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Gaygenda Magazine: Evolution Issue

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For years, conservative media outlets have been rantingon and on about the "gay agenda." Some even believethat the LGBTQ+ community is working on some spooky,evil plot to turn the kids gay... Do you honestly believe thatthe gays could ever be that organized?Everyone is welcome, whether you're from the Bi-tinerary, the Trans Target, the Sapphic Schedule, thePan Plan, the Ace Agenda, or any other department!was founded in 2021GAYGENDAIssue 005August-October 2022, EVOLUTIONWriterGAYGENDAP.O. BOX 579K0A 2T0North Gower, ON2022 GAYGENDA All rights reserved.None of the contents within this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any means (electronic,photocopying, screenshot, recording, or otherwise) without the express prior permission of the publishers. Thedepiction, likeness, appearance, or reference of any person or entity in GAYGENDA cannot be taken as an indicationof social, political, or sexual orientation nor gender identity of such persons and entities. WriterSenior EditorContent EditorEva ClarkErika Della CioppaHannah DicksonTanner ArmstrongEditor in ChiefTanner ArmstrongGM005Redefining the Gay Agenda. Find out more by visiting gaygenda.orgSHOP GAYE V O L U T I O N“I will never apologize for who I am.I’ve worked hard to evolve and I’mproud of my triumphs.”— ALEX ELLEContent EditorKatie Mulcahy

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Pay special mind to yourphysical health this year.Personal relationships willbe a sanctuary andwelcomed reprieve. Prepare to travel thisyear in different ways.Love may introduce newchallenges along the way.sagittariusThis year, your expectedcareer advancementmay be very high. Butmake sure to treadcarefully in love.Many great careeropportunities and lovepossibilities are coming.Tread carefully regardingyour finances.Prepare yourself for life-changing events. Stayopen to the opportunitiesthat arise.This year will be full ofgood fortune for you.Career success willaccompany good fortunein your private life.Changes in personal andprofessional life could befrustrating. Look forwardto a deeper connectionwith yourself. Eventually, success will fillyour life, but it will feel slowat first. Many doors willopen for you this year, ifyou know where to look.You will be pleased withyour achievements indifferent areas of your lifethis year! Be mindful ofunnecessary expenses.Don't be alarmed by thefact that worries andnerves may intensify. Yourlove life will be supportive.This year has manyopportunities to allowgrowth, advancement,and flourishing of love.GAYENDA HOROSCOPENurture your love life thisyear, but be watchful ofyour career andeducational activities.aries taurus geminicancerleovirgolibra scorpioaquariuscapricorn pisces

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Ready to use! Fullycustomizable habit tracker,task planner, and journal.NOTION TEMPLATEPrintable weekly plannerKeep track of your priorities,to-do's, habits, and moreGAYGENDA PLANNERREADER exclusivesGAYGENDAGAYGENDA CALENDARPrint-ready, attach to wall or deskFun, scannable QR codesGM005 COLLECTION

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Breaking oundaries & inarieslike a adass.Queer Sex Therapywith Casey TannerThe Lez Hang OutPodcast with Ellie& LeighIN THIS ISSUE@lezhangoutpodThe Surface LevelPodcast with Damon,Tony, and Jordan@surfacelevelpodcast@queersextherapyBeing Gracefulwith Yourself withTy Deran@mx.deranFEATURED IN THIS GAYGENDA03091521Lesbians assemble! Let's talkrepresentation...What does it mean to be fearless inthought and curious at heart?Queer Sex Therapy—what is itgood for? Absolutely everything!PHOTOGRAPHY: JANA HEIDENREICHPHOTOGRAPHY:JMA PHOTOGRAPHY

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LGBTQ Reads: AResource to Live ByReclaiming YourJoy with MinaGerges2731Getting straight-up literary (in arefreshingly queer way!)Hey, society, we need to have atalk... It's not me, it's you.@lgbtqreads@minagergesGayJoy withNicole RipkaIN THIS ISSUE39A queer cocktail of pop culture,news, and affirming events—shaken, not stirred!@housegayjoyThe MEUS Brandwith MarichelleHills45Peaking behind the curtains ofthis LGBTQ-owned lifestylebrand...@meusshop

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headlinesRepublicans Aim to PassNational 'Don't Say Gay' LawThe GuardianEmma D'Arcy's "NegroniSbagliato" Clip TakesInternet by StormTikTokMexico Senate Votes toProhibit 'Sexual ConversionTherapy'BloombergLGBTQ+ Youth Twice asLikely to Experience OnlineHate Speech, Study FindsGay TimesHate Crimes Reach an All-Time High in UK and WalesGay TimesSlovenia Becomes FirstPost-Communist Country toLegalize Same-Sex Marriage,AdoptionsXtra MagazineIn a First, Brazil Elected TwoTrans Women to Its NationalCongressThem01

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headlinesCuba Legalizes Same-SexMarriage in HistoricReferendumCNNMalta Confirms FreeGender-Affirming SurgeryGay TimesIndia Grants SocialBenefits for LGBTQ+FamiliesGCNIran Sentences Two LGBTQActivists to Death for‘Promoting Homosexuality’Iran InternationalSingapore to IntroduceBill Repealing Ban onSex between MenBloombergA Federal Court RuledThat Gender Dysphoria Isa Protected DisabilityMicA Fifth Person Has LikelyBeen Cured of HIVThemJudge Rules Federal LawRequiring Employers toCover PrEP Violates'Religious Freedom'LGBTQ Nation02

