Category Archives: blog

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Seven: Me & IPV

I‘ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part Seven of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse.  

     As you’re aware, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  And, Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) is an integral part of this yearly event.

     IPV/A, generally known as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community, is more widespread than was once previously believed.  Each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay/SGL men are battered. 

     In other words, IPV/A is no joke.

    I’m a survivor of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  I’ve shared my story with the Advocate, the nation’s largest and most influential LGBTQ media source.  Visit:  https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/12/06/making-great-escape-abusive-relationship

     And remember:

     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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/

     The time to break the cycle is NOW!

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Six: October is DVAM!

 I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part Six of the ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

      It’s purple month!    

     Now, you may ask: “What’s that?”  

     Allow me to explain.  You see, we wear purple—actually, a purple ribbon—as a symbol used to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence/abuse (DVA), which can include sexual violence. In the LGBTQ community, DVA is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

     Statistics show that IPV/A occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, 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.  

     Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence and abuse are growing problems.  What makes matters worse:  incidences of IPV/A often are underreported–particularly amongst same-sex couples 

     Let’s drill down even further.  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. For 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. 

     For more data and statistics that illustrate the full picture of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, visit:  http://wyattevans.com/the-ipva-chronicles-part-three/

 

     In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to share with you how this observance came to be–and how it has grown.  

    National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity, which was established by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981.  The intent was to connect battered women advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.  

     Soon, when a range of activities was conducted at the local, state and national levels, the Day of Unity became a special week.  These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors–but had common themes:  mourning those who had died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who had survived, and connecting those who worked to end violence and abuse. 

     Then in October 1987, the inaugural Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed.  In that same year, the first national toll-free hotline was initiated.  And in 1989, the U. S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112, designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  

     In October 1994, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of deaths due to domestic violence and abuse.  And on October 11, 2003, the U.S. Postal Service issued their “Stop Family Violence” stamp.  A young girl, who expressed her sadness about domestic violence, created the design of this first-class stamp.  Profits from the sale of the stamp were transferred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist domestic violence programs. 

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE man holding bat to another man

     Until We Return…       

     As stated earlier, I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/Aa 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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

BREAKING NEWS

The Renaissance Man

     Renaissance Man!  That’s what  Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), one of the most influential national LGBTQ media outlets, has just bestowed upon me.  And I like it!

     Read PGN’s portrait on your’s truly at http://www.epgn.com/arts-and-culture/portraits/15009-wyatt-o-brien-evans-man-of-many-trades-and-accomplishments

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Five: Just Throw Away the Key

I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community. This is Part Five of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse.

     This dysfunctional, destructive—and potentially deadly—syndrome is known as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), which is domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the LGBTQ community.

     According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), IPV/A 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.” Every year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay/SGL men are battered. About one in four LGBTIQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way.

     In other words, 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 out of you.

     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.

     A couple of years ago, I interviewed Kyle for Wyattevans.com. Kyle’s story didn’t end then; there’s an update.

     But before jumping into that, let’s revisit his story.

 

     The Black and Blue of it All.

     Kyle, a Caucasian in his ‘30s, is an IPV/A survivor. He agreed to sit down with me on the condition that I refer to him by his middle name. Kyle says that “Derrick,” his ex-partner, a few years older, and African-American, horrifically abused him for nearly two years.

     WYATT: Kyle, thanks for agreeing to tell your important story. When and how did you meet Derrick?

     KYLE: (His eyes light up.) It at a Sprint store in Laurel (Maryland). Our eyes locked, and the chemistry was instantaneous!

     KYLE: He initiated a conversation, and we walked outta the store together. He took my number and said he’d call. (Pause.) I couldn’t wait! I was so damned attracted.

     WYATT: Kyle, exactly what was the attraction?

     KYLE: Wyatt, I was very needy. Derrick was easy-going and self-assured and seemed nurturing. And so handsome! He was that “daddy” I was looking for.

     WYATT: When did he call?

     KYLE: Late that night, and we talked for hours! Derrick wanted to see me the next evening, at my apartment. Since he was insistent, I agreed. I was flattered.

     WYATT: And that evening?

     KYLE: Immediately, we ended up in bed. And the sex was absolutely mind-blowing! We became a couple right after that.

     WYATT: How long did the “honeymoon” last?

     KYLE: (He laughs nervously.) Not very long. Derrick became possessive—constantly calling to check up on me. Wanting me with him practically 24/7. Isolating me. He was such an overwhelming presence.

     KYLE: But being needy, I liked it–at first. Thought it was love. I kept saying to myself, “I’m so lucky to have him!”

     KYLE: And the sex was a drug.

     WYATT: Things became even more extreme, correct?

     KYLE: Absolutely! The mind control began. Derrick told me how to think, act, and dress. And my biggest mistake was agreeing to let him move in with me.

     KYLE: (Suddenly, he becomes solemn.) The verbal—racial crap, etc.—started soon after.

     WYATT: And the physical?

     (He takes a deep breath.)

     KYLE: A few weeks after moving in, he accuses me of cheating. Totally ridiculous! Derrick was all up in my face, shouting. I was totally petrified!

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE man holding bat to another man

     KYLE: Then, he decks me. Hard! I fall to the floor.

     (Kyle begins to sob. I ask him to take his time.)

     KYLE: I was completely “out of it.” Then, Derrick grabs me by the collar, screaming, “You nasty little white whore! Wake tha fuck up! We ain’t done yet!”

     KYLE: Next, he drags me to the bathroom. To the toilet! And then he…”

     WYATT: And then he what, Kyle? (He’s sobbing heavily now, rocking back and forth. He’s in “flashback mode.”)

     KYLE: He…he shoves my head into the toilet! Over and over again! (Pause.) Water’s all up my nose. I’m gasping for air. I felt like I’d pass out.

     (Long pause.)

     KYLE: Actually, I just wanted to go to sleep…and not wake up.

     Kyle stated that the verbal and physical abuse worsened and escalated. Fortunately, another gay couple helped him make his “Great Escape.”

     I asked Kyle why he stayed as long as he did. “Out of fear, shame, such little self-worth. Not to mention the stigma.” Kyle’s moved out of the area and is in counseling.

     And Derrick? He’s doing jail time.

 

     He Just Couldn’t Leave “Well Enough” Alone.

     Eventually, Derrick was released…and hunted Kyle down. The aftermath?

     WYATT: Kyle, thanks for sitting down with me again. I understand there’s more to your story.

     KYLE: Sure. (After inhaling deeply, he swallows.) However, I’m gonna be brief because this shit is still weighing heavily on me. I’m workin’ real hard to put it behind me. Dredging it up is painful.

     WYATT: Understood. (Pause.) Please, just take your time.

     KYLE: (He tries to hold back tears.) You see, I didn’t get word that the mufucka had been released. I was pissed! (He’s choking up.) That blindsided the hell outta me. And somehow, he tracked me down.

     WYATT: Yeah. It’s the classic case of SVA, Separation Violence and Abuse; you know, violence that can occur after leaving your abuser.)

     (Instantaneously, a pall of sadness, grief, and anger gripped Kyle, hanging over him like a shroud. What happened that night leapt from his mouth in a stream of consciousness:)

     KYLE: Okay, okay….it was an exceptionally muggy night, and the humidity was a pain… I live on this relatively quiet street and had just gotten home from grocery shopping. Right after I got outta the car, I was jumped from behind! A sick feeling in my gut told me that it was him, that bastard Derrick. He got me in some kind of chokehold and it was so tight that I could barely breathe…and then, I felt a gun pressing hard into my side…and I just froze! Gawd, now I began to panic…and then, he took that gun and hit me upside the head with it. That fuckin’ hurt! ”Oh, no!” I thought. “I can’t black out now…I have to keep it together if I’m gonna get out of this shit in one piece.” Finally, he spoke: “I’m back, bitch, and I ain’t finished wit you yet! I gotta score to settle. Let’s take a little drive in my ride…” He was enraged, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was in deep shit. Fortunately, the adrenalin kicked in… and that self-defense course I took months ago taught me some moves and I managed to get him off of me…the gun flew outta his hand. That shocked the shit outta him, throwing him off his game. We were both on the pavement…the gun landed in the bushes…I jumped up on my feet…Derrick was right behind me…I was yelling and hollering at the top of my lungs…then, he got ahold of me again…it seemed I’d lost all understanding and track of time. But then like out of nowhere, my neighbors suddenly popped up! They surrounded the asshole, wrestled him down, and held him for the police, who took him away.

     WYATT: And?

     KYLE: Thank God that the judge really took a hard line. Since he was a repeat domestic violence offender, the assault got categorized as corporal injury to a spouse that results in a traumatic condition, i.e. an injury. She (the judge) sentenced the bastard to eight years in state prison. She said she had to make him an example.

     WYATT: So, Kyle, how do you feel? Do you feel vindicated in any way?

     KYLE: (He hesitates.) I’m still numb, you know? (Pause.) He’s gonna get out eventually. (He’s really working hard to hold back the tears.)

     KYLE: (Now, he’s stuttering. Big time.) And uhm…will…will he come after me again? I mean, I really dunno how I feel.

     WYATT: Kyle, thanks for sharing. Your story is continuing to shine a bright light on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse. You’re helping to kick it out of the shadows.

     KYLE: (He could only nod “yes.” He was drained.)

     Know that 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.

Sign says: There is no pride in domestic violence

     Until We Return…

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a 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 includes resources to assist victims. Visit: http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

A Subversive Take On PRIDE? 

     Mr. Aundaray Guess, an African-American columnist for Poz.com, has given his thought-provoking—and perhaps subversive—take on PRIDE.

     Mr. Guess presents what seems to be rather compelling reasons he has chosen NOT to celebrate the June festivities. 

     See what you think.  Visit  https://www.poz.com/blog/5-reasons-celebrate-pride#lid=d5ab18bd98.f61896809a

Workin’ Dat Mic!

     Special Announcement, Y’all! 

     This fall, I’m reinventing and relaunching my radio show!  Entitled Raw N Real with Wyatt O’Brian Evans, it’s gonna be a truly fab-u-lous listening experience–ab-so-lute-ly off da chain and hook, with divine Fi-Yah and desire!  You’ll hear from titillating, tantalizing and provocative guests from all walks of life.

     In other words, it’s gonna be tight like…dat.  Y’all are gonna say, “Dang!  Dat was hawt!”  

     ALERT!  I’ve convinced Ms. Cuntish Cumshot, “Drag Queen Supreme,” to return and join me on the mic!  And Y’all know just how cray-cray she can be.

     So, to whet yo’ appetite, and to git you in the mood and in the groove, I’ll be presenting select episodes from Wyatt’s Man Cave (WMC), the previous iteration of my radio show.  Today’s special selection is my debut WMC installment: “Put the ‘FI-YAH’ Back into Your Relationship.” 

    Ahhhhhhhhh…thoroughly marinate yo’self in the experience and…enjoy!  Freakin’ YOWZA.

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

JOSE ESPARZA

Soul Voyages

Our weakest moments in life often come when faced with adversity. The ability to cope with difficult situations can define who we are and how we go forward in life’s journey.”

     Jose Esparza, an emerging author full of promise, exemplifies—no actually, embodies—these instructive and inspiring words. And this heartfelt and captivating scribe has an engaging, scintillating—and rather impressive—debut with Voyages: Poetic Journeys.

     His brand new collection of poetry feels like a warm blanket wrapped all around you—though just warm enough and not too tightly–making you feel snug, safe, purposeful. And replete with hope.

     Voyages: Poetic Journeys takes you on a wondrous ride of revelation, insight, light, and adventures of the heart. Quite relatable and accessible, Voyages is a triumph for Mr. Esparza, who faces daily challenges of physical disability, and has had to work his way through the premature loss of a life partner.

     Voyages: Poetic Journeys is a must-read. This volume is poignant, sublime. And affecting.

Jose Esparza Book Cover

     Just recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Esparza. So, let’s delve right into his world.

     WYATT: Jose, congrats on your debut work!

     JOSE: Wyatt, thanks for introducing me to your WYATTEVANS.COM audience.

     WYATT: You’re very welcome! So, how have things been for you since the release of Voyages? Excitement? Surprises? And, what were the reactions/support from your fam and friends?

     JOSE: Well, it has been a wild ride of emotions. Actually, my good friend Drew Gray is responsible for challenging me to make this dream a reality. The support from friends and family has been amazing! My dad shared my book with the daughter of the lady who taught me how to write my first poem. And she loved it! I also shared my book with a few co-workers and they all were impressed.

     WYATT: As you know, a title can make or break a book. You’ve said that, and I quote, “The reason I chose Voyages as the title is because I wanted to take the reader on a voyage through the many emotions in my journey.” Now, that’s deep! Tell our readers more.

     JOSE: Ever since my early days as a poet, I have had a metaphorical roller coaster in my mind. I wanted the reader to feel the thrills and chills of each poem. I always try to leave the reader in a state of “What a rush!” Whenever a reader tells me the poem made them feel sad, happy, cry, etc., then I know I’ve constructed a fantastic ride of the mind.

     WYATT: Jose, I know that when I completed my debut work, the first installment of my Nothing Can Tear Us Apart series, I felt I’d achieved the most difficult—yet most rewarding–accomplishment to date. I’d created, nurtured, and given birth to the “baby” that I’d been carrying around inside me for quite some time! To this day, it’s still somewhat hard to fully explain. Did you have similar feelings?

     JOSE: Yes, my feelings are very similar. From a young age, I felt like eventually, I wanted my writing to be out in the world. It was a dream that was stifled by self doubt for a long time. When I finally hit the “publish my book” button on the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) my first thought was “Holy shit! Is this happening?”

     I still think the experience feels surreal. I sold twenty copies my first couple weeks and for me, it felt like a massive accomplishment. I didn’t have a major publisher behind me. No book signing tour in bookstores. Just social media. The fact I sold that many within a month made me swell with pride.

     WYATT: Now Jose, let’s travel back to your beginnings. I understand you’re a California native?

     JOSE: I was born and raised in Northern California, in Sonoma County. I lived everywhere there…ha ha! Not really, but it feels that way.

     I currently reside in Rohnert Park. Just as a point of reference: San Francisco is about 45 miles south of me. I grew up mostly in Cloverdale. I attended K-12 and graduated Cloverdale High School in 2000.

     WYATT: Tell me about your family. How many siblings? Are you the youngest?

     JOSE: I’m the baby. There are only two of us. My sister is actually six years and one day older. We are very close. She was actually the first person I came out to as gay in my family.

     WYATT: So Jose…what kind of kid were you? On the “straight and narrow?” Mischievous? Studious? Athletic? Nerdy?

     JOSE: I was always the “straight and narrow” kid at school. Growing up in a small town where everyone knows your business scared me. My uncle owned a video store in town and that was my small town claim to fame.

      I was also brought up in a very religious home. The expectation was to be as perfect as can be. That meant no cutting school, no premarital sex–you know, all the stuff good little Christian boys aren’t supposed to do. In fact, I hid my sexuality so well not even my closest girl friend knew I was gay.

     WYATT: Jose, I understand that you were born visually impaired.

     JOSE: I was born with a condition that in layman’s terms is water on the brain. As a result, my eyes did not develop correctly. I have 20/20 central vision with glasses in my left eye. I can see just a little out of my right eye.

     I use a blind cane which often makes people curious. I use it because I see right in front of me, but it’s like seeing out of a scope. I can’t see from either side. I also lack a level of depth perception.

     WYATT: How has the disability impacted your life?

     JOSE: This is always a hard question to answer because I was born this way. I wasn’t born sighted and then lost it. It has had its challenges for sure. There are things I will never get to experience: I can’t drive a car. I can’t scuba dive (too much pressure on the brain). Technically speaking, I can’t ride a bike. However, I have experienced riding an adult trike. That was fun until I crashed!

     Work has its challenges. I work in retail with clothes. Sometimes it’s a challenge getting sensors off certain dresses. I also have challenges with public transportation. I’ve learned to just (pardon the pun) roll with it.

     WYATT: How old were you when you first had that life-changing spark to become a writer? Was a certain situation or/and person responsible?

     JOSE: Well, to be honest, I never thought I would become the writer I am today. I had aspirations of ministry work; but at the time, I didn’t realize that I really didn’t want to pursue that profession. You see, I wanted to make my parents proud so I explored the possibility of being a pastor.

     I would say that spark you mentioned happened even before my first poem back in elementary school. I must have been about 13.

Precious

Precious moments are many

Often subtle with no warning

A newborn’s first cry

Like a melody on a mother’s ear

As the tree of life enriches our lives

The more precious each moment

Acquaintances come and go

Precious friends are like gems

Precious moments are many

Often subtle with tears of joy

A goal accomplished obstacle defeated

Like a baby’s first steps in life

A progression through time

Precious moments are many

Savor every one of them

As subtle as they may be

They are diamonds in the rough

©2019 Jose Esparza All Rights Reserved

     WYATT: You began by writing short stories in elementary school, correct? What was that like?

     JOSE: I absolutely loved it! It was in my special education class taught by one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Brennan. Once a month, he would put random pictures on a bulletin board. He would ask us to write a story about any picture we chose.

     He saw that spark you inquired about. He had another project just for me that he put aside. I can’t recall if it was a weekly thing or a couple times a week. I idolized Joe Montana as a kid. He would write little writing prompts “From Joe.” I loved this project, and every entry was like a little mini-story exercise.

     WYATT: In high school, you began writing poems in your sophomore year. Why the transition to poetry?

     JOSE: Believe me when I say it just happened. I had to transition from special-education to the regular English class. My teacher gave us an assignment: to write a poem about somebody we had respect for.

     I freaked out as I did not realize at the time that poems did not have to rhyme all the time. There was a lady from church who always offered to help me with homework. I took her up on this particular assignment.

     Little did I know she would unlock the box of poetry. I remember that she taught me poetry had to have two things: first, it needed to be from the heart. The second is cadence. If it lacked either of those two things, then it wasn’t a poem. After I realized how easy it was to write the poem, I explored my newfound form of words even more.

     WYATT: Intriguing! Jose, you’ve stated that your poems evolved over time into what you consider “multi-layered” poems. Do elaborate.

     JOSE: Wyatt, when I started writing poems, they were faith-based and there was no mistaking them as such. Over time, I learned to write poetry that was open for interpretation. Someone might take a poem and think it’s about one thing, then read deeper into it and see that it could also be about something else.

