Gay Times, one of the world’s longest-running print magazine for the LGBT+ community, has ceased printing after nearly 50 years.
The UK-based magazine was first published in 1984, but its predecessors date as far back as 1975. During that time it’s been a vital resource for LGBT+ people in periods of misinformation and violent rhetoric, from the early days of the Gay Liberation Front through to the repeal of Section 28.
The magazine had been in print every month since its launch until 2020, when it moved to quarterly publication, but is now going purely digital to reflect a decline in offline readers. Just two per cent of its readers consume the print magazine.
“We’re incredibly excited about the changes here at Gay Times,” editorial director Lewis Corner told PinkNews.
“It’s always sad to stop doing something after so long – especially when it concerns a legacy product,” the publication added in a statement to its audience.
“We know that continuing to push Gay Times into new areas and to new heights ensures it will be the very best it can be for a new generation.”
Gay Times says that the decision to cease the physical magazine had been planned for some time and says that it also considered the environmental impact of printing issues.
“Any print magazine production demands significant natural resources, so this was one of the main factors in the decision.”
Although you won’t be seeing the familiar cover on magazine shelves anymore, Gay Times magazine will continue as a digital publication with 12 issues a year.
Gay Times magazine ending its print edition comes amid a difficult time for journalism in the UK.
In recent years print titles such as Glamour, Q and NME had all disappeared from shelves and migrated online. Digital-only publications BuzzFeed and HuffPost have closed their entire UK news operations, with Vice also making some staff redundant.
As the OnlyFans debacle highlights, the fight to supposedly make the internet a safer place is having a series of secondary impacts. In particular, it is having a silencing effect on key aspects of LGBTQ culture. But that’s just fine for the anti-LGBTQ groups that have lobbied Congress to crack down on OnlyFans and on sexuality in general.
On Aug. 10, over 100 conservative-leaning members of Congress wrote a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate OnlyFans. Alleging child sexual exploitation, the lawmakers cited research by an anti-LGBTQ group called the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Formerly known as Morality in Media, the group has boycotted Disney for extending benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees and called for a boycott of Time Warnerafter the release of Madonna’s 1992 book “Sex,” which the group called “sick, violent pornography.” Its president, Patrick A. Trueman, formerly led the American Family Association, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated a hate group for its longtime anti-LGBTQ views and campaigns.
NCOSE isn’t the only group lobbying corporate interests and the government to eradicate sexual content, but it’s arguably the leader in the field, having railed against public displays of sexuality since 1962 and spending $5.1 million to do so in 2020.
I’m not going to argue whether or not there’s sex trafficking happening on the internet. But many of the groups leading the charge against it have other agendas, and their one-size-fits-all attempts to guard the internet against traffickers end up not only duping well-intentioned supporters, but also threatening the incomes of already marginalized workers and swallowing entire communities into a consuming maw of fundamentalist Christian, anti-sex censorship.
Their one-size-fits-all attempts to guard the internet against traffickers end up not only duping well-intentioned supporters, but also threatening the incomes of already marginalized workers.
In August, The New Yorker spoke with queer historians about how the ban eradicated a market for materials, from conceptual art to the vital gay leather magazine Drummer, that even museums depend on for acquisitions. Drummer featured plenty of shirtless men on its covers, but it also included important information for the leather community. And highlighting the seemingly arbitrary nature of this ban, the iconic women-run erotic magazine On Our Backs was somehow spared.
Meanwhile, FOSTA-SESTA made a queer comic artist cancel the publishing of her own book (in which a sex worker was interviewed) because she worried she could be accused of sex trafficking. “We already face steep barriers in advertising due to mainstream society’s tendency to frame LGBT as inherently sexual, regardless of heat level,” romance writer Katie de Long told Rolling Stone in 2018. “This is only gonna get worse under policies that say simply mentioning terms related to our sexuality or identities can get us banned.”
FOSTA-SESTA’s impact has also had a silencing effect on sex educators, a vital resource for the many LGBTQ youth across the country who are given no information in school about their sexuality and gender identity. Of the 50 U.S. states, only a handful require school-based sex education be inclusive of LGBTQ people. In most of America, queer and trans youth must take their questions about identity and sex to internet search bars and social media accounts. Those questions often have life-altering implications, whether the answers are aimed at preventing sexually transmitted infections or simply feeling less isolated and weird about your desires.
While not necessarily related to FOSTA-SESTA, queer and trans social media users have complained of identity terms being censored on platforms because of their proximity to porn, of all things. In 2017, Twitter came under fire for blocking the word “bisexual,” saying at the time that it had been added to a list of terms “typically associated with adult content.”
