Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday in the City

Is 2009 on a roll or what? I should say so, since February is giving way to the ides of March and COP:24/7 is locked and loaded. However, as the last day of Black History Month bows out, this forum will wrap it all up with this posting. Ladies and Gents, let's get this over and done with...!!

Black is New Gay??: The article on "Is Black The New Gay," which was actually an Advocate cover feature last November, has sparked a rousing round of commentary from coast to coast. I've read so many viewpoints, thusly including the article from M.L. Tracy which took a direct bulls eye approach to the matter. There were so many points that I agree with and a few that I have to mull over. When I read the Advocate article, I needed to decompress and dissect exactly what the author was attempting to state. The premise of the article drove the point of how aligned or juxtaposed the gay rights and the civil rights movement have been seen. I've been acutely aware of the debate this "co-ownership" has raised over the years and it's boomerang to now. Especially in lieu of that Prop 8 mash up where many in the California gay community went "to the left" meanwhile, finger pointing and blaming African Americans for it's passage. I have dealt with the issue of race, racism, and interracial issues for most of my entire life and I can firmly state that Gay is not, I repeat, not the new black. Tracy cites many cases where this thought process is flawed and I concur. Over the years, I've witnessed so many incidents where the being "gay" meant one thing usually "white" but, being "black and gay" was realized differently and treated as much. While living in San Francisco in the early 80's I saw that "OZ" was ripe with racial indifference's, a mixed bag of possibilities and at a times a cold disdain. I remember while seeking employment at a Castro District clothing outlet called All American Boy, I was told that I didn't fit the mold of an "all American boy." This observation was from the Black manager who had surmised long ago that black was not the new gay. Living in Arkansas and traveling in the Mid-South has given me first hand knowledge as well. In a variety of scenarios I've learned about outright bigotry in bars with excessive ID policies to personal attacks on my character or preferences. My experiences are just too rich and vivid for this forum. Perhaps I should do a book as a outreach tool. Mr. Tracy's observations are illuminating on this issue and I hope that it will give many a chance to ponder this issue openly and honestly. The floor is open and we'll leave the lights on....

AIDS 2009: The JUBILEE CHRISTIAN CENTER, "Home of Living Faith Ministries" with pastors Dr. R. J. Lightsey & Rev. Sharen K. Lightsey,at 5103 W. Malcomb Avenue, Pine Bluff, will hold their Annual HIV/AIDS Awareness & Prevention Seminar Saturday, March 7, 2009 •11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Speakers included will be Dr. Richard D’Aquila, M.D., F.I.D.S.A. - Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Director of Infectious Diseases, and Director of the Vanderbilt AIDS Center, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Mr. Michael Adrian Davis – Inspirational Speaker and Radio Personality, 94.9 Hallelujah FM
Also: Musical Selections and Refreshments Call 870.267.1266 for additional information
[Private Testing Available]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Take Two Thursday

In late 2008 I posted concerning an article in the The Advocate newsmag about this subject and the subsequent fallout of the mixed message that "Gay is the New Black," juxtaposed to the civil rights movement. Mr. Tracy is a PHD student at St.Louis University and showcased this work in the STL area newspaper, The Vital Voice. As we conclude Black History Month, I felt it appropriate that this item be presented as this forum continues to spark intelligent debate and robust discussion. In our next outing, I plan to give my personal take on this issue.

