December. For many the holiday season is their favorite time of year. Office parties. Ugly sweater parties. Hanukkah parties. Family parties. Parties, parties and more parties. Others view the holidays a little different, forced merriment they say.  For me, I do like the holidays, everyone seems a little nicer, a little friendlier. Everyone is optimistic about the new year ahead, thinking things will improve, and for a brief time, actually believing they will.  

What I really love about the holidays are the many traditions I have with family and friends.  Traditions that were started years ago and traditions started more recently. Some of them still in existence today and some we have grown out of.

When my sister and I were younger, decorating the family tree was a huge tradition for us as it is in many families.  As we decorated the tree, there was one ornament that held special powers – the Miss Piggy ceramic figurine. Whoever got to place her on the tree had bragging rights for the entire year.  The rules of the game to this day are still a little murky. You technically weren’t allowed to search for Miss Piggy, if you happened to put your hand in the ornament box and find her, yay you were the winner!  Naturally more often than not there was an all out war to find Miss Piggy! As I grew older, I loved staying up as late as I could reading into the night guided by the lights of our Christmas Tree. My mother excelled at so much, but making Christmas special for us was one of her many many talents.  (and yes that is THE actual Miss Piggy ornament hanging on my sisters tree this very year. It has been in our family for close to 50 years!)

THE Miss Piggy ornament still living her life on my sister Lauren’s Christmas tree, 2019

My family is very large, and very Italian. I am lucky to have more cousins than I can count, many of them not just cousins but true friends.  In our 20s, because we didn’t get to see each other enough around the holidays, we held a separate “Cousins Christmas party!” These parties, at our cousin Michael’s apartment in Brooklyn usually numbered around 25. Just cousins. And a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee or two here and there.  The night revolved around the “secret santa gift exchange.” In true competitive fashion, it was a White Elephant gift exchange, meaning when it was your turn to choose, you could either pick from the unwrapped pile of gifts or steal an already opened gift. Stealing a $20 gift from a family member is just as much fun as it sounds!. By the end of the night it was a secret santa bloodbath! 

Cousins Christmas Party

Cousins Christmas Party

When I started teaching, family’s of my students were extremely generous around the holidays, and I would receive dozens and dozens of gifts.  So many in fact, that I was able to hold my own “regifting” holiday party. I would invite friends over and place all the loot on the table, first come first serve.  Inevitably, I would end up with a lot of “cologne, shaving cream, body wash” 3-packs from places like “Macy’s” and “Marshalls”. The families were quite thoughtful, trying to figure out what to get for a youngish, single male teacher. 

Past NYC traditions with certain friends have included annual treks to the Rockefeller Center tree and yearly trips to Broadway matinees during the week of Christmas break.  There is also the annual “Toys for Tots” epically fun gay party each year on a Sunday early in December. Always a fun evening, and an excuse to get dressed up, it’s on many a guys yearly to attend list.  

Rockerfeller Center Christmas Tree, 2014

Definitely one of my all time favorite traditions was with my friend Phil.  Both of us loving the Charles Dicken classic novel, “A Christmas Carol”, each year we would search out a new production of the story.  We have seen Danny Pinaturo from “Who’s the Boss” play “Tiny Tim” in a gay themed production at the Stonewall Theater. His Tim was HIV-positive without health insurance. I both loved it and cried my gay eyes out!  In the years we couldn’t find a theater production, we would watch one of the many film versions. My favorites are the 1984 George C. Scott version, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” with Michael Caine, and -wait for it- the Lifetime tear-jerker “Ebbie,” with Susan Lucci as Elizabeth “Ebbie” Scrooge.  The dual themes of redemption and that it is never too late to be the person you want to be has always resonated with me. Now more than ever in these volatile, political days.