Earlier this year, TikTok users complained that terms like “intersex” and “lesbian” were shadowbanned; searches for the words didn’t bring up results, and lesbian users had launched the tongue-in-cheek “le$bean” hashtag after finding that content with the hashtag #lesbian was frequently removed. Both platforms either apologized or said the issues were mistakes, but continuously evolving content moderation policies seem to target the LGBTQ community on a regular basis: In 2019, the feminist magazine “Salty” was banned from advertising its latest cover featuring several fully-clothed trans women of color — because the Instagram algorithm had mistakenly flagged it as an ad for an escort service.
Swift action from platforms to remedy such missteps is important, but don’t answer the question of why this keep happening — because it doesn’t appear to have stopped. This week, popular queer TikTok star @therealclaybaby posted an Instagram video complaining that he repeatedly gets locked out of his account for violating community guidelines about sexual activity.
The Texas-based creator is known for messy drag, irreverent rants and improvised raps, but the “adult nudity and sexual activity” he’s been flagged for don’t appear on the account. It’s unclear whether he’s being reported by homophobic viewers, or just flagged by an imperfect algorithm, but either way the creator’s income from sponsored posts was threatened. To say that it’s frustrating for queer and trans people to be automatically associated with pornography just by existing would be an understatement.
This kind of algorithmic bias has a similar effect to platforms that ban LGBTQ content under restrictive “adult” bans to comply with FOSTA-SESTA: both silence speech and prevent entire communities from being able to connect online. Few among us can say we’ve never had a post deleted, or had an entire account temporarily or permanently deactivated because we used a self-descriptive LGBTQ term (such as “dyke”) in a post or caption, or because something we posted was deemed inappropriate for some mysterious reason.
The great irony is that many of the content rules that silence LGBTQ expression online may have been put there to protect us from harassment, just as the rules that are de-sexualizing the internet claim to protect us from abuse. And as the anti-sex panic continues to sweep online spaces, it’s only natural for queer folks to expect that our very existence will continue to be conflated with porn by algorithms and whoever oversees the godlike task of creating keyword blocklists.
In GLAAD’s new Social Media Safety Index, the first report to measure online safety for LGBTQ people, algorithmic bias is just one small part of a report that largely monitors hate speech. But just as lawmakers need to do a better job at seeing the difference between sex trafficking and healthy, consensual human sexuality, platforms need to do better at distinguishing between hate speech and pride speech.
There’s no comparison between an underage girl being pimped out by a trafficker and a barista trying to make rent posting sexy videos on websites like OnlyFans. And there’s a vast gap between a young lesbian using the hashtag #dyke to connect with friends and vitriolic hate slurs used to terrorize and harass someone. Yes, training algorithms to find that difference is a challenge. But if it manages to police queer and trans users at current levels, surely it can also learn our language.
Nearly 1 in 10 LGBTQ people in the United States experienced workplace discrimination in the last year, and almost half faced employment bias at some point in their careers, according to a new survey.
The findings were published Tuesday in a report titled LGBT People’s Experiences of Workplace Discrimination and Harassmentby the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. It found that 46 percent of LGBTQ workers reported receiving unfair treatment at some point in their careers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity — including being passed over for a job, harassed at work, denied a promotion or raise, excluded from company events, denied additional hours or fired. An estimated 9 percent reported being denied a job or laid off in the past 12 months because of their orientation or identity.
Researchers at the institute surveyed 935 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer adults in May 2021, more than a year into a pandemic that has disrupted so many workplaces. Their questions asked respondents about discrimination in the last year, last five years and throughout their lifetimes. Because of the pandemic, questions about the previous year only related to whether subjects had been fired or denied a job.
As many as 1 in 4 (25.9 percent) LGBTQ employees said they had been sexually harassed at work at some point, while 1 in 5 (20.8 percent) reported physical harassment — including being “punched,” “hit” and “beaten up” on the job.
A Black queer woman in Pennsylvania told researchers that male co-workers inappropriately touched her and told her, “If you let me, I can turn you straight.” She described their behavior as “obviously very offensive and creepy.”
Another respondent, a gay man in Ohio, recalled a boss who treated him “horribly.”
“She would call me queer at all times and slap me in the face … it went on and on for over a year,” he reported. “It was one of the saddest moments of my entire career and life.”
Reports of discrimination were higher among LGBTQ people of color, 29 percent of whom said they had been denied a job at some point because of their identity, compared to 18 percent of white LGBTQ employees. In addition, 36 percent of LGBTQ employees of color reported experiencing verbal harassment on the job, compared to 26 percent of white respondents.
Many respondents reported being given bad shifts or having their hours reduced, said Brad Sears, executive director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the new study.
“Shift work is a day-to-day reality for millions of Americans,” he said. “It’s harder to prove your boss is intentionally [giving you a bad schedule], but it can have a profound impact on your life.”
