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We’re getting our first openly gay Black congressmen — two of them.

Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year.

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There were a few elections last night (and they were a mess, Democracy is broken, the country is on fire, I hate it here, etc.) and right here in my backyard, we should see another “first” once all the votes are counted and the numbers are official.

Mondaire Jones was a lock almost from the jump.

mondaire2

New York’s 17th Congressional District is just north of NYC, covering parts of Westchester and Rockland Counties. The Democratic Primary is a race between six people vying for the seat being left vacant by 89-year-old Nita Lowey who is retiring after 30 years of holding that seat (through various incarnations of the district). Whoever wins the primary will be elected, and Jones picked up a slew of high profile endorsements early on: Bernie Sanders, AOC, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro among them. Being openly gay & Black representing a suburban area had some pollsters hesitant to make a prediction (NYC suburbs can be surprisingly “old-fashioned”) but his platform alongside his prominent supporters proved to be a winning combination.

Progressive Mondaire Jones picked up more than double the votes of any of the other six candidates running in the Democratic Party primary to replace longtime Rep. Nita Lowey.

There are still thousands of mail ballots that won’t be counted for a week, but Jones’ commanding early lead has him breathing a little easier as he waits for the mail ballots to be opened.

“It was never about self promotion,” Jones told The Journal News/lohud in a phone interview. “It is instead about an idea, an idea that government has never worked for everyone.”

(cont. Rockland/Westchester Journal News)

Ritchie Torres isn’t quite the sure thing Mondaire Jones is at this point, but his victory would be much sweeter, given the opposition.

ritchie2

Come November, Rubén Díaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister with a long history of homophobia and transphobia, could be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the most Democratic district in the nation — but gay candidate Ritchie Torres is out to see that doesn’t happen.

Díaz is well known in New York politics; he was a state senator for years, and he’s now a member of the New York City Council. In the Senate, he voted against marriage equality, and he has said the City Council “is controlled by the homosexual community.” He considers abortion murder, and he praises Donald Trump. Yet he’s running as a Democrat, as he has for years, although he’s the epitome of a Democrat in name only.

(cont. Advocate)

Rubén Díaz Junior is a pretty decent (and popular) politician. He’s been elected borough president of The Bronx three times and his positions are in line with most mainstream Democrats, including his stance on LGBT equality. His father is an evangelical Christian who hates gays and callously uses the Holocaust in his arguments against abortion. For some reason, the ballots don’t say Rubén Díaz Senior to make sure voters differentiate him from his son, who has higher approval ratings and more name recognition. Two men in politics from same the borough with the same name should definitely have their entire name printed on the ballot to make it easier for voters, but that’s not the case, and RD Senior was polling ahead of Ritchie Torres until last night.

Torres pulled ahead early, with 30% of the vote in a crowded field with 11 other candidates.

So that’s what we woke up to here in the NYC area. Two openly gay Black men are poised to win Congressional races that nobody predicted this time last year. It’s 2020 and we’re still having “firsts” in politics, but slow progress is better than none at all.

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LGBT

Fire Island said “what pandemic?”

The gays threw caution — and masks — to the wind this weekend.

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Everybody in Fire Island over the 4th of July weekend is being lumped together into the same pile of garbage because of videos like this:

So let’s break that up a little bit, because this is America and we love Labels & Boxes.

I have money and I’ve been here for weeks.

Some gays have money, some gays have friends with money, and some gays have friends who have friends with money. And they’ve been in their beach houses for weeks or months. One of my friends left the city in April and has been chilling in the sea air away from NYC congestion living his best, relaxed life. These are not the people in those videos.  These people are sitting at home playing Bananagrams.

I had a share and I couldn’t cancel it.

NYC gets tiring, even when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I’m going on a road trip in a few weeks to go sit in the mountains and hear sounds that aren’t fireworks and ambulances. One of my roommates is in Rhode Island right now.  I can’t speak for everybody else, but I plan to get tested the week before I go, isolate, and wait for my results so I don’t unwittingly carry anything into rural North Carolina. I definitely understand the urge to get out of this city, especially when we’ve been stuck in it for so long.

So, if you already had a share in Fire Island for the weekend that you paid for six months ago, I can understand not canceling it. Go get out of the city, breathe, see the ocean, etc.

Some of these people are sitting at home playing Uno. And some of these people are definitely at the parties showing off the Parke & Ronens they haven’t gotten to wear this year.

I literally die without seeing and being seen by hot strangers.

I’m trying to share my thoughts on this with as little shade as possible because I do not understand this impulse. However! One of my roommates is an actor/comedian and I don’t understand the impulse to be on a stage either, but I can see how not having that outlet these past few months has affected him. Some folks are just wired to be around groups of people, and I — as someone who generally hates strangers and most people — will never be able to fully wrap my head around that need. I don’t need to feel like I’m in the mix of something to be whole, so I don’t get it when some of my friends are dying because they don’t have access to this:

I don’t enjoy that, ever, so I can’t contextualize missing it so much you would risk your health and the health of others to jump back into it for a weekend. I haven’t really been missing anything during the Covid Crisis other than museums and yeast rolls, so my Risk and Reward calculation for that kind of party his High Risk and No Reward. I have friends who went to Fire Island for the weekend and some of them will have definitely been at those little parties. Their calculation is High Risk and Very High Reward.

But honestly…I trust them not to infect other people. One of the guys in my social distancing bubble decided to break the bubble and go to Fire Island this weekend. He’ll probably be partying all weekend around various bugs, Miss Rona included. His plan is to wear a mask when he’s not partying, isolate for two weeks at home when he gets back, and then get tested. The only people he’s endangering are other people at the parties who made the same Risk and Reward calculation, so I don’t really have anything to say about it. I don’t understand it, but as long as you’re responsibly making sure you don’t potentially pass anything to unwitting strangers, what more can I ask?

