20 Queer Q’s with Matt Rogers

The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value. These intimate conversations aim to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.

This week, get to know comedian, entertainer, and co-host of the Las Culturistas podcast, Matt Rogers. Learn about his hopes for the LGBTQ+ community in the future, what his queerness has given him, what he feels insecure about, and more.

Name: Matt Rogers

Age: 28

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His

Sexually Identifies As: Gay

1. What do you love about the LGBT community? The various point of views you get within it. I think something you think before you’re actually in the community, is that everyone is the same. You see a kind of antiquated image of the gay community on television, especially in the 90’s when I grew up. The community is so varied, interesting, dynamic, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

 

2. Do you think it’s hard to make queer friends? I don’t think it’s hard, but I definitely think you have to get over yourself. We make it harder for ourselves, and I think one of the symptoms of being gay is that you second guess yourself all the time because that’s what we’ve been told to do and that doesn’t make friendships easy. I’m lucky I’ve had my friends that I’ve been close with for 10 years and having people to go out with and meet people with has made it easier, but when you meet someone new when their super interesting, you feel like you want to make sure you’re good enough for them and I think the insecurity that we all have that is ingrained in us just due to the experiences we’ve been through. That’s what makes it hard to open up to people in terms of friendships and romance.

3. What does pride mean to you? It’s the sense of safety in operating in your full potential as a human being and that’s expressing your joy to the max and having that received by the people around you.

4. Do you think LGBTQ+ youth have it easier now? I don’t like this hierarchy of struggle. Every individual is going through something and I think we need more compassion across the board. I don’t like it when my generation scolds the younger LGBT community. I think we have a lot more in common than we think. I’m so reverent and appreciative of the older generation. They had to go through something I couldn’t even imagine. It’s tragic what this community went through during the AIDS crisis and I think that’s trauma that’s with this generation and they’re angry because they never had to go through that.

I think we look at the younger generation and think, “Wow you’re allowed to be gay at 11 years old.” But at the same time, we don’t know what it’s like to have social media surround us at all times. When I say I don’t like the hierarchy of struggle, I don’t like to compete in terms of pain. I think everyone is entitled to their experience and what’s important is that we have compassion, it’s not that we remind each other that we’ve had it harder than anyone else, even if it’s true. Because it is, there are sects of this community that have had it extremely difficult. Specifically speaking about trans women of color, [they] are the most persecuted, disrespected, berated, and pursued negatively people on this planet. I think it would be ridiculous on this planet to say that they didn’t have it rough every single day. But I also think we should have compassion for everyone. In terms of these younger kids, they’re still grappling with their identity and are still in the minority and still need compassion.

5. What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ youth? Don’t be afraid of other individuals that are also different. Foster relationships with people that you find a connection with. If you feel a connection, foster that, because your community is going to be your family one day.

6. Do you believe in love? Yes.

7. What are values that you look for in an ideal partner? Patient, non-judgemental, gets it in terms of humor. You don’t have to be funny, you just have to get it.

8. Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. Girl, we are getting there.

9. What are your thoughts on people who say “masc4masc”? They’re people who are not going to get my attention or anyone’s attention who’s worthwhile. It’s a ridiculous thing to say which is a gross symptom of our community which is the app culture. It’s one of the ways in which the ugliness in our community is living out loud. It’s so gross and we’re so much better and [more] beautiful than that.

10. What hopes do you have for the LGBTQ+ community in the future? Happiness. I hope that for everyone, I hope that everyone can just get to a point where they say I love myself as much as I pretend to or as much as I see. I hope we can walk the world and be safe.

 

11. Is there a LGBTQ+ TV show or movie that has had a great impact on you? RuPaul’s Drag Race had the greatest impact on me, because the concept of “You’re born naked and the rest is drag” changed my life. … I realized that there are no rules, the only rules that you make are the ones that you impose on yourself. And that is so liberating.

12. What’s your earliest memory that you felt you were different? When I was little, the characters that I wanted to act out in the yard were all female — and my parents acted weird about it. My mom even asked our doctor about why I was doing that and the doctor said,  “It’s because he’s very smart, he wants to take on different personas.” I was perceptive enough to understand that my instincts were not “normal,” and it was gauging that from the reaction they had.

13. What do you feel most insecure about? My body,

14. What do you feel the most confident about? My sense of humor.

15. What’s your relationship with your family like? Very good, very positive, I’m very lucky in that regard and I see them often.

16. Have you found your chosen family? How do they make you feel? Absolutely 100%, and I’m so lucky. Oftentimes when I’m at Thanksgiving with extended family I’m like, “Why aren’t i with my real family?” It’s so true what they say, it’s such an integral thing for a gay person is to find those people

17. On a grading scale from F-A, how is life for you right now? A-. In the grand scheme of things, I can eat, I’m out here pursuing my goals, I do what I want, I have good family, my family and friends are healthy.

18. Have you ever felt/do you still feel uncomfortable holding another guys hand in public? Yes, unfortunately because no matter where you go, you are exposed and you hear horror stories. This is something I think people need to understand. You cannot fully understand the full experience of someone who is different or a minority because you don’t have those small instincts. Like when I hold someone’s hand in public, that’s marking yourself vulnerable and there’s a lot of crazy people out there.

19. Who is someone in your life who gets you? Bowen Yang, my best friend understands me 100%. We have a sort of sixth sense with each other, we’re very empathetic to each other, we often speak in the same cadences at the same time.