The report comes even as the judicial and the executive branches have been shoring up employment rights for LGBTQ workers: In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia, that Title VII’s protection against sex discrimination in employment extended to sexual orientation and gender identity.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing any federal agency with protections against discrimination based on sex to interpret those statutes to also protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
“Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes,” he said in the order.
On Friday, a federal judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, ruled a Catholic high school couldn’t fire a gay drama teacher after he announced his engagement on Facebook.
“We were surprised there was such high percentages of discrimination in the last year, given the Supreme Court ruling and especially the pandemic,” Sears said. “We thought a lot of companies and workers would be coming together in a new way.”
More than half (57 percent) of LGBTQ employees who reported workplace discrimination said it was motivated by religious beliefs, while 49 percent of white LGBTQ respondents and 64 percent of LGBTQ people of color who said they experienced bias found this to be the cause.
“I was told I was going to hell during a job interview for liking women,” a Black bisexual woman in Texas told researchers.
Sears said religion-based bias was “out in the open,” with employers and co-workers clearly citing their religious beliefs, even in secular workplaces.
“For many, this included being quoted to from the Bible, told to pray that they weren’t LGBT, and told that they would ‘go to hell’ or were ‘an abomination,’” the study reported.
Sears is pressing for passage of the Equality Act, a sweeping LGBTQ rights bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in numerous arenas, including employment. The measure cleared the Democratic-controlled House in late February but has a tougher fight in the Senate.
“Bostock was a general pronouncement against discrimination,” Sears said. “The Equality Act gets into the details of the statutes and will provide clear guidance that these behaviors are against the law.”
According to an earlier Williams Institute report, there are approximately 8.1 million LGBTQ workers over the age of 16 in the U.S., almost half (3.9 million) of whom live in states without anti-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
Half of the respondents in the new survey said they weren’t out to their direct supervisor, and a quarter (26 percent) were completely closeted on the job. Many reported using “covering” behaviors to avoid harassment or discrimination, including avoiding talking about their personal lives.
According to the report, “Some of the respondents reported engaging in these covering behaviors because their supervisors or co-workers explicitly told them to do so.”
For transgender employees, more than a third (36 percent) said they’ve altered their appearance and used a different bathroom at work to avoid discrimination and harassment.
This latest report is particularly timely as many workers return to the office after working from home during the ongoing pandemic, Sears said.
“Maybe you spent a year or 18 months not having to hide who you are and suddenly now you’re faced with the possibility of having to go back in the closet,” he said. “It’s going to be a real eye-opener.”
GLAAD has launched a social media safety program with tech and media expert Jenni Olson as Program Director.
GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, has announced Jenni Olson as the organization’s new Social Media Safety Program Director.
Olson will build and staff GLAAD’s work to grow safer spaces for LGBTQ people on social media platforms and apps as well as develop GLAAD’s public education and watchdog work to hold social media companies accountable to the LGBTQ community.
A leading voice in social media platform accountability, Olson spearheaded the organization’s recently launched inaugural Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) report. Based on feedback from an advisory council of tech leaders, real-time testing of content policies, and an expansive literature review, the 50-page evaluation puts forth the first-ever baseline of LGBTQ user safety in tech and a roadmap of recommendations for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as the tech industry at large. The Social Media Safety Index was created with support from the Gill Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
Key findings from the GLAAD Social Media Safety Index include:
-Surveying the current landscape of leading social media platforms, the entire sector is effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.
-Of special concern is the prevalence and intensity of hate speech and harassment, which stands out as the most significant problem in urgent need of improvement.
-The problem of anti-LGBTQ hate speech and misinformation is a public health and safety issue.
Olson has worked in LGBTQ media and tech for decades and is best known as a co-founder of PlanetOut.com, the first major LGBTQ community website, created by a small team of tech pioneers in 1995. She is also an acclaimed filmmaker, LGBTQ film historian, and archivist. Amongst her many honors and achievements, she was named in 2020 to the Out Magazine Out 100 list for her contributions to LGBTQ culture and community, and in 2021 was awarded the prestigious Teddy Award by the Berlin Film Festival.
“The current unregulated, unsafe landscape of social media presents real harms to LGBTQ people,” said Olson. “GLAAD is advocating for solutions in numerous realms: online hate and harassment, AI bias, polarizing algorithms, data privacy. We’re working every day to hold platforms accountable and to secure safe online spaces for LGBTQ people.”
The SMSI and Social Media Safety Program are the latest additions to the GLAAD Media Institute. The Institute is home to GLAAD’s research and reports, including the organization’s pioneering reports on LGBTQ inclusion in television and film, as well as GLAAD’s consulting work with Hollywood, the video game industry, publishing, journalism, and global brands to ensure fair, accurate, and culture-changing LGBTQ representation.
