friend of mine wanted to get into a new relationship so he went on date after date after date. But that didn’t last long.  I suppose that he tired of the “calls answering for the booty.”

     Another friend wanted to lose weight, so every morning he went to the gym and worked out. That lasted for a little over a month. Then he went back to sitting in front of his TV. I guess he missed the feel of his butt print on his comfortable couch! (LOL.)

R.L. Norman     And then, there’s me. One of the things I wanted to do in the New Year was to try to eat right, and become a vegetarian.   But because I missed eating meat, that lasted about two days! (Hmmmmm…LOL!)

     But keep in mind that with all our efforts, if we don’t succeed in meeting our goals, we are not failures. Our intentions are good.

     And for a while, I was one of those people. But for the last several years, I’ve changed my ways.

     Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I make a prayer wish list to my God.

     I compose a list of ten things that I want to happen in the coming year. Five things are for me, and five are for family and friends. Then I seal the envelope, get on my knees and say a prayer to God for these blessings to come true. Then I put it in my bible and leave it there until the next New Year’s Day.

     And on that day, I sit in my comfortable chair, open that envelope, and read the list to see which wishes have been answered.

     Keep in mind that I don’t do this as a test of God’s ability to answer my prayers; instead, it’s an alternative to making resolutions.  Simply, it’s my special prayer list to my God. The power of prayer is wonderful because:

  1. The doctors did find out that my friend has curable cancer. His health is improving by leaps and bounds.   
  2. My cousin did graduate high school. Currently, he’s enrolled in Tuskegee University,with an internship job in electrical engineering.
  3. My fifth book was published, and is doing quite well in sales.
  4. And the biggest miracle was that a friend who’d lost pretty much everything:his money, job and possessions due to identity fraud, is now in a new home and a great job.

     You see, I approach the New Year with encouragement and faith in

myself, others–and especially God.   

     The lesson?  To live day-by-day doing the best we can to be the best we can be.

     And the power of prayer does work!  Prayer is a wonderful thing, but only if we have the faith to believe that we will achieve and succeed.


R. L. Norman is a writer, performer and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.” The fourth and latest installment is “Love Is Complicated.”  The sequel will be available soon.  As well, he performs“Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series. R. L. also is writing a play based on “Honey Let Me Tell You.”  All of these endeavors are part of the production company he’s forming.  You may reach R. L. at his on line home, www.rlnorman1.wix.com/honeyletmetellyou; by email at: rl.norman@aol.com; on Facebook at RL NORMAN; on Twitter, @rl_norman; and on Instagram:rlnorman1.

Love Both Ways

      “Two families.  Two cultures.  One love.” 

     That’s the driving force and the heart of “Love Both Ways,” the meaty and riveting new novel from Dr. Martin Luther Patrick, whose storied literary career spans decades.  A novelist, playwright, and former university professor of film, drama, and cultural studies, he has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology.

     Patrick (his parents are Jamaican) was born and grew up in London, England.  Currently residing in the Borough of Hackney, he began his literary journey when he was 18.  In 1985, he entered London’s Channel 4 Television script competition, placing second.

     Three years later, The London Theatre Coop named Patrick “Best New Young Playwright.”  As well, he’s has won other prestigious awards as a playwright.

     In 2012, Strategic Books published Patrick’s debut novel, “JJ’s Isolation.”   Subsequently, he established Great New Writers Ltd, his teaching and tutoring  enterprise.  Its mission is to support aspiring LGBT, Black, Asian and Hispanic writers.  

     Now, Austin Macauley Publishers LTD has just released the prolific Patrick’s brand new novel, “Love Both Ways.”   This prestigious publishing house is headquartered in London and New York. 

     So, what’s “Love Both Ways” all about?  First, the smart and clever title truly encapsulates the tome’s essence.  It’s rather intriguing and affecting synopsis is as follows:

     “At fifty, Michael thought his life was over.  In his mid-thirties, David wanted his life to begin.  After these fathers divorce, they meet at a support group and fall spiritually and passionately in love.  Their romance forces them to fight for the love of their children and battle against bigots who refuse to understand their lives as Italian and Black British fathers who love both ways.”

     Patrick has created an amazing literary work.  What delights me to no end is that he’s a meticulous, insightful and soulful writer. 

     “Love Both Ways” is chock full of rich characterization.  That idiom, “a fly on the wall,” describes just how the reader feels.  And, Dr. Patrick is more than up to the task of keeping the reader engaged. Delightfully so.

    “I think all writers should know their craft and write beyond life in their immediate area,” states Patrick. “America isn’t the center of the world. I’d like to read more of a world view or a universal perspective that reaches a greater readership.”  This is invaluable advice for authors—both established and aspiring.

     “Love Both Ways” is a celebration of masculine romance.  It’s thought-provoking, and readily accessible.  And, Martin Luther Patrick is a vibrant and compelling literary voice–destined to be heard throughout the world.

     On Thursday, February 9th, I’ll have the distinct pleasure of having Martin as my

very special guest on Wyatt’s Man Cave, one of his first radio appearances as part of his “Love Both Ways” tour.  Details are forthcoming. 

     To learn more about this talented novelist, click on the links to the Huffington Post Queer Voices articles I’ve written about him:

     http://wyattevans.com/a-sublime-gem-across-the-pond-part-one/

     http://wyattevans.com/a-sublime-gem-across-the-pond-part-two/

     Why not find out how you can “Love Both Ways.”

Black & Blue (Is That You?)

     Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPV/A, is no joke.  Known as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community, IPV/A is a demoralizing, stigmatizing and potentially life-threatening cycle of behavior. 