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It is widely known that when you put two queerpeople in the same room, they’re bound toeventually find each other, one way or another...Something to do with Newton’s 4th law, or maybe thedynamics of gay gravitational fields? Nevertheless,this is precisely what happened when Leigh HolmesFoster and Ellie Brigida met six years ago at aWomen’s A Cappella Festival, drawn towards eachother by gay polarity and fate. The two would quicklybecome bonded by a shared interest in lesbianmedia, initially raving about Carmilla, a lesbianvampire web series. Leigh and Ellie found in eachother the space to celebrate and nerd out aboutlesbian media in a way they never could before.Spending the next year calling each other to talkabout new sapphic shows and movies, Leigh and Ellieeventually had the idea to create a podcast with thehopes of opening the discussion to a widercommunity of like-minded gays. LezHangOutPodcast“We were lucky to have started with some ofthe skills necessary to create a show,because Ellie is a professional recordingengineer and Leigh had her own recordingequipment to record her a cappella group.We brainstormed some segment ideas,including our favorite "Should’ve Been Gay"episodes, started recording and preparingfor release, and the rest is history!”As a show focused entirely on lesbian representationon screen, the Lez Hang Out podcast quicklyballooned in popularity, amassing over 1.5 milliondownloads. The show and its creators have evolvedin major ways since its original inception six years ago—what initially started as bi-weekly episodes turnedinto a weekly show with accompanying in-personevents, and a turn toward creating their own lesbianrepresentation in the form of a musical, entitled TheFlame. Between all of these evolving projects, Leighand Ellie are shining a bright spotlight on lesbianmedia and the importance of good representation. You’ve just opened your 6th season(wow!)—how has the show grownsince you got started?Our audience has grown exponentially since ourfirst season. We had about 50 downloads perepisode in our first three months, and we’re nowat over 1.5 million total downloads across all ofour episodes. In our second season, we started to host liveevents, which was so exciting for us to get tobuild community in person. In 2019 alone, wehosted 16 trivia events in five different cities.Once the pandemic hit, we moved our triviaonline, which meant we could connect withlisteners all across the world. We even havesome listeners who come to trivia from Germany,France and Australia. After talking about what we wanted to see withlesbian representation, we decided to create ourown lesbian content by writing The Flame, anoriginal musical with a guaranteed happy endingfor our lesbian leads. Turning into contentcreators has been a challenge, but it's sorewarding to start telling our own stories. One ofthe greatest things about our growth was beingable to add more team members—KristinMurison joined our team as an intern and hasbecome an incredibly important part of ourteam, keeping everything running behind thescenes, managing our social media accounts, andeven spearheading our Porch Pride events!,,,,TANNER JAMES | EVA CLARKPHOTOGRAPHY: JANA HEIDENREICH04

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Lez Hang Out | A Lesbian PodcastWhat are your best highlights so far?One of my all-time favorite highlights over theyears for Lez Hang Out is the first time that wewent to Clexacon. It was during the first year thatwe had started Lez Hang Out, and we were soexcited to be going to a convention as a team. Wehosted a panel called "Podcasting 101," andduring the show, there were two people in theaudience who were wearing Lez Hang Out t-shirts! They introduced themselves as Amy andEllen and said that they listened to us every nightbefore they went to sleep, so they felt like wewere their friends. Fast forward to six years later,and Amy and Ellen are our friends! Every time wego to Clexacon, we look forward to catching up!—EllieOne major highlight for me was our very first liveshow at The Bell House in New York. Podcastingis such an interesting medium because you reallyrecord in a vacuum—that first time getting to seeeach other and our guests face-to-face andhaving a live audience reacting in real time wasso incredible. —LeighWhat’s next for Lez Hang Out?There’s a lot on the horizon for Lez Hang Out!We’re working on getting The Flame frompodcast form to the stage, applying to new worksfestivals, and reaching out to producers to getfunding. If you know any rich lesbians, send themour way! How would you describe theaudience that you've built?Community has always been a central missionfor Lez Hang Out, and we’ve been able to buildthat community over the past six years. It's themost rewarding part of creating this podcast. Wehave a Discord chat for our Patreon where ourlisteners are constantly chatting about theirfavorite shows, dating advice, parenting, andother general shenanigans. There are membersfrom all over the world who are now friendsbecause of the podcast, and that feels so good. Lez Hang Out's contributions to the community aremade especially important by the fact that there isstill such a lack of good lesbian representation inmainstream media. The Lez Hang Out podcast, now inits sixth season, shows absolutely no sign of slowingdown. Leigh and Ellie have carefully built a ravenousaudience around the show, and continue to leave alasting impression on lesbian media. If you’re just discovering the Lez Hang Out podcast,be sure to check out their "Should’ve Been Gay"episodes on the podcast platform of your choice! The best episode to get started with?There are so many! I think for new listeners, the"Should’ve Been Gay" episodes are a fun place tostart. Some of our favorites are Harry Potter withKaren Knox and Gwen Cumyn, Mean Girls withMary Holland, and Encanto with Jess Darrow.@LEZHANGOUTPOD ON INSTAGRAMLEZ HANG OUT PODCASTPHOTOGRAPHY: JANA HEIDENREICH05

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SURFACEL E V E LEP 510:Monkeypox,ChileEP 501:The BlackGay AgendaEP 310:MasculineSissyEP 004:Dad, I'm ABottom09