Finally, a tradition that doesn’t really require anything for me to do but I do love are seeing the Christmas card pictures from family and friends each year.  Each one is taped to the archway between the kitchen and living room in my apartment. I love seeing how everyone’s family is growing each year, how happy and loved they are.  I do particularly enjoy when the ages of each child is added in parenthesis after their names. I know it’s awful to say out loud, but I do sometimes forgot how old your kids are.  I’m sorry. (And yes, that is my sister and I in our of our first pictures together. Don’t you love the rainbow suspenders, my poor mom had no idea what she was starting when she put those on me. Add a gold chain to the mix – oh how my parents wanted a little Italian guido. lol.)

What is it about traditions that I and so many others love and crave?  Maybe they provide a sense of belonging and a sense of comradery that might be missing during the other 11 months.  Maybe being a part of something special makes us in turn feel special. What I love most about traditions and honoring them year after year, is the feeling each of them provide. Christmas is not just one day, not just one holiday. Christmas is a feeling, an emotion. A feeling of peace, kindness and goodwill towards our fellow man (and woman!). Those feelings we have on Christmas can stay with us long after December 25th. 

As Big Bird and his fellow muppets sing on the Sesame Eve Christmas special (also another yearly viewing tradition when younger) “Keep Christmas with you, all through the year. When Christmas is over, save some Christmas cheer.  Those precious moments, hold them very dear. And keep Christmas with you, all through the year!” 

And God Bless us, every one!

Hoboken Holiday party with friends from college.
Favorite Holiday Album. EVER!
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party, 2018
Elmo restaurant, NYC, 2017



EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW!” There we stood chanting, yelling, as loud as we could. We were hoping to drown out the hate-fueled words being shouted at us. We stood in a single line 25 or so, each holding a piece of a large blue banner emblazoned with the words of our rally cry.  The banner itself playing an important role in gay history; hand sewed by world-famous political activist, and creator of the iconic rainbow flag Gilbert Baker.  

Many of these activists travelled down from NY“C, leaving at 4 or 5am, on buses sponsored by The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.  On the bus are members of “Gays Against Guns,” “Rise and Resist” and “Whistleblowers.” Joining them on the bus are dozens of students from Hunter College.  

Buses sponsored by Housing Works were not far behind us. These brave activists volunteering to participate in a Civil Demonstration. Over 100 linked arms and sat in the street for hours, knowing they would be getting arrested. 

I was honored to stand with my queer brothers and sisters and our allies in front of the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday October 8th.   The Supreme Court was hearing arguments in three landmark cases involving anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination.

Who are these activists? Why are there here today? I was curious to know their motivations, and what drew them to wake up at 3am and travel 5 hours each way for a roughly 3 hour protest. 

One of the unofficial “leaders” of our contingent was Ken Kidd. Ken has been at the forefront of the Queer Liberation movement since the beginning. His activism stemming from a violent gay bashing in the early 80s. An ACT UP member from day one, Ken is also a founding member of Queer Nation. Queer Nation, born in the spring of 1990, helped the gay community take back and reclaim the word queer. If you have ever said “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.” you should thank Queer Nation.  QN was instrumental in the passage of hate crime legislation — protesting in Albany numerous times.  

Ken “believes that every LGBTQ+ person is equal in every way to every other person in the USA.  To say that you can fire Brendon for loving a man yet you can’t fire Brenda for loving the same man is bullshit!”

Elissa a 55 year-old married mother of two and founding member of Whistleblowers told me “not everyone has the opportunity to be fighting on the front lines. I am standing up for those who cant. Its a horrible thought to be discriminated against because of who you are.”

Sitting behind me on the bus, Chauncey, who works in the nightlife industry wants to “remind people that the fight is far from over.  Too many people are unaware of what’s at stake right now. Too much complcaeny. I am here to lead by example.”

Anne found out about the buses through her work with the Emergency Bail Fund.  Anne, a documentary filmmaker, stressed to me that “we are not free until we are all free.” Here in solidarity, Anne works with the Emergency Bail Fund hoping to “get the women out of jail so they can reform our criminal justice system.”