     And IPV/A is more prevalent than once was believed: one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships is abusive in some way.  A recently-released study bears this out.  Soon, I’ll discuss the disturbing results of this landmark research.  

     As a journalist, I’ve made Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse my signature issue, and conduct national IPV/A seminars and workshops.  Just recently, I shared my own experience in a column I penned for The Advocate.  Visit:  wyattevans.com/making-a-great-escape-from-an-abusive-relationship/

     Before we go further, let’s examine exactly what Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse is…and means.  According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, it is “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      Each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay/SGL men are battered.  Again, IPV/A is no joke.

     According to psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:  to gain and maintain total control over you.  Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’  Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.  The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable.  You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.”

     Stigma is largely responsible for keeping this destructive behavior “swept under the rug,” which leads to it being dramatically underreported. Therefore, figuratively, this keeps us (locked) in the closet.  Stigma is the albatross around your neck, choking the hell outta ya. 

     Now, to the study.  Entitled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2015,” and released by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), it examines the experiences of 1,976 IPV/A survivors in 14 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Vermont).  This new report is the 2016 release edition.  NCAVP “works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), and HIV-affected communities.”

     According to the organization, the study “looks at the unique ways that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people experience IPV, as well as the barriers they experience when attempting to access care and support.”   The following is the report overview:

  • People of color (POC) comprised 77% of the reports of LGBTQ and HIV-affected IPV homicides, and 54% of the total number of survivors who reported to NCAVP members in 2015.
  • Transgender women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual and financial violence.
  • LGBTQ survivors with disabilities were two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner and four times more likely to experience financial violence.
  • There was an increase in the percentage of undocumented survivors from 4% in 2014 to 9% in 2015.
  • Forty-four percent of survivors attempting to access emergency shelter were denied and 71% reported being denied because of their gender identity.
  • Out of the total number of survivors who interacted with law enforcement, 25% said that the police were either indifferent or hostile, and31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest.

     These findings demonstrate that it is critical to consider the multiple identities and experiences of LGBTQ victims and survivors because they substantially impact their incidences of IPV/A.  “The bias and discrimination that these communities experience everywhere, from workplaces to shelters, both makes them more vulnerable to IPV and creates unique barriers to accessing services,” the report states.  “For example, we know that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people often experience workplace discrimination, making them less financially secure. Abusive partners often take advantage of financial insecurity to control their partners, as seen in the high number of survivors experiencing financial violence.”

     The new report includes survivor stories that illustrate some of the complicated, nuanced and intersectional ways LGBTQ individuals experience IPV/A.  “’We must start listening to the experiences of LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ undocumented people, LGBTQ people with disabilities, and transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to learn more about what these communities need to feel safe’,” stated Tre’Andre Valentine from The Network/La Red.  Some time ago, I featured this organization (located in Boston, MA) in the Huffington Post Queer Voices. 

     “’We must protect, uplift, and center those within LGBTQ communities who have been traditionally isolated and shamed for their identities and experiences’,” added Valentine.  “’It’s only with their voices at the center that we can truly begin the work of ending intimate partner violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people across the country’.”

     Now, major highlights from the report:

  • LGBTQ People Experience IPV/A in Different Ways. “This year’s report found that transgender women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual violence and financial violence compared to survivors who were not transgender women within IPV.  Additionally, the report found that LGBTQ survivors with disabilities were two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner and four times more likely to experience financial violence when compared to LGBTQ survivors without disabilities.  This year there was an increase in the percentage of undocumented survivors from 4% in 2014 to 9% in 2015.  ’It’s vital that we understand the unique vulnerabilities to IPV and the unique barriers to accessing services for LGBTQ communities, particular LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ people who are undocumented, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and LGBTQ people with disabilities’, said Julia Berberan from SafeSpace at Pride Center Vermont. ‘We need to make sure we’re reaching all survivors and supporting their specific needs in a survivor-centered way’.”
  • LGBTQ survivors often experience discrimination when trying to access IPV services. “NCAVP’s 2015 report found that about 27% of LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors attempted to access emergency shelters.  Of those survivors who attempted to access emergency shelter, 44% were denied, with 71% reporting being denied for reasons relating to gender identity, highlighting the negative consequences of sex-segregated emergency shelter options for LGBTQ survivors. ‘Shelter access issues most often impact transgender survivors—particularly transgender women—and cisgender men, who are often denied shelter at historically sex-segregated shelters that only serve cisgender women’, said Lynne Sprague from Survivors Organizing for Liberation in Colorado.  ‘Survivor-centered and identity-affirming housing options must be made available to all survivors’.”
  • LGBTQ IPV survivors experience violence and criminalization from the police. “Similar to previous NCAVP reports on IPV, LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors reported experiencing misarrest, verbal harassment, and other hostile behaviors when interacting with law enforcement.  Out of the total number of survivors who interacted with law enforcement, 25% said that the police were either indifferent or hostile.  In 2015, 31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest, meaning the survivor was arrested rather than the abusive partner, up from 17% in 2014.  ’Negative and violent experiences with law enforcement where survivors are revictimized are exacerbated with LGBTQ survivors of color, LGBTQ survivors with disabilities, undocumented survivors and other communities that hold multiple marginalized identities which are frequently subjected to violence by police’, said Aaron Eckhardt from BRAVO in Ohio.  ‘Police must be trained to recognize signs of IPV in LGBTQ relationships.  Moreover, we must also seek and create alternatives to the criminal legal system, especially for the safety of those whose identities are already criminalized in our society’.”
  • IPV can be deadly for LGBTQ people. NCAVP documented 13 IPV homicides in 2015.  “’We know that this number does not accurately represent the total number of IPV related homicides of LGBTQ people in the U.S.’, said Beverly Tilery from the New York City Anti-Violence Project.  ‘The lack of awareness and visibility in the media of LGBTQ victims of IPV contributes to this issue being ignored as a national problem.  Transgender victims are frequently misgendered and misnamed in media reports, and the intimate partner relationships of same gender couples are often reduced to friendships in media accounts of these homicides.  This needs to change’.” 

