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September 14, 2016

The down-low lingo

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Join us this Friday 9/16/2016 at 8:30pm in The DC Center for this week’s discussion topic: “The down-low lingo”

The times are a’changing and more people are coming out as LGBTQI, and way earlier in life, than ever before in the US.  The option for openness hasn’t always been the case here; historically being out was a veritable death sentence and this is still true in certain parts of the world today.   Given the need for discretion, how do we / have we communicated to each other “on the down low”?

  Is the “three taps in the stall” code that outed former Senator Larry Craig (R. Idaho) still a way to get the message across?  (If you don’t know what this is check out this article, also listed below.)  What about the old color and pocket signals from the hanky code?  (Fashion accessories as codes, detailed in this article .)   These and other nonverbal methods have generally been used for cruising, which apparently is not dead according to this 2016 article.        

But we have modern tech now to help us avoid awkward stall taping, shady park meet ups, and color clashing handkerchiefs.  Even anti-gays like casual encounter seekers at the 2016 Republican National Convention can use Craigslist (article here) instead of these other methods.  We’re good now, right?  Well, if we take the 2014 app flaw that outed gays in Iran and worldwide (article here), the Daily Beast’s recent scandal of a reporter actively using Grindr to out closeted Olympians (article found here and below), new software developed by Kyoto tech researchers pinpointing folks within feet regardless of app or location setting (article here), and even a murderer in Pakistan luring men to their deaths from a Facebook group (article here) the jury is undecided on if tech beats taps.  How does current technology complicate or convenience things when compared to other methods used in previous generations?  Of course, one could always take those handkerchiefs and your phone for a nice walk in the park to be very thorough.

Let’s dish about this and more on Friday September 16th at The DC Center!

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009. 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 the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.


Related articles: 

  • What Is Larry Craig Doing Now? The Scandal And Its Aftereffects Were Hard To Shake. http://www.bustle.com/articles/73548-what-is-larry-craig-doing-now-the-scandal-and-its-aftereffects-were-hard-to-shake
  • The Hanky Codes.  http://www.thetwilightguard.org/tg_hanky.html
  • Cruising Isn’t Dead—If You Know Where to Look.  https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/cruising-isnt-deadif-you-know-where-to-look
  • Republican Convention 2016 Attendees Are Searching for Hot Gay Sex on Craigslist.  https://mic.com/articles/149150/republican-convention-2016-attendees-are-searching-for-hot-gay-sex-on-craigslist#.YK4MfHR8M
  • Grindr smartphone app outs exact location of gays across Iran.   http://americablog.com/2014/08/grindr-smartphone-app-outs-exact-location-gays-across-iran.html
  • This Daily Beast Grindr Stunt Is Sleazy, Dangerous, and Wildly Unethical.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2016/08/11/the_daily_beast_s_olympics_grindr_stunt_is_dangerous_and_unethical.html
  • Gay Dating Apps Promise Privacy, But Leak Your Exact Location.  https://www.wired.com/2016/05/grindr-promises-privacy-still-leaks-exact-location/
  • Exclusive: The Deadly Dangers of Gay Dating Apps in Pakistan.   http://www.out.com/news-opinion/2016/6/08/exclusive-deadly-dangers-gay-dating-apps-pakistan

06/17/2016: “Reverence, Respect, Resolution – Truth in Light of Tragedy”

 

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Come join us for our  third Friday discussion, 8:30pm at The DC Center.  As we write this late Tuesday night, we are still reeling from the attack in Orlando.  We are saddened, hurt, disgusted, and yes, a bit fearful.  By this Friday, we will have attended a discussion/meeting/vigil produced by the DC Center at Foundry United Methodist, and we’ll see where our emotional state goes from there. 

 
But Friday will be a time to voice our anger, reminisce about our first or most memorable gay bar experience, mourn for the victims, and press on to make a better future. This will be a time to come together as a community to share our feelings (whatever they may be) in a SAFE space with no judgement…only support. Our facilitators, Michael, Joe and Justin will help guide the conversation with tact, respect, and sensitivity. We hope that you will join us in this time of healing and reflection. We are a strong community and while several voices were silenced ours will be heard. 
 
Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  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 the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.
 
