writing

Pansexuality in Schitt’s Creek: A Win for Represenation

How is everyone’s beautiful day/night/evening/morning/afternoon/twilight going? Wonderful! Well, mine is just fantastic, thank you for asking. Why is it so fantastic you may ask? Oh haha ta hee ha. Let me tell you. Because of a very special TV show called “Schitt’s Creek.”

Coming Out For Someone Else

Don’t

That’s the short answer. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that. Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and living a thrilling, freeing gay life every day, you start to pick up some skills. One of those is picking out your fellow brothers and sisters before you’ve even met them. What I’m talking about is a “gaydar.” It’s a popular phrase, coined somewhere in the 1990s, but some say it was first heard in the show “Futurama.” I tried to do some research, but it was all very limited. So if you find out where it comes from, let me know. But back to this article! A gaydar is a tool one possesses in sensing someone else’s sexuality. I’m sure if you’re reading this blog, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But if you don’t – it might be time to get out of the house more often – but I’ll do you a favor this time and help you out a little bit.

Nyctophobia

TW: Gore (a few descriptions of light gore)

 

Why are people afraid of the dark? Because things live in the dark. The darkness is its own world full of evil and monsters. You must think I’m a child, but have you been in the dark recently? Have you walked down your hallway at night, having that feeling that someone’s watching you? That flicker of movement in the corner of your eye? It’s not your mind playing tricks on you. No. It’s something much worse.

***

“Yes, sweetheart, I’m on my way home, I got stuck closing out the register…I’m in Macey’s parking garage right now…Yes, I’ll bring home something for dinner…I love you too. Okay. Bye.” I hung up my cell phone and continued walking towards my car. It was about 9:30 at night here in Manhattan. Luckily, spring had just arrived, so it wasn’t too cold out. However, everything in the vicinity was closed for the night, so it was rather desolate and quiet. For the city that never sleeps, it sure was fucking dark. I hated the dark. I never liked it, even now, as an adult. Especially in the city, where crime was high. But it wasn’t muggers or rapists that made me uncomfortable, it was the fact that I had no idea what was out there. And that was when my mind began to go into imagination mode. I’d create things in my head that would come out to get me and make myself paranoid. I shook my head. There was nothing out there.

180°

 

 

A Short Story by John Boughton

 

Jenna paced her room, wondering how the conversation would go. Would they accept her? Would they disown her? Would she be sent to an orphanage or forced to live on the street? All of these were questions racing through her head on a quiet, cold Wednesday evening. She rehearsed what she would say to her parents. She wanted desperately to tell them who she truly was. She had stalled through the car ride home, she stalled all throughout dinner, and she continued to stall through the night as she did the “homework” she didn’t really have.

 

The time was approaching. She couldn’t bear to continue the life she was living. She had a partner at school and they loved each other very much. They had been secretly dating for about three months and all she wanted was for them to meet her parents. But first, her parents needed to know the truth. That was the hard part. She thought it would be easy, like any other kind of conversation. Like talking about what to eat for dinner, or whether she interested in going to her brother’s concert on Saturday night (she wasn’t). But nonetheless, she was frozen, Whenever the words approached her lips, her tongue became paralyzed and she would blurt out some fun fact about the African Savannah or Eleanor Roosevelt. It was bad. But tonight she knew she had to tell them because the Winter Formal was this Friday and her parents had been begging her to ask someone out. Just not who they expected, or frankly, wanted. It didn’t matter though. She loved them with all her heart and whether her parents liked them or not, it was her choice and her life.

 

She gathered her strength, took a deep breath, and exited her room. As she walked down the stairs her hands were hot, clammy and vibrating. It felt like the Heat Miser was giving her a vigorous handshake. Her parents were downstairs watching the News. They were both in the PJ’s and about to turn in for the night. This is was it.

Media Review: “It’s Okay to Be Gay” – Doug Armstrong

In a new comedy EP, Doug Armstrong sings the kinds of songs we can relate to.

Doug Armstrong’s debut comedy EP “It’s Okay to Be Gay” is quite the joyride. From beginning to end it is filled with light-hearted, positive humor that can make any confident, gay man like myself want to shout from a rooftop “I like dick, balls and bum!” – a line from the “What I Like About Guys,” the last song on the EP. Each song sends off a positive message and informs the public of the daily struggles of what gay men go through.

The Moment My Life Changed Forever – A Coming Out Story

The moment my life changed forever happened in a college common room on a late Friday evening. 

I was with my ex-girlfriend (then current) after a pleasant dinner at Red Robin. Our three-year anniversary was coming up in the next few days. However, despite the long-run our relationship had things were getting rocky. The night before we had a long phone conversation about us and why things were going downhill. In the recent months building up to this, we would talk on the phone for maybe two minutes and run out of things to talk about. There would be awkward silences when we would FaceTime. We would not text as often. Little things were happening that were telling us our relationship was failing and that made us nervous. By the time the conversation ended it was around 3am and we decided that we should really finish the conversation in person. I planned to come up that Sunday, also the day before our anniversary.