DJ, 61, a lesbian shared with me that she “knew from the age of 4 I was never going to marry a man and have his babies. That’s the only difference I have ever felt.  So I deserve the same rights as everyone else.”

Jimmy and Alex, 20 year old queer students and best friends feel “the rights of so many queer individuals are not protected.  We are on this bus to raise awareness and fight for our equality.”

Lastly, Jay a 21 year old who identifies as transgender, said rather succinctly, “Everyone deserves to have basic fundamental work rights.”

For myself and my reasonings for going to DC, I echo Chauncey reminding everyone that the fight for equality continues. Now more than ever we need all hands on deck.  As empowering and inspiring the rally was, it was also somewhat discouraging. Opponents of our fight showed up in full force. Their numbers were strong, their voices were loud and they were mobilized.  Honestly, I was taken aback at the sight of them. This is 2019. How is this still up for debate??

My queer brothers and sisters – we need each and every one of you! Anything you can do, can and will help.  If you are financially comfortable, consider making a donation. If you are active on social media, use your voice to raise awareness and inspire others.  Become more active in your community in whatever capacity you can. 

As this war for equality rages on, good will prevail over evil. Right will prevail over wrong. And love with prevail over hate.  Remember, what do the words on that wall say? EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.


Lets face it, being gay is expensive! Gays are active, mobile, on the go, always in front of the latest trend or newest pop culture sensation. We always have a drag brunch to get to, a birthday party to attend or a “Hey It’s Wednesday the work week is half over” party! Teaching in the public school system for 15+ years, I have always been on the “poorer” end of the spectrum out of my group of friends. In recent years its gone from bad to GAY POOR!

FREE EVENT: walking on the beach

From 2005 to 2011 I was living, working, and went to Graduate School in South Florida. I taught middle and high school for the Miami-Dade County Public School System. I was barely making $45,000, and that was only because I coached two teams and moderated a few student activity groups earning stipends. However, the cost of living was so low I never really felt GAY POOR!  During my years there, I lived in three gorgeous large apartments, all with balconies, all with pools. One apartment complex even had two pools, plus a sandwich shop and liquor store. We lovingly called it “the compound” and wouldn’t leave the grounds some weekends!

Moving back home to NYC things were VERY different, financially speaking.  Even though my salary more than doubled it seemed money disappeared much quicker once I became a Brooklynite! #Williamsburgrepresent

FREE EVENT: Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Everything costs more in NYC. When using my debit card the Thursday before a Friday payday, I would hold my breath swiping it through the machine hoping against hope it would say “APPROVED!” I think only one time it got declined. No sour patch kids and US Weeks magazine for Robby that day!  And trying to amass a rainy day fund or savings account – nearly impossible.

A few years ago I made a somewhat bold, somewhat risky decision to leave the NYCDOE with the intention of kick-starting a writing career.  Here I am years later standing before you GAY POOR!

If I thought living in Williamsburg on a public school teachers salary was hard, I was not prepared at all for the realities of living in Williamsburg on a part time substitute teachers slash English lit tutors slash freelance writers slash bloggers salary! That is the very definition of gay poor!

Yes, Gay poor can be considered a “first world problem,” I make enough to cover rent, utilities and basic gay life needs. I know I am better off than a vast majority of people on this planet but for the purpose of this post please allow me to vent about being GAY POOR!

FREE EVENT: Book reading with gay icon and one of my heroes Armistead Maupin

GAY POOR means no $3,000 summer share on Fire Island.

GAY POOR means no yearly vacations to a different beautiful exotic location. Each year the location changes but weirdly all the gays know beforehand where to go! Past locations included Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Mykonos, Sydney and Puerto Vallarta.

GAY POOR means no pricey skin/face/eye cream lotions from Kiehls. Target store brand works just fine (its actually pretty good! #welovetarget)

GAY POOR means no trips “to the dentist” every six months to smooth out those lines that start appearing on our faces once we hit 40.

