#lgbt

Urban Bear Weekend Gets Hairy in New York City

Urban Bear Weekend is an annual gathering that takes place smack dab in the middle of Manhattan and showcases a ton of fantastic events with the bear and bear friendly community in mind.  Whether it is dancing the night away, checking out some great vendors in the Meatpacking district (no pun intended), or seeing what makes this city so great, this super fun weekend has something for everybody.

The annual event celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with hundreds of smoking hot bears lining the streets of Manhattan for a weekend of food, fun, debauchery and more. 

Urban Bear Weekend is essentially Manhattan's answer to the uber popular Bear Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Some of the festivities throughout the three days included the infamous Underbear Party taken place at the legendary Rockbar on Christopher Street and the Urban Bear Street Fair. The latter is the culmination of the entire weekend, where hundreds gather to do a little shopping at the bear-friendly vendors, eat a ton of meat and dance the day away.

Events like these are a reminder of how strong our community is, as Manhattan has become a place where gay bars are continually being shut down in favor of luxury condos and restaurants that stay open for a month before closing down. The comradery of this community is seen in full force when it comes to occasions like Urban Bear, and its a reminder that we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

For more information on Urban Bear Weekend, check out their official site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iconic LGBTQ Athletes and Figures Explore the Ongoing Challenges Faced in Sports

Iconic LGBTQ Athletes and Figures Explore the Ongoing Challenges Faced in Sports in AT&T AUDIENCE Network's "Alone In The Game"

Coming off an official selection at AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington D.C., AT&TAUDIENCE® Network unveiled its new, exclusive documentary, "Alone In The Game." It will make its premiere on Thursday, June 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The AT&T original feature-length documentary follows a group of athletes and sports figures from the biggest stages in American sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLS, and NCAA, among others, to explore the ongoing struggles LGBTQ athletes are facing at the professional, collegiate and Olympic levels.
 
Featured perspectives come from:
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
  • Former ESPN President John Skipper
  • Former NBA center Jason Collins
  • Former NFL lineman Ryan O'Callaghan
  • MLS Cup champion Robbie Rogers
  • Olympic medalists Gus Kenworthy
  • Olympic medalists Megan Rapinoe 
Viewers will hear the personal stories of LGBTQ athletes who deal with living their most authentic life or hiding in fear that their sports careers will come to a crashing end if the truth comes out.
 
"It's time to unveil such important and inspirational stories. We're giving viewers a rare look into the lives of these elite athletes' unique journeys and open their eyes to the daily challenges these athletes face on and off the field of play," said David McFarland, "Alone In The Game" creator and executive producer. "With added attention to this issue, I'm hopeful we can affect real change at the highest levels of American sport and that the next generation of LGBTQ athletes will be judged by their athletic performance, rather than their sexual orientation or gender identity."
 
"Alone In The Game" shines a light on the stark reality of the big business of sports. It also exposes a culture of exclusion, bigotry and discrimination which keeps many LGBTQ athletes in the closet and living in silence.
 
"As America's culture, including that of the sports world, continues to evolve, AT&T remains steadfast in our support of inclusion, which encompasses advocating the right mindset surrounding the LGBTQ community," said Daniel York, senior executive vice president and chief content officer for AT&T. "We are honored to provide these athletes a platform to share their stories and empower others going through similar struggles."

 

 

Catch "Alone In The Game" on AT&T AUDIENCE Network - DIRECTV ch. 239 and AT&T U-verse ch. 1114. You can also watch via streaming services on DIRECTV NOW, DIRECTV, and AT&T U-verse Apps.
 
 
 

Connecticut Becoming A Leader In Promoting LGBTQ+ Equality.

Just a week after Connecticut Bans Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy For Minors, the state goes and does this ... and we say BRAVO!

Connecticut is taking a stance on adoption and is looking to be known as the state that welcomes and embraces its LGBTQ+ community. While some states like Oklahoma and Kansas decide to show their ugly bland colors (Kansas Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill Into State Law), Governor Dannel Malloy (DEM) wants to assist his state's over 4,300 children currently in state care.

“We just have to get this word out,” Malloy said. “We have to get more of our children placed with our families in our state.”

 It's not just the role of adoptive parents, but also that of foster parents where LGBTQ+ couples can assist and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ s is reaching out to our community to make homes for kids in need. 

