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Where do you get the 411?

 

 

Where do you get the 411?

411

In our celebrity-obsessed culture, famous people are in a particularly influential position to weigh-in on socially and politically charged issues.  It seems more and more commonplace for highly visible people like professional athletes, writers, actors, and musicians to serve as spokespeople for certain causes, informing the public about sex, health, drug use and other important topics.  Liz Taylor is synonymous with championing the fight against HIV/AIDS, controversial columnist Dan Savage with launching the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign, Laverne Cox has gained international attention as a spokeswoman for trans- issues, and on his journey as an NFL draft football player Michael Sam assumed a position to advocate for decreasing homophobia in professional sports.  With the ever increasing influence of the internet, a new cast of characters has joined the influential elite; examples could include Youtube personalities like Davey Wavey or Chris Crocker to name a few.

 

Some celebrities strive to become immersed and knowledgeable about the issue they champion, and couch their discussions in research relevant to that issue.  However, there are also celebrities who speak out on sensitive issues based on their own (sometimes faulty) knowledge, opinions, or even based solely on something they read in a magazine while waiting at the dentist’s office. Many people rebuke the idea of celebrities speaking out on socially charged topics, claiming that they are likely uniformed and could cause harm by spreading misinformation and/or negative sentiments.  For instance, many in the HIV/AIDS community have taken issue with actor Zachary Quinto’s statements on the HIV drug PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis; you can read more about this controversy and Quinto’s response in the two links below).

http://www.hivequal.org/hiv-equal-online/how-zachary-quinto-let-down-the-hiv-aids-community

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zachary-quinto/on-my-cover-interview-for_b_6158498.html

 

Do celebrities take responsibility or take advantage of the position they have to influence others?  People may take their advice/information to heart and apply it to their own lives and decisions.  However, how much responsibility should a public figure be required to take for their statements?  How much responsibility do we have as individuals to seek out information from other, perhaps more reliable, sources?

 

Join this week’s facilitator Taylor Monson and guest facilitator Robert Soriano for what promises to be a great discussion!


Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves DC government building. Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact me ahead of time by email or The DC Center’s Executive Director David Mariner. Afterwards, we’ll head out to one of the fine establishments on the U Street Corridor to eat.

02/07/2014: The State of the Gayz on TV

HBO’s Looking

The new year has already seen gays prominently featured on the boob tube–whether with HBO’s new series Looking, Queen Latifah officiating same-sex marriages at the Grammy’s, or the gay family featured in the Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial.

What progress have we made in the past year? What can we look forward to in LGBT representation on TV for the rest of 2014? And what kind of LGBT characters would YOU imagine if you were writing TV scripts with LGBT characters/story lines?  It’s time to take inventory with our own State of the Gayz on TV!

We will talk about this and other TV-related LGBT news this week–so watch TMZ to get caught up before coming out Friday!

Your facilitator,

Jay

Remember, Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves DC government building. Attendees will need to enter the Reeves building via the “Exit” doors on 14th Street, facing McDonald’s. We encourage attendees to bring their photo ID to gain access inside the building. If you do not have or are unable to present a photo ID, please contact me ahead of time by email or The DC Center’s Executive Director David Mariner.

9/20/2013 Discussion: Autumn in DC!

Autumn has come to DC: It’s in the crisp, cool air, the smell of fireplaces lighting up, fall guides in the papers (Did you catch the BladeMetroweeklyCity Paper and WaPo guides last week?), and on screen on tv and in the movies. So how are you going to spend the new season?

This Friday we will talk about fall activities going on, especially ones that pique your gay interest. What tv show will you be watching weekly with a group of friends? Are you a hayride, haunted house or apple-picking type of outdoorsy, October gay? And where’s the best place to take a first date now that the rooftop bars and outdoor patios will be a bit too chilly to sit out on and get to know that new guy?

Come this week to plan your fall calendar! You might make some new friends to join you on this fall’s best activities! As always, we will meet at 8:30 pm at the DC Center at 1318 U St, NW. And we will go out to dinner or drinks together afterward.
See you all there!

Jay

1/11/2013: Winter Staycations

It’s winter time (although this weekend’s temperatures may not make it seem so), and a perfect time to stay in and snuggle up. Or get out and have fun in the cold. So what’s your favorite winter past times in and around DC?

This week we will chat about our favorite winter hang out spots with friends, and those even closer to us, in the area. Do you have a special dish to cook and invite friends over on especially cold nights? Do you like to go ice skating or skiing? Let’s come up with a top 10 list of our favorite winter staycations this evening, and then make plans to do them all before the spring!

As always, we will meet at the same time and place, with some winter nosh to follow discussion. See you all there!

Jay

10/19/2012: 20 Questions About Love & Sex

A new season of Logo TV’s 1 Girl 5 Gays has started, which means it’s time for us to play our favorite Canadian gay boys and girl and host Gay District’s own round of 20 questions about love and sex.

This Friday we will probe deep down into our gay psyches to talk about foreplay, Instagram and what it means to break up with a friend.

The questions and answers will continue after over dinner and drinks. The show starts at the usual time of 8:30 pm at St. Margaret’s. See you all soon!

Jay