Gay Homestays’ Top Ten Gay TV Shows

There’ve been loads of great gay TV shows on over the years, and since we’ve done our Top Ten Gay Anthems and Top Ten Gay Anthems of the 21st Century, we thought it was about time we gave gay TV shows the Gay Homestays Top Ten treatment.

10. Cucumber/Banana/Tofu

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So this is really 10, 11, and 12… three gay TV shows for the price of one! Set in Gay Homestays’ native city of Manchester, Cucumber shows a mediocre middle-aged gay relationship (a side of the gay community often ignored by TV), its breakdown, and the hilarious aftermath. It’s intertwining sister show Banana shows self-contained stories of Manchester’s gay youth. And finally Tofu is more of a documentary, with frank discussion of sex issues. The newest feature on a list, in the UK the shows are currently on Channel 4 and its sister services E4 and 4OD. Whether they stand the test of time remains to be seen!

9. Will & Grace

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One of the first US sitcoms to focus on gay main characters from the start, they said it would never work! But Will & Grace became hugely popular amongst gay and straight audiences alike. Though we like Megan Mullaly’s Karen the most.

8. Sugar Rush

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Another Great British comedy drama, 2005′s Sugar Rush follows Kim as she deal with her hopeless crush on the sexy but straight Sugar. Celebrity spot: current Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield in one of his first roles as Kim’s geeky neighbour, who has a hopeless crush on her!

7. The L Word

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In 2004 it was still unusual to see lesbian leads on US TV (well, it still is today), but then a whole host of great lesbian characters came along at once in this show. Think Sex And The City without the men…

6. Glee

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As gay teen suicides were getting more press in the USA, Glee came along featuring some great gay teen characters. This combined with the great songs and Jane Lynch’s acerbic Sue Sylvester lead to a huge gay following. Though like so many great shows before it it kind of went downhill after a few series. Is it still on? We just don’t know.

5. Ellen

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The sitcom Ellen started in 1994, and its main character, Ellen, didn’t come out till a 1997 episode. It’s always a risk when the main character announces their sexuality three years down the line! The moment received a lot of media coverage and mirrored the coming out of the show’s star and writer Ellen DeGeneres. In 1997, featuring a gay main character was enough for ABC to add a “parental advisory” warning to the start of the show.

4. Modern Family

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It’s over 20 years since Ellen started (feel old yet?) and times have really changed for gay sitcom characters. Modern Family really does have a modern approach to gay characters: a married couple with kids! And it really is funny too.

3. Orange Is The New Black

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The hugely popular Netflix show follows married “ex-lesbian” Piper after she’s thrown in jail, only to find out she’s banged up with her ex-girlfriend! (Spoiler alert: one things leads to another…) The ensemble cast also features many other great lesbian characters like Poussey, Nicky, Big Boo and “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne, as well as trans actress Laverne Cox in her groundbreaking role as Sophia.

2. Rupaul’s Drag Race

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Time for some reality TV, though its often more surreal than some of the fictional stories we’ve featured! We love seeing the amazing runway looks of the drag superstars, as well as finding more about their backgrounds and watching their relationships form with each other. This is a show that gets bigger with ever season, and we can’t wait for season 7!

1. Queer as Folk

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The 1999 UK series was so successful it spawned a US remix, but the original is definitely our number one! Another show set on the Manchester gay scene, it broke down barriers with its unashamed discussion and depictions of gay sex. And it’s funny and gripping too. If you never saw it, track it down!

What do you think of our top 10 gay TV shows? Let us know any we missed off in the comments!

 

Pride Preview: London Pride 2015

Now Christmas and New Year have been and gone and it’s still freezing cold, is it just us or are you also counting down to summer already? Or as we like to call it – Pride season! 

If you live in London, Saturday 27th June 2015 is the day for your London Pride this year. And if you’re not from London, why not take the trip to check it out? It is of course a wonderful city, and an amazing Pride experience.

As well as being the capital of the UK, London is known for its diverse multinational make-up, and this year London Pride is celebrating that with an incredible effort: to include flag bearers representing every nation on Earth (!!!)