     WYATT: Now, if we may, I’d like to discuss your coming out process. When did you first determine you were gay?

     JOSE: I would say I knew I was gay at thirteen years old. I remember watching the fitness programs on ESPN before going to school. Instant attraction to the male physique. I didn’t understand it. I grew up being taught God made heterosexuals.

     It wasn’t until I was 27 that I came out, first to my sister…although, I think I really inadvertently came out to my brother-in-law at his bachelor party. I had been talking to a friend of his asking how I should approach my sister, and I suspect my brother-in-law caught wind of our conversation.

     Soon, I came out to my parents. It was hard! They did not handle the news well. Thankfully over time, they came around.

     WYATT: Let’s fast-forward to Voyages. Why a book of poetry?

     JOSE: Poetry is my passion! It’s my outlet of expression. Occasionally, I will write a short story as a means of personal therapy. However, I have yet to use it as a means of a work to publish. Perhaps I will soon!

     WYATT: Just how long had Voyages been gestating within you before you first put pen to paper?

     JOSE: Well, I guess you could say a lifetime! I’ve had a dream to publish something. I did dabble in songwriting. Unfortunately, that venture went nowhere. The collection of poems in Voyages goes back ten years.

     WYATT: What’s your creative process like?

     JOSE: My creative process is rather fluid. Maybe “random” is a better word. Rarely do I ponder an idea for a poem for more than a few minutes before I write. I look for inspiration through anything, from a song to an object. I have a poem (“Mermaid’s Pearl”) that was inspired by a necklace that was given to me.

     WYATT: You’ve said that Voyages “is a tribute to the legacy of persistence,” and that having disabilities taught you to never give up on what you want. Do some of the poems in Voyages reflect on that lesson? If so, how?

     JOSE: Yes. All of them do to certain degrees. My hope with this book is to encourage readers. Many poems are about obstacles one faces in life. My obstacles happen to be the loss of my life partner David and my disabilities. I wrote a poem (“Legends”) that speaks specifically to that. It was inspired by a man who was my physical education coach in collage. He always stressed the point that I am more than I give myself credit for. He always pushed me towards a new personal record.

Legends

When the nights are cold

Stories often are told

While Children hunger for adventure

Grownups long for inspiration

Legends are born through the darkness

They stand when it is easier to sit

Never settle for just the moon glow

Legends are ordinary with extraordinary will

They take the risk determined to win

The woman with no arm and a surf board

The man with no eyes but an arsenal of words

The man climbing out of addiction with purpose

The single parent striving to open doors of opportunity

The teacher that believes in incredible odds

These legendary hearts are heroes destined to inspire

©2019 Jose Esparza All Rights Reserved

     WYATT: You’ve also stated that other poems “reflect on overcoming the traumatic loss of (my) first love to heart disease. This collection was a labor of love he inspired.” Do expound.

     JOSE: Well, this is two-fold. David (his deceased partner) loved my poems. In fact, one evening he asked the question that I still think about. He asked me when I would write another poem.

     I was in a dry spell. I just shrugged my shoulder and said, “Whenever I get the inspiration.” His response was one of disappointment. I, unfortunately, was unable to write a poem before his passing. I decided this collection of work would be my love letter, if you will, to his memory.

     WYATT: How long were you with David, and how old were you when he passed?

     JOSE: David and I were together for fifteen short months, but it felt much longer. There was a significant age gap between us; however, it didn’t matter to us. We had a connection that made it work. I was 32 when he passed. He was three months shy of 60.

     WYATT: What do you most remember about him? What makes your heart and soul smile?

     JOSE: I remember his warm smile the most! David was my rock. Whenever I needed to talk or a shoulder to cry on, he was always there. He always did little things to remind me how much he loved me.

     I remember one day I was not having a particularly good day. I was out running errands before going home. When I got home, he had a bath complete with aromatherapy and candles waiting for me! I remember him saying, “You’re home now. I want you to forget about all your worries and just relax. I made you a bath and after that, I DVR’d something I think you’re going to like.” I have so many memories like that to look back on.

     WYATT: Jose, most aspiring authors never get to the finish line. In your opinion, what are the three most crucial things necessary to get “ovah that hump,” and to ultimately be successful?

     JOSE:

  1. Believe in yourself.

  2. Keep moving forward.

  3. Believe in your writing.

     WYATT: Great stuff!

     JOSE: When I started Voyages, I had a lot of self-doubt I had to overcome. I always shared poems with friends and family but that felt like a safety net. In my mind, friends are supposed to say positive things about your work. Therefore, I felt vulnerable because now I would be sharing my work beyond that safety net. I had moments where I thought it was too intimidating. Too many things could go wrong. All the negative scenarios played in my head.

     Then, there came a point where I remembered something: Walt Disney never gave up on his dream to be an animator–and look at what happened! He became a household name in the entertainment industry.

     I had to be the believer of and in my own work. I had to believe my dream of being a published author was about to become a reality.

     WYATT: Do you see any unique challenges that confront LGBTQ authors of color—particularly those who are Latina/Latino?

     JOSE: Yes, for sure. The majority of the Latino community is Catholic. I myself was raised protestant. My parents were raised Catholic, so I have a vague understanding of the guilt associated with being gay and Catholic. I think times continue to change for the better since my parents grew up, but I still think society within the context of religion has a long way to go.

     WYATT: Any upcoming book readings, events?

     JOSE: None yet. I’m still working on setting a few things up. I’m hoping to do a couple readings here in Sonoma County soon.

     WYATT: Do you have a specific mantra/philosophy for not giving up and continuing to strive for excellence?

     JOSE: Indeed! Some time ago, I saw a motivational speaker who was in a wheel chair. He had no legs and one arm. He wore a ball cap that read HANDI. He said, “The only handicap we have is the one we put on ourselves.

     I will never forget how that changed my mindset! Prior to that revelation, I always felt sorry for myself. I saw myself as the disabled kid who couldn’t do much. Also, I’m a huge Disney fan. When I read up on the history of Walt Disney and his own challenges, it made me appreciate Disney even more.

     WYATT: What’s on tap for Mr. Jose Esparza for the remainder of 2019?

     JOSE: Well, I am currently in the beginning stages of writing my next book. A title and release date are yet to be determined. I’m hoping to have it out in time for Christmas.

     WYATT: Jose, thanks for taking the time to chat with WYATTEVANS.COM! You’re an inspiration to us all. And, much continuing success to you.

     JOSE: It was my pleasure, Wyatt! Thanks.


 You may contact Jose at Jesp81@icloud.com; Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782318266;

On Twitter: @PoeticVoyages; Instagram: @PosticVoyages.

And, grab your copy of Voyages: Poetic Journeys at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1792168837/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_zdcJCb0JTK0XV_nodl

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Four: Down the Barrel of a Gun

I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part Four of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse.

     Welcome back.  This installment of The IPV/A Chronicles addresses a recent and disturbing phenomenon:   after nearly four decades of decline, Intimate Partner Violence murders are suddenly on the rise.

     The instruments responsible for these homicides?  Guns.  And just last week, the Huffington Post reported this alarming news.  To read the HuffPo article, visit:

     https://www.huffpost.com/entry/domestic-violence-murders-rising_n_5cae0d92e4b03ab9f24f2e6d?ncid=engmodushpmg00000006

     To note:  fortunately, there continue to be fewer fatalities in those states that have enacted gun control policies with real teeth.      

Until We Return…      

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a 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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

Tancredo Wedding

A WYATTEVANS.COM Exclusive: Tancredo & Jeff: “Love & Happiness!”

News flash, Y’all! Tancredo Buff—the perennially popular and sizzling adult entertainer (CALIENTE!!!)–and his partner Jeff, the payroll coordinator/accountant for a large and renowned art gallery in Buffalo, New York, recently tied the knot in an intimate ceremony!

  The couple graciously consented to give the exclusive interview to WYATTEVANS.COM! So Y’all: let’s “git tha 411!”

     WYATT: Tancredo and Jeff, thanks so much for giving WYATTEVANS.COM the exclusive scoop!

     TANCREDO & JEFF: It’s our pleasure, Wyatt.

     WYATT: Just when did the nuptials take place?

     TANCREDO & JEFF: On last December 1.

     WYATT: How nice! A Holiday affair.

   TANCREDO: Yes. We decided to do a simple ceremony as part of our annual Christmas party, in our residence. The ceremony was officiated in front of our Christmas tree.

     WYATT: And so dang festive! Do describe the ceremony for our readers.

     TANCREDO: We had been planning this for a couple months. We decided that the best way to do the ceremony when most of our closest friends could be present was as part of our Christmas party. Fortunately, one of Jeff’s friends is a former co-worker whose husband is a county court judge and we asked if he would officiate at the ceremony. He gladly accepted! The next step was to make sure everything was a surprise for as many of our guests as possible. We just mentioned to a couple of people to make sure they would be able to join us. However, there are details I am going let Jeff tell.

     JEFF: The two friends we chose as our witnesses were my boss of 15 years and our dear friend Jim, who owns a floral shop. Several years ago, when New York State passed its Marriage Bill, my boss had asked for the honor of ‘giving me away’ if my partner and I ever decided to get married. She practically jumped over her desk when I asked at the end of October if she still wanted to do it. When we asked Jim, he offered to do ‘special flowers’ and provide our wedding cake as his presents. During my years at the gallery, Luis (Tancredo’s real name) and I have developed a reputation for wearing matching outfits on special occasions. I found matching red velvet jackets, which we wore with matching shirts and black slacks.

     JEFF (continues): However, since the person who was making the cake had to come and set it up BEFORE the guests started arriving, the “element of surprise” had been compromised; but due to the layout of our apartment, and the HUGE floral centerpiece provided by our friend Jim, most of the guests didn’t even notice that the cake, which was decorated with poinsettia leaves and garland, had a topper of two men standing atop the words “Mr & Mr.” It also helped that the people who had been told in advance were all there early to help everything get set up.

     WYATT: Dang! And the plot thickens…!

     JEFF: About 7 PM, I decided that everyone who was going to show up was there, so I told Judge Case to go put his robe on, and Luis and I donned our matching Santa hats. I called for the attention of our guests. I reminded everyone that in our online invitation, I had written that this year there would be a special surprise for everyone. The surprise was that they had all been asked to be present for our wedding vows!

     JEFF (continues): Cheering and applause erupted… We took our places with Judge Case in front of the brightly lit Christmas tree and exchanged our vows! We then gave each other the custom-made wedding rings (that we had helped design) made by another dear friend who is a renowned local artisan. It was a magical evening!

     WYATT: I can tell! Now guys, let’s rewind. Let’s go back in time. When did you first meet?

     TANCREDO: We met on November 4, 2002, about two weeks after I arrived in Buffalo. We started living together in July of 2003.

     JEFF: We spent most of the time from November to June sleeping together at my apartment, except when my sons were visiting. When I took Tancredo to Pride in Toronto at the end of June 2003, I asked him then and there if he would move in with me.

Jeff at PRIDE

     WYATT: I see. Okay, now tell us about the how. And, what was the first thing that caught your eye about the other?

     TANCREDO: I was responding to my messages and received one from a person on a dating website (that no longer exists) that I forgot I had a profile there. I didn’t remember the password, so I requested it in order to access the message. I did, and it happened to be somebody in Puerto Rico that wanted to meet me.

     TANCREDO (continues): I replied that I was no longer living on the island; and after that, my curiosity led me to see who was around my new area. The first profile I saw was Jeff’s. He caught my attention in an instant, and I decided to send a message. I’ll let Jeff take it from here because the story gets very interesting!

     JEFF: On the first anniversary of 9/11, my computer was infected with what became known as the “World Trade Center Virus.’ It took me almost a month to get it cleaned up and restore my basic programs and functionality. Once I did that, I started restoring my dating profiles. One evening after work, I was going through my emails, and there was one telling me that I had a message from someone on a site I had totally forgotten about!

     JEFF (continues): I restored my access to that site and read a message from a handsome Puerto Rican man who had recently moved to Buffalo from the Island. Other than those gorgeous deep brown eyes…well, let’s just say that I was very intrigued by/attracted to this man’s physical assets. After exchanging messages for a few days, we talked on the phone and agreed to meet for dinner on the evening of November 4, 2002, at one of my favorite local restaurants. When he walked in the door, he was even more handsome in person than in his pictures!

     WYATT: Whoa! What was the courtship like?

     TANCREDO: For me, it continues to be a total experience!. Jeff loves details and being very sweet. We like to hold hands, talk sometimes and say “I love you,” even by text. In the tough times, we have stood together.

     JEFF: In my dating website profiles, I used the following phrase: “I hope to find a man who knows the difference between having sex and making love–and when each is appropriate.” With both of us being on very tight budgets, a lot of those early months were spent taking him to all the fascinating (and mostly FREE) things/places/events to see and do around Western NY.

     WYATT: Now, here’s a triple-barreled Q! How long did it take for you to fall in love with one another? How did you know it was love? What specific situation/special moment made you say, “Hey! He’s the one?”

Tancredo & Jeff Wedding

     TANCREDO: There have been different moments; but when cry together, keep view of each other when we have been sick when we argue, and in particular when we say, “I’m sorry” and look at each other faces, that is when I was sure he was the one.

     JEFF: On our very first evening together, we ended up at my apartment. I was showing him pictures of my sons and me that were taken on a trip to NYC in August of 2001, three weeks before 9/11. There was a pause in the conversation at one point, and he looked into my eyes, leaned over slightly (he’s nearly two inches taller than me)–and kissed me. Gently at first, then sensing my response, more passionately. We ended up in my bedroom, where he showed me that he indeed knew the difference between having sex and making love…some time in those first few dates… I fell in love. To this day, when he looks into my eyes that way’… it brings back that first night…and I know all over again how much I am loved. And how much I love him.

     WYATT: Has either of you been in a committed relationship with another before?

     JEFF: I was married to a woman for 20 years before I came out in 1997, and have two wonderful adult sons in their early ‘30’s. I was also in another committed relationship with a man from Spring 1998 to Autumn 2001.

     TANCREDO: I have never been married; though I was in love with a girl in high school. Then later in life, I had three formal relationships, the longest having lasted six years.

     WYATT: What specific situation or special moment prompted you to tie the knot?

     JEFF: I have to admit, it was the sudden death of my ex-wife at the end of that September that was the initial catalyst. With that tragic event came a feeling of release that I had never expected to have, even though our divorce had been finalized for over ten years. But also with it came the realization that I wanted to protect and provide for the man I had spent the last 16 years making a life with. And…to be totally honest, being a “numbers guy,” once I did the math, I realized that it was finally a good thing to do from a financial standpoint as well, because of the changes in the tax laws.

     TANCREDO: I have always dreamed of this moment that I once thought was slipping away. When we walked that evening and he told me about it I said: “it’s time.”

     WYATT: AWww, Sukie Sukie now! Okay—who proposed…and how?

     TANCREDO: Actually, we both did on different occasions. I remember telling him that I wanted to marry him shortly after we started our relationship, but we never thought that same-sex marriage would be legal at that time. We changed our Facebook status to engaged once same sex marriage was legal in the State of New York. But who made the final proposal was Jeff while we were walking our roommate’s dog in a stretch of park near our house.

     JEFF: As we were walking, I told Luis about how I finally felt “released” from my wedding vows of so long ago, and now that I was truly free–not only legally, but emotionally—I asked if he would still want to marry me. I told him that I wanted to marry him before the current federal administration tried to take the right away from us. 

    WYATT: Profound stuff! Let’s continue this thread.

     TANCREDO: These are times when you must secure your well-being and the one you love. Marriage has turned into not only an expression of love and fidelity but a way to validate your relationship and protect it in case something happens. In the past, I have seen friends losing everything thanks to the non-recognition of their relationships.

     JEFF: My feelings precisely! As the one whose lifetime earnings have been higher, if I die before Luis, he can now collect Social Security Survivor benefits based on my earnings, which would get him more than his own earnings to date would. I no longer have to worry about having the “who gets what” of every single thing I own spelled out to protect him from losing them. Not that my sons would ever try to do so, but until I execute my will, before our marriage, my sons would have automatically inherited everything–except the funds in my retirement savings plan, which Luis has always been the beneficiary of. Going forward, it now becomes the opposite. I now must specify which things I want my sons to inherit.    

      WYATT: Is marriage strengthening your relationship, intensifying your bond? If so, how?

     TANCREDO: Wyatt, I was asking myself that question not long ago and found myself smiling! I feel like having his last name makes both our lives that much stronger.

     JEFF: As I look down at the wedding ring on my finger, I know that in all the world, there is only one other like it. Those rings are the symbol of our special, our “custom-designed” bond.

     WYATT: Aight, let’s shift gears. Jeff, when did you first know Tancredo was an adult entertainer? How did you handle it? Has it impacted the relationship in any way?

   JEFF: Actually… I had done my own adult film before we met, which he has watched with me. We’ve even played as a couple with one of the other men who was in it with me. It was no shock, but I was very concerned about his ability to handle the rejection that can happen until one finds one’s niche. There have been times when I’ve asked him to reenact some of his scenes… and I think that his performing has make him a more confident lover.

     WYATT: Jeff, does Tancredo’s porn career “spice up” your sex lives? Does it make your relationship stronger? If so, how? As they say, “inquiring minds…”

     JEFF: As I stated earlier, there have been times when I have asked him to recreate his scenes with me… it also makes us both more confident that when we do have playful company, it is indeed only play. Love is so much more than sex…

     WYATT: Tancredo, would you like to chime in?

     TANCREDO: Well, we had spiced up our relationship long before I started doing scenes; but I have to say that it has made me feel more conscious about sex– and how to not abuse it.

     WYATT: Let’s move into another area, if we may. Any challenges being in an interracial relationship?

     TANCREDO: Not as much as I thought. I came from an interracial family but people here in the States overthink whom you have relationships with. That’s sad.

     WYATT: Tancredo, I copy that.

     JEFF: I am bi-racial myself (Caucasian and Native American). I have never had any qualms about having interracial partners. In fact, over the years, many people have told me how lucky I am to have found such a handsome, loving man as my papi! My most exciting lovers have always been of a different race than me.

     WYATT: Hey, I’ve gotta ask this: what’s your partner’s three most endearing qualities? And why?

