You’re not alone: Exploring your sexuality

You don’t need to pretend to be something you are not, or deny any of your sexual orientation to anyone.

It is better to share this, especially with the people closest to you, friends, relatives and teachers (if you’re coming out at school) will support you and give you the help you need.

There is no set criteria for how a gay man or woman should look or act.

We are all just people.

When you are attracted to people of the same gender, it can be hard at first to find out if someone is open to a same sex relationship.

When you feel uncertain, there are a few recommendations you can follow:

  • Find out if they are comfortable in the LGBTQIA+ scene
  • If they are staring intensely at your lips, chances are they may want to kiss you
  • Try and make them feel comfortable around you and check by asking about their preferences for intimacy
  • Don’t become impatient and put them under pressure
  • Let them know your orientation and the fact that you are attracted to themselves

After you get past the initial meet ups and hanging out you may then be thinking about sex.

Sometimes there are relationships that can’t be defined. For example,may not explicitly be a because you haven’t made that kind of emotional connection.

You are two people with the right to mess around, every now and then you are friends with benefits.

When you hook up you should try and make sure that both partners are at a similar level of sexual maturity to avoid awkwardness.

Becoming sexual in a gay relationship doesn’t mane you have to have intercourse.

There are many types of foreplay to enjoy, which are also immensely pleasurable.

If you are just starting off you can try and use adult sex toys such as a massage vibrator to add a delicate yet enhanced feature to sexual exploration.

When you are attracted to someone you enter a whole new world.

From meeting that cute guy, it moves from desire to the playful first stages to first kisses.

However, you do need to be able to discuss sex; wants, needs, fantasies, fetishes, positions, pain, pleasure, performance, effect of medications, stress, sex toys, etc in a mature, constructive, non-damaging way.

If you start getting all the different communication techniques right you have a massive chance that your sex life will develop and improve way beyond what it is now.

You may actually find that in opening and developing real, mature, open and honest communication where you can do so without personal and emotional fear, or fear of change entering the equation that you actually may end up with an awesome sex life.

You may also find that as you open up your communication with one another you trust in one another as well as the process of change, you will actually start experimenting sexually in ways that previously you have said “No” or even been repulsed by.

In a gay relationship sex can play a big part in a developing relationship.

Desire and new found emotions that blossom within both of you and are expressed outwardly can build strong foundations for your future together as a couple.

The Bullying Epidemic: Is Anyone Paying Attention To LGBTQIA+ Youth?

“I’m not okay, but I will be,” says the Indiana teen who was ridiculed and beaten because of his sexual orientation at Alexandria Monroe High School. These are the words of a survivor. A fighter. Words that belong to someone stronger than the bullies who mercilessly pelted him in the locker room while making a video of the attack. Those boys are cowards who should be charged with a hate crime.

But for some LGBTQ teens, that strength does not come so easily. Factors like family, religion, and friends can fail, even undermine the support a teen needs when struggling with sexuality or gender issues.

A Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified that 33% of LGBT teens have been bullied on school property and 27.1% experienced cyberbullying. These teens reported a higher likelihood of missing school than their heterosexual counterparts out of concern for their safety.

Bullying affects a child’s ability to learn; more seriously, it endangers their lives. LGBTQ youth are at a greater risk for depression, substance abuse, and are a higher risk for suicide. 

The first step in addressing the problem is awareness.

Watch out for the signs of bullying:

  • Pay attention to your child’s belongings that have mysteriously gone missing.
  • Notice changes in their eating habits (binging or avoiding foods).
  • Watch for a sudden resistance to going to school, place of worship, etc.
  • Note any sudden loss of friends.
  • Take seriously talk of suicide or self-harm.

The second step is to make a safe space for LGBTQ Youth

  • Declare a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and follow through with consequences.
  • Schools and communities should reach out to LGBTQ youth and strengthen those connections.
  • Schools and churches can invite LGBTQ organizations like PFLAG and The Trevor Project to educate and elevate the awareness of the community. 
  • Form Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to create safer schools.
  • Speak acceptance to these youth, teach them what bullying is, and empower them to have a voice. Model how to stand up to bullies and help them find safe spaces and to look for the people-helpers nearby.

Protecting LGBTQ youth against bullying and educating those who bully is a community effort. 