—We’ll use this spectacle to send a powerful message of love and solidarity to LGBT people facing the worst oppression, in countries such as Uganda, Russia, Egypt and Iran.

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No doubt a sight not to be missed – it will be like the London 2012 olympics all over again! If you’d like to sign up to be a flagbearer, find out more here.

As well as the parade, there are of course the main stage performances, set against the stunning backdrop of Trafalgar Square. So “London”! Last year, London Pride highlighted gay talent with a classy headline slot from acclaimed UK singer Heather Peace, as well as a performance (a Gay Homestays favourite!) Eurovsion winner Conchita Wurst, and presenting slots from Rylan Clark, Dr Christian Jessan and none other than Sir Ian McKellen. Other acts to take the main stage included Sam Bailey, Sinitta, Samantha Fox and Katrina and the Waves. No word yet on who to expect on the main stage in 2015, but expect big things! As well as the big acts, London Pride loves to showcase new and local talent, and if you fancy yourself as a performer, why not try and apply?

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As well as Trafalgar Square, there’s the Dean Street, Soho stage that between 4pm-8pm became the Women’s Stage. 2015 marks the second year of London’s ProudWomen initiative, that aims to increase the involvement and visibility of women in London Pride. ProudWomen will be hosting a series of events in the run-up to 2015′s Pride, and you can find out more information here.

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And speaking of other events, if you’re from London or fancy a longer stay, there’s a whole festival of activities to do in the week of the 21st–28th June 2015.

—London is a cultural powerhouse, and in 2015 Pride in London will showcase some of the finest visual art, spoken word, film, photography, sculpture and other work by LGBT+ artists or featuring our community. This might include:

  • a portrait exhibition
  • a retrospective of LGBT+ activism in London
  • lectures on key issues for the LGBT+ community
  • a film screening and discussion

More details to follow!

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If you are planning a trip to London for Pride, don’t forget it’s one of Gay Homestays’ biggest cities for hosts, with a variety of properties to suit all budgets and styles. And if you’re new to London, there’s nothing more useful than staying with a local. See what’s available here!

So, London Pride, Saturday 27th June 2015, mark it in you diary. Is it summer yet?

Gay couchsurfing

Gay couchsurfing = couchsurfing for gay people. Couchsurfing = forgoing the traditional hotel or hostel experience and staying with locals instead. In this week’s blog, we investigate why couchsurfing is appealing to more and more people in the gay community and why gay couchsurfing is becoming such a trend!

“Couchsurfing” is a travel trend that has been growing for a number of years now. The idea: instead of booking a hotel or hostel, you travel around the world staying in the homes of other like-minded people, and when you get back, maybe host a few travellers yourself. Cheaper than a hostel or hotel, and you get a personal host and a potential new friend for life.

As the the couchsurfing community has grown, the types of guests and hosts have become more various. The name “couchsurfing” of course comes from the idea of staying on peoples couches, and maybe you need to stay for one night in the centre of Berlin as cheaply as possible, and are happy to sleep on the sofa of a cool guy’s flat for a couple of Euros. Or maybe you’re happy to spend $200 a night for a multi-bedroom palatial Manhattan penthouse that comes complete with a  New Yorker who wants to share all the best party spots with you. Maybe you’re hosting to supplement your income, and you’ll keep yourself to yourself and leave your guest to their own devices, or maybe you’ll be doing tequila shots with them, cooking them your local cuisine and inviting them to party with your friends. The truth is, all of these are okay. The important thing is to be honest and up front with what you want from the experience, whether it be through an online profile or through direct communication with a potential couchsurfing buddy. In this way, you’ll find somebody you’re going to be comfortable with and there will be no awkwardness later on. 

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Likewise, as couchsurfing has increased in popularity, the number of couchsurfing networks have grown, and websites like Gay Homestays now offer a couchsurfing database designed exclusively for the gay community. So what can couchsurfing offer the gay community?