Gay Is NOT The New Black By: Maurice L. Tracy

There is an ever-increasing popular notion and phrase that haunts me: "Gay is the New Black." Thankfully when /The Advocate/ used this phrase as the cover story tag for their November 2008 issue they followed it with a question mark, but I wonder, for how many gay Americans is this notion really a question? To apply Elle Woods’ feeling about orange being labeled "the new pink," whoever called gay "the new black" is seriously mistaken. Let me be clear, I see the gay rights struggle as part of the civil rights struggle. To miss that point is to allow the struggle for civil rights to remain fragmented, incomplete, and under the ownership of one particular group and makes that group monolithic in nature---no group is monolithic. The Civil Rights Movement encompasses gay individuals, women, racial minorities, class struggles, citizenship issues, gender identity, and many other varying categories.In this respect, the Civil Rights Movement is not a black movement or a gay movement but a queer movement. The notions of equality, fairness, and access are not queer values in theory; they are queer values in practice. For most of us equality, fairness, and access to power and mobility comprise the foundation of America. There is no country where this notion has emerged as a lived experience through-out its borders for everyone; and America is no exception. There are only pockets nationally and internationally where this Utopian concept can be experienced—(The Village in NYC, Boys Town in Chicago, Castro Street, Manchester in the U.K., etc), and even then only in a limited form.My quarrel with the idea that "gay is the new black" is that it is insulting to me as a gay black man who is politically, socially, and culturally engaged and active in/ /the (white) gay community, black community, and gay black community. Gay can never be the new black because first and foremost this phrase does not acknowledge the fact that there are those of us who are already gay AND black. We live within the margins, not because we choose to but because society places us there.What is labeled as ‘black culture" frequently does not acknowledge our homosexuality. Though black culture is not a monolithic entity, generally speaking, it does not overtly accept homosexuality as readily as mainstream (read white) culture, largely due to the proportionally larger role that conservative Christian religion plays in African-American households. This is repeatedly written about in both the mainstream and gay presses. It was also used to blame black Americans for the passage of Proposition 8. Not only were reports of the rate of black Americans supporting Proposition 8 grossly over-exaggerated, it took focus away from the fact that there was also ample support from white voters and Latino voters. There is more than enough blame to go around. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, people who attended church regularly, regardless of race, were the ones who overwhelmingly supported Prop. 8. Therefore, what we have here is not a case of "black homophobia" but religious homophobia. "Black culture" therefore became an easy target for the lazy individual. The fact is that black culture is homophobic because America is homophobic.What is not talked about to the same extent as "black homophobia" is that gay culture is just as racist as black culture is overtly homophobic—because America is still a racist country. And yes, I am aware that I am writing this at a time when our president is a man who looks more like me than any other president we have had, but contrary to the hype, the election of President Obama does not signal the dawning of a post-racist America.The presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tell us how obsessed with race and gender we still are as a nation. The majority of the discourse about Clinton’s campaign was whether or not America was ready for a female president, if she was feminine enough, or, at times if she was too emotional. The discourse about Obama was almost entirely connected to his body as a black man: was he black enough, would America elect a black man, comparing him to Martin Luther King, would he walk on inauguration day, should there be more security on that day, etc. We are not living in a post-race or post-gender society. I believe we are just starting to scratch the surface on class and sexuality.To a certain extent, one cannot expect an individual reared in a country where they are repeatedly informed, however passively and/or subliminally, that they are in some way superior to another group of people even if they happen to be homosexual. In fact one might expect that individual to cling ever more closely to this false notion because they have been cast out from the culture in which they were originally nurtured. Since gay racism is rarely if ever addressed, it has allowed gay individuals to view gay culture as devoid of racism and therefore it might seem natural to label gay as "the new black."Indeed, after a few quick comparisons it may seem like a common-sense proposition that homosexuals have taken the mantle of acceptable bigotry from African-Americans. Once upon a time a black person and white person could not marry; now it is not a person’s race that prevents two people from being legally wed but their gender; blacks at one time served in the military under different conditions and pressures than their white counterparts, now gay men and women must serve in the military under different conditions and pressures than their heterosexual counterparts; housing has historically been an issue for both blacks and gays and the list can go on. Yet, I refuse to allow gays to co-opt an identity so frequently discriminated against by gay people.Take for instance the responses the (white) gay community had to two recent pejoratives hurled by "celebrities"—one homophobic and the other racial. When /Grey’s Anatomy /star Isaiah Washington referred to T.R. Knight as a "faggot" the gay community was justifiably upset. Many gay individuals wanted /Grey’s Anatomy /to fire Mr. Washington on the spot. A few months later their wish was granted as Dr. Burke was sent packing in one of the lamest character write-offs in history, and incidentally /Grey’s /started to jump the shark only in season what, three? In the process, the previously closeted T.R. Knight became a poster-child for out-and-proud gays who brave the scary heterosexual world populated by bigots now represented by the very previously supportive Isaiah Washington. Yes I wrote supportive Isaiah Washington, because many of us who are black and gay were baffled. The Isaiah we knew was not homophobic; he was an actor who played an out gay black professional man in Spike Lee’s /Get on the Bus/ —and he did this before /Brokeback /made playing gay the trendy thing to do.While T.R. made the chat-fest rounds and appeared on the new lesbian queen of nice Ellen DeGeneres’ show, many of us were still lacking a clear sense of what happened and what should be done to rectify the situation. Contrast this with the case of /Real World /cast member Davis Mallory, a blond haired, blue-eyed newly out gay man. The moment this southern Christian popped onto the screen the message boards at were set ablaze. Many people could not stop gushing about how "cute" Davis was. Then one day our gay Christian hero picked up the phone and stated "[this] nigger wants to kill me." He was referring to his black roommate, Tyrie Ballard, whom he was in an argument with because earlier in the evening Davis did not defend another black house guest, Stephen Nichols, when a bartender referred to him with a racial epithet. Was there massive outrage from the mainstream gay community about this incident? No. According to blog posts what seemed to matter most was the fact that Davis was cute.If these were the only incidents of gay prejudice or the lack of sensitivity and awareness gay culture has in regards to race then I could easily pack up my self-important essay and go home, but unfortunately, these are not the only instances. A Marc Jacobs shirt that was marketed specifically for the Pride 2008 season (I am not aware whether people sported the T-shirt here in St. Louis) featured the Pride Flag emblazoned on the Confederate Flag. When some individuals objected, a frequent response was that it was just about Southern Pride. Doesn’t that sound familiar? How many hundreds of politicians have denied gays the right to marry with similar logic? "It is not that we hate you gay people; it is just that it is tradition for a man to marry a woman."Frequently, white gay people stay silent when the conversation turns to men on the Down Low (DL). They are comfortable to allow the DL man to remain an African-American figure, but I can attest that there have been many white men who frequent certain gay sex establishments with wedding rings on their fingers./Queer As Folk, /the supposedly monumental breakthrough for gay visibility did not have a single significant character of color during their entire run. When I brought this up in a chat room years ago, this is the resounding response I received: Be glad that we have a gay television show at all! But "we" did not have a gay television show. For me, and the millions of others who looked similar to me and not at all like Ted, Emmet, Mikey, or Brian, /we /still did not see ourselves represented on television. /We /had not arrived, /our /time had not come---it felt like /we/ were still in the back of rainbow bus. We had to create our "own’ shows, /Noah’s ARC /and /The DL Chronicles/, on LOGO and HERE to get any face time or recognition of our existence on television! These shows by necessity have an explicit dedication to portray black gay male life because mainstream gay television does not seem able to conceive of a world where black gay people exist. Sadly parroting /Queer as Folk’s /example, /Noah’s ARC /and the /DL Chronicles/ neglected to portray the lives of black lesbians who are rumored to have their "own" show in the works.Yet, what makes the call for gay being "the new black" so offensive, are the incidents used to prove this assertion are ripe with gay prejudice at the least, and racism at the worst. In spite of the fact the Mormon Church spent $25 million dollars to defeat, some groups blamed the defeat on the African American vote. During the Proposition 8 fiasco, Dan Savage was trotted out to numerous media organizations to be the voice for the oppressed gay people of California. Not once was his polemical column quoted, where he stated: "I’m not sure what to do with this. I’m thrilled that we’ve just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can’t help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren’t mutual. I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re *scum*—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color." Conveniently, this post was taken down before Mr. Savage made the press rounds. His allegations are not entirely accurate, black people in general did not vote any differently than any other demographic when people stop viewing black people as some monolithic entity and realize the real culprit was conservative religion.To Mr. Savage, the easy, convenient and popular way out was to scapegoat black individuals, which helped drive a wedge further between gay communities and black communities but also between white gay individuals and black gay individuals. In addition, what does Mr. Savage think it does to the black gay male in regard to aging in a culture that views you primarily as a walking phallus and judges your beauty according to the standards of whiteness? If he really wanted to know, I would simply direct him to certain St. Louis clubs where one can see black gay men only talking to white gay men in a clear search for validation from the "man," or I can direct him to certain clubs where black gay men cling so fiercely to each other, constantly reminding each other that yes indeed, black is beautiful and worth more than a quick Internet rendezvous to fulfill some fetish or vague curiosity for something dark and "Nubian." Dan Savage does not care about the affects black homophobia has on black gay people. He clearly does not care about the affects his white gay misunderstanding, prejudice or racism has on black gay people.The final sin that gay racism commits is it makes gay culture apathetic and through this apathy, gay racism can become deadly. Alternatively, ignoring or paying attention to an epidemic simply because the face of that epidemic is changing is immoral. Blacks and whites, gays and straights all share in this guilty behavior. For heterosexual black communities to finally start addressing AIDS simply because the face of AIDS has become the face of a young black woman is almost unforgivable—what about all those gay black men who died before? For the gay (white) community to put the AIDS pandemic on the political and social back burner and focus on legislation-gay marriage, ENDA, "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell," etc. when the face of AIDS is now the face of gay black men (and infection rates are rising); well, that is criminal. And yes, the community is turning its back.Consider the film industry, when AIDS first hit, there were many movies that dealt with the subject and usually starred white gay male characters. Now that the image is shifting, the number of AIDS-themed films are decreasing and the number of gay romantic comedies and tragedies are increasing. When I spoke to one of my white friends about this he said, "Don’t you think people are getting burnt out on it? I mean people know what to do, wrap it up, what more can you do?" Now at a time when people who look like me are dying, I do not find AIDS fatigue to be an acceptable reason to turn to respectable heterosexually modeled marriage.When I speak to many young gay black individuals and realize this is a generation like me who grew up with AIDS, but unlike me they went to high school during the dark ages (aka the Bush Years), and therefore received very little sexual education. Furthermore, what little they did was geared toward heterosexual intercourse. So I say no to my white friend, people are not getting burned out, people are dying and still dying. The only difference, my white friend, is that many of them do not look like you.I want to say, dear reader, that there is very little joy in this essay for a reason. I cannot apologize for the stridency of my words or for the urgency of my message because the anger I hope you feel pulsating from the page, is one that has been simmering for a while and it is finally starting to boil over for many black gay individuals. Gay will never be "the new black" because it does not respect blackness nor does it embrace blackness. Gay cannot love blackness because it does not recognize the complexities and variances of blackness and black experiences. Gay does not want to be "the new black," believe me.I began this article answering the question of whether or not "gay is the new black" with a loud unwavering no, but that is not the reason I wrote this article. For too long the voice of the gay community to America has been blindingly white; for too long the image of black America for gay people has been a heterosexual image--neither community has sought to listen to the voice of those of us who are gay people of color. It is past time that we come out from the margins and ask not just to be heard, but to forcefully, confidently, demand to be listened to. We must be comfortable being a thorn in the side of both communities, never letting either community rest until it joins not a Civil Rights Movement, or Gay Rights Movement, or Women’s Rights Movement, but our Queer Movement for true equality, and in order to do that we must first speak for ourselves. You can e-mail Maurice Tracy at

