Tag Archives: lgbt

Proud Stories @ SOGIE Human Library

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The Q Youth Foundation curated the SOGIE Human Library at Grand Park’s Proud Stories on October 3, 2015. At Proud Stories, the community was invited to hear stories of love, acceptance, and joy through the powerful voices of L.A.’s LGBTQ and ally community. The PROUD Series celebrates the LGBTQ experience with readings, kids’ activities, and theater performances.

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During the SOGIE Human Library experience, guests were invited to flip through the catalog, read book summaries, check out a human book, and learn more about them. The human books’ role was to engage the reader to start a dialog in hopes to gain better understanding about alternative perspectives in the SOGIE/LGBTQIA+ community.

Aaron Saenz, a founding board member and current President of the Pasadena Pride Center, was one of the human books. Along with Amaury ‘Ketzal’ Reducino (behind East LA Art Walk), Claudia Rodríguez (writer/performer), Omowale Oniyide, Juan Castillo Alvarado (Latino Equality Alliance), Jesse Gutierrez (film director), Kyle Sawyer, Karene Daniel, Arturo Hernandez, and myself.

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Page from the Catalog

There was also a SOGIE Stories Recording Booth, were guests and human books recorded thoughts about, “Who they are proud to love?”

The event just happened to take place on the same day as Amber Rose’s “Slut Walk” and a sign language event. Therefore, the attendance was larger than normal.

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Page from the Catalog

Q Youth Foundation is a start up non-profit organization dedicated creating environments of Safe/Brave Spaces for LGBTQIA+/SOGIE community in Los Angeles.

Writers and performers from In The Meantime, Eastside Queer Storytelling, Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ, Writ Large Press, Gender Justice LA Theatre, and Better Brothers LA shared their stories on the main stage.

Victor Yates A Love Like Blood writer

Page from the Catalog

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Book Tour News

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I am excited to announce the first stops in my book tour. The tour information is subject to change.

April 30: Oakland – The Knocturnal Project Presents Victor Yates at Qulture Collective
Address: 1714 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94607
Time: 6pm-9pm
Cost: $5

May 6: Palm Springs – Welcome Reception for Blatino Oasis with Johnnell Lyric Terrell at The Hyatt Regency
Address: 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Time: 4pm-7pm
Cost: Free

May 24: West Hollywood – Lambda Literary Finalists Reading at West Hollywood Library
Address: Council Chambers – Lower Level 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Time: 7pm
Cost: Free

June TBA: Playa Vista – Playa Vista Library/Friends of the Public Library Present Victor Yates at Playa Vista Public Library
Address: Community Room – 6400 Playa Vista Drive, Playa Vista, CA 90094
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

June 5: Brooklyn – Victor Yates Reading
Address: Private Residence – Invite Only
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

June 24: Chicago – Ubuntu Center of Chicago Presents Victor Yates
Address: 1525 East 55th Street Suite 205 Chicago, IL 60615
Time: TBA
Cost: Free

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Reading at In The Meantime

The Black Artist Collective hosted Chris Cotton and I at In The Meantime in the Carl Bean House in the historic neighborhood of West Adams. The reading was significant to me because of the location. In the 80’s, when the AIDS epidemic first swept through the country, the Carl Bean House was a hospice were people went to die. Now, the property is owned by AIDS Health Foundation and the old management office space is leased by In The Meantime.

The reading was everything I hoped it would be – magical, emotional, and intimate.

It definitely prepared me for the next tour stops.

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Author Marketing: A how to guide (sort of)

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Google author marketing and a rabbit hole will magically appear that Alice wouldn’t want to dissappear into. Nothing prepared me for the world after my novel was published and one article won’t either. Fortunately, I have read several and I am working my way out of Wonderland to meet my marketing goals.

What I have learned thus far:

– My pricing was wrong (Anything over $10 is a luxury to potential readers, yet the same potential readers will buy $100 Adele tickets. Yes, that was shade.)

