Same-sex YouTuber Couples Deserve to be Celebrated

Rainbow YouTube

Today, in preparation for the release of their upcoming 40 Under 40 list, The Advocate revealed that YouTube vlogging couples, Will Shepherd and RJ Aguiar and Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers are part of the issue’s featured honorees. This made me whoop inside because I’m a subscriber to Will and RJ’s channel, shep689, and I think that they’re an amazing couple. However, on a more important level, I was pleased because the work that these YouTubers do is often a lot more consequential than people give credit, especially in terms of portraying a normal, positive image of what the majority of gay people are like. The fact that The Advocate has chosen to feature them in their 40 Under 40 list gives recognition to them on the same platform that bigger name LGBT celebrities will undoubtedly be placed.

I’ve chosen specifically to post about this today because it’s quite coincidental that this should be published today, when only yesterday I came across a video which sort of irritated me slightly. Three days ago, a video emerged advertising a series known as “Stud-lebrity”. According to them, a studlebrity is “a guys who is famous for his looks”. The series focuses on young men who have a steady following, particularly on social media, allegedly due to their good looks. I admit that I drew a blank at most of the names featured, but among these “studlebrities” (I really can’t with this word) was another one of my favourite YouTube vlogging couples, Mark & Ethan. Unless the actual documentary, or series or whatever it is, is released, I don’t know exactly what it is about, and it just might be quite profound. But from the trailer, it makes the guys seem infuriatingly vapid, by focusing solely on their looks and bodies. Again, I don’t know the other guys so I don’t know if this really is what they’re like in real life, but I personally took offense to the insinuation that Mark & Ethan are only followed because they’re handsome. The videos that these guys put out are incredibly entertaining, and the image that they portray of young gay guys is nothing short of admirable.

There is no doubt that there are some gay guys who do glorify some celebrities because of their looks. I actually spoke quite candidly about that recently. However, to suggest that Mark & Ethan have their following because they’re eye candy is, I think, quite insulting, and it still baffles me as to why the two of them would have even signed up for this. This is why I’m hoping assuming that the actual show is more in-depth than the trailer portrays. This post took a more negative turn that I’d initially intended, so it’s time to bring it back up! Anyway, in keeping with this theme, I thought it would be a nice idea to showcase my top 5 gay YouTube couples!

#5: Lush

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Matthew Lush and Nicholas Laws are perhaps the most in-your-face couple of the list when it comes to issues like sex and body image. Matthew, a YouTube veteran, I originally knew as GayGod, the name of his first channel. However, together with his boyfriend Nick, he releases videos on the channel Lush, aimed mostly at younger gay guys, and explores the joys (emotional and physical) of young gay love.

#4: V-Squared

Vinny-&-Luke-Kiss

I’m relatively new to this channel, and I actually really learned about them through Trent and Luke, another couple on this list. V-Squared, also referred to as “V2”, comprises of Vincent ‘Vinny’ Vaillancourt and Luke Burton. What I find most amazing about this couple is that story leading up to their channel. Vinny is American, while Luke is British and the two had been involved in a 7-year-long long distance relationship before Vinny relocated to the United Kingdom, where the two officially wed in 2013. I mean, holy hell! Not only were they in a relationship for 7 years… but a long-distance one at that! After making this work, how on earth can someone have the nerve to be against a couple like this being legally married?

#3: TrentAndLuke

Trent-&-Luke-Kiss

Trent Owers and Luke Shayler are all kinds of adorable, and I love them! Also married, the couple resides in England, from where Luke is, though Trent is originally Australian. Their videos are super cute, and often feature their adorable Yorkie/Dachshund cross-breed, Benji. They’re also both professionally part of the entertainment industry (actor and model) and have been featured on book covers and magazines, including one of the Gay Times’ naked issues. Though often fun and stylised, Trent and Luke’s videos showcase what it’s like for a young married couple of any gender or orientation, living together despite their differences.