20. What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained? It’s given me my sense of humor and that’s everything to me. It’s given me my point of view which is great to pair with a sense of humor.

Listen to Matt’s podcast Las Culturistas wherever you listen to podcasts. Keep up with him and his upcoming shows in NYC and LA on Twitter and Instagram.

Coming Out in the Projects

Who’s going to kill me first? A cop who fears the color brown or someone brown who discovers the bright colors of my rainbow?

Imagine thinking like that at 10 years old. At 13, I watched my friend get jumped by a group of men — that’s right, adult men — because they suspected that he was gay. And because queerness is synonymous with perversion to most cis-heterosexual people, they accused him of sexually assaulting all the little boys he played with. I watched as the rumors scattered like feathers out of a ripped pillow. I watched as people who defend Bill Cosby today (despite 60 women coming forward) label my friend a rapist based on accusations with no victim coming forward. Those people were eager to connect queerness with perversion, just as people still try to associate pedophilia with the LGBTQ community.

That’s when I learned how much my world hated me.

My mother told me about her deceased gay friend, how someone chopped him up and scattered his body parts around the Bronx. Though she always spoke about him with profound sorrow, a warning always clung on to every word of that story. My mother knew that I was queer (even though I didn’t tell her at that time). I think that’s why she told me.

Secrets are like two-sided coins. One side contains the power to strengthen and destroy bonds between friends. The other side can be the rust on a razor that threatens the throat.

When I was 10, I discovered a secret about myself. My distrust for others embittered the flavor of that secret. My shame made it taste like hellfire that scorched every corner of my mouth, leaving the most disgusting and painful flavor on my tongue. Accepting the truth of my secret would mean allowing the searing bitterness down my throat, subjecting the rest of my body to the pain of being an abomination.

Instead, I swallowed gelid lies about myself. Back then, I figured that was better than allowing the truth of what I am to continue burning me, to continue reminding me that I am both my earthly and heavenly fathers’ biggest regret, my mother’s nightmare, and my neighborhood’s greatest insult.

Accepting my secret would have been an unnecessary punishment.

I like boys. That’s my secret, my most painful truth. Discovering that secret was like discovering that I am a magical being. I am a magical being. Everyone should know about the magic that comes with being queer. But the world was — and probably still is — ignorant to that type of magic. Ignorance allows history to repeat itself, and I’m not yet ready to become a part of history.

As a child, I couldn’t find my utopia—not even in my dreams. How could one imagine a perfect world when they feel like they don’t deserve to live in their less-than-ideal reality? How can I not deserve more than a place where large puddles of piss soak the elevators, where the homeless shit in the staircase and smear their excretion on the rusty lead banisters, where our secrets inevitably transform into lies that devour us like a murder of ravenous parasites?

The beginning of my autobiography will begin with who I thought I was as a kid. I thought I was nothing but a dumb, black faggot boy from the projects, where there’s always a witch hunt  —  where black people, like me, are hunted by our neighborhood cops. Where queer people, like me, are hunted by our neighbors.

Maybe she wasn’t homophobic. Maybe she was afraid of what could happen to me. Maybe we shared a secret without knowing it.

I don’t have a romantic coming out story. I have a weird and confusing one that reminds me of the pain I felt when I was a kid. I have a reminder that coming out is difficult when your world despises your identity.

Image via Getty

My Three Unruly Bodies

In high school, I had a friend named Jennifer. She was a plus-sized woman, and she took pride in her size. In many ways, she was the body-positive movement before Twitter introduced me to it. I admired her confidence.

She told me that she started an Instagram account for beautiful plus-sized people. I asked her if she would post one of my photos. Her cold brown eyes dug into me and she said, “Arkee, you’re not plus-sized. That shit is starting to get annoying.”

I thought she was joking. Surely she saw the same guy I saw when I stared in the mirror — that large bellied man with flabby arms and breasts. But she didn’t. I didn’t realize it until recently, but she saw the truth of my body. However, she suspected that I was fishing for compliments like those hot-bodied idiots who take shirtless pictures and caption them “ugh, I’m getting fat.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ve had an Instagram account since 2013, but I only have 36 posts. I created the account, like I created a Snapchat account, to connect with my friends. However, my inactivity on both apps makes it virtually pointless to add me.

I’m not photogenic. And contrary to popular belief, I’m a very private person, despite my incessant need to tweet my most pointless mind vomits. Therefore, apps that require me to post pictures are worthless to me, just like my pinky toe and nipples.

However, that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions about why Instagram and Snapchat don’t pique my interest. People always assume the worst about people who don’t feel the need to take a selfie every minute. So far, I’ve been asked questions like: “Are you insecure about your weight?” “Do you think you’re ugly?”

Yes, to both questions. However, that is not why I don’t take pictures. I’m simply not photogenic. And no, I won’t get rid of my Instagram or Snapchat because it’s a visual diary that records the evolution of my body.

Throughout my years, I’ve inhabited three different bodies. All of them have been unruly, as Roxane Gay would say. Two, my previous bodies, have been dishonest. And my new body has been honest to a fault, just like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar.

My first body was shockingly thin. However, I could never see that when staring in the mirror. Before my eyes stood the illusion of a larger man. The man in the mirror wasn’t just large. He was ugly, too. He needed to lose over twenty pounds so that he could be beautiful.

My second body rested somewhere between thin and stocky. I had begun going to the gym and I stopped sticking my fingers down my throat after every meal. Still, no matter how hard I worked out, I kept seeing the illusion of an outrageously large and ugly man in the mirror.