– I need a publicist  (Because news organizations are bombarded by press releases, events, and various emails. An email from a long standing contact or a professional  is easier to get through to a news organization)

– I need an assistant and a street team and a stylist (For obvious reasons)

– I need a strong social media presence on every platform  (Even Periscope. Why, I still have not figured that part out)

 

– I need a generous benefactor so I can quit my full-time job and part time jobs  (So I can devout the next few months to falling down the rabbit hole)

 

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My Interview with Fiona McVie

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Two days ago, I was interviewed by Fiona McVie of Author Interviews. Here is a brief snippet of the interview:

Fiona: Tell us a little about yourself i.e. your education, family life, etc:

I moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles, California to be part of the larger writing community on the West Coast. I could not find a writing job in Florida. Once, I moved I realized I had to enter a writing workshop to be a writer. I researched schools and found Otis College. Being in Otis’s Writing Program allowed me to become a writer, in the sense of the word. Since graduating, I have taught several writing workshops, I freelance write for three local magazines, and I published my first book.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

In November, I published my debut novel, “A Love Like Blood.” The book was a ten-year obsession. I thought of the idea when I started working at the Ann Arbor District Library. I started reading “how to write” books and read more to help me start writing the book.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at the age of 14. I read a poem by Maya Angelou. I do not consider myself to be a poet, but I won first place in the Elma Stuckey Poetry Awards and have two poems published in “For Colored Boys,” which was published by Magnus Books in 2012.

To read the full interview, visit Author Interview.

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South African blog, Queerlife Features “A Love Like Blood”

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South African blog, Queerlife featured “A Love Like Blood.” The blog bills itself as South Africa’s “largest Gay, lesbian, trans, bi and other queer folk portal.”

The post is copied below:

What happens when a Muslim family converts to Catholicism to be more American? Or, when a son removes himself from his family to avoid an honour killing? Or what about being pummeled, close to death, is confused as love?

Author Victor Yates answers these questions and more in A Love Like Blood. Half Somali and Cuban, 17-year old Carsten Tynes, deals with the intricacies of race, Americanism, syncretism, migration, and sexuality under his dying father’s abusive hand in A Love Like Blood. Set in 1998, his family relocates to Beverly Hills, MI to expand their photography business. His father has lung disease and promises to give him the business if he marries his ex-girlfriend. Faced with an unwanted marriage and the slow death of his father, Carsten retreats behind his camera. His camera becomes the loose thread that slowly unravels his relationship with his father and reveals the unseen world of “men who move at night.” However, it is his infatuation with his neighbor, Brett that severs the symbolic umbilical cord between his father and him. When death pushes his father and Brett together, he makes a dangerous decision to protect them.

Victor Yates was raised in Jacksonville, Florida and now lives in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Windy City Times, Edge, and The Voice. As a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Otis College, he is the recipient of an Ahmanson Foundation grant. He is the winner of the Elma Stuckey Writing Award (1st place in poetry) at Morehouse College. He received an Oprah Winfrey scholarship and appeared on Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular show. Two of his poems were included in the anthology, “For Colored Boys,” which was edited by Keith Boykin. The anthology won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award. Continue reading

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Debut Novel News/Tour 2016

PicMonkey Collage

Writing is isolation and the death of relationships. That is what I have learned since I began writing my first book, A Love Like Blood. I moved from my hometown, Jacksonville to Los Angeles to pursue my writing career and last month my novel was finally published.

I thought publishing was the most complicated part of the writing equation. Since getting the book in my hands, I have realized that publicity is a different beast altogether. Everyday I check my emails checking for interview, profile, review, social media, award, and reading notifications. And, because of my current full-time job I have not been able to develop the book tour. However, a tour is in the works. I will post more information when everything is finalized. Until then, the book is available on Amazon, Kindle (Kindle Unlimited users can download it for free), and CreateSpace. Tip: if you purchase through Amazon Prime, you get it in two days. Just cancel Prime afterwards.