Under Olson’s leadership, the Social Media Safety program is spotlighting new and existing safety issues facing LGBTQ users in real-time both directly to the platforms and to the press and public. Next year’s SMSI will issue grades to demonstrate which companies prioritize LGBTQ safety.
“The tech industry must realize its obligation to protect its LGBTQ users,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis. “We know these companies can make their products safer. With Jenni’s leadership and the power of so many top figures at the intersection of tech and LGBTQ advocacy on our advisory committee, GLAAD will continue to tirelessly advocate for these solutions.”
An appellate court deciding Hobby Lobby violated Illinois anti-discrimination law by denying a transgender employee access to the women’s restroom could have nationwide implications, experts say.
Meggan Sommerville, a trans woman who has worked at a Hobby Lobby location in Aurora for more than 20 years, has been denied access to the store’s women’s room since transitioning at work in 2010. As a result, she has had anxiety and recurring nightmares and has been forced to limit her fluid intake, according to filings.
On Friday, the Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court upheld a lower court decision that determined the crafts chain violated the Illinois Human Rights Act both as an employer and as a place of public accommodation.
“Sommerville is female, just like the women who are permitted to use the women’s bathroom,” the three-judge panel said in its decision. “The only reason that Sommerville is barred from using the women’s bathroom is that she is a transgender woman.”
The ruling is one of first impression, meaning it presents a legal issue that has never been decided in the court’s jurisdiction.
“They stuck to the law,” Sommerville, 51, told Forbes. “This is a precedent-setting case in Illinois, because the Human Rights Act has never been tested in this way in Illinois, and actually in the country.”
Jim Bennett, director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights, said the decision underscored that trans people in the state “have strong protection from discrimination.”
“Ms. Sommerville’s experience of discrimination is certainly not unique, as too many of our transgender friends and neighbors continue to face acts of discrimination and hate,” Bennett said in a statement. “With this decision, the IDHR has been given a clear path to enforce the Commission’s orders concerning the rights of trans persons.”
Jacob Meister, who represented Sommerville, went further, telling Bloomberg Law the decision had national implications and will “start the process of courts around the country addressing the issue of bathroom access.”
Camilla Taylor, litigation director for the LGBTQ legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, agrees the ruling could have a broad impact in a variety of areas and jurisdictions.
“I think other states will generally be able cite this ruling, because of how sweeping it is,” Taylor said. “This is not limited to employment. This is the public policy of the state of Illinois. The court went out of its way to knock down every justification for treating trans people differently in public. It made it clear there’s no justification.”
While the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, determined discrimination based on sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity, it didn’t address access to sex-segregated facilities, services or sports teams.
“You can’t argue it’s not sex discrimination to deny someone access to a bathroom or a locker room,” Taylor said.
Not only could the ruling be used by opponents of so-called bathroom bills, she added, it could be relevant to the legal fight against legislation prohibiting transgender girls from playing on female sports teams.
“It will have big ramifications in all kinds of aspects of life — in education, in business, in gyms and sports,” Taylor said. “It’s indicative of applying nondiscrimination principles to sex-segregated areas. It makes clear that gender identity determines sex.”
Hobby Lobby could appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court and theoretically take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorney Whitman Brisky, who represented the company, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The 2021 legislative session has set a record for anti-transgender bills, according the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group: Nearly 70 measures were introduced in at least 30 states that would prohibit trans youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity, and at least 15 bills were introduced that would bar trans people from accessing the restrooms or locker rooms that align with their gender identity.
The judicial branch, however, has been more supportive: In addition to Bostock, the Supreme Court in June declined to review a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled transgender student Gavin Grimm had a constitutional right to use the boys’ restroom at his Virginia school.
The lower court ruled that policies barring transgender students from restrooms that match their gender identity violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Some LGBTQ OnlyFans creators say the changes could jeopardize one of their primary sources of income during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many sex workers, such as Stacey Monroe, 27, have been using OnlyFans to create sexually explicit video content and photos during the pandemic because they can’t see clients in person safely.
Monroe said she left her career in health care to focus on advocating for transgender rights after she faced discrimination from multiple past employers because she’s a trans woman. “However, being an activist is really a volunteer job, so there was no pay,” she said. In 2018, sex work “helped me and my sister get through our housing crisis and so many other things. It became our form of survival.”
Sex work has helped them maintain stability without facing employment discrimination. Now, Monroe said, 40 percent to 50 percent of her income comes from OnlyFans subscriptions.
“If I’m not able to see customers in person, then I do have to try to make OnlyFans content and things like that, so now I’m kind of in limbo trying to figure out what am I going to do on October 1 and trying to see if there’s a loophole or anything to work around the policy,” she said.
