Big Jet Plane

Written by Mitchell:

I apologise for Jessica and I’s recent absence from our blog. I’m sure you were all becoming quite depressed with the lack of updates.

Quite simply, we have both been extremely busy these last few weeks – as we are about to embark on our first major holiday together.

Late Friday night, our plane jets off to the Gold Coast, before touching down in Sydney and then finally Melbourne.

I will try and post an update while I am away, but I can’t promise anything. I may be having way too much of a good time.

When we return on 3 July 2012, I am sure we will have plenty of fresh stories about our adventure, the gay scene over on the Eastern states, the triumphs and challenges of our friendship under the microscope of being glued together for 17 days – yes it is sure to be interesting.

Take care of yourself, be safe, and check back soon!

Big love xoxox

Flashing Lights, Thumping Music, Pounding Hearts and A Whole Lotta Drugs

Written by Jessica-Lee

It’s a scene I’m sure you’re all too familiar with. Pulsating lights moving to the beat of the music. Blinding strobe lights jumping all over the room. Smoke filling the air. And that smell. Oh that glorious smell. For me, it is the smell of smoke machines, Red Bull and Gucci by Gucci.

Yes I am talking about the good old playground that is your favourite nightclub. Bringing back any memories?

I have been going out to clubs ever since I was eighteen. Yes, I was a good girl who never dared to go out prior to being legal! And, in my seven years of going out, I have used drugs on occasion (gosh I hope my Nanna doesn’t read this!), been witness to people using drugs and have seen first-hand some of the consequences of using drugs.

Whilst drugs are big in all walks of life, I have always believed that they are even more popular within the gay community. According to a certain study, gay people are apparently three times more likely to use illegal drugs than straight people. Now, I don’t know or trust the accuracy of this statistic but in my experience, I believe it to warrant some level of truth. Whether we are talking recreational use or addiction, they are everywhere and I would like to bet that at least 90% of the people I know have tried some form of illegal drug.

Most of the people I know who dabble in drugs only do so recreationally. I have always been terrified of drug addiction. Not personally but for my loved ones. I often see people on the streets – homeless people, junkies, street kids, etc – and instantly feel nauseous and a deep sense of unsettledness. What would I do if this was one of my best friends… I ask myself so many questions but my main one is always ‘how does life get so bad?’

Yes, drugs are fun but they are often used as a way to escape pain and mask insecurities. However they generally only ever push your problems to the side temporarily and I can almost guarantee that they will only worsen.

I know a lot of people that feel as though they can’t go out and have fun without the help of illegal substances. It’s an addictive cycle that is extremely hard to get out of. It can be agony for some people to have the experience of using drugs and then stop next time they go out. The feelings achieved are unrivalled and sometimes you never see the world in the same way again.

I have been feeling a bit helpless lately. I have a very good friend – let’s call him Pearl – who has been hitting some substances a bit too hard. In my opinion. I am unsure whether he thinks it is a problem or not.

I fear this person is on a self-destructive path and I want to help them so much but it’s so hard to get in to some peoples heart without them shutting you off. Do I risk our friendship for the sake of trying to get him help?

Also, I am strongly of the belief that you can only help someone if they are willing to help themself. As a smoker, I know this first hand. No matter how many times someone tells you to give up or that it’s bad for you or that their family member has passed away from lung cancer… You have to want to do it yourself.

I have no issue with the use of drugs. What I do have an issue with is when it starts to ruin ones life.

Feel Good Drag

Written by Mitchell:

I still remember the first time I saw a real life drag queen in the flesh. It was my first time to The Court Hotel, one of the two competing gay venues in Perth. It was a performance of a number from the musical, Wicked, and before me bellowed this larger than life character, with a green painted face and the witch-look down to a tee. I remember being completely blown away, a bit scared, but fascinated at the same time.