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SurfaceLevelPodcastIntroduce us to Surface Level andhow it all started!Surface Level is a show that grew out of greatconversation and wine between three friendsfrom college. We didn’t feel like our experienceswere being highlighted in the media, and decidedwe would use our personal and professionalexperiences to create a medium to do that. Werecorded our first season in Damon’s living roomduring the pandemic, not knowing if anyonewould even listen. Our goal was to reach at leastone person and hopefully share somethingmeaningful.Your ethos is “fearless in thought &curious at heart.” How does thatguide your work?The goal of our show is to learn through what cansometimes be tough conversations. Eachepisode takes a deep dive into a topic that we’recurious about, and we dissect it through ourpersonal experiences and perspectives. Wedescribe our show as “edutainment” because it isequal parts education and fun. We utilizeresearch and expert guests to ground ourconversations in facts, while our decade-longfriendship serves as the heart of the show.When you mix good wine with great company,sometimes it leads to relaxed nights instreaming Real Housewives, and other times itcan lead to provoking and thoughtfulconversations. Thankfully, it was the latter whenDamon Epps, Tony Jermin, and Jordan Randallgot together and had the idea for the SurfaceLevel podcast. Born out of the pandemic, Surface Level has grown into a phenomenoncentered around engaging in toughconversations. With a mantra that reads“fearless in thought & curious at heart,” thepodcast cultivates openness, curiosity, andsincerity with each episode. What can you expect as a Surface Level insider?Podcast listeners often learn something newwith each episode. Best described as"edutainment," Surface Level strives to balanceeducation with energy and excitement.Leveraging careful topic analysis andknowledgeable guest appearances, the show isable to discuss important topics in a way thatfeels safe and inviting for its audience. Thechemistry between the show’s three hosts hasled Surface Level to explode into a communityof loyal listeners. Dealing with challengingtopics, the three hosts often get vulnerable withtheir personal histories and viewpoints, aventure that enriches the conversation andmakes it that much more relatable to listeners. As Damon, Tony, and Jordan grow and evolve intheir experiences and perspectives, so does thepodcast. While the show has reached hugeaudiences, Surface Level had humblebeginnings.TANNER JAMES | KATIE MULCAHYWhat are some of the ways that theshow has evolved since it began?Well, we aren’t recording on the floor of Damon’sliving room anymore, so the audio quality ismuch better! Last season we introduced video toour format. This season we recorded an excitingepisode live during our visit to Berlin, Germany.Most importantly, our community has grown.We've met incredible people as guests on theshow, and our listeners—whom Tonyaffectionately calls “Surface Level insiders”—have heard our stories, and have shared theirsback, and we see this happening from people allover the world. We went from hoping to reachone person to reaching thousands, and thatcontinues to grow more every day.PHOTOGRAPHY: HARVEY JACKSON (@_HARVEY_JACKSON)10

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Surface Level demonstrates the value of bringingnew perspectives to the table. Damon, Tony, andJordan generously organize each episode to bringvalue and spur thoughtful consideration witheach topic they explore. Heading into its sixthseason, Surface Level continues to inspire uswhile keeping us endlessly curious at heart. Catch up with Surface Level on your favoritepodcast platform, and follow them on Instagram(@surfacelevelpodcast).What are each of your favoritehighlights over the years?Damon: One of my favorite things about doingthis show has been hearing stories of Black,queer individuals from all backgrounds. We didan episode centered on age in which weinterviewed Black, queer men ages 25 to 64about their views on relationships, race, sexualhealth, and ageism. It remains one of my favoriteepisodes we’ve ever done.Jordan: Doing the show has had an incrediblypositive impact on my relationship with myfamily. Prior to the show, I didn’t discuss myqueerness with family members often, nor was Iasked about it. I believe that publicly speakingabout my queerness on the show has madeeveryone more comfortable about bringing thetopic up, myself included. The show hasunlocked a deeper and more meaningfulrelationship between me and my familymembers across the board.Tony: One of the biggest highlights for me hasbeen building a community of curious, fearless“insiders,” and cultivating new relationships withindividuals I would have otherwise never met.Beyond that, it has been beautiful to experiencepersonal growth by tapping into the power ofvulnerability. Nothing has been more fulfillingthan stepping into the person I’m becoming.What are y’all feeling curious aboutright now?We’re curious about how the show evolves as thethree of us do, as individuals. We started theshow in the early days of the pandemiclockdown, when we were all newly single, havinglived blocks away from each other in Harlem fornearly a decade. The last few years have beenfilled with immense change, from amazing peaksto excruciating lows. The nucleus of our show isour different life experiences and how they colorour opinions—as we grow, we’re curious abouthow our thoughts and opinions evolve with us.@SURFACELEVELPODCAST ON INSTAGRAMSURFACE LEVEL PODCASTWhat’s next for the Surface Levelpodcast?We’re taking a bit of a break to reset after seasonfive because we truly believe in self-care. After alittle R&R, we will start preparing for season six,which will launch later this fall!PHOTOGRAPHY: HARVEY JACKSON (@_HARVEY_JACKSON)11

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expression005i w i l l s u r v i v eA t f i r s t I w a sa f r a i d , I w a sp e t r i f i e dK e p t t h i n k i n gI c o u l d n e v e rl i v e w i t h o u ty o u b y m ys i d eB u t t h e n Is p e n t s om a n y n i g h t st h i n k i n g h o wy o u d i d m ew r o n gA n d I g r e ws t r o n g .G L O R I A G A Y N O R14