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L.A. Pride for the First Time: A story for HomoCentric Reading Series

A Story for the Homo-Centric Reading Series
Read for the One City, One Pride Arts Festival
In Celebration of West Hollywood’s 30th Anniversary

Being a polysemic word, Pride means something different between members of the LGBT community. Whether it’s getting the masses to sign a petition, dressing in drag as a cultural protest, safely holding hands with a loved one in public or donning a colorful ensemble, these acts represent Pride. Los Angeles Pride is a smorgasbord of the above times twenty. At my first L.A. Pride, I had the opportunity to walk in the parade with Erase Doubt, an L.A. County-wide safe sex campaign. For the parade, I had to bounce a giant black beach ball that towered over my head. To launch it high up in the air, I lifted the ball above my head and smashed it to the ground. My arms cramped up from exhaustion after two minutes. Another guy had a matching beach ball. Printed prominently on our black balls was the AIDS virus.

Before the parade, I practiced what I would say to attract attention to our group. I settled on, “come stroke my black balls” and “don’t you want to juggle these?” Other people from our group would pass out condoms, beads, t-shirts, and drawstring bags with AIDS ribbons.

I was expecting a large crowd, but what I wasn’t expecting was the number of people that would greet us from the sidewalk. Thousands cheered, waved, high-fived us, stroked my ball, asked for pictures, and selfies. After the parade, an on-looker said it was quite a sight to see two colossal black balls bouncing toward The Abbey.

This year Pride turns forty-five, and that experience made me think about the first Pride in West Hollywood. How did those first walkers feel being greeted not only by the cheers of hundreds, but also hundreds of protesters? It must have been the disquiet that promised to suck the air from their lungs faster than a thumbtack through a balloon. For those brave men and women, I proudly bounced my giant black ball through West Hollywood.

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Check out my Interview with George Unda from “Where The Bears Are”

I sat down with actor, George Unda, from the hit web series, Where the Bears Are, to discuss his role as Detective Martinez and being a queer person of color within the larger bear community on the show. Other queer people of color who have appeared on the show include: Margaret Cho, Ray Singh, Karamo Brown, Bruce Daniels, Piankhi Iknaton, and Dylan Hafertepen. Unda also talks about memes, Guillermo Diaz (of Scandal), and much more.

Where the Bears Are is a comedy-mystery web series, which premiered in 2012. The series was created, written by and stars Rick Copp, Joe Dietl and Ben Zook. Currently, the series has three seasons. Unda became a cast member during the second season. As Detective Martinez, he works with Detective Chad Winters (Chad Sanders) as his partner.

The show has been described as a cross between The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote.

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Check out my Qulture Video Blog


This week, a number of major stories dominating the headlines concerned the LGBT community. Qulture staffers, Antonio Garcia and myself met to ruminate over those stories. The stories include: the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Marriage Equality; GLSEN’s LGBT harassment report; and Zachary Quinto’s thoughts on the gay community and PREP (in Out Magzine’s 100 issue). As well as the HRC’s Equality Index; a lesbian couple’s wedding nightmare; and husbands, Scott and Daniel Wall-Desousa receiving retaliation from the Florida DMV for changing their drivers licenses.

Our opinions on these issues may shock you. And if they do, please leave a comment below to join the conversation.

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Does Makeup Make The Man

B Scott Before and After Makeup

B Scott Before and After Makeup

In 2006, BET broadcast the 3rd season of its reality series, College Hill, and undraped its first ever openly gay personality, Ray Cunningham. Since that season BET has featured Miss Lawrence, from the Real Housewives of Atlanta, on Rip The Runway, but has lacked in airing more out talent. This year the network hired B. Scott to host the televised 106 and Park Pre-show of the 13th annual BET Awards.

Before taping started, BET asked the fashion columnist to put together a potential ensemble to wear. B. Scott requested Chris Brown’s stylist and instead BET asked B. Scott to work with their in-house stylists.

