N'DIGO - Young, Black and Gay

Lee Daniels First Gay African American To Gain Oscar Nomination

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Chanel And Charles Finch Host A Pre-Oscar Dinner

Daniels is nominated for Precious, "a social advocacy film at its finest, shedding light on a young mother stifled under a social and educational system that left her behind." Dainels is nominated for "Best Director." Winning tonight could change alot for gay african american screenwriters, directors and actors.

Good luck, Lee!  We're rooting for you!  But, remember, you've made history already!

America's Newest Best Place To Be Gay and Say "I Do": Washington, D.C.

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

It's official, same-sex couples have begun to apply for marriage licenses in the District of Columbia this week. The Supreme Court refused to block the District of Columbia's gay marriage law, freeing the city to issue its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples the following day.

"DC has always been an inspiring and welcoming place for people to come together for meaningful personal moments. It's true for same-sex couples who are now celebrating their right to marry just as it is for couples who got married here years ago," said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO, Destination DC. "As the city's official tourism organization, we want to remind couples that Destination DC is a powerful--and FREE--resource available to anyone planning a wedding or a special event."

District Of Columbia Begins Offering Same Sex Marriage Applications

In anticipation of same-sex marriage legalization, Destination DC posted new information and links to its dedicated GLBT website, prideindc.org, outlining the steps couples need to take to plan their destination weddings and providing useful links to event planning resources. On the site's FAQs section, couples can find clarification on specific questions, such as the requirements for filing in person and the necessary three-day waiting period that couples should prepare for when making their plans.

This is great news for the GLBTQ community. D.C. has amazing people, great food, and, now, a law I can live with. Well done, D.C.! Finally, love wins!

Same-sex marriages are also legal in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont.

RuPaul IS A Role Model

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

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Advocate.com reported on a story that asked the question whether RuPaul is a questionable role model for Blacks? The question arised when a principal of a South Los Angeles elementary school allowed students to carry photos of RuPaul, O.J. Simpson and Dennis Rodman in a parade celebrating Black History Month. The photos of RuPaul, Simpson and Rodman were mixed in and among pictures if more traditional role models including President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

"Unfortunately, questionable decisions were made in the selection of noteworthy African-American role models," Lorraine Abner wrote Thursday in a letter sent to parents of students at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School. "As the principal, I offer my apology for these errors in judgment."

RuPaul is a role model. She's an artist and entertainer, while she may be a member of a group of iconic representations of GLBT culture, this status does not limit her from being a valid black role model for children. She inspires others to be themselves. My best friend from High School always admired RuPaul because of her zero tolerance policy - she didn't take any crap from anyone.  And, think of all the people she's help understand the lifestyle of being a Dragqueen, especially, on her new show, RuPaul's Drag Race.

It's funny because O.J. Simpson is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping in Nevada. In 1995, he was acquitted of killing his ex-wife and her friend. Rodman has gained notoriety for his bad boy behavior while RuPaul is a drag queen and host of RuPaul's Drag Race. Now, of the three, whom do you think is an acceptable role model?

So, to the parents of South Los Angeles elementary school, start early with your children about be accepting. Don't teach them to think that if you dress up in women's clothes you can't possibly be a role model or inspiration because you can.

Three teachers were suspended and are now on paid administrative leave while the Los Angeles Unified School District investigates the incident, district spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry told The Los Angeles Times. The teachers, all men, have first, second and fourth grade classes. Bring them back! They did the right thing- they let the students decide who inspires them.

Elysian Hotels is Hot! Hot! Hot!

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

In my quest to find Chicago's hottest hotels and restaurant, I think I may have stumbled upon a very likely contender. Elysian Hotels, located at 11 E. Walton, is truly spectacular.  The 188-room hotel has a cobblestone courtyard--lined with a snow-melting system that will keep the area ice-free--leads to the lobby, which is spruced up with busts and an oversize chandelier. In an adjacent lounge, a fireside seating area holds plush couches and a bar that offers beverages such as champagne or hot chocolate. The immaculate interior design is inspired by Coco Chanel - magnificent.