This guy is trash though.

 

 

coreyrona3

 

For every ten people who want to be as responsible as possible, there’s a pathological narcissist like Corey who is willingly putting people in danger because he made the great sacrifice of sitting in his room for 8 whole days. There are too many variables in a group, and the more people you have, the more likely it is that some of them are assholes, idiots, or both.

I hope everybody in Fire Island is having a great time and getting whatever boost they needed from this weekend around other like-minded individuals. I hope they mask up around everybody who did not sign up to be infected with a potentially deadly illness for the joy of thumpa thumpa and alphabet drugs. I hope they isolate for two weeks when they get back home and then get tested. And I hope they’ve gotten their fix for awhile so they can survive the next few months without putting communities in danger again.

 

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SCOTUS rules against LGBT discrimination in the workplace.

The LGBT community won a battle against workplace discrimination and I honestly didn’t think it would turn out this way.

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The LGBT community won a battle against workplace discrimination and I honestly didn’t think it would turn out this way. Alito dissented (because he’s a shitbag) and Kavanaugh dissented (because he’s a shitbag who wanted to punt the responsibility to Congress) but Gorsuch basically agreeing with the argument every logical person has been using from the beginning was a shock.

The landmark ruling will extend protections to millions of workers nationwide and is a defeat for the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The 6-3 opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal justices.
(cont. CNN)

You can’t discriminate against someone based on their sex. If you are discriminating against someone because they are gay, that is sex discrimination — you would not have the same attitude about Alex dating a man if Alex was a woman, so your attitude comes from the fact that Alex is a man with another man. If you are discriminating against someone because they are trans, that is sex discrimination — you would not have the same attitude about Alex wearing a dress if Alex was assigned female at birth, so your attitude comes from the fact that Alex was assigned male at birth but is living as a woman.

I was so nervous about this case I stopped talking about it months ago. What a sigh of relief and a great way to start the week.

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In (my) Memory of Nashom

In the words of The Ones, “Just like perfection. Like no other, flawless. Absolutely flawless.”

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I was very much an indie rock kid in college, definitely a child of Myspace who loved white belts and any band that started with “The” and ended with a random noun. Dance music never has a season though and one of my favorite songs before I moved to New York was “Flawless” by The Ones. It was already about five years old before I stumbled across it, but I put it on so many mix CDs — Music to Drive to, Light Chair Twerk, Sunday Cleaning — because the bassline was unmatched.

Fast forward some years, and I was at the Cock (the old location they turned into a pet store or some apartments) and I was butt naked talking to the DJ about random stuff. See, back in the DAY day, if I was out with the Twinklets (this group of skinny fashion gays who went to FIT) and we got too drunk on $2.50 well drinks at Boiler Room and a couple of demonic Long Island iced teas at Urge, we would roll into The Cock feeling our oats and I would strip down to nothing, hide my gear behind a speaker, and give my keys-wallet-phone-underwear to Justin so he could hold on to them in case someone stole my clothes (no one ever did!).

On one particular evening, I was lit but not super lit, and I was carrying on a conversation about music with the DJ, trading “obscure” songs back and forth. I brought up “Flawless” and I don’t remember the conversation word for word, but I — a country bumpkin from nowhere SC — thought no one would remember this minor dance hit from ten years ago.

DJ: Oh, I know that song.
Me: Really? No one ever knows that song. How do you know it?
DJ: It’s my song.
Me: What?
DJ: It’s my song.

And that’s how I met Nashom Wooden, trying to expose him to a song he already knew because he was 1/3rd of the group who made it, while I was taking a break from exposing myself to everyone in this dark bar on 2nd Avenue.

Fast forward a couple more years to a random Wednesday night at The Cock (still the old location) and it was Diva Night. I don’t remember what the exact name of the night was, but there were t-shirts for sale that had different divas on them and all of the drag queens would perform songs by the same artist. That night I had my hair down and slightly teased a la Janet from the Control era and the bartender liked it so much he gave me one of the Janet t-shirts that matched my hair. Jay Roth was gogo dancing in what basically amounted to string and Justin was being hit on by a guy who was twice our age but probably twenty times our net worth, so we let him buy us a few drinks.

The night was Cher and it was Mona Foot’s turn. I didn’t really know Cher like that so I’d never actually heard “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves” before…and I wasn’t sure Mona had either! She only mimed one part: gyppsiiiiesss tramps and thieeeves. That’s it. She covered her face with her hands, she took sips of people’s drinks, and she hid behind columns and stuck a leg out to do choreography, but she did NOT lip sync that song. And we LIVED! OMG we talked about that performance for years. It became one of the top ten references Justin and I would toss out when we randomly wanted to ((dramatic voice)) relive the youth of our early days in the big city ((/end dramatic voice)).

Yesterday Justin sent me this text:

I looked it up just to confirm and the top search result was from Billboard. It’s the first COVID-19 passing of someone I’ve ever been acquainted with. Not that I really knew Mona Foot or Nashom. That Cher lip sync was the only time I’d ever seen her perform, and I’d only had maybe 20 conversations with Nashom over the past decade (almost all of them about music — debating Kelly Rowland remixes is my favorite memory with any DJ), but three of my favorite musical memories and three of my favorite memories living in NYC were thanks to Nashom: the artist, the drag queen, and the DJ.

In the words of The Ones, “Just like perfection. Like no other, flawless. Absolutely flawless.”

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