 

There are other programs across the country, but they are usually city or countywide, but to have a state reach out in this way is unique.  Of course Connecticut will not place children in any home that is offered, it is just that our community is being seen and happily targeted in the new campaign to seek out qualified and good candidates. There are currently about 100 LGBTQ+ adoptive families in Connecticut and the hope is to more than double that number.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of families, that have a lot of love to give,” she said, noting a 2013 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law that found same-sex couples are four times more likely than different-sex couples to raise an adopted child and six times more likely to raise foster children.

Who better to help those in need, to understand the struggles of growing up differently than LGBTQ+ parents.  That might be what Connecticut is hoping on.  We know the struggles of coming from a less than perfect past, a less than perfect family experience, a less than perfect childhood. 

“Those are the ones who become the best parents,” he said. “They’re the ones that look at this child and say, ‘I will never throw you away.’ And that says everything to a child.”

There's no way we can say LGBTQ+ parents are better or worse than a straight parental unit. Each family is different, deals with different issues, struggles, challenges, but we think it is great that Connecticut is not necessarily rolling out the red carpet to LGBTQ+ couples, but instead the state is holding the door open and saying you are welcome.

To be honest, it is not the first time Connecticut has done this, but it has stepped up its outreach to our community even more, and we know we need to hear good news about things like this.  Back in November of 2017, the governor and DCF reached out to the LGBTQ+ community.

Connecticut’s governor and its commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, who played a role in legalizing gay marriage as a state Supreme Court justice in 2008, marked Adoption Awareness Month on Monday by highlighting the state’s outreach to same-sex couples as potential adoptive parents of children in foster care. - theCTMirror

Bravo Connecticut. Keep fighting the fight.  And keep helping those kids.

h/t: nbcnews

 

Kansas Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill Into State Law

On Friday, Kansas governor Jeff Colyer signed a bill into state law legalizing discrimination against LGBT persons looking to adopt. This news comes just one week after Oklahoma’s governor Mary Fallin signed a similar bill.

Senate Bill 284 enables adoption agencies in Kansas, even those which receive taxpayer funds, to deny children placement into homes with LGBT parents over “religious objections.”

Both houses of the legislature approved the bill this month. 

It’s worth mentioning that technically the law could also permit these agencies to subject LGBT children in foster care to conversion therapy.

According to The Wichita Eagle, Colyer said: “What I want Kansans to know is this is about fairness and that we are protecting everyone. It’s not about discrimination; it’s about fairness. We’re looking after those kids that need a forever home.”

JoDee Winterhof, senior VP of Policy and Political Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, condemned the bill in a press release: “Kansas now joins Oklahoma as the only states to allow anti-LGBTQ state bills to become law this year. Kansas lawmakers, from the legislature to the governor, are clearly stating that it is more important to them to discriminate against their own constituents than it is to find loving homes for children in need. Make no mistake: this law will harm the kids, families and reputation of this state.” 

Kansas is the ninth state to enact an adoption law permitting agencies to deny placement into homes over religious objections; the others are Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma.

The new adoption law isn’t the only current anti-LGBT law in Kansas. In 2016, former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing student organization’s at public universities in the state to deny membership to LGBT students. Brownback is now United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under the Trump Administration.

Earlier this week, Colyer and six other Republican governors signed a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee saying president Trump should get the Nobel Peace Prize for “his transformative efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula."

h/t: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2018/05/18/kansas-governor-signs-anti-lgbt-religious-freedom-adoption-law/

Instinct Hottie of the Week is Award-Winning Director Brandon Deyette

Could he seriously be any cuter?

Instinct Magazine's Hottie of the Week is someone who you may be getting to know quite a lot over the next couple of years, as Brandon Deyette's career in the entertainment world continues to rise.

 

 

His directorial debut for the 2015 film Proxy (which he also starred in) won him a bunch of accolades and honors a couple of years back at several different film festivals. The movie details eight different characters who become connected and forever changed by the choice one man makes (it also stars actor Charlie Harding, who we featured on Instinct last year). The film is available for purchase here

 

 

His next big project is an upcoming documentary called Latter Day Glory, which details the high rise in suicide rates among LGBT Mormon youth. The film follows two gay ex-Mormon missionaries, comic book artist Terry Blas and celebrity hair stylist Jonathon Levi Powell (check out our exclusive with him here) as they travel across the United States to confront their past and explore their futures, while discussing with other gay Mormons and ex-Mormons about the rejection, oppression and the reality of a growing number of suicides they face in the LDS community.

During the film, they meet with former and current members off the LDS community including State Senator Jim DabakisNeon Trees' frontman Tyler Glenn, and Real World alumni Chris Ammon. It will premiere in the summer of 2018.

