Tag: Queer Voices

Queer Voices – Linda Riley

Queer Voices - Linda RileyTrying to write a bio for Linda Riley requires footnotes.  She’s been there and done it all! One of only two British directors of US based LGBT campaign group GLAAD, and a former adviser to the British Labour Party on diversity issues, Linda is also a patron of the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity which helps homeless LGBT youth in the UK, Action Breaks Silence, which empowers women in the developing world to protect themselves against physical and sexual assault and Diversity Role Models a LGBT anti-bullying charity.

A former Stonewall award winner, Linda founded the Alternative Parenting Show, the British LGBT Awards, the Diversity Careers Show, and Opportunities for Women, is the owner and publishes the iconic lesbian title DIVA magazine and LGBT news site Out News Global. She is also the founder and director of the European Diversity Awards and the Australian LGBTI Awards. A new project, the Diversity in Media Awards, launched in June 2017.

A former publisher of g3 magazine, Out in the City and First Time Buyer, Linda collaborates with the UK’s Daily Telegraph, the Guardian (with whom she co-founded the Diversity Hub) and The Economist on various diversity initiatives.

We are pleased and honored she took the time to share some of her insights with us.


You may qualify as the hardest working woman in… Publisher, Events, CoFounder – what drives you?

Because my work is based on promoting the values of equality and inclusion, I’ll never stop being driven by the desire to make the world a better place for those who sit outside the majority. Whether someone is disabled, belongs to an ethnic minority, is LGBT+ or fits any other strand of diversity, nobody’s life chances should be stifled by lack of opportunity brought about by the prejudice of others.

What are you most proud of?

Hard to say, but perhaps two things spring to mind. First, looking at my various diversity initiatives such as the European Diversity Awards, I’m proud that – from a standing start several years ago – we’ve managed to engage with some seriously large organisations who embrace our commitment to D&I. I’m talking about companies like Vodafone, Royal Bank of Scotland, Heathrow Airport, Coca-Cola and others, and when companies like that get involved, it sends out a hugely positive message not just to their staff and customers, but also to society as a whole.

Secondly, I have to talk about the readers of DIVA. Hardly a day goes by when I’m not stopped in the street and told how DIVA has changed someone’s life for the better…young gay or bisexual women who had felt so alone, and in many cases have found DIVA to be a lifeline.

Why is it important to be out at work?

There’s no reason whatsoever not to be yourself because of the prejudices of others. The more of us who are out and proud at work, the more that non-heteronormative lifestyles are considered part of the mainstream rather than – as used to be – a freak show. Nobody should have to pretend to be something they’re not in order to conform to outdated notions of ‘normality’, and every single one of us who is out at work makes life that little bit easier for those who come after us. What’s more, living a lie is not good for our careers or our mental health.

With so many competing interests, how does the LGBTQ come together for equality?

To quote the late Jo Cox MP, there is more that unites than divides us. Of course, different people have different priorities, and different parts of our community have different challenges to face. But at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: equality, fairness, and justice for all.

Did you have a mentor?

I wouldn’t say I have a mentor, but I’m constantly inspired by people I meet. I’m lucky enough to have met top business people, campaigners, and politicians, and words cannot say how much I’ve learned from some incredible individuals.

If you could talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you offer?

Keep going, don’t take no for an answer, and stick to your principles.

Why are LGBTQ awards important?

Until we have achieved equality – not just here in the UK, but overseas where in some countries the death penalty still exists for homosexuality – we must continue to send the message that being LGBT+ is no barrier to success. The more we reinforce this message, the more we will change hearts and minds.

How has being a parent changed you?

I’m not sure if parenthood has changed me, but it certainly gives you a different perspective on life.

What is one thing you would change about Pride celebrations?

This year I was so proud that the Radio DIVA Women’s Stage was in Leicester Square. Let’s hope that, one day, we’ll get pole position in Trafalgar Square. But, other than that, I know the organisers of Pride in London and other Pride events really well. They do an amazing job and it’s not for me to criticise anything!