As I went to bed that night I had countless thoughts about what was going to occur in the next few days. Would we talk like normal, or not speak until we met in person? Is this going to be the end of us and possibly our friendship? Am I going to lose my best friend? As these thoughts reeled through my head, I thought about what she was going through and if she was having the same thoughts. It was torture for myself, but to think that the person I’m supposed to love the most is hurting right now was unbearable. I couldn’t wait until Sunday and I had a feeling she didn’t want to either. So I texted her and told her I was coming up that day. I skipped my classes, got in my 2011 Navy Blue Honda Civic named Brad and drove up to her school.

Bus Ride

Trigger Warning: Graphic Descriptions (multiple mentions of blood and wounds)

You know how people say that a paper cut is the worst pain in the world? Well, I have a feeling they’d never been impaled by magical energy before. I’d like to think I’m a powerful warlock. The goddess Asteria has gifted me with very strong celestial magic, which I am very skilled at using; however, when I came across a very powerful witch, well, I’ll be honest, she had me second guessing my strength.

Blood soaked through my shirt, turning the once white fabric a deep crimson. My leather jacket stuck to my shirt, and both had gaping holes. The tunnel in my stomach had closed a little bit, so now it was more of a deep crater in my stomach. I had managed to close one side of the hole with some healing magic, but due to my weakened state, I had passed out from the exerted energy.

I came to in a grimy alleyway. It had started to rain, so not only was I wet with blood, but I was also wet with water. Overall, I was wet and sticky, and I was not happy about it, to say the least. I thanked my goddess that I hadn’t lost all my blood and bled to death.

The world was spinning, and my vision was blurry. I blinked a few times to try to regain my senses. Once I was somewhat grounded, I staggered to my feet. It took me a few tries, since moving sent an intense shockwave of pain through my body, and I almost passed out again. Using the wall behind me as a crutch, I managed to get to my feet. Hospital…I thought. There was no way I was going to be able to heal this wound by myself in this condition without killing myself. An ironic way to go—death by a healing spell. I chuckled at the idea, then instantly regretted the action as the pain momentarily became more intense. I mentally sighed and began to stagger out of the alley.

The rain poured down, washing the dried blood off me while causing the still fresh blood to run down my shirt. It was dark out, the only light sources were the neon signs and the periodical street light. I had to stop and rest every few feet, but eventually, I made it to a bus stop. I looked around, trying to figure out where the hell I was. My eyes widened as a sense of hope washed over me. I slammed my hands against the plexiglass, using it to keep me upright. I read the bus schedule stuck to the glass.

“Oh, thank you my goddess,” I muttered. The next bus was on route to a hospital. I sat down on the bench and rested my head against the wall behind me, thankful to finally be out of the rain. I kept my eyes open, the terrifying possibility that I once they were closed, I may not open them up again keeping me conscious. My chest rose and fell, the sound of the pattering rain on the roof of the bus stop kept me somewhat calm. When the bus finally arrived and grunted and pushed myself up. Clutching my stomach, I stumbled to the doors. I pulled a fiver out of my pocket, not really caring that I wouldn’t get change back. The bus driver lowered the bus and the doors swung open. I fell forward onto the floor of the bus.

“Ah, shit, I’m sorry!” He rushed to help me up and took the five dollars from me. “Lemme help you to a seat.”

“No need…Hospital…” I breathed. I made my way over to the closest open spot and flopped down next to an old lady. I rested my head back and let the vibration of the bus relax me. That goddamn witch had better watch her back because the next time I saw her she wouldn’t make it out alive. Once this gouge in my stomach healed it was over for her.

I suddenly frowned. I felt eyes burning a new hole in me. I looked in front of me and saw a small child staring at me. I stared back at him. He blew a bubble, not breaking eye contact with me the whole time. I continued to stare, not about to be intimidated by some goddamn kid. Finally, the kid spoke.

“Why do you have a hole in your tummy?”

“I got into a fight.”

“Did you win?”

Before I could answer, the kid’s mom scolded them and the kid finally stopped staring at me.

I returned my gaze to the ceiling when a new voice grabbed my attention.

“Well?” I turned to look at the old lady next to me.

“Well, what?”

“Did you win?”

I smirked. “Let’s just say, you should see the other guy.” That was a lie. The witch didn’t have a single scratch on her. But I knew the kid was listening and I wanted to impress them. The old lady’s eyes widened in shock, and she turned away from me.

The bus hit a pothole and jostled us all. I cried out in pain. “FUCK!”

“Language!” the kid’s mother snapped. I looked at her, then looked at the fresh blood leaking from my wound, then back at her. I decided I was too light headed to argue with her.

