Gay Story: Mama Gloria Starts a Charm School and Becomes Mother Figure to LGBT Youth in Chicago

A transgender OAP has set up a charm school in Chicago to pass on her years of experience living as a woman.

66 year old retired nurse, Gloria Allen, was inspired to kick off the service during regular lunch meetings with other Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender senior citizens at her local community centre. She noticed the young people that used the centre, which offers services to the LGBT community, dressed and acted inappropriately.

She has set out to guide the kids out by passing on what she has learned through her life experiences. Now, at the centre, “Mama Gloria” gives classes dedicated to everything from how to dress and how to carry yourself to staying healthy and applying make-up.

The oldest of 14 children and daughter of a 1950’s centerfold model, Gloria lived as a woman from the age of 24, getting tips on how to behave and dress in a womanly fashion from the female members of her family. She gathered more tricks-of-the-trade from older transgender women around her.

Things were probably a bit tougher for Gloria living on the South Side of Chicago around the time she had her gender reassignment surgery at the age of 37. She has used her life’s journey, the adventures and pitfalls, to school the teens she teaches.

Here at Maleforce we take our hats off to Mama Gloria taking on the role surrogate of mother to young LGBT who may not have people around to help them through the ups and downs of growing up, exploring their sexuality and seeking out their identity.

For full story go to ChicagoTribune.com

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Gay Chat News: The Good, the Gay and the Ugly

Anne Hathaway – who is set to play Catwoman in the new Batman film next year – has spoken out about gay marriage. Being a New Jersey girl with a gay brother, she has called on her home state to follow New York’s lead. Quoted from Interview magazine, the Devil Wears Prada star said; “They need to get on the New York bandwagon and legalise gay marriage.” This is most prevalent as a lesbian was refused a wedding dress in New Jersey last week due to the fact she was marrying another woman.

A noted supporter of gay rights, the Hollywood star hopes other US States will follow suit. As well as her on-going support for gay rights, Hathaway has also recorded a video message for the It Gets Better campaign.

It isn’t very hard to understand why there is still so much prejudice and diversity inAmericawhen you think that there were still fifteen States that outlawed sodomy until 2003. Florida was one of those States and even though they still don’t accept it, they cannot legally enforce their own ruling on sodomy thanks to the government.

It’s strange to think of Florida clinging on to this law for so long, especially as the Sunshine State is home to a very large and diverse group of clusters such as Miami Beach, Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and even Disney World. But it must say something about the mentality and tolerance of some of the heterosexual populous. In fact a once celebrated teacher of Social Studies has recently been suspended from teaching after making anti-gay comments on his personal FaceBook account. “I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York Okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up. And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???”

I am a big believer in freedom of speech, but this man is a school teacher (for Social Studies… maybe he needs to go back to school himself!) He is shaping young people’s minds and how they will perceive the world as adults. Closed-minded and bigoted people should not be allowed to teach in schools (or be in government… yes, I do mean you Michelle Bachmann!)

For as long as I can remember, gay men have been banned from donating blood in the UK. This has always been a bone of contention and just another shocking blow for equality. To say gay men are at a higher risk is factually wrong. There is a higher infection rate of STIs with heterosexuals, homosexuals are more likely to get checked out at the clinic than their straight counterparts – and we get free condoms and lube in every gay bar and club. The gay community is now more savvy when it comes to STIs and probably more cautious ever since HIV/AIDS hit our community three decades ago.

A new petition is currently online calling for an end to the gay blood donation ban. We here at Gay Chat Towers signed it today and know that there is an evidence-based review underway with an announcement of any changes from the health association likely to be soon.

But this is not the first time a call on the ban has been incited. In 2008 an identical campaign was put forward (bloodban) and still hasn’t achieved its goal of 5000 signatures. This new petition has already reached almost that in a matter of weeks. Maybe people have now realised that this on-going saga is not just about equality, but about saving people’s lives.

