What Is A Drag Queen?

We are excited to present this guest blog by John Blischak of Blischak Law, a criminal defense law firm in Phoenix, Arizona.

People are judgmental, and we often strive to conform to a rather strict set of social standards that few can truly achieve with perfection. If you’re a man, you’re expected to stand up for yourself. You can be aggressive and violent, but only if you’re playing a contact sport. You grow up given trucks and dinosaurs to play with, but don’t even think about touching that barbie doll. If you’re a man, you’re not allowed to cry. You’re not allowed to cuddle with another man. And you’re certainly not allowed to dress up like a woman. Cross-dressing is most definitely frowned upon, but gay men have found a way to take it to the extreme. And that extreme is one of the greatest things in the world: the drag queen.

But what is a drag queen exactly?

Most drag queens are men. They dress up like women (like, really really well), and they exaggerate the feminine qualities of women (also really well). They might do this for fashion or they might do it for entertainment, it’s their personal choice. A drag show often consists of a performer telling jokes, singing, dancing, and lip-syncing. No matter what the reason, drag queens have become an important and major part of gay culture. It should be noted that while many drag queens are gay, and the drag queen is most definitely a strong gay symbol, not all those who perform as drag queens are gay. A drag “king” is a woman who dresses up as a man.

There are a number of myths that arise because of the nature of this phenomenon. Naturally, most of them arise from the mouths of perpetually dumb straight people.

One common myth is that drag queens have an intrinsic desire to be women. Sure, some drag queens are transgender, but then again some drag queens are straight. People dress up because it’s fun. It’s a different kind of fun to dress up like another person and experience life in a different way. But more than that, dressing up in drag is an art form. It doesn’t make those who choose to do it less masculine or less manly than anyone else. It just means they like participating in a different form of entertainment or art than a lot of the psychologically-conditioned people outside of the gay community could possibly understand.

There are different kinds of drag queens as well. Not all men shave, and not all drag queens shave either. This phenomenon is often called “bear” or “skag” drag. Because drag is an art form, it is up to the individual to decide how he or she wants to present the art!

Many people are unfamiliar with the concept of drag or what it really entails, but the best way to enlighten yourself is to befriend someone who does it, ask questions, and have fun! 

What is a “Bear” in Gay Culture?

It seems like the “dude” side of gay culture always gets the most attention; women are excluded from all the fun. On the male side of the gay community, various physical types are categorized, each with its own distinct name. A twink, for example, is a younger guy with boyish good looks. One step below a bear is an otter. These are slightly hairy guys who might not be quite as big as their counterparts. What exactly is a “bear” in gay culture?

Bears are usually on the bigger side. They aren’t necessarily obese or overweight, but they bring some bulk to the table. They might not be muscular, but when you imagine a bear you imagine the picture of masculinity. They might not portray the same rugged disposition in person as they do when in a picture frame, and so a photograph of a bear might not do them justice. Before the term was popularized, it was used for any hairy gay man. The term has continued to evolve.

Bear Magazine brought the term into the mainstream, and gay culture has used it ever since. Even today, however, there is a lot of debate surrounding exactly what a bear is. The fact that so many other names (twink and otter included) have developed over the decades has led to confusion even within the gay community, as not everyone knows them all.

Within gay culture, there is a much more elaborate bear community. Because there are now so many different types of bears, some feel discriminated against. During some events, chubbier guys are excluded so that more muscular bears may participate. This causes a lot of criticism from both inside and outside of the gay community, as discrimination of those who don’t fit one person’s standards has become a lot more pervasive. Considering the common struggles of the gay community as a whole, it doesn’t seem to make sense that there is so much in-fighting and rampant discrimination within the community itself.

More controversy has developed because of the focus on physical features, but that same criticism surrounds the entire gay community and its subdivisions, as most all of them focus on the same type of similarities or differences.

Other subdivisions of the bear in gay culture include the cub, or a younger bear. The chub is more likely to be overweight or obese. A panda is an Asian bear. A polar bear is an older man who has experienced hair color loss. An ursula refers to a female bear. Although criticism of these divisions is common, popular culture continues to take note of this tiny detail of gay culture.

Brazil Tries To “Cure” Homosexuality With Conversion Therapy

Everything we know about the mind and body confirms one simple fact: falling in love with the same sex does not constitute an illness or disease. Yet there are many cultures around the world that still choose to define it as such, in spite of everything the greatest minds have already proven to be true. One judge in Brazil has taken a step into very extreme and very dangerous territory, approving “conversion therapy” after ruling that homosexuality is a disease. How this is still up to a judicial branch and not medical practitioners is beyond reason, but there it is.

Federal Brazilian Judge Waldemar de Carvalho made the decision, and there was a near-immediate uproar by gay rights activists worldwide. Carvalho chose to listen to an evangelical psychologist–Rozangela Justino–who believes conversion therapy is a tried and true way to get rid of the gay.