Later on in the night I found out that this was Val Uptuous (now Val Nourished), and it’s fair to say that she is legendary to the world of drag in Western Australia. Over the years, with many nights spent with friends at both The Court and Connections nightclub, I met many a drag queen. My view of them went from being enigmas who performed but remained unapproachable to the general public, to friendly faces who you’d always see out and about and maybe have a chat to. They became a necessity to take a photo with and they have garnered much more support in more recent years, from not just the LGBT community, but the wider public.

Still – I can’t help thinking that part of that fear that I once felt, part of that curiosity, is all part of the appeal in the first place. As someone who has never had the desire to take drag up myself (God I would make an ugly woman), I questioned a drag queen’s motives in the first place. And I think there’s a lot of people who do.

There’s always the common questions like:
– Do they just like to dress up as girls?
– Do they want to “be” girls?
– Is it for attention?

Naively, I partly believed that myself until the day I was told first hand that drag wasn’t just an excuse to wear womens’ clothing. Drag is actually an artform, an artistic form of expression the same way literature, music or fashion is. It incorporates bold fashion statements with dance, music and if you’re particular talented – acting. I began looking more closely at performances and learned to appreciate them as purely artistic performances.

Drag has become very popular with the younger generations, however, I am convinced that there is a lot more to it than just putting on make-up, wearing a wig and giving yourself a catchy name. This is why it pains me to see new “drag queens” popping up all over Facebook, looking like exact replicas of each other. It shouldn’t be about the “in” thing to do amongst recently matured gays. And if you are going to take it up – at least put some effort and creativity into it.

 Pictured above: Feminem – who has incorporated a colourful drag flair with nightclub DJing.

I also think it is concerning the amount of younger gay guys who don’t seem to have any career direction in their lives, and their whole lives seem dominated by drag. When all is said and done, I am not of the opinion that drag is a great career move. Sure, the real breakthrough drag acts (honourable mentions to Val, Feminem, Hannah Conda and Ruby Jewels) will make money from it, and can be successful. But I think you’ll find that they have been smart about it and combined it with other talents. Not to mention, they have persevered and showed a lot more creativity than most.

By all means do it if it makes you happy, but remember the bigger picture. Remember that in ten years time when all your friends have stopped going out (and trust me, they will) you are still going to need somewhere to live and still will have bills to pay. My final gripe is; remember that you are creating a character, but separate that character from your real persona. Many a drag queen can get away with being savagely “bitchy” while in drag, because it’s all part of the act and it keeps things interesting.

But be careful that your drag character doesn’t become your identity.

My Top Ten First Date Tips

Written by Mitchell:

First dates can be fun, scary, insightful and awkward all at the same time. I’m going to be honest here and admit that I have been on more “first dates” with people than I can really care to remember. But I don’t make any apologies for this. I’m not saying that they have all turned into nourishing and fulfilling relationships, but if it wasn’t for taking the time to get to know these people, I wouldn’t have gained my confidence in social skills, I wouldn’t have listened to a diverse range of interesting (and sometimes extremely uninteresting) stories and I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish what I am looking for compared to what I am not looking for.

I still don’t know what I am looking for.

But I know that I have more chance of finding it through establishing a social connection with someone that has a possibility to form into a strong bond, rather than just sleeping with guys before I know anything more than their name.

I also have learnt the skill, no, the art of the first date. Below is a list of the Top 10 tips to help you have a successful first date. As usual, it’s tailor made for gay/lesbian relationships, but mostly transcends to everyone!

 

1. Don’t ever say “sorry if I look like shit.”

I’m sorry – but I just find it hilarious the amount of people that proclaim as soon as they meet you, “Oh sorry I look like crap!” or “I look really shit.” As if it isn’t obvious that you have just spent the last 25 minutes straightening your hair and you still have the tags on the new clothes you bought just for the occasion! Maybe it’s a nervous thing, but I just see it as fishing for compliments and I find it really awkward having to say “no you look fine” or “no you look hot” the moment you properly meet someone.