#2: Shep689

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It was a little tricky for me to decide on the positions of TrentandLuke and shep689, but I thought that the latter deserved the number 2 spot more, if for no other reason than I’ve been subscribed to them for quite a bit longer. Shep689… oh the awesomeness! Comprised of Will Shepherd and RJ Aguiar, shep689 is the absolute grittiest and most authentic of all the channels on this list. Their videos are shot and edited in the true vlogging style, and that is what makes them so compelling to watch. Their viewers are able to go through their daily routines with them so closely, that it often feels as if we personally know them… and their pooch, Dobby (Will is a huge Harry Potter fan – can you tell?) Their videos begin recording almost immediately from the moment they wake up, and take us all the way throughout the day, to the moment they go to bed. Now engaged, Will and RJ are pioneers in the vlogging community. Having been doing this for five years, Will and RJ have done an exceptional job in portraying the everyday ordinary (and sometimes mundane) life of an average gay couple. Due to the almost invasive nature of their videos, they’re also unwittingly able to explore more complex issues. For example, the fact that RJ identifies as bisexual showcases an aspect of the LGBT community that isn’t often discussed: the very real possibility of the monogamous commitment between a homosexual and bisexual. Also, Will recently opened up to his viewers about the struggles of alcoholism in his family and his realisation that he might be heading down that path, leading him to stop drinking completely. Yeah, as much as some people may like to portray gays as die-hard partying, never-ending drinking, clubbing circuit boys, we deal with the same shit, responsibilities and life decisions as everyone else.

#1: Methan (Mark and Ethan)

Methan-Kiss

I found out about Mark Miller and Ethan Hethcote about one year ago today, when their “Awkward Kissing” video went viral. Since then, I’ve been a very loyal and happy subscriber. Though they each have their own separate channels, they both feature each other heavily in their respective videos. Although quite young – perhaps the youngest couple on the list – their relationship is so impressive that it’s become quite common to see commenters pine for a relationship just like that. Of course, I’m more than aware that it may not be that way behind closed doors (God forbid), but the videos nevertheless serve to portray a relationship between two young gay guys as stable and amazingly loving. Like their “Awkward Kissing” video, their videos were initially quite planned, fun and quirky. However, now that they’ve recently moved in together for the first time, their videos have begun to take on a more shep689-esque feel. They don’t post every day like Will and RJ, but the videos they now put out have a more personal feel to it, as they allow their viewers a more inside look at their relationship and their life together.

Every one of the couples listed above does an amazing part, not only in giving off a great image of same-sex couples to the world in general, but also in portraying loving and affectionate couplings specifically to the LGBT community. This is vitally important to gay youth who have no other way of realising what their life could be like, instead of the hateful rhetoric that they’re fed on a daily basis. It also takes an insane amount of bravery to put out there for the world to see, not only your life, but your love. And for that, I appreciate every single one of them.

True Blood Season 7 Episode 6 “Karma”: My Unsolicited Review

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This week’s True Blood really played with my emotions in a big way. There were no major deaths, thankfully, but it turns out that that wasn’t even necessary to achieve this effect.

Last week, we found out that Bill had contracted Hep V, when he noticed the very first signs of the disease. Hep V, so far, has been portrayed as a relatively slow-moving virus, progressing in stages. However, Bill’s is accelerating unusually quickly, going from “oh, my” to “HOLY HELL” in less than 24 hours. We later find out that Sookie was the one who passed the virus on to him in the first place – she’d contracted it from the sick vampires on the night that Alcide died, and gave it to Bill when she offered him her blood the following day – and I’m guessing that it’s expedited rate in Bill has something to do with Sookie’s fae blood. While on the phone, scheduling a meeting with an attorney to update his will, Jessica overhears Bill admit that he’s infected, and informs Sookie and Jason.

Let’s just take a second to point out that the show has come back full circle to comparing vampires and the LGBT community. In the first season, the plight of the vampires was an obvious parallel to that of the LGBT community (vampire rights/gay rights; coming out of the coffin/closet). As the show progressed, however, this comparison was made less and less (I guess it’s hard to keep up with a trivial issue like that when you’re writing about more profound situations like the ghost of a dead witch being trapped inside the body of a live one). Now that we’re in the final season of the show, this initial comparison is being made again, this time with Hep V obviously being written as HIV/AIDS. Now, I understand that HIV isn’t exclusively a gay disease (duh) but considering who the warnings are mostly aimed at, let’s be honest here. I, actually, quite appreciate the likening of the two situations, as in it’s own way, the show is bringing about awareness to a very serious problem.

After weeks of dubbing Lettie Mae a crazy, drugged-out addict, Lafayette has finally come to agree that Tara is, indeed, trying to send a message from the other side. The two of them went on a V-fuelled trip together – courtesy of James’ blood – and Tara appeared to them, ultimately leading them to her and Lettie Mae’s old house. She might have shown them more, but the vision was interrupted by Rev Daniels, who gets into a war of words with Lafayette, before announcing his ultimatum to Lettie Mae: it’s either the V, or him. I’ll just say it. I don’t like this man. I never liked him, and Lettie Mae’s choice of Tara over him didn’t make me sad at all. He’s always come off as arrogant and full of it (with the possible exception of his and Sam’s little confessional session). Even worse, his grand speech to Willa about how he loved Lettie Mae more than life because she saved him from this crippling depression caused by his ex-wife left me side-eyeing him up, down and everywhere. Several seasons ago – right about the time that Lettie Mae ws trying to build her life back up – Tara walked in on Rev Daniels and Lettie Mae getting it on in Lettie Mae’s living room. Tara’s only source of anger at that was that he was married! So, I don’t really know where this little spiel to Willa came from, but I wasn’t having any of it.

