Huffington Post, Gay Voices, November 2011
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I’m lucky I already had my kids before I got HIV. I became HIV-positive June 16, 2011, in Florida. It was with a real female and the condom popped. She knew she was HIV-positive but didn’t tell me. I was so angry.
Then I came to New York in August, because it was too slow with the medicine in Tampa. My homeboy said he’d get me one of his private doctors, but then someone told me in New York they have a program to help with benefits.
When I came to New York, my girlfriend Honesty and I were looking for a shelter. I stopped at Housing Works because I heard there was a shelter on Pitkin. I met Johnny and I asked if it was a homeless shelter. He said it was for people with HIV and AIDS, and asked if I was HIV-positive. I said, “Yes, I am.” After my test results came back, he got me signed up for HASA — a program in New York City that provides housing for people with AIDS — to get me into housing and offered me a job. He said I can do outreach to the youth.
My goal is to be an outreach specialist. My Plan B is to drive trucks. My other Plan C is to be a good daddy to my kids. I came a long way from where I was when I was a little boy. My life story is a whole different thing. When you live without a mother and your father passes away when you’re five, staying in the city of Tampa is rough.
I ran away from foster care at the age of 10. I didn’t like my foster care people. They didn’t treat me right. I stayed on the streets, sleeping on benches. How I survived was stealing from Wal-Mart to get clothes and soap to wash my body.
I learned how to sell dope at the age of 11. I didn’t want to sell at the time, but I had to do what I had to do to get my money. After that, I started getting in trouble. I got my first gun, a 9-mm, and started using my gun to break into people’s houses. We used to take the TVs and take them to the pawnshops.
I didn’t care about my life. I didn’t have no family. I didn’t have no brother, I didn’t have a mom, I didn’t have a dad. I kept on going to jail. I went to a juvenile program in Tallahassee at the age of 12.
When I went to jail, my first day in Orlando I got stabbed on the side of the ribs. I did the five years, but it felt like I was doing 20 to 25. I didn’t have nobody to talk to, nobody to send me canteen. It was like gang banging.
I got my GED in prison, because when I was a youngin’ I wasn’t attending school like I was supposed to. But I didn’t want to get locked up again. I didn’t want to be the type of person who keeps coming back.
As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Brooklyn, NY, 2011
To tell your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jezebel, November 2010
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Eric Juszyk, chief administrator of the Gay Nebraska Youth Network, guest blogs a rundown of the great work his group is doing in Omaha. Follow Eric on Twitter @ericjuszyk.
Growing up as LGBTQ in the Midwest can be difficult, especially in conservative states like Nebraska. The youth in rural and agricultural communities are often isolated and have few legitimate resources for forming new friendships and interacting with the larger LGBTQ community.
In May of 2010 I learned about the Gay Nebraska Youth Network when the founder, Drew Heckman, returned to Omaha after his freshman year at Brown University. Drew was astounded at the vibrant community in Providence and sought to create an environment back in his home state where youth can interact with each other in a safe and positive manner.
The Gay Nebraska Youth Network was formed as a youth-focused, peer-led organization that seeks to connect high school and college LGBTQ students statewide with social activities, opportunities to form new relationships, and connections to resources. A secret Facebook page is used to promote social interaction and the sharing of relevant issues while protecting the identity of its members and ideas while a public page is used to publicize our organization to the larger straight and ally communities. Additionally we match the virtual interactions with real life social events held at a variety of locations across the state.
Some members from the Queer Nebraska Youth Networks
at Nebraska AIDS Project’s Condom Fashion Show,
with the dress and accessories we designed!
If you haven’t been to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art to check out the Window Gallery, man, do we have GOOD news for you! Leslie-Lohman has extended our stay and the eight We Are the Youth portraits and accompanying quotes will now be on view until June 22, 2012!
So hop on the subway, board the Metro North, jump on your bike, take a stroll (the weather is getting nicer, no excuses for taking cabs, New Yorkers), and go check out the Window Gallery! If you do make it over to Wooster Street, be sure to check out The Piers exhibit, on view inside Leslie-Lohman until July 7, 2012.
