Gay Is… by Stephen Schwei

Gay is the boy who just started working with flowers

and gestures so immaculately that everyone has always known

that he is a gay boy.  He loves his job, you can tell. 


Gay is the big guy in the “Daddy Issues” t-shirt or dozens 

of other beefy bears, secure and confident in their image and eager

to meet more of their own kind, blocking the way and laughing in their groups.


Gay takes your breath away when it’s a crowd out for Pride,

partying and celebrating and truly proud of being who we are,

taking over the city or the world as one large group in solidarity.


Gay is just out with friends, frivolous and inconsequential,

dancing the night away, sipping cocktails, oblivious to any struggle

or history.  Put the movement away for a Saturday night, and have some fun.


Gay is the emotional roller coaster that grabs people and makes them find

whatever their identity will be.  When they finally find love, it will be the high

of their lives.  When they meet with the bullies and persecutors, take cover.


Gay is the 40 year old married man, finally figuring it out

and the lesbian couple finding each other in the oddest of places,

love surfacing and surviving against the harshest of obstacles.


Gay are the old couples who have fought the long battles

and won the rights and privileges that we can almost take for granted.

Secure in each other’s arms, fending off any new attempts at oppression.


Gay is the Stonewall Inn and the night of fuming desperation,

when drag queens, transgender people, and black boys finally fought back,

to claim what should have been theirs all along, safety and security.


Gay is the Pulse nightclub, just out to let loose and some drugged-up dancing,

gunned down senselessly and targeted shamelessly

for daring to love and party with the people who share their lives.


Gay is gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, queer, inquiring, and so many other things.

Gender fluid and an encyclopedia of sexual interests and proclivities. 

Finding our own, fitting in and figuring out exactly what turns us on.


Gay is drag, puppies, and swishy boys, not everything making you as proud

as you’d like to be, but testing your tolerance, whether you identify with them or not.

They don’t have to represent you as long as you represent yourself.


(This is only a small excerpt.  Please see the full poem at

Empanadas: Uncrustables for Big People by Reilly Hirst

The Empanada Shop

642 Monroe Ave

Rochester, NY 14607


Empanadas for those not familiar are like Uncrustables that are cooked for big people.  Empanadas have a long history. Galicia, a fascinating region of Spain, which has influences of Gaelic culture (perhaps why the similarities to pasties) and holds a festival each year.  The name empanadas means to coat with bread (empanar): think sandwich with a safety handle that has been fried.


The ones at the Empanada Shop have the most variety I’ve seen in a long while.  The Empanada Shop consistently has on average 25 flavors of empanada fillings that they are constantly slightly adjusting.  I often get the Basura, a shredded stewed beef, with the Green Plantain. I had the Lime Cilantro Chicken the other day which was dense with chicken and seasoned with the lime and cilantro.  The Squash was simply well seasoned. The Steak and Shrimp, in contrast, was in a cream sauce and lovely. Other shops have more traditional types, and those that cater to Rochester expectations (Beef and Onion or Pizza for example).  

The Empanada Shop is easy to miss.  It’s in the same block as Aladdin’s and has a “humble” storefront.  When you walk inside it is not fancy, but is clean, brightly lit and has ample space.  Turquoise/Aqua colored chairs with blond wood table tops and light walls help brighten the dining room in grey Rochester. There’s a tree and a bamboo tiki bar not doing much in particular.  

Most get their food to go and you can tell as it is often empty of patrons with phone orders sitting to the side waiting for pick up. 


The combinations that I get most often are either the $5.55 one empanada and one side combo or the more often the dinner combo for $10 with 2 empanadas and 2 sides and then split with my best friend.  The yellow rice and the plantains are my sides of choice. I hear the Yucca Fries are worthwhile and I like Yucca Fries in general. 


What I would also say is that while these are the best empanadas in Rochester, they are not the best empanadas.  The dough for these empanadas is not dissimilar to the one at the market. Both remind me of the dough on the apple pie at McDonald’s when they still used to fry it: hard, too thick, not particularly flavorful with air pockets and a mild toughness.