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Gay District discussion 5/20/2016: DC vs NYC- The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Gay District discussion 5/20/2016: DC vs NYC- The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ok, maybe the DC/NYC rivalry isn’t quite what Charles Dickens had in mind with this opening line from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Maybe the better description of this East Coast grudge is in Billy Shakespeare’s prologue for Romeo & Juliet:

 

“Two households, both alike in dignity,

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

 

What does this Shakespeare and Dickens have to do with anything?? Well, it seems something small around town is sparking a “new mutiny” from the not-so-ancient grudge between these two “households”.

 

Have you noticed something new cropping up around DC lately? You see a small black sticker saying “this is not new york’ as you’re riding up a metro escalator. Seems harmless enough right? There are plenty of places in DC with advertisements, stickers, graffiti and more. So what’s the big deal about a sticker?

 

As reported on recently by an area blog, dcist.com reveals that the sticker campaign is run by a relatively new website dubbed “Stuck in DC”. The premised of Stuck in DC is largely poking fun at the metro area in articles such as

  • H STREET GENTRIFIER PROUD TO LIVE AMONG MINORITIES HE FEARS
  • DC’S TERRIBLE TEAM NAMES, RANKED
  • LOCAL LIBERAL SHOCKED TO FIND SELF OUTRAGED WALMART ISN’T BUILDING MORE STORES IN DC

 

Some proud Washingtonians are pretty upset by the jabs at their home; some are even volunteering to go around town and remove all the stickers. This sticker sabotage seems to be the ‘new mutiny’ throwing gasoline on the continuously burning coals of the DC/NYC rivalry.

 

For anyone unfamiliar with the rivalry between NYC and DC you’re probably wondering “So why the grudge match? Do people really take sides on NYC or DC?” And the answer seems to be a resounding ‘Yes’. People can’t seem to help themselves but compare the two cities, and the relative close distance and ease of accessibility by train or bus makes going from one to the other all the easier.

 

How do people compare the cities? There are scads of articles (samples here and here) that discuss things such as the metro vs. subway, cost of living, food & bars, culture, and nightlife. Then there are less than friendly areas of comparisons such as “Who’s Snobbier: New York or D.C.?”  Within LGBT circles there’s also the question of which place is better for gays. It’s interesting to note that both OUT magazine’s travel section and even the New York Times have published articles about DC being the gayest city in America starting back in 2013, but NYC has been known as an almost Mecca-like gay haven in the US for decades.

 

At this week’s Gay District let’s create our own ranking. What do you think about the rivalry, and which town has your vote? Can there be only one, or can we strike a respectful balance of “different but equal” for these East-Coast titans? Come to this week’s Gay District and find out!

 

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  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 the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

Queering the Vote

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Hey guys,

Come join us for discussion this Friday 02/05/16, 8:30pm at the The DC Center! Our topic is Queering the Vote.

The primaries just swept through Iowa and the results have many folks on all sides of the isle paying closer attention to the current slate of presidential candidates. Who has caught your eye in the race to the White House? Have you been closely scrutinizing the debates or trying your damnedest to block out that televised circus? Who do you think has the strongest platform and best experience to affect the needs of the nation’s queer community? Do we agree with the Human Rights Campaign’s early endorsement of Hilary Clinton, why or why not? Is there political common ground between Log Cabin Republicans, democrat gays, and queer independents? Do you have political priorities that rank higher than any involving sexual orientation/gender identity? What are your opinions on Donald Trumps’ hair, and the loss of the Biden/Obama bromance?

Join us this Friday February 5th to talk about this and more!

Cradle Robbing and Gold Digging: Age Differences in Relationships

Cradle Robbing and Gold Digging: Age Differences in Relationships

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Have you come across that meme that says:

“Madonna is 55 and her boyfriend is 22, Tina Turner is 75 and her boyfriend is 40, J-Lo is 43 and her boyfriend is 26, Mariah Carrie is 44, her husband, 32. Still Single??? Don’t worry, your boyfriend hasn’t even been born yet.”