One of the hotel's restaurant, Balsan, is more casual than its counterpart, Ria. Named for Etienne Balsan, a friend and lover of Coco Chanel, Balsan is more suit-and-tie than jeans, though you're welcome to wear them. The food is absolutely delicious. We had the oyster (divine), sturgeon (to die for), and the tuna tartare (mouthwatering). And, the very experienced sommelier  

 The Elysian's other amenities will include a Marc Jacobs boutique, scheduled to open in spring 2010, and a private fleet of luxury cars, which can transport guests around town and to and from the airport. This Gold Coast hotel is destined to be the next popular hangout spot.

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Balsan restaurant at the Elysian Hotels

 

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Elysian Hotels

 

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Elysian Hotels

 

A Forum On 'Justice' for Gay Black Men

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Here's something new: TPAN, Test Postive Aware Network, along with a few other organizations, have decided to bring gay Black men together to discuss the meaning of  'justice' for gay Black males. 

On the panel, Keith Boykin, from The Daily Voice, CNBC, and BET, E. Patrick Johnson, creator of "Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South-An Oral History," and Antonio D. Jimenez, professor at Northwestern University and from the University of Illinois Chicago's School of Public Health.

The forum hopes to start the discussion on the meaning of 'justice,' obtaining equality, the role of our allies, and some strategies to bring real and lasting change for Black gay men. 
 
"It's not only important for Black gay men to be cognizant of how we are impacted by our lack of justice, but also, how we too, impact this innate right for others," stated Boykin.  "Events like these continue to challenge and illuminate this fact."

I'm most excited to talk about the plight of the gay Black male and how we can change or eliminate some of the stereotypes bestowed upon our community. Another topic that's been bugging me for some years now, interracial dating within the gay community. I've discovered, in my own personal experience, a bit of a stigma with White males dating Black males. I'm curious to hear what the panelists may have to say about that.

This forum is a first-time collaboration between the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, the Communities of Color Collaborative,a new initiative launched by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago in June 2009, Project CRYSP and LifeLube.org, as well as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (set for February 7, 2010).

The event will take place at the University Center, 525 South State, on the second floor.  Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for appetizers and socializing, and the program begins at 7:00 p.m.  Admission to the event is free. Come out! It'll be sure to be an explosively epic conversation.

 

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Gayest Cities in America - Not Chicago

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Advocate Magazine released a story on the Gayest Cities in America. Sociologist Mike Albo searched for America's 15 gayest burgs--based on a very interesting scale. The research was determined by a completely unscientific but a peculiar statistical equation. Their point system is as follows:

1. Same Sex couples households per capita

2. Statewide Marriage Equality

3. Gay Elected Officials

4. Gay dating and hookup profiles per single man population

5. Gay bars per capita

6. Crusing spots per capita

7. Gay films in NetFlix favorites - Apparently, NetFlix ranks the most popular videos for every major city.

The article reports that Iowa City, Austin, and Asheville have more gays per capita than the bigger cities.  Chicago does not make list but our neighbor Bloomington, Indiana ranks at number 4.

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"This forward-thinking college town (Bloomington) is a magnet city for gays in the Grain Belt. It's also home to Indiana University, where Miss Gay IU--said to be the first student-sponsored drag competition held on any campus--is in its 20th year. The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction is also here, inspiring the entire town to be heteroflexible."

I was really surprised that we didn't make the cut. But after reviewing their point system, I realized we, Chicago, have a lot of work to do for the LGBTQ community. Have more gay elected officials in our local government (stop the monarchies) and have statewide marriage equality - Come on, Cook County Clerk David Orr and Mayor Daley, what's the hold up? Let's make this happen. And, apparently,we need to rent more gay films from NetFlix.

Atlanta ranks at number 1. We'll get'em next year.