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Newsy COP 24/7

Today's' headlines and talking heads are weighing in on last evenings speech from President Obama, who set the stage, pull the curtains and turned on the hot lights of what's really going on in this nation. Mr. Obama's address to a joint session of Congress was straight forward but filled with hopefulness that we've come to expect from his speeches. I was enthralled as the President seemed strident and self assured from the bully pulpit that "we" as a country will have to close ranks to "re-build, recover and re-emerge" as a global beacon of prosperity. My heart soared as he called the nation to action, insisting on bi-partisian support and reminding us all that we are not quitters. Amen. There's no doubt to the

complexities, uncertainties and tomfoolery that has plagued our economy. Am I mad as hell about the situation? Damn right. I'm angry at the "smartest guys and gals" in the room who winked and nodded all of us into a this cess pool. It's so unfortunate that greed, incompetence, lack of oversight and personal responsibility, down right foolishness and simply stupidity that ran rough shot across the land. Even though I've tried extremely hard to play by the rules and struggle to meet my obligations. I understand that this crisis will call for me to bear the burden of those who may have grabbed for more of the American Dream than was realistically feasible. Moreover, I'm begrudgingly prepared to accept the fact that our systems were allowed to be looted and over run by callous bookmaking while in search of bonuses and profits. Who's to blame? Gosh dern it there's a vault load of blame that can be spread from here to the moon. Yet, as I've learned in life, you take it on the chin, reflect and then get back in the game. Mr. President, I understand that there's been a mess made as many were sleep at the wheel. But, I'm pledging my confidence with you now at the wheel and doing everything within the power of the presidency, you will get this vehicle moving in the right direction. I'm ready and willing for the long haul, let's get going, now!

Fat Tuesday: As I get out and about in Central city, especially now that we have additional watering holes, I keep wondering, "where are the people?" The Fat Tuesday activities were rather non-descript and so-so celebrated. I know that this is not NOLA, but that doesn't stop a reason to celebrate. In all actuality, this point was brought to my attention by barkeep Keith on the north shore. In a series of conversations, he chatted up some reflections about the community from his viewpoint. He said, "I have guys who come in here ( Sidetracks) who complain that there's nothing to do here in Little Rock.
But, usually these are guys that I don't see on a regular basis or at any of the special events." He went on to elaborate about why is there so much complaining from gays about activities then they don't support them. Wow, all this from a heterosexual working in a SGL outlet, who wants gay folks to come on out and have fun. What concept! Yet, his words couldn't be more on point. I realize that economic times have us all pulling back a bit on the disposable cash, but adjusting our cash outlay can still allow some participation across the board. I don't propose to tell you how to spend your dollars, but we must continue to face the fact that if "we don't support, then it's possible that these outlets won't be able to support our social needs."

Naked HIV: Marvelyn Brown, co-author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and HIV Positive, will be the featured guest of ADH and Arkansas Minority Health Commission this Thursday, 2.26.2009. 7 p.m. at Philander Smith College in the the M.L.Harris Auditorium. According to Editorial notes on, at nineteen years of age, Marvelyn Brown was lying in a stark white hospital bed at Tennessee Christian Medical Center, feeling hopeless. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but she was battling a sudden illness in the intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on. It never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive.
Having unprotected sex with her Prince Charming had set into swift motion a set of circumstances that not only landed her in the fight of her life, but also alienated her from her community. Rather than give up, however, Brown found a reason to fight and a reason to live.
The Naked Truth is an inspirational memoir that shares how an everyday teen refused to give up on herself, even as others would forsake her. More, it's a cautionary tale that every parent, guidance counselor, and young adult should read. I read a bit using the Amazon preview and discovered that this is a very simple writing. No tall verbiage or overwhelming prose. It's an easy read that most could enjoy as well as understand. If you are watching the purse strings, it's in paperback and the beauty of Amazon and a feature that I truly love about this portal is that you can get used copies for a fraction of the price. Also if you need a cheap date, this event is FREE.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday: A Gumbo Mix

AHA, Eeee! It's Fat Tuesday in the house and there's a been a devilish brew cooking on the stove for this edition of COP:24/7. Just like that famous Noloa fixin, the gumbo pot is full of things reconiziable and stuff thrown in for good mesure. I don't know about you but it's been a rowdy year thus far with a host of subjects that need to be mentioned and rementioned. Well, what are we waiting for, let's start the parade...

Under the Crown: Congrats go out to Roxie Starlite,(pictured left) the newly crowned Miss River Queen, FFI last Friday night at UBU. The 1st Alternate was Diamond Rose, (pictured right) who came to the pageant with a great package displaying his growth in the artistry. I believe that we will be hearing more from DR as the pageant season takes flight. Overall the evening was filled with interesting performances, varying fashion statements and for myself lots of people watching. Usually this becomes most apparent when the MC, aptly done by Gigi Galore starts "stretching for time" and calling out audience guest. As I looked around the room was not SRO ( standing room only) but mildly attended especially by all those past title holders, "crown" sitters, and anybody who use to be somebody, including my alter ego, Cassanundra Manchester, whom I will obviously never escape. Despite a rocky start and building something new, my hats off to the promoters of the US of A system and their affiliates for staying the course and ticking along just nicely, thank you. Stay locked in here for more updates and pageant info. If you were present at the pageant, what were your observations, omissions or comments. Let's hear it!!

From the Heart: I wanted to remind everyone about Saturday, March 7, 2009, as the Center for Artistic Revolution, (CAR) will present the 5th Annual Corazón Mexican Dinner and Silent Art Auction. This is CAR's signature event and annual fundraiser which will be held at Quapaw United Methodist Church, 1601 S Louisiana, in Little Rock at 6 pm with a preview party and dinner followed by the silent auction at 7 pm. Tickets for the preview party dinner are $15.00 in advance $20.00 at the door. Age 12 and under the tickets $7.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door.*Admission to the silent auction is free.
Please contact us to purchase tickets! Our office hours are 9-5 during the week. If you need to pick up tickets before or after this, please call Adam at 501.912.4780.

