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The Big Boy Project: The Oasis For Bigger Guys

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”—Milton Berle, iconic comedian/actor.   

     This is the mantra that James Butler lives by.  Mr. Butler is the founder of The Big Boy Project (BBP), a dynamic and cutting edge infotainment site that is specifically designed for larger men—and those who have an affinity for them. 

     According to Butler, who is 28 years old and openly gay/SGL, The Big Boy Project is “about bears/big boys of color coming together to express our opinions on world news, gay topics, and pop culture news.”

     As you’ll soon learn, BBP was born out of Butler’s poignant and at times uneasy journey of self-discovery.  Just recently, I had an exclusive sit-down with the engaging and driven founder of this fascinating, growing and evolving enterprise.  

 

     EVANS:  James, welcome to Wyattevans.com!  I appreciate you taking the time.

     BUTLER:  Certainly!  It’s good to be here, Wyatt.

     EVANS:  Well let’s jump right into things by getting personal.  You grew up in Leesburg, Georgia? How far is that from “Hawtlanta” (Atlanta)?

     BUTLER:  (Smiling.)  Leesburg is about three or four hours away from Atlanta;  all depends on the traffic.  (LOL.)

     EVANS:  So, what was growing up like in Leesburg?

     BUTLER:  Growing up in Leesburg was an interesting experience!  I had to deal with two types of people:  the southern hospitality side and the southern racist side. To make things short, it was a roller coaster ride.

    EVANS:  James, you’ve stated that you “detested school.”  Why?

     BUTLER:  I was so shy and awkward in high school, which made me an easy target for bullying and ridicule–as well as dealing with teachers who did not want to teach.  They just wanted to collect their paychecks.

     EVANS:  That was unfortunate.  James, you’ve also stated, “Being in the South, racism and bullying were also a day-to-day battle.”  

     BUTLER:  Some people in the South are still stuck in that old-school mentality that people of color are beneath them; so at school or work, I had to hear ignorant statements about me and my skin color, which caused me to keep to myself.

     EVANS:  Exactly why were you bullied?  Was it because of your size and/or sexual orientation? 

 

     BUTLER:  The answer to that question is “D”–all of the above!  (He takes a deep breath.)  I was a fat, awkward Black boy with acne and sexual identity issues.  I was a very easy target.

    EVANS:  Needless to say, that had to be traumatic.  What was the impact of the bullying and racism?  How did it affect you emotionally, mentally?

     BUTLER:  Oh, I hated myself!  I believed everything the bullies told me about myself; so much that I often cried when I got home from school. I remember eating lunch in an empty classroom to avoid being picked on, thinking that no one wanted me around.  (His eyes acutely expresses those memories.)

     EVANS:  James, when and how did you come to the realization that you were gay/SGL?   How did that impact you? 

     BUTLER:  The 11th grade was the year I fully realized I was gay. It was a confusing time for me. I didn’t have people to talk to about my gay feelings. My parents were not any help; so basically, I had to learn things on my own by doing research online–as well as by physical trial and error.  (LOL.)

     EVANS:  Would you say that this realization–along with the bullying and racism–caused you to become more reclusive? 

     BUTLER:  Yes, I became extremely reclusive.

     EVANS:  I see.  How did you deal with and manage the hurt and pain?

     BUTLER:  By reading and drawing, which were my two forms of escape. Later, writing came into play.

     EVANS:  You’ve said that the Internet was instrumental in your self-validation.  You’ve stated, “The answer to my problems was the Internet; finding gay social sites like BGC Live and Bigger City was a life saver for me. Interacting with gay men was an amazing experience, but one site named Kingz Place made me want to have something of my own. A website dedicated to bigger black men, Kingz Place was where you could create your own groups, chat with black bears, have intelligent conversation–and so much more. It was my go-to place for acceptance and I loved it.”  Can you elaborate?

     BUTLER:  Sure.  The Internet was a big help. When I had questions that I couldn’t ask out loud, I’d always go to it for the answers.   (He smiles.)  So one day I was looking up something crazy–I forgot what it was–but I remember clicking on a link that took me to BGC Live, and I was in heaven!

    Seeing gay men like me in one place was amazing!  From there I also discovered other social sites like Bigger City; my favorite site at the time was Kingz Place.

     EVANS:  And, you created your own group on Kingz Place?  What was it called? 

     BUTLER:  I really don’t remember the name of the group; I just remember that it was dedicated to chubby nerds.  (LOL.).

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     EVANS:  With that experience, you created The Big Boy Project.  You’ve said that blogging was instrumental in its formation? 

     BUTLER.  Correct.

     EVANS:  According to you, “Throughout the years, blogging became my therapy where I could write and discuss the issues I wanted to, and express my feelings on certain topics. Blogging has opened so many doors in my life: from meeting experienced writers, interviewing musicians, talking to dancers, etc.”  Please expound.

     BUTLER:  Even though I’m not a professional blogger, blogging became freedom. I could say what I wanted and talk about what I wanted; and over time, blogging coincided with YouTube, where I could express myself on camera.