“After a few weeks of sending over mood boards and going over approved looks, we decided on a few options,” said Scott. “All of which were generally more masculine than what I would wear if I were able to decide on my own: blazers, long-sleeved dress shirts, black pants, and loafers.”

“We didn’t know at the time that Los Angeles would be in the middle of a record heat wave, and the options we selected just weren’t weather appropriate. The day before the show I spoke with BET’s style team and we agreed that it was okay to have a more weather appropriate ensemble option.”

The agreed upon ensemble was a sleeveless and button-down, long, black shirt and flowly black pants. A man or a woman could wear the outfit; it is a genderless look.

“Not only was it agreed upon among the stylists, I met with a producer of the show the night before and showed her the ensemble. She said it was acceptable and requested I send over a picture so that she could forward it to whomever she needed to. The picture of the complete outfit was sent over and everything was fine.”

But everything was not fine. After interviewing A.J. Calloway live, Scott said he was “yanked backstage” and told his “look from head to toe wasn’t acceptable.”

“I was returned to my trailer and forced to change into one of the other outfits while other producers waited outside. I changed quickly and returned to set, only to be told that I had been replaced by Adrienne Bailon and wouldn’t be going on at all.”

So what happened between the look being approved and the start of taping?

B. Scott, equally known for his gender bending look and entertaining YouTube videos, has had guest spots on various television shows such as Extra, Hair Battle Spectacular, DTLA, and even BET’s 106 and Park, where he appeared twice and in full gender bender mode. Was it the straightened hair, or the smoky eye makeup, or the high heels that had Scott yanked off air? Eventually, Scott was asked to return on-camera, in the approved and more masculine look: a navy blazer, dark dress shirt, blue slim pants, black loafers, and sans maquillage.

BET issued an official apology via the Associated Press and said:

“BET Networks embraces global diversity in all its forms and seeks to maintain an inclusive workforce and a culture that values all perspectives and backgrounds. The incident with B. Scott was a singular one with a series of unfortunate miscommunications from both parties. We regret any unintentional offense to B. Scott and anyone within the LGBT community and we seek to continue embracing all gender expressions.”

In response to BET’s statement, B. Scott said, “I want a real apology from BET. This was a not a mutual misunderstanding or miscommunication. I pride myself on being very professional.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the fashion columnist has suffered professionally due to his appearance. Scott was asked to step down as a columnist from the website, Concrete Loop, when fans left hundreds of derogatory and negative comments. Most recently, Scott left the FoxxHole, the uncensored radio station, due to an exclusitory environment.

Will BET lose viewers over this wardrobe malfunction? Some loyal Love Muffins, the handle for B. Scott fans, have already started boycotting.

A fan on Scott’s website said, “[BET’s] actions were uncalled for and their poor choices are a reflection of why many of us choose to no longer support the network.”

Another fan said, “I pray Deborah Lee [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET] is made to step down, as this is unacceptable.”

Lee, who has been at BET for 28 years, has been criticized in the past for the network’s less than positive programming and portrayal of young Black people. The juxtaposition of negative portrayals of young Black people and B. Scott is interesting on many levels because B. Scott, a young Black man, is known for his inspirational advice that he provides on his website and on various guest columns. One solution to this problem would be for BET to invite Scott to appear on 106 and Park and have Lee or another network executive to better explain the last minute yank on B. Scott’s ponytail and quickly before the incident morphs into a Paula Deen-outpouring.

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Video Q&A with Emerging LGBT Leader Carolyn Wysinger

The name Ruth Ellis may not be as familiar to you as Harvey Milk, but it should. Ellis, born in 1899, was the oldest living open lesbian and LGBT rights activist. Before she died in 2000, her life was documented in the film project, Living with Pride, directed by Yvonne Welbon. She came out as a lesbian in 1915 and in the 1920s she met Ceciline Franklin. They moved from Springfield, Illinois to Detroit, Michigan in 1937 and lived together for 30 years until Franklin’s death in 1973. During the three decades that they lived together, Ellis became the first American woman to own a printing business in Detroit and her home with Franklin became “a refuge for African-American gays and lesbians.”

Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100 is being screened at the Art Exchange in Long Beach, this Sunday, starting at 5. Emerging LGBT leader, Carolyn Wysinger, is one of the key people responsible for putting together the screening.

Carolyn Wysinger is an activist, writer, and event coordinator, whose goal is to build bridges within the LGBT community. She earned her B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Organizations that she is involved with include: BUTCHVoices and Black Lesbians United. She is also active in the local Long Beach community as a member of the Leadership Long Beach Class of 2013 as well as a Member-At-Large of the Lambda Democrats.

Qulture writer Victor Yates spoke to Wysinger about the life of Ruth Ellis and Sistah Sinema as well as her community work.

Watch the video above to learn more about Wysinger and go to Qulture.org for more LGBT news and information.

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Los Angeles Pride: A video tour

Being a polysemic word, Pride means something noticeably different between members of the LGBT community. Whether it is getting the masses to sign a human rights petition, dressing in drag as a cultural protest, being able to safely hold hands with a loved one in public, or donning a colorful ensemble, these acts represent Pride. L.A. Pride is a smorgasbord of the above times twenty. It is the largest gathering of the LGBT community in Southern California.

The most attended event during the 2013 L.A. Pride Celebration was the parade, where more than a hundred organizations walked. The Pride festival, immediately following, held in beautiful West Hollywood Park, featured live entertainment on multiple stages, headline performances, various dance venues, and thousands of people. A nice addition to Pride this year was Momentum, a large-scale light and interactive installation in collaboration with ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Impact Stories, The Mazer Lesbian Archives, The Lavender Effect, and The Colors of Compassion. Momentum was curated by INSTALL:WeHo, a queer art non-profit, .

In the video tour, I ask, “What is L.A. Pride?,” and hope to answer the question.

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Interview with Out Trainer Octavio Pozos

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet. The work is a collection of ten letters between the Austrian poet Rilke and a 19-year-old officer cadet seeking Rilke’s critical analysis. In the first letter, Rilke advised the cadet to shed his external obligations in order to expand his internal life. Rilke believed that inward concentration could help a new writer to become a great writer.

Octavio Pozos’ coming out story reminded me of Rilke’s advice to the young cadet.

At 17, Octavio’s parents found him showering with his boyfriend at their home in Mexico City and they forced him to move out of the house. Without other family members willing to take him in, Octavio moved in with his boyfriend and had to decide quickly on how to support himself. In a decision that would transform his life, Octavio decided to train to become a group exercise teacher. If his dragon was being kicked out of his family’s home and his parents not speaking to him for 10 years, then his princess is his success as a personal trainer. Octavio is also a professional group exercise instructor and has found great satisfaction in helping others improve their bodies.

Watch the video to learn more about Octavio Pozos.

Photography: Tony Wisniewski, owner of Ultra Body Fitness Gym

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Duck Tape Diaries

United Kingdom: stamp

(Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

In the past, it was important for me to believe others perceived me as someone who knew where he was going in life. Someone who had a good life, a good career, knew everything to know about the world; someone to envy or at least, have an intellectual conversation with. It was a cover to prevent people from discovering the real me, that I was  in the category of “other.” I’ll call that protection fear. In college, I learned that distance can help prevent people from getting to know too much about me and my experience leading into adulthood reinforced that: getting a new job in a new city, forgetting old friends to get new friends, not ever having enough time to call home. Distance and perfection, I carried them like hand guns.  I was so used to flaunting them, that they became my hands. Slowly, I learned to let go of distance, but perfection I had to hold on to. Perfection, in its own right, is truth and truth is incontestable, until proven false and nothing is false anymore, only less true. Today, the most important person in my life, just called me shallow. Now I don’t know who to blame: me, him, or the world. The world, as in, the idea of things; how men think, survival; the rules of effective communicate; multi-tasking in a post-digital area; being a good boyfriend.  A friend of mine worked at a national forest and had to learn deescalation techniques to take the fire out of heated situations.  She would mimic the escalated persons behavior and recognize their feelings. It always worked. Why aren’t their deescalation manuals ready and available at bars? At this moment, looking back, I never knew where I was going.