GAY POOR means cutting old jeans into super cute shorts.  Add them to your closet instead of buying ALL new ones every Spring.

GAY POOR means doing your laundry at the laundromat instead of sending it out to be done.

GAY POOR means drinking vodka sodas at the bar and not Titos and soda. {hell yes we are still going out we are Gay Poor we are not nuns!}

GAY POOR means going out shirtless dancing in the clubs once a month, not once every weekend. {Maybe we can chalk this one up to getting older!}

GAY POOR means taking the subway home from Hells Kitchen at 2am after a fun night with friends, not an Uber.  {dont worry about my safety, L train is hella crowded at that time, cant even get a seat!}

Looking forward to the day I am a successful, HIGHLY PAID writer so I can look back fondly on these leaner days and be all like “Not Today Satan!” For today, its fine and lets face it — it can always be worse!  Who is ready for a trip to Target? Robby needs some face cream 🙂

FREE: Carrying your own Christmas tree home


The last Sunday in June holds a special place in my heart. The last Sunday in June holds the title of one of my favorite days of the year:  NYC GAY PRIDE. The energy, the excitement, the love, the camaraderie felt in the city and on the streets is electric and infectious. This year, add 2 million more visitors to the city as NYC hosts WORLD PRIDE! I am extremely proud to have participated in the past 15+ Pride parades, marching with different contingents from “It Gets Better”to “Gays Against Guns,” and The Gay and Lesbian Center. There have also been years where you may have seen me dancing in a speedo on floats for “HX,” “Next,” or “Univision”.  Last June I was thrilled to be representing the “GayTrippersNYC” float. GayTrippersNYC is a gay travel company owned and operated by my friend, John DiStefano. (Yes. this shameless plug hopefully gets me a free trip!)

The nation’s first Gay Pride Parade was held on June 28, 1970. The parade was held on the 1 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, when members of the gay community clashed with police for raiding the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. #knowyourgayhistory

Now let me preface what I am about to discuss with the fact that I had an ABSOLUTE BLAST last year, and every year, marching and on the float. And that I still believe Gay Pride is just as important, possibly even more important today, than in 1970. Pride STILL matters.  Coming out STILL matters. Visibility STILL matters. That’s not to say that Gay Pride is for every single gay person. My friend Phil tells me, “Robby, I have done pride for more than 20 years, it’s someone else’s turn. I will be on Fire Island for the weekend.” (You go Phil) Celebrating Pride however and wherever you want is why we have Gay Pride!

However, the management of the NYC Parade, specifically, ‘Heritage of Pride’ needs to be completely overhauled and reconfigured.   Gay Pride, first and foremost belongs to the LGBTQ community and each year Heritage of Pride succeeds in making it feel less and less like Pride and more like SantaCon or St. Patrick’s Day.

For the 2nd consecutive year the parade runtime passed 9 hours. NINE HOURS. Think about that for a minute. Would you stand and watch a parade or anything straight for nine hours? I wouldn’t and I don’t know anyone that would. There are simply too many groups marching. Period. 450 groups. Even typing that number seems insane. Watching 450 groups march by sounds more overwhelming than fun.

Second, HOP buried the resistance groups like “Act Up,” and “Rise and Resist” way back in the last half of the parade, when they should be LEADING the march.  HOP has come under major fire from the LGBTQ for allegedly moving publicized meeting dates and times without any notice. Is this to keep community leaders from attending and voicing their concerns?

Third, the wristband requirement “enforced” last year was a complete and utter fail and epic waste of time and energy. I saw more people marching and on floats WITHOUT wristbands than with. In addition, “Gay City News” reported than HOP gave special permission to 11 corporations letting their marching group exceed the 200 person limit. This limit is supposedly to keep the parade shorter than years past. We know how well that worked out. HOP declined to comment for the “GCN” article. Of course they did.