OnlyFans’ new policy will allow creators to continue to post nude photos as long as they are consistent with the platform’s acceptable use policy, but it will prohibit “the posting of any content containing sexually-explicit conduct,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines,” the statement says. “These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers. We will be sharing more details in the coming days and we will actively support and guide our creators through this change in content guidelines.” https://iframe.nbcnews.com/U5CK7jN?app=1
The spokesperson declined to comment on when a nude photo could be considered sexually explicit or who would screen content and decide whether it violates the policy.
OnlyFans has provided a legal avenue for people to participate in sex work. Subscribers pay monthly or yearly fees in exchange for pornographic content or one-on-one live video chats with creators, among other content.
Transgender people are more likely than the general population to participate in sex work for a variety of reasons. As a result, many LGBTQ sex workers said the community is disproportionately — and negatively — affected by OnlyFans’ policy change.
A form of survival for trans people
In 2018, Monroe and her sister, who is also trans, were facing homelessness.
“We were sleeping in our car. We had contemplated suicide,” she said. “We just really didn’t have any options. We were going to homeless shelters, and they were telling us that we were not allowed there because we were trans and they didn’t know how to accommodate us.”
With support from their community, they were able to get back on their feet, and sex work has since helped them survive, Monroe said.
Monroe’s experiences of job discrimination and homelessness are common among trans people — including trans people who participate in sex work.
A 2015 survey found that 10.8 percent of trans respondents had participated in some form of sex work, with rates the highest among Black trans respondents (39.9 percent) and Hispanic or Latino respondents (33.2 percent). Transfeminine respondents were twice as likely to participate in the sex trade, at 13.1 percent, compared to transmasculine respondents, at 7.1 percent.
The survey found that more than two-thirds (69.3 percent) of trans sex workers reported having experienced adverse job outcomes in the traditional workforce, such as being denied jobs or promotions or being fired because of their gender identity or expression. In addition, those who lost jobs because of anti-trans bias were about 2 ½ times as likely to engage in the sex trade (19.9 percent vs. 7.7 percent of respondents who didn’t lose jobs because of anti-trans bias).
Monroe said sex work is a form of survival for many trans people, because it allows them to earn enough money to get safe housing.
OnlyFans has provided a safer — and legal — outlet for people to engage in sex work, especially trans people, who often face violence. At least 34 trans and gender-nonconforming people have been killed this year. Most of them were Black trans women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, and some of them were also sex workers, according to memorial posts and local reports.
Monroe said some trans people use OnlyFans to pay their bills and get health care, such as hormones, during the pandemic. As a result, the policy change could affect trans creators in many ways if it’s their primary form of income.
“A lot of us have found safety in not having to see customers in person, one, because of Covid-19, and two, because of the violence against trans people and how it’s been increasingly just getting worse and worse over the years,” she said. “It’s horrible. So we are going to be facing more safety issues, more issues with housing, medical, trying to just survive in general.”
Jeopardizing stability, safe space
Z, 27, said OnlyFans has provided them with a stable and safe source of income during the pandemic. They asked to go by their initial because they hope to get a job outside sex work in the future.
They are immunocompromised and disabled and were unable to leave their home at all before a Covid-19 vaccine was available.
They began using OnlyFans in November to sell lewd photos. They incorporated their mobility devices into shoots and described themself as openly queer. In their first month using the platform, they said, they doubled their average monthly income and were able to hire a personal care attendant to help them with their physical therapy exercises and daily activities, such as washing their hair and prepping meals.
They said the OnlyFans policy change will affect them because they don’t have an audience for the type of content that OnlyFans now says is within its terms of service, though they noted that they won’t be as affected as other creators who do more video content.
“I think that when you are specifically advertising sex worker services and then those services are no longer what you’re able to provide, nobody’s going to be there for that,” they said. “I don’t foresee getting a lot of income from people who would just want to see pictures of my smiling face every day.”
OnlyFans no longer makes up the bulk of Z’s income, but they said it does provide them with a few hundred dollars a month, which can cover their physical therapy, medication or groceries.
OnlyFans is used primarily by sex workers who sell pornographic content, but creator GothyKitten, 33, who asked to go by their username on the platform, used it to share time-lapse photos of their surgery site after they had gender-affirming surgery. They uploaded a year’s worth of images in late December.
“A couple folks have said that it really helped them with considering surgery, and everyone who asked for it said they couldn’t find any other resources as detailed,” they said. OnlyFans’ new acceptable use policy will ban “any exhibition of the anus or genitals of any person which is extreme or offensive,” and it doesn’t define “extreme” or “offensive,” leaving GothyKitten uncertain whether their content will be removed.