Guns & Christians: Yes, my pretties, they done, done it again. Arkansas' legislature has put the Natural state back in the spotlight as a state that keeps presenting itself as a quasi stateside "Banana Republic." This time, it's all about gun toting Christians who want to be armed and ready in case some "wolf" shows up on Sunday morning to harm the flock. It's straight out of the movie Buck and the Preacher years ago! That's right, the Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill Feb. 11 that would allow people with concealed-weapon permits to bring their guns to church.
The bill, approved by the House by a vote of 57-42, now goes to the state Senate. If passed, it would amend to state's gun laws to remove "any church or other place of worship" from a list of places where firearms are currently banned.
Rep. Beverly Pyle (R-Cedarville) said she introduced the measure, which has 14 co-sponsors, in response to a series of church shootings across the country.
"It is time we changed our concealed-handgun law to allow law-abiding citizens of the state of Arkansas the right to defend themselves and others should a situation happen in one of our churches," Pyle said, according to the Associated Press. I'm all for citizens to bear arms but has it really come down to this? Golly Wow, not only are they armed with words that my harm, they may be packing too. Don't forget your bullet proof jackets, pass the collection plate and watch out for Rev. Barney Fife!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last week I posted information concerning the 2009 GMHA, and it's tenants that are designed to address the continuing "call to action" to the national electorate unilaterally. Meanwhile as the US grapples with it's economic ditch witch and the burgeoning crisis in access to health care across the board. In Arkansas these issues are very real, deserve our full attention, and demand our own clarion call to policy makers which has lacked serious motion, pointed direction and sure footed organizing. Recently, I've noticed a variety of Net postings inquiring about POZ networking, action groups, task forces and support entities that echo many past endeavors that went bust. Often those groundswells such as Positive Voices, ADAP Working group and "task force this n that" were promoted with great promise, only to devolve into pools of lost opportunities and wasted vital dollars that are not easy to recoup. Not to mention the agitation of those volunteers and supporters who bemoan the fact that another organization has failed to achieve it's purpose. I've been to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. lobbying our Representatives for additional AIDS funding, only to find staffers that state that they simply do not hear in mass from the Arkansas POZ community concerning issues or policies. Yes, they hear from a few individuals, and they know who they are, but the majority of the stakeholders have simply been overtly silent. Is this silence because they don't know how to connect the dots? Do they believe that some one else is looking out for their best interest? Or have some concluded that it's just beyond their realm of reality? I'm not often broadsided from what I hear. However, I was totally awestruck from a POZ individual whom I had assisted with getting assistance information, who boldly stated to my face that "I've got mine ( disability check) and it's my time to travel and see friends..." Wow, what a concept? I accept that everyone has the free will to chart their own course, nevertheless I ponder how prevalent is this mindset and it's possible impact as related by words from Michael Cook, CEO/President of Howard Brown Health Center who got my attention with his statement that,"as we move away from the sexual behavior-centered "crisis" mentality of the 80s and 90s and towards the reality where most gay men do grow older, we need to sharpen our focus." I can certainly attest that we certainly have some sharpening to do and quickly. Got comments, personal stories, observations or counterpoints, then click the comment section and let's hear it. I'm always ready whenever you are...
Here are the final recommendations from the agenda. You can particpate and get more information. Email your endorsement

3. Fund campaigns to combat homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. In partnership with our communities we call for local, state and federal funding, community foundation funding, faith community funding, and other support to combat ignorance, hatred and misunderstanding. We must address prejudice and build bridges across diverse communities; increase family, school, and community acceptance for LGBT youth; reduce stigma in health care and other services; and overcome discrimination in the workplace. We call for adequate funding for these programs, and we are ready to lead these efforts.
4. Eliminate No Promo Homo. We recognize that the delivery of culturally appropriate and responsive health information is dependent on setting and context. Grounded in science-based evidence, we insist on being allowed to speak within our communities effectively. Therefore, we demand the removal of state and federal legislation that serve no scientific purpose. For example, we should immediately repeal Section 2500 of the federal Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Section 300ee(b), (c), and (d)) that does not allow the “promotion” of any type of sexual behaviour – heterosexual or homosexual. This language debilitates programs that are funded to reach sexually active adults of all backgrounds.
5. Create an Office for LGBT Health at HHS. We request the appointment of a Senior Advisor or Office for LGBT Health at the United States Department of Health and Human Services to provide focused and sustained leadership and guidance for HHS, and other departments and agencies with connections to LGBT health. We stand ready to join advisory panels at HHS, and other departments and agencies, to complement, or in preparation, for this Office.
6. Develop and implement a strategy to reduce health disparities among gay, bisexual and transgender men through direct programmatic funding. With leadership from a Senior Advisor or Office of LGBT Health, funding from both governmental and private sources would be coordinated with the goals of reducing disparities in the health of gay, bisexual and transgender men - including HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and dependency (for example, cigarette smoking and methamphetamine), mental health and other social issues, and violence victimization (including hate violence and intimate partner violence). Improving access to culturally competent, responsive, quality health care must be prioritized through community specific efforts or legislation for universal health care coverage.
7. Implement and fund sexual health and wellness campaigns directed towards the gay, bisexual and transgender men’s communities utilizing an array of public and private resources. Through both public and private sources, these campaigns should ensure that both LGBT and non-LGBT health and social service organizations support male-to-male sexuality, and bisexuality, while promoting sexual health and overall wellness for the gay, bisexual and transgender men’s communities. Distinct populations must be focused on individually and should include African Americans, Latinos, and Asian/Pacific Island men, older men, men with disabilities, men who have primary partners, serodiscordant partners, men in recovery, young men and others.8. Develop and implement a strategy to remove barriers to health care among transgender people through legal changes and education of medical and health insurance professionals. We must revise the standards of care for gender transition to replace the "gate keeping" model with a model of informed consent, and we must end the discriminatory practices that deny health insurance to transgender people and that deny coverage for certain procedures that are covered for non-trans people.

Friday, February 20, 2009

As the Word Turns

Another week of 2009 is rocking and rolling away, as I tap it all out in this forum. It's that thing that I do each day that brings you the latest updates, links, commentary and breaking news for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Why wait, let's just get down to business...
OH Oscar!: And the winner is... Those are the defining words of the Academy Awards which will splash about this Sunday, 3.22.09. I use to make a point of watching this show, but somehow it's not on my priority list as Oscar has lost it's glitter for moi. Yet, I still sorta enjoy handicapping the nominees for those coveted statuettes. I just haven't had time to see this years great crop of films with story lines that are entertaining and provoking. Will Sean Penn get the Oscar nod for his tour de force performance in MILK? I think not. I believe that Mickey R's wrestling show stopper will walk with the O for best Actor. Kate Winslet will grab a Oscar for The Reader and I predict that Slumdog Millionaire will be Best Picture. Well, of course it will all go down this Sunday when they say those magic words. Got predictions? Then let's hear about them quick before the show!
Clinton School releases report on stimulus bill’s impact on public service
Dateline:Little Rock. While the economic stimulus package will likely mitigate a number of problems facing America, it heightens the need for more and better-prepared public servants, according to a report released today by the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. I've been trying my best to wrap my head around this entire Stimulus mash up as well as try to understand if or how this cash deluge will affect me personally. I get many e-blast from the Clinton Center where I've attended lectures and other offerings. In case you haven't had a chance to check out any of their programming, you need to get on board for some great cerebral exercises.
The report highlights examples of more than $180 billion of spending in the $787 billion package that directly target Americans who have been most affected by the economic crisis. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodala will be in Wahsington D.C. next week with other mayors getting the skinny how many of those dollars will flow to the local coffers. Uses of these funds include rural housing loans, increases for food stamps, creating new jobs for the unemployed, tax cuts for the poor, improving achievement in public schools and providing new technologies for under served areas.
Click here to review the report, or here for a summary.