I am well aware many people worked tirelessly and endlessly to make the day a success, and I am beyond grateful and thankful.  Looking back, the question that needs to be asked is – Was the day a success?? Many feel that it was not.

It is quite a different parade for a group marching at 2pm to throngs of screaming friends and allies, and crowded streets of people waving and clapping, than for a group marching at 7pm. Late in the day groups are greeted by almost empty streets and few onlookers. I know this because I have marched at 2pm and I’ve marched at 7pm.

How do we improve the Parade?  I don’t pretend to have any answers or solutions, but there should be conversations between HOP and the LGBTQ community. Proposals can range from raising the price of floats but limiting the amount of groups that march from 450 to 250.  HOP can hold a lottery for admission to the parade, guaranteeing admission in the next year if you don’t get in the current year. With less floats and less marchers, the parade can run 6 hours and not 9, requiring less overtime for the police guarding every street like Fort Knox and making travel around downtown Manhattan virtually impossible.

Finally, resistance and community groups belong in the FRONT of the parade to honor the memory of those that came before us and the thousands upon thousands who fought for our hard earned rights. Yes, Pride is a day for everyone to celebrate and to come together in joyous celebrations. But first and foremost, Pride belongs to the LGBTQ community, and it’s time we take it back! That is why this year I will be marching in the Queer Liberation March starting at 930am in front of Sheridan Square and marching towards Central Park! #RECLAIMPRIDE



by Noah Cohen, contributing writer.

I’m sitting in the car, staring out the passenger window, watching the other cars go by. Music is playing on the radio, but I’m not paying attention. Thoughts are whirling around my head like bees in a hive, as I try to process what I am feeling, or rather, what I think I should be feeling. Moving to a new city is a big deal, right? On one hand, the uncertainty is daunting and everything I’ve known is now about to change. On the other hand, I’m feeling underwhelmingly calm, as though this is just another car ride, with the difference being that all of my stuff is in the car. The two feelings juxtapose in my head.

Adapting to new environments hasn’t been much of a struggle for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to over twenty countries, I went away from home for college and I lived in Sydney, Australia for six months. I’ve found that I can acclimate well when spending time or living in other places. There’s one commonality, though, that all those places share: each destination had an end date and nothing was permanent. For the first time, I would be leaving to go somewhere for an indefinite amount of time without a return date. There’s a beautiful chaos in feeling like the world is your oyster, but also not being sure whether or not you enjoy shellfish. What’s at stake, really, besides for my happiness – or possible lack thereof?

I graduated from college about a year ago. After graduation, I moved back in with my parents in Westchester, New York. It was a great place to grow up, and I had a very comfortable upbringing, but my town is not a conducive place for twenty-somethings to meet a lot of other people. Two of my best friends were home as well, which was amazing and I really enjoyed getting to spend so much time with them, but I yearned to meet new people as well. Developing a gay network in my hometown didn’t seem too feasible either, and I longed to meet other gays and feel that I’m part of a community. I knew I needed to be in a city for these things to happen, and I had two in mind: New York or Washington D.C. I always lived near New York – the thrill wasn’t there as much for me and I think there’s such thing as too much to do and too many people to try to form bonds and relationships with. There was also one major thing that was swaying my decision towards Washington – my boyfriend lives there.

On my first full day of living in D.C., my boyfriend and I decided to go for a long walk around the city. Any sense of tranquility I was feeling the day before in the car had dissipated and a flow of emotions, worries and anxieties surged though me like a current through a wire. Any bottled up or suppressed emotions came out, and in that instance I was a complete and utter mess. Seeing these unfamiliar streets, unfamiliar faces… I felt lost and that I didn’t belong there. I was questioning absolutely everything and wondered if I would really be happy here or if it was just wishful thinking.