Where can people learn more about your work and projects?

Go online! Visit divamag.co.uk or www.lindariley.co.uk

Queer Voices – Linda Riley

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Struggling Buddha Gets Real

Struggling Buddha Gets RealRecently, we sat down Kathryn of Struggling Buddha to talk bisexuality (yes, they do exist), medicinal marijuana and school girl fantasies. Along the way, we make sweeping generalizations and will probably offend the more sensitive types.  If you can handle it, read on….

Before we start, can you give me a little background on Struggling Buddha and stuff?

You mean the actual Buddha or my blog?

Your blog, I am familiar with Buddha LOL

The tagline is “Finding Happiness in a Shitty World.” Basically, I started noticing how angry I was all the time and also noticed how angry everyone else seemed to be as well. I spent 16 years riding MUNI in SF. If you ever wanna see the worst of humanity, I recommend riding MUNI — you see the worst of humanity on those tin shitboxes. Everyone is so palpably angry.

So I started trying to figure out why I was so angry and how I could combat that rage. And I started writing about that struggle.

When did you begin?

Three? Maybe four years ago?

And are you happier?

Ha! Good question! Yes and no. I have learned to control my rage better.

I have learned to live more in the immediate moment and not to get butthurt about things that I have no control over or things that don’t matter. But, I’ve also trained myself to have more empathy, which I love, but it’s been heartbreaking.

Once you start seeing and hearing all of the injustice and unfairness in life and really feeling those things, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed.

So how do you cope?

I smoke a lot of weed.

Hmmm, Sessions might not like that. Medicinal of course

That sounds flippant, but I’m partly serious. I started this journey in part because I developed chronic neuropathy in my feet, and I was so angry and “why me?” about it.

And when I started smoking weed for the pain, I couldn’t help but notice it also put me in a better mood.

Yea, so I’ve heard. The weed part, not you personally.

I’ve become a huge advocate for medical marijuana. Which is funny since my boyfriend in college was pretty much the campus weed dealer. I just never really liked it that much. Not my drug of choice. I also meditate, though that’s a struggle for me too.

Well, things have obviously changed a tad since college.

Ha! Yes, the weed is better and so is my choice in partners.

Struggling BuddhaWhat do you want to accomplish with Struggling Buddha?

I guess it’s just to encourage people to get outside of their own heads for a while. The things that make us angry tend to be so petty and small. It’s very American–to let your entire day be ruined because your barista didn’t make your coffee correctly or someone stole your parking space. These aren’t real problems; they’re problems you have when you’ve become accustomed to being comfortable all of the time and therefore become entitled.

I push the concept of empathy a lot. As sad as it makes me sometimes, it’s one of the things I feel like makes you a better person. It gets you out of your entrenched life and worldview. It opens your mind and heart.

It makes you a more compassionate human, and right now, the world needs all of the compassionate people it can get.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still be a total bitchface, but it’s more like now I’ll judge you for your poor taste in shoes or hairstyles, but not because you’re homeless.

Speaking of worldviews, you’ve been known to have an opinion or two.  Wanna play a game with me?

Of course

Atta girl!  I throw out some concepts, you respond.

Go!

How long would you survive in Walking Dead?

I used to think I was scrappy enough to survive for a while, but the other night I spent 10 minutes tearing the kitchen apart looking for a foil cutter so I could open a bottle of wine and thought “I’m so fucked.”

I hate nature and guns and being without so.

Fuck, Marry, Kill – Elizabeth Warren, Hillary, Kamala Harris?

Hmmmm…marry Liz. I love her. Fuck Kamala because she’s pretty hot. I guess I’d have to kill Hill, but I bear her no ill will. That woman worked her ass off. But I would definitely sign up to be the white meat in the middle of a Barack and Michelle sandwich.

Transgender Bathroom Bills?