Couchsurfing as a concept does attract laid-back and liberal people, and there’s every chance any straight couchsurfing host would be totally cool with your sexuality. But when you know you’re staying with someone the same sexuality as you, its a weight off your shoulders, especially if you’re travelling abroad to a country where the level of acceptance of gays may be different to that of your own country. In this way, couchsurfing can feel even more safe than staying in a hostel, as you know there’s going to be another gay person there, and that you’re going to be accepted and not have to think about hiding who you are or “coming out” to your fellow travellers. If you’re worried about what the local attitude to gay people could be, it’s great to know that you have a safety net, and an opportunity to talk with someone directly about what it’s like to be a gay person in another part of the world.

Furthermore, by staying with a gay person from the local area, you can get the low-down on the best places to go. Maybe you’re going somewhere with a huge gay district, and your host can tell you what’s hot and what’s not. Or maybe you’re going to somewhere with no gay district at all, and your host can tell you where the off-the-map hangout is. Either way, your host can be your link to the scene, and many guests and hosts make long-lasting friendships from sharing the secrets of their city with each other.

Of course, if you’ve never done it before, the idea of staying with a complete stranger can be intimidating. Make use of features of couchsurfing websites like the reviews. The couchsurfing community tends to review much more than hotel guests: if a guest has had a great host, they want to help them out and leave them a good review, and help out their fellow travellers with the information too. Gay Homestays also has an optional host verification system, where hosts can provide the site with information such as a copy of their passport to receive an extra stamp of approval.

So what are you waiting for? Get out, see the world, and make some new friends along the way.

2014: Gay year in review part 2

We’ve already posted 10–6 of our ten biggest news stories, people, events and moments of 2014, and as we begin 2015, it’s now time to look back at our top 5:

5. Leelah Alcorn

Leelah_Alcorn

The latest story in our 2014 countdown ended the year on an upsetting note, as this trangender teen from Ohio queued a suicide note on her Tumblr before walking in front of a vehicle on the Interstate Highway. If anything good can come of this it will be for the world to work on improving attitudes to transgender people in 2015. You can read Leelah’s final word’s here.

4. Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act

MALTA COMMONWEALTH MEETING

Or as it has been more colloquially known, the “Kill the Gays” law, was signed off by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and both reflected and encouraged a step backwards in acceptance of gays in Uganda, with a Ugandan newspaper even publishing a list of the countries “top gays and lesbians” with the tagline “hang them”. In August, Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled the law was invalid, but the government is set to appeal this.

3. Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst Arrives In Vienna

With Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws introduced in 2o13, “bearded lady” Conchita was a contraversial figure in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, with Russia even campaigning to have her removed from the competition. Of course she was not, and went on to win the competition. Furthermore, it transpired that the Russian people had voted for Conchita en masse, and even got her to the top of the Russian iTunes chart. Rise like a phoenix!

2. Gay marriage

lesbian wedding

2014 was another landmark year for gay marriage. The amount of US states with equal marriage more than doubled, from 16 to 34 (only 16 to go!). It was also the year that England, Wales and Scotland moved from Civil Partnerships to full marriage rights. Key debates have also been happening around the issue in Ireland and Australia. Let’s see what happens in 2015!

1. Sochi Winter Olympics

sochi

With the olympic spotlight on Russia, the world turned their attention to Russia’s anti-gay laws, with many questions arising about the laws themselves, safety and treatment of gay olympic competitors and spectators, and whether or not such laws were in direct opposition to the Olympic charter. Many influential groups, sponsors, and individuals put pressure on Russia, and hopefully such vocal international disapproval could have had an effect on the Russian government, though as 2014 draws to a close, the laws still stand. US President Obama let his actions speak louder than words, and rather than attending the Olympics, he sent lesbian olympic heroes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow as his delegation!

From everyone at Gay Homestays, have a great 2015!

Year in review: Gay moments that shook the world in 2014

What a year 2014 has been! Here’s the first part of our rundown of the top 10 most important gay moments, people, events and news stories from the past 12 months.

10. Coming out in sport

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This year, US footballer Michael Sam (above), US baseball player Derrick Gordon, Germany and former Aston Villa footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger, and Australian Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe all came out as gay. Go team!