Violet, who’d overheard Jason and Jessica having sex last week, surprisingly didn’t do anything about it last night. Despite being obviously pissed off, the most she did was seduce Jason, letting him know that she was his as much as he was hers. I think that that would have been that, except that a call from Jessica, asking Jason to bring Sookie over to Bill’s house was misunderstood by Violet, and then she really flew into a rage. Later on, we see her manipulating Adilyn to come with her, so we know that this bitch is up to something major with faerie blood.

I’m not digging this Adilyn/Wade storyline. It’s really grossing me out on several levels. This is all the more ironic as I still can’t get over this From Beginning to End movie, and that movie should have been worse, as they were biological brothers, whereas Adilyn and Wade aren’t even related. However, I think the main difference to me is that in From Beginning to End, the story was entirely about love, while Adilyn and Wade just seem to want to hump each other every chance they get, because of “their hormones” as Arlene pointed out.

The story with the Yakuza and Eric and Pam continues, though thankfully in present day, this time. I’ve gotta say, I was royally irritated when Eric, who is clearly succumbing to the disease, was able to fight off a ton of Yakuza assassins, and Pam, who only suffers from crippling sarcasm, went and got herself captured! She kind of made up for it, though, when she saved herself and Eric from meeting the sun, by bypassing Eric’s moronic macho stubbornness and informing the Yakuza of Sarah’s vamp sister. An agreement is reached among them, and they all go in search of Sarah.

This week’s cliffhanger shocker was brought to us by the little troublemaker herself, Sarah! With nowhere else to go after her parents’ murders, she turns to her vampire sister, who is obviously less than welcoming to her. However, Sarah attempts to placate her by going on some acid-sounding, higher-level, enlightened-bullshit speech about being a new Sarah, and how the fates aligned to bring her to where she is today so that she could bring healing. I was left feeling so much WTF’s, that it was like listening to the speech of a Conservative Republican crazy person. In the end, she announces that before fleeing the vampire facility months ago, an antidote to Hep V had been created, and she’d drunk it all, so that her blood was literally the healing serum for all vampires. Not just talking a bunch of bs, for the first time, she allows her sister to feed off her and, when Eric, Pam and the Yakuza show up on her doorstep, we find her Hep V symptoms completely gone???

Ok, let’s pause for a second. I understand that this a fictional show about supernatural creatures, and attempting to apply logic to it is just plain stupid, but let’s be stupid for a moment. How in the hot damn hell is this antidote still in her bloodstream? It isn’t like her DNA was imbibed with the antidote, causing her to continuously replicate it over time. She drank it! Which means that, although some of it, indeed, would have entered her bloodstream, the vast majority would have been expelled from her excretory system. And even if all of it had been absorbed by her blood vessels, when was the last time you heard of any medication lasting six months in someone’s system?

Anyscience101, all logic aside, this is a great (and hilarious) twist and I’m really into it. How ironic: the woman who caused all this death and devastation is literally the only one who can cure it. For the first time in forever, I don’t want this season to end. That being said, though, I’m already looking forward to the coming weeks! It’s a catch-twentyTrue (Blood). Get it? Yeah… I’m done. You know what comes after the jump…

Show me the GIFs, dammit!

Can The LGBT Community Sue For Defamation?

Rainbow Gavel

I believe that I’ve made my opinion on homophobia exceedingly clear before. Homophobes are idiots, and the only thing more stupid than the crazy shit they say is not expecting them to say the crazy shit they say. The garbage they spew is usually so repetitive that, by now, it no longer even affects me like it did a year or two ago. Very often, when I read something by some anti-gay bigot, I just shake my head or chuckle at the sheer stupidity of the statement, and then move on. However, every once in a while, something is said which penetrates this shield of indifference that I’ve created, gets under my skin, and rankles. Cue Michele Bachman.

In a recent interview with some talk show that I’ve thankfully never heard of, called “Faith and Liberty”, Bachman insisted that the LGBT community was lobbying to legalise paedophilia.