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CASEY TANNERPHOTOGRAPHY: JMA PHOTOGRAPHY (@JMA___PHOTOGRAPHY) Queer Sex Therapy is an Instagram and Tiktokaccount—it’s basically the platform I use to talkabout the intersection of the work I do, whichrevolves around queer folks, sex, and therapy. Irealized that, while there were a ton of peopledoing work around queerness, and a ton ofpeople doing work around sex, and a ton ofpeople doing work around therapy, there wasn’ta lot out there at the intersection of those things.I started talking about it online and on socialmedia, and because it was a niche that hadn’tbeen filled, at a time when a lot of people were inexistential crises, sexuality was coming to theforefront for a lot of folks! People were coming to terms with or learninghow to celebrate their queerness for the firsttime, and seeing the ways their sex lives hadchanged in the context of quarantine. It was workthat was really needed, and just so happened tobe what I was doing at the time, and I think that’swhy it took off. One of the biggest misconceptions about sextherapy is that we only talk about sex—that’scompletely untrue! As a trained sex therapist, Ihave all the training any other therapist wouldhave, with the additional training in sex therapy.A lot of my sessions look like any other therapysession! Someone might seek out a sex therapistspecifically for things like desire discrepancywithin their relationship, struggles with thingslike erections, orgasms, lubrication, physicalpain, trauma, as well as the intersection ofmental health and sexuality. Casey Tanner is the CEO of The Expansive Group,a company that offers queer sex therapy andcoaching. As an AASECT-certified (AmericanAssociation of Sexuality Educators, Counselors,and Therapists) sex therapist, Casey specializesin working with queer, trans, and gender-expansive people. Casey realized that with the2020 quarantine came time for reflection, whichalso meant that there was more time forquestioning our identities, our sexualities, andour relationships with sex. This led to hercreating the Instagram and TikTok presenceQueer Sex Therapy, where she provided viewerswith information and answered questions aboutsex and sexuality from an anti-oppressive,decolonized, and queer-affirming perspective. Today, the Queer Sex Therapy account is run by ateam of six people who believe that everyonedeserves answers to their questions. Caseyjoined us to talk about Queer Sex Therapy andhow her journey has taken her from evangelicalministry to online sex educator and therapist. Introduce us to Queer Sex Therapy! HANNAH DICKSON | ERIKA DELLA CIOPPA15

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Walk us through what led you tobuild The Expansive Group. Whatservices do you offer thecommunity, and what is theimportance of the work that you do?I started Queer Sex Therapy, and it grew to over100k followers in the first year. What I was reallystruck by was what was happening in my DMs—Iwas getting hundreds of messages per week frompeople who had seen my posts and had beenspurred to tell me their stories and ask for myhelp. I realized that, while my posts werevaluable, these are challenges that areembedded in people’s histories and bodies.These weren’t things that could be solved withjust a little bit of information. I realized that if I wanted a list of anti-oppressive,decolonized, queer-affirming sex therapy optionsfor people, I needed to gather this collectivemyself. A year and a half later, we’ve got 30 folksat The Expansive Group, and we’re seeing over1,000 clients per year. 99% of those clients arepeople who come from the Instagram and Tiktokaccounts! PHOTOGRAPHY: JMA PHOTOGRAPHY (@JMA___PHOTOGRAPHY) CASEY TANNER16

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CASEY TANNEROn your website, you share that youoriginally considered pursuing acareer in evangelical ministry. Whatwas the journey that took you fromespousing purity culture in thechurch to becoming a queer sextherapist?I wasn’t just considering it, I was really in it! I wasdoing ministry, I was going to an evangelicalcollege where I had to sign a document that said Iwouldn’t engage in any homosexual behavior. Itwas really intense! No one forced me to do it—itwas what I thought I wanted. And then my mentalhealth crashed, and I now understand that was aresult of the tension between who I really wasand how I was trying to represent myself to theworld. I was struggling with an eating disorder,severe depression and anxiety, and it was sittingin a psych ward that I thought to myself for thefirst time, “Oh my gosh, I’m queer, and if I don’tdo something with that, I might not survive.” From there, it was like 0 to 100. I told mytherapist about it, and I was dating a womanwithin two weeks! The fact that my mental healthturned around so quickly was evidence to methat this was a beautiful and good thing aboutme. From there, I began to question a lot of thereligious beliefs that I had, and shifted gearsfrom ministry to psychology. That journey was sopowerful that there was nothing I wanted to dowith my life except help other people and bringhealing through authenticity.How would you describe the impactof the pandemic and quarantine onyour industry and on mental health?We all have tools we use to avoid looking atourselves and being honest about who we are.Pre-COVID, we had access to a lot more of thesetools! In quarantine, a lot of the ways we avoidedlooking at ourselves fell away, and we wereforced to reckon with the good, the bad, and theugly—categorizing our queerness as part of thegood, of course. It had us asking those hardquestions in isolation, and potentially in homesor with caregivers who weren’t prepared to havethose conversations. I think that’s why a lot of people turned to socialmedia. Even if you’re physically isolated fromother people, there are other ways ofconnecting! PHOTOGRAPHY: JMA PHOTOGRAPHY (@JMA___PHOTOGRAPHY) 17

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If you’re interested in joining the Queer SexTherapy community, follow them on Instagramand Tiktok @queersextherapy and help add tothe conversation. If you’re interested in therapy,visit The Expansive Group’s website,, and reach out via theintake form. From there, an intake specialist willpair you with a therapist that matches yourconcerns. Sex, sexuality, and identity can be hardto talk about, but the more we do it, the easier itgets. Let’s keep the conversation going!Looking back on the last 10-15 years,surely you’re not the same personyou once were. How would you sayyou've evolved from your youngerself? When I first came out, it was a personalrevolution for me. In a way, I thought I hadfigured out the last piece of the puzzle, and that Ifinally knew everything I needed to know aboutmyself. Of course, that wasn’t true! I realized thatjust because I knew I was queer didn't mean I'dundone all of the internalized shame,queerphobia, and compulsory heterosexuality.That was a whole other journey I had to go on. This lead me to confront not just my sexuality,but the way I was showing up in sex—realizingthat no one ever taught me what it’s like to be aninitiator in a relationship with someone of thesame gender. I’ve never been allowed to take upspace in the way that I am now, and how doesthat impact my relationship with orgasms andpleasure? Zooming out from that, whenever I think I’m onthat final journey that’s going to help me fullyunderstand who I am, I realize that I’m justopening the door to the next corridor where I’mconfronted with another part of myself thatneeds more attention and healing. It’s onejourney after another! PHOTOGRAPHY: JMA PHOTOGRAPHY (@JMA___PHOTOGRAPHY) CASEY TANNER18

