Reader Submissions

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Steroids: All The Rage?

In: Reader Submissions

So the night’s finally drawing to a close, and that cute twink with the big blue eyes plants one last kiss on you before whispering in your ear, “so your place or mine?”. Your confidence is through the roof. That last cycle of juice really helped chisel out your shoulders and chest. You’re a little concerned about the black scars on your neck and back from the acne, but your boy will too drunk to notice them right?

Finally, you close the door to your apartment and push blue eyes up against the wall. You can feel the surge of hormones rushing through your body that must be from that extra set of bicep curls you hammered out at the gym today. As things get hotter, you tighten your grip and kiss him harder, but he tenses up and asks you stop. Stop? Forget that! You worked damn hard for this and you KNOW he wants it. Next thing you know, blue eyes is leaving, and you’re horny, fired up and pissed off…

As a personal trainer I often get asked… “what do you think of steroids?” , and my first response is usually to sigh and shake my head. Ever since Arnold graced American screens in Conan the Barbarian, the image of what a man is has gone from the idea of the athletic football or tennis player to the muscle bound god endlessly pushing stacks of weight on the bench press or lat pulldown machine. In the year 2010 health and fitness seems to be equated to how close you are achieving Taylor Lautner’s 8 pack. The fastest route to these “ideal” athletic bodies is also the most dangerous.

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To channel financial guru Suze Orman, “Anti-equality people, you are DE-NIED!”

In what can only be considered another major step forward on the road to equality, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied this morning a request by backers of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that stripped that state’s gays and lesbians of the right to marry, to have a larger panel hear the case all over again in what is known as an en banc hearing.

So what does this mean? The existing appeals ruling, which upheld the trial court decision overturning Prop 8 as unconstitutional, stands. The last shot that opponents of marriage equality now have is the US Supreme Court. With the narrow scope of the ruling, and also considering how few of the appeals it receives that the Supreme Court hears, it is anyone’s guess whether or not this appeal will even be heard at all.

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Prop 8 Analysis: What Happens Next?

In: Reader Submissions

Last Tuesday, equality advocates across California and around the world celebrated the decision by a panel of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit that deemed unconstitutional California’s Proposition 8, which stripped gays and lesbians of the right to marry. Since then, there have been many questions about what the ruling means, and what happens next.

It’s useful to begin with a little bit about the history of the battle for marriage equality in California. In 1977, the Legislature of California amended its family laws to make it clear that marriage in that state was restricted to opposite-sex partners only. The provision drew little attention at the time, since the movement for marriage equality had not yet begun.

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The Legacy Of Etta James

In: Reader Submissions

I was truly saddened by the passing of Etta James. If you are unfamiliar with Ms James, and her work, I will save you a quick Google: Etta James was an American singing legend who won six Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine ranks James # 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and # 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time. She has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is known for recording the definitive versions of “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” and “At Last”. She is to song what Judy Dench is to acting.

She always fascinated me. For starters, there was that voice: One of the greatest instruments ever found in nature. Completely recognizable and beautifully complex, she could sound like a sweet innocent young girl or a dirty old man, and all in the same song. Sometimes the raw sexuality of her sound was quite frankly flabbergasting. Her recordings, surrounded always by the world’s finest musicians, are a sheer master class of Blues, R & B and Rock and Roll treasures.

For most of her life, Etta James was obese (this is something I can identify with). Yet, no matter her size, her live performances were always a fully realized energetic exhibition of unapologetic sexuality. She writhed on stage, gyrated her considerable posterior and let there be not one bit of confusion as to what the lyrics “I Want a little Sugar in my Bowl” meant to her. Whilst performing the line “Asked my baby for a nickel” form “Sweet Little Angel” on national TV, Etta famously lifted up her then enormous right breast and gave it a mighty shake for the entire audience and in the direction of then sitting U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Like so many brilliant artists, Etta had her demeans. I’ll leave that for you all to research if you choose as it matters little, at least to me, with regard to her legacy.