What is conversion therapy, exactly?

Well it’s sort of a catch-all phrase for government-backed bullying, if nothing else. The therapy ranges from lobotomizing the “patient” with an ice pick to chemical castration to electrically shocking the genitals. Others prefer a more crude means of treatment, as sometimes simple beatings will suffice. Many times conversion therapy results in permanent physical damage or death, and of course the psychological damage can be just as bad.

Then again, that seems to be the point. Those who believe the therapy works know that it’s possible to condition an animal (humans included) to enact a certain behavior through means of psychological reinforcement. If you want to condition a dog not to defecate indoors, for example, then you might raise your voice when catching it in the act, and then lead it outdoors to finish its business there. You might reward proper behavior with a treat. Do this enough times, and sooner or later the behavior you want to reinforce will be a matter of habit.

The problem is, being gay isn’t a behavior. Who you fall in love with may govern certain other behaviors that generally play out behind closed doors, but feelings are just that–feelings. They aren’t behaviors, and so they can’t be conditioned into whatever you want them to be through brutality or any other kind of barbaric psychological reinforcement. Conversion therapy does not work, and we already know that. You might push someone into a couple years of pretending (or suicide), but that’s it.

Why do people still advocate for the administration of this therapy in government and certain social circles? That’s a lot more simple: because conservative members of some religions believe that homosexuality is a sin. Openly gay members of government, real psychologists (not the ones who dabble in pseudoscience), actors and pop stars have all banded together to say that this advocation of conversion therapy is a major blow to equal rights, and without a doubt a step backwards.

You can’t “cure” homosexuality, no matter how much you might hate it. It’s time for our societies to grow up a little and stop squandering precious resources on the things that matter the least.

Who is TV Producer Jamie Babbit?

Jamie Babbit is a role model to many aspiring actors, directors and producers in the film industry where she has worked for over two decades. She is known for the films she has directed, included The Quiet and Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and also the TV shows Gilmore Girls, United States of Tara, Malcolm in the Middle, and more. She is openly gay and has two children with a former partner. She lives with her wife, and is still involved in the film industry.

Many of the productions she has worked on focus on relatable family issues with a fair bit of dark comedy thrown in for good measure.

She started acting at the young age of seven, enjoying humble beginnings at the Cleveland Play House before she transitioning to more technical aspects of production such as lighting and stage management. She always yearned to stay in the field, but she remained pragmatic while in college, first studying West African history before she graduated at Barnard College in 1993. She went on to study film at NYU–but only during summer vacation.

Like many of the biggest names in Hollywood, Babbit started at the bottom of the totem pole and quickly climbed upwards. She was first the assistant of an assistant to Martin Scorsese, then an intern for The Secret of Roan Inish. She finally made a jump to script supervisor when The Journey of August King was being filmed. She only got the job by lying through her teeth, and according to her she was grossly unqualified for the position. She learned fast, and continued onto similar jobs in the greater New York area.

Her goal was direction, and she made it happen in 1996 when she co-directed Frog Crossing with Ari Gold. Her next job was Sleeping Beauties in 1999. That was the same year that she directed the feature film But I’m a Cheerleader, making the gap between finishing education and her first feature a respectably short six years.

During her time in the film industry, Babbit hasn’t shied away from complex issues. In addition to the aforementioned shows, she also worked on Dirty Sexy Money, Drop Dead Diva, Looking, and the L Word.

Although she hopes to continue to make respectable feature-length films, she enjoys television and will continue to work in that field in the future. In doing so, she can spend more time with actors and enjoy a break from the added responsibility and pressures of directing feature films even as she conceives new ideas for the latter. She currently lives in Los Angeles at the age of 46.

Who is TV Actress Michelle Bonilla?

Michelle Bonilla is a gay latina actress who paved her own way through Hollywood over the years, but as difficult as that road has been she believes that it’s a lot worse for the men who are more often discriminated against for their race or sexual orientation. Even so, she felt her fair share of pushback due to a completely open portrayal of her own sexual orientation, and she believes that it is important to make sure fewer people experience that in the future. She avoids roles of the traditionally stereotyped latina, and she advises those trying to make it in the industry to go your own way and fight for what you want regardless of who tells you it’s impossible or that you don’t have what it takes.

When Bonilla made a short film with a deeply personal meaning for her peers (and herself), it was widely accepted by everyone in the industry–except her own newly hired agent. It was her own short from the get-go, and it was subsequently reviewed favorably by the critics after making it into several film festivals. It even won awards. Yet she still got criticized for the “type” of gay character she portrayed. The film about a gay relationship was autobiographical. To her, the criticism might have stung, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter because it was real. She found its creation fulfilling, and that’s the only thing that should matter to those who seek to create good art and make sure that the people who want to experience it are able to do so.