     EVANS:  James, what’s BBP’s purpose and mission?

     BUTLER:  Our purpose and mission are to become a brand that gives gay men of color—and particularly bears/big boys of color–a voice.  You don’t see bear/big boys of color discussing topics that relate to us.

     EVANS:  As founder, what are your duties and responsibilities?

     BUTLER:  I do the editing and graphics for all of the shows on The Big Boy Project YouTube channel, and I manage The Big Boy Project website.  And, before any ideas are executed, I make sure that everyone is on the same page.

     EVANS:  James, let’s give your staff and contributors shout-outs and some “luv!”  Tell us who they are and what they do.

     BUTLER:  They are:  Jose, Lynx, Tamon, Mark, Eddie, Adrian, JaWon, Cecil, Tony, Ali, and Elvis. As you can see, it’s a large cast of individuals that help with the content for The Big Boy Project brand. We don’t have positions or titles. We all work as a collective, but each person has specific skills and experiences that channel different perspectives to certain topics.  

     Jose has extreme knowledge of nerd culture and technology. Lynx is well- versed in coding, graphics and nerd culture.  Tamon is a writer and film director. Mark is a writer for some of the well-known blogs.  Eddie and Adrian reside in L.A., and bring different perspectives on gay culture and events.   JaWon is a writer and gamer.   Cecil is a therapist who brings his own expertise and perspective.  Tony is a music artist and an advocate for Bears of Color.  Ali knows the bear culture like no other, and is a huge comic book enthusiast.  And last but not least is Elvis, who is a YouTube brand film major.  So many different backgrounds and so many different opinions makes The Big Boy Project so great!

     EVANS:  Is there any difference or distinction between the terms “bears” and “big boys?”  Do they overlap?

     BUTLER:  It’s all depends on whom you ask.  So many people have different definitions for the terms “bear” and “big boy.”  The bear community is a welcoming and understanding group; however, some of the bear communities neglect to show other ethnicities and cultures in their events, ads, and other media– which makes bears of color feel unwanted. 

     That’s the main reason why the term “big boy” originated.  The big boy community was created to cater to thicker men of color.   In a lot of ways, bears and big boys do indeed overlap.  But their motivation started the same–to have acceptance.

      EVANS:  Great points, James.  Now then, let’s take the racial aspect even further.  A few years back, I wrote a multi-part, syndicated series on racism in the LGBTQ community entitled, “The Cancer That Slowly Consumes Our Very Souls: Racism.”  So, here’s my question:  is the white bear/bigger men community altogether welcoming to black bears and larger guys?

     BUTLER:  The bear community is dominantly white, and with any group there will be people that don’t want to fuse the races. However, there are many prominent bears of color who are changing the dynamic of what bears are.  The big boy community was created to counteract the lack of racial diversity.  

     EVANS:  Let’s talk about body image pressures on gay/SGL men, which is a huge and pervasive problem.  Research shows that on the whole, gay/SGL men don’t like their bodies very much.  This is because gay/SGL men spend a lot of time in places that ascribe a premium on physical appearance: bars, gyms, and sex clubs. 

     Sadly, we live in a sexualized subculture that places an emphasis on physical attractiveness.  What’s your take on this?  Do you believe that bear/bigger men organizations and clubs are a response to, as well as a safe haven for body image pressures?

     BUTLER:  A lot of gay men do not like their bodies because all we see are overly photo shopped men in the media. We try to live up to those standards, and it’s simply not possible. The bear/big men culture are more accepting when it comes to body image.  However, because sex sells, we sometimes use the same tactics and show certain body types over others.

     EVANS:  Your “Bear Talk” episodes on YouTube explore and dissect cutting-edge issues and feature guests who make a difference.  What was the impetus behind your creation of “Bear Talk?” 

     BUTLER:  I wanted to create the “Bear Talk” series to bring something different to YouTube, and to discuss topics and issues from a bear/big boy point of view.

     EVANS:  This is the perfect segue way for perspectives and points of view; so, let’s tackle some. First, are you an advocate of marriage equality?  Why or why not?

     BUTLER:  I’m a big advocate for marriage equality. We have the right to marry whom we love. We pay taxes, we have children and loved ones, and we are people. This nation says “the land of the free,” and it’s about time we live up to the name we so represent.

     EVANS:  Georgia is hard hit by HIV.  For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta has an HIV epidemic comparable to that of third-world African countries.  Therefore, would you date a HIV-poz guy if he were undetectable and healthy? 

     BUTLER:  Of course I would date someone with HIV.  That’s not an issue for me at all because I’ve done my research and know what HIV is. People still think HIV is a death sentence when it’s not. It’s disappointing to see and hear people bypass beautiful people because of one mistake or something out of their control.

     EVANS:  My sentiments precisely.  Now, what’s your take on both interracial and intergenerational dating?  Would any factors preclude you from dating outside your race and/or age bracket?