Those aforementioned anxieties and worries were quickly resolved. I would soon meet people – a lot of people. I felt happy and a sense of belonging to my new city. My boyfriend and I put up artwork I had brought up in the apartment, and lined the tops of our dressers with pictures of special people in my life. We worked to turn a house into a home – a place we could share together. Things really clicked and made me realize that I definitely made the right choice. I’ve been here two months now, but it feels like so much longer, in a very good way.

My situation and circumstances for moving to D.C. were certainly unique. I didn’t have a job lined up. It took me a month of searching once I got here before I even got an interview. The plan was that I was going to move in with my boyfriend at his place (another major first for me: living with a significant other). Should it not have been for his understanding and patience, there’s no way I would have taken that chance to move here on my own without first having that all figured out.

My boyfriend was extremely supportive while I searched for work, and because of that I was able to find a full-time job that really appealed to me, as well as a part-time job and some contract work. He made my transition in moving so much easier, and I truly don’t think my experience would have been even remotely as positive without him helping and accompanying me on my journey. And what a journey it’s been so far – so much in my life has changed in the last couple of months, and though frightening at times, change can be a truly wonderful thing. I wasn’t unhappy before, but I didn’t think it was possible for me to be as happy as I am now. I want to say thank you to the people who have been a catalyst for positive change in my life. I’m a D.C. resident, I’m living with my partner, I’m meeting amazing people and I’m so excited to see what new changes continue to evolve in my future.


The fans of “RuPauls Drag Race” are some of the most passionate, and most vocal when it comes to discussing their favorite queens, who won, who got robbed and who slayed it on the runway. The most recent episode of the current season – SNATCH GAME has become many viewers favorite episode of the season. There have been 14 Snatch Game episodes, each with roughly 8 queens. That means there were 112 performances eligible for this list. As with every list and every award, this list is subjective, based on my opinion (and how the queens fared during the episode). Read, enjoy, discuss – but please keep your comments classy and nice. We are all friends here. #teameveryone

(Queens will be grouped by fives, in alphabetical order.)


Adore Delano – Anna Nicole Smith

Alexis Michelle – Liza Minelli

Katya – Bjork

Monet Exchange – Maya Angelou

Pearl – Big Ang


AQUARIA as MELANIA TRUMP – The season 10 winner and lewk queen snagged herself a Snatch Game win few saw coming with her sendup of FLOTUS Melania Trump. Handing RuPaul a Tiffany box “present” with a SAVE ME note inside started Aquaria off on a high note and she never let up. She had many zingers and all of her answers were political, timely and in sync with the questions asked. “Russian Hooker Urine” and “No wonder my husband hates China so much” were two of her best.

BOB THE DRAG QUEEN as UZO ADUBO AND CAROL CHANNING – The only queen (until Nina West last week) to give fans TWO celeb impersonations during the game, the season 8 winner earned her place on this list and then some. Her lesbian-esque Adubo was good but her Carol Channing was laugh out loud funny. Just ask RuPaul, and if you make Mama laugh – you are good to go! “I havent taken anything stronger than Lipitor since 1986. You can’t get a good buzz off of that!”

BIANCA DEL RIO as JUDGE JUDY – I already hear the gay gasps as season 6 winner (and my all time favorite Drag Race queen) is placed in the bottom half of the top 11. Hear me out before you revoke my gay card!  Bianca tore it up as Judge Judy, but did not have enough material and enough interactions with the other queens to vault her into the top 5. There was also too much Bianca mixed in with her Judge Judy impersonation. Her “beauty fades, dumb is forever” read – hilarical.

CHAD MICHAELS as CHER – You knew it was coming, you were waiting for it. The expectations for Cher impersonator Chad Michaels in season 4 were high and girl delivered on all fronts. The first queen with multiple costume and wig changes during the Game clinched her win with the line “I don’t know why they book on these chicken shit gigs. I’m an Oscar winner!”