For now, they’ve created an account on AdmireMe.vip, a site that posted a message of support to sex workers after OnlyFans announced its policy change.https://iframe.nbcnews.com/468GgCb?app=1
For some LGBTQ OnlyFans creators, like Jack Mackenroth, 52, the platform’s new policy is disappointing but not necessarily negative. Mackenroth created an OnlyFans account to share gay pornographic content shortly after the site started in 2016.
He said that the site isn’t user friendly and that there are better platforms that were created by sex workers, like JustFor.fans, which also shared a message about OnlyFans’ policy.https://iframe.nbcnews.com/h8cOaI7?app=1
Sex workers made OnlyFans “what they are,” Mackenroth said, and now it won’t fight for the creators who helped build the site. “They seem to be fair-weather friends, and I don’t need those,” he said.
He encouraged OnlyFans creators to move their content to other platforms and diversify their sources of income.
LaLa Zannell, the Trans Justice Campaign manager at the American Civil Liberties Union, said being able to change platforms is a privilege not all sex workers have.
“A person who is navigating just surviving, navigating transphobia, xenophobia and homelessness doesn’t have time to create a whole new following on a new platform,” she said.
A number of websites that sex workers used, such as Backpage and Tumblr, were also shut down or changed their policies in ways that negatively affected sex workers, she said, in part because of policy changes by financial institutions that process their payments.
OnlyFans and similar sites have also faced pressure from conservative representatives and advocacy groups. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., applauded the policy change, calling it “a remedy to child exploitation” in a tweet last week.
Gosar wrote a letter to the attorney general about a week before the site announced its policy change requesting an investigation into OnlyFans “for promoting, and profiting from, online prostitution.” The bipartisan letter was signed by more than 100 other members of Congress.
Gosar wrote on Twitter that the Justice Department had found that minors were getting through OnlyFans’ vetting process, which requires creators to have bank accounts, government IDs and face scans to ensure that their faces match the provided ID.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.https://iframe.nbcnews.com/48BjpYS?app=1
Zannell said banning pornographic content from platforms isn’t a solution, because it will just move to new platforms. But users’ constantly changing platforms isn’t, either, she said. She added that she’d like to have a sit-down with banking institutions, as well as anti-pornography and anti-sex-trafficking groups — which she said are among those pressuring banking institutions to clamp down on sites like OnlyFans — to “actually have a real conversation and carve out a real goal where all parties online can be on neutral ground, because sex work is real work.”
Making friends is a lot harder in your adult years than it was in high school and college, and it’s even harder if you’re looking specifically for gay friends. But commenters chimed in with advice after one Reddit user asked for “specific, actionable, constructive advice” for befriending other gays, and many of their tips honed in on the two Gs: groups and Grindr. Read on for their responses, edited for clarity.
“Work and Reddit. … I’ve met one person off Reddit, but he actually knows quite a bit of people, so I’ve been meeting some of his friends little by little.”
“Usually making one friend will lead you to meeting their friends and basically a chain reaction, if you’re lucky. The usual [advice] is [to] join clubs or group activities, even online ones in your area. I used to go to the bars alone, have a drink or two, and basically just talk to strangers. Maybe someone was alone or someone saw me alone. Sometimes I’d run into someone I hadn’t seen in ages and made friends with their friends. It’s best to not go in with high expectations. A couple of times, it was a dud, but I was happy to leave the house.”
“Find your local LGBT center and volunteer and go to events. There are other queer folk looking for friends.”
“Most of the gay friends I have came from Grindr. The only ones that have stayed are the ones that I didn’t hook up with. My roommate got on Facebook, and it suggested to him a lot of the local gays, and he got to know them that way, just by randomly adding them and messaging them on Facebook. He is braver than me in that respect.”
“Reach out to people that you find interesting! My current best friend and I met after he randomly reached out to me on Facebook 3 years ago. Yes, it started out as flirty but turned into a beautiful friendship. Also, join groups. I have a really good friend in Texas I talk to and FaceTime a bunch. We met through the comment section on a post in the Facebook group we were both in. Granted, we are in different states, but I love having her. I also have another gay friend in Texas I met through the same way! Otherwise, hobbies and common interests. Start a new hobby and find people in your community that are also into that hobby. The more you frequent the same place, the higher the chances of running into the same people and becoming friends. Anyway, I need to take my own advice because I need more friends, but I hope this helps.”
“Back when I was a teenager — 32 now — I used to go to gay chatrooms online and talk to gay guys in my local area. Met up with them, and from then on, I’ve met more gay friends. I guess nowadays an online chatroom is equivalent to Reddit, Tinder, Grindr, etc. Or you can go to gay clubs and bars by yourself, if that’s your thing. I know being there by yourself can be a bit weird and intimidating at times, but people would usually try to talk to you, especially if you’re on your own in there.”