Empanadas in other places have a dough that is thinner, more the texture of actual pie crust and sometimes are in fact baked.  This factor alone means that I cannot eat these empanadas every day, as they tend to be greasy and not easy to digest. But I genuinely like them and have barely touched the menu options.  There are also full dinners, sandwiches, Arepas (I buy the side one with nothing on it), etc. as well as a case of beverages. The Empanada Shop is worth visiting if you like turnovers or pasties at all.  Oh also, they are actually cooked by someone who is Columbian so do not have the white people making “ethnic” food issue that is so prevalent throughout Rochester. Go for the adventure, what do you have to lose, except a boring meal? Enjoy!

Stonewall Was A RIOT: Gran Fury’s Activism Through Art

By: Erin Hayes

In 2015, Pride Month was charged with joyful energy in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Flags reading “Love is Love” waved in the summer heat and people marched in shirts that proudly declared “Love wins!”

But as we observe the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, it’s important to remember that we’re not just fighting for the right to love. We’re also fighting for the right to exist.

It’s fitting then that, on June 2, the RIOT mural was unveiled by artist collective Gran Fury at New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. The piece is a 96″ x 96″ recreation of the painting originally created by Gran Fury artist Mark Simpson (d. 1996).

“RIOT calls to mind the battles that the LGBTQ community has fought over the past 50 years, including those it still fights today,” said Glennda Testone, the executive director of The Center, in an interview with The Body, an HIV/AIDS Resource.

“Especially as the eyes of the world turn to New York for WorldPride, this is a vital reminder that our struggle to secure equity and justice for all within our community is far from over,” said Testone.

Gran Fury was an AIDS activist artist collective created in 1988 by 11 artists. Members included Amy Heard, Marlene McCarty, Robert Vazquez-Pacheco, Richard Elovich, Avram Finkelstein, Tom Kalin, John Lindell, Loring McAlpin, Donald Moffett, Michael Nesline, and the late Mark Simpson.

Gran Fury described themselves as a band of individuals united in anger who were dedicated to using art to end the AIDS crisis. 

The group used powerful historical images to create posters, billboards, stickers, T-shirts, photographs, and postcards for provocative and informative political public projects.

The goal of Gran Fury was to circulate information about AIDS to the masses, and circulate they did. Some of the most iconic LGBTQ art pieces came from Gran Fury including SILENCE = DEATH, Let The Record Show, “Kissing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indifference Do,” and Venice Biennale (the “Pope Piece”). All the Gran Fury artwork is in the public domain and can be found on

Gran Fury placed their art in non-traditional art spaces by using billboards, fliers, and posters. They wanted to push political figures such as Ronald Reagan, then New York Mayor Ed Koch, and John Cardinal O’Connor to address the AIDS pandemic openly in a more practical way with more information provided to the public.

Gran Fury disbanded in 1995 because they felt their art strategies weren’t able to communicate what they needed to about the AIDS crisis. But their artwork has continued to be a source of inspiration for activism.

Before the group disbanded, one of the founding members of Gran Fury, Mark Simpson, painted the RIOT piece as a part of the group’s first overseas exhibition in Germany. Simpson painted the piece in response to an AIDS wallpaper project that was based on Robert Indiana’s LOVE painting.

Avram Finkelstein, in an interview with The Body, said Gran Fury disagreed with the wallpaper project because, without context, it appeared to say that love led to AIDS. The general idea of the RIOT piece, Finkelstein said, was that if love leads to AIDS, then AIDS leads to riot.

Although the original painting, a 6′ x 6′ mural, went missing while it was moved around for exhibitions, the newest mural is even larger at 8 feet and is just as incredible.

RIOT grew out of the AIDS crisis in the late 80s when every gay person in New York felt under attack,” the Gran Fury collective said during the unveiling of the RIOT mural. “Even though antiretroviral therapy that activism pressed for has alleviated the crisis for some people, our battles are not over, even for HIV/AIDS.”“We salute all those in the LGBT community who continue to fight for our rights and equal treatment,” Gran Fury continued. “Stonewall was a RIOT.”