“Stay true to yourself and if you get hit, do the best you can to make sure it never happens again,” the Alexandria Monroe High survivor says. Powerful words from a young man strong enough to stand up for himself. Whoever you are, you’re my hero. But no one should have to fight alone. Let us no longer tolerate bullying.—let us make a priority to end the bullying of our LGBTQ youth in our communities around the world. 


Akiva Hersh’s novel BOY IN THE HOLE is being released in October the week of National Coming Out Day. The book deals with a gay youth struggling with his sexuality. It addresses themes of bullying and abuse and offers hope for those struggling to find themselves. 

Mr. Hersh has degrees in Neurolinguistics and Theology and a background in training agents in the CIA, FBI, and Law Enforcement Officers.

He has helped abuse survivors, victims of bullying, and those struggling to come out as LGBTQ.


TOP TIPS: How To Plan The Most Fabulous Day Of Your Life

When you find your soulmate and you decide to tie the knot, while it’s the most exciting day of your life to look forward to, many of us have an overwhelming feeling of ‘How on earth are we going to plan this?’.

I know this feeling all too well. As the Founder and Director of wedotahiti, a destination wedding and elopement planning service on The Islands of Tahiti, I meet couples from all walks of life, and I frequently work with couples within the LGBTIQA+ community. 

In order to bring your ideas to fruition, I have some great tips to help you figure out exactly how to plan your special day, whether you want to elope, be surrounded by friends and family, on home soil, or in the truly magnificent Islands of Tahiti. As an inclusive destination where same-sex marriage has been legalised since 2013, The Islands of Tahiti is the perfect place for absolutely anyone to say ‘I do’.

TIP 1: Know which type of ceremony you’d like

On The Islands of Tahiti, you have three options. A traditional Tahitian wedding is magical and breathtakingly beautiful, however it is non-binding. There is also a non-binding ceremony of Western-style as well as a civil ceremony, which is legally binding not only in The Islands of Tahiti but also in Australia. It is the perfect location for those wanting a legally recognised wedding and a gorgeous tropical island setting. I find that most Australian couples opt for holding a civil ceremony at the City Hall, followed by a celebratory ceremony in a breathtaking location.

TIP 2: Consider your budget

Having an idea of budget will help you and your destination-wedding planner determine what your different options will be. A budget will help you make confident and informed decisions for your arrangements, from location to number of guests.

TIP 3: Find your dream location

Make sure you find a local wedding planner or a travel specialist who has visited your destination for advice about practical locations before confirming your travel arrangements and accommodation. I’ve organised multiple same-sex marriages set in stunning villas, away from main resorts, to give the extra sense of privacy. 

TIP 4: Choose your celebrant wisely

Make sure you research celebrants and choose someone who understands you and your partner. It’s your special day so you need to make sure you choose someone you can trust to give a beautiful speech about you and your partner’s unique connection.

TIP 5: Enjoy your experience

Don’t forget to make the most of your special day, totally embrace the experience and try not to stress. There are a few things that you can’t control, like the weather. If you’re marrying in a tropical climate, chances are it will be beautiful and sunny but if it does rain, don’t let it ruin the mood. The secret is to be prepared, whatever the weather! 

The romance and magic on The Islands of Tahiti is undeniable, so why not make your special day that extra bit special and say your vows in this magnificent paradise?

To find out more about The Islands of Tahiti, visit: www.tahititourisme.com.au and on Instagram @tahititourismau 

To find out more about my services at wedotahiti, visit: www.wedotahiti.com

Same-Sex Marriages: Old traditions, New traditions & Everything in between

It’s 2019 and when it comes to tying the knot, we’re happy to sing from our Aussie rooftops that since December 2017, same-sex marriages are now both legalised and widely accepted across the whole of Australia – plus 29 other countries world-wide. To celebrate the approach of this 2-year milestone and to give a firm nod to marriage equality everywhere, we wanted to explore cultural traditions, both old and new, across same-sex marriages. 