TransGender in the Bright Lights: Oprah had the pregnant man,Thomas Beatie, Sundance Channel has had the show Transgeneration, movies like Boys don't Cry and now comes Sex Change Hospital featuring Dr. Marci Bowers who transistioned from the male visage of Mark Bowers. I've seen the show and it's quite interesting. Meanwhile giving you some fascinating insight into the "trans" world that you may not get otherwise. Based in Trinidad Colorado, now known as the "sex change capital of the world," the show highlights the lives and challenges of it's transgender cast. Dr. Bowers states that she does at least 5 surgeries a week and about 20 a month on indiviudals from coast to coast and globally in her clinic. Boy is she busy!! I've known a few individuals who have made the "transition" via re-assignment surgery that they say creates the wholeness they seek and desire. Yet, it's really not all about the dramatic surgery, but the lifelong journey that these indivduals undergo to completion. The often agony and setbacks while finding medical assistance plus the overall societal interaction makes me wonder if it's really worth it all. However, I've learned that this pursuit is not for the faint of heart but rather a committed endeavor that each person embraces intensely. The GLBT construct is a complex one and trans people are apart of that mix that sometimes gets lackluster attention. I saw this locally on the Discovery Health channel on Comcast. But, it's also on the WE TV channel on perhaps other cable providers. See it for another teachable moment that will enhance your understanding the next time you share some space with a transgendered person.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Staying Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

The Gay Men's Health Movement consists of formal and informal collaborations of gay men, bisexual men, transgender men, and our allies, who are advocating – worldwide - for access to health care, health care utilization strategies and training, affordable and comprehensive health insurance, and effective, culturally appropriate services across the life course. Gay, bisexual and trans men are healthy, productive and vital members of the United States. The movement is committed to an expansive vision of health and wellness addressing many challenges, current and emerging. We continue to confront the HIV/AIDS epidemic which disproportionately impacts gay and bisexual men of all colors, particularly Black and Latino gay men and especially young Black gay men. Substance abuse and dependency is of high concern, as are,; mental health and other social challenges including racism, institutional and otherwise; and violence arising from homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. In addition, we focus on the harms associated with poverty and inadequate housing, incarceration, unemployment or marginal employment within our communities; and harms associated with lack of culturally appropriate and responsive services, and/or lack of services entirely. We understand that many of our health challenges arise in complex associations with each other (e.g. HIV and substance abuse, poverty and sexually transmitted infections, homelessness and victimization to violence, stigma and mental health disorders, etc) and therefore must be assessed, treated, and managed holistically. Moreover, other social determinants impact our health and wellness, such as lack of comprehensive, age appropriate health and sexuality education in our schools, homophobia and transphobia in law enforcement practices, and unresponsive health and social service systems across most of the nation.In addition to understanding the personal, biological, environmental, social, cultural and political conditions that challenge our well being and lead to illness; our movement is committed to understanding and sustaining those conditions that increase our health, wellness, vitality, and longevity. The syndemic, co-morbid and collateral characteristics which shape the disparities we face demand a response that goes beyond the clinical and institutional to a broad and sustained mobilization that cuts across and includes multiple communities. We have vast strengths and assets to confront these challenges. Community-building and advocacy efforts are important features of our movement. Together we must strive to sustain a movement that builds our assets and works to reduce our deficits as individuals, loving partners, and communities across a broad and diverse spectrum of gay, bisexual and transgender men. Within our own communities, too, our members experience a wide range of access to services, resources and referrals which leads to disparate health outcomes for many. The concerns of gay, bisexual, and transgender men of color and men in rural and frontier communities are not always heard. Similary, immigrant men may struggle to join our communities even as they concurrently aim to adapt to broader American society. Men without the advantages of income, education, housing, and supportive friendships also are made invisible. While the historic and current impact of racism traditionally impacts Black gay men most directly – all of us are affected negatively. We are committed to overcoming these deficits within our own communities.Support for well-designed and focused research into the health-related needs of our communities is a priority. Much of this research establishes with overwhelming confidence that gay, bisexual, and transgender men, often defined in public health as MSM, experience significant health disparities when compared with heterosexual men. Research must focus on which assets and programmatic interventions work to reduce disparities and produce health and wellness in collaborative and supportive ways. The lack of accurate and sensitive data collection and analysis about gay, bisexual, and trans men’s health is yet another hazard. Few longitudinal studies exist to help guide our health care providers, or assist us as consumers. Best practices have not been articulated or disseminated. Randomized controlled trials have not included gay, bisexual, and transgender men as they should. Research regarding technologies important to our communities (e.g. rectal microbicides) has been woefully neglected. We support the need for more scientifically designed research to understand and improve our health. In addition, this research should always begin with direct collaboration with gay, bisexual, and transgender, from inception and implementation, to dissemination of findings and beyond.

Recommendations for Policymakers: Improving Gay Men’s Health and Lives We have been hard at work. Since the early 1970s, with the formation of volunteer based STD and community health clinics, gay, bisexual, transgender men and our allies have been engaged in creating culturally appropriate health care services for our communities. These early efforts have expanded to a nation-wide system of LGBT health care centers in our major urban areas. These centers were essential to our community’s early response to the HIV epidemic. Many of these centers continue to suffer from inadequate financial support and numerous smaller cities and rural areas are in need of such services.Since the mid-1990s, there have been a number of national and regional conferences and meetings in the United States organized for leaders in the gay men’s health movement to share information and resources, caucus, restore our energy and clarify our vision, and to develop resources and strategies for improving the health of our communities. Often, these forums have been held in partnership with lesbians, transgender women, public health providers, medical and other clinical providers, scientific and policy communities, community leaders and other activists. We have been in ongoing contact with each other to think, research, plan and work holistically and in coalition. A significant outcome of these efforts was the founding of the National Coalition for LGBT Health, the Gay Men’s Health Summits and the formation of a working group on LGBT health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently, to spur the development of a gay men’s health advocacy plan, Project CRYSP – a Chicago Department of Public Health gay men's health collaboration among four agencies – began soliciting input from a variety of stakeholders across the country in April 2008.They were asked to share their vision of a 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda – to list the objectives and strategies needed to advance our health and well-being. Twenty-one participants, representing a wide spectrum of organizations and demographically diverse individuals, submitted the policy initiatives, advocacy objectives and the activities they felt were essential to a comprehensive gay men's health agenda for 2009.

An analysis was conducted of the ideas presented through this process and an overview of the process and collected input was presented to 200 gay, bisexual and transgender men’s health leaders and advocates at the closing session of the 2008 National Gay Men's Health Summit in Seattle, October,, 2008. Feedback and additional ideas were recorded during the extensive open discussion portion of the session. This entire process informs this document.As a new Administration and Congress sets a course for America, with a focus on health care reform, leaders of the gay men’s health movement join with the National Coalition for LGBT Health and other allies in advocating for policies and resources to advance the health and well being of gay, bisexual, and transgender men.

Here are the first two recommendations and the next set will be listed next Monday as we conclude our series on Gay Mens Health Agenda 2009.

RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Fund and expand social, behavioral and biomedical research. Due to the health disparities gay, bisexual and transgender men endure, it is essential that more research is conducted to inform the community and clinicians as to the reasons for these disparities, find solutions to improving the health of the population, and to track and monitor health care outcomes. Sadly, research into the sexual health and wellbeing of our communities has often been demonized as morally offensive research or mischaracterized in its intent. This must end. We demand adequate funding for social, behavioral and biomedical research - including longitudinal and lifecourse studies, and random controlled trials. The research must include our diversity, as well as underserved and underrepresented communities, especially African American and Latino communities, as well as Asian/Pacific Island, Native American and other communities of color, and the impacted youth of those populations, all transgender men, and men outside urban centers as well as other other underserved regions. Attention to both current and emerging needs is paramount.