Out in Syracuse: P.R.I.D.E. By LoriKim Alexander

By LoriKim Alexander

As long as I’ve been out and going to Pride it’s never felt like it was for me. Never. It’s been for gay white men with gym bodies in hot pants and body oil and all the subsets of gay white male culture. How’d that happen, I wonder? I mean, Pride began with a riot against police brutality. Right? But even then, Pride was extra white and they booed our foremothers Marsha P. and Sylvia Rivera when they talked. They ignored Storme because she was nothing but a woman in a nice suit. 

So let’s talk real facts right now. In Syracuse, Pride was held on the same day as Juneteenth for years. It was also lacking adequate disability access and folks complained to the CNY Pride board about it for years.  We at BlackCuse Pride tried to talk to the board for three years about this, but it fell on deaf ears as excuses were made and racist rhetoric prevailed. With the support of the Vera House Pride Coalition (a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ Syracuse through the Coalition in ways they cannot by themselves), we were able to get CNY Pride to move the date of pride away from the date of Juneteenth. This should not have taken the amount of labor from us queer Black people that it did. The anti-Blackness that comes with this is inexcusable. 

We are holding CNY Pride to this commitment to never again hold Pride on the same date as Juneteeth and remain cautiously optimistic that they will come out on the right side of this. We will remain a constant reminder that our demand for recognition of personhood is not militancy, privilege is not a virtue, and true allyship is never about the ally. 

That said we made further demands to hold space within Pride for trans and queer Black Indigenous and People of Color; the Soul of Pride. We called it the Soul of Pride and used the space to educate folks on the history of the Stonewall Uprising, the fact that we Black and Brown trans and queer people have always been the vanguard of movements even though we have never been centered in them… not until the Movement for Black Lives. We had POC vendors who would not have been able to access the festival otherwise; we turned our tent into a day party, lounge and educational space. It was a refuge and a revelation. 

The power and magnitude of this year run deeper than the 50 years that have passed since those days in the summer of 1969. This year is the 400th anniversary of the forced migration of African peoples to the European colonies of the west. It is, therefore, the year of return for all African Diasporic people. The blood stirs at the thought of all this magic. I feel my ancestors calling me home. 

All of this makes me well up with pride. But, what we celebrate today most often brings the opposite. For QTBIPOC folks Pride means exclusion. For us Black and Brown folks, it means we create our own magic within these commercialized parties that have nothing to do with us. How can we turn this around? How do we find the pride we deserve and become the true legacy of our ancestors? Let’s spell it out…

P  is for police involvement. If we want Pride celebrations to be truly celebratory for everyone and have any framework for moving forward in queer liberation we must divest from police involvement at all costs. Police forces routinely cause more harm than good at Pride events. And how can we expect to feel free when we are surrounded by the arm of oppression that routinely murders, brutalizes and harasses us? How will we get free if we do not consistently call attention to the hypocrisy and injustice that comes with allowing police to march with us and having them boxing us in during our events?  

R is for riot. The Stonewall Uprising was a full-on RIOT, fam. A riot. Have any of you ever been anywhere near a riot? Think about the energy of a days long riot, during the late sixties, when there are no LGBTQ+ centers, no shelters, no protections for Black people, women, queer people, and absolutely none for trans, two-spirit or gender non-conforming folks. Folks picked up any weapons they could, even if it was just their bodies and voices and hurled them at the cops who week after week, night after night, preyed on them. Think about someone stopping you on the street to check your underwear. They still do that, but now they also ask for ID and it’s all still fully legal. We need to invoke those days because complacency is killing us and the reality of this is lost on the most privileged of us. I’ll be honest and say that R also stands for reparations, and ride… because you cannot keep riding our backs, utilizing us only when you want to perform allyship or when white folks want someone to say something about Blackness, Native ways, and people of color in general so that you can get your grant or kudos from other white folks. For trans and queer people to get truly free, you have to stand up for the most marginalized of us. Black trans women are being killed at an epidemic rate. Where are the riots? I don’t want to see sad faces on facebook, or hashtags on t-shirts and statuses. We need full-on direct action to push social change. 