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Typically, we reserve Saturdays as the day to post articles written by our readers for our Saturday Submissions secton. When I read Clayton’s article, I knew I had to post it today, regardless of the day. Firstly, I was going to write about it myself so why duplicate. Secondly, I felt Clayton did a great job on it. He took a pretty similar stance as I was going to take but since he’s an American citizen it has more impact. Check it out and see how you feel on comments made by rapper T.I. Be sure to post your opinions at the end of the post. Without further ado, here is Clayton’s submitted post.

What We Can Learn From T.I.’s Comments

In the next issue of the magazine Vibe, set for release on December 6th, rapper T.I. shares his thoughts on homophobia and “against” homosexuality.

Man, I will say this, the funniest joke I ever heard Tracy say during a stand-up was, ‘C’mon man, I think gay people are too sensitive. If you can take a dick, you can take a joke.’ [Cracks up laughing.] That shit was funny to me. And it’s kind of true.’ While T.I. makes clear that he supports anyone’s sexual preference, he then connects, in his opinion, a current oversensitivity among gay people with a consequential and ironic offense of the First Amendment. “They’re like,‘If you have an opinion against us, we’re gonna shut you down.’ … That’s not American. If you’re gay you should have the right to be gay in peace, and if you’re against it you should have the right to be against it in peace.’

There are two things one wants to do after reading this: the first is to get all huffy about the joke and the second is to start throwing insults at T.I. for his drug sentence and probation violation. I’m not going to do either and I’m asking you to do the same. What you should do is look at the last three sentences…then destroy the two points he makes and that others, from Rick Santorum to Carrie Prejean, have made countless times before.

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Ten Oaks Project: Camp Curl

In: Reader Submissions

For those of you in Toronto and looking for something to entertain you on a Saturday afternoon, or if you’re not from Toronto and able to sponsor a spectacular cause, try the Ten Oaks Project and their CampCurl event coming up on November 12 between 1pm and 8pm at the Leaside Curling Club in Toronto.

The Ten Oaks Project is a not-for-profit charitable, volunteer-driven organization that engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirited, queer) communities. It operates Camp Ten Oaks, Canada’s first sleep-away camp for children and youth ages 8-17 from LGBTQ and/or non-traditional families, youth who are LGBTQ, and their allies. Camp Ten Oaks celebrated its seventh successful summer in August 2011, with over 60 attendees. The camp is a creative, safe space for campers to play, share experiences and explore themes important to their lives and their community – such as bullying and social justice.

CampCurl is a fundraising event in support of a great organization. Never curled before and want to learn in a relaxed environment? Have a few friends you want to spend some time with in support of a good cause? The CampCurl-a-Thon is the event for you! CampCurl-A-Thon offers novice and non-competitive participants a short lesson, a few hours of curling, and an après-curl social.

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Totally Gay Acting

In: Reader Submissions

Gays are peculiar creatures, aren’t we? We’re a colourful lot with different types, sizes, colours and personalities. We come in all shapes, forms and packages, some more desirable to others than some, and one could even argue that all this abundance of gay choice is an absolutely fabulous thing. Different strokes, for different blokes and all that, eh?

And whilst I love choice as much as the next gay, I am absolutely astounded by how judgemental and critical we are as a community. And no, not necessarily of how judgemental we may be towards the ‘straights’, in retaliation to our own issues of being ‘accepted’ – but far more interesting and provocative, in terms of how judgemental we are towards our fellow gays. Let’s put it out there right at the start – we can be absolute bitches, can’t we? And yes, I know some of you are already thinking, ‘takes one, to know one’ – but indulge me for a few seconds longer.

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Top 10 Motivational Melodies

In: Music, Reader Submissions

You’re fired, you’re in a funk and can’t get inspired, or you found out your lover’s a liar. We’ve all been there at one time in our lives. No matter what we do, things just don’t seem to slow down. Those days you want to scream in your car or cry with a vat of cookie dough on your lap. You want the quick fix not the fairytale inspired “it gets better” because who knows how long that might take.

Cue the motivational melodies: no matter what’s challenging you in your life these tracks have been there and done that and probably some more. Grab your homemade microphone and designer shades and scream along because for the next couple of minutes these songs will help wash the pain away and keep you on the path happiness. You might not be able to see the end of the road, but honestly, all jokes aside, things do get better and these musical pit stops will help you along your way. Enjoy!

Check out Warren’s Top 10 motivational tracks after the jump…

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