My third body is my latest body. I’m not ‘thick’ or stocky. I’m fat. My doctors would call me morbidly obese and recommend strict diets and exercises. One doctor even recommended the gastric bypass surgery. “If you follow the surgeon’s rules, you can return to your thinner self in weeks,” he promised.

But why would I desire that? My last two bodies were filthy liars. They made me see what I feared I would become if I didn’t stick my fingers down my throat after every meal. They made me believe that I enjoyed that acidic sensation that lingered in my throat after I vomited. They made me believe that the tears streaming down my face were tears of joy—joy that I conformed to my superficiality and caused myself harm.

Instagram and Snapchat chronicled the truth of my body. Staring at my old pictures, I can’t help but see my shocking transformation. The body I feared I’d someday occupy is finally mine. Be that as it may, it’s difficult to see my new body the way I once saw it. I don’t see an outrageously large and ugly man in the mirror.

Finally, I see a body that isn’t interested in deceiving me. My new body tells it how it is, no matter how hurtful the truth is. When I outgrow a shirt, my body lets me know by giving me shortness of breath. When I overeat, my body lets me know by giving me sharp stomach pains. When I overexert my muscles, they shut down. But most importantly, when I stare into the mirror, I see the truth of my body.

If I could go back eight years, I’d understand Jennifer’s anger. As a fat person, one of the first things we learn is how to accept the truth of our bodies. If we don’t accept the truth ourselves, someone else will point it out—some rude little kid, some snarky teen, or even an adult who lacks decorum. No one actualized the illusion of the large guy I saw in the mirror because it was nothing more than an illusion my body dysmorphia created. It was a lie that my new body, Instagram, and Snapchat exposed.

I love my new, honest body.

Image via Getty

Am I Wrong for Choosing Food Over Men?

Fall cleaning was difficult this year for two reasons. For one, I had a lot of shit in my closet. For another, most of that shit was clothing from when I lived a different life — a skinnier life. I had size 30 jeans, medium-sized shirts and sweaters that I could no longer fit a single arm through. I’m fat now. Thanks for reminding me of that, old clothing.

What a difference three years makes. I’m nearly twice the size I was back then. I say that with a genuine grin on my face; I’m not ashamed. I made my peace with my weight. Nothing changed, aside from my appetite, my ability to climb up stairs, tie my shoe without discomfort and how I now sweat in places that my fat magically created.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot locate the shame in my weight gain. I can’t see the same disgust people see when they stare at me. I try to wallow in self-pity at least once every month, so that it will inspire me to lose some weight — but it never works. I’m fat and content.

For me, my body is a reminder that I chose food over romantic relationships. And food will always be the safest alternative when grieving.

When my grandfather died, I turned to my friends for comfort. At the time, they had never experienced great and tragic loss, so they could not offer me any comfort. Not the comfort that I needed at the time, at least.

For me, losing my grandpa to cancer was like losing a part of me. Because he was a part of me. I never went a day without hearing his drug-addled bellows and witty insults. Finding him dead in his room created an emptiness inside of me — one that I’m still desperate to fill. Not with relationships, but with food.

When I lost my grandfather, my electricity went out for five days. There was a blackout caused by an electrician. I was in the dark, literally and figuratively, making attempts to piece my life together. I closed my eyes and images of my deceased grandfather burned violently in my mind. I couldn’t sleep — not without having my fill of food.

I depended on food like an addict depends on drugs. Without it, my nights were long and lonely. I was forced to plummet into a dark abyss — one that I’m still trying to escape from. Even now, food is still my go-to whenever I need comfort.

I talk about my obesity like I would talk about a best friend. People always accuse me of trying to ‘glamorize obesity,’ and in some ways, I am. For me, my obesity is a reminder that I survived one of the darkest moments of my life and food helped me to get through it. I don’t doubt that my eating habits are unhealthy. I’m quite aware that they are, but they make me feel here. Whenever I get that sharp pain in my stomach, I feel that void of great loss being filled for a few minutes or hours. It feels good to me.

I need to know if I’m wrong for making this decision. Would it be any different? Or would I still be feeling an empty void if I tried to fill it with a romantic partner?

I’m still healing. My new, larger body is proof of that.

Image via Getty

Why Do Evangelicals Take Such Issue With What That Mouth Do?

In the initial seconds of “Washpoppin,” the third track from Cardi B’s debut mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1, the rapper coos, “C’mon, be grown, suck a dick, be nasty.”

It’s one of the best dosages of sex ed that I’ve ever come across, but unfortunately, some people would rather listen to their uptight, puritanical politicians and the evangelical leaders that have soiled their minds about sex rather than beloved Our Lady of the Thot Bop. The latest example of this is Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has drawn international headlines for his condemnation of oral sex and calling for its banning in the country. Delivering a television press conference, the 73-year-old evangelist said, “Let me take this opportunity to warn our people publicly about the wrong practices indulged in and promoted by some of the outsiders. One of them is what they call oral sex. The mouth is for eating, not for sex.”

Depending on whom you’re speaking with, ass is a perfectly acceptable meal substitute or, depending on how you get down, side order. This is ditto for dick. Oh, and the vagina: who could forget that one? I mean, I almost did since it’s not my meal of choice, but y’all get it.

Museveni continued, declaring, “We know the address of sex, we know where sex is.”