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"WhY dOThEy hAvEtO ShOVe iTdOwN oUrtHrOatS?!"19

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How do you identify, and whatdoes your identity mean to you?I identify as a transfeminine non-binary demigirl.These are the words that resonate most deeplywith me when looking to describe the quality ofmy spirit and my physical experience movingthrough the world. I believe that there are trulyno words that can fully capture the complexityof the human experience and the human identity,but I also believe that words are a powerful toolwe can use to shine a light on different pieces ofourselves. I use these words as a means toconnect with myself and others who are like me.Once I found the language that most closelyreflected the true nature of my being, I felt like Iwas granted space to release myself from shame.This left more room for self-love.Loving yourself out loud is complicated and radical.Ty Deran (they/she) is proudly doing this and sharingtheir journey with their followers, helping to createand nourish an online community based in love andacceptance of yourself and others. Coming to termswith their identity just before the 2020 pandemicbegan, Ty has emphasized the power of language inhelping illuminate parts of our identity and allowingus to connect with others who might relate to us.TY DERANBEINGGRACEFULWITHYOURSELF:HANNAH DICKSON | EVA CLARK22

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How have you learned to manageyour experience with dysphoria?I find that my understanding of my dysphoria isconsistently evolving. My dysphoria and bodydysmorphia and insecurities are all swirlingaround my mind and heart. They are often atodds with each other. Sometimes they happen atthe same time. For so long, I blamed myself formy dysphoria, writing it off as me just being“insecure.” I am learning that, while I do haveinsecurities that I can heal with loving attentionalone, there is a separate experience of genderdysphoria that requires a bit more action andphysical attention. I curb my dysphoria throughmany exterior forms of expression. I curb itthrough affirmation that my body looks transand non-binary in whatever form it exists in,because that is who I am.My body LOOKStrans and non-binary in whateverform it exists in,because that is whoI am.,,,,Let's talk about your inner child.I first met my inner child by surprise. I had aprofound experience of feeling this little girl inpigtails staring at me and smiling with the widestgrin. She said to me, “You are free. Thank you,thank you, thank you.” I realized at this momentthat she is always with me. I have access to thatself at all times. Whenever I am going through achallenging moment, I often find it is my innerchild who needs comforting. Allowing her tocome to the forefront to play has also beendeeply healing. The more my relationship withmy inner child develops, the closer I feel tomyself. This is something that I believe everyoneshould foster.TY DERAN (@MX.DERAN)TY DERAN (@MX.DERAN)THE IMMENSE UPSIDE OF INTERNAL REFLECTION23

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Where are you headed on yourwellness journey?I have come so far in my wellness journey, and itisn’t one that will ever end. There is nodestination we will ever reach in this life. We areconstantly learning, healing, growing,expanding… The destination is the choice wemake in each moment to live as true as we can.That choice is how I know I will end up where Ibelong.Using social media to build community and allowingothers to see themselves in Ty’s experiences hasbeen a form of catharsis for over 132k followersonline, but after talking with Ty, it’s clear they’re notjust in it for the social media clout—Ty has a genuinelove for the community they’ve found online. Inclosing, Ty invites you to take whatever wordsresonate with you into your life, and remember to bekind to yourself and those around you.How have you evolved in yourconcept of self?So many of society’s oppressive structures andideals live in us. We have been so conditioned tosee ourselves through a limited lens, and it is adefinite challenge to heal from those toxicthought patterns. Whenever I feel that fear andjudgement come up within me, it helps me tostep back and witness those thoughts andfeelings as a separate entity. What I have found isthat the toxic thoughts that aren’t truly mine feelphysically restrictive. It is a collapsing sensation,and the thoughts and feelings that are comingfrom me and my truth feel expansive. It feels likean inhale. Making this distinction has beendeeply healing. The more I do this, the moreoften I find myself in that expansive energy.Want to keep up with Ty? Thankfully,you can find Ty all over the internet.Make sure to follow them on all socialmedia platforms to stay up-to-datewith their amazing content!@MX.DERAN ON INSTAGRAM@MX.DERAN ON TIKTOKTY DERAN (@MX.DERAN)RELEASE THE THOUGHTS THAT LONGER SERVE YOU24