JINX MONSOON as LITTLE EDIE – A bold decision to play someone some viewers might not have a reference for solidified a Snatch Game win for the eventual winner of the season.  As stated above, you make RuPaul laugh, you are good to go and Jinx did that convincingly. Throwing a lifeline to the drowning Ivy Winters gave Jinx her best line of the night, “Quite the scandal…with my cousin actually (JFK), it was in all the papers at the time.”
TATIANNA as BRITNEY SPEARS – Tatianna transformed herself into Britney Spears complete with nervous tics, gum chewing and doe eyed naivety.  She grabbed herself the first ever Snatch Game win with answers relevant to Britney and her chaotic life at the time of the episode being filmed.


ALASKA as MAE WEST –  The All Stars 2 winner won Snatch Game winner tearing the roof off the join with her portrayal of Mae West.  Even for viewers who had no reference for Mae West knew exactly who she was at the end of the game. Telling guest judge and drag race fave Jujubee “I’ve seen you at the free clinic!” HA.  “What are you talking about, I beat around the bush all the time!” #legendary

BENDELACREME as DAME MAGGIE SMITH – Stealing the win from Bianca Del Rio was going to be near impossible but Benda steamrolled the rest of the queens with her Maggie Smith. Guest judge Gillian Jacobs told her she had been repeating her “Excuse me! We originated the language” joke non stop since she said it. She also killed it when she envisioned liqour flavored with “Citrus! Can you imagine that!!”

GINGER MINJ as ADELE – Choosing to play Adele as a somewhat ditzy drunk played off in spades as Ginger tied for the Snatch Game win in season 7. Ginger came prepared with props including awards, and food which she consumed nonstop.  Her answers – genius and. Telling “Suze Orman”, “I love you Justin Bieber,” to “So it’s not a very good song, I probably still won an award for it” had Rupaul in stitches.

KENNEDY DAVENPORT as LITTLE RICHARD – I wouldn’t call it a bold decision for Kennedy to play a male character in the Snatch Game, because I don’t think she realized she wasn’t “allowed” to bring a male celeb to the table.  All was forgiven the minute she opened her mouth. Little Richard was hella flamboyant, but more important, really really funny!  Comparing himself to Batman and Robin saying they all like a “bathhouse with dark rooms and gloryholes…” and giving the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz, “a tight screw because we all like a tight screw” nailed her a win, tied with Ginger’s Adele who Little Richard told “wrong note sugar!”

TRINITY TAYLOR as CAITLYN JENNER – In All Stars 4, they wisely rebooted the Snatch Game as the Snatch Game of Love, with 4 queens at a time vying for a date with an eligible bachelor.  Trinity was miles ahead of every other queen with her Caitlyn Jenner perfecting her mannerisms and political views, telling guest celeb Gus Kenworthy he looked like a “poor democrat.” and “dont touch me” when he went in for a hug!  She also read Valentina’s boring Eartha Kitt, “I find you annoying.”

I’m (not) THE Gay English Teacher

It’s no secret I’m gay. It never really has been, well maybe in College, but all my friends swear up and down to this day that they all know I pitched for the homo team even when we met in our freshmen dorm. {Nevills Hall, represent!}  I’ve always felt that when it came to work/school and my career that I would be “out” but I never walked into my classroom waving the rainbow flag in front of my students. Rumor mills are the same in every school across America, there were whispers, suspicions and if it ever came up, I would never deny it, I am an out proud gay man; I never wanted it to be the focus. I was an English teacher who was gay, not the gay English Teacher.

When I first started teaching and for most of my decades long career years things were very very different. This is before we got the Marriage Equality Act passed and “Will and Grace.” These were somewhat tough times. Matthew Shepard was killed less than five years before I started teaching. You had to be careful. Case in point, a gay male friend of mine was outed at a school he was teaching in. Almost overnight he sensed the tide turning against him. He couldn’t outright be fired just for being gay, but things started happening, like the janitor suddenly stopped cleaning his classroom. Parent complaints multiplied –  seemingly overnight. After years of consistently stellar reports, he received lower scores on observations…he resigned midyear and found a lower paying job; where he was much happier.