My boyfriend, best friend and I were watching old music videos on YouTube at the weekend. Late at night and rather inebriated, we danced around as we watched Club Tropicana and couldn’t believe just howcamp George Michael and Andrew Ridgley look in that video. How did we not know about George back then? (Okay, we kinda guessed.) Even though they are both very flamboyant, they are still surrounded by and flirting with scantily-clad women. It’s a little unsettling to look back at now!

Since the break-up of 80s pop sensation Wham! George began a successful solo career that wasn’t even damaged by his very public, gay outing in 1998. The music video “Outside” which played homage to and glorified his cruising habits was seen by most as harmless fun – all except Marcelo Rodriguez of course, who was the officer that caught George in the LA public toilet.

George has done a lot for gay rights and HIV/Aids charities over the years. Being a close friend of Elton John who runs the Aids Foundation; together they have performed at money-raising galas and many charity gigs. But George has never really being known as a gay activist even though he has been out of the closet for thirteen years. In NME Magazine recently, George addressed this point by saying he plans to release a gay album to make up for “letting the gay kids down”.

It’s pegged to be a dance album and will be a collaboration with gay/gay friendly artists. “I’ll be 48 when the album comes out, but I have to say that gay men’s relationship with dance music probably doesn’t end at the same time as straight people’s does.” Ain’t that the truth George!

Terry Gee

Gay Chat News: Are you proud to be gay?

It’s a very wide and open question, but something that we here at Gay Chat Towers would be interested to hear about.

For me personally, I love being gay. I am an out and proud man, I love my boyfriend and openly show him affection when we’re out in public with no fear or trepidation. But, I realise I am living in London which is known to be more tolerant than most cities. I also have a good network of friends who accept me for who I am without question. I live in a protected, gay bubble where the heterosexual community poses no threat to my lifestyle or whom I love.

Londonis very different from Yorkshire where I grew up, holding hands with a person of the same sex in public could cause quite a lot of animosity and even violence from fellow residents. I find that lack of education; knowledge and exposure are key factors to homophobia. Think about how most parents react when we first come out as being gay. For mine, there were tears, tantrums, arguments and hurtful things said and done. But as time goes on, they saw that this is who I am. I am still their son and what does it matter who and of what sex I fall in love with?

But then I read stories of people in countries where being gay is punishable by death or lifetime imprisonment; people who fear to walk out of their own home in case they are attacked and tortured. Countries where government officials and religious bodies tell the populous that being gay is a choice and it is wrong. How can being gay truly be a choice? Would anyone choose a life of persecution, the loss of friends and family and fear of the world outside because of who they are? No one would put themselves through that if they could help it. Being gay was hard enough for me growing up in Yorkshire, so I can’t imagine just how bad it is in places like Uganda and some major Muslim countries. If being gay really was a choice, there would be no gay people living in those places at all.

But what about you? Where do you live and how has being gay affected your day-to-day life? I imagine the residents of San Francisco are only too happy to welcome another gay person into their protective care; but what about people who live inmiddle Americaand the deep south? From what I have read, these places still have low tolerance from what they consider “the norm”. Were you forced into a heterosexual union or even been sent to one of the clinics that say they can “cure” homosexuality? Maybe you have been fighting who you really are and have only just come out or are you still in the closet?

We all must face challenges in life and sometimes they can feel too hard to bear. We find a brick wall in front of us with no way of scaling it to get over to the other side. But there is more than one way to get over such obstacles. Most of the people on Maleforce will have gone through similar situations and had to face the wall. Just speak to them and ask. I’m sure most will have a story to tell. A lot of people will have pushed and shoved, knocked through the bricks one by one and fought their way to the other side. For me, I had my friends to help me through it and their faith in me gave me the strength I needed. And then there are the few people who don’t have the support of their peers, don’t have the tools to get through the wall and feel trapped in a place they don’t belong in. It is to those people who I say there is always hope and help out there. For the fortunate ones who don’t live in repressive countries where the internet is monitored and blocked, find a local support centre and speak to someone there. These are always confidential and can help with getting your life back on track and give you the tools to break down that wall.