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What are your thoughts on LGBTQ+literary representation in 2022? LGBTQ Reads is a website of LGBTQ+ bookrecommendations, curated by author and bloggerDahlia Adler. With this resource, Dahlia hasconnected thousands of avid readers looking forstories that represent the varied perspectives of theLGBTQ+ community.From humble beginnings, LGBTQ Reads has grownfrom a basic book recommendation website into acomprehensive directory to satiate every kind ofqueer reader. LGBTQ Reads celebrates literary representation of alldifferent kinds of identities, something that membersof the LGBTQ+ community do not take for granted. Asqueer characters, stories, and themes continue totake up space in media, it is becoming easier forLGBTQ+ people to see parts of themselves reflectedback at them. The effects of this cannot beoverstated—there is an undeniable familiarity andvalidation that comes from seeing yourselfrepresented in movies, TV, and literature, especiallywhen you belong to a marginalized community. Thewarmth of positive representation is a powerfulaffirmation that your voice, existence, andperspective matter. We connected with Dahlia to learn more aboutLGBTQ Reads and to get her thoughts on queerrepresentation in 2022. The biggest, most recognizable moves to me asof late are an increase in transmasculinerepresentation in YA, an increase in traditionallypublished Sapphic romances, and an increase inrepresentation all around within Middle-Gradefiction. I think it's fairly safe to say that all-around transfem representation, especially bytransfem creators, needs a huge boost, and we'restill looking at so much whiteness in queer rep. Why did you build LGBTQ Reads?What specifically prompted me, at the time, wasthat we were just starting to see a rise in LGBTQ+representation in places where it had been verydifficult to find before, such as in books foryounger readers or books set in college. As bothan author and a blogger, I was very aware of whatwas coming out, and I wanted to put thatinformation to good use. I definitely think Iachieved that!TANNER JAMES | ERIKA DELLA CIOPPA27

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How has LGBTQ Reads grown?The addition of new ways to search the databaseis an ongoing project for me, especially with themore books I discover. I remember, early on, Idebated whether to give Middle-Grade fiction itsown page, because there were only a couple oftitles. Now, there are so many titles that they'rebroken down by genre, gender, orientation, andso on! The community has grown, too, especiallyon Tumblr. where there are over 20,000followers specifically there to request andreceive book recommendations.Top 3 RecommendationsBeatingHeartBaby by Lio MinLGBTQ Reads is an accessible resource working toconnect people from marginalized groups to storiesthat acknowledge their existence and celebrate theircontributions to the world. Stories help us makesense of our lived experiences, facilitate deeperconnections with our broader communities, and feelaffirmed in our identities.Thankfully, stories that center marginalized identitiesare slowly cropping up more on library bookshelvesand in bookstores. You’ll be hard-pressed to find abetter way to identify the exact book your queerheart desires than with a resource like LGBTQ Reads.Happy reading!Are you a voracious reader looking for yournext book? Check out LGBTQ Reads! You can also follow@lgbtqreads on Instagram and Tumblr.LavenderHouse by Lev A.C. RosenMistakesWere Made by Meryl Wilsner28

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"SAMESEXJUSTWON'TFLY"manwoman^ this cartoon went viral on twitter despite making no sense...29

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hetero bike :(unicycle!asexualpoly-copter!hetero car :(30

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RECLAIMINGYOUR JOY WITHMINAGERGESGrowing up in Egypt as a visibly queer Arab boy camewith difficulties for Mina Gerges as he grew into hisidentity. Struggling to find role models that lookedlike him, the world was showing Mina that life wouldbe easier for him to simply conform. Living in anenvironment that reminded him daily that he didn’tquite fit in, Mina was forced to bravely takeownership of his differences. When you’re made tofeel invisible by the world, you have to work twice ashard to feel seen, be heard, and command respect. Today, Mina is a content creator, model, and fashiondesigner who is tearing down the boundaries thatconstrict our ideas of masculinity, queerness, andbody image. Subverting society's expectations is notsomething that has always been comfortable forMina, but over the years, he has become determinedto lean into his voice and live out loud. Mina’s secretweapon for existing unapologetically? Doing the workto regain control of your experience. Through his ownjourney, Mina realized he was in total control of howhe feels about his body and identity—this is no longerup to other people. Growing into his own power, Minahas taken responsibility for shaping his future andidentity. Mina's career is heavily influenced by advocacy workfor plus-size men, especially in fashion. For too long,plus-size people have been ignored by the fashionindustry, in yet another example of how societyerases people who don't fit into a specific mold.Persevering through his personal growth journey,Mina has taken steps to unlearn the harmful ideasthat surround society’s expectations for plus-size,queer men. When we decide to no longer believe thethings we are taught about our identities and bodies,we get to rewrite the narrative into one that buildslove and connection with ourselves, inside and out.In our conversation with Mina, we got to dive deeperinto his story and learn about how he’s grownthroughout his evolving career. The thing about being part of the queer Arabcommunity is that, unfortunately, it’s acommunity that hasn't experienced muchprogress over the years. The negativestereotypes and ideas about queer Arab peoplethat existed when I was a kid still persist now. I'veexperienced a lot of negativity, hate, and bigotryfrom my own people.Over the years, I've learned to show up in thereal world, not just online. I love my queernessand I refuse to let other people take that awayfrom me. Representation online is extremelyimportant, and I’m happy to share myexperience. I've gotten this recurring commentwhere people will say that I’m the first openlygay Egyptian guy they’ve come across, and Ithink that's amazing. I also think it’s equallyimportant to show up in the real world—asgenuinely scary as it is, being seen in communityspaces as a very visibly queer person is an act ofbravery that challenges people to question theirown bigotry. The biggest thing that I focus onnow is not just being super gay and superEgyptian online, but also existing the same way inreal life. ALEXA, SHOW ME "GAY EGYPTIAN"What's it like being a role model forso many queer kids to look up to?TANNER JAMES | EVA CLARKPHOTOGRAPHY: MING @HEYMINGALING 32