“Oddly, Grindr. Just separated ones I was trying to hook up/date [from] other bottoms I just became friends with.”
A transgender teen’s physical artwork and non-fungible tokens netted $2.16 million at auction at Christie’s on Wednesday.
“Hello, i’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life” included five lots by 18-year-old Victor Langlois, aka FEWOCiOUS, a rising star in the increasingly popular — and lucrative — world of NFT art.
An NFT is a blockchain-powered unit of data that authenticates ownership of digital objects — images, videos, songs, even tweets.
Each lot represents a year of Langlois’ life between the ages of 14 and 18, as he began to understand his gender identity, transitioned and moved from Las Vegas to Seattle.
The series includes a physical painting, a video artwork sold exclusively as an NFT and a collection of physical and NFT doodles, drawings and journal entries from the corresponding year.
Upon request, Langlois will deliver the physical painting to the collector in a custom suitcase, Christie’s said in a statement, “an ode to how he transported his earliest drawings and paintings, when leaving behind his past in pursuit of a brighter future.”
The series reflects a traumatic period in Langlois’ life, amid what he describes as an abusive upbringing. After running away from home at age 12, he was raised by his grandmother, a single mom from El Salvador with three jobs and four kids.
“I think she struggled so much that she just wanted security,” he told Christie’s. “To see me wanting to pursue art, she was like, ‘What? Be a lawyer.’ Which I understand. But it hurt when she would say, ‘Your art is ugly and that’s why you can’t do it.'”
Langlois began drawing art on his iPad, he told Decrypt, because he wasn’t allowed paint. The first piece in “Hello, I’m Victor” is titled “Year 1, Age 14 — It Hurts to Hide.”
Since getting into digital art barely a year ago, Langlois has earned just under $18 million. According to Christie’s, he’s also the youngest artist to have work sold through the legendary auction house.
“He went all out on this project and bared his beautiful soul for the world,” Christie’s digital art specialist Noah Davis said in a statement. “I hope his success shines bright for other young creative people who might be struggling with similar issues of identity and acceptance.”
On June 23, the first day of the auction, demand was so high it crashed the Christie’s website, Esquire reported. That success is particularly poignant, Langlois said, because too often trans artists are overlooked.
“Thank you so much for believing in me and my journey. It means the world,” he said in a tearful Instagram video Wednesday. “I put my everything into this, and I was so nervous to come out and to tell everyone who I am.”
The seven-figure sale is also a sign of NFTs’ growing influence among auction houses and the art world in general: Sales of NFTs topped $2 billion in the first quarter of 2021, CNBC reported, with twice as many buyers as sellers.
“I think NFTs are the future,” Langlois told Reuters. “If you’re posting your art and sharing it with the world digitally, I think to offer a way for collectors to own it as a digital asset is just the next step.”
Just as the queer community has been at the forefront of many artistic movements, LGBTQ artists are quickly adopting the NFT model: In April, former YouTuber Chris Crocker transformed their infamous “Leave Britney Alone” video into an NFT that earned $44,000.
The day before Langlois’ auction closed, The Queenly NFT, which bills itself as “the first cryptogallery for queer creators,” held its launch party at the former site of Andy Warhol’s Factory in Union Square in Manhattan, New York.
The inaugural collection includes more than 90 pieces — including works by trans singer Mila Jam, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars Manila Luzon and Bob the Drag Queen, gay nightlife photographer Wilsonmodels and lesbian photographer Lola Flash, whose work was just added to the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Brent Lomas, a New York drag performer also known as Ruby Powers, said he developed Queenly as a place for queer artists to get proper credit and compensation for their work, with LGBTQ-allied nonprofit organizations receiving a donation for every sale.
“Queer creators belong in every single space, and we deserve to take up space,” Lomas said. “They’re the ones creating the most explosive and powerful moments with their art. They’re the pioneers, showing people the world in a new way.”
This isn’t just a new kind of art, he added; it’s a new kind of patronage.
“Not every queer artist is going to have access to a place like Christie’s,” Lomas said. “Art should be democratizing, and NFTs allow artists to be in control of their work.”
Disneyland and Disney World have dropped a gendered “boys and girls” greeting as “part of a broader effort” to promote gender inclusivity.
Fireworks shows at Disneyland and Disney World in Florida formerly began with: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dreamers of all ages.”
Visitors were first greeted by the new inclusive message on Thursday (1 July) when the fireworks show was tested at Walt Disney World in Florida, according to the Orange County Register. Disneyland and Disney World fireworks displays had been paused since March 2020 because of COVID, but they made their official return on Sunday (4 July).