     TANCREDO: His perseverance, knowledge, and sense of humor because they practically match with who I am.

Tancredo & Jeff pose at their wedding

     JEFF: His gentle nature – it can be like soothing music at the end of a difficult day, or during stressful times. His sense of humor–indeed, as he says, it’s a match with mine! And, his sexuality…watch him in action! Need I say more?

     WYATT: Well, all I can say is: “Grrrrrrr…WOOOFFFFFFFF!”

     WYATT (continues): Anyway…Tancredo, would you change anything about Jeff? Does he, like, have any annoying habits?

     TANCREDO: I have lived with Jeff more than a decade, so I’ve gotten used to many things. I wouldn’t consider changing anything because that would be controlling; and when/where there is love, there is acceptance.

     WYATT: Jeff, same Q for you.

     JEFF: He’s being far too kind – I can be an absolutely anal-retentive control freak, and sometimes I need to be called out about it, which he does.

     JEFF (continues): I think the one thing that I would change would be to see him be more aggressive in our love-making…and not always wait for me to make the first move!

     WYATT: Guys, has marriage changed the dynamics of your relationship in any way?

     TANCREDO & JEFF: It’s much too early to tell! We’re still trying to figure out what we have to do to get our names changed on Social Security cards, bank accounts, driver’s licenses, etc. Ask us again on our first wedding anniversary…

     WYATT: You got it! Tancredo, career-wise, what’s on tap for the rest of 2019?

     TANCREDO: My first appearance will be at the Ravens Eden Awards in April. It’s the first time these awards will have a ceremony. I am nominated in several categories including Best Versatile Actor. There are conversations for shootings during the year, but nothing confirmed at this moment. All my fans will be the first to know!

     WYATT: Good luck at the awards, my friend! We’re rootin’ for ya!

     WYATT (continues): Tancredo, how can we follow, connect with you?

     TANCREDO: Sure! You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And, you can write to me at tancredobuff@live.com.

     WYATT: Tancredo and Jeff, thanks so much for sitting down with WYATTEVANS.COM! I wish you much “Love and Happiness!” Lawd, I’m sounding like Al Green, the pop and soul icon!

     TANCREDO & JEFF: Yes, you are! And Wyatt, we are glad to be a part of WYATTEVANS.COM!

In Celebration of Black History Month

     Essex Hemphill—the openly gay, African-American poet and author—truly was a force of nature.  Groundbreaking, Mr. Hemphill blazed the way for talents including James Earl Hardy, E. Lynn Harris…and myself. 

     So, in celebration of Black History Month, I pay homage to this gifted artist—who certainly was before his time. 

     And left us way too soon.   

     Despite a relatively short literary career, Hemphill is arguably the most critically acclaimed and best-known contemporary openly gay African American poet and author.   He helped shatter the silence surrounding gay Black experiences and empowered other gay Black men to find their voices.  AIDS snatched this ahead-of-his-time, literary genius away from us much too prematurely–denying us of all the rich gifts I’m sure he wanted to share. 

     Essex and I were good buddies.  But before I reminisce about the personal side of this remarkable talent, let me share what made the man such an undeniable force in shaping and popularizing modern LGBTQ literature as a whole. 

     Born in Chicago on April 16, 1957, Essex grew up in Washington, D.C.  He began writing poetry when he was 14.  “I started writing about and addressing my homosexuality because it wasn’t there in the black text,” he recalled.  “And I needed something to be there to validate that my experience was real for me.”

Essex Hemphill

     Essex earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the University of the District of Columbia.  Believing that poetry should be heard, he regularly performed his work, often in collaboration with other D.C. African-American gay and lesbian artists.  In 1983, he, Wayson Jones and Larry Duckette teamed to create Cinque, a performance poetry group that combined cutting-edge political verse, vivid imagery about gay Black life, and tightly woven harmonies.  

     Quickly, the group amassed a loyal following.  And on one sweltering summer evening in 1985, I attended one of Essex’s performances, which was absolutely mesmerizing—and full of raw sexuality!    

     For me, that night became even hawter!  

     Cinque’s poetic style gained national attention in the next few years.  Today, “poetry slams” are mainstream.  Essex introduced this art form in a profound way—developing and fashioning it.  He gave it crucial visibility.

     In the 1980s, very few publishers were interested in the works of openly gay African-American writers.  Well, Essex didn’t wait for them to “come around.”  Instead, he self-published his first two collections of poetry, “Earth Life” (1985) and “Conditions” (1986).   His profile continued to rise after contributing to various anthologies and publications including the Advocate, Essence, Obsidian, and Gay Community News.

     After his close friend Joseph Beam succumbed to AIDS in 1988, Essex moved to Philadelphia to complete Beam’s anthology, “Brother to Brother:  New Writings by Gay Black Men.”   Published in 1991, it won a Lambda Literary Award, garnering widespread literary acclaim.

     The next year, a major publisher released Essex’s “Ceremonies:  Prose and Poetry,” which won the American Library Association’s Gay and Lesbian Book Award in Literature.  “Ceremonies” provided powerful insights into the constructions of race, gender, and sexuality in America.  The topics it addressed included the sexual objectification of Black men in white gay culture.

     The year 1993 was a virtual bonanza for Essex:  he received a Pew Charitable Trust Fellowship in the Arts and the Emery S. Hetrick Award for community-based activism from the Hetrick-Martin Institute.  And, he became a visiting scholar at Santa Monica, California’s Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities.

     After battling AIDS for several years, Essex passed away on November 4, 1995, in Philadelphia.  He was 38.

     Now, what do I remember about him as a friend?

     We met in April 1984, at the Potomac Electric Power Company, a major service provider in D.C.  Essex was a graphics designer while I was a writer within that utility’s corporate communications department.

     Immediately, “Es” and I connected.  We had things in common:  emotional accessibility.  A sense of free-spiritedness.  The preference for the Artist Known as Prince over Michael Jackson.  And most importantly, a hunger for writing.   We became fast friends.

      Confident in who and what he was, Es was totally unabashed about and firmly rooted in his sexuality.  The brotha had swagger!  His affecting smile and mischievous glint that danced in his eye could win you ovah in no time flat.

     Although Es was a sensitive, caring soul, he took no crap!  As well, he doggedly pushed back against any obstacles, turning his dreams into realities.

     Unfortunately, Es and I lost contact after he moved to Philly.  Although his struggle with AIDS was contracted, debilitating and agonizing, I was told that his spirit remained vibrant and strong.

     Es, you’re sorely missed.  Without you, would there have been an E. Lynn Harris?  James Earl Hardy?  

     Or for that matter–a Wyatt O’Brian Evans?

Body Builder

Ringin’ In the New Year With “MOE!”

 

Love can be so, so…well, over-rated.

As you know, I write a continuing series entitled, “Interview with an Escort.” The series is a raw and revealing portrait of “Jase,” an exclusive and highly in-demand NYC gay/SGL “Man of the Evening,” whom I first interviewed in March 2015.

Why have I decided to build a series around this individual? Three salient reasons: (1) arguably, the utilization of “specialized” services of escorts is a staple of gay and bisexual male culture; (2) this individual’s continuing saga has been one of the most popular articles on Wyattevans.com; (3) Jase is a fascinating brotha with charisma oozing outta his pores.

I’ll never share his website and contact information because this series is NOT about advertising or promoting his services. And, he fully understands and accepts that. 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. Holla!

In this installment, I’m bringing you up to date on what’s been going on in the sensual and salacious life of this primo “scort.” But first, let’s delve into the backstory of Jase, our MOC (Man of the Evening)!

The Why of it All.

Several 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.”

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 seven years now.

Uncommonly handsome, dominant and very self-assured, Jase (early ‘30s) exudes raw sexuality! And, let’s not even talk about the swagger.

At 6’2”, and now 240 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, this top man is 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.

And, you certainly don’t fuck with him…and him.

Cause, ya see, he’s ALL about dat money! Cha-ching, Cha-ching!

Talk to Me!

When we last met, Jase said that he’d secured a consulting gig. Although he still has it, he continues to escort. And, 2018 was quite profitable for MOE.

Right after the holidays, I had the opportunity to sit down with this imposing man. When he sauntered into the room, my jaw nearly hit the floor! He’d bulked up, but still retained his cuts, his definition. And there was that mesmerizing smile and hypnotic eyes! Lawd.

 

Here’s the interview:

WYATT: Jase, thanks for meeting with me again.

JASE: No prob, my man! You know I enjoy keepin’ your readers in the know.

WYATT: (I had to take a double-take. Actually, two.) Dang, my brotha! You’ve gotten freakin’ bigger!

JASE: (Grinning from ear to ear, flashing a naughty wink, and settling into the plush leather chair.) You like, huh?

WYATT: What’s not to like? (I quipped.) So, how’s bizness?

JASE: Great! 2018 was exceptional. Lots of escort work; meanwhile, I’m still holdin’ down the regular job.

WYATT: Do you ever think you’ll hang up your shingle?

JASE: (Flashing his very own version of the “The Rock’s” patented eye roll/scrunch.) You want an honest answer?

WYATT: Well, “honesty is the best policy,” my man.

JASE: At this point, hell no! Being financially fucked scares the hell outta me! The money from escorting is just too good to turn down. (Pause. Then, he points to his impeccable build.) And “lookit dis!” Guys should pay to sleep with me.

WYATT: As you know, lots of folks look down on what you do…actually, they vehemently disapprove of it! Jase, what do you say to those individuals?

JASE: (Shaking his head.) I don’t give a rat’s ass what they think! As I’ve stated before, I satisfy a need for companionship—and that interaction is not always sexual. And, it’s a transaction between two consenting adults. (Pause.) Clients seek me out; I don’t put a gun to their heads.

JASE: Lemme add that I’m not some cold, calculating bastard trying to roll over and get over on folk.

JASE: (Very matter-of-factly.) Man, everything in life is a transaction! A quid pro quo. (Pause.) Here’s an example. A wife wants her husband to agree to, say, a major purchase, and he doesn’t want to. She then withholds the sex! Eventually, he capitulates, gives in. As I said, everything in life is a transaction.

WYATT: I see. Do you ever have recreational sex? Do you ever make love to someone without dollars attached?

JASE: (Snuggling back in his chair.) Oh no, no, no! Listen: “Love can be so, so…well, over-rated.” And as I’ve said before, I’m a fuckin’ sexual connoisseur! Bottom line: being highly sexual, I fuckin’ crave sex–and with multiple partners. Variety is the name of my game.

JASE: I get off on being desired…and being in control sexually. Mos’ def.

WYATT: Jase, when last we talked, you stated that you were in an exclusive relationship—actually, I should say “arrangement”—with a wealthy German client. How’s that workin’ for ya?

JASE: Oh yeah, Helmut. (Pause.) But that’s been a wrap for more than a minnit. (To delineate and emphasize that point, he swipes his beefy hand across his thick neck, under his Adam’s apple.)

WYATT: I see. Who ended it?

JASE: (Doing his variation of the Rock’s eye scrunch.) Wyatt, U be “The Funny Man’! Me, of course!

JASE: (Continuing.) I have to say that when I was groovin’ with Helmut, it was an exclusive thang…I gave up my other clients. He was my sugar daddy– showering me with money, a new vehicle and credit cards in my name, etc., etc. (Pause.) And indulging in threesomes with him and his wealthy buds kinda quenched my thirst and scratched my itch for variety…if you catch my drift.

WYATT: Dang, and Yowza! (Pause.) Now Jase, inquiring minds wanna know: did Helmut’s buddies pay you for your…ahem, “po-ti-cu-lar” salacious services?

JASE: (Displaying a toothy grin.) Oh, hell yeah!

WYATT: And Helmut had no problem with any of that?

JASE: Well…it really wasn’t really his cup of tea, but he went with the flow.

JASE: (Now, getting a tad defensive.) Hey! He was well aware of what he was signing up for. (Yowling!) I’m an escort, for gawdsakes!

WYATT: (Lawd and Geesus, I’m cracking up!) Jase, clue me in: why did YOU call it quits?

JASE: Well…truth be told, I was fond of Helmut. He’s certainly easy on the eyes, and fuckin’ hawt in bed! As important, he had valuable business opportunities and life experiences that were beneficial. So, for a time, it was a win-win for both of us. And Lord knows he had a man on his arm who’s refined, well spoken, and sophisticated.

JASE: (Exhaling and then inhaling.) But after a while, Helmut began to get possessive…didn’t wanna share me…tryin’ to clock me…making more and more “suggestions” about how I should conduct my life. He started to think that he owned me! No way, Jose.

JASE: (Becoming animated.) You know, that fuckin’ rich Caucasian man’s entitlement shit! He tried to rewrite the script. My life is NOT a fuckin’ movie or TV show that the writer and executive producer creates and changes! I’m the ONLY one in control of my life. No one OWNS me.

JASE: (And then, with outstretched arms and full of bravado.) I mean… seriously? Look at me…just look at me!

WYATT: (At this juncture, I’m LMAO!!! Really.) Okay, okay! I’m lookin’, I’m lookin’…

WYATT: (Now, I’m shifting gears.) Jase, as a ‘scort, what’s the freakiest scene you’ve been in?

JASE: (Pondering, then flashing a broad, toothy grin.) Well, my brutha, “freaky” is relative. (Pause.) I can think of quite a few scenes; however, I’m gonna tease ya by mentioning one of the milder ones. When I write my memoirs, I’ll let it all hang out.

WYATT: Understandably.

JASE: Okay, okay. Once, I was the special “gift” for an interracial foursome–one black guy, three white dudes—for an entire night. It was freakin’ awesome!!!

WYATT: Dang, bro! Tell me a little mo’. (Pause.) Just keep in mind that I run a PG-kind of publication, here!

JASE: (Chuckling heartily.) Lawd man, you be “The Funny Man!” Anyway, here’s just one scenario: two white mouths swallowing my dick, one white mouth slobbering all over my hairy balls. Meanwhile, the brutha’s tongue ws diggin’ all up into my ‘cherryhole’!”

WYATT: Oh, myyyyyy….

WYATT: (Trying hard not to focus on that image!) Any other little “tidbits” you’d like to drop?

JASE: Nah. Buy my memoirs when they come out.

WYATT: True dat. Now tell us…what advice do you have for guys who wanna break into the escort biz?

JASE: First: be sure that it’s what you really wanna do. Second: stay away from drugs! Don’t accept any from clients. Third: be careful and be safe; be wary of law enforcement. Four: stay healthy! Five: save your benjamins, so you’ll be able to leave the bizness when you want.

WYATT: So, what’s next for you?

JASE: Well, since I luv me some monies, I’m gonna ride this gravy train for as long as I enjoy the ride! And for as long as it’s profitable.

JASE: (Howling again.) Yo! I’m coverin’ my black muscled ass in as many ways as I can? Ya feelin’ me?

WYATT: That I do! That I do.

(Suddenly, his phone buzzes.)

JASE: Ahhhh…a client! Gotta hit him back. Any thang else you need to know?

WYATT: Nope, that’s it. Jase, I appreciate your time and opening a window, if you will, for my readers. And as always, it’s been a pleasure!

JASE: Nah, it’s my pleasure, Wyatt.

WYATT: Thanks, my brotha.

Happy New Year 2019

As This Shiny New Year Unfolds…

Yowza!  As 2019 unfolds, Wyattevans.com will be Bigger, Badder and Bolder!

      First, let me thank each and every one of you for making Wyattevans.com the go-to-it online destination for news, views, features, and entertainment for the LGBTQ Community and its Allies!  More than 100 countries visit my online home regularly.  I’m proud and overjoyed! 

     In 2018, Wyattevans.com published thought-provoking articles and provocative features on relationships, HIV, depression, romance, and other critical issues that acutely impact the LGBTQ Community and its Allies.  Of course, this will be a continuing staple and hallmark for the New Year. 

     And let me assure you that my ongoing series of exclusives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–known as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community–will be a centerpiece of Wyattevans.com for 2019  

     Sadly and unfortunately, IPV/A is that “elephant in the room,” which means that way too often, this despicable, demoralizing and (at times) life-threatening cycle of behavior is “swept under the rug.”  Therefore, IPV/A isn’t addressed—which results in its perpetuation.

     In this shiny new year, you followers will read even more informative, riveting and inspiring personal stories of IPV/A victims and survivors–as well as continuing news and data on this critical societal issue.  These articles and features will also be syndicated in other publications, including the Huffington Post and WeSurviveAbuse.com, created by Tonya GJ Prince, a leading Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) Advocate, Specialist, Speaker…and Survivor.

     To bolster and spread the message, I’ll be conducting IPV/A seminars and workshops around the country.  My mission is to never stop shining a bright light on this insidious societal ill.       

    And do you know what I’m really jazzed about for 2019?  The relaunch of my radio show!  Due to popular demand, I return to the airwaves this Spring.

     With the working title, “Raw N Real with Wyatt O’Brian Evans,” the program will be uncut and uncensored, presenting diverse points of view.  Probing, insightful, cutting-edge and absorbing, the show will explore and dissect those issues that uniquely impact the LGBTQ Community and its Allies. And guess what?  Ms. Cuntish Cumshot, “Drag Queen Supreme,” returns to mix it up!  Freakin’ YOWZA.

     As well, I’m currently penning two works:  The next installment in the “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels, and a novella that’s somewhat of a departure from what you’re used to from me.  It’s challenging…and exhilarating!  And that’s as it should be (LOL). 

     Before I sign off, I must give one helluva Shout-Out and Thank You! to the so on-point Guest Columnists forWyattevans.com!  These include LaToya Hankins and R.L. Norman.  I’m fortunate that they continue to share their dynamic voices, their wealth of experience, and their unique perspectives with you readers.  And, Wyattevans.com will be adding more of these distinctive voices to the melting pot.

     So, there you have it!  My 2019 is gonna be Bigger, Badder and Bolder!  And Y’all are gonna be the beneficiaries.

     And now…what about your New Year?

     Just Seize The Freakin’ Year!!!

Black Family decorating their Christmas Tree

Happy Freakin’ Holidays, Y’all!!!

     Wyattevans.com and I want to wish You and Yours a Very Merry Freakin’ Holiday!  Honor, Cherish and have Big Fun with your family and friends.  And, make a point to appreciate and savor all the wondrous blessings you’ve received in 2018. 