2. Develop and fund data collection efforts on sexual orientation and gender identity in all federally funded research. Vital to successful research and intervention are adequate data.. We must be represented, along with lesbians, and all bisexual and transgender men and women, in all appropriate municipal, state, and federal population, workforce, demographic, and health studies, surveys and research. There are no reasonable excuses for excluding us, since we are part of every population, part of every school and workplace, consumers of health care and other services, residents of every community, and taxpayers to local, state and federal governments.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Mid Week Mash Up

The Chicago organizers of the 2009 National LGBT Health Summit are excited to announce the launch of their new website – a one-stop-shop for all related organizing and planning activities. The Summit is scheduled for August 14-18, 2009 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Visit the Summit’s website here –“We are delighted to welcome LGBTI health communities from across the country and around the world to Chicago this August,” said Summit co-chair Cat Jefcoat, Director of the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC). “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, a significant milestone in the LGBTI rights movement in the Unites States and a great time to focus on improving the health and well being of our diverse communities.”The 2009 National LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) Health Summit is an event dedicated to preserving and improving the emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, environmental, and social health and wellness of LGBTI people, a population that continues to experience significant health disparities because of its members’ sexual orientations and/or gender identities. The Summit’s theme is “Health Through the Life Course” and individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities and professional backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Students are also welcomed!The Bi Health Summit will be held in conjunction with the LGBTI Health Summit on August 14th, although bisexual health issues will be addressed throughout the five days in workshops and panels.The Summit’s newly launched website allows for a range of interactive planning activities, including registration, housing, fundraising, and workshop proposal submission. It also includes information on the Bi Health Summit.“The site offers the opportunity for our communities throughout the country and across two oceans to regularly interact with each other, offer input, and become engaged early and often in every aspect of the planning process,” said Summit co-chair Jim Pickett, Director of Advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). “Users can participate in discussion forums, volunteer, apply for scholarships, develop ideas for programming– including social activities–and ensure the process is open and dynamic.”Philadelphia hosted the last National LGBTI Health Summit in 2007. This year’s Summit in Chicago will be the fourth gathering of its kind. Local organizational partners currently include Center on Halsted, Test Positive Aware Network, Haymarket Center, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Office of LGBT Health, AFC and HBHC, among others. Organizers may be contacted through the Summit website

Relationships 101: Last week this forum ebbed and flowed through the trials of relationships. I offered numerous items that impact such unions and the aftermath of discovering that maybe you and your significant other may be drifting. I also shared my own personal insight and "drama" in a long term relationship. After much reflection and assessment, me and my other half have come to the conclusion that not only does love conquer all, but it also builds bridges. Our multi-year entanglement has been a journey that perhaps some other couples could not have survived and in most estimates simply don't. Sharing your life with a companion for a period of time can be the most challenging experience of your lifetime. It's a day to day tug of war to keep it funky fresh, communicative, as well as in motion, all juxtaposed to dealing with the world at large. I've seen a variety of couplings from the extreme violent battering duo to those who seem to have a different mate every six months. I suggest that you determined what you are looking for within that individual with the realization that each of you have baggage to bring on the trip. Don't' set you standards so out of bounds that you find out that "no one is really into you." It's not pretty being "bitter-party of one." I'm proud to state that together we've struggled, struck out and stuck it out while approaching year 14. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are seeking that special person to share your life, take it slow and easy, but remember you've got to keep it real to make it work out. Got relationship stories to share, lets hear them. Meanwhile, Happy hunting!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taking it to the Streets Tuesday

February is always a jam packed month of activities, programs, holidays, observations, pageants and items thrown in just for affect. Boy, it seems like everyone and anyone wants to do something in this month. Talk about social overload butted with trying to do your 9 to 5 on top of all this going on plus putting out Arkansas' only daily updating LGBT blog site can be a dizzying experience. But some how I get it all done with gusto and moxie to boot! A good friend of mine remarks, " I just don't see how you do it, but I wouldn't expect any less from ya..." I suspect that all this power surges from that central "chakra" thingy mentioned by many of those self help books that I browse through. Ultimately, I use all my resources from every once of my being to keep my self upright in a forward motion, meanwhile commanding the positive forces of nature to feed me as I soar daily through my commitments. If you are not feeling your best today, then re-group and know that you can be a better "you" tomorrow. Say these words, "looking good and feeling gorgeous!" Continue to join us here as we "open our minds in 09!" Now let's get cracking!!!!
Northshore News: Speaking of activities, I didn't get a chance to see the actual POI dancing, but I did get a chance to speak with the POI boy himself who gave me a sketchy description of what's this all about. Let's just call him "David" since he had me befuddled as I listened to his rambling job description as well as his availability for other personal services ranging from private parties to solo lap dances. However, later I got a better understanding from Loft Bartender, Hobba, and Phillip P. who made me understand what consist of POI dancing. It's actually something that I had seen many years ago that was done with "fans" but now done with glo sticks and sometimes fire. What can I say, everything old is new again. I gathered that it was a fun evening as "POI" boy did his number with semi-erotic style while showing off his best assets. Congrats go out to Ms. B and The Doc for the tying winning combinations in the Annual Chili Cook off held 2.15.09. I did blow through for this one, just as the results were being announced. Even though management "kept face" by declaring a tie, I tasted both offerings and in my best estimate, I believe that the chili in black pot (Doc's) was more robustly flavored and actually edged out the competition. Unfortunately, this event as I've remembered it use to have many participants, yet it seems that it's waned. It's ideas like this one that should be a time for the community to rally. Come on people, if we want variety, things to do, then get on out and do it! Don't forget, if we are not there for them, they may not be there for us. Think about it.

Lavender Media: While networking at the recent DSRA open house, I learned that there is movement in retro fitting a gay radio talk concept, entitled Under the Rainbow. KABF-FM (88.3) will broadcast the show after production details and slot placement have been finalized. Many years ago, the show Queer Frontier was produced on the station featuring music, interviews and announcements. The show ran for a couple of years with various host until it's demise. Under the Rainbow, is being promoted as a true "community forum" highlighting faith, POZ, soap boxers, politically active and allies. I've been approached about producing a segment on this new venture and if it gets off the ground, I'll oblige the offer. I'm not of shamelessly plugging this site as Arkansas' GLBTQ online destination. Take note, this venture will need sponsorships, donations, and underwriters to make it a success. So, if you are interested in underwriting my future segment or showing your pride for COP:24/7, I need to hear from you. Why not today!! Look for our Chip In widget coming this week!

CROWNS: You go guys, oh I mean "girls." It's pageant season again my pretties and all the boys who are the best girls are ready to parade in dresses. One of my favs, Diamond Rose will compete in Miss River Queen FFI this Friday, 9 p.m. at Club UBU. The pageant will be hosted by another of my favs, Gigi Galore, Miss Gay Arkansas FFI 2008 and a bevy of guest. Congrats go out to Charnay Cassidine, MGLR 09 and 1st Alt, Sasha H. Kudos to The Lady Champagne for her reign as MGLR and Stephanie Richards, MGAR 2009 for being exceptional role models in the field of impersonation. Next up, Miss Gay Hot Springs will roll out April 4, 2009 at Jesters and as the schedule evolves you can get it all here. Need a more and some pictures to go with it then, click it to:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Voices Carry, Part 3

The featured topic last week was "matter of the heart." I put my own relationship front and center in which I mentioned that my long time companion and myself were reassessing our commitment as we approach year 14. Yes, my pretties, 14 long years that has been just as tested by those faithful words "for better or worse," as uttered by my fellow citizens who are formally allowed to marry. Our relationship in all it's complexities has endured everything that any ordinary coupling would experience, including weddings although not our own, celebrations, pets, mortgages, debt, taxes and death. All of it, nicely packaged for our daily consumption all these years. As we posted about finding love, loosing love or looking for love, I was not surprised to hear from a few of you who are going through the many emotions as you pursue this thing we call a "relationship." One such case involved an individual who thought he had found his love connection only to discover that his den became empty as his mate went looking for love in wide open spaces. He's taken it hard and as trite as it may sound. I do understand, really I do. When you face the reality that "love doesn't live here anymore," it's a bitter a pill to take. But, going off the radar or raging into to violence is simply not the answer. Vent your anger, but don't let it consume you, while preventing love from finding you again. There were other's that shared and I thank you for your confidence. This forum is here, not only for the rant of the day, but when there are people who are hurting and need a comforting word from cyberspace. Don't forget that this space is for personal advice not professional. Therefore, if you need to reach out and touch for a deeper thought inspection get in touch with your local health or mental provider. Of course, at this point you are dying to know, how things worked out with that assessment. Well, I'll tell you all about it this Wednesday. Stay tuned....I know you want to know!