2. Always offer to pay, but don’t fight about it if they insist on paying.

Be careful with this one, because it just might set a precedent for the duration of a relationship. Society tells us that the one who pays is usually the one who takes the lead in a relationship. But it is 2012 after all. I like to take the lead and be the “man,” but I also don’t want to be strapped for cash because of always paying for two. For gay and lesbian relationships (and modern day straight relationships for that matter), I don’t feel that there needs to be one who pays for everything and makes the money, while the other is the cleaning and cooking 1950’s housewife. I believe in equality on every level, and I think this stance is a good one to have. Sometimes you pay, sometimes they pay.

My rule of thumb is to always get my bank card out and assume the role of the payer. It’s the sweet and gentlemanly thing to do after all. However, if your date also has the same idea and gets their bank card out, that’s when you say “oh don’t be silly, I’ll pay.” If they insist on paying – LET THEM! There is nothing more unattractive than bickering about who is going to pay for the dinner. And as good as your intentions may be, you could end up genuinely insulting your date, who may want to treat you. In this situation, where they insist on paying, be graceful, put your little bank card away, smile sweetly, and say “thanks very much, that’s really sweet of you.” If you’re feeling extra confident, you could also add “I’ll have to treat you next time.” At least this way there is more chance of there actually being a “next time.”

3. Avoid alcohol if it has any unwanted side effects on you.

We all know the side effects of alcohol. Most of us live with them on a weekly basis. But some of us get a few more unwanted side-effects than others.

In the winter time, the skin on my face becomes very dry.  Last year it was particularly bad, and it was before I had identified a suitable moisturiser for my skin. One day, I experimented with this moisturiser that has built-in SPF protection, ie it was part sunscreen.

That night, I also went on a first date to a little Italian restaurant. Out comes a lovely bottle of white wine, and me, thinking it would be classy, begins to drink a few glasses with dinner.  Wine has a tendency to make my face flush, and within a few minutes my cheeks were rosy. What I failed to realise however, was that the heat from my flushed cheeks had caused the sunscreen moisturiser on my face to lose its transparency. It looked like I had just put zinc on my face, or I was just initiated into some Aboriginal tribe.

My white face came to my attention when I popped into the rest room and, horrified, saw myself in the mirror. I panicked, grabbed toilet paper and used it to try and remove the white residue off my face. This only made matters worse, and I returned to the table with white moisturiser and little tiny bits of toilet paper stuck to my face. So embarrassing, and definitely something you should take into consideration when deciding on whether to drink or not.

4. Avoid alcohol if you don’t know your limits.

Isn’t alcohol great? It tastes great, loosens you up, enables you to lose your inhibitions and really let out the real you.  But – if the real you is a booze hag who gets stupidly drunk off two cruisers, then maybe this isn’t something you should be revealing on a first date.

5. It’s alright to talk about your ex, as long as it is in the right tone.

In the straight world, bringing up your ex is a big no no. And it usually sounds alarm bells that you are not over your ex. However, in the gay world, where you often cannot just instantly remove any trace of your ex from your life – because of say, mutual friends, or mutual watering holes etc, talking about your ex isn’t the deal breaker it is portrayed to be. It is more common for gay guys to remain friends with their ex’s. I for one, have my ex as my housemate, which hasn’t been smooth sailing. We have remained partial friends and he is still part of my life, so I occasionally do bring him up. But am I still in love with him? Not in the slightest. Of course, common sense must prevail, and if you spend more time talking about your ex than yourself, well….frankly you don’t deserve a second date.

6. Never do anything sexual on a first date.

This is a hard and fast rule for the following reason:  Going further than a hug and kissing on a first date makes you a whore. And even if you are just “in the moment,” you’ll leave a first impression that you are easy and you’ll take away all the excitement and apprehension of the dating game, easily defusing even the strongest of sparks between you. Keep it in the pants people!

7. Pick an activity that you are comfortable with.

I once had a guy who asked me on a first date to go “rock climbing.” While I was fascinated by the guy’s originality and creativity, the thought of me getting a wedgie on one of those hoistie thingys that you get harnessed into, or falling in front of someone I had just met, was enough to put me off.