     BUTLER:  My answer is pretty simple: love is love. People are going to have their qualms about interracial or intergenerational dating. As long as you’re dating for the right reasons and the person is of legal age, I don’t see the issue. To answer your second question, the color of your skin doesn’t matter to me; and as long as you are of legal age, then we can see where the adventure goes.  (He’s smiling.)

     EVANS:  James, what drives you?

     BUTLER:  What drives me to do what I do is to make a change in how the world sees the bear/big boy community.   What also drives me is to spread awareness on gay culture as a whole, and to show that gay men are more than what the media presents us as. 

     EVANS:  Let’s talk achievement and winning.  What are the three most important “weapons” one must have in his/her “arsenal of success?” 

     BUTLER:  Motivation.  You have to know what you want to do with your brand, and how to stand out from the others.  Knowledge.  To be the best at anything in life, you have to study and research. That’s how you grow.
Humbleness.  When people reach a certain level of success, an ego can arise and make you forget your goals.  Staying humble keeps you grounded to your true purpose.

     EVANS:  Does The Big Boy Project educate the larger gay/SGL community about bears/bigger men?

    BUTLER:  Yes, I believe we educate men of the plus-size nature; however, we also want to educate gay men in general.  We educate by talking about certain topics from a bear/big boy perspective, as well as interview people who are from the bear/big boy community.  We always try to shed some light on the plus-size community.

     EVANS:  What’s on the horizon for The Big Boy Project? 

     BUTLER:  (Grinning.)  OMG! A lot of things.  New video segments for the channel.  We’re working on shirts and merchandise.  And hopefully in the future, we’ll create our own events. There’s a lot to look forward to!

     EVANS:  Outstanding!  So, how do we connect with and follow you?

     BUTLER:  Our website is www.thebigboyproject.com.  There, you can find something for almost everyone–from fashion and hygiene, to the latest bear news and updates…and much more.

     And, you can contact us three ways: on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/c/thebigboyproject1 or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thebigboyproject.  And of course, our website.

     EVANS:  James, thanks for such an enlightening and informative interview. 

     BUTLER:  It was my pleasure, Wyatt.

Interview With An Escort:  An Update

     A little more than a year ago, I published “Interview With An Escort,” a raw and revealing interview I conducted with an exclusive and popular NYC gay male escort.  This is an update.

     I will never share his website and contact information because this article is not about advertising or promoting his services.  Instead, it’s to give you, the reader, insight into what tends to be a sexual choice/option for more than a few in the gay/SGL community.

 

     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.”  On one of my recent trips to Manhattan (NYC), I 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” (short for “Jason”) 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. 

     The uncommonly handsome, dominant and very self-assured Jase, 30, 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 business.  You don’t mess with him, you don’t cheat him. 

     Ya see, he’s all about the money.

 

     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)—people should pay me to sleep with ‘em!

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

     JASE:  Nope.  Not at all.

     WYATT:  Really?

     JASE: (Very seriously now.)  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” (everything) 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 tossing 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.”

   Just a few weeks ago, I decided to re-establish contact with Jase.  I wanted to find out if he were still out of the “biz.”  The following is the update: 

  

   WYATT:  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.  (Now, I’m laughing.)

     JASE:  I’m back in.

     WYATT:  Really?

     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.

Reginald A. Flemming:  Inventive and Compelling Filmmaker on the Rise, Part Two

     Meet Reginald A. Flemming!  He’s the emerging writer, director and producer of gay-themed short feature films.  His current and popular series, A First Time For Everything (AFTFE), is a provocative and thought-provoking work.

     I’ve had an extended sit-down with Mr. Flemming, exclusively for the Huffington Post Queer Voices.  In Part Two of this series, Reginald discusses what drives him, the continuing lack of visibility of LGBTQ individuals of color in the media…and much more. 

     For Part Two, visit:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wyatt-obrian-evans/reginald-a-flemming-inven_1_b_9770992.html

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Historian Gay - vintage image of 2 gay men from the world war II era

Recapturing The ‘Hawtness’ (The HEAT!)

     As you may know, I write an exclusive column, “The Chocolate Romantic,”  for ALL BEAR magazine–the popular Gay on line and print publication originating from the United Kingdom (U.K.).  Visit:  www.all-bear.co.uk/ I’ve dubbed ALL BEAR “The Playboy of the U.K!” 

     I decided to sift through my many The Chocolate Romantic columns to find one appropriate for two good buddies of mine—Craig and Kain–who found that their relationship was becoming a bit “stale and staid.”  

     Uh, oh!  That’s a (freakin’) NO-NO.  

     So, I slipped each of them one of those columns entitled, “Recapturing The ‘Hawtness’ (The HEAT!)”  And, yo:  aren’t Y’all lucky, ‘cause I’m also sharing it with you!  

     So, let’s jump in…and marinate.  (LOL!)  Here goes…   

     You think like each other, you finish each other’s sentences, you feel awesomely connected to one another.  