African American Transexual in the White House

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

It seems America is moving alot closer to accepting the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer) community. Back in November, Helena Bushong, a Transgender Activist from Illinois Gender Advocates, became the first African American transgendered woman in the White House and the second Transexual ever. The Chicago-based transgender advocate, joined HIV experts in December as the first transgender representative to attend a White House National Strategy Meeting back.

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Bushong received an email from Jeff Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White Hoouse to the "Women and HIV," and it changed her world. 

 

"As my colleague continued to read (the email), tears came to my eyes - this was real! A female transgendered person was being invited to the table at the White House to help develop a National HIV/AIDS Strategy regarding Women and HIV," Bushong wrote.

Bushong joined experts on HIV/AIDS, including women with HIV, policy makers, community-based service providers, civil rights lawyers, and researchers. The participants examined approaches to HIV prevention and integrated care, disparities, and related issues to inform the national HIV/AIDS strategy.

Bushong is the current Chair of Illinois Gender Advocates, Community Co-Chair for the HIV Prevention Planning Group, a member of Mayor Daley's Chicago Area HIV Service Planning Council, an advocate with the Chicago AIDS Foundation, and a member of Illinois ASAP.

Congrats, Helena! This is epic!

Read Helena's personal account of how it feels to be in the White House: A Tranny Girl Goes To The White House

Bill & Me - ChicagoNow Radio on WGN

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

   

I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with ChicagoNow Radio host Bill Leff - it was a such a blast. I discussed my blog and flirted a little bit - it was all in good fun.

Here's a link to the actual interview: Bill & Me

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From the Southside to Boystown...

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Several of my friends have been talking about a column written by Chicago Tribune Columnist Dawn Turner Trice. The column was titled, Some black youth feel more at home in Boystown, but get chilly reception.

I was that gay black teenager going to the northside to walk around Halsted and meet the locals. And, let me tell you, it wasn't a warm reception from some of the residents. I do, vividly, remember the strange and uninvited looks my friends and I received from the locals. And, this is just from walking down Halsted street with my friends.  My friends and I used Halsted as way to meet each other. We couldn't have that same open dialogue or meetings on the South side or West Side.  Boystown offered a community we craved; a sense of welcoming. 

What I didn't agree with in the column was Jim Ludwig's, who owns Roscoe's Tavern, a local gay bar, is the president of Triangle Neighbors and a board member of the Northalsted Business Alliance, response to whether it's race related.

"It's not a race thing, it's a cultural adaptation thing," Ludwig said. "It's a youth rebellion thing. We're at a loss in trying to figure out what's a good thing for these kids to be doing other than congregating on the corner. Sometimes there are 50 kids. But it's only a handful that doesn't have the social skills regarding sidewalk etiquette, so it intimidates customers and residents."

He was wrong, it is a race thing. Majority, if not all, are African American teens/young adults coming from the South and West Side.  I think what residents are forgetting or not understanding is that we have no place to go where we could be ourselves on the South side. And, we feel that Boystown is that one place where we can be "us" without looking over our shoulders, worried about whether someone will verbral ridicule or physically attack us.

Boystown should be honored to have such a diverse group of teens/young adults coming to the area to take in a lifestyle/ a community that appreciates the gay community. 

Wake up, Boystown. We're not going anywhere. I guess we have to learn to live together.

 

New Year's Resolution # 1

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

It appears I may have a bit of weird New Year's Resolution. After telling my friends and boyfriend, strange looks followed. 

Here it is. My challenge: gain 30lbs in 35 days.  I'm currently weighing in at 130lbs- the lowest ever; goal weight: 160lbs.  Here's what I look like now...

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Now, I'm going for the Cleveland Brown, Jr. look from FOX's The Cleveland Show - well, m

aybe not that much weight but slightly close. I've enlisted my boyfriend/chef, Jerm, to gather some of the fattest foods to "beef" me up. He's up for the challenge.