 

It kind of gets one to thinking about the “age”-old questions of age gaps in relationships. For heterosexuals there’s a long and well-noted history of May-December romances with an older man and a sprightlier woman, though the cultural connotation always seems to be negative. Take the movie First Wives Club, where the three heroines are thrown together after each one’s husband leaves them for a younger woman. The movie plays off the cultural premise that the middle-aged women aren’t as valuable as the youthfully attractive women their husbands take after. Don’t worry, the first wives get their redemption in the end, but you get the idea; older men, usually fiscally successful ones, will ditch women their own age to ‘rob the cradle’ to have a pretty young thing on their arm.

 

But what about the ‘gold diggers’? We could all name a couple of real-life anecdotes such as former Playboy Bunny Anna Nicole Smith who, at 26, married Texas billionaire Howard Marshall in his 89th year. Can we assume she was gold digging? Well maybe yes, maybe no, but after he died Marshall didn’t leave Smith any money. Zero. Even after a decade of litigation, and Smith’s death, all the attempts to gain that gold didn’t pan out. It remains to be seen if Crystal Harris, third wife of infamous Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner, will fare better than Smith: Harris and Hefner have an age gap of 60 years between them.

 

The flip side of relationships with age gaps (in heterosexuals) is an older woman with a studly young man. The movie Sunset Boulevard is one of the earliest cultural examples of this pairing, with an older well-established woman with a younger man who benefited from her financial affections. It didn’t end too well for either person in that couple, and maybe that ending reflected a societal disapproval of ‘cougar’ relationships. But that was then, and Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (16 year age gap) are a strong modern-day example that seems to show more societal acceptance. There was even a tv show called Cougar Town that began based around older women ‘hunting’ younger men.

 

What about gay couples? Are age gaps common among us? Do same-sex couples have larger age gaps than straight couples? To answer that we need some data.

 

The analysis website FiveThirtyEight, formerly part of the New York Times and now owned by ESPN, published a brief but insightful response to a reader who asked about age differences for both gay and straight couples. In her reply the author pulled on data from the 2014 Current Population Survey which is administered by the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this survey doesn’t post stats on gay couples (supposedly raw data is available but by request only) the author delved into some stats that Facebook ran based on user ages and relationship status. Those numbers showed that same-sex couples definitely had higher rates of age-discordant couples than straight couples, and within age gap pairings same-sex couples tended to have larger gaps between partners than their hetero peers (gay male couples with a partner in their mid-30’s to mid-40’s had the highest age gaps of all three groups). These findings on established relationships seem to be mirrored in stats that asked about potential relationships reported on by gay-specific outlet Autostraddle (the world’s most popular gay/bi women’s website). According to their review of a 2013 aging survey “LGBT respondents are more likely to be attracted to people older than them by more than 10 years compared to straight respondents” and “LGBT respondents think they attract people younger than them by more than 10 years more so than straight respondents do.”  Autostraddle also did research of their own which found that 77% of respondent’s 18-to-29-year-olds were open to being romantically and/or sexually involved with women 10+ years older than them, and 97% were interested in women 5-10 years older. Respondents 30 years or older 61% were open to women 10+ years younger, 91% in women 5+ years younger, 87% in women 10+ years older and 98% in women 5+ years older.

 

Another great Autostraddle article tallied up some real-life examples in 11 Lesbian Couples Who Don’t Mind The (Age) Gap . Known figures such as Rachel Maddow, Elen DeGeneres, Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, and American Horror Story actress Sarah Paulson all have relationships with sizeable (10+ year) age gaps.  For gay/bi men we have examples such as designer Tom Ford at the younger end of a 13 year difference with Richard Buckley, Olympian Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black have a 20 years difference, and fashionista Calvin Klein, 72, with former boytoy Nick Gruber, 24, weigh-in at a 48 year age gap (source).

 

Do gay couples catch the same negativity for these relationships that straight couples do? Does defaulting outside the heteronormative space give us more liberty? What about the money? If we took the money away, are we inclined to view age gaps as more acceptable?  Are YOU only after a silver daddy or a sweet young thing? Join us at 8:30pm for Gay District this Friday January 15th 2016 at the DC LGBT Center to dish and discuss.

 

Gay District meets at The DC Center, located inside the Reeves building at 2000 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20009.  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 the DC Center at (202) 682-2245.

 

Other resources on this week’s topic include:

What’s the perfect age gap for an ideal relationship?

Can a Significant Age Gap Ruin Your Relationship?

Six things you’ll only know if you’re in an age-gap relationship.