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Acceptable Behavior

Many suggest that events like Folsom Street hurt the “gay movement.”  If advancing the gay movement is about adhering to the ideals of others, then count me out.  Here is a old blog post from following Dore Alley that you might enjoy.  Remember, live life on your own terms!

Acceptable Behavior

Acceptable Behavior Folsom Street

This past weekend was Dore Alley. For those of you out of the area, Dore Alley is an annual leather street festival that features mild to wild, with everything in between. My business partner recently broke her ankle and attended the event in a wheelchair – which you may be interested in knowing is about at cock level – “You might want to put some sunscreen on that . . . .”

The next day, I was driving to work listening to the radio and the local gay radio jocks were bitchin’ about Dore Alley. “It’s stuff like that that sets back the gay movement. Don’t they know that the media loves that kind of stuff, which hurts our chances with gay marriage . . .” According to these two (who will remain nameless), we are supposed to be respectable and passable.

WHAT?

Ok, so I nearly drove off the road yelling at my radio (which is not as productive as you would think). These are the types of gay men who scare me. The whole idea of acceptance is accepting oneself for who you truly are and not being defined by the media or political agendas or simply by others. It’s about living life on your own terms.

And to borrow heavily from the Laurel Thatcher Ulrich quote – Well-behaved gays seldom make history. Those that could fit in have always retreated to the safety of their closets.Let us not forget – Stonewall was a bunch of pissed off drag queens.

So, you are going to tell me what is acceptable gay behavior? Oh No Miss Thing – You did not go there!! Once you start to define “the norms” by which I am supposed to live – you’ve started down a very slippery slope. I don’t what to be acceptable; I don’t need to “pass” as straight and I surely don’t need you to tell how to act.

Am I threatening our chances for gay marriage? Well – if I am, then I don’t want it on those terms. “If you promise not to act gay . . .” Marriage is a right afforded to most couples in our country and I as a citizen deserve that basic right. I am not a second class citizen, and no “straight” couple has to adhere to guidelines on what is acceptable “straight” behavior.

So, I will continue to be different. I may be the 7 foot tall drag queen in stiletto heels and I will get media coverage – because I am fabulous and I am interesting. Why don’t “average” folks get the media spotlight – Well, because you’re not interesting, you are average. So, we are officially putting the gay community on notice – We will not be clones. We will wear leather – We will be a bears – We will wear drag – We will be Dykes on Bikes – We will be tranny kids – but we will not try to pass just to fit in.

The post Acceptable Behavior appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist

Recently, we sat down with Brody Polinsky in Berlin.  We talked about his journey as a queer, clean & sober tattoo artist.

Originally post on Bear Riker’s Berlin

Why did you feel the need for a queer safe space?

I have tattooed in a lot of other dynamics and spaces, even gay, yet never been totally comfortable in my own skin. Most were conventional tattoo studios, which can be hyper masculine and party environments. The personal dynamics between everyone in a studio sets the tone for the day and the outcome of the tattoo, in my opinion. It’s hard to leave your shit at the door and it really affects everyone around you.

Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist

Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist

Thus the clean and sober tag line?

Yep, I’ve been sober for 13 years, but only working my program the last 4 years, which makes all the difference. It is a super important part of who I am – tattooer, queer, skateboarder, traveler, motorbiker, cyclist, vegetarian, musician, blah blah blah.

Brody Polinsky Queer Clean & Sober

And the queer part?

Most of the gay identified tattooers I know aren’t blatantly out publicly, just by word of mouth. I can understand that apprehension, but for me being visible is important. Realizing that I was still insecure after 13 years being out was humbling, in many other cultures it’s just not possible. Even if you work in cities like San Francisco or Berlin it can negatively impact your career. I started to publish more about my life transparently last summer, it was tricky and have had some disappointing backlash. I felt that if I could reach out to one other human who could identify, that would be worth whatever happened.