Prop 8 Aftermath: This love thing is a big issue and I had to include this video and text from the Courage Campaign concerning the marriage strife being heaped upon those who decided to get married in California. Apparently, Ken Starr, yes just in case you forgot, that Ken Starr who investigated the Clintons without any real results has been at the center of repealing those marriages. Also Starr was the prosecutor who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton has filed a legal brief -- on behalf of the "Yes on 8" campaign -- that would forcibly divorce the 18,000 same-sex couples married in California last year before the passage of Prop 8. News broke Tuesday that the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 5, and will then make a decision within 90 days on the validity of Prop 8 and these 18,000 marriages. When Starr's legal brief went public in December, the Courage Campaign immediately launched the "Don't Divorce..." campaign, asking our members to send us pictures with a simple message for Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund.Those pictures, and the heartfelt messages on them, inspired blogger Paul Delehanty (also known as "kid oakland") to suggest Regina Spektor hit song "Fidelity," be put to pictures featuring married couples, their friends and family. It's a poignant offering that I wanted to share. For more info and to participate in the online petition here's the link: The deadline for participation has been extended to 3.2.09

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart Lights

Heart Week continues here at COP:24/7 with books, gifts and sage advice as we all deal with "V" Day this Saturday. Even as I reassess my own relationship and try to figure out just where we are going with this? I hope each and every one of you are holding tight with your current Mr. or Ms. Right. If not, perhaps you are in hot pursuit of that special long term relationship. Go for it, because it's really worth it!

Lynn Harris has wowed and seduced more than three million readers with the wicked drama and undeniable heart in his novels. Now he's back with another winner sure to top the bestseller lists-a rip-roaring tale of sex, secrets, betrayal . . . and blackmail. Aldridge James "AJ" Richardson is living the good life. He has a gorgeous town house in always-flavorful New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles from jet-setting around the country on a whim, and an MBA-but he's never had to work a regular job. He owes it all to his longtime lover, Dray Jones. Dray Jones the rich and famous NBA star. They fell in love in college when AJ was hired to tutor Dray, a freshman on the basketball team. But Dray knew if he wanted to make it to the big time, he must juggle his public image and his private desires. Built on a deep, abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both, but when Dray's teammates begin to ask insinuating questions about AJ, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a beautiful and ambitious woman. Judi knows nothing about Dray's "other life." Or does she? In Basketball Jones, E. Lynn Harris explores the consequences of loving someone who is forced to conform to the rules society demands its public heroes follow. Filled with nonstop twists and turns, it will keep readers riveted from the first page to the last. E Lynn's latest can be obtained via the portal. This forum will soon be a affiliate of this multi-level platform. Stay tuned for special offers and coupons that will save you an entertainment bundle!!

Balls & Boots: Yes, Yes, Yes, I have heard from many of you who want a little more or should I say a lot more spice from this forum. Therefore, I've decided that I' gonna give it to you, just like you like it. Enter, Gay Video Universe which this forum will use as an affiliate for you videophiles who are strokers or pokers. I've already viewed a few of their products and videos and they make the cut! The first promo I'm touting is a 2 disc barn burner entitled, "To the Last Man: The Gathering Storm from Raging Stallion Studios. From all indications this sexy piece has everything that you may be looking for including a fully tattooed nude cowboy named Logan Mc Cree. If you are into Texas Hold em and butts hanging high, you've got to see this to believe it. And for the record, yes ladies there are choices for you as well that will be highlighted here soon. Here's a brief synopsis of this video to get you in the mood...

"In some places, time stands still. Life is a throwback to a day when men ruled with iron will and justice was delivered at the end of a gun barrel. Under the white-hot heat of the Arizona sun, sexuality simmers, ready to explode, as cowboys and ranchers live out the age-old dream of life on the frontier. To The Last Man: The Gathering Storm, is as close to a Hollywood epic as gay porn will ever be�the vast panorama of the American West and the rugged men who live there are the backdrops..." As we prepare to get our affiliate status up and running, you get prepared to get the hook up here at COP:24/7!

V-Day at Sidetracks: Get your party started right at Sidetracks this weekend with it's Valentine's Day Party and Special POI Dancer. Now, I'm not exactly sure what "POI" dancer is and what they do. I suspect that it's a mash up of a strip/tease boy toy thingy who collects cash as his clothes sorta fall off. Oh well, if you are looking for that titillation along with all the other antics that this watering holes has become known for, get on over to the north side to check it out. Speaking of ST, I'm glad to see the latest edition of ONTRACK with it's color face lift and sharp graphics. Nice touch and I appreciated this forum being included. So, here's the challenge, the first person (publishers, employees and management excluded) to locate our site plug in this month's edition and who sends me a e-blast with the words,"I'm on point with COP:24/7 with the page number, will get a prize from our gift closet! Happy hunting and Happy V Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Matters of the Heart

It's heart week in the land and I discovered this item which got my attention since I'm in the throws of dealing with confusion in paradise. As usual my disclaimer is in ful effect which means that I'm not endorsing the website mypartner. com. Partially due to te fact that I'm not actually comfortable with all this cyber dating stuff or meeting persons who list themselves as "all that" only to uncover that they are not really about nothing much. It's important to be careful when putting yourself out their on the net with hopes of finding Mr. or Ms. Right. It's a crap shoot that just may give you more crap than you may need. Furthermore, I was a bit off put with all the graphics on this site which portrayed those possible matches as "beautiful people which lacked diversity." In my world this is not a realistic, since I believe that men & women of all colors are possibilities for a love connection. If you are so inclined, check out for this unique experience. All this week this forum is being dedicated to matters of the heart. I've heard from many of you who are either "bitter, party of one," lovelorn in waiting or "always a bride's maid and never a bride." Finding that special some one and then keeping them is a real mother. Trust me, I've got lot's of experience including the heartache to go with it. Got a story? Are you having a Black Valentine Day? Been done wrong or doing someone wrong? Then Let's hear about it!....

The gay dating service issued this press release today:
As the nation’s economic news worsens, and Valentine’s Day approaches, many gay men in America are re-assessing the value of true love in their lives.
“We’ve been hearing from our clients across the country that the recession has helped them re-prioritize,” said Patrick Perrine, a professional private matchmaker for gay men, and the founder and CEO of the gay dating service myPartner. “Suddenly it’s clearer to everyone that material things can be temporary, but finding the love of your life is priceless.”
This will be the first Valentine’s Day since the passage of Proposition 8 in California last November. Many expect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to be more attuned to the ideas of love and marriage for that reason, and more inclined to view Valentine’s Day as both a personal, as well as a political, milestone.
Of course, this “research” is followed up by an offer for new members to join between Feb 1st and Valentine’s Day (Feb 14, 2009) and receive a free three-month Premium Membership (regularly $89.95 – coupon code LW4NM “Love Waits For No Man”) as a way to encourage gay men everywhere to find love.
Marketing ploy? Or do you really think the recession is helping gay men place a higher value on love? We know that booze sales are up because the economy is down. Are gays buying up love too?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Matters of the Heart Week

While I deal with affairs of the heart, I will be sharing with you other writers who are "keeping it real" about this important element in our daily lives. My online resource, QueerCents is just the ticket for an array of topics as viable content for this forum. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we continue on our road to being healthy, wealthy and wise.