Just when my eyes were about to close, the bus pulled to a stop and the driver announced that we were at the hospital. Once again I staggered up and made my way to the door. I thanked the driver because I wasn’t an asshole who doesn’t thank bus drivers. I staggered to the doors of the hospital, the bus pulling away behind me.   

The automatic doors slid open and I walked up to the nurse’s station. The man looked up and instantly started making phone calls. “I need a wheelchair and Dr. Michaels immediately.” He hung up the phone and rushed over to me. I started losing my balance and swaying back a forth. The nurse held me up and the world was going black.

“Hey, buddy, hold on, we’re gonna get…”

BMO from Adventure Time Teaches Kids It’s Okay to Explore Gender Identity

Children’s media has been slowly making the shift from recognizing external problems to identifying more personal problems.  A program growing up with that was very good about this was Mister Rogers Neighborhood.  Letting viewers know that it’s okay to be sad or mad or scared, just reminding them that there’ll be happy feelings too.  Mattel, with its Barbie line of products, has recently been releasing personal vlogs from Barbie, talking openly about negative feelings and letting kids know it’s okay to reach out. …

Sam’s Guide to Gay Media #3: 5 Awesome LGBTQ Writers You Should Follow on Twitter

Besides reading really, really good writing, nothing is quite as beneficial to a budding writer’s evolving skills as following really, really good writers. Below, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite LGBTQ writers and editors on Twitter. I’ll link to a few of their best pieces of advice, funniest or most insightful tweets, or most exceptional written/edited pieces.

Follow these lovely folks, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with personally, for queer AF humor, awesome links to pieces they’ve written or edited, and nuggets of writerly wisdom. Enjoy, and happy reading! Let me know who your favorite LGBTQ writer or editor is in the comments below.

Sam’s Guide to Gay Media #2: Creating an Online Portfolio

I’m of the firm belief that every writer or journalist, no matter how experienced or inexperienced they may be, can benefit from an online portfolio. This is your professional homebase, the place where you can confidently refer anybody—curious friends, family who’ve always wanted to read your writing, and of course, potential employers—who wants to get a better sense of your skillsets. Plus, if you’re an artsy queer like myself, it can be super fun to design a portfolio that reflects your style visually and textually.

Here are my key tips for creating a solid digital portfolio.

When it doubt, keep your layout simple. White background. Simple, consistent, easy-to-read fonts and formatting. As few pages and navigation bars as possible. These might seem like minor components of building a killer portfolio, but they’ll help you standout. Sites like WordPress make these configurations super easy (and cheap) to accomplish. (Plus, WordPress has enough built-in functionalities that you can have a little fun with your layout or formatting without compromising the overall design.) You’d be shocked at how many people have lackluster or difficult-to-navigate online portfolios. On the flip side, some of the journalists I most admire have incredibly simple and clean online portfolios. Rachel Schallom, an award-winning journalist and digital strategist for The Wall Street Journal, has an excellent and super-simple digital portfolio (rachelschallom.com.) Jesse Steinbach, an editor at NewNowNext, also has a fantastic online portfolio, broken down into a very logical and easy-to-follow navigation bar (jessesteinbach.com.)

Identify and highlight your best work. Find and showcase the stories that make your voice shine (and your reporting or narrative storytelling prowess obvious.) And use them to your advantage. Cultivate a “Selected Writing” page on your portfolio website, broken down in a logical way (if you write in a variety of beats, break it down by genre. If you’ve written for a variety of publications, big or small, split it up by outlet.) When selecting showcase pieces to include, prioritize stellar quality over prestigious outlets every time. And, this should probably go without saying, but check your published pieces over for typos/inaccuracies.

Don’t be afraid to showcase peripheral skills. Are you an excellent photographer? Include that on your online portfolio, with samples—you’d be surprised how many editors will ask (and potentially pay you more) for original photography you provide! Are you a bomb social media strategist? Damn it, embed some killer Insta posts you’ve written and uploaded professionally. Any skills that are somewhat related to editorial work, even tangentially, can be hugely beneficial to highlight on your portfolio. I do this myself on my own digital portfolio (slmjournalist.com.)

And, at the end of the day, enjoy it! Creating an online portfolio should be fun, and a great way for you to evaluate (and re-evaluate) your professional strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get too wrapped up in perfection. Instead, aim to encapsulate your voice, your style, and your best work. And remember the true beauty of the Internet: you can always edit and revise your portfolio. Nothing is set in stone.

Today’s recommended reading:

  1. In a Terrifying World, Pride Reminds Us of the Strength of Queer Community (Them)
  2. Inside America’s Mass Detention of Queer Asylum Seekers (Them)
  3. I De-transitioned. But Not Because I Wasn’t Trans (The Atlantic)
  4. Super Gonorrhea Could Be the Next Gay Health Epidemic (NewNowNext)
  5. Queer-Owned Clothing Line Responds to Melania Trump’s Insensitive Jacket (NewNowNext)