First things first, we’d like to delve into a little bit of myth busting. Yep, you heard! We’d like to straighten out any misconceptions that may still be floating around when it comes to same-sex marriage. We need to banish the idea, once and for all, that there are any major differences purely due to whether or not it’s an LGBT wedding. “Who wears what? Who proposes to who? Who takes who’s surname?” These are all decisions which we strongly believe depends, entirely, on each couple as individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

However here is one main cultural difference which we can’t ignore when it comes to same-sex marriage: the location of the ceremony. Despite same-sex marriage in Australia being granted legalisation back in 2017, most major religious organisations here don’t perform same-sex marriages in their places of worship. At the present, this includes Christian, Catholic and Anglican churches. Within Judaism however, although same-sex marriages are not permitted in Orthodox Jewish places of worship, we are happy to announce that they are, in fact, performed in Reform Jew synagogues – which is a small leap in the right direction. Whilst we impatiently await the glorious day when more churches subject themselves to the winds of change in this area, in the meantime, LGBT couples can get as creative as they like when it comes to choosing their dream wedding venue. Throughout our 12 years of supplying world-class wedding entertainment, we’ve attended same-sex marriages at some beautiful, unique venues such as Tree Top Escape in Devon, Broadoaks Country House in Cumbria and Ocean Kave – Coastal Wedding Venue, in Cornwall. 

This brings us swiftly on to traditions (and in some cases, breaking them!) 

Countless traditions have been established on the road to tying the knot within straight relationships over the years. From the man getting down on one knee and presenting his chosen engagement ring, to it being bad luck to see the bride in her dress before the ceremony, there’s no denying that these fixed traditions in straight marriage, don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. But times are constantly evolving and with it, traditions are changing too…

According to Petra Truneckova of The Gay Wedding Planner, 81% of gay men no longer bother with engagement rings, instead opting for ‘engagement gifts.’ 

Another tradition which lots of LGBT couples are waving goodbye to is walking down the aisle. Hugh Wright, spokesman for The Gay Wedding Guide says “Some couples ditch the aisle altogether. Some enter together, some don’t. Sometimes they enter with one or both parents, or somebody else close chosen to symbolically ‘give them away’ to each other.” 

So, whilst many same-sex couples may wish to adopt the long-standing traditions of straight couples as they embark upon their wedding day, many are also casting them aside and simply creating their own. Our thoughts? Be it old traditions or new, we salute same-sex couples world-wide no matter what they choose. As Hugh Wright so fittingly says, “any wedding in this day and age, is a celebration of the couple’s love for each other, not of their genders” and we couldn’t agree more.

Proud LGBTIQA+ Business Owners Leading the Way

It’s one thing to go out on your own and start a business. But for these LGBTIQA+ entrepreneurs, they’re paving the way for the younger generation to be out and proud in what once was a conservative world of commerce. Now our rainbow community has taken over a wide range of industries from dental to architecture.

Take a look at some of the successful and fabulous entrepreneurs who are taking pride in their businesses (and themselves)!

Frank Farrelly

Darlinghurst Dental

Darlinghurst Dental is a full service general dental practice based on the divider between Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. We offer all general dental treatments including Invisalign and Zoom Teeth Whitening. We are open late Thursdays and Saturdays, so convenient appointments are available outside work hours. We take bookings online at darlinghurstdental.com.au or call our friendly team at (02) 9331 1766.

Suzie Baxter

Cluzie Enterprises

Cluzie Enterprises is holistic health clinic, practitioner training, and AU/NZ distribution, underpinned by Amino Neuro Frequency therapy. Revolutionising the healthcare industry by:

  • Enabling the body to “heal at the source” of the issue, not mask with drugs
  • Guaranteeing a 50% reduction in pain within 15 minutes of treatment
  • Having long-lasting results
  • Very safe discs, TGA approved & WADA regulated. Don’t use any drugs, chemicals, intrusive treatments.

Kate Fitzpatrick

Pink Fitz – Healthy Homo

PinkFitz are the industry leaders in gay and lesbian online personal training, healthy living programs and lifestyle coaching. We offer a range of programs in body fat loss, strength building, detox programs and habit creation, how to integrate a “fad” into a daily ritual. We take gay and lesbian health and fitness to a whole new level and that’s because we get it! We’ve been there too! If you want new healthy habits to transform your energy and lifestyle, we can help!