Bonilla briefly studied at California State University in Northridge, where aspiring actors train the same way. She received Stanislavsky training, and it wasn’t her cup of tea. Eventually, she found an alternative style in the Meisner technique, and it worked wonders for her creative spirit.

Because of the way latina individuals are often typecast to fit the mold of a particular stereotype, she has often turned down roles that don’t fit with her perception of her own community. After all, if those roles are the only ones people ever see, then that’s the way the rest of the world will see the latina community.

Bonilla is best known for her time on ER, where she sporadically played an ambulance worker in 58 episodes over the course of a decade, starting in 1999. She caught the acting bug early on at age ten before studying music, dance, and theater. Interestingly, she finds that better roles are coming her way now that she’s getting older. She continues to learn every day.

History of Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner is a transgendered television personality and former Olympic gold medalist. Born William Bruce Jenner in the year of 1949, Caitlyn’s journey has been highly publicized throughout the years.

In 1972, Caitlyn, then known as Bruce, began competing in the men’s decathlon events of the Olympics. Around this time, Bruce entered into the first marriage to girlfriend Chrystie Crownover. Chrystie provided the majority of the family’s income by working as a flight attendant, while Bruce trained during the day and sold insurance by night.

Training ended in Olympic success for Jenner. In the years that followed, Bruce won many events and was inducted into many different halls of fame. During this time, however, Olympic athletes were not paid as they are now. They were not allowed to seek or receive payment as sports celebrities. So instead, Bruce sought to earn from his celebrity in a different way. This was accomplished by being a spokesperson for a variety of different products and even appearing on the cover of magazines like Sports Illustrated.

Bruce eventually moved on to starting a television, motorsports, and business career. Prior to her public gender transition, Bruce was married to three different women which produced a total of six children. Her most famous marriage was to Kris Kardashian, mother of Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, as well as son Robert. Together they had Kendall and Kylie.

Bruce and Jenner divorced in 2015, the same year that Bruce formerly came out as Caitlyn. She discussed how she had dealt with gender dysphoria since her youth and would often dress up as a female. She even engaged in hormone replacement therapy until her relationship with Kris Jenner became more serious and they decided to marry.

Caitlyn has undergone cosmetic surgery, and in January of 2017, she received sex reassignment surgery. While Caitlyn has transitioned, she states that she has never experienced an attraction to men. Rather, she always found herself to be sexually attracted to females. As she does not believe gender identity and sexual orientation need to go hand-in-hand, she has decided to identify as asexual for the time being.

In conclusion, Caitlyn Jenner has lived a very rich and fulfilling life. She has also bravely let her transition be publically documented, opening up the way for others to feel free to transition themselves.

Finding the Best Gender Studies Colleges for Your Educational Needs

Over the past few decades, there has been an increased awareness and conversation about the differences between genders, including how genetics and society influence the LGBT community. In fact, there has been so much research into this aspect of humanity that you can now get a degree in the subject. Whether you want to do this or take a few meaningful courses to enhance your understanding of e world, finding the best colleges with this type of subject matter will make the most of your efforts.

The first thing that you will need to consider when choosing a college is location. Are you planning to stay in state or is relocation possible for you? Are there any restrictions regarding where you would be willing to move, such as wanting to stay in the same region of the country or avoiding certain extreme weather patterns? Once you have a general idea of where you can live and go to school, you can begin to research what colleges and universities are in that region.

You might discover that there are smaller educational institutions that you were not aware of that will provide an excellent addition to your education. While you might be aware of the main state universities and the colleges in your part of the state, a private school on the other side of the state could have the curriculum that you desire while keeping you with in state tuition fees. This can be very beneficial.

You will want to find reviews from graduates about their experiences. The internet has some websites available where you can read about the professors and courses at various institutions. Because these are left by former students, you will need to realize that feedback will likely be incomplete and may be skewed based on the reviewers experience. For instance, someone with poor study habits might berate an instructor for grading assignments with low marks. However, this is the fault of the student, not the teacher. On the other hand, if you see multiple students complain about harsh grading, it could be an issue.

Focus on gender studies students and graduates so that you will know what to expect. If possible, talk to people at the school, and visit if you can. This way, you will be able to choose the one that has the right courses and vibe for you!

Tips for Finding the Best Online LGBT Resources

While there are some cities, like New York City, with active LGBT communities who boast about their activities on every street corner, most folks do not enjoy such luxuries in their city. Fortunately, the internet has expanded the world for many folks who were previously more isolated, including the LGBT community. Today, there are amazing resources, including dating sites exclusively for the community to take advantage of available on the web.

The specific types of things you will want to look for depending on various factors, including your age and your interests. As an example, a 20-something trans female moving to a new place on the other side of the country will be seeking different resources than a gay couple with three kids. However, there are many resources that are useful for virtually everyone, including family and friends who want to show their support.