     Though lately, you and your partner’s (or maybe you and your regular sex buddy’s) routine seems “booor-inggggg” (boring).  Dang!  So, how do you recapture the passion?  

     Well, have no fear:  your relationship expert—namely me, The Chocolate Romantic, is on the case!  I’ll tell ya how to do just that.  First though, let’s find out why a couple’s passion fades.  

     You see, when you first fall for a guy, your brain is flooded with arousal hormones—specifically dopamine and norepinephrine.    

     Then you slide into the “couple comfort zone,” where your lives are in sync.   

     However, as couples settle down, those feel-good chems dissipate.  “If you stayed in that state of infatuation, (the feelings would) lead to distractibility, sleep deprivation and lack of drive in other important areas of your life,” states Scott Haltzman, M.D., author and Brown University psychiatrist.  “So, the body corrects itself and focuses on things like survival.”  

     In other words, cooling passion is nature’s way of making sure that you go to work, pay your bills…and eat.  

     Admittedly, that’s all well and good.  But, who wouldn’t want to get back some of that new-relationship “hawtness” (heat)? 

     But guess what?  The Chocolate Romantic presents five sure-fire ways to reclaim that fire.   

1.     Scale the highest mountain, grab hands, share a sloppy and tongue-filled smooch, and then freakin’ JUMP!  (And right before you leap, promise you’ll bang the hell outta each other after you land.)  Well, maybe you shouldn’t do something this extreme; however, the point I’m making is to do something exciting and new.  According to author Terri Orbuch, PhD (aka “The Love Doctor”), “You’re constantly learning about your partner and doing new things together.  Novelty fuels passion.”  Even if you’ve been a couple for many years, simply doing something fresh together can once again reignite those early-relationship sparks…and in a big way!  The couples that are happiest together are those that do exciting new stuff. 

2.     Create a “relationship ritual”—and set it in stone.  This is a non-negotiable commitment to get together, and without fail.  This is sacred couple time that shouldn’t get preempted by working late, extended family matters—or an unresolved spat.  This “ritual” will help keep you connected to one another.   

3.     Talk that talk!  Once you’ve coupled up, conversation usually revolves around work, family, pets, etc.—very stimulating, huh? Reignite your passion by talking about goals, dreams and desires—the way you both did in the beginning.  “Talking is one of the all-time great stimulants of desire.  It really is an aphrodisiac,” according to author and therapist Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill.  And, I highly recommend doin’ that “nastee” (dirty, provocative) talk—and I know you know what I’m talkin’ about—to light your fuses and rev up your motors! 

4.     Send flirty texts, leave scandalous voice mails.   It could be as simple as sending your man flirty texts or leaving scandalous voice mails throughout the day.  You see, the point is to surprise one another each and every day.  Be creative…be nastee! 

5.     Do a quickie!  When work and other obligations take over your life, there’s not much time for lovemaking.  Spontaneous sex reminds couples that they’re more than roommates.   Yo—it’s not as good as the full treatment, but it’ll hold ya over.    

     So there you have it!  Now, get to work and recapture The Hawtness! (Craig and Kain did—and it’s W-O-R-K-I-N-G!) 

     To Note:  the striking image accompanying this article is courtesy of Houston historian and playwright Trent Kelly’s collection of rare vintage photographs of black male couples from the past 150 years entitled “Hidden in the Open: A Photographic Essay of Afro American Male Couples.”

Picture of a mom who assaulted her son for being gay

Mom Assaults Son Because She Believes He’s “Gay”

      As everyone’s aware, as a journalist, my signature issue is Gay Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  This demoralizing, horrendous–and potentially life-threatening–behavior is heavily stigmatized; thereby, it tends to be grossly underreported.  Therefore, I’ve made it my mission to shine a bright light on IPV/A. 

     And just recently, there’s been an unfortunate “twist” or sorts in this sick, galling saga.  Just days ago, Jacqueline Alexander, a Memphis, Tennessee woman, was charged with beating and punching her own son—all because she believes he’s gay.  The age of Alexander’s son has not yet been revealed. 

     According to WREG, News Channel 3 in Memphis, “Police said she punched her son in the face because she thinks he’s ‘too feminine’ and gay.”  According to the news channel, the child had bruises on his face when police arrived. 

     WREG interviewed Will Batts of the city’s LGBT Community Center.  According to Batts, this type of abuse occurs all too often. 

     “’We certainly have lots of kids and adults who come into the center who talk about being abused or hurt in some way by the people who are supposed to be the ones who care most about them’ he said.” 

     Batts stated that he “’wants to see a change in how people think, an acceptance of all, regardless of their sexual orientation, and to break the barriers of gender stereotypes’.” 

     “’We live with these really strict rules about how people should act or dress or talk or behave, and life is so much more complicated than that’,” he added. 

     Alexander’s bond has been set at $1,000.