This sounds like something Devante would say towards the end of a Jodeci song. If you don’t know what sentence means, the group Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling used to do karaoke to on that show starring The Legendary Ms. Britney Spears. Still confused? Let Google use you, my love.

In any event, back in 2014, Museveni claimed that after you stop being scared of the dick and throw lips to the shit, “You push the mouth there, you can come back with worms, and they enter your stomach because that is a wrong address.”

This would be hilarious if this man weren’t in charge of the laws of his land. Unfortunately, while it seems easy to dismiss Museveni as a misnomer due to the manner in which he conveyed his disdain of oral sex and its purported dangers, he sounds largely like his evangelist counterparts elsewhere in the world.

A few years ago, Pat Robertson argued: “You’re gonna say that you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to conform your religious beliefs to the group of some abhorrent thing. It won’t stop at homosexuality.” Although he was speaking in reference to gay people, the inference is clear: any form of sex that isn’t missionary, heterosexual, and presumably, majorly for reasons related to procreation, your sex ain’t lit. Well, lit if you mean worthy of you and your crotch burning in hell for all eternity. Word to boring sex.

To wit, Franklin Graham once slammed Teen Vogue for producing a how-to guide on anal sex.

“They are glorifying anal sex and doing nothing to warn young readers of the extreme dangers that this practice brings from a medical standpoint,” Graham posted on Facebook. “Even more important are the spiritual ramifications. Sodomy is a sin against God.”

Hear me in Ja Rule when I write that when it comes to sodomy, my attitude is:

Where would I be without my baby (baby)
The thought alone might break me (ooh)
And I don’t wanna go crazy

Meanwhile, just Google “Is Oral Sex A Sin?” and you will see so many articles debating the answer. Back when I was Catholic, I can’t recall ever getting a clear answer. Thank God my mouth didn’t wait for one.

Why do any of these people care so much? Do they not realize how silly they sound? If God didn’t want people to suck, why didn’t she make it taste like candy corn left out in the sun in Phoenix on a hot August’s day?

Fortunately, there are some Christians less uptight about where you put your mouth. In 2014, on the 400th episode of Ask Pastor John, the clergyman said this about sex: “Number one, I don’t think oral sex is explicitly prohibited in any biblical command. If the Bible prescribes it, it would have to be by principle and not by an explicit command.”

He also deemed it natural. Granted, he wanted it done in the confines of marriage, but can’t win them all. It’s a shame the likes of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni missed that episode. Just imagine being 73-years-old and having a much that dry. Picture that degree of deprivation.

And then thank God you never had a problem putting your mouth in/on new, interesting places like these quality sex-deprived evangelicals.

Inspired By Marc Jacobs, Here Are All The Chain Restaurants I Would Propose At

You know, a bitch likes to look cute or whatever when I step out, but I’m not exactly a fashion girl. (That’s no shade to those who fit the label.) However, while I only tend to shout “Louis-Prada-Gucci, Louis-Prada-Gucci” when I’m singing along to Karlie Redd, I am very familiar with Marc Jacobs; although he occasionally makes very questionable moves, he is my kind of thot overall. He’s been very public about his sexuality through the years, and I’ve always found that admirable.

One of his decisions, though, that I find dubious: proposing to his boyfriend and now fiancé, fancy candlemaker Char Defrancesco, at a Chipotle.

I’ve come to learn as an adult that white people love flash mobs, and unlike the current administration, I actually value cultural diversity. Sing Prince all you want, happy white people! (I wish people, however, would go for more of Prince’s deep cuts. “Wonderful Ass” might’ve worked for the occasion.) Having said that, like fellow columnist Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder whether salmonella was around while Marc Jacobs was romantically proposing a contractual union with his wax-on-wax-on-wax boo thang.

I don’t want to be sued or anything, but whenever I think of Chipotle these days, I immediately reflect on that whole contamination crisisin which people all over the country were keeled over in pain because they wanted a lil’ swine-filled burrito or extra guac with their chicken tacos. I used to love me some Chipotle, but I’ve so spooked to go there ever since it happened (and kept happening). Personally, I couldn’t get down on bended knee for a place that allegedly triggers so many folks’ bowels, but perhaps in this gesture of love, Marc Jacobs is trying to make Chipotle great again.

Even so, though we differ on the specific chain, I very much like the idea of asking someone to marry me at a chain restaurant. I’m hella single and have no chance of getting hitched anytime soon, but a dude can pretend, can’t he?

Yes. The answer is yes.

Popeyes

As most of you know, Popeyes is the elusive chanteuse of the fried chicken chains. I may not be able to stomach spokesperson Deidrie Henry and her fake ass accent in those Popeyes commercials that air on the hour every hour, but who can deny the splendor that is Popeyes chicken? I have engaged in a longstanding tryst with the five-piece spicy strips combo with fries and mashed potatoes with extra honey and jelly for my biscuit. So it only makes sense for me to potentially ask the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with while ordering a meal that’s probably provided me as muchif not more happinessthan him.

Of course, some of you may be wondering would I propose at one the Popeye’s chains with bulletproof glass? Obviously, I would because that probably has the best chicken if they haven’t run out of chicken. Moreover, if a partner is willing to go to you to a hood Popeye’s, you’ve found a real one.

Pappadeaux

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is a magical place that serves fried alligator, gumbo, and crawfisheven Beyoncé is a fan. I see myself proposing marriage while drinking a Three Wheel Motion. After he says yes (one can hope!), I’ll slide in the chorus to “Lady Marmalade,” as it’s the only Creole I can make out sober. I’m sorry, fam, but it’s your fault for not teaching me, TBH.