Honestly, it’s just more stupid GOP shit to get people riled up so they’re not paying attention to the real evils. And more GOP congressmen have been arrested for lewd acts in bathrooms than trans folks have so let’s start with old, gross white dudes.

Who would play you in the Lifetime version?

Queen Latifah. As my wife says, I am really a sassy black woman inside

We hear your wife drinks a lot of beer, did you drive her to it? (Actually, Melissa is a friend of ours and runs The Good Hop – A Craft Beer Store in Oakland – here’s her story)

No, she started that journey before I was on the scene. I can report that she started eating meat around the time we started dating, which was a relief to me. For our honeymoon, we went to Hill Country in Texas and ate at 8 BBQ joints in 7 days.

She does probably drink a lot more bourbon than she used too, though, That’s my fault.

Home Depot or Loews?

Is this some trick lesbian question? If you need me, I’ll be at whatever bar is closest to either one of those places while my wife shops for O-rings and whatnot. O-rings…that sounds dirty.

Well I’m bisexual, so I let my butch wife handle all the home improvement stuff

Of course, it’s a trick lesbian question you could lose your card if you answer wrong.

What is the girliest thing in your closet?

Hmmm…I do have a little sexy plaid skirt. For those schoolgirl fantasies…

I wasn’t thinking the same thing

Also, I have a big pink vibrator in there. Is that girlie? I don’t know.

It’s girlie unless it has a kick stand, then that’s just fucking butch!

Speaking of bisexuals, do they really exist? If so, why doesn’t every gay man believe it? As in “He says he’s bi, but oh please….”

I used to think they didn’t really exist, especially in men. I used to think bi men were really just gays waiting to come out. In society, it’s easier for men to ease into it by saying they still like women. For me, though, I think I’m more suited to be in a relationship with a woman, but I like sleeping with men a little better. Just a personal preference

Truth be told, I really miss giving blow jobs.

I don’t know if you can put that part in your story but it’s true

Depends if what you think Melissa would think of that comment – your call. We don’t mess with domestic bliss.

Melissa’s very cool about my man fetish in that she encourages me to look as much as I want. I definitely have a type, and if she sees a guy who is my type, she’ll point him out for me to ogle

And she likes to watch me flirt with boys

But no touching. I like being in a relationship with a woman, though. My personality is such that I require some handling. I don’t think men are strong enough for me.

I don’t care where you get hungry as long as you come home for dinner

HA! exactly!

I have a good friend Pat who came out quite late in life, I always used to tell her – you’re the man I always wanted to be

What a great compliment!

Then she’d punch me and she hadn’t come out yet.  Who woulda thunk?

I think it’s much more common for women to decide to be with a woman later in life. Society doesn’t poo-poo two women together like they do men. And women, in general, tend to be more open-minded and willing to try something new, as it were.

I think men are more physical and visual thus they see the world in black or white – you either like one or the other.  Women are more fluid.  Since these are sweeping generalizations, there bound to piss someone off and we’ll get comments.

Obviously, yes, we’re both generalizing

I just wish we could learn how to be kinder to one another and accept our differences without all the fear and hatred. I think people need to spend more time working on themselves to achieve this. We spend all this time and money at the gym because we want healthier bodies then neglect our minds.

I mean, understanding yourself and your insignificant place in the universe is healthy.

You’ve been tapping the pipe for that one

Always.

I dunno, a while back I noticed that because of my smart phone and all the access it provides to stupid distractions, I no longer just sit with myself and think about things anymore.

Isn’t that what the bourbon is for?

I think it’s important to sit quietly and let your mind think about shit–even the unpleasant shit. That’s from whence creativity and innovations spring.

Give my best to the Mrs and keep tokin’ for medicinal reasons of course!

Will do!

Thanks for your time, it was a pleasure. I may have to go dig out my plaid school girl uniform LOL

Oh yes, break out that skirt, gurl!

Struggling Buddha Gets Real

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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.

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.

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

2012_Spencer_Reed_DJ_008-819x1024

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.