I is for intersectionality. We are lots of identities and those of us who are de-centered often sit at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. The only way Pride can be celebrated is if we honor that there is no homogenous way to be trans or queer and that you cannot talk about our issues without bringing the other daily realities we face into play. Racism within and outside of our LGBTQ+ communities exists, misogyny comes in cis and trans male too. If folks can’t realize that we are an ally to someone somewhere and that we must all work to be with them in struggle and become accomplices then what do we have to be proud of? Not to negate work that’s been done, but to shine a light on the fact that there’s more to do. We cannot keep talking about diversity without recognizing that the word has no meaning without the people it represents. And, please, recognize that we need hard tangible options for embracing our intersections. So, don’t include folks, build your pride around folks and with folks. Don’t invite me to something that you made for you, but I can join in too. 

D is for divest from corporate involvement. Corporations do not care about us. They do not. If they did, they wouldn’t just show up at Pride and leave us high and dry the rest of the year. If they cared about us they would seek us out and offer sponsorship and funding for the work we do to sustain our communities. Corporations do not meet the demands we have for living free. They cannot. Pride everywhere around this country should be supporting and supported by queer businesses, entrepreneurs and local mom and pops. 

E is for economic justice. You cannot hold Pride and not support folks who are struggling to survive in this world. When it’s time for Pride we make calls for the “community” to come out. What about those who cannot make it, or take 2 buses and don’t eat so they can make it. Will we charge them for entrance? Will we have affordable meals? Are they worthy of being proud too? Again, most often, those of us we hold in words, but not actions, our trans and queer family who’ve been abandoned by theirs, are the ones who won’t be able to make it out because they have to survive. Will you open your boards to them? Will you provide jobs in your non-profits will you plan with them in mind? 

I’m not interested in a Pride that I can’t be proud of. And I’m battle weary from fighting. So please, spend this year until next pride season honestly calling in communities you have routinely dismissed. 

Community Profile: Laura Baumbach: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

I first met award-winning author Laura Baumbach years ago at a Toronto Pride street fair. She had a booth promoting her books. “Do you have any books about gay vampires?” I asked. It turns out she has plenty. 

People may say there is dissonance with a woman writing about gay male vampires and their romances, erotic and otherwise. But wait! She also writes about werewolves, time travelers, pirates, drug cartels, black ops leaders, biker bars, and bounty hunters; all these stories with plots revolving around gay male adult romances. Her website notes Laura writes “to the beat of a different drummer.” 

My first question was “How does a straight woman know what gay men do in bed? Your descriptions are so… accurate…or so my friends tell me!” (We share a laugh).  “I feel an affinity with gay men” she replied. “I feel comfortable with it. I think I understand it as much as a straight woman can. Gay men do a lot of the things same straight women do. (Pause) Liking men is something we have in common!” (I giggle).

Laura Baumbach, dignified in appearance and manner, is a prolific, soft-spoken author, publisher, and entrepreneur living in Albion, NY.  It is unlikely people would guess she spends summer weekends cruising the area with her family on her Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. While not beginning her writing career until after turning forty, Ms. Baumbach has written scores of novels, novellas, short stories, and screenplays. Her body of work revolves around M/M Romance (male/male). She has been lauded in Rolling Stone magazine as “one of M/M’s premier authors”. Her paperbacks, eBooks, Kindle books, and Audio books can be found on Amazon. 

 Baumbach never had a goal to become an author. Her chosen field was trauma room nursing. She began writing Fan Fiction online when two children came into her life, one needing adult protection twenty-four hours a day. Feeling isolated and in need of adult interaction, she began writing and developed a following. Soon she was trauma room nurse weekends, Mom by weekday, and writer by night. 