     There is a bright spot, however.   The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for LGBTQ survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  The new report highlights the fact that currently, there are available resources for LGBTQ survivors of IPV/A.  “In 2013, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) created the first federal legislation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  ‘VAWA-funded services like emergency shelter, crisis counseling, and attorneys are essential to helping survivors of IPV regain security’, said Justin Shaw from the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, in Missouri.”

     As I state in my national seminars and workshops, the most potent and deadliest weapon the abuser has in his/her arsenal is silence.  To make your Great Escape, you must snatch that weapon away from your abuser—and then shatter it into a million pieces!  Let the reverberating sound liberate you.

 

     To download the full NCAVP report, visit:  http://avp.org/about-avp/national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, visit my special section complete with resources and more:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/  And, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).

Hot Tea and Ice 11

Who Do You Think You Are?

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins

     Greetings and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  I send well wishes, and hope that 2017 has been filled with good things. We are not going to talk about what happened in D.C. on the third Friday of this month. It is enough to say we should not focus on being discouraged. Instead, we need to commit ourselves to being active, and refuse to let anyone ignore or minimize our value and contributions to this country.

     Within this climate of wanting to minimize the diversity that strengthens our community, I want to step forward and represent myself fully. I am a Black-Southern-Virgo-East Carolina University graduate-only child-pet owner-lesbian. That’s just for starters! With enough time I could list even more hyphenated identified groups of which I’m proud to belong.

     Depending on the setting, one hyphen might take center stage more than the others. For those who follow social media, J16 saw a lot of doves flying, and blue and white profiling in recognition of my sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, Inc., celebrating its ninety-seventh Founders’ Day. There wereabundances of graphics incorporating our national symbol–the white dove–soaring around.   

     If you read my books, you know I own being born and reared in the land of sweet tea and “Bless Her Hearts,” known as the South.  I’m proud of all the facets of my identity. While I may not celebrate them all the time, I have no problems claiming them.

     Our distinctive hyphens make us exceptional. We should never diminish our shine in order to make someone else feels comfortable. You should claim all your methods of belonging and identifying because it celebrates that you accept all that you are, and never just one thing. Those of us with hyphenated identities are mosaic masterpieces. The sum of the pieces makes a one-of-a-kind work of art.

     Far be it for me to make the process of walking boldly when others want you to fragment your identity seem easy, for it is not. For a lot of us, it’s easier to not claim our space as a woman, person of color, same-gender-loving individual, and immigrant in order to assimilate. However, when you remove a piece of your puzzle or try to rework your edges, it feels unnatural and ends up being unnecessary.

     Now more than ever, it is important that we wear our hyphens boldly. We cannot fade away or leave a piece of us behind on the nightstand or in the car when we venture into the world. Representing to the fullest is a mandate we need to follow through on every chance we get. Others are watching, and when they see us showing up in all our fullest, they have two choices. Get with the program and allow our brilliance to flourish, or get back.

     Maybe your hyphens are immigrant-Muslim-historically Black university graduate-single mother-Pisces or same-gender-loving-Trinidadian-bearded-Floridian-divorced-veteran. So many combinations contribute to the achievement that is us. We all have different hyphens; and depending on the situation, the order changes. The key is to never be ashamed of any of them.

     Claiming your hyphens and brightly beaming all the facets of your personality like a diamond are powerful. We need to claim that, and walk boldly and dare someone not to salute our greatness.

     So, as we move forward into a new year with new leadership (which may not be your choice), realize that within all parts of your identity is the tool to endure and inspire. Draw upon those hyphens, and force those who want to doubt your validity to see that you are too fabulous and fulfilled to be denied. While some may see hyphens as strikes, they instead can be seen as building blocks to help you soar and get over the hurdle.

     Until next time, Adios, au revoir, and I “holler.”


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.  Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department.  Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science. 

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N.C. graduate chapter. As well, she is a co-founder and currently serves as the chair of Shades of Pride (SOP), a LGBTQ organization that hosts a yearly event in the Triangle area. SOP’s mission is to create opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ communities. 

You may reach LaToya at her on line home, www.latoyahankins.com; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins; and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

He’s Slyer than a Fox!

COME INTO MY DOMAIN. 

     Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC) is back, with special guest Buster Sly–the iconic adult entertainment performer!  Here’s the link to the show:

https://m.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/why-porn-buster-sly-enters-wyatts-man-cave/

     “The Prince of Pleasure” and I tackle why porn can be such an important part of the lives of many gay/SGL men, its impact on those in committed relationships…and more!  Also, Mr. Sly discusses his journey into porn, and gives us tips on how to keep our sex lives red-hot! 

     Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues. It’s uncut and uncensored.  In other words, The WMC is Provocative, Raw and “so on Tha Real!”

     And, my UN-DE-NIAB-LY wild and raucous co-host will be dropping by:  Ms. Caroleena Devereaux Cumshot…Drag Queen Supreme!