9. Extraordinary synod

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Though the Catholic church has never been the greatest gay ally, and we certainly don’t need their approval, it was an interesting move for the current Pope to wish to discuss the church’s attitude to “welcoming homosexual persons”. Senior bishops rejected the idea of “welcoming” and changed the wording to “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation”. Oh well, thanks for trying… we guess!

8. Ray Cole

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Gay Brit Ray Cole, 69, was imprisoned in Morocco for four months, after pictures that apparently “proved” he was gay were found on his phone. His petitions for his release set up by his friends and family, and on his release, Ray gave a fascinating insight into the awful conditions of his Marrakech prison, describing being kept in a “tank of 40 or 50 people”.

7. Tim Cook

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In October 2014, Steve Jobs’ successor as CEO of US tech giant Apple came out as gay. As the head of one of the USA’s biggest corporations, Cook is possibly the most powerful publicly gay person in business ever. Is he single?

6. Sam Smith

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British crooner Sam Smith has become one of the most successful names in music this year (male Adele anyone?) and he did it all whilst being out and proud. He broke America with well-received performances on Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and became the only artist in 2014 to sell one million albums in both the USA and the UK. He said he wants his music to be “universal”, so that anyone of any sexual orientation can relate, and he avoids gender pronouns like the plague. Still, it’s nice to know that a publicly gay musician can be one of the most successful in 2014.

What do you think of our 10-6? And what do you think will make it in our 5-1? Check back soon for part 2 of our 2014 gay year in review!

Gay Homestays Top 10 Gay Anthems of the 21st Century

After making our last blog our top 10 gay anthems of all time, we couldn’t help but feel the list was a little… so last century?? With so many iconic gay anthems set in stone from years ago, those lists don’t leave much room for all the great gay anthems of recent years, a new generation of gay empowerment from the 00s and 2010s. So without further ado, here are our top ten gay anthems of the 21st century!

10. Kesha – We R Who We R 

Kesha (aka Ke$ha…) was inspired to write this song by the surge in gay teen suicides in the USA in 2010. She said, “I was really affected by the suicides that have been happening, having been subject to very public hatred. I have absolutely no idea how these kids felt. What I’m going through is nothing compared to what they had to go through. Just know things do get better and you need to celebrate who you are [...] I just felt like people hate because they don’t understand or they’re jealous, It’s all coming from a very negative place and I really feel like people don’t need to pay attention to that.” Though she once claimed to brush her teeth with Jack Daniels whiskey, we think Kesha is smarter than she makes out.

9. Scissor Sisters – Let’s Have A Kiki 

Possibly the gayest band to have success in the 21st century, and this 2012 number is definitely their gayest song… Yet. Just watch.

8. Pink – Raise Your Glass

Another one from 2o10, P!nk’s “Raise Your Glass” is in a similar vein to Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R”. The two artists also share a penchant for substituting letters in their name with symbols. So many coincidences… illuminati conspiracy? (No)

7. Robyn – Dancing On My Own

2010 was a good year for gay anthems wasn’t it? Here’s Robyn with possibly the best lesbian club anthem of all time.

6. Madonna – Hung Up

In 2005, Madonna showed that being 47 is no reason to slow down and stop twerking on the dancefloor. Middle-aged gay men everywhere agreed.

5. DWV – This Boy Is A Bottom 

After a few quiet years in the early 00s, Rupaul came back with a bang with Drag Race. As well as bringing out some great new tracks of his own, there also came a wealth of singles from his new generation of drag daughters, with… shall we say… mixed results. However, this Alicia Keys parody is possibly one of the best loved.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

4. Katy Perry – Firework

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? Me neither. But this song is quite good. A gay kiss in the video always gets extra points too.

3. Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix 

In the wake of some unsettling homophobic laws being introduced around the world, it was a great moment when queer Conchita won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. And it was even better when it hit #1 on iTunes in Russia straight after.