Instagram is the current platform that tattooers use to publish their works, so I posted several video clips of me skating. I wrote my insecurities and sincere intentions to challenge others’ boundaries and my own. Initially I felt like I wanted to throw up, and for me that usually means I’ve made the right choice. I have lost a fair amount of public momentum, with some surprising support from other tattooers.

Berlin Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist

I realized that so many other folks can not be out in their chosen working environments which really blew my mind. So, I decided to build a queer tattoo  Instagram, with satellite friends helping curate from thier perspectives. It’s a safe online space for queer clients to see where they can get tattooed called @queertattooers /www.queertattooers.tumblr.com

Tell us about UNIV ERSE

UNIV ERSE is my heart, representing my life, of which was built from scraps essentially. Physically, it was formerly a bubble gum pink spätkauf that we gutted, then arduously brought back to life. As we continue to evolve here and I go forward personally, UNIV ERSE produces more ongoing projects. It is where I feel the most grounded, motivated and grateful.

However you identify and why is up to you, come as you are, everyone is welcome. The normative box we are supposed to fit into keeps most queer folks out of tattoo studios. Unfortunately the most common vibe walking into popular tattoo studio is exclusivity not inclusivity, this is the antithesis of UNIV ERSE.

We often invite close friends for guest spots to keep up the critical new energy exchange. I intend to connect my cultures by drawing a line between them to manifest a radical community.

Trial and error has taught me that my energy works best in a private space where the creative process is more fluid. No one gets the same pattern twice, I often draw in that moment, I know where they want to get tattooed and my partner handles the admin side to keep my head together. Clients arrive, we drink tea, listen to good music, eat something, then we are ready. Each human’s form is sacred.

The ritual of tattooing for me is an intimate exchange  between the client and the tattooer. They put their trust in you, exposing their body to you, a raw human canvas. They’ve come seeking something to permanently change, consciously or subconsciously, it’s an honor for me every time.

Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist

The post Queer Clean & Sober Tattoo Artist appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Spencer Reed Life After Porn

Berlin is a pretty gay city, but it’s still impressive to run into a porn star on the U-Bahn.  Even more impressive when it’s Spencer Reed. 

We caught up with Spencer far from the drama of the porn world to chat about “retirement.”

Originally posted in Bear Riker’s Berlin

Spencer Reed Life After Porn

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Are you officially a “former” porn star?

Yes, I officially shot my last movie in January 2013. I have no plans of making any comebacks. I worked as a gay porn-star for about 6 years and shot well over 300 movies.

How did you get started?

I can’t say that I was ever very shy about getting naked. I was recruited by a bunch of companies all at once after I put a shirtless picture up on my myspace.com profile. I chose the company who made the best offer.

Which was?

Randyblue.com – I was exclusive with them for my first 6 months they were great to work with and treated me very well

What other studios did you work for?

Colt, Titan Men, Hot House, Falcon, Raging Stallion, Lucas Entertainment, Next Door Studios, Jake Cruies, Dominic Ford, Catalina Video, Cockyboys.com, kink.com, men.com, Dragon Media, Eurocreme, All Worlds Video, Jet Set Men, Mustang Studios, Alphamale Media, Cazzo, Stag Homme, Channel 1 Releasing and I’m sure many more, I just can’t think of right now. It’s a very long list

Wow, there was a time when you were in everyone, I mean everything LOL

Yes, you could say both.

What’s the difference between being a porn star and being a leather/kink porn star?

With fetish porn you have to be a bit more creative.  You also need some skill sets and knowledge of what you’re doing. It’s a bit more real and interactive than standard porn. With mainstream porn that is where you get the recognition and the big benefits. It’s good to work on both sides.

How different is the porn persona from the real Spencer Reed (guessing that’s a porn name).