     Then, be resolute in making 2019 your very “bestest” year!  And speaking of 2019, Wyattevans.com and I have many surprises in store for ya!  Stay tuned…

     Soooooo…kick back, relax with your fav hot drink (or drinks!  LOL.) and wait for Santa to drop down from the chimney with all of yo’ gifts.  In other words, go on wit yo’ badddddddddddd self

     Ho, ho, ho, ho…..!

Merry Christmas

Beating Dem Holiday Blues!

     Ohhhhhhhhh myyyyy gawd!  It’s THAT time of the year! 

     Again.

    Ya see, you’re an LGBTQ brotha or sistah (or whatever the hell your race or ethnicity happens to be.  LOL.) who’s really dreading THAT time of year.

     Soooooo, exactly what am I talkin’ ‘bout? 

     The Holidays, doggonit! 

      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?  Maybe, just maybe, into one helluva funk!  We’re talkin’ major depression.

     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.”

Lady Dressed as Santa Clause screaming

  • 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.”

     Sooooooooooo, instead of stressin’, pace yourself!  Remember that you and the Holiday do not need to be perfect!  Cherish your husbands, wives, other family members, intimate partners, and friends.  Have big fun with them!  And, treasure them.

     Appreciate and be thankful for each and every blessing you’ve received this year.  Be easy on yourself.

    And finally:  git the celebration on wit yo’ badddd self!  Jist do it to it!   

   (Now, see how this guy is feelin’?  Be him! ‘Cause ya know you want to….LOL.) 

 

   Merry Freakin’ Xmas, Y’all!  YOWZA…and all dat jazz.

Ferraris and Football

By Wyatt O’Brian Evans

PROLOGUE.

Yo! As y’all know, I’m Wyatt O’Brian Evans, author of the hawt, sexually-charged and action-filled series of novels entitled, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart.” The latest installment is FRENZY!” Check out: wyattevans.com/nothing-can-tear-us-apart-frenzy-book/

Now, due to popular demand, I’m re-presenting a fast-paced, tension-filled and sexxxy short for yo’ reading “pleah-zure!” Entitled “Ferraris and Football,” it’s the saga of two star-struck lovers, Ja’Shon (Shon) Benjamin and Wali Antonio Ramirez (WAR). Instead of a dark and stormy night, it all begins on a bright and sunny afternoon at an upscale Washington, D.C. eatery…but ends (or does it, really?) on a windy and treacherous evening.

Ya see, these two big boyz are all caught up in a tangled and rather messy “luv thang.”

So, let’s down to it and git wit it…!

It was 1:08 p.m. at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse chain noted for its impeccable cuisine and service. And it was an absolutely glorious autumn day in September, with leaves blowing every which way. Although the sun was shining quite strongly and ever so brightly, it was on the rather cool side for that time of year.

Well, Mr. Ja’Shon Edward Benjamin, simply was not on the “cool side”—not one little bit. The President/CEO of JSB P.R., Inc., he kept glancing back and forth at his watch. A prospective client was minutes late, and this public relations guru was thinking, “Ohhhhhhhh, Lawd…here we go! C.P.T (Colored People’s Time) has struck again!” The adjectives irritated and perturbed couldn’t quite come close to what he was feeling, because tardiness was one of this business owner’s pet peeves. Besides, time is (fuckin’) money!

At just 30 years old, this Black native Washingtonian had the bona fides and was quite accomplished and rather connected. His JSB P.R., Inc. was a sought after public relations firm in the nation’s capital; quickly, he was becoming a major player in the industry.

And being from an ultra-respected, upper crust family certainly didn’t hurt, and gave him that “leg up.” (Indisputably, Benjamin believed in the power of “Con-nec-tions.”) His father, Jason Edward, was a trailblazing defense attorney, while his mother, Elizabeth Marie, was a prominent rectal/colon surgeon.

Particularly beginning in high school, the brutha felt like the proverbial football—Mom aggressively tried to coax him into the medical field; meanwhile, Dad mounted a full-court press to pull him into the legal profession. He had dreams of his son joining him as partner in his storied and prosperous firm. And when Ja’Shon was a senior, Dad wanted him to attend “Hawvahd” (Harvard), while Mom wanted Yale.

Defiantly, however, Ja’Shon chose Morehouse. He wanted the experience of a historically Black institution. And besides, being gay/SGL, this brutha wanted to have that “special secondary education”–along with the primary one he was really there for. (Do you catch my drift? Are ya feelin’ me? ‘Sho ya do! LOL.) In other words, he wanted to be “Where The Menz Are.”

Determined, Ja’Shon was adamant about carving out his own destiny. A “news junkie” and very political, he fell in love with journalism and political science. Then, on the precipice of his senior year at Morehouse, he had an epiphany: start his own public relations firm! He certainly had the savvy and the people skills for it.

So after earning B.A. degrees in both journalism and poli sci, he returned to D.C. and entered the Masters of Business Administration program at the George Washington University. He needed that if he were to make a business one helluva smashing success.

Midway during his time at GWU, he got his APR (Accredited in Public Relations) accreditation. And right after graduation, he convinced his parents to release his considerable inheritance early; and with much of it, he put up his shingle.

Sitting at his table in the center of Fogo, this President and CEO peeked at his stately Rolex Oyster Perpetual once again. He was becoming more and more irked and miffed by the second. Part of all THAT had to do with his personality, which was ¼ entitled, ½ confident, and ¼ imperious.

Mr. Benjamin was cerebral, buttoned up, and more than a little closed-off emotionally, tending to keep his cards pretty close to his vest. As well, he had the uncanny ability to adapt to and navigate any situation for the benefit of his clients. And of course, for himself.

The oh-so pleasingly “mas-cu-line” Mr. Benjamin had a dashing side: his beloved cherry red Ferrari California convertible was a testament to that. (By the by, his jet black Mercedes E300 4MATIC Sedan was sitting in the garage of his impressive home in upscale Chevy Chase, Maryland.)

(And, did I mention that the bro was closeted? Yessum! That fact created problems for him–as you’ll see later.)

Truly, Mr. Benjamin was a class act all the way! He was dressed to the nines in a perfectly fitting, black Emporio Armani pinstripe suit, crisp white Armani shirt, and Brioni burgundy tie with slight, white stripes. And to top it off, he was simmering in Chanel Egoiste Platinum—just enough to titillate, to tantalize…to impress.

And so, so very easy on the eyes! Smooth milk chocolate brown. Shaved head. Thick eye brows. Brown, penetrating and piercing “eagle” eyes behind stylish designer frames. Neatly-groomed Van Dyke. Affecting, engaging smile. His Teddy Pendergrass-esque voice added to his presence, his stature—when he walked into a room, he pretty much owned it.

His “dee-li-cious” physique completed the primo package! This beefy, muscled bear of a man was 5’7” and clocking in at a little over 190 pounds. One could see that the gym had been particularly good to him. (LOL.)

Mr. Benjamin, puleeze fo’give me for bein’ late.” The deep, syrupy loudspeaker voice startled Ja’Shon, who seemed to be in another world. As he popped straight up in his chair, his eyes bucked and bulged! Then fluttered. He simply couldn’t believe this mountain of a man who was standing—so tall, large and in charge, like a freakin’ living oak tree. And he was directly in in front of him!

The enticing bass voice—with just a tinge, a smattering of a Latin accent—belonged to the P.R. guru’s prospective client, who followed up with, “It’s been one heck of a day! Had an office emergency, then got all caught up in this dang downtown traffic! And in a rush to meet’cha on time, I somehow forgot my iPhone. Otherwise, I would’ve called ya.”

Then flashing a sparkling, broad smile, he affirmatively stated, “I’m Wali. Wali Antonio Ramirez, your one o’clock.”

Now grinning, he added, “Actually, your 1:15.” He’d taken stock of his watch.

Swallowing hard and rising, the flustered bro replied, “Uh…no worries, Mr. Ramirez. Things happen! Great to meet you.” Immediately, Ja’Shon’s annoyance evaporated! Rapidly, in actuality.

Working to recover his composure, he extended his thick, meaty hand. And when Ramirez grasped it with his own meat cleaver of a mitt, Ja’Shon was in for another helluva surprise!

The prospect’s handclasp was so self-assured, so sturdy, so confident…and so freakin’ warm, almost like a furnace! Sweet, sharp sparks of electricity zipped from one hand to another, flowing all throughout each man’s body.

And then, without warning, that ole wondrous “thang” called chemistry totally enveloped and consumed the pair! Somehow, someway, they immediately knew “what time it was,” that they were “on the SGL”—and in such a fuckin’ hawt, masculine way.

Their eyes were locked and loaded onto each other. And, it wasn’t clear when disengagement would occur—if at all! The prospect uttered, “Ahh…I appreciate that. By the by: call me Wali.”

Ja’Shon thought, “Lawd and Geesus Chryist! What a masculine, ruggedly handsome and built mufuker!” And the Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million cologne he was submerged in certainly added to Wali’s rather intoxicating appeal. Sho’ nuff.

Wali Antonio Ramirez (his nickname was War) was Blatino—his dad was Puerto Rican, and his mom was African-American. At 38, he was medium brown. And at 6’1” and 270 pounds, he was all “stevedore bear” muscle. He wore his dark hair military style (of course he would; he was a former Marine). His ‘stache and full beard were neatly trimmed.

Ja’Shon’s eyes drifted to and lingered on Wali’s full, luscious lips. Next, they darted to the thick black hair peeking out of the top of his partially open azure blue silk shirt.

And dang—the nips, the nips, the nips! They were like twin peaks workin’ to pierce their way outta that fabric! Instinctively, Ja’Shon knew that somebody had nurtured and cultivated “dem babies,” and that he surely wouldn’t mind picking up the mantle! (LOL.) The bruh suspected that Mr. Ramirez was hairy all ovah—from head to toe. Such a fuckin’ turn-on!

Wali was poured into a pair of formfitting designer jeans. He rounded off his ensemble with a pair of truly kick ass, black cowboy boots.

At this point, the only thing that crossed Ja’Shon’s mind was, “The azz! The azz! What does it look like? I’ve gotta see the azz…” Ya see, Mr. Benjamin was an anal top. However, he was orally versatile.

Concurrently, Ja’Shon’s dick was “thinking” the exact same thang! As proof of that, it was growing. Pulsating. Widening. Thickening. Expanding.

Meanwhile, Wali was just as taken with Ja’Shon! He was turned on by his looks, size, and demeanor. Quickly, the construction business owner spied the PR guru’s hefty, now quite visible tool.

Wali mused, “That dick! That dick! That fuckin’ dick! Does he really know how to use it! How does it feel?” Y’all, the openly-gay Mr. Ramirez was a total anal bottom—and who so ab-so-lute-ly loved to suck dick.

But make no mistake: he’d only give himself to a man he really cared for and about. For a number of reasons, this H-U-G-E ex-Marine had difficulty finding a suitable partner because the vast majority of the guys he dated wanted him to top them.

Finally, Mr. Benjamin said, “Wali, let’s sit down.” He followed up with, “Do call me Shon.”

Flashing sparkling eyes and an engaging, infectious smile, Wali answered, “My pleasure…Shon! Great name, by the way.”
“Ah, thanks…Wali.” As Little Richard would say, “Good Golly Miss Molly!” Shon’s gut told him that this guy was gregarious, sensitive, easy going and emotionally open–
unlike himself to a large degree. These qualities made Wali even more intriguing, even more appealing.

Shon didn’t like to admit it, but he was just not the most emotionally open and accessible guy. And he could never figure out why. He constantly kept his guard up; as a firewall to protect his heart.

Lickety-split, the waiter took their orders. Shon began, “Wali, tell me what your needs are.” (Both men thought, “What a helluva loaded question!”)

Wali was the sole owner of Ramirez Construction, located in the urbanized, southernmost part of Silver Spring, Maryland. It’s a major business hub that lies to the north of Washington, D.C. After a stint in the Marines and getting a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Catholic University in D.C., he formed Ramirez Construction. The owner was looking to hire a public relations expert to maximize his business, to take it to the next level.

After a little small talk and when their meals were served, they “got down to brass nails and tacks.” “Ramirez Construction is doing quite well—but it can be doing much better,” stated Wali.

He continued, “I’ve researched your track record. And according to my sources, you come highly recommended. I wanna become a real major player, and I believe you can make that happen.”

So, you’ve done your research, eh?” Shon smiled.

Oh, fuckin’ aye,” Wali shot back. Whoa! Shon liked his ‘tude.

Good man,” Shon responded. “Well Wali, here’s what I’m thinking: construct a PR campaign to level the playing field against the competition. This would include raising your local/national profile. Conduct market research. Write and distribute press releases. Pitch articles about you and your company. Plan special events and increase community involvement, which is critical. Networking/partnering with local businesses.”

Damn. I like the sound of all that.”

When I’m done, you’ll have zoomed past the competition.”

As the conversation ensued, both men had to work to totally focus on the business at hand. “The Chem Factor” was spiking, escalating…intensifying! Corners of their minds were drifting off into…well, other thangs. (You feelin’ me? ‘Sho you are. LOL.)

At the end of the meeting, the contract was signed. “Your campaign begins today, Mr. Ramirez,” Shon announced. “I’m very much looking forward to putting everything into motion.”

With a sly wink, Wali replied, “And, I can’t wait for THINGS to be put into motion, either.” Now, wasn’t that a saucy double-meaning! Shon thought, “This man ‘done did’ it! He’s overtly flirting with me…and I like it!”

Shon got up from the table. With his own style of sly wink, Shon, in his best bedroom voice responded, “No doubt.”

After both men shook hands (Uh, oh! There went that electric, sexual energy again!), Shon said, “I’ll be in touch. Very soon.”

Then, out of the blue, Wali had a brain flash! He said to himself, “This guy wants to see my azz! Lemme give him sumthin sumthin to salivate ovah.”

Thanks, Shon! Gotta take a leak. Have a great day.” And without haste, he turned—marching away.

That mesmerizing sight blew Shon the fuck away! Wali had one gloriously delectable azz! It was muscular. Bubblelicious! Juicy. Perfectly formed. An indisputable basketball azz! And for full effect, Wali was workin’ it to the nth degree. Proud of himself, he was grinning from ear to ear.

Shon whispered to himself, “OMG. That was more than worth the wait…”

With that, the PR guru picked up his leather briefcase and headed out…with nastee, lascivious thoughts running through, and playing out in his head!

And a dick as hard as a slab of concrete.

Over the following weeks, the two men had several meetings about the campaign. In no time flat, they become completely comfortable and at ease with one another. Over and over, Wali thought, “This man is so exuberant, good-natured and self-aware! What an incredible aphrodisiac…”

The exchange of furtive glances. Mutual knowing, and longer than necessary looks. The back and forth of (somewhat) sexually suggestive double entendres. All this fueled their attraction for each other, which burned brighter, stronger—and mo’ and mo’ fierce!

Even though they both were quite hesitant about “mixin’ bizness with pleasure,” Wali had had enough! He had to do something. No longer was there any getting around it.

He said to himself, “Somebody’s gotta make the first move, so it might as well be me. He can only say ‘no’; and if he does, it certainly won’t kill me.”

So early one Friday evening, he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, sucked it up and made the decision to call Shon. His oversized hand trembled a tad as he punched in the digits:

Hello, Shon! How’s it going?”

Wali! It’s going well. Did we have a meeting scheduled?” (Now, the meticulous PR guru knew that wasn’t the case. He was trying to be coy.)

Ah, nothing scheduled. (Pause.) Hey…I’d just like to clear the air about sumthin.”

(Shon was somewhat taken aback! However, he sort of knew what was coming.)

Lissen, Man…I’m just gonna come clean. (Pause.) We both know ‘what time it is’: ya see, I’m very much attracted to you! And from the vibes I’m gittin’ from you, you are feelin’ the same. (Hesitation.) Am I correct?”

(You could hear the proverbial pin drop!) “Well, AM I???”

(The flabbergasted shortay gulped.) “Yes, Wali. You ARE right on the money! I’m quite into you.”

(Now, Wali let one helluva guttural laugh rip.) “Well, don’tcha think it’s time we do sumthin about it? To get to know one anotha bettah?”

And Shon—I’m ain’t talkin’ about just sex. I mean, if it happens, it HAPPENS. First though, let’s hang out, and see where things go. Comprende?”

Si papi…si!” (Yo! Those words—in that spicy Latino accent–turned Wali the fuck on.)

Tell ya what: I’ve got tickets to the ‘Skins afternoon game for tomorrow, Saturday! And after that, we can get a bite to eat. Sounds good? (Pause.) You like football, don’tcha?”

It’s cool. And if they paid me, I’ll be their most ardent, enthusiastic cray-cray fan.”

(Wali fell out in laughter). “Well, I’ll have more than enough enthusiasm for the both of us! I’m a rabid fan, particularly where the ‘Skins are concerned.”

Aight Wali—let’s do it. And since you made the offer, I’ll pick you up.”

In the Ferarri?”

Did you really have any doubt? (Shon chuckled.) What time should I pick you up?”

2 p.m works!”

(Then, a bit of awkwardness followed.)

Well…see you then, Wali.”

You got it, ‘Partner’.” (Shon thought, “Did he just say THAT??? And with such a seductive voice?)

Aight now! Game on.

 

It was a close game, with the ‘Skins losing by 3. “What a helluva bummer!” Wali exclaimed.

Afterwards, they headed to La Ferme, an upscale French restaurant with an elegant country-farmhouse décor. The eatery was located in Chevy Chase, a few miles from Shon’s place. Since it was such a gorgeous autumn day, they took seats on the porch.

Suddenly, both men became reticent and reserved. They were dying to jump into bed because they were so into each other physically: each was a muscled, beefy bear who wanted another muscled, beefy bear!

As well, they shared similar points of view and outlooks on life. And, they seemed to have an emotional and mental connection developing. Shon went for guys who were more emotionally expressive and accessible; Wali was into daddies who weren’t quite as free with their feelings—for a while, anyway. You see, he enjoyed the experience of “opening them up,” if you will.

At a point half way through their meals, Shon got super serious. With steely eyes and in a commanding tone, he declared, “Look, Bro: no more playin’ around! I want you, so…”

Let’s do it! NOW!” Wali cut him off, staring back at him with piercing eyes. (Pause.) I was gonna tell you the same thang! You just beat me to the punch.”