Honourable Mention:

Whilst we’re here, let’s not forget Eurovision’s second greatest contribution to gay clubs of the 21st century:

2. Christina Aguilera – Beautiful

On the subject of gay kisses in videos, this one was pretty hardcore for 2004 music television. Work that tongue! This video and song, written by lesbian 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry, is a great celebration of the things that make all of us different, and beautiful! <3

1. Lady Gaga – Born This Way 

2011′s “Born This Way”, Lady Gaga’s lead single from the album of the same name, caused some controversy in the gay community, with some suggesting she was trying to hard to make a gay anthem. And who the hell does she think she is anyway? Maybe she was trying too hard. But I think she succeeded. This is without a doubt, the most unabashed, unashamed gay anthem of the 21st century…. so far!

Gay Homestays Top 10 Gay Anthems

There are so many great gay anthems out there it’s almost impossible to choose the top 10! I tried to focus on not just my favourites but ten of the best, most iconic gay anthems of all time. Let us know if you agree and be sure to comment any that we left off!

10. Janet Jackson – Together Again

Okay, I failed already. I put this on because it’s one of my favourites. But it is one of the best! Janet’s The Velvet Rope album was full of references to homosexuality, so much so that it was banned in Singapore(!?) In this song Janet sings about the loss of her gay friend to AIDS, over a bizarrely uptempo disco-house track. Incredible.

9. Kylie Minogue – Better The Devil You Know

Not so much a gay anthem as a G-A-Y anthem: this song has been played in the iconic London club every saturday at 00.30, like clockwork, forever. Kylie’s music, like her face, never gets old!

8. Diana Ross – I’m Coming out

The title says it all! Rumour has it disco producer extraordinaire Nile Rodgers was inspired to write this song for Diana after he saw how many drag queens were inspired by the work of his disco divas. For more coming out classics, check out our Top 10 “Coming Out” Songs!

7. Queen – I Want To Break Free

This drag-tastic video was banned in the USA. Great Britain loved it though! It’s a parody of classic British soap Coronation Street.

6. The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

You can’t get much more of a gay anthem than “It’s Raining Men”! The song got even gayer in 1997 when it was rerecorded with RuPaul as “It’s Raining Men… The Sequel”!  And let’s not forget Geri Halliwell’s version from the film Bridget Jones’s Diary.

5. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

A very gay anthem for the 80s, this video was banned in the UK. Watch it and you might see why! The song went on to become one of the biggest-selling songs in UK chart history…. of course!

4. Cher – Believe

How could we not include a Cher track on this list? This surprise late 90s dance hit proved you’re never too old to make a gay club anthem.

3. Madonna – Vogue

Likewise, we couldn’t do a list of gay anthems without one from gay icon Madonna. This track was inspired by the 1990 documentary of the New York drag scene Paris Is Burning.

2. Village People – YMCA

It’s amazing to think just how successful this song was in 1970′s America and beyond when it was just so, so, so, so, so, so, SO gay. Just watch the video.

1. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

It’s hard to believe this song wasn’t originally a single, but a B-side, that became so popular DJs started spinning it more than the actual track! We gays know a good song when we hear one! Go on now GO!

Opinion: Rose McGowan, Gay Men and Misogyny

Actress and activist Rose McGowan hit out at the gay community this week, saying “Gay men are as misogynistic as straight men, if not more so”. McGowan made the claims during an interview for gay American Psycho author Brett Easton Ellis’s podcast, and has since been criticised for making disparaging generalisations about gay men, suggesting that while many women have long been vocal supporters of gay rights, gay men have worked selfishly and not returned the favour. But does she have a point?

Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan

The patriarchal male–female dynamic is based in heterosexuality, and some of it’s most obvious manifestations reflect this, from a husband expecting his wife to do all the work looking after the children, to a group of men wolf-whistling and heckling a lone woman in the street, to women having to fear the possibility of being raped by a man. To think of misogyny in only these terms would suggest that the gay community is completely outside of this phenomenon. However, there are many non-sexual forms of misogyny, of which gay men can be and often are just as guilty.

Seeing women as weaker, submissive or less valid.

If you are a gay man reading this, think: would you be more or less likely to talk down to, interrupt, or ignore a male or female co-worker, family member or even a stranger? And would you accept criticism from them in the same way?

Using gendered insults

Think: would you condemn a straight woman for using a homophobic term like “faggot”? But then, would you ever criticise a straight woman using derogatory gendered terms like “slut”, “bitch” or “whore”?