For a lot of people, first dates are nerve-racking enough as it is, with the awkwardness and suspense of meeting an entirely new person, let alone being in a strange or unfamiliar environment.

My top recommendation is movies or coffee. Movies – because it is a classic choice, and if your date turns out to be a freak who collects human skin, you can just sit there and watch the movie. Coffee – because it’s easier to chat and get to know someone, it’s inexpensive and low-key.  Personally, I don’t like to do dinners, because I find it really hard to balance eating and conversing simultaneously. I am also paranoid about the sounds I make when I chew and the way I hold my fork, and if my eating habits aren’t up to scratch (even though I’m the kind of guy who would eat pizza with a knife and fork).

8. Don’t try too hard or set unrealistic standards.

Let’s face it, if you over-exaggerate your job, your income, your social status or your cooking ability, eventually, if the date is successful and leads to more, they are going to be really let down and disappointed when they eat your modestly bland frittata or find out you’re a shit-kicker and not in middle management. You also run the risk of sounding like a jerk with an over-inflated ego.

9. Wait for them to contact you.

As much as you might want to text your date while you are still parked in your car relating One Direction lyrics to your newly discovered love life, you should always wait for them to contact you first. You don’t want to appear desperate and even if you really had a great time, or are desperate, give them the chance to let you know their thoughts first. Of course, if they haven’t texted you and it’s a day later, then it probably didn’t go as well as you thought. Or if he or she is waiting for you to text first too, then it’s obviously not meant to be. Relationships are seldom equal, and there is always one person with more power than the other. You should always attempt to gain the power in a relationship (and retain it) through any means possible. Letting your date come to you is an absolutely crucial part of power-play. And if you can’t even grasp an ounce of power from a first date, then there is no further help I can offer you.

10. Avoid awkward subjects.

Some people do have really messed up lives. Some people have had bad things happen to them. But telling your date about your brother’s heroin addiction while welling up with tears is probably not the best ice-breaker. In the same vein, showing your date 100 photos of your cat or going on about your nut allergies can be just as tediously detrimental. Believe it or not, many people do make the mistake of sharing too many personal and sometimes emotional stories about their life. The best approach is focusing on the positive, and in fact, focusing on getting to know your date rather than talking about you the whole time.

So those are my top ten dating tips. Now, you are free to go out into the world, armed with these ground-breaking dating do’s and don’ts, and immerse yourself into the fun world of slowly realising your chances are diminishing as fast as you are aging! Haha

A Stroke of Gay

Written by Mitchell

In my last post, I touched on the opportunity to just turn straight instantly, but today I wanted to highlight something I saw in a news article a few weeks ago.

The news article was about a rugby playing straight man, who suffered a stroke and woke up gay.

On his way home from playing squash with his brother, Chris did a forward roll down a hill (I’m assuming just for fun) and when he got to the bottom, he couldn’t get up. As it turned out, he had twisted his neck and cut off blood supply to his brain, thus causing him to have a stroke.

Chris was not the same person after this. He became distant from his friends because he had less in common with them, he wasn’t interested in cars or sports or any of his previous hobbies. He quit his job in a bank and started training to become a hairdresser. His family couldn’t understand what was going on, and I guess neither could he.

The biggest change of all though, is that even though he had grown up as a completely heterosexual man, he started developing feelings for other males, and no longer found females attractive. He had become homosexual.

I found this so fascinating, because it goes against everything that I believed about being born gay or born straight. I have no medical background or scientific evidence to base this on, but I always held the theory that being born with certain genes resulted in someone being gay or straight. However, what it does still suggest is that it must be a function that is controlled by the brain. When Chris had a stroke, the blood supply and oxygen was cut off to the part of his brain that controls sexual identity – and has ended up completely altering it.