Brandon, who is now based in Los Angeles after living several years in New York City, is also in the process of developing a feature film on LGBT homeless called Kitty. Definitely someone who is on the rise in the world of filmmaking, both in and out of the community, and one you should look out for very, very soon.

For more information on Brandon, please check out his official site

 

Instinct Exclusive with Burgeoning Actor & In-Demand Life Coach Frank Vignola

If you enjoy the looks and acting skills of Chris Meloni mixed with a side of helping people reach their best lives that they can, then you will probably end up with the super talented and handsome Frank Vignola.

Frank, who is based in the heart of New York City on the Upper East Side, has developed quite the name for himself in the acting world by landing key roles including The Blacklist: Redemption and The Six Degrees of Murder. Don't worry, his acting isn't always on the super dark side as he is able to bring out his comedy angle (which he honed his craft in at the William Esper Studio, T. Schreiber Studio and Upright Citizens Brigade) in roles like the short film Seeking: Jack Tripper.

He also finds himself as a part-time life coach, which works wonders especially in the world of New York City where people can last either a day or a lifetime here depending on how focused you can truly be. 

I sat down with Frank to see why acting is his passion, how Meryl can truly do no wrong (obviously), and how his acting and life coach skills have a way with intertwining with one another. 

So on your Instagram you call yourself an actor and a life coach. Have you ever thought of combining those for an Oscar-winning performance?

Coincidentally, these two roles in my life run parallel with one another. I have implemented so many acting techniques in my coaching, and I have even taught them to clients. Being a great actor means understanding yourself and others on a deeper level, which is such a big part of life...and coaching. And coaching has given me such an insight into character study and character development. It’s hard for me to imagine doing one without the other. They constantly aid and inspire one another.

 What started your love of acting, and who was your biggest inspiration in all of it?

My love for acting probably started as a kid, because I loved movies and often felt very connected to characters. A few affected me so deeply that I formed friendships with them in my head, drew pictures of them and even wrote about them. I want to be able to affect someone that deeply with my work. I want to inspire people, I want to make them laugh, cry...I want to make them think...question themselves. I want to disturb them. 

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve lived a crazy 36 years and that my journey to self-discovery has been all over the place. I’ve yet to be given a role where I haven’t been able to find myself in it...even the darker ones. In fact, the darker ones I often connect to the easiest!

I have so many inspirations, I’ll rattle off a few - I was a huge Bruce Willis fan. I wanted to be Bruce Willis. I collected all of his movies. I used to steal VHS tapes from the rental place and return blank tapes instead. Heath Ledger...man. I get upset when I talk about him. I wanted so much more, and he had so much more to give. Meryl Streep… she still can do no wrong to me. Anthony Hopkins, Bryan Cranston, Jared Leto, Julianne Moore, Emily Blunt, Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron, Daniel Day Lewis, just to name a few. 

Do you find it’s hard for gay men to be taken seriously still in the world of acting, especially when the ones who come out get relegated to roles that often don’t involve romance?

Love is love. I can fall in love with anyone, regardless of gender. Anyone who knows anything about acting should know that. If you’re cast based on your sexual preference, that’s bullshit. Is it hard for gay men? I don’t know honestly. And my career is still a baby. Right now, my guess is I’m going to be cast in plenty of romantic roles with women. And I’m confident that there will never be a fucking nanosecond that someone watching thinks “he’s not really into her” because I will be. Because that’s my job as an actor. Gay men need to be true to themselves and keep breaking these bullshit stereotypes. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment acting wise to date and why has that touched you more than others?

Every time I let myself go deeper than I did the last time, it feels like an accomplishment. As roles go, I once played a husband and father of three who was brutally murdered in his own home by his wife. I was fucked up over it for a few weeks after. I don’t know if it would happen that same way today, because I’ve learned how to dive deep into darkness all the while wearing a harness attached to a rope. 

Do you have a dream actor/actress, director or writer you are dying to work with?

I’m dying to work with hungry, passionate, creative people, and there’s a lot of them out there. Any of the ones I mentioned earlier would be amazing to work with. As far as writers and directors: Tarantino, Fincher, Scorsese, Fede Alvarez, James Wan, Eli Roth... Andres Muschietti did an amazing job in the 2017 It. There’s lots more. 

Tell us about your life coach angle and how you got involved in that.