Sturt Hinton

Frequency H2O

Frequency H2O activated water is distributed to health food stores & pharmacies nationwide. A radical concept of natural spring water activated with sound & light Frequencies. Listed in Australia’s top startups worth watching also in 2018 won the global awards in the USA and was titled the best tasting water in the world. Innovated after recovering from debilitating depressing with the goal to hydrate the world with happiness. Frequency H2O supports organisations working in mental health.

Vanessa Rodriguez

V Rodriguez Draws • • Tattoos

V. Rodriguez is an appointment only, boutique tattoo studio for tattoo collectors. Priding itself at delivering an elevated tattoo experience. From someone’s initial enquiry through to follow up and feedback after their tattoo session. I treat every client uniquely and deliver my services according to what that tattoo collector is wanting to add to their body of work. This experience extends to the commissioned artwork and online store departments of my business.

Wesley Spencer

Rara Architecture

Rara use timeless architecture & interior design principles to produce designs that grow with your family, make a positive contribution to the neighbourhood, and keep mother nature on their side. Find out how they can help you create the quality, style, and lifestyle you seek.

Tracey Horton

Author, speaker and life coach Tracey Horton has been appointed as a guest lecturer at Griffith Universities Queensland-wide to educate our teachers of the future on creating inclusion for LGBTIQA+ students.

Drawing on her own personal experience as a family violence and sexual abuse survivor, Ms Horton strives to teach others how to tap into their sensitivities, and open their arms to minority groups.

“ Over 4.6% of Australian teenagers identify as LGBTIQ, and as such, i t is important that teachers of the future are equipped with tools to create inclusion for all,” said Ms Horton.

“ My secret is I believe in people, I believe that everyone, no exceptions, can be anything they want to be, I have no agenda or arrogance because truly I came from nothing to finding all this out for myself.”

Boasting a 100% success rate in motivating and inspiring people, Ms Horton’ s seminars revolve around her four mantras of life.

“ You are ALL you need, you are your greatest asset. You are ALWAYS in control, you hold the pen, you write the story, no matter what happens to you, YOU decide its power. You can ACHIEVE anything you want, if you fail, that’s ok, get up tomorrow and go again. You ABSOLUTELY deserve a life that you are madly in love with,” said Ms Horton.

Often referred to as ‘Australia’s answer to Anthony Robbins’ , Ms Horton has always had an unshak e able compassion for others, and helping and inspiring people has long been a passion of this gifted communicator.

Last year, Ms Horton took out the highly-prestigious Exceptional Woman of Excellence Award at the Women Economic Forum in New Delhi, India.

“ In India, my international award was for working with women to break the cycle of abuse – I spoke on “How to reduce the tolerance of domestic violence to zero globally”- I spoke to delegates from 12 different countries,” said Ms Horton.

“I have just been booked as the guest speaker at a Millionaire’s Exclusive conference in Portugal in May this year. I am speaking on emotional intelligence and creating a strong life to have it all.”

Apart from being a highly sought -after motivational speaker and life coach, Ms Horton’s self-published first offering, “The Unhappy Smile” has achieved critical and commercial success internationally.

The book is a confronting, yet inspiring and uplifting account of how Ms Horton overcame childhood abuse and hurt, emerging gracefully and lovingly on to calm waters after navigating unimaginable turbulence early on in life.

“ I have laid out my life in The Unhappy Smile, there is no room to hide after this,” said Ms Horton.

“ It’s a self-help book with my story woven through it, there are exercises at the end of every chapter to help readers work through their own challenges.

“When I think of this book, I imagine people young and old, men and women – all reading it. I can see it on coffee tables and in airports. I can see teenagers talking to their parents over it, and I can see couples reconciling through it,”

The Unhappy Smile is the first of three books to be released, and contains a strong thread guiding its readers toward becoming the very best versions of their authentic selves.

The Unhappy Smile has already attracted a celebrity following, with country music star Adam Brand crediting the book, and Ms Hort on herself, with changing his life.

“I needed to read this book, you need to read this book, the whole world needs to read this book,” said Mr Brand.

“As a speaker, Tracey has the ability to cut through the chatter of life and speak directly to your soul. She is brutally honest and fiercely passionate, meeting her will change your life.”