So tell me all of your fattest recipes, best restuarants to go to with the fattest food - besides McDonalds - and some great tips on gaining weight.

Looking forward to hearing some of them.

 

My Two Favorites Things For The New Year

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Like Oprah, I feel the desperate need to share with you my favorite things for the new year: nextTV and Vocalo

Sponsored by the Chicago Urban League, nextTV is a fast-paced lifestyle program focusing on the urban community. Airing on Sunday mornings, nextTV was awarded two Emmy

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Awards at the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards ceremony. In recognition of its outstanding first season, which included a one hour special and thirteen episodes chronicling the economic empowerment work of the Chicago Urban League in a reality-style format. Tracey Scruggs Yearwood, the executive producer, Roderick Hawkins and Cheryle R. Jackson have got something powerful that will touch millions of people.

I would love to see segments focusing on the gay black community economic development/lifestyle in Chicago - a group rarely recognized.

The second season of nextTV is currently in production. Encore episodes of season one can be viewed on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. CT on My50 Chicago (WPWR). Can't wait!!

Vocalo's website describes it perfectly - it's like YouTube for Radio dedicated to pushing the boundaries of democratizing media and creating a truly public media platform where informed citizens like US engage in conversations, create dialogue, share ideas, express opinions and

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Vocalo

create an alternative to Big media channels. You hear some of the wildest stories from user in the chicagoland area and around the world. But, what I haven't heard are the stories/the words from the gay community - especially, the black gay community. We have such great stories to share. The great thing about Vocalo, in addition to uploading stories online, users can call in and share their stories by leaving a message. I suppose I should call-in more.

Their are no commercials, they play music, voice your stories, and any other audio that you upload to their website. Broadcasting on 89.5 FM | streaming on Vocalo.org. This station is truly amazing!

Who knows, you may hear or see this blogger on one of these shows very soon - another New Year's Resolution. Stay tuned....

FBI Reports Rise In Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Annual statistics for 2008 collected by local law enforcement agencies nationwide show an 11-percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation, according to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While the overall number of hate crimes of any kind grew by about 2 percent from 2007 to 2008, the 11-percent hike in anti-gay incidents, and a 9-percent increase in hate crimes based on religion, demonstrate the continuing danger posed by bias against others based on their differences.

Recently, President Obama signed new LGBT-inclusive hate crimes provisions. Not sure if this has anything to do with the spike in hate crimes.

Morehouse College's New Dresscode

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

Recently, Morehouse College, an all-male college, has banned the wearing of women's clothes, makeup, high heels and purses as part of a new crackdown on what the institution calls inappropriate attire. The policy also bans wearing hats in buildings, pajamas in public, do-rags, sagging pants, sunglasses in class and walking barefoot on campus.

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The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college's 2,700-member student body, said Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services.

"We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men," he told CNN.com.

Oh, I get it! Change something that affects 5 people?!? Does that make sense to anyone? It's discrimination beyond comprehension. What's next Morehouse? Are you going to start choosing whom your students can have sex with? Or, how about a gay ban?!? Yeah, a ban specifically to stop homosexuals from applying to the College. That'll alleviate all cross-dressing, wouldn't it?

Morehouse has educated African American luminaries such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Spike Lee - two profound individuals. To tell a student how they should dress, how they should talk, reduces a student's individuality. Can't you see that Morehouse College?!? Morehouse has a legacy to uphold and this isn't it.

Shame on you, Morehouse! And, may you be forced to wear very high heels in the afterlife.

The Update on HIV/AIDS in time for World AIDS Day

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Lenox Magee

Lenox Magee is a freelance journalist and blogger in the Chicagoland area.

It's fair to say that we're seeing progress with HIV/AIDS. Nearly a decade ago, I reported on my first on-air story at Vatican Radio in Italy on World AIDS Day - one of the few African Americans to do so.  Now, on the eve of World AIDS Day, alot of information has changed.
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