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What drew me to become a designer was howdifficult it is to shop as a plus-sized guy. If youstep into a mall as a plus-sized guy, the types ofstores and styles available are so limiting. We’relargely ignored in the fashion industry as awhole, so a big part of my advocacy workthroughout my career has been aboutchallenging and pushing boundaries. It kind ofcame out of a place of anger and frustration, butalso from a desire to create meaningful change inthis world. I started out by watching YouTubevideos and TikToks, and taught myself how tosew. It was crazy because, as of January 2022, Ididn't even know how to turn on a sewingmachine! It's also been very inspiring to createsilhouettes and designs that are flattering andchallenge the types of styles that are available toplus-sized men. My biggest goal is to continue tocreate more change and inspire more brands tobe inclusive.How did you get started as a fashiondesigner?When it comes to body image, Mina has undergone aradical transformation. His relationship with his bodyhas evolved in no small part thanks to social media.What had initially contributed to negative feelingsabout his body eventually became a tool to help himimprove his relationship with himself. Mina has sageadvice for people looking to improve theirrelationship with their bodies using social media. I think the most important thing is to surroundyourself with people and to follow accounts onsocial media that look like you and make you feelgood about yourself. Unfortunately, we're almostalways online, and the things we see every dayimpact our relationships with ourselves, ourbody image, and our self-confidence. If you arefollowing accounts of people who make you feelbad about yourself, then you will eventually feelbad about yourself all the time. I think one of thebiggest things I did while recovering from myeating disorder, in my journey with my own bodyimage, was unfollowing accounts of other gaymen that made me feel like my body was notgood enough. Instead, follow people who looklike you. People who empower you. People whoshare parts of their identities and have interestsbeyond their six-pack. I think that slowly helpsyou to realize that there is more to life, especiallyas gay men. That’s one of the biggest things that Ishare with people, because it really does make ahuge difference in how you view yourself.How have you healed yourrelationship with yourself?ANSWERING THE CALL TO FASHIONPHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS ZAPATO @RIZZIANDRIZZIMINA GERGES (@MINAGERGES) 33

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The biggest change throughout the years is that Ifeel like I have control over how I feel about mybody and my identity. I don't let other people'sopinions or thoughts impact how I feel aboutmyself. When I was first starting out on socialmedia, I was getting so much hate and negativityonline. I had to really take matters into my ownhands and learn not to let the negativecomments impact how I view myself. At the endof the day, those people are projecting andleaving those mean comments out of a place oftheir own sadness and misery. I guess the biggestchange is that I am now in control, and thattrickles into my confidence—whether it's makingmy own clothes, doing my own makeup, orexploring my own gender identity through drag.I'm taking it upon myself to shape my own futureand identity, because it's not up to other peopleanymore. What has helped you to becomesuch a confident person?This is a question that I have thought about a lotover the years. I question why the body positivitymovement has not impacted male-dominatedspaces as much as female spaces. I thinkfatphobia is embedded in how men are raised,and that a lot of us, especially gay men, aretaught that being feminine is basically the worstthing a man can grow up to be. We’re told thatbeing a man involves being fit. They say that youneed self-discipline, and that being fat or curvymeans you're not desirable as a man. One of thethings that I believe can be done is changing thenarrative. We're conditioned to view male bodiesand what it means to be a man in such a strictway, and we need to write a new story. There isbeauty in diverse body types. Confidence lookslike so many different things, and that'ssomething that I'm extremely focused on in mymodeling career. Specifically, the idea that I'm abigger boy but I still care about my health. Iexercise, but I still have a bigger body and I amstill attractive. I have no desire to lose weight,and I love my body. I hope we can continue tohave more conversations about acceptable anddesirable body types for men. Where do you believe we stand inthe conversation around bodyimage, in the masculine context?Mina is on a mission to reclaim his joy, a journey thatcan only be made by taking responsibility for hisrelationship with his body and identity. These days,Mina is fiercely protecting his self-image from theopinions of others, something that has helped himstay connected to his joy. Engaging with and treadingnew territory for plus-size men in an industry that’shistorically excluded people like him, Mina’s work infashion continues to shatter expectations at everyturn. Keep up with Mina Gerges on Instagram(@minagerges) and follow along as he conquers thefashion world.@MINAGERGES ON INSTAGRAM“I'm here and I don'tcare what you thinkabout people like me. I deserve dignity and Ideserve respect.”,,,,PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS ZAPATO @RIZZIANDRIZZI34

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SapphosaurusRex T-ShirtOUR CLOSETGay GhostStickerLove Who YouWant T-ShirtI'm ManifestingSticker35

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$15 OFFRedeem this gift card when your cart value exceeds $50. This offer can only be usedonce per user. Gift card may be honored until December 30, 2022 at 11:59PM (EST).GIFT CARDSHOP GAYCLOSETOURTrans VibesStickerThe Moon IsGay StickerQueerness Isin My DNABeanie36

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MATCHAbrosexualAndrophiliaGynephiliaNeutroisSKOLIOSEXUALGraysexualLithromanticMaveriqueTrigenderSomeone whose sexualidentity changes fluidly.Attraction to men ormasculinity.Has a notion of gender thatexists beyond standardgender categories.Attraction to womenor femininity.An asexual who doesn't fallinto one of the primary kindsof asexuality. Someone who only enjoysromantic relationships intheoryA non-binary genderidentity which is consideredto be a null gender.Someone attracted to genderexpressions other thancisgender.A gender identity inwhich a person switchesbetween several gendersANSWER KEY ON LAST PAGE37

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(example)AbrosexualAndrophiliaGynephiliaNeutroisMaveriqueTrigenderGAMESkoliosexualGraysexualLithromanticTwo Spirit(example)ANSWER KEY ON LAST PAGE38