Like a machine gun, he followed up with, “Your place is fine. Besides, we’re not that far away.”

Next, Wali reached under the table and gave Shon’s hefty right thigh a firm, sensuous squeeze. That sent shivers up and down Shon. “I’m no longer hungry for food…but ‘hongry’ for you.”

Let’s git the fuck outta here,” Shon grinned.

As Shon’s cherished cherry red Ferrari California convertible roared to its destination, the two bruthas were tight-lipped. They were thinking—no fantasizing—about what was to CUM. However, they were very, very touchy-feely.

Shon, you have an amazing home here!”

Thanks for saying that, Wali.” Then, immediately pulling him into him, Shon moaned, “But you’re the truly amazing one.” And with that, he deftly grasped the Blatino’s thick neck, pulling his face into his.

Ohhhhhhhhhh, Gawd,” Wali purred as Shon’s full lips hungrily and utterly consumed his. And in a hot second, Shon’s tongue entered Wali’s overheated and willing mouth. After their tongues did the swirly-swirl, they did a variety of dances: the mambo, the boogie-woogie, the tango.

Daymn, Shon! Nobody’s kissed me like that in a long time…”

No…daymn yourself, boi!” Shon chuckled as he stroked, and then squeezed Wali’s bubblelicious basketball butt. “What a primo azz you got.” (By the by: Wali got off on Shon calling him “boi.”)

And I know you liked it when you were watching me work it when I walked away at our first meeting.”

Hell yeah! No doubt.”

And, I knew I’d like THIS.” Without warning, Wali clutched…and then pumped Shon’s big-headed tool, which had considerable girth, width and length. A deep, protracted groan flew outta the recipient’s mouth.

Wait here,” barked Shon. “I’ll be back for ya in five minutes.” Turning, he sprinted up the elongated staircase.

In less than that, Wali found himself in the center of his host’s spacious,

darkened boudoir, with its undeniable African influence. The soft, smooth jazz, the burning incense, and the multiple lighted candles strategically positioned in various parts of the enormous room created an intoxicating, sexually-charged atmosphere! And, the mirrored walls captured any and all of the raw and funky action that was to transpire.

As Wali’s eyes adjusted to the candlelight, he found Shon’s warm, slippery—and oh so talented—tongue back into his mouth once again! At the same time, each man was using his hands to explore each other…and they so liked what they were feeling!

Let’s get outta these clothes,” Shon ordered. And in seconds, they were both in their B-DAY suits.

They just stared at each other. Y’all, The Gym had been very, very good to both these guys! They’d put years of HARD work, smarts and sweat into their workouts, which produced beefy, rock hard and nicely proportioned physiques.

There was no need for words, as each man’s eyes (and stiff, straining dicks) showed exactly how much they both approved of –and desired–the other’s body. The bonus for Shon was that Wali’s series of tats heightened his arousal.

Now, they found themselves bumpin’ and grindin’ on the massive waterbed, and it fell soooooooooooo dang good! When Shon discovered that Wali was hairy from head to toe, a big ass, bright smile stretched from one corner of his mouth to the other.

This spurred the brutha to freakin’ devour Wali’s protruding nips, one of the Blatino’s foremost erogenous zones! And after Shon was done, those teats were like cones of flesh, the size of pencil erasers. In the meantime, Wali’s powerful hands were sampling each and every inch of his partner’s smooth, humongous physique.

Both men’s pulsating, meaty and stiff “chocolate sausages” (Don’tcha know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout? Of course ya do…LOL!) were leaking like fuckin’ sieves! Ready to explode at any moment, second, juncture.

Shon’s milk chocolate brown, 5’7”, 190 pound brickhouse of a body continued to slither down Wali’s medium brown, mammoth, 6’1”, 270 pound body. The shimmering candlelight enhanced the effect and impact of the highly eroticized atmosphere. And certainly, let’s not forget “dem” mirrored walls!

Our man Shon licked his plump, inflamed lips. After ogling Wali’s stiff and quivering tool—the size of a torpedo and spurting copious amounts of precum—he clutched, and then stroked that ample sausage with his huge, lukewarm right hand. That motion caused the recipient to tremble, and moan ever so deeply.

And then, without warning, Shon’s slick, spit-filled and searing mouth to-ta-lee consumed the chocolate meat! Down to the fuckin’ root…

Geesus Chryst, PA! Si, goddammit! Suck my motherfuckin’ bicho grande (big dick)!!! I haven’t been eaten in such a fuckin’ long time…” Shon loved it that Wali had called him the “P-word.” He happily went about his work.

As the ravenous “Ultimate Oralist” sucked, slobbered and swallowed, he reached under and gripped his partner’s round, voluptuous azz. Not wasting any time, he inserted one of his thick fingers DEEP inside the warm, quivering—and anticipatory—butthole. “Si, Pa! Si, Si!!!” Carefully, slowly…and deeply, that finger probed the steamy, tight and juicy orifice.

That action caused Wali to grip the Ultimate Oralist’s head and thrust and pump his engorged and still-growing cock in and out of that sucker’s greedy mouth. And freakin’ back again! As well, that swollen cock kept spurting ounce after ounce of slippery and delectable precum all into the ravenous mouth–and down the willing throat!

Gawd Pa—how I’ve needed this…” Smiling to himself, Shon continued to deep throat. Over and over again. (Besides, it was all quite tasty, too!)

All of a sudden, Wali pulled his dick outta Shon’s mouth. Rolling over on his stomach and spreading his majestically muscled thighs, he growled, “Eat my azz, SIR!”

Lickety-split, Shon dove off the bed. He positioned Wali doggy style, with the luscious melons hanging at the very edge.

Without hesitation, he parted the muscle cheeks, spit in the manhole’s center…and jammed his tongue right in! “Ohhhhhhhhhhh FUCKKKKKKKK, Pa! What are ya doin’ to me!”

Lifting his sloppy wet mouth out of the puckering, pinkish brown, anticipatory hole, Shon growled, “What the FUCK you’ve been wanting me to do! (Pause.) Now, enjoy the ride…” And, Wali did just that. For quite some time.

Dammit,” Wali shouted, “Gotta suck you!”

Well, turnabout IS fair play,” Shon howled.

Immediately, the Blatino swallowed him up, pushing his mouth all the way down to the root of the phat, wide, throbbing piece–which also was leaking gobs of thick, slippery precum. Shit! Shon felt as if his rocket had shot from the launching pad. And ready to explode!

After his oral feast, Wali peered up at Shon with shining, piercing eyes. “Shon, take my culo (azz)! Make love to me.”

Are you sure about that?” (Shon swore he spied a tear or two forming in his expressive eyes.)

Yes, Pa. Without a doubt.”

Then he whispered, “Just be easy. Man, it’s been a long time.”

Wali continued. “I feel a special connection between us already! So, I’m ready…more than ready.”

Baybee, I feel it, too.”

Shon then quipped, “Now, don’t worry: you’re in good hands…you know, like Allstate!”

That cracked Wali up. “Yo, you funny!”

At once, Shon got as serious as a heart attack.

His eyes capturing Wali’s, he proclaimed, “Baybee, I promise I’ll take great care of you. My mission is to make our lovemaking an experience you won’t soon forget! Trust and believe.”

Wali’s eyes were still locked onto Shon’s. “Somehow, my heart tells me that that’s the truth.”

Feeling overwhelmed by emotion—which he wasn’t used to—Shon wasted no time generously prepping Wali with the silkiest, most expensive lube on the market. Next, he stretched a purple, extra-large latex condom over his engorged, throbbing…and marble hard dick. Lightly slapping the melons, Top Man growled, “Roll ovah on your belly for me.”

Si, Pa! Fuck my culo…and make love to me.”

Bottom Boi shuddered as Top Man slowly and meticulously glided into him; and concurrently, Top Man’s entire body quaked! Seemingly in one voice, they cried out, “Gawd daymn!”

Game on!

Shon was true to his word: he delivered an electrifying, passionate, and sweaty lovemaking experience! So sweetly special. And, trust and believe: it was not a one-way street, for Wali gave as good as he got!

Their feelings, their connection for one another intensified as their copulation transpired two more times, into the late night and the early dawn.

However, the reality of the situation was that Wali was opening up his heart to Shon more than Shon was opening up his to Wali.

Alas, that would prove problematic for the unfortunate Blatino—causing him a world of pain. And embitter him.

It was now a little after 10 a.m. the next morning, and both men were basking in the afterglow of their sumptuous and stupendous lovemaking. As Shortay was cradling his guest in his bowling ball biceps, his guest’s head was resting on his cavernous chest.

Um, Wali?”

Yeah, Pa?”

Have…have you ever been in a relationship?

Yep, I have,” he smiled up at Shon. “Three, as a matter of fact. You?”

Two.”

Well, if you don’t mind me askin’, what happened between you guys?”

They were too possessive! I felt like there was a fuckin’ choke chain around my neck. Know what I mean?”

I feel ya.” Now peering so deeply into Shon’s eyes, Wali added, “When I’m partnered, I give my guy all the space he needs. I understand that we’re both busy, and that we’ve had lives before we got tagetha. Hey: I don’t believe in smothering a brotha!

That’s good to hear.”

I also believe in healthy compromise. It’s critical in sustaining and nurturing a relationship.”

Next, he added: “However, there’s one thang I NEVER, EVER compromise on.

Shon’s ears perked up. “Wha…what’s that?”

Monogamy! Once we are committed, that’s it! I don’t share.”

I understand. Gotcha ya.” For whatever reason, out of the blue, Shon became uncomfortable. He was feeling the unsettling waves of being overwhelmed. He worked to clear his throat.

Yo,” he exclaimed. “Let’s lighten up this conversation…and do this.” And with that, Shon pulled Wali on top of him…

…and the Hawt Fun began in earnest once again! (Freakin’ YOWZA.)


During the weeks that followed, there were more dates…and mo’ hawt “sexcapades!” Wali became more emotionally invested in Shon; while Shon…well, not so much.

Actually, as Wali was opening up his heart to Shortay more and more, Shon was pulling back, little by little.

Of course, Wali took notice. Although it confused and irritated him, he played it cool; he didn’t sweat Shon.

And then, tragedy struck a few days after Thanksgiving! Shon’s dad had a stroke, due to years of mounting stress and overwork. Although Shortay’s relationship with his father had been strained for years, he was shaken to his very core. Leveled, in fact.

Wali made a beeline to the hospital as soon as he found out. “Come with me, baybee,” he whispered, escorting the nearly broken man to a quiet corridor.

Look at me,” he continued. “It’s gonna all work out. And besides, you’ve got me. I’ve got your back, and I’m right here by your side.”

In tears, Shon looked up at Wali. “Thanks…I know my dad and I don’t see eye-to-eye often, but I can’t lose him! I just can’t…”

And you won’t! I promise,” Wali vowed, wiping Shon’s swollen eyes.

Seconds of silence went by. Then, with his eyes transfixed on Shon’s, Wali declared, “Shon, I love ya…and am in love with you.”

Shon was shocked! But then again, he really wasn’t.

This admission, this utter and complete baring of Wali’s heart, frightened Shon to no end! You see, it had always been nearly impossible for Shortay to receive true and pure love from an intimate partner—and to return it in kind. That’s why he tried never to get to close, never reveal too much.

But wasn’t this man, Wali, different? Couldn’t he take the chance?

Suddenly and without another word, Wali gathered Shon up into his boulder-shaped arms…and held onto him. For what seemed like an eternity…and a day.

 

Shon couldn’t handle it. Any of it. As a consequence, he pulled away from Wali. Abruptly. Sharply.

During his dad’s illness and convalescence, he claimed he was “simply too emotionally drained” to be involved romantically. So, the only real interaction they had was on the telephone, conducting business.

Po’ Wali! He was befuddled, perplexed, bewildered, exasperated, and hurt. Big time! His gut told him that the issue was so much more than Shon’s father being ill.

He kept asking himself, “Did I do something wrong? Was it my fault?” The second-guessing was driving him cray-cray. And, he couldn’t take it any longer.

So, one evening a few days shy of Christmas, he decided to pay Shon an unexpected visit at his house. Needless to say, Shortay was…well, blindsided.

After Shon gave mucho obfuscation and a litany of lame excuses, and did the “avoidance dance,” Wali blew his top.

Dang, bro. I just figured you out.”

Staring him dead in the eyes, he proclaimed, “You’re deathly afraid of emotional intimacy! You’re simply too petrified to let someone in. Why? Why?”

Turning away from Wali, Shon announced, “Wali, lissen…even though I enjoy you tremendously…in soooooo many ways…and Lawd knows I do…I want the option to see others.

Po’ Wali! He was floored, his mouth left hanging open.

I…I’m just NOT ready to settle down with just one person.”

But Shon! Look at all that we’ve shared! It was more than just sex…for me, anyway.”

Shortay was stone-faced; he was becoming disengaged, turning colder by the second.

So, you wanna be a man-whore? Is that it, Shon? Dammit, I told you I wasn’t into playin’ around. After what we shared, I really thought you wanted sumthin monogamous, too.”

Now, that “po-ti-cu-lar” adjective really rubbed Shon the wrong way, got under his skin! “Yo bro–I never agreed that we’d be monogamous,” he shot back.

Wali was incredulous! Working to fight back tears, he sniffled, “OMG. I just thought…oh, how wrong I was…AM!

Shaking his head, he moaned, “I’m such a freakin’ idiot! I’m burned again.”

Reaching out for his arm, Shon sighed, “Puleeze…don’t say that, man.”

Don’t fuckin’ touch me, you fake ass!” The Blatino swatted the hand aside. “And you know what else? You really don’t wanna be OUT! Why can’t you be open and honest about your sexual orientation—who you really are?

I mean, you don’t have to wear it on your sleeve! Just stop workin’ so damn hard to hide who you really are!”

Now, that commentary, that assessment, stung…no rankled Shon! “I ain’t ready to do that! And I don’t feel bad feeling that way!”

Shit man, you NEVAH will be ready! Never.”

There’s no getting through to you,” the dejected Wali mumbled. “I’m done.”

Wali’s resignation produced one of the strongest visceral reactions Shon could ever remember having! As the Blatino began to bolt to the door, Shon shouted, “Wait, baybee!”

Facing Shortay, Wali growled, “For freakin’ WHAT???”

Can’t we just…well, you know?”

F.W.B.? Friends with benefits?”

Yeah,” gulped Shortay.

You MUST be cray-cray! No dice.”

Then glaring at and eyeing the beleaguered man up and down, he declared, “And, I will not work with you anymore.”

Shon’s composure was completely shattered! “Don’t…don’t do that, Wali. C’mon now..,”

But Wali wasn’t hearing any it. He charged outta the door, nearly slamming it off its hinges.

And po’ Shon! He slumped down to the floor, head in his hands…

and crying some big ole crocodile tears…

 

Christmas was an ab-so-lute-ly horrible time for both men! Wali was off licking his wounds, and trying to make the best of a fucked-up situation.

Surprisingly, Shon was taking the breakup the worst. He just couldn’t get Wali outta his head! His gut told him that the Blatino was on the money about pretty much everything.

And Lawd knows he missed Wali! This included all the emotional, mental—and definitely physical—“goodies” that came with the “package.” Fo’ real.

So, near the end of January, Shon sought counsel from Carlton, one of his best buddies.

A shrink.

Shon, you need to look within yourself. Really examine why you put up the barriers that you do.”

I…I don’t know if I can,” Shon dropped his head. He began to sob.

Shon…from what you’ve been telling me, Wali is everything you’ve ever wanted! Why push him away? And, why do you keep pushing folk away?”

I don’t know…”

Well, you need to find out soon. I’m going to refer you to a solid pro so he can help you do just that. Because we’re friends, I won’t see you in a professional capacity.”

Cool. I need to do this.”

Yes, you do. And there’s no time to waste.”

So, Shortay immediately made an appointment—which led to others. Shon began to explore and deal with feelings and certain truths. And one of those major truths was that he needed, wanted…and loved and was in love with Wali.

Therefore, Shon proclaimed: “I’m gittn’ my man back!”

 

Wali…I’m soooooooo sorry! I was wrong…”

Look, man! Don’t call me again! EVER.”

Puleeze, Wali…lemme explain.”

Just fuckin’ STOP IT! You’re wasting my valuable time, and I ain’t havin’ it.”

Wali, will ya hear me out? Will ya gimme a chance to explain my behavior?”

I’ve fuckin’ moved on, Shon! It’s a wrap.”

What do ya mean, ‘moved on’?”

It’s just what I said.”

Wait, Wali! Dammit…”

And then, the phone went, “click.”

Geesus Chryst! Shortay’s panic morphed into a RAGE! Actually, a FRENZY! As a result, the to-ta-lee undone bro decided to do what Wali had done weeks earlier—confront.

So, he jumped into his treasured and much-adored cherry red Ferrari California convertible and screeched outta the driveway. In mere moments, he’d made it onto the interstate.

It was a windy and bone-cold winter evening. The falling sleet caused poor visibility. The slick pavement, covered with patches of snow and ice, was treacherous.

Shon didn’t have his full attention on the road, for all he could think about was Wali—and what could have been.

And now, what might NOT ever be!

Lost in regret, pain, and emotion, his Ferrari got wayyyyy too close to the grey Cadillac Escalade right in front of it.

Ohhhhhhhh, shit!” Shon shouted. You see, he’d just plowed into the back of that vehicle! And as his head lurched back, he would be able to see the imminent impact of the extra-large, red and white U-Haul van directly behind his beloved Ferrari…

Lights out, Y’all.

 

Wali. This is Carlton.”

“’Sup, Carlton. Lissen—if you’re on this phone to plead Shon’s case, well…”

Wali, I don’t mean to interrupt you. I’m calling because Shon’s been hurt.”

HURT??? What…what are ya talkin’ about?”

He’s been in a horrible car accident.”

HOW? What happened?”

Lissen—just get down to Georgetown (hospital). I’m here already, in emergency.”

Carlton, tell me? How was he hurt? How bad is it?”

It’s mighty bad! He was rushing to see you! He plowed into a vehicle, and then a truck hit him in the back. He probably didn’t have his mind on the road…”

Oh, God! Oh, Gawd…I’m on my way!”

Inhaling deeply and shutting off his iPhone, he bounded out of the house.