Queer Voices Berlin Transgression

Berlin Transgression is a collection of untold stories of lovelorn queens of Berlin fighting to tear down a new, invisible wall which is the basis of our isolation.

The film documents how the transvestite, transgender and transsexual artists struggle between two genders, two identities, two lives. It sheds light on the life of the artists who perform mainly at gay bars and fetish clubs. We followed our main characters not only to back-stage but also to their homes where they opened up their hearts about their deepest dreams and desires. Directed by Joel Lei, Yuki Terada

Queer Voices Berlin Transgression

Queer Voices Berlin Transgression

Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Yuki to talk about the film and its KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN.

Can you tell us a little bit of your background?

I was born and raised in Japan and Joel is from China. I am a researcher but always dreamt of making a documentary film. I believe the documentary format provides one of the best ways to explore human stories. I met Joel at the University of Tokyo and we happened to travel to Berlin at the same time. We shared a passion for film, and started the Berlin Transgression documentary project.

Why does this story need to be told?

We believe that after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 there has not been a comprehensive and honest portrait of this group of struggling queer artists in Berlin. By hearing the stories told by these artists we gain a valuable insight into the LGBTQ community not only of Berlin but all over the world. 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 2014 when our filming starts, Berlin is a haven for striving young artists and also a symbolic place for the freedom of action.

Berlin’s nightlife is famous for being mind-blowing, diverse, and shockingly open, as if without boundary. Berlin Transgression documents this, but also questions if this image of an un-walled, un-divided and undiscriminating sanctuary is the reality for our cast.

We aim to bring a better understanding of the LGBTQ community from both inside and outside. Berlin Transgression hopes to contribute to breaking down barriers between the queer community and the “outside world.” One of our goals is to increase the overall visibility of the queer community. To serve this end, we included different voices of the community: drag queens, drag kings, “tunten,” as well as transsexual and transgender artists currently active in Berlin. We learn about what it means to be in a community, and what work there is still to do. We learn about a new Berlin wall, one that is becoming the basis of our isolation and individuality.

What led you to Berlin Transgression?

In November 2014 I heard the news that Detox Icunt from RuPaul’s drag race was performing in Berlin, so I invited Joel to go with me because I knew it was going to be great. I’d been to drag shows several times before making this film, but this was my first time going to a show in Berlin. We met local drag queens and a drag king there and everything evolved naturally afterwards. The more we hear their stories, the more we feel the urge to capture and tell their stories to the world. So we quickly assembled an international team (including German cinematographer Jakob Seemann and Estonian photographer Reelika Ramot) and endeavoured to discover more about the community. Our characters not only opened a new world to us, but they also opened their hearts to us. The intimate moments we captured are an essential element in our film.

How were you received by the community? Were you considered outsiders?

First of all, Joel and I are both East Asian and female so we kind of stood out in gay bars. I think it was easy for people there to remember us. But I was so surprised by how welcoming the community in Berlin was and how diverse it is. Societies in general have a tendency to build a wall against the LGBT community (or for that matter any community that is considered “minority” or “different”) but the LGBT community itself is very inclusive. I hope that our film will be able to contribute to the idea that no one should be categorised as “outsiders”. We all share the desire to love and to be loved, while being accepted for who we are.

And what made you choose this element of the community to share their stories?

The communal aspect is, Joel and I believe, something everyone should pay more attention to. Nowadays, we live in a society which is too individualistic and profit driven, and it’s easy to forget how to listen to each other and support each other. Drag queens and queer artists in Berlin taught us friends can build a family together and overcome difficulties. In RuPaul’s words, “We as gay people, we get to choose our family. We get to choose the people that we’re around.”

With over 100 hours filmed, how do you edit that down to a 90 minute film?

We will have several chapters highlighting the issues of identity, community, and the characters dreams and desires. We followed about seven main characters. Some of them are gay and some of them are transsexuals living as females. Their individual stories have connections to each other, so we will edit the footage accordingly. The unique history of Berlin will also be shown. We interviewed drag queens who have been in the scene for several decades or more.