I was a teen who used to cut himself and do drugs. I was on virtually every antidepressant and anxiety pill you can name. I had no self worth. I was bullied. After years of getting expelled from multiple schools, incarceration, group homes, rehabs, shelters, institutions and a few near-death experiences, I found my worth. That was a really long story condensed into like three dramatic sentences. But that’s it in a nutshell. I found my worth and fell in love with life. And now I help others do the same. It’s a part of me. I’m coach in many of my relationships in life, not just work. It’s who I am. 

What projects do you have that are currently in the works?

I’m getting some stubborn fat sucked out of my belly in a few weeks. I can’t wait. How’s that for vanity? Oh, and I’m working on an amazing fart compilation. The rest... stay tuned!

Ultimately, what is your biggest life goal that you have yet to achieve?

I’m achieving it. I just need a bigger platform to reach more people.

For more information on Frank Vignola, you can follow him on Instagram here or check out his official website here

New LGBT-Friendly YouTube Show Dissects Superheroes, Comics, And More

From the makers of Next of Ken, a popular countdown series on YouTube, which just crossed over 100,000 subscribers, The Amazing Offenders and Friends is a new weekly YouTube talk show where a team of nerds discuss the latest superhero news, review comic book movies, and debate which hero or villain would win in a segment called, “Superpowered Matchup.”

The LGBT-Friendly show aspires to merge straight culture with gay culture in order to create a dialogue between sexualities using a popular form of media that’s universally-beloved by all – comic books.

The show features nerds of varying ethnicities and some from across the sexuality spectrum including Gay, Straight, Bisexual, and Queer with the intention of introducing new and unique perspectives to both the hosts and the audience.

“The show doesn’t necessarily focus on LGBT politics,” co-host and co-creator Ryan O’Connor said. “It’s really just a platform for nerds of different sexualities and ethnicities to discuss and express our shared love of superheroes, comic books, and more. It’s an LGBT-friendly web series that’s accessible for everyone.”

The first two episodes have already gone LIVE on YouTube with new episodes uploaded each week.

To catch the latest episodes and subscribe to the channel, hop over to The Amazing Offenders and Friends and join the nerdy fun!

And if you don't want to leap over small cookies with a single click, here's episode 1.

 

One on One With Chef Extraordinaire Jonathan Bardzik!

Gay, handsome and can cook? Sign us up! Jonathan Bardzik has become one of the hottest chefs in and out of the Washington D.C. area, as his farm to table type of cuisine has lit up farmers markets, private gatherings, and even on the shelves at your local bookstore. 

He has developed a wonderful career for himself where he earns his coins by making other people happy and full. And who doesn't like that? He also is the author of three incredible cookbooks:  Simple Summer, Seasons to Taste, and Fresh and Magical Vinaigrettes, all of which are chock full of delicious recipes that you can make for your own friends, family or that special someone all year round.

What's even better about Jonathan is that he tells a story with his food. I've been apart of these types of events that he has hoted that have been nothing short of magical where he invites you into his table and gives you more than what is on the plate. It's a "culinary boner" if you will, as he is able to turn you on in so many ways when it comes to his cooking that you will have no choice but to leave a little sweaty and with a smile on your face.

Jonathan sat down with me at Instinct to discuss his rise in the culinary scene, including his inspirations, his major love affair with his sexy partner and how that began, and where he sees his booming career going in the future. Check it out. 

What got you into the culinary world in the first place?

I love cooking. And I love sharing the magic and joy of cooking with other people. So that’s why I started cooking seriously in my early 20’s. It took me almost 20 more years to figure out how to turn that passion into a career and where I fit in the culinary world as a storyteller, cook, keynote speaker and author.

Did you have any major inspirations growing up that helped shape you into the chef that you are today?

I know everyone says Mom, but it’s true.  Her greatest joy in life was being a mother and a homemaker. We didn’t have much money when I was young, so she gardened to grow most of our produce, Dad had chickens for fresh eggs and meat and Mom baked all the bread I ate until I was at least four years-old.

My first employer after college, Fred Dabney, was also a major influence. He did all the cooking at home and cooked well. I lived with he and his wife for a few months and we’d get to the house from work at 8 or 9 at night and he’d cook these amazing meals. I think it was my first example of someone cooking just because they loved to with no expectation that – as a mother or wife – that they had to.

Kathy Bugbee, the mother of my best friend Sandy, was the first person who demonstrated the importance of technique. I could follow these complex, sexy, foodie recipes, but she would throw a roast in the oven without looking at a recipe. I was in awe of just knowing how to cook something like that, and it’s all about technique.