      Wyatt’s Man Cave is produced by the dynamic, highly respected and constantly on the move LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.”  And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households!  Truly amazing.

     Wyatt’s Man Cave is eargasm for the Grown Folk!  Trust and Believe. 

     Wanna hear the previous installment of Wyatt’s Man Cave?  Click: 

https://www.mixcloud.com/LesbeRealRadioTalk/put-the-fi-yah-back-into-your-relationship-wyatts-man-cave/

The Hollis Chapman Show Has The “FRENZY!”

     I’m dang excited…and I just can’t hide it!

     On Thursday, January 26 @ Noon EST/ 10 AM MT, I have the good fortune of being the very special guest on The Hollis Chapman Show! 

     Nationally syndicated, The Hollis Chapman Show is cutting-edge and insightful radio–with thousands of faithful listeners each month!  The program features entertainers and diverse professionals. 

     Hollis and I will discuss my journey as an openly gay/SGL man, my impetus behind writing “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”…and so much MORE!  It’s one show you don’t wanna miss!

     So, join us on Thursday at:  www.blogtalkradio.com/hollischapmanshow. And, call in on:  (646) 595-4326.

Luv From Across the Pond!

     Outstanding News!  Great New Writers, Ltd. (www.greatnewwriters.com), the influential teaching and tutoring enterprise located in the UK (United Kingdom) has endorsed my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” 

     The mission of Great New Writers is to support aspiring LGBT, Black, Asian and Hispanic writers.  The company was created by Dr. Martin Luther Patrick, a successful playwright and prolific novelist whose literary career spans decades.  His latest work, “Love Both Ways,” will be released the end of this month.

 

     Although I’m far from being a novice writer (having many years of journalism experience and three novels under my belt), I’m honored that the esteemed Dr. Patrick has recognized my work, and is assisting me in continuing to expand my (UK) United Kingdom presence and audience.    

     To read the two-part series, click on the following links:   

http://www.greatnewwriters.com/single-post/2017/01/14/First-in-the-series-on-Wyatt-OBrian-Evans

http://www.greatnewwriters.com/single-post/2017/01/14/First-in-the-series-on-Wyatt-OBrian-Evans

 

     Thanks, Great New Writers, Ltd!

Mark’s Surreality

“The Divine Power of Surreality”

 Guest Writer: Mark O. Estes

      Per Webster’s Dictionary, the word surreal means “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; unbelievable; fantastic.” The latest election; the virulent spread of false information in the form of memes, fake news sites, and sheer stupidity; and personal demons have all coalesced into a hazy blanket of what seems like a dream and an irrational reality.  My view of the world has changed, and I would be lying if I said it was for the better.

     But as I learned while I was in the early years of college (actually when I was a kid writing “The Goonies” fan fiction before it became a “thing” fifteen to twenty years later…), writing, for me, is therapeutic. It not only helps me make sense of the world, but it also helps me deal and live within it as well. And as I enter this next leg of my journey into uncharted, yet familiar territory with the “Orange Man” rising to power, my love of and sheer dependence on writing will be the  walking stick/guide through this surreal landscape known to me as my “surreality.”

     So what is “Mark’s Surreality?” This column will feature my journey through the surreal oddities, the trying tribulations, and the awarding triumphs of my life sprinkled with enough fiction to keep the reader guessing what’s real and what’s a simple, yet complex creation of my mind. I look at the set up as a casual view of the world through my eyes: noir tinted and constantly wondering whether I’m awake, “woke,” still dreaming, alive, or in a later stage of death. In other words, little to nothing will be as it seems here.

     Will I always be cryptic? Nope. Complex? I don’t know. Depends on my  mood–which tends to change with the tide. I’m spontaneous, and that keeps not only my audience on their toes, but me as well. One week I may hit you with a piece of biting commentary on the latest chapter of my or the world’s never ending saga, and the next week I may just simply give you some experimental fiction that may or may not be entrenched in some form of my reality.

     Just know it’s going to be some odd shit, regardless.

     Before we go there, some background information. I’m a thirty-three-year old Black gay male residing in a small country town who despises my being. I work as a librarian, am the middle child of my family, and strive to be a successful author. I am a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; class of 2008. I do love to travel, and I am a contributor/editor with both The Big Boy Project and Male Media Mind.

     I’m not your “average” black gay male. Nor do I strive to be. My musical tastes are as eclectically loud as Joseph’s magic colored coats. My views, while not radical, are unorthodox in nature. I can view things from a bubble like most red-blooded humans; but sometimes bubbles must burst from time to time. I am a pop culture junky, but I love the complex literature of Bret Easton Ellis, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, and more. I also have a love/hate relationship with people.

     I am a social butterfly loner. I value my darkness just as much as the lighter side of my being. I say all this to warn you of what’s to come. And I don’t mean the Orange Man’s upcoming reign of terror, because my surreality isn’t for the faint of heart, nor the impatient, or the close-minded.

     Before I go, I would like to thank Wyatt O’Brian Evans for this opportunity and platform. I pray I uphold his well-established brand to the best of my ability, while trying to build and secure my own voice and brand recognition.


Mark O. Estes is a writer, editor, columnist and librarian, who earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  Mr. Estes is a writer and editor for both The Big Boy Project and The Male Media Mind, dynamic and cutting edge infotainment sites that are specifically designed for larger men—and those who have an affinity for them.  Also, Mark is penning his debut novel.  You may reach Mark at buildingmysteries.wordpress.com; Twitter, @theanticritic; Instagram, markoestes.