Breaking into print media was a struggle. While Romance novels are a genre, the topics were almost always Female/Male Romance relationships.  Male/Male Romance relationships were a tiny segment of the industry, treated as the “black sheep” of publishing. “I think it’s ridiculous you can’t celebrate love in all its dimensions,” Laura said.  Baumbach was not taken seriously by traditional Romance writers groups who defined Romance relationships as between a man and a woman. (Since changed as Romance between two people.) She was treated with some suspicion by gay groups who did not understand her motives.  An advocate for the gay community, Laura says “The reason I do this is to gain acceptance for gay rights, gay people, gay relationships.” Indeed, her characters present gay men as heroes and the good guys. 

Finding a chilly reception in the establishment “status quo” Baumbach gathered together “a small, select group of talented authors and skilled artists” and founded Man Love Romance Press, LLC (MLR Press).  While many small independent presses are closing due to financial constraints, MLR Press continues to flourish by “keeping it skinny” and having talented writers. As a final note, Laura says that a large segment of the M/M Gay Romance audience is straight women. It is these women who can take Laura’s message of inclusion and acceptance to their husbands, sons, brothers, and boyfriends. 

Currently, Laura Baumbach’s work entitled “Dark Side of the Moon” is included in Mystic Realms Romance Collection. She was the only M/M Romance writer invited to submit work. 

Pride’s Magic By Isadora Akemi Bugan

By: Isadora Akemi Bugan

Every June, my family and I would awake to the joyful cacophony of loud cheering, pop music, and party floats. There, parading through the avenue below, were thousands upon thousands of LGBTQ people marching, demanding their rights and celebrating Pride. I would spend all day on my tiptoes, when I was still so short that the balcony’ handrail obstructed my view. The street as I knew it was transformed: just the previous night, the avenue had been mostly quiet, or as quiet as a busy street in a city of 12 million can be. Now, it had turned into a huge, colorful event; with giggling same-sex couples, rainbow flags and flamboyant queens who danced atop enormous floats.  It was as if the entire street had fallen under a spell. 

Years later, when I realized that I was bisexual and came out, Pride became associated with an entirely different kind of magic in my mind. Pride became an opportunity for me to be myself, to celebrate the battles for rights that the LGBTQ population had won and fight for the many we are still fighting. Since I still lived in my childhood home and I have a wonderful, accepting mother; during the week of Sao Paulo Pride my house became the HQ for all my LGBTQ friends and acquaintances. Instead of watching from the porch, I started attending the Pride Parade itself and the various events associated with it. Still, even then, the details behind the scenes still eluded me.

Through life’s twists and turns, I ended up coming all the way from the tropical beaches of Brazil to the freezing and never-ending winters of Rochester. Though I am sad to miss Sao Paulo Pride for the first time in my life, I am excited to be interning at the Out Alliance and learning all the hard work that goes into creating the ‘magic’ event that I adored so much in my childhood. 

What I once thought was a spell turned out to be much more complicated: boxes upon boxes of flyers to be folded, a massive amount of meetings, a seemingly endless list of tasks to be done with increasing urgency. However, despite all the hard work, I can’t help but become increasingly excited to experience my first Roc Pride and hope that everyone is able to experience a little bit of the ‘magic’ of this wonderful event.

Outlook: (Love) Letter To Mayor Pete

By: Ron Blake

Here’s a letter to Mayor Pete. This is kind of like the letter that outgoing Presidents leave behind in the Oval Office for the incoming Commander-in-Chief. It’s advice from a guy who has a shared experience with you. 

I also grew up in northern Indiana and graduated high school as the All-American guy with good grades, scholarships, and a gregarious personality. I attended the local Catholic Church and was active in the youth group. I returned from college and was quickly elected to my hometown city council.

My family and friends were so proud. I was on my way and was prepared to do what I had always imagined doing. A life of public service to my community and country.

But in 2004, I withdrew my candidacy for County Commissioner. I had a big secret. I am gay. And I was confronted about that. And most of Indiana and the country wasn’t OK with gays in public office then. I was crushed and confused about my identity. My career was put on hold.

And now 15 years later is where you come in, Mayor Pete. Your Presidential campaign brings back memories for not just me; but for all the LGBTQ people before you who never got their chance as candidates because of struggles with sexual orientation.

As your campaign moves forward, you will be challenged to fight by more people along the trail. They won’t care about the issues. Just that you are gay. There will be many moments to fight back. 