How would you describe the foodie scene in Washington D.C. where you currently live?

D.C.’s food scene is a joy! This city has grown so much during the 15 years I’ve been here. In addition to the rich culinary history of the black community that has called this city home for generations, there is such an amazing community of restaurateurs and producers making everything from charcuterie to gin. When I travel home to western Mass, which also has a pretty amazing food and farming culture, I realize just how much access I have to cuts of meat, cheeses and so many other ingredients. This is a great place to cook and eat.

Do you find it harder for gay chefs to find their footing in the culinary industry?

I’ve never been a restaurant chef. My sense of that world is that it has been heavily male driven, like so many professions, and being gay, a woman, a person of color, have all presented challenges, but as our workforce changes more broadly I think it becomes easier – not easy – but easier.

For me, my early question was would my audiences accept me as a gay man talking about my husband and my life at home. The answer has been an unequivocal welcoming “yes.”

You've been with your partner Jason for many years now. Do you have a favorite dish that you made him that still brings back some incredible memories?

On our first anniversary I was in the middle of a ten-day business trip to Omaha, Nebraska, working 14-18 hour days. I sent a text message at about 10pm wishing him a happy anniversary. I never sent flowers and I returned home without a gift. Every year now I make up for that by making pan con tomate y jamón – Spanish tomato bread with ham, which was a favorite of Jason’s when we spent our honeymoon in Spain. I use $150 per pound jamón Ibérico de bellota – because that’s what you do every year when you forget your first anniversary. It’s a treat for us both.

What has been your proudest culinary moment to date?

Gosh, I have new ones all the time: catering a wedding for 150 on a farm without a kitchen, cooking at National Geographic and USDA, nailing a perfect Hollandaise sauce… My proudest might be the day my Mom and Dad looked through the PDF of my first book with me. It was truly a love letter to them and their marriage. We were all crying by the end.

Any chefs you are dying to work with?

So many! Every time I eat in a restaurant or watch an episode of the Mind of the Chef I think, “I would love to spend a couple hours, days, weeks in the kitchen or the office learning from them about cooking or business.” Local chef and restaurateur, Aaron Silverman of Michelin-starred Rose’s Luxury fame would be a pleasure to spend a few hours talking with how he develops plates and took the risk to open such unique and uniquely priced venues. Though not a chef, I would love to talk with Martha Stewart about personal branding and creating joy for others through food and entertaining.

Ultimately, what is your biggest goal in your culinary career and are you hopeful that it will come to fruition?

I would be proud to follow in the footsteps of people like Julia Child and Martha Stewart who have fundamentally changed America’s relationship with food. Specifically, I believe that life can and should be lived well, and that living well is within reach – across many economic levels - each and every day by preparing a simple meal, setting a table and sharing it with those you love, even – and maybe especially – when that is a table for one.

We broadly see food and cooking from perspectives of fear and competition. Learning is wonderful and rewarding, but we don’t need to be chefs at home, we just need to have fun! And food should stop being looked at as lethal or medicating – we’re all looking for the next miracle or life-threatening ingredient. Real food, whole ingredients, enjoyed in a balanced diet with moderation is healthy. The rest just needs to be delicious.

For more information on Jonathan Bardzik, please check out his official website here.

Mother's Day Doesn't Have to Be That Difficult If Your Own Has Passed

The loss of the person you call "mom", no matter what your personal relationship is with her, is something that leaves a profound impact on one's life when they pass on. For some of us, we are left with happy memories as the relationship we had with them ended on good terms. For others, it can lead to a lifetime of questions as there were too many issues we had with one another that weren't resolved prior to her death. And for many of us in the LGBTQ community, we had mothers who didn't approve of our lifestyle and we never really got to wonder if they ever came to terms with who we are before they died.

Mother's Day can easily be the roughest out of the entire year for anyone who has lost their own mom, or "mum" or however you would like to refer to her. From my personal experience, it is tougher than the holidays, her birthday, my own birthday and many others as it is a day designed specifically for the mother in our life, and the constant distraction of Hallmark cards, social media posts and friends checking in to see if you are OK can be completely overwhelming.

It has been over a decade since my own mother passed from cancer, and the pain of her loss still resonates greatly with me today. Often times I wonder about the hypothetical "road not taken", except in this case it was a road that I was unable to turn onto as I couldn't become that superhero of sorts and get that disgusting cancer out of her body.