For more information, please visit www.traceyhorton.com

Don’t call me daddy: A guide to wide age gap relationships

We’ve all seen those scenes where the older person in a couple is mistaken for a parent.

Relationships are complicated enough as it is. So why add another layer of complexity by dating someone who is much much older or younger than you are?



Why



“While gay partnerships with significant age gaps may occur for many of the same reasons as in hetero partnerships, the LGBT+ community has additional possibilities.

For example, in smaller towns, there may be fewer out single people to choose from so it may be based on available options. In other cases, it may be that the chronological age gap is wide but the coming out experience or time living openly may be similar.

Others may seek out someone significantly older or younger to fill a void left if their fictive family disowned them due to their identity.

Whatever the reason, as long as everyone in the relationship is consenting and there are no safety concerns, there is no reason for loved ones not to support these unions.

“Internationally Recognized Leading LGBT Expert Kryss Shane.”



Best Sunday Seshes Across Australia

The humble Sunday Sesh in Australia has become an important part of Australian social culture. Over the years, bars and pubs have extended this tradition to the LGBTIQ+ community with fabulous and vibrant events.

Melbourne

Queer Deluxe

Cheap pizzas, great DJs, performers and room for all – it’s Queer Deluxe. Every Sunday Bimbo becomes the home of Queer Deluxe, the northside’s new home of fun, frivolity and best of all-it’s free! Join us 3pm – late every Sunday for a gay ol’ time. All members of the LGBT community and our fabulous straight allies are welcome – please note that this is a safe space and any behaviour not in line with our ethos and/or the safety of our patrons will not be tolerated.

The Emerson

The Emerson love supporting the gay community with their weekly Sunday sessions! Take part in The Gay Autumn Series on the Emerson rooftop, with Drag Bingo being one of the major highlights on the first Sunday of every month. Or maybe you’d prefer to enjoy The Emerson’s special feature parties every fortnight, with great music and good vibes! Leave your fake persona’s at the door and be whoever you desire to be, at this ultimate Sunday Sesh destination, starting from 12pm till Late.

Brisbane

SunGays at Limes Hotels

We at Limes Hotel feel like there’s something missing in the LGBTQ community. And that’s an outdoor venue that’s relaxed, unpretentious, mature and most of all, fun.

You wont hear Britney Spears blasting over your conversation, nor will there be any shows or “games”; we simply offer you a space to meet up with your friends and enjoy our awesome beverage list and cool rooftop tunes.

Swing by and say hey, or come say haaaay gurl hey, and come be apart of the new gay hangout in Brisbane.

Best LGBTIQA+ podcasts to listen to in 2019!

It’s like every second person you talk to these days is listening to some kind of podcast. The medium which is the podcast is fast emerging as one of the most popular ways to consume entertainment, news, gossip, (sports), and basically any conversation styled program.

Controversy ensured this year after the launch of the “infamous”
Sydney Gays Podcast sparked fierce discussion about the types of certain personalities who are representing the queer community in media.

Shortly after premiering their first episode, the podcast received scathing reviews (with an average of 1.5/5 stars), calling out the hosts for their “vapid” and “shallow” topics of conversation that seem to resonate with wealthier, white, weightlifting homosexuals in the Sydney Gay “scene”.

So what have we learned from this experience? That Australians in the LGBTIQA+ community are as diverse as the rest of the population, and require heterogeneous (hetero- meaning “different”, as opposed to homo- meaning same) representation?

Does boycotting this podcast violate free speech within a subsection of the community? Or does it reinforce negative stereotypes that have been depicted in media for so long? Let us know in the comments section below!

Australia

The Gays are Revolting

There’s nothing revolting about these gay lads from Melbourne. Even when they do cover the most “sickening” topics like sex mishaps, you’re compelled to laugh and go along for the ride.

There’s a level of class and poignancy when discussing sensitive topics that is unparalleled in any other podcast
..

Christian Hull (and the magical world of Trish)

You’ve probably seen at least 10 of his (very entertaining) videos splashed across social media.

Along with his alter-ego 
Trish, this podcast goes on the weirdest tangents. Like the Gays Are Revolting, it can go into explicit detail about sexual experiences.

If you’re looking for validation or reassurance about your own encounters, it’s definitely worth a listen!