“They want to abolish age of consent laws, which means children would…we would do away with statutory rape laws so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually.”

What the actual hell?! How are nutjobs like this able to get away with publicly making those kinds of comments? When did the LGBT community’s fight for marriage equality suddenly turn into getting rid of age of consent laws? What really pisses me off is the fact that this bitch knows that that’s not what’s happening, but since she has no rational argument against marriage equality, she’s creating this false crusade of “deviance” (she actually used that word) to generate anger and hatred towards gays everywhere from people who maybe don’t know what the LGBT community is after. If this ploy is successful, no one can tell me that this will not perpetuate anti-gay sentiments.

It is this same perpetuated homophobia which, in turn, denies the LGBT community equal rights, costs us our jobs, provokes widespread antigay violence (including murder), and forces so many too many to take their own lives.

I got this definition of “defamation” from a free online dictionary:

Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, orconfidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

Does all that not sound frighteningly similar to what I just described? Now, Michele Bachman has proven herself to be severely unhinged time and time again, I don’t deny that. I mean, if crazy could take human form, even it would be scared shitless of this woman. That being said, all this craziness doesn’t strip her of her political and social relevance, and she is evidently at liberty to use this importance to spew whatever she wants. The worst part is, she isn’t even the only one. Very many Conservatives have faced no legal or substantial ramifications for this vitriol that they spit out.

If anyone else had had those things said about them, they’d have their lawyers called up in a heartbeat. Hell, celebrities have sued publications (and won) over a lot less, using the argument of defamation. So, here’s my question. Can the LGBT community collectively – or at least certain prominent individuals – take these hateful wackjobs to court over these over-the-top comments that are obviously aimed at damaging our character?

It is beyond unfair that statements like these which have such prejudicial effects go unchallenged, just because those who make them argue that it’s their religious belief. If some insane Muslim extremist came on the media arguing that his religion was the best, and that Christians were part of some evil cult, spreading their dangerous agenda, and that they needed to be stopped at all costs, even if it meant through harm, he’d be locked up in Guantanamo faster than you can say “religious freedom”. Why, then, are these so-called “Christians” permitted to do the same thing against LGBT people, and everyone goes on as if this is the will of God?

Defamation is defamation is defamation. And, although the law clearly doesn’t favour the LGBT community, I’d still love it if loonies like Michele Bachman were made to pay dearly to a shelter for homeless LGBT youth. The law should be responsible for keeping them in check, since psychiatrists refuse to commit medicate them.

25 Great Gay Sex Scenes Saga – Movie #13: Ciao (2008)

Ciao Cover Image

Title: Ciao

Actors:

Adam Neal Smith… Jeff

Alessandro Calza… Andrea

Director: Yen Tan

The Backlot Rating:

Hotness – 10

Romance – 10

WTFactor – 0

Note: I’d like to point out that this movie officially takes us over the halfway point in our saga.

I’m going to start right off the bat by saying that I adored this movie. Ciao tells the story of two men who meet under tragic circumstances. When his best friend from college, Mark, dies in a car accident, Jeff learns of a secret online relationship that Mark had been having with an Italian named Andrea (the name “Andrew” in Italian). Though initially surprised at the discovery, and possibly a little hurt that Mark had kept it from him, Jeff decides to invite Andrea to keep a visit that both Andrea and Jeff had agreed upon previously. Though Jeff and Andrea only intended to bond over Mark during this trip, feelings develop between the two of them during the two-day visit.

My only real criticism of this movie is the admittance that the acting, though overall decent and endearing, unfortunately fell short of spectacular. It would, by no means, be fair to describe it as mediocre, but there were definitely moments of flat line delivery. I suppose it also didn’t help that certain areas of the script were a bit on the shaky side. It wasn’t so bad, however, that it detracted very much from the film in any significant way. The movie was also quite slow-paced, which I understand is something of a frustration to some people, but I quite enjoyed the pacing, as I felt it ultimately added to the build-up of emotion.

In the matter of emotion, Ciao delivered. Adam Neil Smith did an amazing job with his powerfully believable portrayal of grief. One of the aspects of this movie with which I was most impressed was the fact that, although we were spared witnessing the actual death of Mark, there was such a profound depiction of mourning by Jeff and Andrea that it was easy for us to feel it ourselves. The content of this movie was remarkably sensitive, as it dealt with a complex intermingling of love and romance. However, it was handled so beautifully that we end up rooting for Jeff and Andrea (who effectively really should only be together to mourn a mutual loved one) to wind up together.