Judging women based on their sexual attractiveness or availability.

Though we may not be sexually interested in women, gay men can often be very critical of women’s looks, insulting them, calling them fat or ugly, and believing that this is one of the biggest shames a woman can suffer, in a way that is not the same for men. This can be similarly true of “slut-shaming” straight women for being sexually promiscuous in a way that we don’t criticise straight men. Furthermore, one way this form of misogyny can appear in the gay male community in a way that it doesn’t in the straight community, is through spreading the idea that female sexuality is disgusting. Many of us may know the gay drag queen slang for looking really feminine: looking “fish” or “fishy”, stemming from the idea that female genitals stink of fish. This is so commonly used on Rupaul’s Drag Race I was surprised to hear that when asked, Michelle Visage, the only biological woman regularly on the show, admitted that she hated it.

Gay ally Michelle Visage on "serving fish"

Gay ally Michelle Visage on “serving fish”

Profiting from male privilege

There are many forms of oppression and privilege. While straight women like Rose enjoy straight privilege (e.g. being able to hold hands with her partner without fear of persecution) gay men still enjoy many (though not all) of the same privileges as straight men. We are not often taught to fear walking alone at night in the same way. We will never have to consider an abortion and risk being judged for our choice. We are not taught that having a career is unnecessary, or that we ought to give it up if we want to start a family. Usually, the overall boss of our workplace is the same sex as we are (though not often the same orientation). We are not taught that being dominant, opinionated or sexually available are negative characteristics. It is important to be mindful and respectful of the privileges we have that others don’t, and to actively challenge them in theory and in practice.

It is confusing that one group trying to fight for equality and respect for themselves can disregard and work against the similar struggle of another group. To be a misogynistic gay, a racist feminist etc. etc. is nothing but hypocrisy. Moreover, this even happens within the vast LGBTQ+ community, with some gay men having no respect for lesbians, some lesbians having no respect for trans people etc. etc. We cannot ask for empathy and generosity without offering the same in return.

As such, the main reason McGowan received criticism for her comments was the way she asked for the support of gay men with such vitriol towards them, being particularly dismissive of the gay rights movement, saying, “I see now people who have basically fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange Speedo and take molly [MDMA].” 

I was most surprised by her comment, “I think it’s what happens to you as a group when you are starting to get most of what you fought for”. This surprises me as this is a sentiment that has often been (erroneously) given to the women’s rights movement. I’ve often heard it said, “why do we need feminism? Women can vote? Women can have a career? Women can do anything a man can do”. However, until women stop making up such a disproportionally low percentage of world leaders and top earners, and such a disproportionally high percentage of victims of rape and domestic violence, feminism will always be relevant. Similarly, though gay men can now “officially” be out and proud and even get married in many states of McGowan’s native USA, in many states they can’t get married. In many states firing people for being gay is not illegal. Gay people have only been legally allowed in the US army for two years. ‘Sodomy’ laws were only officially struck down in all states in 2003. The prejudice and discrimination tied to such a history still looms in such comparatively left-leaning countries where homosexuality is legal. And then there are the countries where it is not legal. And then there are those where it is punishable by death. As long as that is the case, Gay Pride will always be more than a party.

Rose McGowan for Advocate

Rose McGowan for Advocate

In an op–ed for Advocate, Rose McGowan has since apologised for the [in her words] “dumb” comments she made about gay men, however she fervently stands by her primary point that misogyny is indeed alive in the gay community, and that we are not doing enough to stop it. Though some took offence to some of what she said, the positive outcome of her speech was that she has opened up a public discourse that we were not really having before. And she is right. We can only reach equality for our own groups while actively working towards equality for everyone, in all forms, not just where we are motivated by self-interest.

Gay Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s no Halloween like gay Halloween! Is it just me or has Halloween really stepped up its game in recent years? All the high street fashion shops now seem to be running a whole Halloween LINE. But really, if you’re heading to a costume party, you know you want to stand out from the crowd, and no one does a costume party like the gays! Here are some ideas for anyone stuck on how to look suitably spooky.