Spencer Reed is actually my real name. I would say the real difference is I’m a very shy and quiet guy. When I was younger I used to be much more crazy and at every party. But these days I’m pretty chilled out and mellow. Most people mistake it for arrogance. But really it’s quite the opposite. Sexually though my persona is real. I’m pretty addicted to sex and a huge pig in bed. I don’t think that will ever change but these days its only with my husband because he’s the best.

We hear tragic stories of former porn stars – but you seem to have left at the top, why?

Well I think a lot of pornstars become addicted to feeling of being wanted and the constant ego boost and find it hard to move on. It’s really sad what seems to become the trend with some of the top pornstars. A lot where good friends. Every model has a shelf life. I was at the top and I did tons of movies. Most models shoot about 1 porn a month I was shooting at least 4 and traveling non stop. I was completely exhausted and felt I would soon be overexposed. So, I chose to move on.

Which brings us to Berlin.  What brings you to Germany?

Originally it was Hustlaball Berlin back in October 2010. Something about Berlin just drew me here and I had to keep coming back to figure it out. I felt right at home in Berlin, I love its edginess and live for its Techno scene. During one of my visits here I met a guy from Frankfurt and we could not be without each other. So, I came to live in Germany with him and we both wanted to make a start at a new life in Berlin. In April we got married and have made a very successful and happy start here in Berlin.

and a new career?

Well not exactly new, but more of an end for one career. I started to DJ almost two years ago now. But when I moved to Berlin I decided it was time to retire from my porn career and just focus on DJing.

Since I see you face about town, I’m guessing it’s going well?

Yes when I moved to Berlin things boomed for me DJ wise. I exploded onto the gay party scene here in Europe. I have landed a couple residencies here in Berlin and in Frankfurt. It’s really crazy how fast things took off. I already had a lot of great contacts and support from other DJs. I was able to get my music in the hands of the right people early on. I have now played all over Europe and as far as Dubai. My next big tour is to Asia in February I am really excited for that.

Do you miss porn?

Not really, porn made me tons of money and was fun in some ways. But it’s hard to build any type of solid foundation for life. You just can’t be a porn star forever. Also porn is a lot more work than people think especially in these big studio productions.

How would you describe your musical style?

I would say I play tech and tribal house. It really depends on the crowd. Some parties I play more high energy vocal music. Others I have a  much more dark, minimal, tech sound.  But I always love lots of percussion in all the music I play.

Do you have a favorite song or two of the moment?

I would say my #1 track right now is “unanswered question” by Ida Engberg and Adam Beyer it’s a super dark and deep but still full of energy. For a more house tune I would go with Icona Pop – I Don’t Care (Submission DJ Mashup).

Do you get recognized on the street in Berlin?

Yeah quite often but I find German guys to be a little more shy about saying anything to me. I usually just get the tweet or Facebook message later on “Omg I saw you in U-bahn today”

What was the strangest experience with a fan?

One time a fan chased me down in Kottbusser Tor wanting to take my picture. I mean this guy had to spot me from 500 m away. He just was really awkward and kept asking if he could take a picture of a scar on my face. He was an American tourist though.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I would really love to be a successful DJ and producer. I’m taking classes in electronic music production so I hope to start making some of my own music. I would also like to work on the promotional side of nightlife and make some parties. I don’t know where I would like to live though as I have moved around a lot. But my husband  and I are quite happy here in Germany.

We like to wrap up our interviews with a few Berlin quickies – ready?

Sure

Favorite eats?

I love all the little Vietnam and Thai restaurants in Berlin. One of my favorite hidden secrets is Schroeder’s near where I live in Wedding. Kuchi is probably my favorite sushi place. Eckstein in Nollendorfplatz is my favorite classic German food.

Favorite club?

Berghain is the best in the world

Favorite Shop?

Hard Wax Records – I spend a lot of money there

Cool, and if our readers want to follow where you are spinning (is that the still the right term?)?

We tend to call it “playing” now there term spinning is a little outdated… You can always check out the events page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/spencer.reed.x.