Chili’s

Before I address Chili’san American institutionlet me shout out Bennigan’s. Their Monte Cristo sandwich is legendary, and I am particularly thankful for Dennis, a serve who used to flirt with me when I was in high school but still in denial. I should have smashed.

When it comes to Chili’s, though, I tend to attract Jesus freaks. So while ordering some baby back ribs, I can quote the Bible verse: “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” And then I will add:“That shit ain’t got nothing to do with our gay asses, but be the sauce to my baby back ribs fo’eva, por favor?”

To the haters out there: That’s still cooler than a flash mob singing Prince’s “Kiss” by that alleged watery queso at Chipotle.

Taco Bell

For no other reason than I really want to try those nacho fries, y’all.

Jack in the Box

After you profess undying love, I can’t think of anything better than to follow up that with an order of curly fries.

Waffle House

Confession: I actually can’t remember ever eating at Waffle House. Stop booing and hissing at me, especially you other southerners. I’m used to Denny’s and IHOP.

That said, Denny’s has to still rinse some of its workers and their racism out with soap, and I’m mad at my local IHOP by me for changing their hours so I can’t go there either. That leaves me with Waffle House, which is the perfect place to propose to your person after you go to the club, realize you’re too old for this shit, and say, “Yo, marry me so I never have to go back there.” Romance.

Note: This plan is contingent on the fact that Waffle House execs cut it out with the sex tape scandals.

Buc-ee’s

I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell is Buc-ee’s, you country bumpkin?” It’s a very lovely convenience store with select locations around Texas and Alabama. “So it’s a gas station?” Yes, Virginia, but it’s the nicest gas station you’ve ever seen in your life. Most of them are huge; they have clean bathrooms, all of the snacks, and amazing lighting. They also serve lots and lots of food, which is how I am able to sneak this one on the list.

Look, if you’re on a road trip and you want to propose to bae as if you’re on a 1990s sitcom, this is the place to do it. You’re welcome.

Disclaimer: I’m aware this list has probably made it all the more difficult for me to ever get married. That’s fine. I can’t do it ‘til I pay more down on these student loans anyway. By the way, congratulations, Marc and Char.

Roseanne Conner Still Champions Queer People. Roseanne Barr Defends Donald Trump’s Attacks On Them

In the opening minutes of “Dress To Impress,” the second half of the series premiere of the Roseanne reboot, we see a concerned Dan Conner ask his daughter Darlene about her nine-year-old son, Mark, who often wears skirts, glitter, and colors traditionally associated with girls.

Darlene, who as fans of the 1990s sitcom recall, took on a demeanor often categorized as “tomboyish,” hinted at a double standard at play, noting that her father never had an issue with her wearing “basketball shorts and a Bulls jersey to school every day.” Dan hits right back, quipping, “Darlene, God did not give me this big a head to hold a narrow mind. I’m totally cool with girls who like basketball, boys who like sewing, but you’re dreaming if you don’t think he’s in a world of hurt.”

Roseanne then proceeds to joke that the family couldn’t possibly be bigoted given they have “already come to the terms with the fact that you were gay” to which Darlene promptly shuts down. The humor there does indeed confirm that Mark challenging the rigid gender spectrum forced upon kids around his age that is not the issue. No, it is the hurt that was spoke of. A hurt all of themDan, Roseanne, and Darlene herselffear little Mark will be exposed to on his first day at a new school.

Before Mark is taken to school, “Granny Rose” sits him down to ask a question: “Do you feel like you’re a boy or a girl?”

Mark selects the former, admittedly surprising his granny, but nonetheless leads to a follow-up: “So what’s with the girls clothes?” Mark’s answer isn’t complicated.

“This just feels like me,” he explains. “I like the colors that pop. It’s more creative.”

Roseanne then cautions him that often in life, we have to choose our battles wisely. However, when it is confirmed that Mark’s fashion expression is important to him, Roseanne says, “We’ll back you up.”

Indeed she does because upon hearing Mark referred to as a “freak” by a classmate (Dan didn’t say “kids are assholes,” but the sentiment rings true and his concerns were valid), Roseanne asks the teacher if she can speak to the class. Like any proud grandma, Roseanne boasts that Mark may one day become a big fashion designer “like TJ Maxx” or “That Ross Guy.” Yet, she offers the following warning to the kids who don’t play nice: “I have ways of finding out. I’m a white witch.”

Ah, there she is.

The Roseanne I remember. The Roseanne I’ve missed. The Roseanne that, frankly, I have been grieving in light of the antics of her creator in recent years.

While other hit sitcoms of yore shied away from featuring queer people, Roseanne, and its creative force, Roseanne Barr, offered queer representation at a time of which there was very little. (There isn’t still enough of it on television, but I digress.) There was Nancy played by Sandra Bernhard. There was Leon (Martin Mull), who married Scott (Fred Willard)which, like the another working class sitcom of the 1990s, Roc, was one of the very few gay weddings to feature on primetime. And Roseanne herself kissed a woman on air in an infamous 1994 episode that took place at a gay club.

I loved Roseanne for many reasons. In terms of class, I related more to their working class struggles than I ever did the shows featuring more affluent families; the rich folks were aspirational, but those working white people who often called themselves “white trash” on the show were still more relatable. The queer representation certainly helped to a struggling lil’ gay Black boy living in the South, but it was ultimately an extension of what I would only appreciate about the series with time: it was political.