What surprised you most about your subjects?

Their openness, and the fact that they are vulnerable yet strong. While it is so common nowadays that people “edit” their lives and only show “perfection” on social media, the artists we followed were not afraid to share their stories of struggle and rejection. One of them said she has a “big shadow” over her life. It made me think that their true star on the stage might come from these inner reflections.

Their attitude towards life is very courageous. Those artists, even through difficult situations, never stopped communicating with the outside world. In fact, they are delivering important messages that I think everyone can relate to.

Do you remain in contact with any of them?

Absolutely! The first place Joel and I will go when we go back to Berlin will be the local gay bars where our characters perform.

Did you have a favorite hang out?  I recognize Hamburger Mary’s in your clips.

I loved all the locations as each one has different and unique aspects, but I am particularly fond of Lieblingsbar close to Nollendorfplatz, where Erna Pachulke hosts The Mitternachts-Show every Saturday. The show has a very intimate feeling. Erna also works at the bar during weekdays. It is the place where I can always drop by and talk to someone.

The bars where they perform are not one of those extravagantly designed theaters or music halls that middle-classed families frequent. They are small local gay bars, whose regular customers also have a 9-to-5 job. In the film, we follow our characters to their workplace, where they go every day to survive, as well as to the local gay bars, where, after a nine-hour working day, they live.

What’s it going to take to finish the film? Tell us about your fund raising effort.

We will be working with professional editors and musicians to show their performances and valuable moments at the highest quality. It is very important for us to reach our goal in the Kickstarter campaign (which runs until 17th March) as we feel it is our responsibility to bring the untold stories to a worldwide audience.

Our project has been featured in many different languages (Japan & China too), so we are expecting a worldwide audience. Backers with 25+ euro will get to see the film online once our post production is done as part of the rewards they get.

How much are you trying to raise?

Our goal is 10K Euro, including a fund for submitting the film to festivals. Visibility is the key and we believe that this film can help increase the visibility of those artists featured.

How will my support make a difference?

Since November 2014, the whole crew has been working on a voluntary basis. Thanks to the kind support of Camelot and our production company, BIGCOUNTRY.BERLIN, we managed to finish the production process with a very low budget. In this process more than 100 hours of footage has been captured. We will need your support to help us turn all this footage into a 90min long documentary which can help us bring our message to the world: “Let’s tear down the wall between us.”

With your support, our post-production crew will be able to work intensely in March and April. If everything goes smoothly, the film will be completed by August 2016!!!  Be a part of this amazing journey, and make Berlin Transgression happen!!!

Queer Voices Berlin Transgression

The post Queer Voices Berlin Transgression appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

A New Start – Ray’s Story

Recently, we were contacted by Ray. Ray is transgender and living in a small town.  He is reaching out in hopes of a little help to start a new life. Ray recently met a woman, but unfortunately she moved away to attend school.  He is looking to crowdfund some money to cover the costs of moving and to start over.

If you are moved by his story, here’s how you can help http://www.gofundme.com/10u85y0

A New Start  – Ray’s Story

A New Start  - Ray's Story

 

Hi! If you’ve taken the time to check this out, then I should at least explain to you why you’re here! So, if you’ll give me a few minutes of your time, hopefully my story will inspire and move you.

My name’s Ray. I currently live in Ohio, in a small town called “Medina”… It’s, conservative, to say the least… I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve seen life, I’ve seen death, I’ve seen good and I’ve seen bad, right here in Medina. For the last 30 years, I’ve lived very sheltered here. Medina isn’t what I would call a very LGBT friendly community… So for most of my life, I hid in the “closet of gay shame” in the hopes to fit in. Sadly, living in that closet somehow numbed me to the world. I waited until I was 18 to come out as a lesbian… And waited until I was 28 to come out as Transgender… Living in Medina as a transguy… Is a struggle to say the least!