With tears in his eyes, and like a bat out of hell…

To Be Continued…?

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Three:

Understanding and Annihilating the Beast

I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part One of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

    This particular dysfunctional and destructive cycle of behavior is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), which is domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the LGBTQ community.   

     According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 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 under-reported. Therefore, figuratively, this keeps us (locked) in the closet.  Stigma is the albatross around your neck, choking the hell outta ya.

It’s All About CONTROL—and I Ain’t Talkin’ Janet (If You’re Nastee!)

      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).

A Cold, Harsh and Bitter Reality   

     The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has found that people of color (POC) comprise 77% of the reports of LGBTQ and HIV-affected IPV homicides.  As well:

  • 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, and 31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest.    

     It is critical to consider the multiple identities and experiences of LGBTQ victims and survivors because they substantially impact their incidences of IPV/A.  According to the NCAVP’s findings, the bias and discrimination that these communities experience everywhere–from workplaces to shelters–both makes them more vulnerable to IPV/A and creates unique barriers to accessing services.   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 findings also include 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.  (A few years back, I featured this Boston organization in Huffington Post Queer Voices. 

     Valentine continues.  “We must protect, uplift, and center those within LGBTQ communities who have been traditionally isolated and shamed for their identities and experiences.  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 those NCAVP findings: 

  • LGBTQ People Experience IPV/A in Different Ways.  Transgender women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual violence and financial violence compared to survivors who were not transgender women.  Additionally, 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.  “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,” stated 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/A services.  Twenty-seven percent 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,” stated Lynne Sprague from Survivors Organizing for Liberation in Colorado.  “Survivor-centered and identity-affirming housing options must be made available to all survivors.” 
  • LGBTQ survivors experience violence and criminalization from the police.  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/A can be deadly for LGBTQ people.  According to Beverly Tilery of 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.”

SEPARATION VIOLENCE AND ASSAULT (SVA) 

     Unfortunately, leaving doesn’t usually put an end to the violence and abuse.  Time and time again, this can be the most dangerous point in a relationship.  This period is what’s called Separation Violence and Assault.  Its acronym is SVA.  

     According to www.aardvarc.orga respected domestic violence information website, “Instead, (leaving) actually increases dynamics of violence and can initiate new levels of violence and new forms of retaliation from the abuser to the victim.  In fact, many abusers believe that the victim ‘belongs’ to them and that as such, they are fully justified in doing whatever it takes to make sure that ‘their property’ remains theirs.”  In an attempt to force the victim to reconcile with him/her, an abuser may escalate the violence. 

     But there is light at the end of the tunnel.    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for LGBTQ survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  “In 2013, the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act 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, Missouri’s Anti-Violence Project.

Makin’ Your “Great Escape!”

     So, just how can you make your “Great Escape,” the term I’ve coined for my national 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, IPV/A 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/A requires 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, 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.

                                          Until We Return…      

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a 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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

October is Domestic Violence Month

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Two:

                   The Power of the Purple!  

I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part Two of the ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

      It’s purple month!    

     Now, you may ask: “What’s that?”  

     Allow me to explain.  You see, we wear purple—actually, a purple ribbon—as a symbol used to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence/abuse (DVA), which can include sexual violence. In the LGBTQ community, DVA is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

     Statistics show that IPV/A occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, 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. 

     Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence and abuse are growing problems.  What makes matters worse:  incidences of IPV/A often are underreported–particularly amongst same-sex couples

     Let’s drill down even further.  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. For 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.

     For more stats that illustrate the full picture of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, visit:  http://wyattevans.com/the-ipva-chronicles-part-one/

     In celebration of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to share with you how this observance came to be–and how it has grown. 

    National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity, which was established by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981.  The intent was to connect battered women advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. 

     Soon, when a range of activities was conducted at the local, state and national levels, the Day of Unity became a special week.  These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors–but had common themes:  mourning those who had died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who had survived, and connecting those who worked to end violence and abuse.

     Then in October 1987, the inaugural Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed.  In that same year, the first national toll-free hotline was initiated.  And in 1989, the U. S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112, designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

     In October 1994, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of deaths due to domestic violence and abuse.  And on October 11, 2003, the U.S. Postal Service issued their “Stop Family Violence” stamp. A young girl, who expressed her sadness about domestic violence, created the design of this first-class stamp.  Profits from the sale of the stamp were transferred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist domestic violence programs.

 

     Until We Return…      

     As stated earlier, I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a 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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

Alarming:  Young MSM Discontinuing PrEP

     Breaking—and alarming–news:  a third of young MSM (men who have sex with men) who take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) discontinue it within six months.  This is according to U.S. investigators in AIDS and Behavior, a peer-reviewed medical journal established in 1997 that covers aspects of HIV/AIDS research.  Common reasons for this discontinuation included being unable to get a doctor’s appointment and insurance coverage problems.

     The investigators write, “’The two most common factors for discontinuation of use…are systemic barriers, indicating that more needs to be done to increase PrEP for those who are at high HIV risk.  One potential solution may be to enable service providers, such as local health departments, to incorporate proactive services for high-risk HIV-negative individuals’.”

     What’s really disturbing?  That none of the men who discontinued PrEP reported 100% condom use, and over 40% said they never used condoms after stopping.  

     PrEP is a highly-effective method of HIV prevention.   And if taken consistently, it can reduce HIV infection risk by over 90%. 

     Since little is known about why men discontinue PrEP, investigators crafted a study analyzing rates and reasons for PrEP discontinuation and sexual behavior after stopping the drug.  The study involved young sexually active MSM PrEP users in Chicago.

     Study participants were between 16-29 years of age.  The men were asked at follow-up appointments if they’d taken or discontinued PrEP in the previous six months.  Those who reported stopping PrEP were asked why.  A subset was asked about condom use after discontinuing PrEP.

     The study occurred between 2015 and 2017.  During that timeframe, 197 participants reported using PrEP in the previous six months.  A third (65) stated that they had stopped using the drug by the time of their follow-up interviews.  Black and Hispanic men were significantly more likely to report discontinuation than white men. 

     “’These findings are particularly concerning given that Black and Hispanic MSM are also those at greatest risk of HIV’,” the researchers stated.  “’These emerging racial disparities in discontinuation may be due to structural differences between populations, for example, differences in access to healthcare facilities or access to or cost of insurance’.”

     A total of 29 persons were asked about discussions they had had with their medical practitioners concerning PrEP usage.  Most (79%) hadn’t spoken to their physician before ending treatment.

     Thirty-five men were asked about their sexual behavior after discontinuing treatment.  More than half (58%) said that they continued to engage in anal sex, with 41% reporting that they never used condoms, 35% stating that they used condoms less than 50% of the time and 24% reporting that they used condoms most of the time.  None said they always used condoms. 

     What were the common reasons for discontinuing PrEP?  These included:

  • being unable to get a doctor’s appointment (22%);
  • insurance problems (20%);
  • individuals no longer perceiving themselves as being at risk for HIV (19%);
  • side effect concerns (9%);
  • adherence (8%); and
  • stigma (6 %).

     The authors conclude, “’We observed several important factors which must be considered and addressed if PrEP usage is to continue to rise.” They then added, “’Further research must be conducted to look beyond medication adherence and develop a better understanding about which other prevention strategies are used following purposeful PrEP discontinuation’.”

IPv/a

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part One

I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part One of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

     So…just what is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)?

     Well, it ain’t some exotic sounding acronym.  It’s one helluva serious, potentially life-threatening public health concern 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). 

     Because it’s continually “swept under the rug,” IPV/A tends to be dramatically underreported.  Fortunately, however, this abhorrent, abusive cycle of behavior is preventable.

     This type of insidious 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; and as I just stated, incidences of IPV/A often are underreported–particularly amongst same-sex couples

Disturbing Data

     Telling and chilling evidence underscores the heavy toll of this behavior, and its negative health conditions and impacts:

     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. For 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. 

     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%.

     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 the 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 the following gives one pause:  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.

A Critical—No, Urgent–Societal Issue

     Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) is a real social health concern.  However, often 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/Aprograms. 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 healthcar+e 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. 

 

     “Broken Bones, Broken Dreams” 

     The following is a sit-down I had with an abuse survivor some time ago.  His experience merits retelling because it’s a classic case of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.     

    A thirty-something Caucasian, he agreed to share this story only on the condition that I refer to him by his middle name, Kyle.  He said that “Derrick,” his ex-partner, a thirty-year-old African-American, horrifically abused him for nearly two years.   

    Here’s Kyle’s story. 

 

     Evans:  Kyle, thanks for agreeing to tell your important story.  When and how did you meet Derrick?

     Kyle: (His eyes light up.) It was at a Sprint store in Laurel (Maryland).  Our eyes locked, and the chemistry was instantaneous! 

     Kyle:  He initiated a conversation, and we walked outta the store together.  He took my number and said he’d call.  (Pause.)  I couldn’t wait!  I was so damned attracted. 

     Evans:  Kyle, exactly what was the attraction?

     Kyle:  Wyatt, I was very needy.  Derrick was easy-going and self-assured and seemed nurturing.  And so handsome!  He was that “daddy” I was looking for. 

     Evans:  When did he call?

     Kyle:  Late that night, and we talked for hours!  Derrick wanted to see me the next evening, at my apartment.   Since he was insistent, I agreed.  I was flattered.

    Evans:  And that evening?

     Kyle:  Immediately, we ended up in bed.  And the sex was mind-blowing!  We became a couple right after that.

     Evans:  So, Kyle, how long did the “honeymoon” last?

     Kyle: (He laughs nervously.)  Not very long.  Derrick became possessive—constantly calling to check up on me.  Wanting me with him practically 24/7.  Isolating me.   He was such an overwhelming presence.

     Kyle:  But being needy, I liked it–at first.  Thought it was love.  I kept saying to myself, “I’m so lucky to have him!”  

     Kyle:  And the sex was a drug.

     Evans:  Things became even more extreme, correct? 

     Kyle:  Absolutely!  The mind control began.  Derrick told me how to think, act, and dress.  And my biggest mistake was agreeing to let him move in with me. 

    Kyle: (suddenly becoming solemn.)  The verbal—racial crap, etc.—started soon after. 

    Evans:  And the physical?

    (Kyle takes a deep breath.)

   Kyle:  A few weeks after moving in, he accuses me of cheating.  Totally ridiculous!  Derrick was all up in my face, shouting.  I was totally petrified!

   (Pause.)

   Kyle:  Then, he decks me.  Hard!  I fall to the floor. 

   (Kyle begins to sob.  I ask him to take his time.)

   Kyle:  I was completely out of it.  Then, Derrick grabs me by the collar, screaming, “You nasty little white whore!  Wake tha fuck up!  We ain’t done yet!” 

   Kyle:  Next, he drags me to the bathroom.  To the toilet!  And then he…”

   Evans:  And then he what, Kyle?  (He’s sobbing heavily now, rocking back and forth.  He’s in “flashback mode.”) 

IPV/A

   Kyle:  He…he shoves my head into the toilet!  Over and over again! (Pause.)  Water’s all up my nose.  I’m gasping for air.  I felt like I’d pass out. 

   (Long pause.)

   Kyle:  Actually, I just wanted to go to sleep…and not wake up.

   Kyle stated that the verbal and physical abuse worsened and escalated.   Fortunately, another gay couple helped him make his “Great Escape.”  

   I asked Kyle why he stayed as long as he did.  “Out of fear, shame, such little self-worth.  Not to mention the stigma.”  Kyle’s moved out of the area and is in counseling.

   And Derrick?  He’s doing jail time.  

 

Until We Return…    

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a 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 includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

Back in The Day…

     It’s my twentieth anniversary!

     Now, I’m not talking about marriage or anything like that.   You see, in 1998 (Yo!  How time flies…) I had the starring role in The New Detectives, the popular documentary true crime TV series that featured forensic science cases.  My appearance on the show is one of the highpoints in my communications/entertainment career.

     The New Detectives, which lasted nine seasons, was an international hit.  Anthony Zuiker, the creator of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, got the idea for his show from The New Detectives.

     My episode, “Traces of Guilt,” was the second and most popular of season 4.  I played David Middleton, a former policeman who became a serial killer.

     After being arrested for kidnapping and sexual assault, Middleton was convicted of false imprisonment and battery.  He was given two concurrent five-year sentences.

     Released from prison after serving two years, he made his way to Reno, Nevada.  And somehow, he became a cable installer! Middleton used that access in order to rape and subsequently murder a string of female victims. 

     In August 1997, Middleton was convicted of a smorgasbord of offenses.  Fast forward to 2010, when he lost and exhausted all his appeals to the state of Nevada.  Currently, he’s languishing on death row in the Ely, Nevada state prison.  

     I had a blast doing The New Detectives!  The director, producer, and crew treated me like gold. 

     And talk about a “blast from the past:”  I had hair in 1998!  (All courtesy of the Hair Club For Men…LOL!!!) 

    As you’re watching “Traces of Guilt,” be patient:  I make my grand entrance at 8:58.  However, to fully understand the story, watch the eppy from beginning to end. 

     Here’s the video:

     So, go on wit yo’ bad self!  Grab your popcorn and drinks, settle in, kick back…and freakin’ ENJOY!  (And, don’t you dare miss my very last scene….!)

The HIV/Syphilis Connection

     Conclusive data now bear out that among men who have sex with men (MSM), those infected with HIV have a much higher syphilis diagnosis rate than those who are HIV-negative.  This disparity varies widely between states, which could be as a result in part by more frequent testing among MSM living with the virus.  Or, the disparity could be minimized by more sexual contacts between the two groups.

     Recently, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers unveiled their findings of the analysis of MSM syphilis diagnosis rates at the 2018 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.

     According to Poz.com, “Before conducting this analysis, which provided the first estimate of the ratio of syphilis diagnoses among MSM with HIV versus those without, the CDC researchers already knew that the majority of syphilis diagnoses between 2012 and 2016 were among MSM.  During that period, between 48 percent and 57 percent of annual diagnoses among MSM were seen in those who had HIV.”

 

The “Skinny” on Syphilis

     Syphilis is a bacterial infection (Treponema pallidum) that is most often spread through sexual contact.  Usually, this infection causes the disease over several years.  In its early stages, syphilis causes disease of the genitals, mucous membranes, and skin.

     And if not treated, the infection can lead to serious problems including heart ailments, neurological issues (neurosyphilis), blindness, dementia—and even death. 

     Since 1996, syphilis rates have been increasing in the U.S.—notably among MSM. 

     Red alert:  if you’re infected with HIV, syphilis can hit you harder.  And faster. 

 

Delving into The Findings

     The researchers reviewed national case report data on syphilis diagnoses from 2014. For their purposes, that included information on the sex of the individual diagnosed, the sex of that individual’s sex partner, and the men’s HIV status.  They limited their analysis to the 34 states that provided data that classified at least 70 percent of the syphilis cases as women, MSM or men who have sex with women only.

     Among all MSM, the diagnosis rate per 100,000 persons across all 34 states was 237.7, ranging between 35.1 in Montana and 618.3 in Mississippi.

     Overall, those HIV-diagnosed MSM had a syphilis diagnosis rate nearly eight times that of their HIV-negative counterparts.  The statewide diagnosis rate per 100,000 persons among HIV-poz MSM ranged between zero in South Dakota and 2,035 in Arizona.  And among HIV-negative MSM, the statewide diagnosis rate per 100,000 persons in this group ranged between 27 in Montana and 496 in Mississippi.      Therefore, in each state, the ratio of HIV-positive versus HIV-negative syphilis diagnoses varied extensively (excluding South Dakota, the one state with no diagnoses). 

     In conclusion: “The CDC researchers speculate that the disparity in syphilis diagnosis rates may be driven in part by a greater rate of testing for the sexually transmitted infection among those MSM living with HIV compared with HIV-negative MSM,” according to Poz.com.  “Additionally, they conjectured that in states with lower syphilis diagnosis ratios between MSM with and without the virus, more sexual interactions between these two groups might have spread the STI more evenly between them.”

   

And As This New Year Unfolds…

     Yowza!  As 2018 unfolds, Wyattevans.com will be bigger, badder and bolder!   

     First, let me thank each and every one of you for making Wyattevans.com the go-to-it online destination for news, views, features, and entertainment for the LGBTQ Community and its Allies!  More than 100 countries visit my online home regularly.  I’m proud and overjoyed! 

     In 2017, Wyattevans.com published thought-provoking articles and provocative features on relationships, HIV, depression, romance, the escorting biz, sex in prison, and other issues that acutely impact the LGBTQ Community and its Allies.  Of course, this will be a staple for the New Year. 

     And let me assure you that my ongoing series of exclusives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)–known as domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community–will be a hallmark of Wyattevans.com for 2018  

     Sadly and unfortunately, IPV/A is that “elephant in the room:” way too often, this despicable, demoralizing and (at times) life-threatening cycle of behavior is “swept under the rug.”  Therefore, it is not addressed.  This results in the perpetuation of this cycle of abuse.  Over and over again.    

     In this shiny new year, you followers will read even more informative, riveting and inspiring personal stories of IPV/A victims and survivors–as well as continuing news and data on this critical societal issue.  These articles and features will be syndicated in other publications, including Huffington Post Queer Voices and WeSurviveAbuse.com, created by Tonya GJ Prince, a leading Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) Advocate, Specialist, Speaker…and Survivor.

     Now, lemme give one helluva Shout-Out and Thank You! to the so on-point Guest Columnists for Wyattevans.com!  These include LaToya Hankins, R.L. Norman, Carlton R. Smith.  I’m so fortunate that they will continue to share their dynamic voices, their wealth of experience, and unique perspectives with myself and you readers.  And, Wyattevans.comwill be adding more of these distinctive voices to the melting pot.

     So, in addition to being the creator of, and writer/editor/reporter for Wyattevans.com, what else is Yours Truly up to in 2018?

  • IPV/A seminars and workshops across the country.  I will continue to shine a bright light on this horrendous cycle of behavior.
  • Radio Show.  My broadcasts will return later this year, in its current incarnation…or something brand new!  I’ll welcome an array of diverse, exciting and compelling guests—with their unique points of view. 
  • “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels.  I’m feverishly (LOL) crafting and penning the sequel to “FRENZY!”  Get ready for more provocative, gripping, explosive—and tasty (AHEM!) entertainment!  I want to thank all of you for making this groundbreaking series (including the current “FRENZY!”)  such a success and conversation piece. 
  • Surprises, Collaborations.  More news and details to come. 