Unfortunately, the politics of Roseanne Barr in recent years didn’t match with the Roseanne Conner I used to know. Of course, now that Roseanne has become a Trump supporter, a woman who dresses up in Nazi gear, and bashes Muslims to the delight of the alt-right, her character may not be as far right as she’s become in recent years, but she is indeed a deplorable.

It’s been sad to watch, and honestly, I was never quite sure if I would be able to watch the show until the minute I turned it on. I don’t regret the choice. The reboot is good, and the second half in particular showed that maybe, just maybe, I can stick around for the show and indeed engage in the “dialogue” Roseanne Barr claims she hopes the revitalized franchise will bring about.

Having said that, if we are truly to exchange in ideas, Roseanne Barr needs to stop bullshitting herself and the masses about who her 2016 presidential candidate of choice is and what a vote for him means. To wit, in her New York Times profile “Roseanne ConnerHas Become a Trump Supporter. Just Like Her Creator,” she denies that Trump opposes many of the principles championed by Roseanne Conner. She argues that “He doesn’t oppose same-sex marriage” and proceeds to falsely state that he has declared support of it “several times.”

“He’s not homophobic at all,” she declares before she and her representative each interject to “not get into this.”

While his racism, sexism, and xenophobia are undeniable, Donald Trump does indeed have an interesting history with the LGBTQ community. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he did argue than trans people should use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable using―a stance that certainly set him apart from his GOP counterparts. Moreover, while as a would be presidential contender for the Reform Party he declared marriage to be that between a man and a woman, five years later, he celebrated the marriage between Elton John and David Furnish, writing on his blog, “I’m very happy for them. If two people dig each other, they dig each other.”

His mentor, Roy Cohn, died in 1986 of AIDS complications and one of the few charities Trump actually donated to included those focused on the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As for that considered presidential bid in 2000, in an interview withThe Advocate, he supported amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to “include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. It’s only fair.”

Perhaps this is why Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, told the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman at the time, “He will be the most gay-friendly Republican nominee for president ever.” The same can be said of Caitlyn Jenner’s defiant support of Sweet Potato Saddam.

My response to Angelo and Jenner then is the same reaction I have to Roseanne Barr in this Q: silly, silly white people, why do I have to know y’all better than y’all ever know yourselves?

Do I think Donald Trump hates queer people and trans people? No, but if you’re Black and Brown, you may want to steer clear of him. In any event, Trump is a narcissist with no true ideology beyond white patriarchy. He may not be able to spell patriarchy on his first try, but he certainly believes white men are the boss and is perfectly fine with you so long as you cling to the status quo alongside him.

Yet, when you don’t have a true belief system and only put self-interests first, everyone is expendable. So, it matters not how Trump feels about any of us personally but rather what he does in the name of the preservation of power. He has aligned himself with people who don’t believe in LGBTQ rights and has allowed them to govern and legislate accordingly. The end result has been a full out assault on LGBTQ people in terms of our rights and our safety.

Something changed in Roseanne Barr and, subsequently, Roseanne Conner. The changed led to both supporting a man whose administration has made it much more harder and far less safer for the grandchildren, a biracial girl and a genderfluid boy, on Roseanne. The Roseannes may have their reasons for why they decided to sacrifice the humanity of others not like them, but that does not negate in Trump’s America, they have it better than we do. That is what is so often lost in the conversation about bigotry be it an active participant or one who decides to be complicit in it: it doesn’t matter if you hate anyone individually if you handed power to those that hates any group collectively.

All jokes aside, if Roseanne is about dialogue, Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Conner, and those who voted like them, all have to stop denying the reality that their actions always posed these consequences and they made a choices anyway―that is, if we’re going to have an honest conversation about any of this.

Louis Farrakhan Is A Bigot, But He’s Not The Only One With Sympathizers Who Need To Be Called Out

I do not fancy Louis Farrakhan. I detest him for his admitted role in the assassination of Malcolm X.

I find his views on womenan emphasis that they stay “covered,” put their husbands and children before their careers and denunciation of autonomy over their own bodiesto be reductive, and subsequently, repulsive. His anti-Semitism, including a past claim that “Hitler was a great man” is equally despicable. As are his views on queer and trans people.

Those views have become a major focus in recent days due to controversy over the ties three Women’s March co-chairsLinda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Tamika Malloryhave with the Nation of Islam leader.

In response to the growing chorus of critics, the organization released a statement, part of which declared “Anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacy are and always will be indefensible.”

This is a chaos of their own creation. If Women’s March wanted to be a centralized organization with designated and visible leadership, they needed to each act accordingly. It should not be difficult to grasp that an embracement of Louis Farrakhan is not a good ideanotably for any member of an organization that claims to advocate for marginalized women.

Still, it has been frustrating to watch the pile on because it reeks of hypocrisy. As Splinter politics editor Alex Pareene noted on Twitter, Senator Rand Paul, appeared on conspiracy theory spewing, racist jerk-off Alex Jones’ show regularly for years and only one journalistDave Weigel, who now works at the Washington Postasked him about it in 2015. Consider how long his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, managed to skirt by for much of his political career never having to answer for his own racist ties. Actually, take into account all of the many, many other affiliations to bigotry by many members of the Republican Party even before the current sweet and sour colored squash white supremacist and his band of racists stormed the White House.