Sandy & Wyatt

     I had the distinct pleasure of being the special guest on Life Love Wellness: The Sandy Rodgers Show—the popular, inspirational and empowering nationally-syndicated radio program!  Sandy and I had a conversation about Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  As well, we drilled down on Separation Violence and Abuse (SVA), which can be the most dangerous time in the cycle of abuse.  This occurs when the abuser escalates the violence when the victim leaves.

     We also chatted about my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  To hear the show—uncut—click on: http://tobtr.com/s/9743601

The Sandy Rodgers Show

“FRENZY!” In the Nighttime!

     An Encore Performance!  On Tuesday, January 17 @ 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST, I’m back as Special Guest on Life Love Wellness: The Sandy Rodgers Show—a popular, inspirational and empowering nationally-syndicated radio program!  Sandy and I will have a conversation about my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  

     Since Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–also known as domestic violence and abuse–is the overarching theme of “FRENZY!”,Sandy and I will continue the discussion about this critical and potentially life-threatening behavior. 

     Now, what’s new in the mix this time is a discussion of the syndrome called, “Separation Assault/Violence.”  This occurs when the abuser escalates the violence after the victim leaves.  This can be the most dangerous time in the cycle of abuse. Sandy and I define what it is–and exactly how it impacts victims.

     We also talk about my journey as an author, what moves me…and so much more!  And, I’ll entertain questions from callers. 

     Do join me on the evening of Tuesday, January 17 Be prepared for a slice of engaging, informative and lively radio!

     Life Love Wellness: The Sandy Rodgers Show!  Call in on 516-531-9819 or online at blogtalkradio.com/sandyrodgers to be a part of the conversation!

 

“FRENZY!” Excerpt: “The Interview”

     Greetings!  “FRENZY!” is the brand new installment in my explosively HAWT “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels.  “FRENZY!” is all about Wes and ‘Tonio, two star-crossed lovers who must confront severe obstacles that thrown their relationship into dire jeopardy. 

     “FRENZY!”  is chock full of masculine romance, intrigue, danger, twists and turns…and not to mention off-the-hook sexually provocative encounters!  Hell yeah!

     Now, here’s my special treat to you–and it’s in two parts!  First, here’s the 411 on the red-hot “FRENZY!”–

     What would you do after the man of your dreams battered you because he believed you’d been unfaithful?  Could you forgive this man to whom you’ve given every piece of your heart?

    Desirable, wealthy gay/SGL African-American celebrity Wesley (Wes) Laurence Kelly yearns for a gratifying and enduring love.  Unfortunately, it has slipped through his fingers.  Repeatedly.

    Enter Antonio (‘Tonio) Miguel Rios, a deliciously muscular gay/SGL Puerto Rican whom Wes has hired as his bodyguard.  He, too, has failed at love.  Miserably.

    But without warning, that magical, irrefutable and irresistible force known as chemistry totally engulfs the pair!  They forge a strong bond. However, they’re still too afraid to act on their escalating romantic feelings and sexual urges.

    Soon though, Wes and ‘Tonio break down and profess their love!

    However, a mysterious individual throws their monogamous relationship in dire jeopardy!  This vicious entity manipulates ‘Tonio into believing that Wes is being unfaithful.

    Taking the bait, the FRENZY!-ed bodyguard physically brutalizes his soul mate!  This results in Wes kicking ‘Tonio to the curb.

    And that–along with childhood sexual abuse–cause Wes to split, to become another personality: “Walker”!  The polar opposite of Wes, Walker has a heart of ice!  And, Walker’s deadly to the very core.

    Does Wes reclaim himself?  And, what secrets are buried deep inside ‘Tonio?

    But, most importantly: can Wes and ‘Tonio work their way back to one another?  And, can they still vow that “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart?”

      Part Two is the extended version of the excerpt, “The Interview.”  Freakin’ enjoy!

 

     Celebrity and entrepreneur Wesley Laurence Kelly meets Antonio (‘Tonio) Miguel Rios, Jr. for the very first time when he interviews him for his Chief of Security position.

     Y’all, Rios was a fuckin’ sight to behold!  A ruggedly handsome brickhouse, he was 6’4”, 280 muscularly immense pounds. 

     Massively built and exquisitely proportioned, Rios was, hands down, a bodybuilder’s bodybuilder.  Powerful, wide neck.  Barn door shoulders. Bowling ball biceps.  Horseshoe triceps.  Chiseled, expansive, impeccable pecs.  Narrow, firm waist. 

     And the way his jeans fit.  Daymn!  I could detect that he owned humongous glutes and calves…and (gleefully) something else.  Sumthin’ else, indeed. 

     The stud was clad entirely in blackshirt, jazzy (but tasteful) tie, formfitting jeans, and kick-ass cowboy boots.  Masculinity with touches of sensitivity oozed outta him!  I was fuckin’ taken aback– which usually doesn’t happen often.   I felt I was losing control.   I had to regain it.  Like yesterday.    

     “It’s a ‘pleasuah’ (pleasure) ta meet’cha, Mr. Kel-lee,” Rios smiled, broadly.  That 100-watt grin could’ve lit up all of Washington, D.C.  

     Immediately extending his power-packed mitt, he followed with, “Thanks so much for dis opportunity!”  “Stud Man” had this syrupy, so sensual, low baritone with a full heapin’ helpin’ of Latin accent stirred in for good measure.