Most of my memories and experiences as a teacher have been overwhelmingly positive. Looking back there are some that might not have been so positive.  Sometimes parents try to get too close to a teacher or fish for information that is none of their business. My outgoing, friendly personality often interprets as being an invitation for them to pursue a friendship.  Hiding myself on social media was just as much hiding from the parents as it was for hiding from the students! More than once during a parent teacher meeting a parent would lean in and say, “Mr. D we should go to {insert name of gay bar here} and have a drink,” I would answer, “Your son is failing English Honors, you know that’s why you are here, right?”  Another time, on the last day of school, I was packing my car and ran into a parent in the parking lot. We got to talking and I mentioned that I was leaving on a cruise later that day. “Oh, is it an Atlantis Cruise?” she asked, adding a wink. {Atlantis is a private travel company catering primarily to gay men. An Atlantis cruises can have anywhere between 2,000 and 7,000 homosexuals on board sailing the seas for a week!} I answered “No. But I have been on more than one of those and they are fun.” Gotta give the people what they want!  Sometimes that goes well like on this occasion but sometimes it bites you in the ass…

A “well meaning” parent suggested to the principal that I favored the gay and lesbian students because I too was gay.  My amazing principal at the time answered her flat-out “Let me make this clear Mr. DeDominic’s sexual preference is not up for discussion, nor does it in any way influence his lesson planning, grading or treatment of students.  This meeting is over.” BOOYAH! Another not so fun time a parent was banned from contacting me and ever entering my classroom after leaving me a message stating that if I failed his daughter, “there will be trouble and you will be sorry you fairy.” Those words were perceived as a threat and I was on edge for a few days. In the end, said daughter handled in her missing work, aced a paper and wound up with a C+ for the marking period. It was only a progress report that said she was in danger of failing! Jeez!

These last two stories really do make me smile, one in a nervous kind of way. At a high school I taught, on Valentines Day, for $1 you can buy a “lovegram” and members of the chorus will serenade that special someone in class. This was a “non instruction” or “group activity” day since students are in and out of your 45 minute class nonstop, singing to each other. It’s actually super cute.  In walks three chorus students ready to sing, I quieted down the class and was then told, “No Mr. DeDominic, this one is for you!” Ok I thought to myself, this is nice, I am close with lots of the students, they eat lunch in my room…thinking nothing of it…until they start singing the song. The song chosen was “No One” by Alicia Keys, as in “no one, no one, can get in the way that I feel for you…” AWKWARD. Even more awkward as one girl in the class screams, “OH MY GOD!” I am sure my face said it all because 30+ juniors were living their life listening and watching. Thankfully the tension was cut from way in the back, “why you thirsty hos sending THIS song to Mr. D, he likes DUDES! And probably old dudes, look at him! you ain’t getting out of writing the paper that’s due Friday. Wasting your dollar!”

Lastly, one day after dismissal a sophomore girl named Rayne* walked into my room, Rayne was out of the closet at the time, walking from class to class hand in hand with her girlfriend. She wondered if it would be ok to ask me a very personal question, I say sure, “Mr. D, are we family?” she inquires smiling ear to ear.  I say “Yes Rayne, we are family” “I KNEW IT! My gaydar is on point. Everyone insists you and {insert female teachers name here} are a couple because you are together all the time but I knew!” I calmed her infectious enthusiasm down letting her know that while I am out and proud I am a teacher who happens to be gay and I don’t want to be known as the gay English teacher. She lets me know in no uncertain terms that she has my back, because that’s what you do for family.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to find gay family that has your back wherever you go! Even when you are the Gay English Teacher! What the hell, cant fight city hall.

@copyrighted April 13, 2019