And when I saw this clip of Farrakhan claiming that he doesn’t hate gay people because LGBTQ people suffer from “a psychological, chemical imbalance,” I nearly chuckled at the irony.

I once watched Farrakhan speak when he appeared at Howard University. I was intrigued then as I am in this clip at his ability to mimic ultra conservative Christian talking points and delivery when talking gender and sexuality. He is singing the same song as the likes of Billy Graham (and a few Black gospel singers and megachurch pastors), albeit in a slightly different key. In fact, Graham has said even harsher things about gay people yet managed to get even President Obama to speak kindly of him when he died.

Speaking of anti-gay, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may have just appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race, but she also recently endorsed an anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion candidate for congressional reelection.

How are any of these people that different from Sarsour, Perez, and Mallory? All of them are all guilty of the sin of sacrificing the humanities of others for some presumed greater goal. In the case of those individual Women’s March co-chairs, it is presumably because they share the larger sentiment of wanting to dismantle white supremacy and racism. It is not unlike the others including politicians, academics, activists, and so onwho have essentially looked the other way with Farrakhan. Perhaps none of these people were as silly to respond to criticism with whataboutism someone or invoking Jesus Christ when called on it, but it’s hard to see how they differ from the aforementioned.

Again, I am no fan of Farrakhan. Nearly everyday in Harlem I walk by Nation of Islam members, many of whom constantly try to offer me an issue of Final Call. I constantly have to resist the urge to bark back, “Y’all don’t like my gay ass either!” or “Your boy needs to never come for Beyoncé again!” Knowing some respect me as a Black man but don’t think I suffer from some kind of affliction because I am also a gay one is uneasy feeling that never soothes with time.

Even so, it is interesting to see select folks act high and mighty about select Women’s March activists’ dealings with him, but never have that some vigor towards others engaging in the same bad habit. I wonder why that is. I suppose I can stare at my Black hand for a moment and a premonition will soon surface.

Ultimately, this should not that difficult to figure out. If you are for the freedom for all, you should only uplift and associate with those with shared goals. When they deviate from that, delete them from your sphere. If you feel that it is your place to call those with dubious affiliations out, do you, but do so across the board. Don’t do it when it only suits your cause. Don’t pick and choose when to be righteous and just.

If you are incapable of that, you are not sitting at some higher level consciousness than those you are condemning; if anything, you are no better and are equally as useless.

Remembering The ‘Moonlight’ Oscar Win One Year Later

While Moonlight was making black queer history at the 89th annual Academy Awards, my black gay ass was sound asleep.

I was obviously rooting for the film and wanted to stay up until those final minutes of the telecast. Unfortunately, the boredom of that showcoupled with chicken wings and a sleep-inducing mattressspurred a man-down situation. It’s not the first time I’ve knocked out early during pivotal moments in Oscar history, and if you’re wondering, no, I haven’t forgiven myself for sleeping through Halle Berry’s win either.

However, as I would learn the next morning, it could have been worse. I could have been Warren Beatty’s ass and simply decided to read the wrong name on the card and pretend that La La Land was voted Best Picture despite obvious vote tallies to the contrary.

Human error is unavoidable, but when mostly bothered me then, and to some extent present day, is that Beatty’s gaffe is how many will always remember that moment.

For those of us that are black and identify as queer, gay, bisexual, same-gender loving, or some other descriptor that y’all can email me and educate me on by the end of this sentence, you can’t help but still annoyed by Madonna’s old boyfriend, Dick Tracy, for tainting it.

I didn’t want to have to focus on whether or not it was embarrassing to the La La Land cast and production team. Nor did I want to have to entertain the politics behind Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ “graciousness” in how he handled the absolute shit show the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences put him through.

All I wanted to do was celebrate that this little art-house movie about black people and queerness exceeded all expectations commercially and critically and went on to win the biggest award in filmeven despite all signs that, once again, white folks were going to win.

Then again, in considering the moment then and now, I have to remember that by the time I had laid my head down and inadvertently fell asleep, I had already decided that Moonlight had won.

When I first saw the film at a screening among a sea of older white film critics and a few black media colleagues of mine, I was a bit distracted initially. I wondered if I was the only one to get a last minute invitation despite my experiences mirroring those of Chiron more than most in that room.

To wit, at the very end of the movie, two very polite older white people stared directly into my face and asked me how I felt about it. For some, this might’ve been annoying, but I found them to be rather curious. Surely, they had clocked me, and presumably, they wanted someone like me to lend credence to their own praise.

But that’s what I found most interesting: how little interaction they probably have with black queer people, much less ones of a lower socioeconomic status and how this might have been their first real engagement with them in this medium.

In my initial writing about the film, perhaps I might have been too consumed with my overall irritation with Hollywood’s habit of consuming blackness largely through pathology. However, what made Moonlight so special is that it managed to tackle these darker themes with a nuance and complexity not typically assigned to them.

The film also managed to capture the awkwardness and confusion associated with same-sex attractions at various stages in life with a simple sort of beauty and thoughtfulness that I had never seen especially not from anyone who looks like me. I reserve the right to keep complaining about not every facet of black queerness being seen in television and film, but in those 111 minutes, I at least saw the parts of myself that used to make me uncomfortable chronicled gorgeously.

That was a feat in and of itself, but the happiness spilled over as week after week, increasing numbers of people wanted to see an art-house film tackling black gay queerness. I must say this repeatedly:because ridiculous people continuously declare to me that black films are “niche” and have limited scope outside of the United States.