     And his eyes!  A liquid blue-green, they appeared to be as endless as an ocean… sucking you right in!  They peered deep inside, searching for the real you.  I swore they seemed to have a life of their own… 

     Rios had a caramel-tinged complexion, and short, curly, jet-black hair.  His sideburns connected to a neatly trimmed goatee, which in turn merged into his ‘stache.  He had these full lips, which begged you to kiss them.   Mos’ def!

     And his handclasp!   Gawd.  It was warm.   Supremely confident.  Well-manicured, those hands were like meat cleavers–so thick, so sturdy, and so powerful.   His touch, his grasp, made my whole freakin’ body tingle through and through!   Nobody—and I do mean nobody—had touched me that way in what seemed like fuckin’ eons!   I swallowed hard. Dang!  Hot in here.         

     Floating back to earth, I responded, “I…I’m sure the pleasure is ALL MINE, Mr. Rios.  Welcome.”  Not to be outdone, I returned a formidable clasp of the palm myself.  

     Then, without warning, our eyes seemed to zoom into each other, like heat-seeking missiles!  After reaching their final destination, they settled into the lockdown position.  And all of a sudden, that ole magical thang called chemistry burst forth, spinning around– totally engulfing us!  The sensation was electric, hard-hitting, exciting…though downright scary!

     Hmmmm…I could swear he was checkin’ me out, scopin’ me, as wellAnd I noticed him noticing my erection.  (Yo!  I’ve got a “Big Whopper”–and I ain’t talkin’ Burger King!  LOL.)  The muscle stud’s eyes stretched wide for more than just a few seconds… 

      “Mr. Kel-lee,” Rios offered, “Puleeze…call me Antonio.”   

     “Thanks, ah, Antonio,” I responded.  Geesus, his name sounded so divine falling off my lips.  He was marinating in Givenchy’s Grey Flannel (the light blue liquid version), one of my favorites.  Not too much, just enough to tease, to tantalize.  And Lawd, he had this pleasant cinnamon-spearmint breath!

    As I chatted with Mr. Man, the chemistry between us was becoming red hot, deliciously intense.  It had gripped me so tight it made me wanna holla!  Antonio radiated such pure animal magnetism…along with enticing, sensitive masculinity.  This attraction, although irrefutably appealing, was intoxicating, bordering on the overwhelming!

     In other words, these sensations were exhilarating, dizzying; but at the same time, somewhat unnerving.  And daymn!  Our eyes were still bearing down on one another. 

     “Oh, Lawd,” I thought, “was he feelin’ what I was feelin’?  He had to be!  Well…wasn’t he?”

     Breaking eye contact for a few seconds, I announced, “Antonio (Whoa!  Once again, that name sounded sooooooo good dripping from my lips.), let’s adjourn to the library.”  Walking side by side, we reached the room.  Opening the doors, I ushered him in. 

    Glad I did, because I was rewarded with an absolutely mouthwatering sight!  Antonio had this phine “basketballbubblebuttazz!”  Pushing through his pants.  Perfectly round.  Beefy and meaty.  Bootylicious.   Ready to be squeezed…and PLUNDERED!  (Ya see, as an “azz connoisseur,” I’m an expert on these affairs.  LOL.)                                              

     I was teased even further when he sauntered into the library.  His musclebootybutt jiggled ever so slightly, ever so nicely, in his tight black jeans. Meanwhile, I had to quickly adjust Mr. Woody in an attempt to conceal my burning, growing arousal.  (You do know what part of the anatomy to which I’m referring, right?  Sho’ ya do.)

     “Antonio, please have a seat,” I invited, motioning to the sofa opposite the mahogany desk.  I climbed into the leather chair behind it, picking up his resume. 

     As I scanned his resume, I became aware of “BigGuy’s” (my later nickname for him) eyes inspecting, dissecting, and analyzing me.  He was trying to read me, workin’ to figure out what I was thinking…about him.  Meanwhile, the mounting, swelling sensations (Hell, in more ways than one, if you catch my drift!) I was experiencing were inflaming my potent, pent-up desires.

     I became lightheaded!  Beads of sweat formed on my forehead.   My left wrist, with the Rolex wrapped around it, began to sweat and itch.  And, the chilled Evian I was sipping in earnest couldn’t seem to wash away the parched feeling that had stubbornly claimed my throat.

     Then, all of a sudden, in that moment, my mind stumbled into a dense fog.  I began to fantasize, have “NASTEE” thoughts about Antonio, which went sumthin’ like this:

     Ahhh, yes…both of us butt nekkid, him doggy style, perched on my broad mahogany desk.  Ahhh…me kneeling, with his bubblebuttbootyliciousazz all up in my face…me swathed in delicious anticipation while I’m stroking, fondling and squeezing that marvelously round, voluptuous treasure. 

     Me, salivating, as I’m slowly, so deliberately parting the tepid, lusciously solid muscle cheeks…squeezing them, prying them W-I-D-E open!  Him enthralled in passion, vocalizing erotic murmurs. 

     Me, after thoroughly licking and lapping the entirety of that musclebooty, for what seemed like forever–and two days…me skillfully and leisurely delving my tongue so deeply in and out, in and out of the tight, lush, moist “valley” of that bubblebuttbootyliciousazz!   Me, becoming even more aroused by the exquisite sensations inspiring and driving Antonio to grunt and groan, shake, rattle and roll…him forcing my head ever closer into his glorious “musclebootytreasuretrove” (The Butt!  The Bum!  The Posterior!  Dat azz.)… 

     Me, after finishing my delectable, tasty feast and at the zenith of my nasteeness, carefully and totally lubing up the entrance to BigGuy’s valley, which had the heat and moisture you could liken to a tropical rain forest.  Next, me slipping on a black latex “raincoat,” and…

Welcome, 2017!