A Disney spokesperson told CBS News that the change is “part of a broader effort” towards greater inclusivity within the organisation. The spokesperson added: “It’s not about one or two things.”
A spokesperson for Tokyo’s Disneyland licensee, Oriental Land Company, told Deadline the company has also implemented a more gender-inclusive greeting at the Japanese theme park. The gender specificity in the Japanese greeting has been changed to simply welcome “everyone”.
In April, Disney announced they were aiming to make their experiences, parks and resorts more inclusive. Chairman Josh D’Amaro wrote in a statement: “We want our guests to see their own backgrounds and traditions reflected in the stories, experiences and products they encounter in their interactions with Disney.”
D’Amaro added that Disney was adding “inclusion” as a fifth key component of its customer service.
These ‘keys’ – which also include safety, courtesy, show, efficiency and now inclusion – will guide the corporation as “we interact with guests, collaborate together, create the next generation of Disney products and experiences and make critical decisions about the future of our business”.
D’Amaro explained the inclusion key would also provide “greater flexibility” when it came to “forms of personal expression” for Disney’s thousands of employees. He said this would include flexibility around gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewellery, nail styles, costume choices and allowing “appropriate” visible tattoos.
Since the pandemic began, a staggering number of small businesses have permanently closed across the country. In fact, roughly 200,000 U.S. businesses have closed in the first year of the pandemic, according to a study released recently by economists at the Federal Reserve. Despite the millions of dollars of federal and local aid made available in the form of loans and grants, many small businesses had to think creatively to stay afloat. Many of these small businesses leveraged their own identity and community as sources of inspiration -including the LBGTQ community.
As we celebrate our LGBTQ identity and community, we must acknowledge that many LGBTQ entrepreneurs are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic and that, now more than ever, a strong community is needed to help rebuild these businesses and create a more inclusive economy. At Next Street, I’m proud to be part of a mission-based firm where I can focus on uplifting members of my LGBTQ community. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some successful approaches that LGBTQ-owned small businesses in our network adopted to pivot and sustain their businesses during the pandemic. By harnessing the power of their community and prioritizing their core business offering and identity, the following LGBTQ-owned businesses were able to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.
Cubbyhole, a small but mighty bar located in the iconic West Village neighborhood of New York City, has been open to the queer community for more than 27 years. Despite crises, such as 9/11, 2003 blackout, and Hurricane Sandy, the bar was forced to close its doors for the first time ever on March 16, 2020. Given the 100% loss of income for the bar and its staff, Cubbyhole launched a Go Fund Me campaign to secure financial support from its legion of fans and faithfuls. In just a few weeks it had well surpassed its $30,000 fundraising goal and at the time of this writing has raised $78,432. In addition, the bar also banded together with the country’s other 15 lesbian bars for the Lesbian Bar Project, which collectively raised additional funds that enabled the bar to keep its doors open.
Ciao Andiamo, a boutique travel company organizing authentic journeys to Italy, has been in operation for more than 10 years. On March 9, 2020, the government of Italy imposed a national lockdown, which prevented residents from leaving their homes and tourists from entering the country. With no line of sight into when borders would reopen, Ciao Andiamo had to quickly figure out a way to generate revenue and stay engaged with its clients and collaborators. The owner, together with his partners in Italy, made a major pivot, launching two new offerings — a virtual classroom featuring interactive cooking classes, wine tastings, and language lessons, as well as a marketplace for authentic Italian foods, small production wines, and local goods shipped directly from Italy to the U.S. This paved the way for Ciao Andiamo to keep in close touch with its loyal fan base and build awareness and excitement around all things Italy at a time when Italy travel was not possible. Now, as the country is reopening for international tourism, Ciao Andiamo has not only survived, it is in prime position for a strong 2021 season.
Finally, Lambda Lounge began as a spirits brand that sold its products online. In fall 2020, the company had plans to open a brick and mortar lounge in Harlem. When the pandemic struck, Lambda was forced to pause its plan to open the lounge despite having made significant investments in rent and construction. To sustain itself, Lambda shifted its focus from the lounge and refocused its effort on its core business, its spirits brand. Lambda once again began prioritizing its online platform and existing customer base. They quickly found this to be the key to short- and long-term success in the midst of the pandemic. In fact, they were so successful in generating revenue for their business that they were able to see their dream of opening the bar and lounge in spring 2021.
Like so many other small business owners, these LGBT entrepreneurs used the most powerful tool in their arsenal — their identity and community. Each of them leveraged their personal connections to their customers to help them sustain their business and face the challenges the pandemic threw their way. This Pride month and beyond, shop at your local LGBTQ-owned business and become part of the community that can help build a more inclusive and successful economy.