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Many things which are foreign and unknown cause fear and distrust, creating a vicious cycle. So I asked a few folks who identify with the QIA+ to talk some about why it’s important to be open to a broader set of letters than just LGBT, what it means to them, and how it has impacted their feelings of belonging within the community. Get to know them a little, and see if you can’t find your way to help make a little more room under the rainbow banner.
Meet Shawn Reilly (they/them/theirs):
I identify as queer, sexually. As far as gender, I identify as genderqueer. I do get pushback from people who claim more historically mainstream LGBT identities.
My mom’s best friends are a gay man and a gay woman. They’re rad, rockstars for their generation. But even they affirm my mother’s worries and doubts that my gender and sexuality is somehow a phase, or something unsettled. And in a way, it is unsettled.
I still feel uncomfortable at times with the finality of choosing a label. That’s why queer and genderqueer are best for me—they’re fluid, and don’t nail me down to any type of behavior, thought patterns, or identities.
I think it’s human nature to put things in boxes. And it’s human nature to fall back on what’s comfortable. Terms that have become more popular recently—genderqueer, gender fluid, bigender—folks, even many in the transgender community, are not familiar with. And if we don’t understand it, we reject it.
But I believe in a deeper human capability to fight these urges to simplify and box up others. I believe, I know, we can be better. Right now we live in a world of labels: Democrat/Republican, documented/undocumented, straight/gay, white/black.
As they say in Broad City, we’re headed to a world where we’re all caramel and queer. People feel comfortable in binaries and specificities, but in reality, we all live in grey spaces.
Who agrees with every single view of one party or the other? Who feels comfortable claiming that they’re straight, have never had any queer thoughts or actions, and will be straight for the rest of their life? And how is that a happy life?
Once we let go of specifies and stop putting each other, and ourselves, into pigeonholes, we all will be freer.
I’m not sure how important it is to identify specifically with a queer or LGBT community, especially because there are such diverse viewpoints and ideas among us. It’s more important to me to identify with a progressive community—folks that, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, religion, want to move toward a more inclusive and intentional community for all historically marginalized peoples.
There are some rad progressives in the LGBT community. But there are also “Gays for Trump” and gay white supremacists. It’s less important for me to identify with LGBT than to identify with the folks that fight against that each day.
What do you say to those gays object to queer as a slur they just will not allow to become normalized?
Times change. Black used to be a slur. It has been reclaimed by the young, and those who don't feel comfortable being pushed into specificities of "gay" or "lesbian" or even "bisexual." There has been much hurt through the word queer, this is true. But I believe it is the most powerful act to claim something that has been used against you. Like the pink triangle from the Act Up movement (it was used during the holocaust to identify queer people in camps), it is important we reclaim things that have been used against us.
How do you identify and have you always identified that way or was it kind of an evolution?
I identify as agender. I haven't always identified as such. Just a year ago I identified as genderfluid. My gender identity has been in a bit of flux as I learn more about about these terms and explore which ones feel most right. If you had asked me 3 years ago, I would have said cisgender.
How would you identify in terms of sexuality?
I'm bisexual, with a bit of asexuality. That's complicated-sounding. I used to be mostly asexual. Sexuality is a fluid thing, so it makes sense that mine would develop into bisexuality. But my former asexuality still hangs around a good 20% of the time. It's weird but comfortable.
Your identity, and your developing understanding of it, is complex. Do you get pushback from people who claim more traditional LGBT identities?
I do. I've come to expect that, in a sense. Because it's my identity, I certainly don't expect anyone else to understand it as well as I do. I'm often told to just simplify things and call myself a traditional term, but that wouldn't account for a lot of nuance.
The nuance represents important differences in identification. When one identifies as a man and says so, people get specific ideas of what that means. Same thing with calling oneself a woman. These gender handles have certain associations. For me to call myself one or the other instead of agender would be to take on those social expectations, as well as certain personal expectations. To let go of the nuance in this way would be to lie.
I think many people see it the other way around; if one identifies outside of the gender binary, that seems like a lie. People like having social frames and boxes, and when people like me break those constructs, it must feel to them like a frivolous rebellion. They might be uncomfortable with my identity, but they're uncomfortable because they don't want to rethink what they've been taught.
Why do you think some people in more sexual traditional orientations or gender roles are so invested in pigeonholing people rather than welcoming a diversity of identities?
I've often heard the concern that too many sexualities under the umbrella will make lines blur past the point of distinction, that a plethora of sexualities could end up including any and all
sorts of people, thereby making the whole point of the community useless. There's a strong fear that our protective community boundaries will erode.
How do you feel about that? Have the responses you've gotten made you feel less welcome in the community in term of gender and sexuality?
Responses like that have definitely made me feel less free to express my full identity at times in the community. Some of my own friends who are also LGBT don't even know that I'm agender. Especially recently, I've learned that people can still judge "degrees of queerness." I don't fully trust my own community to not show aggression.
That being said, I connect with other agender and gender nonconforming people as much as possible and enjoy spending time with people of other identities. Even if I can't identify fully with most of the community, there's so much to learn and experience. The community is evolving every day, there's always someone new to welcome, and it's really the place I feel most safe.
Meet Isaias Vasco:
Hi, my name is Isaias, and I identify as a gay gender fluid person. Why? Because being just gay and male does not cover it all, but an umbrella term as "gender fluid" or even "gender queer" does.
I have to be honest. Many of these terms are very new to me, but they make a lot of sense. Even the fact that I came out about two years ago is at times new to me. Even so, I have come to know myself better within these last two years than I have in the previous twenty-two.
Coming out for me was among the best things that ever happened to me. It freed me from the notion that I was bound to love women in a sexual way. So now I feel free to love guys because I am past that stigma.
Part of coming out also opened the door to a new world to me. It can be very overwhelming and extremely confusing if you are not patient with yourself. This world is known to many as the LGBT community, or as I prefer to call it the LGBTQIA+ community.
Why then do I feel the need to add more letters after the "T"? Because I have learned that there is so much more than those 4 letters. The "Q" is a great one because it is very inclusive. The "+" sign also includes more identities not commonly known or talked out about, but it does not mean they are not as equally important as the other ones.
The "G" term does not cover it for me when it comes to my gender identity, although it does for my sexual orientation. Such is the case for many of us out there. I have recently learned that sexual orientation is not the same as sexual identity. This was a tough one for me to comprehend, but I am glad I was able to understand it with time.
But how did I come to such conclusions? Well, I watch and follow a lot of documentaries, TV-shows, YouTube mini-series, social media posts, etc., by which I was inspired and learned a lot about my sexual identity.
Gender fluidity makes more sense to me. I do not want to solely identify as male because I highly identify as female too—sometimes as both, sometimes as female, but never as male alone. It really depends on the occasions or even the people. It may seem silly, but it's perfectly fine with me.
I strongly believe that diversity is what really makes us interesting. I know there are a lot of ways to identify, and yes, it gets confusing. The way to overcome the confusion is to get educated and have a student's mind. That is how I learn about new things in life.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.