     I want to wish each and every one of you a fulfilling, joyous and prosperous New Year!  Now, let’s make 2017 a meaningful and rewarding adventure.

     2016 was another banner and stellar year for me, and I thank God and Jesus Christ for the continued blessings.  I’m truly humbled.

     I’m elated that through WYATTEVANS.COM, I continue to reach and touch more and more of you in substantive, engaging, informative and entertaining ways!  I’m proud to say that LGBTQ folk and their Allies from all walks of life in over NINETY Countries visit my on line home.

     And speaking of WYATTEVANS.COM, my Community of Guest Columnists— LaToya Hankins, R. L. Norman, Buster Sly and Carlton Smith—continue to deliver their timely, progressive, thought-provoking and unique insights and POV’s on issues that impact LGBTQ individuals and their Allies.  I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their amazing creativity and efforts!  And later in 2017, I’ll add more Columnists to the roster.

     This year, I’m embarking on an exciting, critical and much-needed project:  I’ve been selected as Special Consultant for ViiV Healthcare’s “Positive Affirmations—ACCELERATE!” Initiative.  The project is a bold community engagement effort targeted to Black MSMs (men who have sex with men) who reside in and around Baltimore, Maryland.  To learn more about The Initiative, visit:  wyattevans.com/its-all-about-positive-affirmations/

     And, “Good Golly, Ms. Molly!”  On January 12, 5 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, I’m back on the airwaves!  My new radio program, entitled “WYATT’S MAN CAVE,” is produced by the highly-regarded and popular LesBe Real Media.  My new show  explores and tackles men’s relationship and wellness issues.  HOT guests come into my Domain.  “WYATT’S MAN CAVE” is provocative, raw…and real!  To get the scoop, visit: wyattevans.com/enter-wyatts-man-cave/

     As you know, the exhilarating, decidedly DEE-LI-CIOUS and explosive brand new installment in my “NOTHING CAN TEAR US APART”series of novels has just been released!  Entitled “FRENZY!”, it’s a real roller coaster ride–and is continuing to receive rave reviews!  My national “FRENZY! Book Tour–2017” rolls on through the New Year—along with my Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) seminars and workshops.  For the 411, visit: wyattevans.com/nothing-can-tear-us-about-frenzy-book/

     Along with all THAT, I’m finalizing some kick-ass projects that I’m not allowed to speak about right now!  But when I can, you’ll be the first to know.  (LOL) Stay tuned, ‘cause they are gonna freakin’ blow your collective mind!

     I wholeheartedly plan to make 2017 my absolute B-E-S-T!  Make sure you do the same.

      And have BIG FUN doin’ it!!!

Hot Tea and Ice 10

Looking Back to Move Forward

 Guest Writer: LaToya Hankins

 

    Greeting and Salutations, Hot Tea and Ice Sippers!  Can you believe it has been an entire twelve months since we were introduced? My, doesn’t time fly! For those whose 2016 has been filled with all kinds of shiny and new things, I send thoughts of congratulations and celebrations.

    For others, this has been a year filled with losses and setbacks. For you, I offer a virtual hug and hope things are looking better and brighter.

    We only have to look at the in-memoriam ticker running on our TV news programs to realize that a lot of our great talents and loved ones shed this earthly coil and became the dearly departed.  Also, depending on how your voter’s registration card looked, the election results may not have been your preferred outcome.

    But in a few weeks, an electronic apple, peach, acorn, or whatever your municipalities use to mark the transition will drop, and 2016 will be in the record books–and a new year will be on deck.

    2017 is a blank slate right now. It awaits our actions to define how it will be remembered. Will this be the year our greatest hopes will be realized?  Or will this year be filled with disappointments so profound that it makes the heart heavy? Who knows?

    The new year is ripe with potential to inspire, impress, and improve our lives in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. But with all this looking forward, let’s not forget how we got here.

    There is a saying about what happens when you don’t remember past mistakes. It implies that forgetting incorrect actions results in those actions being repeated. No matter what happened during the past 365 days–be it good, bad, or indifferent–we should not let the lessons learned to stay in the past. We need to bring them forth, and be prepared to put them to good use.

    For me, 2016 provided so many opportunities! I began writing this column, reconnected with three friends through social media who saw me through the best and worst of times, and pursued an opportunity to enlarge my family unit.

    The year also resulted in me losing a member of my family who helped influence my view of what a true man should be–lover of family and friends, faithful to his church and community, and not afraid to get his hands dirty when the time called for it.  That family member was my great-uncle, who after serving in the Korean War, was both a gardener and garbage man.   

    I also bade a final farewell to one of the LGBTQ Pride organizers I had worked with for the past seven years. She was an inspiration and influence to so many dominant lesbian women in the Durham community.

    As well, she was someone I considered a friend. Her influence was so strong that my fiancee asked her thoughts about proposing to me—along with asking my mother for my hand in marriage.

    And through the evolution of two of the organizations I work with, I also came to realize that my leadership styles needed to be tweaked in order to be successful and faithful to the causes I supported.

    In short, 2016 gave me the opportunities to learn so many lessons. The challenge for me, for you, for us all is to take those lessons and move forward with them. Sometimes, unlike Lot’s wife, you have to look back to appreciate where you are going.

    We have to realize that while the erroneous steps we took in the past can’t be wiped out, we can still move forward in a better direction if we apply the lessons our mistakes provide us. 