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Kontrol Magazine Interviewed Me: Check it out

Writer Victor Yates Photoshoot for Natural Gal photo 2

Photo Credit: Garen Hagobian/Stylist: Rico Cherry

Kontrol is a lifestyle, fashion, and entertainment magazine, based out of Atlanta and features new writers and/or writing projects monthly. I am the new featured writer.

An excerpt from the interview is below:

Get to know Victor

Why did you choose to get involved in this project?

I wanted to be involved in the project, because I believe it is important to start having more open conversations in families where sexuality and/or sexual abuse are taboo. The book form is a great package to hand to someone and say read this and get back to me. Books make great gifts, for any occasion, and speak when people cannot. I know of so many households where kids, growing up, were not allowed to talk about being gay. Because if they talked about homosexuality, they were talking about sex and sex talks were a no-no. The feedback from the project has been overwhelming. Different readers saw themselves or found similarities in their experiences with specific pieces. I’ve had two readings in L.A. so far and people have come with their mothers or bought a copy for a relative with children. Someone even told me they were buying a copy for their job.

Read the full article at: http://www.kontrolmag.com/author-conversations-with-victor-yates-kontrolreads/

 

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New article on SB 1172 or the gay cure bill

Assemblyman Lieu

Assemblyman Lieu (Photo credit: Barack Obama)

Over at Edge On The Net, I wrote an update on #sb1172 or the gay cure ban, sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, which prevents mental health professionals (ex-gay counselors) from attempting to change the sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity of minors. An excerpt from the article is below:

Marea Murray, a social worker in San Francisco, sobbed uncontrollably when she learned that the governor of California had signed SB 1172 into law. Murray counsels clients of all genders and orientations on sexuality concerns and like a number of other mental health professionals, she has come to know people psychologically abused having undergone treatments thought to cure homosexuality. That is one of the many reasons why she worked through Gaylesta, a LGBT Psychotherapy Association, to mobilize supporters for the bill.

The bill specifically sought to prohibit professionals from using techniques to change gender expressions, gender identities, and/or sexual orientation for patients under eighteen.

After SB 1172 was approved, two lawsuits were brought against California, one filed by an ex-gay Aaron Bitzer, who is studying to be an ex-gay therapist. The therapist-in-training claimed the ban not only infringed on his rights to freedom of speech and religion, but also the ban prevented him from pursuing his profession. His lawsuit, led by Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), argued that “the law ignores young people who have same-sex attractions as a result of being victims of sexual abuse” and that lack of access to treatment will lead to irreparable harm.

Read more at: http://www.edgelosangeles.com/news/local/features//140531/implementation_of_california’s_gay_cure_ban_delayed_until_hearing

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A Writer’s Year in Review

English: Hollywood Boulevard from the top of t...

Hollywood Blvd. from top of Kodak. (Credit: Wiki)

At the start of 2012, I experienced two major transitions: being accepted into a fiction writing program and moving from Long Beach to Inglewood. I knew the writing program would help me advance within writing, however I didn’t know what to expect. I had a publishing deal with a small publishing company, but I thought, why not workshop my book to get more eyes on the book. Their suggestions took the story from surface to being able to exist above the page. The story itself did not changed; I brought more of the contrast between race, immigrant life, religion, and identity out in front of the reader.