Always try and remember that if you are gay, this can’t be changed – and why should it? You are a loving human being with the same rights as everyone else on this planet. And as terrible and futile as life can feel at times, remember that there is nothing wrong with you, the only wrong in this instance are certain people’s misguided views on homosexuality. This is changing rapidly and I honestly believe that in time, prejudice will be a thing of the past. Try and keep that in mind. They are the ones we should pity, as they are a dying breed whose beliefs are so wrong they are now being exposed for the evil bigots they truly are. Let that thought to spur you on, find people who can help you grow and get past a stage in your life that is being repressed by the smaller man.

I am a gay man and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Terry Gee

Adam Levine Strips for Male Cancer Awareness

If there’s one thing we like better than a hot, tattooed rock star it’s a hot tattooed rock star naked! And even better if it’s for a good cause. We’re extremely happy to report that Maroon 5 fitty, Adam Levine, has been snapped naked to raise awareness about male cancer.

The photos, taken in support of Everyman – The UK’s leading prostate and testicular cancer campaign – appear in the February edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. Cosmopolitan UK has long been a supporter of the Everyman campaign, regularly featuring hot male celebrities in the buff.

Past centrefolds have included Lenny Kravitz, Ewan McGregor, Eminem and, the gay chat team’s personal favourite, Welsh rugby hunk Gavin Henson. Amazing!

Most importantly, Everyman’s mission is to stamp out testicular and prostate cancer. Launched in 1997, the charity seeks to raise awareness about male cancer and raise funds to research treatments. It runs a variety of campaigns, initiatives and adverts to remind men that regular self-examinations, and the early treatment of cancer are essential.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-44. With treatment, it has an overall cure rate of 97%. The success rate is even higher if caught early enough – hence why awareness is key.

Prostate cancer kills one man every hour in the UK and has overtaken lung cancer as the most common cancer in men. Despite advances in research, little is known about what causes it or how it develops. We do know that the incidence of male cancer is rising rapidly, yet we don’t know why.

So it’s hats off to Adam for being the latest bit of buff to get his baubles out for the boys.

We’ve had a hot spot for the gorgeous Mr. Levine ever since “This Love” – a smash hit for his band Maroon 5 – way back in 2002! Since then, the group have gone on to sell millions of albums all over the world.

A staunch supporter of gay rights (can this guy get any more adorable?), he was one of the first celebrities to post a video to the “It Gets Better Campaign”. And in 2008 when asked by LGBT news magazine The Advocate as to what kind of guys he’d like if he were gay, he quipped: “Oh, there are beautiful men out there… every male secretly wants to have sex with Brad Pitt, but that’s a given.” What-a-tease!

To find out more about prostate and testicular cancer we recommend visiting:  http://www.everyman-campaign.org/

Maroon 5’s latest album “Hands All Over” is available on iTunes. The February edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine is out now.

Gary Cosby

Gordon Brown praises gay community in World Aids Day message

In a video recorded especially for World AIDS Day 2009 Gordon Brown commends the early contribution the UK gay community made in addressing the disease.

In reference to the 1980’s when AIDS devastated gay communities around the world Brown said: “”Even in the midst of so much sorrow, those who had lost loved ones refused to accept the silence and the stigma and set up pioneering charities which are still saving and changing lives today.”

It is estimated that more than 80,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK however the number could be far greater because most people with HIV, it is believed, remain undiagnosed.

“More than a quarter of people with HIV don’t know they have the disease because they haven’t been tested” he warns, adding that the government is committed to increasing HIV testing and tackling the stigma that persists.

During the two minute piece recorded for The National AIDS Trust website Brown also praises activists world-wide who have “refused to give up in the face of HIV and AIDS”

Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT, said: “We are delighted that Gordon Brown has provided a message for our World AIDS Day website.  We are especially pleased he has spoken about HIV in the UK in particular the need to increase HIV testing as well as fighting prejudice.  He is right to say there is no room for complacency in tackling HIV.
We hope the concern and commitment the Prime Minister had expressed today will be remembered beyond World AIDS Day.”

World AIDS day 2009 takes place on December 1st.

By Gary Cosby

For weekly gay news, chat and soundbites visit www.maleforce.com

Related Links:

http://www.nat.org.uk/