But please don’t. Anger and hate begets anger and hate. We have too much of that already. 

God knows so many of us in the LGBTQ community want so badly to see you in fight mode. We have faced an abundance of abuse over so many decades and centuries. Beatings, bullying, and discrimination. It’s only normal to want you to punch back. 

But please don’t. Stay focused on the issues. Society is better when we don’t give in to hate.

Over 72 years ago, Jackie Robinson was the first black player in major league baseball to take the field. There was intense opposition to him being in the game. 

Jackie Robinson eventually won over many fans. He was an excellent ball player who helped the Dodgers win numerous pennants and a World Series. There’s nothing like talent and results to get people to forget over time why they dislike you.

Just like Jackie, you have so much talent and many accomplishments. People will see this. You too have the ability to get people to forget why they don’t like you. Just keep being you and keep bringing the results.

You have a lot of folks behind you. Not just from the LGBTQ community. Not just from the Democrats. You have all those individuals who want to see the guy with knowledge and skills overcome hate and anger. The true underdog story. That…that right there…is the America we all love.  

I am reminded of a quote from the incomparable artist Frida Kahlo. She said, “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” So that’s where I will leave it, Mayor Pete. Keep on painting.

This article of equality is brought to you by that guy of love, love, love. That guy on a magical mystery tour is Ron Blake and all you need is love to send him a message at

Shoulders to Stand On: Rochester – Before and After Stonewall

By: Evelyn Bailey

Stonewall was a watershed moment – it was the spark that delineated the status quo and rebellion of the LGBTQ community.

Before Stonewall gay Rochestarians lived mostly in the “closet”.  There were no protections against discrimination in housing, employment, education, access to medical services or services offered through governmental agencies.  Commercial businesses could refuse to provide services, and retail establishments did not have to sell to gays. Whether it was overt or underground, discrimination and prejudicial attitudes in Rochester, NY pre-Stonewall, created an environment of fear and secrecy.

Where was the gay scene? The FBI March 17, 1958  report says “the following places are gathering spots for homosexuals in Rochester”:  Martin’s Tavern, 12 Front Street; Nite Cap Tavern, 393 Court Street; Dick’s Tavern, 14 Front Street; Peg and Larry’s Tavern, 19 Front Street; RDGA, Franklin Square.  The Rochester “listing of homosexual and lesbian hangouts” provided as follows in the March 31, 1962 report:  Martin’s Grill, 12 Front Street; Patsy’s Grill, 278 Allen Street; Dick’s Tavern, 63 State Street; Peg and Larry’s Tavern, 47 Front Street; Manger Hotel, 26 Clinton Ave. South; Rochester Public Library Men’s Room, 115 South Ave.; Baptist Temple Building Men’s Room, 14 Franklin St.; Waldorf Cafeteria, Men’s Room and Restaurant, 10 East Main St.; Sibley’s Department Store (men’s room in basement), 228 East Main St.; Edward’s Department Store Men’s Room, 144 East Main St.; Greyhound Bus Depot Men’s Room, 320 Andrews St.; Blue Valley Bus Terminal Men’s Room, 83 South Ave.; River Blvd. along the railroad tracks; Broad and Court St. Bridges; and Maplewood Park.

Within the city there were “gay enclaves” such as Front Street.  Front St. was a downtown mainstay for more than a century known for its meat markets, bargain-priced restaurants, “Smelly” poultry markets on the east side of the street, betting parlors, pawn shops and bars which made for a bawdy atmosphere that led to it being called the city’s Skid Row.  Always a bit rough around the edges, Front Street in its later years became known as “the toughest street between New York City and Chicago”. With Urban Renewal, Front Street was gone by 1965.

In October 1970 the Gay Liberation Front was begun on the University of Rochester River Campus.  Because of Stonewall Rochestarians began to organize first to repeal the sodomy laws which happened in 2000.  In 1973, Midge Costanza appointed Gordon Urlacher the Police Liaison to the Rochester LGBTQ community in response to the perceived harassment of gay bars and the gay community.  Urlacher made a difference, and attitudes toward the gay community and the gay community’s attitude toward the police began to change.