Beyond having breath breathed into my book, in 2012, I:

  • Read at the West Hollywood Library on 12/8/12
  • Was invited to read at the City of West Hollywood’s Pride Festival, “One City, One Pride” taking place in June 2013
  • Was invited to White House Briefing for Black LGBT Emerging Leaders 2, 24, 2012
  • Was invited to read at Soulful Salon, for In The Meantime, a LGBT community organization
  • Started writing for Campus Circle Magazine
  • Started writing for Qulture
  • Started writing for GBM News
  • Interviewed Frenchie Davis, DJ Danjazone (LMFAO’s Tour DJ), Diana King, DDm, and Orikl
  • Wrote my first poetry review for a literary journal
  • Submitted a fiction piece to one of my favorite literary journals
  • Read at my first book fair, West Hollywood Book Fair
  • Was published in the anthology, For Colored Boys
  • Started working as an Editorial Assistant for a academic publisher
  • Went to 10 author readings

On New Years Eve 2013, with a group of friends, I wrote down on paper what I did not like about 2012 and I burned it. With each new piece I completed, part of me was afraid to branch out and take my writing career to the next level (writing for a major magazine and be able to freelance write/edit for other publications). The paper turned from white, to egg-colored, to ashes in the fire pit in East L.A. While watching it burn, I reflected back on other details of 2012: I learned that I would be working for LAist.com (for the Spring term) and I made it to the Semifinalist round for the Point Foundation Graduate Scholarship. Also that I got the courage to submit new poetry to four literary magazines and I pitched an article idea to Essence magazine. No New Year’s Resolution to lose fat or be a better person, I want to reserve all my energy into writing. And whether or not all of those opportunities fall into place, I will keep striving to become a better writer and be part of the writing community.

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Reading at West Hollywood Library

West Hollywood Library Grand Opening & Dedication

West Hollywood Library (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood)

Recently I read from For Colored Boys at the West Hollywood Library with Antonio Brown and Jonathan Kidd (contributors to the anthology), and actor Jorge Ortiz. I edited and posted the reading on YouTube; please watch the videos and comment. I will be reading again at the West Hollywood Library during  the City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City/One Pride’ Festival in June.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question and Answer Session

Stay tuned for more information on the West Hollywood Library reading in June.

US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

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Unapologetic and Unafraid of Being Herself

Frenchie Davis tells it, the way it is

Since Star Search first aired in 1983, there have been over twenty different talent-based Reality TV shows. From these shows, few people are memorable. Of those, even fewer have real talent. Frenchie Davis, in a rare move, has appeared on two talent shows and she is not apologizing for her choices. Those choices separate her from other show contestants. In a sit down interview, ten minutes away from where she grew up in Los Angeles, we talked about her new single, her experience on The Voice, her status as one of the go-to divas for Pride events, and her recent coming out as bisexual or re-coming out.

Victor Yates: Tell me about your new single, “Love’s Got A Hold On Me.” It’s very dance-pop, which is a switch from the Frenchie sound your fans are use to. What motivated this sound?

Frenchie Davis: A number of things contributed to my shift to dance music. I guess it started with my growing fan base within the gay community. Many of them are fans of dance music. I would perform at various Pride events and gay clubs. The DJs there and people I would meet would say, your voice would sound amazing over house tracks. I was performing for the gay boys in Brazil for Carnival, where I met DJ Tony Moran. He said I’m working on an album and I would love to have you on one of my tracks. I sang on one of his tracks [“You Are”]. It ended up peeking at No. 5 on the Billboard Dance Charts. We didn’t push it or market it.

VY: That’s the great thing about the music industry today. Once someone gets hold of something, it can quickly pick up.

FD: Word of mouth can do so much. It happened with the Tony Moran record, because he has a huge following and the gay boys have followed me throughout my career. By word of mouth, it grew to a No. 5 record, which I’m not mad at. The people above me were Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Rihanna. So I was in good company. Then I was performing at a gay club one night, and the casting director from The Voice, happened to be in the audience. She told me that she was working on a new show, from the same producers who did The Sing Off. Cee Lo and Christina Aguilera would be involved and she thought it could be a great vehicle for me. I was apprehensive at first, because of my experience with Idol. But after soul searching, I realized it was fear holding me back. I’m a very spiritual person and I believe things don’t happen by coincidence. I decided I’m going to walk the path and trust that God has something amazing for me. Two months later, I was on The Voice, then Team Christina.

VY: How was that? Continue reading

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