International

RuPaul: What’s The Tee? with Michelle Visage

Whether or not you’re a fan of Drag Race, you’ll likely be fond of the topics and celebrity guests who join Ru and Michelle each week.

More often than not, the celebs will feature on the podcast after featuring on the show. But it’s definitely not a recap or plug of the show. These celebs “spill the tea” and “give the tee” on their career highlights, personal projects and zoom into their personalities.

Latter-Day Lesbian pocast

You’ve probably heard about the church of the “Latter-Day Sluts Saints” (aka the “Mormon Church”).

Latter-Day Lesbian Podcast: an ex-Mormon gay girl trying to figure out life. We’re Mary and Shelly (the Latter-Day Lesbian). Shelly is a divorced mother of seven dealing with leaving the Mormon church and learning about her sexuality for the first time. She has a story to tell, and I’m helping her through a podcast that’s raw, honest, funny and hopeful all at once. We hope you agree.

Dear God Are We There Yet?

How can you take on the problems of the world when there’s so much to do already? It can be overwhelming, no matter how good your intentions might be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the world, just like you always thought you would. Join the Conversation!

Bleeped

Bleeped is a documentary podcast about censorship and those who firmly stand up to it. Bleeped takes the unique approach of telling stories about the First Amendment from the perspective of ordinary people. Each episode tells a David and Goliath story of an individual who triumphed over censorship from a powerful organization, showing listeners that if you’ve been wronged, you can fight back and win!

Celebrating Pride Month in 2019!

Every year the LGBTIQ community celebrates Pride Month in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This year is a very special Pride Month because it marks the 50th anniversary since the first rock was thrown at the Stonewall Inn and started a revolution that paved they way LGBTIQ rights all over the world. It was the catalyst of movements such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

However, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this year’s Pride Month with corporations being accused of capitalising on the occasion. Many large organisations such as
Microsoft and Apple have thrown their support behind the community but have been met with raised eyebrows from the queer community.

It’s safe to say large organisations such as QANTAS have been active supporters in the community and played an integral role in the 2017 Marriage Equality plebiscite. One would hope that those promoting Pride Month will be sending a large proportion of their sales to support queer charities or to at least help foster
LGBTIQ inclusion within the workplace.

But there are many genuine brands out there that are dedicated to helping spread the message of love and equality. Here are some brands that are supporting LGBTIQ Pride (and even run by queer people) around the world this month!

Best of all, you can order these products and services in Australia. So buy now!

Frisky Friction

We are for gay, bi, and curious men to have an elite space to explore all of their fantasies and sexual desires in an upscale, safe environment. We offer the discerning male exclusive parties designed to provide a great, discreet way to connect with other men who want to enjoy a night of kinky pleasure and erotic liaisons. Our events are held in many different cities around the world to make a global community of men who are looking for a place to unleash their sexual beasts.

Defender Ring

Defender Ring is a chic jewelry ring that doubles as personal protection. Wear it as an accessory while jogging in the park or going out to dinner with friends. This new fashion piece is a great addition to any self defense collection.

The Lifebook

The Lifebook is a pre-baby book. It is a place to chronicle your journey to bring your child into your home. The book is designed to give children the gift of their story. It is beautiful, easy to use and it is created with LGBTQ couples and single parent families in mind.

BathCalm

BathCalm’s blends include only pure essential oils, Epsom salts and natural ingredients, as well as gentle guided meditations set to sublime music. We care about our planet as much as your relaxation, which is why we only use recyclable and biodegradable materials, and we get that you’re busy too, so each meditation lasts less than 20 minutes. BathCalm proudly supports our global LBGTIQ community, because we mean it when we say that EVERYBODY deserves to feel good – especially in their bath!

The Aesthetic Union

The Aesthetic Union is an authentic, letterpress, print shop located in San Francisco, California, USA. The owner, James Lewis Tucker, creates these posters by hand, especially throughout San Francisco’s Pride Month in June. They can be found in the windows of many homes and businesses throughout the American city.

Vivo Masks

VIVO Masks is a company specialising in high quality masquerade masks. Handmade in Venice, the quality in their design and decorative textures is immediately apparent. Inspired by both traditional Venetian and modern masquerade designs, there is something for everyone and for every occasion, from formal masquerade balls to Halloween.