(Moreover, they also sayblack people are so homophobic they will throw Holy water in every hole you have to stop you from fornication.)

You put all thistogether and it meant that Moonlight was supposed to make only $7.25 at the box office and maybe get two foreign moviegoers who mistakenly walked into the theater expecting to laugh at Madea. But that was not the case:Moonlight not only managed to make far more than it’s teensy budget, but it made even more money overseas.

This small movie for $1.6 million from a black director with an all-black cast who in no way, shape, or form centered white people in their LGBTQ story managed to do all of this. We have yet to see more films centering black LGBTQ folks announced in the wake of Moonlight’s win, but the film did prove what used to be considered impossible is plausible when given the right opportunity and push.

It is my hope that in years to come, there will be more of us telling our stories our way, and we willreceive the proper accolades for it. Just don’t have Warren Beatty or Faye Dunaway aroundbless their old, non-reading, La La Land-stanning hearts.

Khia Can Report Directly To The Fifth Circle of Hell

When your fame is largely rooted in a ditty where you command someone to lick your ass crack, you’re not the prime candidate to be throwing jabs at any man into anal sex.

So, when it comes to Khia moving forward, that ungrateful, spiteful, embittered living internet troll can leap crotch or ass crack first into a lake of fire for all I care. It’s bad enough she single-handedly ruined what had become my new favorite thing, the digital series “The Queens Court,” but she’s taken herself to new lows by slamming the very community that’s provided her the only tablespoons of relevancy she’s had in several years.

To be fair, Khia had every right to take issue with YouTube personality Funky Dineva taking aim at her children and grandchildren. There is no need to invoke family in such a petty, and ultimately, inconsequential dispute. Khia’s kin have nothing to do with their rift, so it was inappropriate to bring them up.

However, that does not excuse what Khia said about all queer people in her attempts to retaliate against him over what he said about her.

During her rant, Khia revealed the following: “Cause a lot of my thugs and like I said a lot of my ‘conscious brothers’ was like, ‘Why are you fucking with these people? They not right. They not conscious. They not living. You know, they taking in the ass; they ass is connected to the spine; the spine is connected to the brain; they all brainwashed. They doing this, they doing that. You know the queen, why-why-why?’”

Her response was, “It’s work.” Moreover, she described Dineva as a “sissy and a punk” and “that’s how he makes his money.” And she also rather stupidly issued a threat on the Internet that would yield Khia far more legal trouble than she’s ever entertained with her alleged food stamp fraud, said if her “thugs” got to Dineva, we the queers would be “hollering that it’s a hate crime.”

I don’t have on a judge robe, but I am drinking Hennessy at my desk and ready to serve as judge, jury, and executioner for this empty-headed, fake conscious, audible pussy slinging buffoon.

There has long been debate as to whether or not Khia’s uh, pedestrian way of describing gender and sexuality on “The Queens Court” made her homophobic and transphobic. I can understand why the question might’ve not have been easily answerable. I say that because Khia doesn’t strike as a person who reads anything besides her old warrants and frequents herself around lots of gay and trans people and that is reflective in her speech.

In many ways, she seemed more or less “too comfortable.” As in, she confused her friendly relationships – conspicuously all rooted in business endeavors – with being an actual part of the community which would give her license to use terms like “blouse,” “sissy,” and “punk.” Someone should have long checked her, but oh well.

Regardless, as she’s made all too apparent this week, her relationship with the LGBTQ community is transactional. For her, “it’s work” indeed. That’s why the second someone in that community steps out of line with her, her true feelings seeped out.

To wit, a subsequent Instagram post she made about the “messy punks” who canned one of her events in lieu of remarks made on Monday. Women like Khia always make clear how expendable they find us to be after a while. By the way, while I won’t deny the business acumen of street pharmacists, I will say Khia and co. don’t know shit about the way the human body or the mind works and I invite them to have a tall glass of shut the fuck up and sit their dumb asses in silence with respect to human sexuality and any multi-syllable words.

And in terms of consciousness, while rapping about sex doesn’t mean anything about one’s morality, by that same metric, she’s as big a bottom feeder on the moral scale as the bottoms she came for. Beloved, your claim to quasi-fame is slinging pussy and hurling insults. You are not Michelle Obama by any stretch of the imagination so sit your silly self the hell down.

As TS Madison pointed out on Facebook this week, although the two of them were stronger together, Khia had been reading and dragging celebrities on that red couch of hers for several years. It didn’t get her any of the attention she’s enjoyed recently until she partnered with a trans woman on a show that was overwhelmingly driven by the noise the LGBTQ community made about it on their behalf. It was outlets like INTO and writers like me giving the duo press.

Yes, Khia, you were on a Janet Jackson song, but that song wasn’t exactly “The Pleasure Principle.” Sure, you have other songs, but if you ask the casual straight person to name your tracks, they will promptly go with the dial-a-queer option for much-needed backup. So, yeah, spoiler, Khia: it wasn’t the “thugs” and “the conscious folks” boosting your ass up. It was Maddie the trans baddie and a bunch of queer folks watching from their phones.

That’s why Maddie will be fine because Maddie is kinder, Maddie is savvier, Maddie has greater ambition, and Maddie isn’t dumb enough to insult the people who have boosted her career. As for you, Khia, good luck duplicating that success without her and many of us because quiet as it’s kept, most of us merely tolerated your hateful self. Good luck filling up the next hole in the wall now.