Intergenerational couple

“The Daddy/Sir Playbook”: 4 Younger Guys

     A little more than a week ago—I’m sure you recall–I wrote a Wyattevans.com exclusive entitled, The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook (or Sumthin’ Like Dat), based on a recent Queerty article on intergenerational dating.  That article gave tips on “being the best daddy for your boy.”    

     Well, guess what?  You readers made The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook one of the most popular Wyattevans.com articles—and one of the most talked about!  And I thank you for that. 

     As a result, I swore I’d flip the script by sharing Queerty’s “Six Pro Tips for Being a Good Daddy’s Boy” as soon as it was released.  And to flesh out that media outlet’s piece and give it fuller meaning, I promised I’d provide analysis and commentary.

     But before I do that, let’s review exactly what intergenerational dating is.  It’s dating outside your age group.  Generally, it’s at least a 10-year difference between couples.

     Keep in mind that intergenerational dating and relationships have always existed.  However, according to “Are Intergenerational Gay Couples a New Trend in Dating,” a Bilerico.com article from last year, these relationships “…do seem to be more common these days.  One reason might be the shift towards more conservative, traditional views of couplehood.  Now that we can get married in so many states, now that we can adopt children, now that we can bear children on our own, gay males are without question settling into more stable ways of dating, expressing our love, and getting into relationships.”

     The media outlet added, “There is a great hunger on the part of many gay men to be in stable, loving relationships and this just might be a driving force behind the possible rise in intergenerational couples.”

     Now, to my analysis/commentary.  As I mentioned in The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook, I take umbrage to the use of the word “boy.”  Younger partner/guy/man is more appropriate.  

     As well, too much subservience and neediness are ascribed to the younger partner for my taste.  For instance, I know a few intergenerational couples in which the younger man is the more emotionally evolved/secure.  The more dominant.  The more financially secure. 

    However I agree with the publication’s assertion that younger guys have “figured out something that most gays take decades to realize: experience is sexy, and smart older guys can teach you things you never knew you never knew.”

     And this is very important:  you’ll see that actually, BOTH the younger and the older man need to take these tips, pointers, guidelines to heart.

     So, in conclusion:  I found that the tips for being “a good daddy’s boy” resonated more–and were more relevant–than those for “being the best daddy for your boy.”  However, you be the judge.

     Now, here are those tips—right outta Queerty’s mouth!  Listen:  as I said before, if you don’t like the info, don’t shoot me!  I’m simply the messenger.  (LOL.)  However, do feel free to give Yours Truly your feedback.

     [To Note:  the accompanying photo is of UMass NCAA B-Baller Derrick Gordon (right) and actor-screenwriter Gerald McCullouch—an openly gay intergenerational.] 

  • Be honest. What are your intentions?  What do you want out of this relationship?  Be up-front and honest at the start of the relationship.  That way you can both make sure you’re on the same page.  Maybe one of you is looking for a fling while the other wants to settle down—well, you’d better make sure that’s clear before things get too far.  Intergenerational relationships are particularly prone to mismatched expectations, so you’re better off clearing the air from the start.  (And remember: expectations can change over time, so a periodic check-in is advisable.)
  • No more games. Older guys have learned the value of being direct and honoring their word.  They’re far less likely than your flakey young friends to play mind games or manipulate, and they’ll respect you if you follow through on your commitments.  Being considerate is the key.
  • Think like a daddy. If you’re looking for a daddy, go where daddies go. (‘Nuff said.)
  • He deserves your respect. Being young doesn’t make you special, so don’t think that your pretty soft skin makes you more important than he is.  A successful intergenerational couple enjoys mutual respect, even if he can’t figure out how to program his DVR.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that he needs you more than you need him.  And don’t think that just because he’s more financially successful than you are, you’re entitled to his cash.  Let him decide whether he’s going to treat you to dinner.  Acknowledge it when he does something nice.  And if you can’t match him, dollar for dollar, you can still do nice things for him that don’t cost money.
  • It’s OK to be you. Being the younger guy can sometimes feel a little marginalizing.  His advanced knowledge, success and poise might discourage you, or make you feel stupid and small.  But hey, you have nothing to apologize for.  It’s OK that you’re still young.  So don’t think of your youth and inexperience as a liability.  Don’t deprive yourself of doing young-person things, watching young-person shows, and hanging out with your young friends.  Remember, those are the very things that attracted him to you in the first place.  If he wants to cut you off from your life and isolate you,
  • Let him surprise you. You might have a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what a daddy is.  And to be fair, a lot of those stereotypes are true:  older guys are often more genteel, worldlier, and more in-control.  But they’re also full of surprises, and you might discover that your daddy can be as silly and playful as your 20-year-old friends.  He might even—gasp—be a bottom.  Don’t assume anything.  Ask him what he likes.
  • Don’t let him take advantage. Sometimes, it’s hard to define the boundary between a fun power play and an unhealthy relationship.  If your daddy is asking too much of you, taking more control over your life than you want him to, or being condescending, let him know.  Remember, you should be in a relationship because it makes you both happy—not just to make him

     So you guys, both younger and older, and older and younger—shake  yo’ groove thang (Oh, Lawd!  Am I dating myself…that is, as in the age department?), and go on and git busy, with yo’ baddddd selves!  LOL.