*Above photo by Stanley Stellar
Something New Presents: Dress up//Get Down, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Drom, Ave A between 5th and 6th, Manhattan
Hosted by The Lowbrow Society of the Arts + Something New
by Sarah Nakano
Before entering the doors of Something New’s “Dress up //Get down,” I had little to no idea what to expect. I had been told that it was “more than an art show, more than a party,” and “not a fashion show, a show about fashion.” What does that even mean? I don’t know. I guess in my head I pictured some kind of art-music-fashion-queer culture-dance-glitter fusion; people would be running around and things would be flying around in the air above me and there would be models drinking champagne + painting at the same time, etc. etc. (more…)
Original Plumbing Issue 9 Release Party, Saturday March 24th, 2012
Public Assembly, Brooklyn, New York
Photos and write-up by Sarah Nakano
Unfortunately, there is only a handful of magazines and periodicals out there that focus on transgender culture and/or are written by trans men and women. But GOOD NEWS: photographer Amos Mac and rapper Rocco Kayiatos (Rocco Katastrophe) come bearing “Original Plumbing,” their glossy, informative, and beautifully designed quarterly zine focused on trans male culture. Now on their ninth issue, each issue of Original Plumbing is centered around a different aspect of FTM culture: work, school, family, hair, fashion, health + sex, the bedroom, the environment, and the latest issue: entertainment. (more…)
My mom said, “All artists are male and female. To be an artist you have to be psychologically hermaphrodite.” I don’t know if I agree with that. A lot of artists are really boring. I don’t necessarily think everyone who painted a ceramic mug on Etsy is a hermaphrodite.
But I really just want to use myself in my work.When I came to New York for my freshman year of college, I knew I wanted to do drag. In my early performances I played banjo. All the other drag kings were trying to be the cute boy, and I was the creepy uncle. I was more like Pete Seeger than ‘N Sync.
It’s great being in New York, just being able to be in drag and not get questioned. There’s so much freedom in being anonymous. There are times when I want to be passing as a guy, and times where I want to stop people a bit and slow ‘em down.
Thanks to everyone who came, danced, performed, volunteered, helped with clean up, tabled, installed, and in general, supported We Are the Youth! MC-ed by (ever-charming) We Are the Youth participant, Kaden and with DJ AngelBoi spinning some hot jams, the Brooklyn Museum Teen Night Event was an enormous success! With 150+ teens in attendance, Archie Burnett kicked off the evening with an amazing Vogue tutorial, followed by 2 great performances by Shadow Lover and Julia Weldon.
2012 is practically here. The end of the world is upon us. Have you checked out our Upcoming Events Page!? If you haven’t, you probably should, like right now. Really, stop reading this post, move your pretty little eyes over to the right hand side of the screen and click on Brooklyn Museum FREE Teen Night Event January 12, 2012 (you owe it to yourself, this could be your last year on Earth). There you will find exciting updates about, you guessed it, the Brooklyn Museum Free Teen Night Event on January 12, 2012! Installation artist Erika Sabel as well as Brooklyn-based design studio Hot-Sundae have been added to the roster! This means cool things will be happening at the Teen Night Event and cool people will be attending (like you!).
If you have a short attention span, you hate reading or you’re really just too lazy to move your pretty little eyes to the right hand side of the screen and click on our Upcoming Events, just remember this: BROOKLYN MUSEUM. JANUARY 12. All the cool kids are doing it.
In honor of this holiday, some thoughts on coming out from We Are the Youth participants:
“I was kind of scared to tell my dad. But he was like, “Whatever tricks your trigger. Just don’t be tricking it too early.” Then we’d be checking out girls at Wal-Mart.”—Audri, 15, Laurel, MS
“I just officially came out to my sister yesterday. On Twitter. My sister told my mom “Marina’s never actually come out to me. I know, or I think I know.” But it seemed to my mom like she wanted me to tell her. So last night I sent her a Twitter direct message being like, “Hey, mom said you wanted me to tell you this but you probably already know, so yeah…” She wrote “Haha. Thanks, I guess.”–Marina, 21, Atlanta, GA
“For a few weeks I wanted to go to the LGBT club at school. But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to do it. I don’t want to be out. I feel like if I come out, there will be stigma attached to me. Like, ‘Oh, there’s Chase. The guy that used to be a girl.’”—Chase, 19, Brooklyn, NY
“I definitely want to come out to my parents, but I want to wait until I get a better foothold and can support myself. I’ve mentally dealt with it and made peace with how it is with my parents. But sometimes it’s hard. My home life feels like it’s a lie.”—Dohyun, 19, Atlanta, GA
“In a way, I was pissed off to even have to come out. I think it’s stupid. Heterosexual people don’t have to come out as straight.”–Ana, 18, Blauvelt, NY
To share your thoughts on coming out, email email@example.com. We’ll post responses on this here blog.