1. American Horror Story

Producer Ryan Murphy’s TV shows have always had a big gay following, and his latest hit Horror Story is perfect for Halloween! Now four seasons deep, with Murder House, Asylum, Coven and Freak Show, the possibilities are endless!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • For the clown – just some facepaint and fake teeth!
  • For the double-headed Bette and Dot – a friend and a serious sense of commitment.

2. Rocky Horror

One of the most notorious cult classics is full of camp characters, from the creepy Riff Raff, to the malicious maid Magenta, to Tim Curry’s iconic androgynous Dr Frank N. Furter.

You will need:

  • Fishnets
  • Pleather
  • Confidence

3. Carrie

This way you get to dress as a telekinetic murderer AND a prom queen! Or you could just stay home with your mother, burn your outfit and pray.

You will need:

  • Charity shop Prom dress
  • Pigs’ blood
  • Pyschic powers

4. Westboro Baptist Church

Remember, God is benevolent, which means all-loving. Unless you are a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose God hates… well… quite a lot of things really. Especially fags. And probably Halloween.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Your clothes from 2004
  • Sensationalist signage
  • Delusions of grandeur

5. Vladimir Putin

What’s scarier to the gays than an insidious homophobe leading one of the most powerful countries in the world? Not much!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Suit
  • Receding hairline
  • Repressed urges

6. Britney Spears circa 2007

If Britney can make it through 2007, you can make it through Halloween! It’s Britney, witch!

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Shaved head/bald cap
  • Grey hoodie
  • Iconic back catalogue

7. “Sexy”… well… anything!

We all know the part in Mean Girls where it’s explained that Halloween is really just an excuse to get away with looking as slutty as possible. Normally this idea is focused on girls… but that’s where the gays come in! Go on guys, it’s the one day where no one’s allowed to call you out on it. IT’S IN THE RULES.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • As little as possible

8. Drag me to hell

Wanted to sashay down the runway ever since you first saw Drag Race but never knew how to take the first step? Here’s a handy guide on how to get started:

  1. Wear a drag-based outfit for Halloween.
  2. Once Halloween is over, just don’t stop being a drag queen.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Friends’/sister’s/mother’s makeup
  • False eyelashes
  • Wide-fitting shoes
 
Happy Halloween from Gay Homestays! Go forth, be scary, be safe, be fabulous!

City spotlight: Atlanta

This weekend (11-12 October 2014) sees the 44th annual Atlanta Pride festival. In honour of this it’s time for another top five… things to do in Atlanta… stuff that lives in Atlanta… just stuff that makes Atlanta, GA great!

5. Coca-Cola

Atlanta is home to the headquarters of some of the biggest companies in America, and this is certainly one of the biggest. As well as being home to the working headquarters of Coca-Cola, Atlanta is also home to World of Coca-Cola, a bizarre living, breathing advertisement and monument to the syrupy behemoth that was invented in Georgia over 100 years ago. The museum moved to a shiny new site in 2007, and apparently contains a tasting room where you can sip over 60 varieties of Coca-Cola. Tasty!

4. CNN

Atlanta is also home to the world’s first 24 hour news network CNN, and like Coca-Cola, it’s been turned into a tourist attraction with the Inside CNN Studio Tour. Anderson Cooper, “the most prominent openly gay journalist on American television”, has long been linked to the network. See if you can spot him in the corridors. He’s cute!

3. Southern rap

Atlanta has always been a major music city, and it’s not known as “hip-hop’s centre of gravity” for nothing, with everyone from Outkast to 2 Chainz to TLC associated with the city. Hit the clubs and get twerking!

2. Civil rights

Ok, time to get serious. Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King Jr, the Nobel Peace Prize winning leader of the African-American Civil Rights movement. Check out the historic sites around the city from the house in which he was born to the site of his grave.

1. Third highest proportion of LGB people in the USA

According to a 2006 study, 12.8% of Atlanta residents identify as gay or bisexual, giving Atlanta the third highest proportionate gay community in the USA, behind San Francisco and Seattle. So what are you waiting for? Check out gay Atlanta! Happy pride!

Honourable mention

Sorry Nene, but the Real Housewives of Atlanta just missed the cut.