If this guy is being 100% truthful, it raises some seriously interesting questions.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as Chris started slowly changing from a straight chav into a flamboyant hairstylist. But don’t worry straight guys – I don’t think this is something that happens very often, so there’s no need to start making memory boxes yet.

Have a look at the videos below where Chris talks about his struggle to come to terms with his newfound identity:

Support Gay Marriage; I Do

Written by Jessica-Lee

In 1962 America, a couple named Richard and Mildred decided to get married. No big deal, I hear you say. But back then it was an enormous deal – an illegal one, in fact – because Richard was white and Mildred was black.

This simple fact made their marriage illegal in sixteen states across America – including Virginia where the couple resided.

One night, police broke into their house and arrested them. Much to the disappointment of authorities, Richard and Mildred weren’t having sex at the time so they couldn’t be charged with the crime of ‘interracial intercourse’. However, they were still jailed and charged for being married with the judge ruling that their marriage was now void, stating that ‘Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red and He placed them on separate continents. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.’

In 1967 two civil rights lawyers took Richard and Mildred’s case to the US Supreme Court where the Interracial Marriage Act was overturned. In their unanimous ruling, they noted that: ‘The freedom to marry has long been recognised as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.’

The idea of two people being banned from marriage because they have differing skin colour is a ridiculous one to consider in 2012.

So my question is, how the hell is it still acceptable for two people to be banned from marriage based on their sex and sexuality?

When we hear people speaking out against same sex marriage, it usually has something to do with God, religion or the bible. I find this to be most ironic considering marriage didn’t start out as a religious institution. For most of European history, it was simply a business arrangement. Love or God had nothing to do with it. The church remained anti-marriage for quite some time. And in this day and age, you may choose to get married in a place of worship but that’s certainly not what makes your vows legal. Explain to me all the people who get married at the beach, in their backyard, in gardens and who compose their own vows… Marriage is a civil union so why the hell are some taxpayers allowed to take part and others are not?

A lot of these same people say that it’s ‘detrimental’ to their own marriage. If two people are in love, and want to stand in front of their friends and family pledging their love for one another and their desire to spend the rest of their lives together, what does that have to do with your marriage? How can that possibly be to its detriment? Does Kim Kardashian’s definition of marriage affect your marriage? Certainly not.

Statistics show that every third marriage in Australia will end in divorce. Marriage certainly isn’t the sacred thing it once was to a lot of people. So while heterosexuals are walking away from their marriages in droves, there are gay people trying to go in the other direction. Except their path is barricaded by governments and religious leaders because…well, ‘just because’. Nobody seems to be able to come up with a very good reason beyond ‘just because’.

Marriage equality is something I feel extremely passionate about and I am eager for the day that same sex marriage is legal. I have two main reasons for this – apart from what I have discussed above – and for the simple fact that I believe it is a basic human right.

 

One of my reasons is that when I have kids, I want them to be able to have the choice to get married regardless of their sexuality. I want them to grow up in a world where we are all treated as equals. No matter whether you are gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, black, white, short, tall, skinny, fat, Christian, Muslim, atheist or if you have three legs or two. I want my children to have every opportunity in this world.

My other reason – and one that I have held close to my heart for a very long time – is for my Uncles to have the opportunity to get married. They are a gay couple who are still very much in love and they have one of the best relationships I have ever been witness to. For someone to tell me that they do not deserve to get married absolutely kills me. I could sit here for hours and discuss all the valid and varying reasons why they should have the choice to get married (and there are plenty!) but take this one for instance… They have been together since just before I was born. I was born in 1987 which means I am turning 25 this year…

So why, oh god help me why, are idiots (I’m talking about the Britney Spears’ and the Jennifer Lopez’s here) with no concept of true love and commitment allowed to get married at the drop of a hat but my beautiful, gorgeous and devoted Uncles are not?

And what about my many friends who are also not allowed to get married? The majority of them aren’t even in a relationship at present let alone thinking about getting married but I want them to be able to have the choice.

‘Tradition isn’t an argument for anything. It’s an argument against change.’

Come on, Australia!