Dating on a Budget: The Valentine Day for Less

February 14th is almost here and it is the quintessential date for some couples. I have celebrated in a variety of ways but I always keep the budget in the back of my mind. Some people prefer the comforts of home while others want to spend a night out on the town. Some prefer going to an art gallery or theatrical performance; others a rock concert. Some of you will be initiating new romances, others proposing marriage, and some enjoying the day with friends.
Some of you don’t believe in Valentine’s Day. You think it is a ploy by corporate America to make you spend money. And your point has been taken into consideration. But I remind you, you do not have to spend money. Valentines Day is a time for you to kick it up a notch-show folk just how much you care for them; but remember the rules- your financial goals should not be hampered by your search for love and definitely not by Valentine’s Day!
I’ve gone to the movies, poetry readings, dinner, theatrical productions, panel discussions, and musical productions. They were all enjoyable. But the best Valentines Day I ever experienced was about 5 years ago and cost around $40 total. We loved the hit show, The Look for Less on the Style Network. We revamped the show to fit our Valentines Day. First we decided on a budget; $20 each. Then we chose a store and set a time limit of 1 hour. In that hour we were to buy the best valentine’s gift possible.
It would have been easy to just go into the store and buy a bottle of perfume or a piece of jewelry. But the point was to show how much we knew about one another and how much we cared for one another. Plus we wanted the day to be creative and show our spontaneity. After making our purchases, we went home and presented our gifts.
It was a phenomenal success. We really had to think in order to stretch that $20. I was pleasantly surprised with a box of Peanut Butter Cap ‘N Crunch Cereal, a gallon of milk, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Nutter Butter Cookies, a sleep mask, and spa products. Yes, I am a peanut butter fanatic and I love to be pampered.
Another year, I remember getting a box in the mail anonymously. It was filled with a stuffed lion and a card that read “I’d Be Lion If I Didn’t Say ….You are My Mane Squeeze.” The lion was holding a package of Reese’s Pieces. I was thrilled! I was calling my family asking who sent it because the package didn’t have a name or return address. Then she gave me this look. I can’t even describe it. Just thinking about it makes me smile all over again.
Or don’t spend any money at all. Why spend $5 at your local greeting card store when you can hit the internet and have multiple e-cards delivered throughout the day for free. There is also a blog called Letters to My Boo that allows you to submit a love letter openly or anonymously. This is a nice alternative to some of the not so lgbt-friendly radio or television airwaves. If you don’t have any qualms about expressing your love publicly, send your date to the site to see your love for them on display.
You could also enlist the help of friends and after making your purchases have them deliver it to your partner. Have a friend deliver balloons purchased from the dollar store or party store. Here is one of those times when buying at the dollar store should be kept to yourself. Grab a dozen of flowers (any besides roses) and have your designated delivery person bring those too. The single rose from the gas station may not be the best deal due to inflation. Growing your own flowers would also be nice. That’s something to keep in mind for next year.
If you have the time, I suggest looking into your local hotels for their Valentine’s Day packages. It serves as a nice alternative to traveling out of town. Hotel or bed and breakfast packages are often the best deals with their all-inclusive pricing and guaranteed restaurant reservations. Some of these entities offer in-room massages, dinner discounts, romantic CD’s, flowers, wine, tickets to theatre productions and other perks. A little research will sniff out the best deals in your area.
The great thing about Valentine’s Day is that it really is what you make it. Plus it falls on a Saturday this year. If you are a 9 to 5′er you have the whole day to work with. You can choose any of the options suggested in the series: Play Dates, Home Sweet Home, Doing Dessert or Simple First Dates and make it your own. Time is of the essence so get going!

Monday, February 09, 2009


This forum has covered a variety of subjects ranging from the sublime to the personal. With each posting, I make every bonafide attempt to sift and re-sift items that I believe will be of interest, resulting perhaps in a "A-ha" moment for some. As I've been making the local rounds, I'm glad to learn that this forum has established a readership and apparently, it's growing. I thank you all for tuning in and staying on point with me. This is my ongoing community service to which I have been committed for the last 4 years. There are some days when I ask,"is it worth it?," "why do I do that thing that I do?," or is it somehow, maybe a disguised cathartic release. I'm happy to report that it's all that and I hope a place where I can continue to re-introduce myself to you each and every day.

Relationship 101: Daybreak just over the Horizon

It happens all over the place and when your relationship it's a snag, a rocky point, possible impasse or even a demise, it calls for assessment. In the past few days, I've been faced with dealing with that dreadful crossroad that we hate reaching in our relationships. It's that point in the road that you try to avoid at all cost. It's the crisis mode that you had not planned for and certainly not rehearsed. It's the moment when a flood a memories, choices, experiences and aftermath that you continually spin until you try to make sense of it all. Ultimately, you stop, you reflect, and then there's a stillness surrounding yourself as you feel the intensity of the cracks slowly moving in your heart. It's all there for the taking whether you want it or not. GLBTQ living in conjunction with just life itself is often filled with disappointments and struggle that you would rather just not deal with. But, it simply doesn't work that way now does it. So what do you do? Well, after the initial shock of it all or grasping the situation, you get up, dust yourself off, and trudge the fuck on with your head held high and shoulders out. Relationship experts state that one must not wallow or get mired in the "failure" mindset. I did a quick resource read that gave me some personal advice on dealing with whatever the possibilities may be. If it's over, then devise yourself a recovery road map. If it's salvageable, then perhaps therapy is in order or taking small steps to discover if you may be just opening yourself to additional wounding. Is it a bitter a pill? You damn right, yet it doesn't have to be a fatal dose and there's no need for a "Cleopatra bow out," because as a person both you and I deserve better. Our self worth is not tied to one individual, one relationship or all that goes with it. Losing someone is one of the hardest of life experiences no matter how it occurs. Earlier in my living, I lost a partner to death which profoundly changed my life. That lost and the possibility of losing again, is a trail by fire that will either destroy me or propel me to believe that this life is filled with seasons of change that I must embrace as well as not be afraid. I've got to remember as I've shared with you dear readers on many occasions. No matter how dark, there's always another daybreak waiting just over the horizon where life continues as you fill your destiny. With any luck we all will continue to love, live and laugh!!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

As the world turns and it' seems that maybe all hope is lost. It's not by far. Each day I see a new morning and realize that I've been blessed to still be apart of this life experience. Furthermore, I smile, open my arms and say "thank you." Today take a moment to reflect, re-ignite your passion for living and remember that there's a lot too loving and living that will always be apart of our journey. I'm posting this item from Healthy Wealthy N' Wise Chronicles that has been of comfort for myself as I deal with my own personal issues. I hope that it will reach out and touch some one who may need a quiet word of inspiration.

Wealth, Success, and LoveBy: Author Unknown

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognizethem. She said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat." Is the man of the house home?", they asked. "No", she said. "He's out." "Then we cannot come in," they replied. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. "Go tell them I am home and invite them in!" The woman went out and invited the men in. "We do not go into a house together," they replied. "Why is that?" she wanted to know. One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home." The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!," he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our homewith wealth!" His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?" Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!" "Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife. "Go out and invite Love to be our guest." The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest." Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?" The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!"

"Infinitely more important than sharing one's material wealth is sharing the wealth of ourselves -- our time and energy, our passion and commitment, and, above all, our love." -- William E. Simon quotes