The Rochester LGBTQ community began to empty the closet by becoming involved in politics, by holding positions of authority that could impact policy and legislative action, and to organize the fight for equality and justice.  Finally, in 2003, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) became law. It would take another 16 years for the Gender Non-Discrimination Act to become law in 2019.  In fighting for our human rights, for justice and equality, workplace policies, and medical access, reimbursement and delivery systems policies have changed.  Finally, after a 13-year battle, Marriage Equality became law in New York State.

All these protections have not necessarily resulted in changed attitudes, just actions, or equal treatment under the law.  When our rights as LGBTQ citizens are violated, we still risk repercussions in seeking justice. Michael Robertson’s June 1975 statements could well have been written today.  Our current political, social and economic environment allows the LGBTQ community and many other diverse groups to experience the discrimination, prejudice, injustice, and inequality experienced by the LGBTQ community in 1969.  How far have we come? We now have written protections, our struggle and challenge continues to be to eradicate all forms of discrimination and prejudice one person, one system, one institution at a time.

Gallery Q presents, Gargoyle: the Sacred and the Profane

Gargoyle: the Sacred and the Profane, drawings by Matthew Kubik opens at Gallery Q on First Friday,
July 5 with a reception from 6:00-9:00 pm. The exhibition runs through August 29.
An internationally trained architect, award winning designer, educator and artist, Matthew Kubik has
spent a lifetime exploring the great city of Rome, Italy. Inspired by the city’s rich Renaissance and
Gothic art, his Gargoyles are a contemporary exploration of the Renaissance artists’ exploration of
the male human form and the dark mystical mind of the Medieval Age, in which the gargoyle
represents human carnal urges we struggle to control. Kubik says, “This series of drawings explores
the opposites of human nature and the conflict between the sacred and the profane. The images are
meant to be humorous, disturbing, erotic, and thought provoking as we ponder our own inner
Kubik is a native of Michigan City, Indiana. His studied at the University of Notre Dame where he
first visited Rome in a study abroad program. He did graduate studies at the Royal College of Art,
London, England. He is a partner in Intelligent Adventure Travel, which offers guided tour
experiences for small groups, families, and educational travel. Since 1990 he has lead annual
international art and culture travel programs to Rome, Italy, London, England and Egypt. He is
currently taking reservations for his October 2019 trip to London, England and his Summer 2020
trip to Rome, Italy.
Kubik will be available to answer questions about his work and business at the opening on Friday,
July 5.

Body Mod Survey by Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc

By: Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc

My name is Dr. Mai-Anh Tran Ngoc, and I am an adolescent medicine fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  I work in our Gender Health clinic, where I take care of transgender and gender diverse adolescents and young adults and provide medical transition services.  

The idea for my research study started when I met a young transgender girl who was tucking (compressing her genitals to have a flat groin contour) with duct tape and had skin break down. When I tried to look for other, safer tucking options to discuss with her, I realized that there was very little medical research on the ways transgender and gender diverse folks modify their bodies without using medications or surgery (I call these “body-mods” in the survey).  

Generally, we know that folks bind, pack, tuck, pad, pump, diet, and exercise, but we don’t know exactly what folks use for the various Body-Mods (for example, binding with a commercial binder, sports bras, or duct tape), where people learn about them, how these help or don’t help as a part of transition, and what side effects can occur, how often, and how often these side effects might need medical attention.  Without this information, it can be hard for trans/gender diverse folks, clinicians, and educators to know how to make Body-Mods as effective, convenient, and safe as possible. 

To help answer these questions, I have worked with people in the local trans/gender diverse community, including at the Out Alliance, to design a survey.  This survey will be available for all 15 to 25 year old transgender or gender diverse folks who are interested in providing information about what body-mods they use (or don’t use), where they learned about them, what are the benefits and drawbacks of using these methods, and what side effects they may have experienced.  The survey can take between 15-30 minutes to take, depending on how many body-mods you use. If you are interested in participating, please head over to