Poppers bottles

Instead of that HIGH, What’s A-Poppin’ Might Lead to Your Death

     I’m pretty sure that just about every gay/SGL and bi guy on the planet knows what poppers are! 

     And what they do.

     But for those who don’t, here’s the deal: poppers are those chems you sniff and inhale during sex to get that HIGH.  And some guys use them to relax, to get that calming buzz—in attempts to ward off any awkwardness, nervousness, or/and apprehension while “gittin’ busy.”

     But a recent U.S. News and World Report Health Day article states, “New types of inhaled recreational drugs called ‘poppers’ can contain harmful solvents and propellants that are extremely dangerous, researchers warn.  Traditional poppers (which got the name from their glass vials that “popped”) became popular decades ago among gay men because they enhance sex by giving a mild high and relaxing smooth muscle.  These poppers are based on alkyl nitrates and are related to the medication amyl nitrite.”

     However, according to the publication, some new products being sold as poppers (using brand names such as “Maximum Impact”) are more dangerous than the originals, and pose severe health risks.  And according to a recent edition of the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, “Those risks include a potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder called ‘sudden sniffing death’.  Other potential risks from the new poppers include short-term delirium, memory and thinking problems, and nerve damage.”

     U.S. News and World Report Health Day went on to state the following: “Despite the increasing use of, and risks posed by, these huffing (sniffing, inhaling) solvents being marketed as poppers, they have received little attention in the gay or mainstream media or in addiction textbooks, according to a research team led by Dr. Timothy Hall of the University of California, Los Angeles.

     “Gay men can easily be introduced to these products by sexual partners without being aware of the dangers, Hall and his colleagues said.

     “Physicians also need to understand the dangers and alert their patients, the study authors added.

     “Doctors ‘are taught almost nothing about regular nitrite poppers.  They’re little more than a footnote at the back of most addiction textbooks, lumped in with sniffing glue and huffing aerosols, even though the physiologic effects are quite different,’ Hall said in a news release.

     “’Gay and bisexual men, on the other hand, have little exposure to huffing but tend to think of nitrite poppers as fairly benign,’ he added.  ‘There’s a real risk here for (gay men) to be taking a much more harmful substance than they’re expecting, and for clinicians not to recognize the difference’.”

     So, men:  be very, very careful what’cha sniff!  Ya see, you might not wind up in the universe you were aiming for.

syphilis cells

Breaking:  Gay/Bi Guys Driving Up Syphilis Rates

     The following breaking news is disconcerting and sobering—to say the least.  According to Poz.com, the renowned health, life and HIV media outlet, the rate of primary and secondary syphilis in the U.S. is steadily climbing–with MSM (men who have sex with men) driving a 10 percent increase between 2012 and 2013.   “All told, the rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are all rising among men while either remaining stable or dropping among women.”  These stats are included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) annual report entitled Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance. 

     Poz.com continues, “The CDC estimates that the United States sees almost 20 million cases of STDS each year, with half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.  The price tag?  Nearly $16 billion in health care costs. 

     “Since STDs are often not reported to the CDC, the figures of STDs do not paint a full portrait of the various nationwide epidemics.  They can, however, give a sense of the rate of change in new infections.” 

     In 2013, there were 17,375 reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis—a rate of 5.5 per 100,000 persons.  This translates into a 10 percent increase compared to 2012–and represents the largest jump since 1985. 

     According to Poz.com. “The increase was driven entirely by MSM, who accounted for about three quarters of the total number of cases in 2013.  An estimated half of MSM with syphilis are HIV positive.” 

     The media outlet added, “This is of particular significance considering that syphilis can increase the likelihood of both transmitting and contracting HIV.” 

    Therefore, my advice to you:  always wrap it up—and securely–before “gittin’ yo’ groove thang on.”

Happy Thanksgiving

To Reveal Or Not Reveal At Turkey Day!

     We continue to make great strides in Gay/SGL (Same Gender Loving) acceptance.  There’s our increasing visibility in the entertainment realm.  More notables have come out–including film director/producer Lee Daniels, broadcaster Don Lemon, and sports figures Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon.  (And, it seems that the vast majority of Queen Latifah’s body has already “fallen outta the closet!”  Just kidding, but seriously!  LOL.)  As well, we have the surge in marriage equality.

     But even with all of THAT, feeling fully and totally “comfortable in your own skin” as a Gay/SGL man (which translates into being your authentic self) can still present challenges—which can be particularly amplified, daunting and frustrating during the holidays.  Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I’ve decided to explore whether or not you should come out on “Turkey Day.”  

     “Thanksgiving may seem like an opportune moment to come out since you will have a captive audience,” states Ramon Johnson, African-American gay life expert.  “However, you can also find yourself trapped in the situation despite the outcome.”