     You know, 2017 was quite the challenging year for the minority and LGBTQ communities, largely because of the shocking election of “The Orange One.”  His  destructive policies are shredding the social safety net.  Meanwhile, his divisive attitudes are pushing Americans back to a time of racial unenlightenment.  And, his attitudes appear to make it easier for certain Americans to exhibit these backward perspectives and points of view.

     So, how can we thrive and succeed?  Last year, I wrote “Refuge from the Storm,” an inspirational and empowering piece about how you can do just that.  Check it out at wyattevans.com/refuge-from-the-storm

     There you have it.  My year is gonna be bigger, badder and bolder!  And Y’all are gonna be the beneficiaries.

     Seize The Year!!!

Kick 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!

     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.”

Now:  go on “wit yo’ badddd self”…and have yourself a Merry Little XMAS!

Tancredo Buff: Shining the Light on IPV/A

     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, Wyattevans.com has been presenting a very special series of articles and features throughout this month. 

     Within the LGBTQ community, domestic violence and abuse is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  This atrocious cycle of behavior is such a critical societal issue because it is more pervasive and frequent than was once believed.  And, stigma is key in keeping IPV/A cloaked and enshrouded in darkness. 

     As a journalist and advocate, I have listened to the horrific and heartbreaking personal stories of IPV/A victims and survivors.  And because Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse can be so 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.  

     In my national workshops and seminars, I emphasize the following important takeaway:  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.   

    This horrendous and vicious pattern of behavior happened to Mr. Tancredo Buff.  In my exclusive interview with the popular gay adult entertainer and activist, he opens up and bares his soul about his harrowing experience with IPV/A.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, welcome to Wyattevans.com!  I can’t thank you enough for being part of the month-long recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

     TANCREDO:  I’m very happy to do it, Wyatt.

     WYATT:  So, let’s get started.  Just how old were you when you first became a victim of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A)?  

     TANCREDO:  I was 32, and 6’2” with a slim build.

     WYATT:  And your abuser?

     TANCREDO:  He was 28, 5’11”, with a stocky build.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, if you would, take us through your experience.

Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse

     TANCREDO:  Sure.  He and I met one night when my friends invited me to go out.  At the time, I had been separated from my partner of six years, and recently finished an on and off relationship with a very insecure individual. 

     In the beginning, everything was cool.  He called me every day to make sure I was doing fine.  Sometimes he stopped by my work with lunch.   Sometimes, he even showed up at 6 AM to my house with a bouquet of flowers.  He was sweet and always said, “I love you.” 

     However, things started to change when we moved in together.  Every time he had   a bad day at work and when things were not done his way, he started shouting at and belittling me.  I tried to comfort him, but sometimes that made things worse.

     And, he was so uncooperative!  He’d drink away his share of the rent money.

     I remembered one time I was asking him about something, and he replied, “Shut up!”  One night, as guests were leaving, an argument erupted between us.  I ended up out in the street with just my pants on and no shoes, and no wallet.  He locked me out of the house until past Noon the next day. 

     From that moment on, the love began to slip away, and my desperation to get out was increasing.  He always was looking to be forgiven, and I was weak because I thought I was in love with him. 

     Little did I know that I was being codependent?  You see, I gave him all my control.  I felt trapped!  Many arguments occurred. 

     There was another time when he tried to repeat the lock-out; but this time, it didn’t happen.  I slept on the couch instead of in the bed with him.  We didn’t speak for several days. Finally, he apologized.   

     WYATT:  The most telling sign of IPV/A is fear of your partner, that you feel you have to “walk on eggshells” around him.  Did you experience that?  If so, how did that make you feel?

     TANCREDO:  I can relate to that.  He made me feel like a nobody!  Everything was about him and how “famous” he was in town because of his political involvement.  I’d lost myself; one time, a friend said something to that effect.

     WYATT:  You know, abusers employ a variety of methods and schemes to manipulate you and wield their power, which include:  Dominance, Humiliation, Isolation, Intimidation, and Threats.  Which of these did you experience?

     TANCREDO:  Dominance and Intimidation were the order in my house.  He made sure that everybody recognized him as the head of the house and that I was just a shadow.  He was a master of verbal abuse.  Once, he tried to hit me; but  when he saw I was going to strike back, he stopped.

     WYATT:  Whoa.  Tancredo, oftentimes an abuser uses sex as a ploy to keep  the victim in the relationship.  Did that happen with you? 

     TANCREDO:  What he did do was force me to have sex.  I had to be his bottom.

     WYATT:  There are three types of IPV/A:  physical, emotional, and mental.  Did you experience all three?  Can you break it down in percentages?

     TANCREDO:  I would say 1% physical, 50 % emotional, and 49 % mental.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, what was the “last straw” that pushed you to make your Great Escape, the phrase I’ve coined for my national IPV/A workshops and seminars?

     TANCREDO:  It was something that happened one week before a planned business trip.  As I was on the talking to a friend on the phone, my partner was in a horrible mood. Suddenly, he marched up to me, grabbed my left hand and snatched off a ring that he’d given me for my birthday.  

     Next, he closed the bedroom door and prevented me from going to my bed.  I’d had enough.  So, I called a friend to arrange to stay with him until I found my own space.  I packed up my belongings and locked them in a room. 

     He broke the lock and took my bed and several of my things.  For a year, I was without a bed—but I didn’t care.  I got the hell out and didn’t look back.

     Now, there’s a part two to the saga.  A year later, he tried to reconcile.   Because I wanted to move again, I accepted his invitation to stay; but only with the guarantee that we would never get into another relationship. 

     However, he thought that because I’d moved in with him, we were actually in a relationship.  When he finally realized that that was not the case, he asked me to leave. 

     So, I packed up and moved to another space.  And after that, I emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, too many people still believe that Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse is really not that important, and have the mentality that “boys will be boys.”  What’s your take on this?

     TANCREDO:  They are misguided.  If they experienced what I and many others have, they wouldn’t think that way.

     WYATT:  In order to make your Great Escape, you must truly understand that you deserve help, you need it, and that you can find it.  And, 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.  Your thoughts?

     TANCREDO:  In part, I feel guilty for having allowed it. I did not fully value myself during the relationship, and somehow should have stopped the pattern of abuse from the beginning. 

     However, I was lucky to not allow it escalate further like other personal stories I have heard.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, what is the most important, the most critical thing a victim needs to do to escape the abusive situation?

     TANCREDO.  Telling someone is most important.  Silence is the most effective weapon the abuser uses against you.  

      WYATT:  Did you undergo psychological counseling/therapy to accelerate your healing process? 

     TANCREDO:  Eventually, I did.  But most of the healing came from within myself, and from the support of friends.

     WYATT:  What lessons have you learned from your IPV/A experience? 

     TANCREDO:  I learned that if you don’t value yourself, there is no way you’ll have a healthy and successful relationship.

     WYATT:  Tancredo, what words of inspiration can you give victims still trapped in these abusive relationships?

     TANCREDO:  Love yourself, grow yourself…and get outtttt! 

     WYATT:  Mr. Buff, thank you for an empowering chat.

     TANCREDO:  It was my pleasure, Wyatt.

 

     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 abusive 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).   You can reach Mr. Buff at tancredobuff@live.com.

    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!

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…! 

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.

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? 

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.

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?

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 “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.”

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.”

“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!!!

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.”

Making a “Great Escape” from an Abusive Relationship

     I have ab-so-lute-ly outstanding news to share!  The Advocate, the premier—and Number One–international on-line and print LGBTQ media outlet, has just published my commentary on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A). 

     In this important piece, I discuss my very own personal experience with IPV/A– and how it has impacted me.  Additionally, I reveal why—as both a journalist and author—I’ve made this demeaning, demoralizing and potentially life-threatening behavior my clarion call.  IPV/A is the overarching theme of my “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels.  “FRENZY!” is the brand new installment.

     Thank you Advocate for assisting me in continuing to shine a bright light on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse!  To read my commentary, visit:  http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2016/12/06/making-great-escape-abusive-relationship

ALL Bear

Feel the Intense ‘FI-YAH’ of the “FRENZY!”

     Yo!  FEEL the “Fi-Yah” (fire)! 

     The latest issue of ALL BEAR (November/December 2016) magazine is now available!  With its informative, real…and erotic features, I’ve bestowed upon ALL BEAR the title, “The Playboy of the U. K. (United Kingdom).”

      What’s wayyyyyyy cool about this issue is that I sit down with Mr. Colin Gunn, publisher, for an in-depth and engrossing interview, which includes the lowdown on my brand spankin’ new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”   And as a bonus, there’s a sensual and sexy excerpt from “FRENZY!”  This is a red-hot, not-to-be-missed ALL BEAR exclusive! 

     To read all about it, visit: www.all-bear.co.uk.

The “FRENZY!” Is Now ‘Across The Pond’!

     News Flash!  “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” has become international!  The riveting novel has traveled “across the pond,” to the United Kingdom!

     BlackOut UK (blkoutuk.com) has just written a major feature on “FRENZY!”  Created by a collective of Black gay/SGL men, BlackOut UKis an influential, non-profit enterprise.  BlackOut UK “recognizes and celebrates the diversity of experience and views among black queer men in the UK (extending even to what we call ourselves) and are seeking to create spaces to explore and reflect on our commonalities and differences.”

     To read the feature in its entirety, visit:  https://blkoutuk.com/2016/11/05/read-actions-speak-louder-wyatt-obrian-evans/

The Rainbow Times Has The “FRENZY!”

     Ab-so-lute-ly outstanding news!  The Rainbow Times, the largest and most influential publication dedicated to the LGBTQ community and its allies, has penned a cover story on Yours Truly—and my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” 

     It was truly an awesome experience!  I want to thank Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief, and Gricel Ocasio, Publisher, for this exceptional opportunity.

     To read the full article, visit:  http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/frenzy-reveals-provocative-insight-gay-men-color-ipva-bullying-mental-illness/

Structural Inequality Fuels HIV in Black MSM

   A brand new—and perhaps controversial—study has uncovered that economic insecurity, housing instability and stigma largely shape the sexual relationships of many African-American men who have sex with men (MSM).  According to this study, these structural inequalities influence the kinds of relationships and sexual behaviors that men have.

     It’s a fact that the bulk of HIV prevention interventions and studies focus on the individual. However, according to Columbia University’s Caroline Parker in an article published in Culture, Health and Sexuality, “Our research underlines the continued need to attend to the structural drivers of HIV among Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.”

     Before we drill deeper into the study, let’s define the term structural inequality. It’s the condition where one category of individuals are ascribed an unequal status in relation to other categories of persons.  This relationship is perpetuated and reinforced by a confluence of unequal relations in roles, functions, decisions, rights and opportunities.

     Between 2013 and 2014, Parker and her colleagues conducted a qualitative, ethnographic study in New York City.  Roger Pebody states in his Aidsmap.com article, “Structural Inequalities Create Vulnerability to HIV for Black Gay Men in New York,” “In-depth interviews were conducted with 31 black MSM and participant observation was conducted in locations frequented by black MSM (such as parks, community organizations and house parties).  In addition, 17 community advocates and healthcare professionals were interviewed.

     “Amongst the men interviewed, whose average age was 29, social problems were common.  Ten had spent time in prison, 15 were unemployed, 16 had housing problems, and nine had no health insurance.  Five men told the researchers that they were living with HIV.  Whereas half identified as ‘gay,’ the others described themselves in a variety of ways, including bisexual, straight, discrete and having no sexual identity.”

      According to the study, men who struggle with housing instability and unemployment sometimes used sex to meet their material needs.  They described exchanging sex for shelter, food, clothing, the payment of phone bills and taxis, alcohol and drugs.  Some used dating app profiles to sell sex.

     And, the men’s precarious circumstances constrained their ability to negotiate condoms.  One man explained:  “’Okay.  If you are eating and you have clothing, you have shelter, you’re probably going to resist it and a very blatant resistance.  But if you are hungry, that’s a different ballgame.  I can sit here and tell you I’m a very proud person but you let my stomach rumble for more than three days, okay, you can call me’.”

     Pebody wrote, “While sex without a condom put men at risk of HIV, a lack of food or shelter might have a more immediate impact.  Men made choices which made sense to them in their current circumstances (for example, having multiple partners to access temporary housing and other resources).  Interviewees with fewer economic problems had different approaches to sexual relationships which did not reflect these pressing economic considerations.”

     The researchers took note of the way in which different places and environments formed men’s sexual relationships.  Some of the interviewees stated that they had experienced disapproval or homophobia in their family homes.  As a direct result, four of the men were made homeless. 

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     As well, many men did not introduce male sexual partners to family members; consequently, sex was more likely to occur at a partner’s home or in a public space.  Recalled one interviewee: “’I couldn’t bring any company over or they couldn’t stay overnight or whatever, (but my brother) could bring girls over and there was discrimination towards me with my mom’.”

     According to Pebody, “Some men who lived independently also avoided bringing male partners home because of homophobic reactions from landlords or neighbors.  Men sometimes felt unsafe in their own homes.

     “Many respondents met partners and had sex with them in parks, streets, sports clubs, trains, supermarkets and restaurants.  This was particularly the case for men with unstable or no housing, and for men who identified as straight or discreet.  These meetings might be arranged on apps like Jack’d and Grindr. 

     “These interactions were usually rushed—men were afraid of being observed by other people, being assaulted or being arrested. The rush meant that condoms were less likely to be used.”

     Respondents of the study stated that they went to gay bars and nightclubs, particularly those frequented by Black and Latino men.  According to the respondents, they felt that these settings were safer places to socialize and meet other MSM (men who have sex with men).

     “For men who sold sex, bars provided some protection against the police,” wrote Pebody.  “Men with housing difficulties sometimes went to clubs to find ‘a generous friend’ with a place to stay. However, commercial venues did not always feel welcoming to men who did not have money for drinks or the right clothes to wear.”

     The researchers concluded:  “’Among most of the men in this sample, the pursuit of same-sex relationships took place in a social context characterized by economic insecurity, housing instability, and widespread stigma and discrimination.  We draw attention to how men’s position in a social structure configures their opportunities, restrictions and priorities in sexual relationships and how these shape their choices and behaviors in health-relevant ways’.”

Louder Than The Silence!

      WESURVIVEABUSE.COM, the well-respected and go-to-it domestic violence and abuse online resource, has honored Yours Truly by featuring my brand new novel, “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  The overarching theme of “FRENZY!” is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A),which is domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ Community.  IPV/A–demoralizing and potentially life-threatening behavior–significantly impacts the LGBTQ Community.

        Tonya GJ Prince is the founder of Wesurviveabuse.com.  An expert in both domestic and sexual violence issues, Ms. Prince has more than two decades of experience in these critical arenas. Her particular emphasis is crisis counseling and education.  Herself a survivor, the prolific Ms. Prince is an author, advocate, counselor, motivational speaker and mentor.

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     To read the feature, visit:  www.wesurviveabuse.com/2016/10/the-forbidden-truth-about-intimate.html  Tonya, thanks for your invaluable, continuing support!

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/

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).

“Ferraris & Football”

“Ferraris & Football”

     Yo!  Guess what?  I’ve just had the super-cool opportunity to create and write a short saga exclusively for Mr. James Butler’s The Big Boy Project (BBP)!  And the exhilaration of crafting“Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” provided me with such consuming waves of creativity and energy!   

     As you know, BBP is a dynamic and cutting edge infotainment site that is specifically designed for larger men—and those who have an affinity for themIt truly is an oasis for bigger guys.

     My short saga is entitled “Ferraris & Football (F & F),” and there’s a hell of a lot behind the meaning of that catchy title!  It’s the story of Shon and WAR, two masculine, big muscle bear boyz who “git all caught up” in a tangled and quite messy “LUV THANG.”  

      “Ferraris & Football” is a fast-paced, masculine romantic adventure.  And of course, it has that Wyatt O’Brian Evans signature mix of rich drama, intrigue—and sexual “hawtness!”  And Lawd and Geesus:  there’s one twist of a breathtaking cliffhanger!

     And who knows:  Yours Truly very well might turn “F & F” into sumthin sumthin regular!  Only time will tell….

     So, jump on over to The Big Boy Project, and get your “Ferraris & Football!”  Visit: www.thebigboyproject.com/blog.

The Sandy Rodgers Show

“FRENZY!” In the Evening!

     On Tuesday, October 4 @ 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST, I’ll be the 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 discuss this critical and potentially life-threatening behavior.  Some of the questions we’ll answer include:  What causes IPV/A to happen? Should the victim stay in the marriage/relationship–or seek safety on the outside?  What are the warning signs?  What’s “Separation Assault” all about? 

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

     Do join me on the evening of Tuesday, October 4 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 atblogtalkradio.com/sandyrodgers to be a part of the conversation!

Frenzy!

The “FRENZY!” Is In Total Control!!!

     Ahhh, yeahhh!!!  As Little Richard says, “Good Golly, Miss Molly!”

     “FRENZY!”, the brand new installment in the “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels, hasjust arrived!  And, it’s well worth the wait!

     “FRENZY!”  is the continuing hawt saga of Wesley and Antonio, who struggle to nurture and maintain their romantic relationship against the odds—and the challenging and daunting obstacles that come their way!

     Now, here’s the 411 on “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? 

     Then, what happens when a tragic accident causes you to split, to become another personality—one that’s deadly to the very core?

     And on top of that, what secrets are buried deep inside your soul mate?

     This is the continuing saga of Wesley and his partner Antonio, in “FRENZY!”– the latest installment of the popular, provocative, and mind-blowing “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels!

    So, does Wes reclaim his true self?  Can Wesley and Antonio work their way back to one another? 

     And, can they still vow that “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart?” 

 

     The rave reviews on “FRENZY!”  are already coming in!  Visit:  wyattevans.com/what-folks-are-sayin-about-frenzy/

     Hey!  Don’t get left out of all the rich drama, masculine romance, action, intrigue, twists and turns—and sexually-charged, provocative situations!  From start to finish, “FRENZY!”  is one helluva breathtaking, thrill ride! 