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TANNER JAMES | ERIKA DELLA CIOPPASo, Nicole, how does GayJoycreate queer spaces for thecommunity?We throw events (right now only in NewYork/Brooklyn), as well as create digitalcontent featuring queer folks from both popand local culture. Our flagship mediaproperty is a queer culture newsletter thatgoes out weekly. It's funny, informative, andtopical. Our readers love it, and it's what I'mmost excited about as a proper newslettergeek.What value does GayJoy hope toprovide to the community?GayJoy hopes queer people continue to seethemselves in our content and affirmingspaces. We hope to always make our eventsas accessible as possible. We also want toelevate those who are doing reallyimportant work in the community. We hopewe can help queer people feel seen andheard, as well as get more dollars into queerhands!GAYJOYPHOTOGRAPHY: MARISSA FORTUGNO (@SNAPPPSHOTS)PHOTOGRAPHY: MARISSA FORTUGNO (@SNAPPPSHOTS)One of the foundational rungs on the Hierarchyof Queer Needs is a queer person’s access tospaces that manifest queerness, and we meanthis completely unironically. If queer people getto choose their families, then building them inaffirming spaces is the easiest way to do so. Andas the number of LGBTQ-specific public spacescontinues to decline, it is becoming more andmore difficult to access queer havens in search ofpeople that "get" you the way that a chosenfamily promises to. GayJoy is a media companythat answers the urgent call for queer spaces inits own unique way.As a company, GayJoy centers lesbian, trans,non-binary, and bisexual folks. Their mission is tofacilitate queer visibility, foster queerconnection, and advance queer ideas. Founded by NYU graduate student Nicole Ripka,GayJoy’s primary activities involve throwingevents that celebrate queer inclusivity anddelivering a newsletter that keeps their readersappraised of all things queer culture. With thismodel, GayJoy is able to connect queer peopleboth virtually and in real life, allowing them toengage with their queerness in many differentways. NICOLE RIPKA40

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What inspired you to build GayJoy?What was your original goal?Well, our first event was actually a Zoom concertthat we threw in May of 2020. Four queermusicians performed for about 80 queer folks—Alana Haim actually Zoom-bombed the eventbecause a friend shared it with her! Then, inMarch of 2021, the world started to open back upafter quarantine, but there were no queer spacesto go to. I had so many folks that I wanted togather in a room, and I was craving IRL queerconnection, so I decided to do something aboutit myself. I loved how I felt doing it and justcontinued to bring people together, and then itkind of took off. Our first party was featured inThe Cut, and then we were featured in the NewYork Times, which I was so proud of. The goal has always been to bring queer peopletogether, because community and visibility havebeen crucial to my coming out journey and myfeeling of pride. I want GayJoy to be a space foranyone who has ever felt the desire to exploretheir queerness, and I'm really proud that it'sbeen a space where people have felt safe havingtheir first queer experiences. Ultimately, Irealized I could use the revenue from events tofuel my dream of making queer content, whichI've craved endlessly since coming out. One thing is for certain: without queer spaces, theworld would be unbearably dull. The earlyrecognition and successes of GayJoy reveal thecritical need for opportunities that invite peopleinto queer spaces, both online and—perhapsmore importantly—in real life. Facilitatingaccessible points of contact to queerness helpspeople feel validated, build community, and knowcomfort and safety when engaging with their ownqueerness. GayJoy’s mission is an important one—increasing queer visibility and community-building rescues queer people from the isolationthat comes from navigating a heteronormativeworld alone. If you find yourself yearning forconnection with queer spaces, ideas, and people,look for brands like GayJoy that are whollycommitted to fostering queer community. Want to keep up with GayJoy? Subscribe to theirnewsletter at, and follow them onInstagram, @housegayjoy.@HOUSEGAYJOY ON INSTAGRAMPHOTOGRAPHY: MARISSA FORTUGNO (@SNAPPPSHOTS)PHOTOGRAPHY: MARISSA FORTUGNO (@SNAPPPSHOTS)41

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Word Bankrcrcrcseseseaaahhh44

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Organically, MEUS has built a community that inherently wants to learnand grow. We have hosted numerous events that bring awareness tocauses such as the unique issues the incarcerated LGBTQIA+ communitycontends with. To make this an intimate learning experience rather than alecture, we gathered and wrote letters through the organization Black andPink to incarcerated LGBTQIA+ folks throughout the United States duringthe holidays. This is now an annual tradition.To have started a small shop and to see how it has grown because of andfor the community is incredibly special to me because, in the beginning,MEUS was very much an expansion of myself, and now it is an expansionof the relationships that have been incubated over time at a small shop.Something that is truly a gift when being part of the LGBTQIA+community is that we are all so different and yet the one place our pathsintersect is that we want to be ourselves and to love. That’s what we havebeen fighting for. So lean on our community. Look into grants that willsupport you as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As a queer, BIPOC ciswoman, I research what organizations and philanthropists are helping tocreate equity, and our economy should fully represent our communities. MARICHELLE'S ADVICE TO LGBTQ+ SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS:WELCOME TO MEUSWORDS FROM MARICHELLE HILLS, FOUNDERMEUSSHOP.COM@MEUSHSHOPEDITOR KATIE MULCAHY45

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3. Follow Gaygenda'sInstagramParticipate in our polls and swipe-ups to befeatured in the magazine community page.4. Assume your rank inthe alphabet mafiaShow up with pride in your identity in any waythat you safely and comfortably can. 1. Become a GaygendaMember on our site!Exclusive posts, gift cards, pride flags, every issue ofGaygenda. Support us as a free or paid member!5. Spread the Gay Agendaeverywhere you goSpread love and kindness to each queer creatorand small business you see online.2. Join our DiscordCommunity Get in on the action by joining our communityserver. Meet new people, make new friends!Welcome to Gaygenda!Join theGaygenda47

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QUEERTRANSFORMSHIFTGROWUNFOLDALIGNMODIFYAttraction to men ormasculinity.Has a notion of gender that existsbeyond standard gender categories.Attraction to women orfemininity.SOLUTIONS48

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