For the last two decades, my life has been one chaotic storm after another. I’ve been down more than I’ve ever been up. I became numb to most feelings and emotions because with my luck, everything that I had ever had an emotion to or for, was always taken from me. I witnessed my first dead body at the age of 6… And I witnessed my last one just shy of four days ago… I’ve had more loss than I could ever begin to explain. With all the loss I’ve had, I decided to refrain from loving anyone. I rarely said it, rarely felt it and often ran from it… And then in 2008 I fell ill… And for four years, I was in my room… Dying. Slowly, painfully and alone. Randomly going blind and being trapped in my room for hours before anyone found me. I threw up nearly 10 times a day for four years. I lived on my bathroom floor most days. I spent day after day in the ICU waiting to die… I had nothing to fight for… I felt alone. I felt weak. I felt… Nothing… And then I met her!

I wasn’t whole until I met her. There was always this place inside of me that needed something. Something to make me complete. Something that was missing. Though, I had no idea what. So, I searched for it. Through all the open doors and open windows that I claimed, through the ditches I drug myself through, through the guilt and shame I placed on myself, that hole got bigger and I started losing more pieces of me. I was trapped in my own mind and in my own body. I felt nothing, all the time. No emotions, no feelings, nothing… Until the day she stepped off that porch and into my life. She was late for our first date because she went in search of a sweater that didn’t have any cat hair on it… She worried that I would be allergic to her, I wasn’t. We then spent the next 6 hours sitting and insulting each other inside a chipotle. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop chewing on my cup lid. Every time she smiled at me, I felt it from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head… She filled me with things I hadn’t felt in a long time. She filled me with things I had never felt before. Being with her was like going to a place I had never gone before. Being around her felt like everything in my life led me to that moment. I was supposed to be right there, right then… And now I know… I fell in love with that women the moment I saw her. The first time we hugged, the first time she kissed me, the first time I fell asleep with her wrapped in my arms… Will be the greatest moments I will ever experience. When I met her, I wasn’t whole… When she fell in love with me, I felt the place inside of me that was empty, disappear. She loved me so wonderfully and so amazingly that she put together all the pieces that make me, me… She hugged me tight enough to put all my broken pieces back together… She was my missing piece. She came into my life like a hurricane. Destroying all the walls I had put around me to keep everyone out. She tore them down… But instead of leaving me vulnerable and weak, she stepped inside of my life and rebuilt the walls around us. She built them with her on the inside, with me. She rebuilt everything that I was… And there we stood… Together… Behind these new walls… She is my lieutenant. My world. My grace and my light. This is where I belong. She is where I belong. Being with her, feels like I’m finally home. She feels like home. She is my home. All that I was, all that I am, all that I ever will be… Is hers.

Sadly, I lost her too… Not to death… But to another city. She moved away last week to try and better her life with college and schooling… I support her choice, but I miss her. I support her choice, but I’m falling apart without her. I can’t handle losing anything else in my life. I can’t handle feeling useless in a world where she exists. I need to be near her. I need to be with her. After all the good I have put into this world, after all the loss I have endured, after all the sadness I spent nearly three decades feeling, I deserve her. I deserve us.

So, I’m swallowing every ounce of my pride… And I’m asking complete strangers to help me. I’m asking my friends to help me. I’m asking anyone who knows what real love is… To help me.

I am in need of moving money. Money to help me get to where she is. Money to help get me to her… Money to help me have a place to live, though at this point I’m not opposed to living in my car, and money to help me with essentials until I find a job…

I know that there are greater causes in the world. I know that there are greater needs in the world… But to me, loving her is the greatest cause in my life… I don’t exist without her… So I’m asking you, all of you, if you have ever loved anyone this much… Please do what you can to help me. Whether it be pass this along, or donate… Anything you can do to help… I will greatly appreciate it.

Thank you all for taking this time to read my story!! All my love to you guys!!

The post A New Start – Ray’s Story appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

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