    There is no shame in admitting that our actions weren’t always the best and that the outcomes weren’t always good. While dwelling in the past never saved anyone, seeing where you went wrong and avoiding doing the same thing again is a solution that doesn’t cost. Your experience is proof of bill paid.

    Time should allow us to see more clearly what went wrong, and that a new year is the opportunity to take that insight and move forward. Reflect on the situations, retain the lessons you learn–and realize you can move forward.

    Many of us begin the New Year with a list filled with things we are going to do differently. That’s great!  But accept that one of the best ways to be successful is to acknowledge the times you failed, so that you can take that knowledge to strengthen your resolve to get it right this time.

    I hope to learn from my past to let people know when I appreciate what and how they do things, instead of assuming they know how I feel. I also want to be more diligent about being open to other people’s ideas instead of operating in the following way:  that just because director/president goes behind my name, it  doesn’t mean I can’t be challenged and open to different methods of doing things. 

    My motto for 2017 is this:  as long as I can open my eyes on a new day, there is a chance to improve on my mistakes and avoid making new ones. Part of that plan is to think about what I have experienced so I can appreciate and handle what is coming for and to me.  I encourage us all to reflect and be open to using that knowledge to shape what lies ahead.

Until next time:  Adios, au revoir, and I “holler!”


LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking, and K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood. Currently, LaToya is an employee of the State of North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department. Prior to that, she worked for nearly a decade in the field of journalism.  An East Carolina University graduate, LaToya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, with a minor in political science.

During her college career, LaToya became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and currently is the president of the Chapel Hill, N. C. graduate chapter. As well, she is a co-founder and currently serves as the chair of Shades of Pride (SOP), a LGBTQ organization that hosts a yearly event in the Triangle area. SOP’s mission is to create opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of North Carolina’s LGBTQ communities.  You may reach La Toya at her on line home, www.latoyahankins.com; email, latoya.hankins@yahoo.com; Facebook, www.facebook.com/latoyahankins; and on Twitter, @hankinslatoya.

 

Wyatt's Man Cave

Enter Wyatt’s “Man Cave!”

COME INTO MY DOMAIN!

On Thursdays @ 5 PM ET/2 PM CT, I’m back on the Airwaves with a brand new radio program!

As some of you know, my former radio program, The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show, had been on hiatus. And then, the dynamic, highly respected and always on the move LesBe Real Media afforded me a FAB-U-LOUS opportunity to create Wyatt’s Man Cave, which I wholeheartedly accepted! I’m delighted to now be part of the LesBe Real Family. One helluva way to kick off the New Year!

Wyatt’s Man Cave centers on gay/SGL men’s relationship and wellness issues. And, noteworthy, distinguished and diverse LGBTQ individuals and their Allies are gonna join in to talk the talk with me!

And guess what? I’ll have an UN-DE-NIAB-LY raucous and wild co-host dropping in from time to time: Ms. Caroleena Devereaux CumshotDrag Queen Supreme!

Wyatt’s Man Cave is kick-azz EARGASM to curl Grown Folks’ toes…and tantalize their fantasies! And, it’s truly awesome that it’s comin’ to you from LesBe Real Media, whose mission is to “provide news, views, arts and entertainment supporting the LGBTQ community and its allies.” And in just three years, LesBe Real Media has reached over two million households.

And guess what? If you miss “Wyatt’s Man Cave” LIVE!, you can hear it on mixcloud.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/

It’s gonna be like, well…Freakin’ YOWZA!!!

So, “git yo’self” ready for Wyatt’s Man Cave! Click on the formal announcement:

LGBTQ, holidays!

Ditch Those Holiday Blues!

     Oh, “Gawd!”  You’re an LGBTQ guy or gal simply dreading THAT time of year—the holidays! 

      Why might you be in a major funk?  Well, maybe you feel you can’t be your authentic self around family:  you’re still closeted.  Or, you might be alone, feeling isolated.  All of this can throw you into a nasty tailspin.  And where do you crash land?  Into one “helluva” depression!

santa-bro-2

     Research bears out that the rates of depression and stress definitely increase during the holidays.  To counteract that, here are ten tools to help you vanquish those holiday blues–courtesy of Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a multi-award winning psychotherapist:

  • Keep your expectations balanced. “You won’t get everything you want, things will go wrong, and you won’t fell like Bing Crosby singing ‘White Christmas’.  Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about things that are out of your control.”
  • Don’t try to do too much. “Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can dampen your spirits.  Learn to say no, delegate as much as possible and manage your time wisely.  If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season–friends and family.”
  • Don’t isolate. “If you’re feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in.   There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate.”
  • Don’t overspend. “Create a reasonable budget and stick to it.  Remember it’s not about the presents.  It’s about the presence.”
  • It’s appropriate to mourn if you’re separated from or have lost loved ones. “If you can’t be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together.”
  • Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. “Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder).”
  • Watch your diet and remember to exercise. “It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood.  If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down.” 
  • Be aware of the Post-Holiday Syndrome. “When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind, it can be a real letdown.  Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season.”
  • Learn forgiveness and acceptance. “If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won’t change.   If you know what you’re getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons.  If things get uncomfortable, go to a movie or for a drive and adjust your attitude.”

Muchos Gracias, M3!

     I wanna thank the MALE MEDIA MIND (M3) for having me as Special Guest on their Google Hangout Podcast!

     And kudos to host Mark O. Estes for asking entertaining and hard-hitting Qs!  Topics included my journey as a journalist and author–and my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  As well, I gave advice to aspiring authors who are driven to be successful.

     The in-depth interview was an awesome experience!  To view on YouTube, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBuf1hapY4E