When seeking online resources, it is important that you verify the legitimacy of a site before you put too much stock in the information it contains. You want to avoid sites with hate content or that are otherwise not LGBT-friendly once you actually read the content. Fortunately, you can find directories and other ways to connect to legitimate sites from trusted businesses and companies. However, you should realize that ads and other off-site links will take you to content beyond the control of the site you are leaving.

In order to make a worthwhile search query, you will need to determine if the return should be geo-specific. For instance, if you are looking for a pride parade near you on your next vacation, you will need to narrow the parameters to that part of the country as well as the appropriate time frame. Alternatively, if you are looking for resources you will use exclusively via the web, you will not have those geo-restrictions.

You should also investigate other restrictions and suggestions to use the sites that you find. For instance, you might find support groups for LGBT folks who have been homeless or experienced other circumstances.

Talk to people that you know and join groups to learn more resources and support systems that you can use. Make sure to balance good sensibilities with sharing your own history when communicating in any online forum, whether for the LGBT community or not. Along with other smart use, the internet can be an invaluable resource for connecting with others and finding information.

Who Actually Started the LGBT Movement?

It was the avocado.

If you are interested in learning more about the LGBT community, either because you are a member or because you have a loved one who is, you will want to start at the beginning. Finding out about the origins of the movement will not only allow you to be an informed conversationalist, it will provide you with a greater appreciation for those who have helped to make a growing acceptance possible.

First of all, it is important to realize that there have been LGBT people throughout history. In some societies, this has been accepted at certain times while others have engaged in more reserved opinions. The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have restrictions regarding sexuality and sexual orientation, which has created problems for folks in many different countries over the course of time. With penalties often as severe as death, the societal restrictions associated with religion-dominated countries has created undue hardship for countless LGBT people.

In the United States, the original settlers were often associated with these types of thinking, and many of the laws were designed to reflect this rigid state of mind. In fact, there are even some laws on the books outlawing certain heterosexual acts as well. However, these laws are not enforced anymore and the illegality of homosexuality has all but disappeared. While a few backward-thinking people still want to restrict rights in their neck of the woods, that is by far the minority of people in the country today.

Fifty, and even twenty years ago, there were severe societal penalties associated with coming out of the closet. This could include lost job opportunities, friendships and even being shunned by family members who felt ashamed. However, that has been changing. While celebrities were the first to be lauded by the media for opening up, everyday folks were soon to follow.

There have been several people involved in the LGBT movement. The HIV and AIDS epidemic of the 1990’s helped to bring the conversation about homosexuality to the forefront as citizens in cities across the world were dying in droves from the untreatable condition.

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s also played a part in bringing sexual conversations out in the open instead of hidden secrets that nobody wanted to talk about.

Today, the government has made strides in protecting all people from hate crimes and injustice thanks to the pioneers in the LGBT movement and others who have taken up their cause.

The Differences Between Gender Queer and Gender Fluid

There are a lot of ways to identify when it comes to sexuality and gender. When it comes to gender identity, two of these identifications are “gender queer” and “gender fluid”. In this article, we will talk about the differences between both.

Gender Queer

The first term we will discuss is “Gender Queer.” This is an umbrella term for individuals who do not choose to identify as one gender or the other. For example, someone who is gender queer may say at any given time that they are neither male or female, or both male and female. Some individuals identifying as gender queer may simply use the term as their stand-alone gender identity. Others may simply say that they are “other-gendered.”

Gender Fluid

The second term that some may use to express their gender identity is “Gender Fluid.” This is similar to being gender queer, but there are some differences. Where a gender queer individual chooses not to label themselves with one gender or the other, a gender fluid individual may consider themselves to be a mix between both male and female. For example, someone who is gender fluid may feel as if they are more masculine one day, therefore considering themselves male, and then more feminine the next, therefore calling themselves a female. The way a gender fluid person would consider themselves when it comes to gender identity has nothing to do with their genitalia.

It is worth mentioning that gender identity encompasses how a person feels. Physical presentation and sexual orientation are other factors altogether. For example, an individual who identifies as gender queer could have either set of genitalia, but feel that they physically presented themselves in the opposite gender, therefore feeling more masculine or feminine. However, this doesn’t mean that this could impact how they chose to identify when it comes to gender.

An individual who felt female one day and masculine the next day (therefore being gender fluid) would still have the same sexual orientation from one day to the next. Sexual orientation is considered to be “enduring.” This means that no matter how the individual identified gender-wise, they would still feel a sexual attraction to one gender, the other, or both at all times.

In conclusion, these terms help to clear any confusion others would have when it comes to how a person identifies. You by no means have to label yourself. Remember that you are a unique person no matter what your preference is when it comes to gender identity. And remember your friends might call you the wrong thing and make several accidents, but that’s OK. Just know that they support you!