I love the fact that this movie was on the list. The Backlot admits that there is no actual sex scene in this movie, despite the title of the list, but the kiss depicted was so long and passionate that it made up for it – and I definitely agree. Regardless, it was a lovely story that (despite its slight flaws in execution) should be enjoyed by all of us. You know what comes next…

Show me the GIFs, dammit!

Presenting the Official “50 Shades of Grey” Trailer

Jamie-Dornan-Shirtless-50-Shades-of-Grey

You know, despite everyone constantly making the comparison between Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and Meyer’s stalker superfan E.L James’ 50 Shades of Grey, I’d never really understood it before. Looking at this trailer, though, I was half expecting Taylor Lautner a pack of werewolves to burst onto the scene at any moment.

The highly anticipated 50 Shades of Grey comes out next year, and the first official trailer has been released. Because it would be far too easy to point out how awful this story looks, I’m electing to focus on the positives.

Positive #1: this two and a half minute trailer looked far more appealing to me than the 2 paragraphs that I’ve read of the books.

Positive #2: Jamie Dornan and Dakatoa Johnson both look beautiful! There’s been so much vapid controversy surrounding the beauty (or lack, thereof) of the chosen cast, that I have no idea what the 50 Shades fans think at this point. There was a shit ton of superficial criticism that Charlie Dunnam was “too ugly” (in what Universe?!?!), that Dakota Johnson wasn’t “pretty enough” (get over yourselves), and that Jamie Dornan wasn’t Matt Bomer (Jamie Dornan’s goergeousness aside, though, I can’t fault anyone for that criticism). All this being said, I certainly hope that this could be put to rest now, because both Dornan and Johnson look pretty much like what I’m assuming they were meant to look like – young, pretty, and with bodies that won’t cause a moronic Lena Dunham-esque uproar. While there’s nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty of others, I pray for the day when we, as a society, aren’t so hung up on physical appearances.

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Positive #3: The majority of the descriptions that I’ve read of the 50 Shades series lie somewhere in the vicinity of “filth”, “trash”, “porn”… you get the point. I’ve never read an entire page of the series, let alone an entire book, so I won’t pretend to be a qualified critique of this aspect. However, the movie’s producers have announced previously that they’d chosen to make it less risqué, and classen it up a bit. If they were successful, I think that they have a wonderful opportunity to educate a lot of people about a rarely spoken-of sexual community: BDSM. I don’t know a whole lot about the BDSM scene, but I’ve done enough reading over the years to believe that I have a fairly good working knowledge of it. Very many people, however, do not, and that’s because there’s this hush-hush taboo surrounding the topic. I’ve spoken more than once before about our society’s continual desire to eliminate any sexual practices which aren’t confined to the orthodox sphere of “normal”. I think that, considering all the buzz surrounding this movie, whether or not it is a critical success, there’s quite a good opportunity to showcase a sexual preference (no, I don’t mean orientation) that is very much alive, and apparently very much enjoyed in equal measure by both partners.

I Think I’m Obsessed With MAGIC!

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I’m a big music fan, and even though I can’t sing a tune to save my life, that doesn’t stop me from belting along to my favourite songs for hours on end. I also usually scour the top 40 singles charts every few weeks to see if there’s any new song which might appeal to me. This is why I’m so stunned to realise that “Rude” by MAGIC! flew right under my radar. And, really, the only reason that I found out about it right now is because it’s now the number one song on the US charts, knocking Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” from the top spot after having spent a record 8 weeks there. It had to be quite a song to accomplish such a feat, so naturally I went off to YouTube to have a listen. By the end of the first chorus, I completely understood.

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MAGIC! is a Canadian reggae fusion band that does an amazing job of combining a distinct reggae sound with unmistakeable elements of alternative rock. Creator and lead singer of the band, Nasri Atweh has apparently been on the music scene for a while, writing songs for some huge-name artists. He’s even had a few hits back in Canada, though evidently not big enough to garner the global recognition that he has now. It just goes to show you how one big break can change everything.

MAGIC!’s debut album, Don’t Kill the Magic, is out on iTunes, and you best believe that I wasted less than zero time in getting it. Every time I get a new album, there’s always this fear that only a couple of songs are going to be tolerable and the rest will suck major balls. Lemme tell you – not only is this not the case with Don’t Kill the Magic, I love every single song on the album. Obsession I tell you… I already feel it creeping up on me. I’m pretty interested to see what happens in this band’s future. Nasri is, undoubtedly, a triple threat – he’s an amazing songwriter, he sings beautifully, and let’s admit it… he’s got some sweet, sick-ass dance moves!

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This is where you enter my head… I apologize

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