     Johnson continues, “Your coming our scenario can play out in either one of three ways:  your parents could freak out, they could love you dearly or be indifferent.  We often have in our heads how our parents will react.  They may have made homophobic comments in the past, sneered at a gay couple, or made innuendos about their openness to everyone.  Even if you think you’re sure of how they will respond, you could be quite surprised.”

     The gay life expert speaks about his coming out experience.  “I was sure by me coming out that my relationship with my mom was over.  Instead, she shrugs the news off with a ‘I already knew that’!  It was far less dramatic than I anticipated.” 

     So, should you make your “Grand Announcement”, say, at the dinner table as you’re woofing down that juicy, DEE-LI-CIOUS turkey with dressing…and the rest of “dem other vittles?”  Johnson weighs in.

     “A parent’s feelings about homosexuality and their feelings about their child being gay could be quite different.  You can’t be certain how they will respond.  Also, there will be other family members around.”  He adds, “Coming out doesn’t have to be a group announcement.  It should be an intimate conversation and a moment with the people in your life.”

    The gay life expert emphasizes the following: “Have the conversation not in the busyness of the holiday, but when you will have time to talk about your feelings and what your sexual identity really means.  A big family dinner may not be the best time to have that conversation.”

     (Gourmet) food for thought, eh?  Well, give your decision a helluva lot of thoughtful and deliberate consideration before making…and then announcing it.  And, don’t’ forget to “Git  Yo’ Gobble-Gobble On!”

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John Continues to Step Up to the Plate, Batting Home Runs

     While conducting my usual round of research, I uncovered a rather timely article by Darryl Hannah for Inside Philanthropy entitled, “With HIV Infections Rising among Gay Men, This Funder Aims to Sound the Alarm.”  Hannah stated, “Here in the U.S., AIDS can feel like yesterday’s news, and many funders long ago moved on to other issues, including many LGBT funders who’ve been focused on rights issues.”

     The writer continued, “In fact, though, the rate of new HIV infections remains very high, and is rising.  But you’d never know that judging by the complacency of the media or, unfortunately, of many gay men.  Which is why the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s (EJAF) latest grant making includes funding to raise awareness of the persistent threat of HIV.”

     According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the following dire and gloomy realities are concrete, undeniable evidence that we continue to need EJAF support, clout…and dollars more than ever:

  • In 2010, over 15,000 individuals died of AIDS.
  • Although gay/SGL (same gender loving) men make up just two percent of the U.S. population, they account for 55 percent of all AIDS deaths.
  • This two percent comprise the majority, 56 percent, of people living with HIV.
  • Gay/SGL men account for 66 percent of new HIV infections.
  • 12 to 13 percent of gay/SGL and bisexual men in the U.S. are HIV-positive—including one in five in many major American cities.
  • When you examine HIV/AIDS infections among African-American gay/SGL and bisexual men, the numbers are nearly doubled.

     Hannah wrote, “In short, AIDS is hardly a plague of the past in the gay community.  But it’s seen as such, and the Kaiser study found that few gay men said they discuss HIV with friends and sexual partners and 30 percent had never been tested for HIV.  Only a third knew that HIV infections are rising.  A majority said they were ‘not concerned’ about HIV.

     “It’s frightening findings like these that has the Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders fighting HIV/AIDS, sounding the alarm more loudly and looking for ways to challenge rising complacency about AIDS in the LGBT community.”

     Recently, EJAF formed a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.  The Foundation awarded this national LGBT organization a $300,000 grant to increase awareness of HIV prevention, treatment, and care among LGBT persons—with a specific focus on young gay/SGL and bisexual men, and transgender women.  The Foundation also hopes to increase awareness and access to care for low-income individuals.

     Additionally, EJAF has just announced $1.5 million in grants, which includes funding to combat stigma confronting those who are poz.

     According to Hannah, “Sir Elton John himself remains as dedicated to this issue as ever.  And deeply worried, too, about issues that he wants more widely shared.  In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, he wrote:

     “’…as engaged as the gay community and civil rights activists have been in the fight for marriage equality, we have lost ground on the fight that so intensely galvanized the gay community to begin with:  HIV and AIDS…we are failing to maintain the kind of basic awareness and education that is needed to save lives’.”    

They Don’t Wanna Cruise Your Type

Greetings! First, let me say that I’m so proud and honored by the overwhelmingly positive response I have received regarding my novel, NOTHING CAN TEAR US APART–UNCENSORED! I’m truly blessed.

One of the pivotal reasons I wrote the novel was to demonstrate that there are actually Black and Latino gay men out there who are in loving, monogamous relationships. Unfortunately, according to the Media, one is hard-pressed to find that.

Some time ago, I wrote an award-winning, popular series on racism within the LGBT community for QBLISS entitled, The Cancer That Slowly Consumes Our Very Souls: Racism. The following is an excerpt from that influential series. It details how race influences and plays into the formation of gay identities. This has a deep, profound, and telling impact on who we choose to date, and have sex and partner with–and who does the same regarding us.