She was a fantastic woman, great parent, sister, daughter... you name it. She had a lot of issues with my sexuality when I told her I was gay, but as time went by she accepted me for who I was and it's pretty much a "mental" guarantee that she would be super supportive of me so many years later if she was here in the physical world.

Yet, when I wake up on Mother's Day, I get this overwhelming sense of grief that only happens a couple of times a year at this point. A friend of mine put it best: "Losing your mother is like a knife. The blade dulls, but it can still cut you at a moments notice." For someone like me, I never want to wake up feeling sad or think about going through the day in a depressed state, so how do you actually get through Mother's Day without having to go through either of those?

Something I have done over the past couple of years, especially if you are active on social media, is to make a post about her a day in advance of Mother's Day. Because come Sunday morning, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc will be filled with endless photos and posts about your friend's mothers that are incredibly heartfelt and touching. For me, I see it as something that emotionally exhausts me, and you never want to put yourself in that situation. Post about it a day in advance, and if you really can, stay off social media for 24 hours. Consider it a detox of sorts.

Another tip that I always find works is to search for things to make you laugh. That is the best distraction, no matter what relationship you had with your mother, is in order to really enjoy your day without the worriment that you'll be reaching for the tissues. Heck, reach for the tissues for a completely different reason there (wink, wink)! Whatever you can do to keep yourself upbeat ultimately will relieve you of the stress that is this day.

If you are someone who recently lost your mother, let's say five years or less, you are gonna get a lot of texts and calls asking "Are you OK?" Here is where you are in control. If you aren't OK... tell them! Tell the people you know will be there for you. Don't give them a PC answer of "Oh yeah, it's just another day," talk to the friends and family who will do whatever they can to make you happy. Heck, they may even take you out for a drink or dinner to cheer you up, and who can turn that down?

The bottom line is, don't be stuck in grief. Don't be stuck in misery over something you cannot control. At the end of the day (Mother's or not), it's simply not worth it.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

5 Music Videos That Helped Me Figure Out I Was Gay

I consider the generation who was born in the mid to late 80's the last ones who really grew up without the emergence of technology (iPhone, iPads, Macs, etc) taking over our lives.

Yes, we had television, movies, and all of that, but there was an innocence that we got to experience that this generation doesn't. The ones growing up today also doesn't really appreciate just how amazing music videos were back in the day and how they shaped not only the lives of the artists who made them but also for a lot of people who identify as LGBTQIA. 

What I mean by that is there has been hundreds of music videos made that has helped many of us on the sleigh ride to our sexuality.  Maybe it was a beat, maybe it was a shirtless guy, maybe it was an icon that we were so drawn to that it brought us to another level in determining who we were on the spectrum of LGBTQIA.

Music, for me, will always be my greatest love. It has given me moments, when I was growing up, that helped me truly figure out my sexuality at a time when being gay wasn't the "in" thing yet. A lot of these videos aren't necessarily "gay", nor are they sung and acted out by people in our community, but from my point of view, they helped me come out when I was in high school and were a big part of why I have been an out and proud gay man for almost two decades.

Here are five music videos that helped me along the path to being happily gay.

LL Cool J- "Doin It"

LL will be my eternal crush, as he exemplifies so many traits that I find hot in a man. It was around 1996 when I was starting to really understand my attraction towards men instead of women, and when I saw this video, it pretty much pushed me over the edge to really grasping that I may just be gay. 

Madonna- "Vogue"

I was entranced by this video from the moment I saw it. The dancing in it was a technique that I had no idea about, and learned where it was inspired from when I first saw the movie Paris is Burning back in the late 90's. After seeing that film, I understood why this video had such an impact on me as a gay kid growing up in this decade, as these people represented freedom and evolution in a time where homophobia was still rampant.

George Michael- "Faith"

His butt in those jeans. Nothing more needs to be said.

Spice Girls- "Wannabe"

Here's what I love and continue to love about The Spice Girls. Their whole presence in the 90's was about "girl power". When I was figuring out my sexuality, I was able to loosely translate what they were doing and find the "girl power" inside myself that really was just being able to be an openly gay person without fear of what other people would think. I still to this day do not think they have a clue as to the impact they have made on the LGBTQIA community twenty plus years later.

Ricky Martin- "Livin La Vida Loca"

I like all types of men, no matter what their background is. However, Ricky was my first true crush outside of LL Cool J, and seeing him in this video solidified that. Call me sometime, Ricky (I know you are married, but I can dream.)

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

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