     “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”  is available at online retailers.  However, to receive your very own special 20 percent discount, make sure to order “FRENZY!” right here at Wyattevans.com.  Here’s the link:

wyattevans.com/nothing-can-tear-us-apart-frenzy-book/ 

     So, Y’all,  just “do it to it”: go on with yo’ baddddd selves, and git yo’  “FRENZY!”  on!!!

Jonathan Towslee

Jon Towslee: Supreme “FRENZY!”-aholic

     I’m happy to announce that Mr. Jonathan Towslee has become the President of the Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club!  Actually, one of the refrain’s from The Pointer Sisters’ megahit “I’m So Excited!” better describes my feeling.  Openly gay and hailing from Boston, Mr. Towslee is a financial industry executive and community activist. 

     I’m proud and privileged that Jon has come on board!  And to formally introduce him to everyone, I decided to present the following clever little tete a tete.  Here it is:

     WYATT:  Jon, welcome to WYATTEVANS.COMThanks for taking on the role of President of the Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club. 

     JON:  It’s my pleasure, Wyatt.

     WYATT:  Now Jon, you’ve been one of my earliest supporters.  I thank you for that.  So, why did you assume “The Presidency?”  (LOL.)

     JON:  As you know, I came to find out about you through some mutual connections on Facebook. Once that happened I went and visited your web site, listened to your radio shows and read your books and blogs.

     I realized right away through your various outlets, you were doing some powerful and important work in an area that often gets swept under the rug.  So, I took on the role of President because I immediately became a strong believer and supporter of what you’re trying to accomplish.

     You and I have had many conversations on where you envision your brand going, and I am honored to be there to help support and get you there.

     WYATT:  Jon, as MJ (Michael Jackson) might have said, “Tito…gimme a tissue.” I’m just joshing—I really appreciate your sentiments. 

     WYATT:  Now, I’m curious.  What three words best describe me?

     JON:  Jovial, Genuine and “Cocksure” (Sorry; the last one was just too good not to use!).

     WYATT:  LMAO!!!

     WYATT:  As President, what is your mission? 

     JON:  My mission is to keep you and your audience connected.  The next twelve months in particular will be huge for you.  As an Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) Advocate and Specialist, you’ll be conducting seminars/workshops across the country on this issue, which tends to be taboo in the LGBTQ Community.  As a Motivational Speaker and Lifestyle Coach, you’ll be speaking on substantive topics including depression and how to get the life you really want.  In several months, you’ll be relaunching your provocative radio program, “The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show.” And of course, there’s your launch of “FRENZY!”, the latest installment in your “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series of novels.  I have a major role in planning the “FRENZY!” book tour and contests—and more.  So everyone:  stay tuned to WYATTEVANS.COM for news and updates. 

     WYATT:  Jon, in 50 words or less, give everyone the 411 on “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” 

     JON:  It’s a wild/crazy ride involving a couple who have gone through some deep/intense/emotional stuff, together and alone.

     WYATT:  Tell us:  Who are Wes and ‘Tonio, the main characters of “FRENZY!”?  Just who are they?  What kind of guys are they, anyway?

     JON:  Wes and ‘Tonio, the two compelling leads, are both very intense individuals who have gone through a lot of stuff in their lifetimes.  Collectively, they are soul mates, but have faced many challenges that often get in the way of keeping them together.

     WYATT:  Jon, what character trait of each man is most appealing to you—and why?

     JON:  For Wes, it’s his loyalty to the ones he loves.  For ‘Tonio, it’s his passion/dedication–even though that often gets him into trouble.

     WYATT:  Why does “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!” appeal to you?

      JON:  Great question, Wyatt.  Well, I have to say that “FRENZY!” has universal appeal—it resonates with such a broad audience.  Be you gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, you can relate toWes and ‘Tonio because these are two individuals who are deeply and passionately in love with each other on many levels, and are pushing back against the obstacles that throw their monogamous relationship in dire jeopardy.  These men are grounded in reality.

     Also, the reader is like a “fly on the wall.”  You feel that you are very much a part of what Wes and‘Tonio experience. 

     Additionally, “FRENZY!” explores topical and critical societal issues (including IPV/A, child sexual abuse and mental illness) without being “preachy.” And then, there’s rich drama!

     WYATT:  And what about the provocative, sexually-charged situations?

     JON:  The situations in this book, compared to your others, seemed to be much more extreme.  I’m specifically referring to when Walker and his crew are “auditioning” people for their new business adventure.  I won’t give away just who Walker is.  However, I will say that Walker is very, very closeto Wes.

     WYATT:  If you could create a character for the series, who what he/she be?  How would he/she interact with Wes and ‘Tonio?

     JON:  This question is very hard, because no matter what I say is going to give something away about the story. 

     I’d love to see a character that benefits greatly from the non-profit organization that Wes and ‘Tonio decide to create at the end of the book.

     I’ll leave it at that, so I don’t give anything away.

     WYATT:  Tell us, Jon: why the need for LGBTQ literature?

     JON:  Because there is such a vast market for it.  There are many of us in the LGBTQ community who love to read books about characters going through the same things we face in life.

     I also think it’s important because those outside of the LGBTQ community who elect to read this genre are able to learn more about and therefore better understand what LGBTQ life is like, and the challenges we face.

     WYATT:  What are your favorite literary genres?

     JON:  When I was a kid, my favorite was horror.  I was obsessed with Stephen King.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve gravitated more towards biographies about music artists.  I’ve loved music my whole life, and in recent years, many artists I’ve listened to throughout my life have written books. It’s been very insightful, and a lot of fun to read and learn about their lives.

    WYATT:  what are your favorite authors—and why?

     JON:  My all-time favorite author is Stephen King.  There are a lot of reasons behind this.  For one, I grew up in a very small town in Vermont.  The majority of King’s books take place in Maine, in a small town.

     To me, King has always perfectly captured what small town life is like.  It was something I could always relate to, outside of the “horror” aspect of the book.

     As a kid, I also have fond memories of my grandmother (she passed away in 2003) around Stephen King.  Throughout my whole life, she always gave me a book for my birthday.  It started out with books by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary.

      And as I got older, she always gave me the latest Stephen King book in hardcover.  I still have all of these books today.  Anytime I see them, I remember her fondly.

     Dennis Lehane is also a favorite author.  The last book my grandmother ever gave me was his“Mystic River” in hardcover.  That was the first book I read of his, and I was instantly hooked.  Most of Lehane’s books take place in Boston (where I live).  He captures Boston life perfectly.

     A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Dennis Lehane at an event at a local community library.  Of course, I brought my copy of “Mystic River” with me.  And after he was done speaking, he came over to me and asked if I’d brought a copy to be signed.

     My answer was, of course, “Yes!”  I also took the opportunity to share with him the aforementioned story:  about how my grandmother always gave me a book for my birthday and Christmas, and that this was the last one she ever gave me.

     Lehane was deeply touched by the story, which was a great moment.  I’ve always been an avid reader because of my grandmother.  It meant a lot to have an author I love appreciate my memory of her.

     Last, but not least, another favorite author is, of course, you!  I’ve loved all three of your books. However, I take the most value from your various articles/interviews/blogs.  You often touch on very sensitive issues that many are afraid to talk about.  I feel this is very important and a great value for many within our community.

     WYATT:  Jon, such a touching experience you had with Mr. Lehane!  And, I really appreciate your sentiments regarding me.

     WYATT:  Now, let’s get “up close and personal.”  What are you passionate about?

     JON:  Music, my dog, reading, community, the Boston Red Sox.  I’ll only elaborate on the Sox here as the others are touched upon in other questions.

     One of my favorite memories as a kid is listening to the Red Sox on the radio with my parents and grandmother.  My town in Vermont didn’t get cable until I was a freshman in high school.

     I loved just sitting outside in the summer listening to the games with family members.  I still sometimes do it today, even though we have HD TV.  There’s just something about listening to a Sox game on the radio.

     When the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, I cried such happy tears!  My parents and I have been Sox fans our entire lives.   

     I also had a very special moment remembering my grandmother, who was the biggest Sox fan I knew!  She passed away during the first round of the MLB playoffs in 2003.  And, she was born in October of 1918 (days after the last time the Sox won the World Series before 2004).  Therefore, she never got to see the Sox win the World Series. 

     I had a Red Sox hat that I wore for years, but never wore again after the night the team won the World Series in 2004.  I still have the hat, but it sits in a box with other memories of my grandmother.

     WYATT:  You are a community activist.  Tell us about that.

     JON:  Growing up, my mother was always very active within our community, serving on the school board, helping run community events, etc.  Her actions became instilled within me.  Though as a child, I never really thought much about it.  

     Prior to moving to Boston in 1997, I always did volunteer work, etc. for various organizations. After I made the move here, I continued. 

chessie-the-one

     Throughout my career in banking I’ve conducted countless financial literacy seminars for all types of organizations/non-profits.  A few years ago I was asked by someone at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department to start doing conducting seminars at their jail.

     Being candid, I was very nervous to do so, as I’d never set foot in a prison before.  After doing my first session there, it became one of my favorite places to go.  The men I do the seminars for are all due to get out between 3 and 6 months.  The majority of them were very excited to have another opportunity to get back into society and do right by themselves and their family.

     Another thing I’ve done, with the help of two community partners is an annual FREE community Thanksgiving dinner.  We do it every year at my friend’s restaurant.  We started this back in 2011, and served around 25 dinners to the community.  Last year we served over 175!  Our goal this year will be to break the 200 mark.

     I also spend a lot of time volunteering and raising money for the Boston Living Center.  The BLCis a nonprofit community and resource center that fosters the wellness of all HIV positive people and responds to the changing needs of the HIV/AIDS community through education, treatment information and support services.

     They also do an annual Thanksgiving event where I volunteer as a “TIPS” server.  I, along with many others raise money through donations for the Boston Living Center.  A week before Thanksgiving, the Boston Living Center hosts a huge Thanksgiving dinner for all of their members and their families.  As a “TIPS” server, you will serve them the entire meal.  This has become my favorite event of the year.

       Another thing I’m proud of is 2 years ago I created a radio show called “Our House” for a local radio station, TOUCH 106.1 FM.  The show discusses various events going on in the community, along with various banking topics to help educate the local community. I spend a good deal of time educating many within the “inner city” of Boston on how to make themselves “bankable” (again), to build/establish credit, set a budget and even buy a house.

     WYATT:  Are you a proponent of marriage equality?  Why or why not?

     JON:  I am absolutely a proponent for marriage equality.  No matter whom you love, you should have the right to marry the person you love. 

     I often struggle with this subject (and many others around equality).  On the surface, we are making great strides.  However, because of that progress, the amount of hate from people who are against it also seems to be growing.

     You and I have had many discussions around this.  People have become so divided around so many issues.  In the end, I still believe love will conquer hate.

     WYATT:  This is the presidential election year.  Jon, if you were elected president, what three issues would you zero in on and try to pass in your first 100 days?

     JON:  Gun control, income equality/poverty, and LGBTQ Rights.

     WYATT:  In “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”, you see that I’m enamored with eyes.  Yours are so expressive, with wonderment and promise of the future.  Do you believe that eyes are the “windows to the soul?” 

     JON:  Thank you for that compliment.  Many people have told me something similar about my eyes.  Yes, I do believe that eyes are the “windows to the soul.”  When I meet someone for the first time, I instantly can tell the type of person they are from their eyes. 

     In “FRENZY!”,  I think you did a phenomenal job showing how this is true.  That’s all I’ll say as I don’t want to “give the book away” to those who haven’t read it yet. 

     WYATT:  What are the keys to success? 

     JON:  I think the most important one is to find something you’re passionate about, and put everything you have into it.  So many of us, spend the majority of our time in a career/job we are not happy with.

     I know this is easier said than done, but there are countless stories of many who have done it. You’re doing it now!

     WYATT:  Your “sidekick” is Chessie, your “wonder dog!”  I call her “Madam Diva.”  Share her interesting back story. 

     JON:  I’ve always loved dogs.  Chessie is the fifth dog I’ve had in my lifetime.  Nine years ago this past July, I rescued and adopted her.  Chessie was in a high kill shelter in South Carolina. 

    Before Chessie, I’d rescued Bea.  Unfortunately I had to put Bea down two years after I’d adopted her.  She was an older dog and developed bone cancer.  Bea was a Brittany Spaniel/Beagle Mix.  Once she was put down, I vowed never to get another dog again.  The heartbreak was just too much.

     Though about a year later, I casually reached out to the New England Brittany Rescue Association (where I got Bea from) to see if they had any dogs that were similar to Bea, but much younger.  Right away they responded, “You won’t believe this, but we just found out about a dog in South Carolina who is the same mix as Bea (Brittany Spaniel/Beagle), about 3-4 years old.”  It was Chessie.

      Next, they informed me of Chessie’s situation (being in the high kill shelter), sent some pictures and told me that I needed to act fast.  Because of how long she’d been in the shelter, she was due to be put down the next day.

     I immediately became emotional and said, “I’ll take her!”  I knew I was her last chance.

     It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Chessie is the sweetest dog I’ve ever had (Unless you’re another dog and try to get her food!).  I don’t know her full story, but my guess is that she came from a good family, as she was well trained and behaved.  I think she was either lost or abandoned.

     Going back to eyes being the window to the soul:  I’ve never seen a dog that has eyes as intense as hers!  You can immediately tell what she’s feeling when you look into them.

     WYATT:  So, what’s your most fav thing to do while on VACAY?

     JON:  Go to the beach.  I can stare at the ocean for hours; it fascinates me.  As well, I love to walk the beach.  And, I spend lots of time reading there.

     WYATT:  Hey!  You’re a “Pearl Jam-Aholic?” 

     JON:  Most definitely! But I’m equally obsessed with the Dave Matthews Band (DMB).  I’ve seen DMB 63 times, Pearl Jam 33.  I love both bands equally; the difference in the amount of times I’ve seen each comes from DMB touring every year–and always playing in my area.  Pearl Jam has toured almost as often, but tend to only do a certain part of the US. 

     In the last few years, I have traveled to see Pearl Jam.  And they were just in Boston, at Fenway Park (my favorite place in the world).  Their two shows at Fenway was on this past August 8 and 9. Honestly, it’s been an amazing year going to so many shows!  I’m truly blessed by the number of wonderful people I’ve met from all over the world who have the same passion for the band as I do.

     Both bands helped me through some very dark times with their lyrics.  Allow me to share one specific story, it’s around a Dave Matthews song called “Dancing Nancies.”

     When I was 23, I went through a very dark phase dealing with my sexuality.  I became very depressed and thought about suicide a lot.  Wyatt, as you know, I’m not one to express my feelings. Music has always been my escape/outlet to deal with any issues I’m having.

     There was one night where I couldn’t stop crying and wanted to die.  I put “Dancing Nancies” on repeat and managed to cry myself asleep.  The song’s about someone wishing their life was different and they could be somebody else.  In short, what I thought and wished for pretty much every second of the day. 

     “Dancing Nancies” also talks about how we all need to just take a step back and appreciate the powerful, yet simple beauty of the world we live in.  When I woke up the next morning, I was still depressed–but not nearly as much as I was the night before.  The lyrics are what got me through what was the darkest point of my life. 

     I don’t know how many times I’ve seen DMB perform this song, but anytime I see them do it, I get choked up.  I always go back to that night.  I honestly don’t know if I would have made it through without that song.

     WYATT:  Amazing!  I’m so glad that song helped you to “make it through the storm.”

     JON:  Thanks, Wyatt.  As I stated earlier, my grandmother passed away in 2003.  During the funeral, the priest talked at length about spiritual immortality; his words provided comfort in my time of sadness.  When we left the service, the first song that came on in the car was Pearl Jam’s“Immortality.” I immediately became choked up (again) about the loss of my grandmother.

     I was a pallbearer at the funeral.  The weather that day was cold and rainy.  Most everyone stayed in their cars as we went to lay my grandmother to rest.  It was myself, some cousins and uncles.  Of course, we were all quite emotional.

     When I returned to my car, my sister told me that the song that came on the radio while we were walking my grandmother to the grave was “Gravedigger” by Dave Matthews. 

     After breaking down for a few moments, something hit me.  I realized by hearing both “Immortality” and “Gravedigger” (songs by my two favorite bands), it was a sign that my grandmother was okay.

     My closest Pearl Jam friends know this story.  I was with them at the last show (at Wrigley) of the band’s 2016 Tour; we all started the tour back in April in Ft. Lauderdale.   Each of us had general admission tickets, and were able to all hang out together. 

     When the band starts to perform, we know within seconds which song is being played.  As soon as the opening chords started, my friend–who was behind me– immediately put his hand on my shoulder. 

     I’ve experienced many bonding moments like this over the years at both Dave Matthews Band and Pearl Jam concerts.  Ultimately, I think that’s what draws me the most to these bands, and keeps me going back year after year.  It’s the community you always have around you, and who all have the same love and passion for these acts.

     WYATT:  Jon, thanks so much for sharing such personal and poignant experiences.

     WYATT:  Now, let me ask you:  if you were on a deserted island, what three things would you need or/and want?  Would a certain individual be part of that list?

     JON:  If it’s need, it’d be food, water and shelter.  If those bare necessities were already there, I’d then pick my iPod (that somehow runs on solar power), Chessie and my grandmother. 

     WYATT:  You’re devising a “What Makes You Go ‘FRENZY’!” Contest for my fans.  Tell us, Jon:  what makes you go “FRENZY!”???

     JON:  PASSION!  Anytime I become passionate about something, or see someone I love/care about become passionate, I go…ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     WYATT:  YOWZA!  Any parting words?

     JON:  Everyone should get ready for the Official Release of “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart—FRENZY!”, which will occur this coming Saturday, October 1On the same day, the “FRENZY!” Trailer debuts everywhere on YouTube and other social media platforms. 

     And, stay tuned for upcoming tour dates, contest details and other news.  You can do this by visiting WYATTEVANS.COM; FACEBOOK (www.facebook.com/wyattobrianevans; The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club); TWITTER (www.twitter.com/MisterWOE).

     JON:  Wyatt, thank you for presenting me with the opportunity to become President of The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Official Fan Club!  I’m truly honored, and will do everything in my power to help you reach your fans and expand your fan base.

     WYATT:  Actually, my friend—Thank Y-O-U!!!  I appreciate it more than I can adequately express.  What I will say (again) though is, “Ohhhhhhh Tito—gimme (anotha) tissue!!!”  (LOL!)