So, without further adieu…..

 

They Don’t Want to Cruise Your Type

In Part Four of The Cancer that Consumes Our Very Souls: Racism, I referenced the paper “They Don’t Want to Cruise Your Type: Gay Men of Color and the Racial Politics of Exclusion,” written by Chong-suk Han and published in the January 2007 edition of Social Identities. Exceptionally well-researched and written, and theoretically sophisticated as well, his treatise effectively and overwhelmingly demonstrates how white supremacy within the GLBTI community marginalizes and negatively impacts its minority populations. Han states, “In this paper, I examine the forms of racism that are found in gay communities and show how race is implicated in the construction of gay identities. Particularly, I focus on subtle forms and blatant forms of racism that negate the existence of gay men of color and how racism affects the way we see gay men.”

A full-time lecturer in sociology at Temple University, Dr. Han also is a researcher, whose work in particular points to how sexual and racial stereotyping and internalization combine to put gay Asian Pacific men at greater risk of HIV infection. He has been published widely in such theoretical social science journals as Critical Sociology, Sexuality and Culture, and Social Identities, and in health research/social work periodicals including AIDS Education and Prevention, Health and Social Work, and the Journal of Transcultural Nursing.

In order to retain the robust flavor and full potency of Dr. Han’s “They Don’t Want to Cruise Your Type: Gay Men of Color and the Racial Politics of Exclusion”–which I firmly believe is an eye-opening, landmark work–I will present material from it mostly word for word. So, without further adieu…

In his introduction, Han states, “Despite the civil rights dialogue used by the gay community, many ‘gay’ organizations and members of the ‘gay’ community continue to exclude men of color from leadership positions and ‘gay’ establishments, thus continuing to add to the notion that ‘gay’ equals ‘white.’ Likewise, gay men of color experience homophobia within their racial and ethnic communities.”

He speaks about a “forum on race” which he attended. “As the audible levels of conversations begin to wane, organizers urge the audience of some 200 men, and a handful of women, to take their seats so we can all begin. Within minutes, a representative of the host agency lays out the ground rules of discussion—most noticeably that we will not, given the limited time, try to define racism while quickly offering that, ‘everyone is capable of racism,’ a definition than many men of color in the audience would, if given the chance, vehemently dispute.

Perhaps it wouldn’t have been such an issue if members of the community who were invited to help plan the forum hadn’t spent weeks arguing for the need to discuss racism in the gay community, rather than focus solely on race. Or perhaps it wouldn’t have been such a slight if they were asked to provide an alternative definition of racism, particularly who is able, within the larger social structure, to practice it rather than being left with only one definition of it. In fact, the title ‘Race Forum’ was specifically chosen, against the suggestions offered by members of the community, so that the focus could be on ‘race’ rather than the trickier topic of ‘racism.’”

Han continues, “’It’s like they didn’t hear a thing,’ a member of the ‘community’ told me immediately after the announcement. ‘Why did we go to the meetings? It’s like we weren’t even there. We might as well be invisible.’ Though flabbergasted, he also told me that ‘It’s no surprise.’ It seems that for this member of the community, speaking up and being ignored has come to be a common occurrence. After all, being a gay man of color is to experience the unnerving feeling of being invited to a potluck while being told not to bring anything since nobody would be interested in what you bring, and then not being offered any food since you didn’t bring anything anyway.”

Next, the sociologist/researcher expands the discussion by asserting, “gay America has given a whole new meaning to the term ‘whitewash.’” Han writes, “Whiteness in the gay community is everywhere, from what we see, what we experience, and more importantly, what we desire. The power of whiteness, of course, derives from appearing to be nothing in particular. That is, whiteness is powerful precisely because it is everywhere but nowhere in particular. When we see whiteness, we process it as if it doesn’t exist or that its existence is simply natural. We don’t see it precisely because we see it constantly. It blends into the background and then becomes erased from scrutiny.

And this whiteness is imposed from both outside and inside of the gay community. According to Allan Berube, the gay community is overwhelmingly portrayed in the heterosexual mind as being ‘white and well-to-do.’ Media images now popular in television and film such as Will and Grace, My Best Friend’s Wedding, In and Out, Queer as Folks, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, etc., promote a monolithic image of the gay community as being overwhelmingly upper-middle class –if not simply rich—and white.”

Han explains, “While mass media will often use stereotypes to sell minority characters to majority audiences, the gay media are no less to blame for the promotion of the ‘gay equals white’ misconception. Even the most perfunctory glance through gay publications exposes the paucity of non-white images. It’s almost as if no gay men of color exist outside of fantasy cruises to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, of the ‘Orient.’

And even then, they exist only to fulfill the sexual fantasies of gay white men. ‘Exotic’ vacations to far away places are marketed to rich white men, and poor colored bodies are only another consumable product easily purchased with western dollars. As such, gay men of color, whether found within western borders or conveniently waiting for white arrival in the far corners of the globe, are nothing more than commodities for consumption.”