Spencer Reed Life After Porn

The post Spencer Reed Life After Porn appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Not your Daddy’s Leather Daddy

Recently, I had the change to sit down with Gauge Strongarm.  I’ve know Gauge for awhile now, but when he won the SF Leather Daddy Contest and in his acceptance speech described what the title met to him, I knew there was a story I wanted to share with you.  I asked Gauge last year a Sac Heat if he’d be willing to sit down with us, and he of course replied yes.  Unfortunately, with our crazy schedules that sit down took awhile.

Gauge was born intersexed, he self identified as a male, but his family raised him as a girl.  Gender identity is challenging in the best of circumstances, but to be forced into an identity that conflicts with your own natural self identification, well I’ll let Gauge tell you the rest . . .

What was it like growing up as a female?

I always identified as a male.  I used to hide clothes in my bag to change into when I left the house.

Tell us a little about your background

I was a military brat.  We moved around a lot when I was a kid.  While my parents knew about me being intersexed, I was not told.  I just felt like I was in the wrong body.  At age 11, I was diagnosed with GID – Gender Identity Disorder.

In my teens, I lived in Germany and came out as a Butch Lesbian.  I identied as Queer and the butch lesbian role allowed me to embrace my masculine side.  The Queer Community, particularly the lesbian community, treated me as a male.

At the age of 17, the concept of being transgendered popped into my world.  I began to research everything I could find on the subject – particularly the Harry Benjamin’s Standards of Care for Gender Identity Disorder.  I began to identify what I was struggling with and quickly realized I wanted to transition.  I also had a great therapist at the time that worked with meet and really helped me find my true path.

At the age of 28, I started testosterone and began the transition.  And interesting side effect was that I went bald – so I went straight to Daddy!

Beyond the transition, you’ve done a few other things to your body, eh?

I had my nosed pierced at 13 and got my first tattoo at 14.  As I struggled with my gender identity, I quickly came to realize I didn’t want to be a part of polite society.  Body Modification was a way that I could control how my body looked.

And the leather community?

In the 80’s, I was living in Seattle.  I wanted to embrace and be accepted as a male.  The leather community embraced my maleness and when I played, I played as a male, with one very obvious exception.  Seattle Men of Leather were very inclusive, I finally felt like I belonged.

And the titles?

Billy Lane was the first to win a men’s leather title.  He went on to compete at IML and even placed in the Top 10.  I was in the audience, and it was great.  He was an individual who had transitioned FTM and was now competing for the manliest of titles – Mr International Leather.   And while the crowd knew there was a transgendered contestant, they didn’t know who it was.  It was hysterical listening to them speculate – I think it’s him, look at his hands LOL!

In 1989, I ran for the Seattle leather Boy title.  The following year, the rules were changed to state you had to have a penis to compete.  (Note the leather community has struggled with this – for example – In 2006, the Powerhouse refused to host the LeatherSIR/boy competition due to controversy surrounding the contest’s policy prohibiting transgender men from competing.)

But my friends have always been supportive and welcomed me into the leather community.  BDSM is another way in which I can control my body.  I can choose what I get into.  I feel like I fit into the Leather/BDSM community.

And SF Leather Daddy?

A friend of my suggested I run.  I decided 24 hours before the contest.  I am the 1st FTM to win the Daddy title.  It has been a great experience.  I think it demonstrates the community is moving forward on inclusion and the realization “It’s not all about what is between your legs!”

The post Not your Daddy’s Leather Daddy appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Gay Film Weekend Banned In 1,100 Catholic Owned Cinemas In Italy

The movie, Weekend has been banned from 1,100 cinemas in Italy. The award winning and critically acclaimed gay themed movie, Weekend, directed by Andrew Haigh, has reportedly been banned from a chain of Catholic owned cinemas – a number which reaches 1,100 screens across Italy. What started off as a ban in just ten cinemas […]

The post Gay Film Weekend Banned In 1,100 Catholic Owned Cinemas In Italy appeared first on The Gay UK.

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