Greg Halpen, a New York City-based vocal artist and host of Redefining Gayness explores a topic many queer couples can identify with today: being in a mixed-status couple in terms of HIV-diagnosis. Please check out the column which inspired the podcast at Metrosource.com, and keep up with Greg on his website where he publishes his podcasts.
By Hellen Back
Ms. Back is a performer, originally from Santa Cruz, who now makes their home in Portland. She has kindly agreed to share recollections from her life, in and out of drag.
My dad’s family didn’t approve that my mother wasn’t white: so I never met them, never celebrated holidays, never met my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and the whole lot. Instead I was raised by my Mom’s family, who are Native-American.
Thanksgiving was always kind of a joke in our family.
During these dinners, a maternal relative would inevitably shout out, and cause everyone to laugh, “Why the hell are we celebrating this again?” You bet, Thanksgiving was always kind of a joke in our family.
Thanksgiving was alway a mindless eating binge, with very little thought given to the supposed history behind the holiday. A time to gather with family to eat, laugh, eat, nap, eat, repeat. Then watch old movies and football and then of course eat some more.
My nana’s green bean casserole with the crunchy God-knows-what on the top, the standard dry and overcooked bird, the forgotten rolls burning away in the oven, lumps in the gravy and years, the standard shit some families insist on repeating less than 30 days later on Christmas. Of course, years ago, when various pain-in-the ass uncles were still alive, the political arguments. This was often followed by squealing tires as someone left in a rage. As dad once put it, “They drove up in a Mercedes, but left in a huff!”
Dad had married into my big crazy Native American family when he met mom. She was petite and gorgeous and the love of his life. He was great, a big, good look’n guy. A bit actor in “motion pictures” and TV shows, mostly Westerns.
He was great on a horse so he was often a stuntman, and made his career doubling actors like Errol Flynn and John Barrymore. He really was a dead ringer for Barrymore and cut quite the figure and profile. As a kid I remember dad always being impeccably dressed and people inevitably used the word dapper when describing him. He was also the most liberal, loving person you’d ever meet with a huge heart that was definitely in the right place.
…roped-off heirloom chairs in their houses and roped-off heirloom minds in their heads.
He had been born into a well-to-do, Protestant Bostonian family of polite WASPs–the kind with roped-off heirloom chairs in their houses and roped-off heirloom minds in their heads. Scandalously, his mother had been French-Catholic and had made sure he was christened in the Roman Catholic Church just before she passed away from complications caused by his birth.
That’s all it took, a few drops of holy water and the unintelligible mutterings of some musty old priest and his life was changed forever. His father’s family from that day forward treated him like a servant, even worse than a servant. He slept on the porch, even in the dead of winter. He stole bagels and milk off of the neighborhood porches and did his best to get by.
One day his father took him down to the train station when he was about five-years old or so, handed him a couple dollars and then stepped aboard a departing train as it pulled away from the station, never to be seen or heard from again. After that, dad was on his own. Luckily for him he was taken in by a Black family in Boston who fed and clothed him. He never forgot that kindness and he lived his life completely devoid of any racism. His first wife was latino with whom he had eight very good look’n kids.
“Would you like to be in motion pictures?”
Later in life, in his late forties, he met my mom. Mom was dark and beautiful with a dazzling smile and a killer figure. She told me that dad’s first words out of his mouth to her had been, “Would you like to be in motion pictures?”
She laughed and told him what a line and then, they were together for the next thirty or more years. I remember people staring at us and yelling things when we’d go out. Restaurants were particularly uncomfortable. I was born in 1957 so-mixed race couples were few and far between. Kids at school would say “Your mom’s a n****r.”
So, dad would come down to the principal’s office to raise hell.
Both mom and dad’s best-friends were black. When they’d visit, I’d be in the front yard playing with their kids, and every other house on the block in our lily white neighborhood of Downey, California was studded with angry faces peeking through curtains watching us disapprovingly. A few years later when I was to come out as gay the residents of Downey had something else to hate me for and–hate me they did. Daily verbal and physical assaults which lasted until the day I escaped that awful little city.
When I came out to my parents…dad wasn’t in the least bit fazed and never had an issue with it. Mom had wanted grandchildren badly, but soon got past that and our family, mom’s family, they didn’t blink an eye, they loved me unconditionally, the entire family.
After knowing the “good Christian” white people of Downey I realized that I wasn’t missing a thing by not knowing my dad’s family, the only good thing they ever produced was him, a good guy that never saw the color of a person’s skin or judged someone by whom they loved.
…the only family I’ve ever known.
Today I think of family, my Mom’s Family…the only family I’ve ever known. Today they are scattered around the country and many have passed, but they are all in my thoughts and my heart. Just a bunch of fun, loving, crazy Indians (we still call ourselves Indians by the way, because we can call ourselves whatever we damn well please) and at some point today someone in each household will pause and ask,
“Why the Hell are we celebrating today again?”
by Robin Will, President of Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest
While We’re Thinking About Thanksgiving Local LGBTQ+ Groups Are Already Focused on Next Spring
ProudTimes welcomes Robin Will and the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest to this publication. In his first piece for us, he discusses the importance of both 2019 & 2020 as hallmark years for our community.
A word or two about terminology: in the beginning, the word “gay” seemed to be enough. In 1970, two of the principals of Stonewall, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, marched in the first parade under the banner of their newly-formed transvestite organization. In Portland, Gay Pride didn’t become Lesbian & Gay Pride until 1982. Other factions of our community found their voices and claimed their space at other times. Our awareness and our language are still changing.
In 2020, we’re looking at two more semi-centennials: the first Pride celebration nationally, and the first gay community organizing in Portland. Our community can expect a lot of emphasis on history as part of Portland Pride this year.
First, Let’s Consider Stonewall
June 28, 1969 marked the beginning of three days of rioting at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-owned gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, after a routine police bust went seriously off the tracks. The Stonewall Riots weren’t the first demonstrations by gay folks, nor the first time queer people ever fought back against bullying by police. However, they seem to be the first events that, as they happened, were understood as a struggle for civil rights and, in the terms of the moment, for liberation.
People were certain that the Stonewall riots were more than just another spat with the cops – so much so that by November of 1969, a community group in Greenwich Village had already obtained a parade permit for the first anniversary of the riots. The event would be called The Christopher Street Liberation Day.
The Very First Pride Parade
There’s also a second 50th anniversary to be thankful for – it was the first Pride parade. Marchers lined up for 14 blocks, and Stonewall principals Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson walked with their brand-new organization, Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which may have been our country’s first militant transgender organization – or at least, by definition, the first to march in a Gay Pride parade.
Consider checking out a preview of a documentary which came out a few years ago about the life of pioneer transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson, via Netflix.
So in 2019 we celebrated the riots; in 2020, we’ll be marking the 50th anniversary of that first Pride Parade. That accounts for two anniversaries – and there’s one more, in-between, that’s local to Portland. After Stonewall, calls for gay liberation went out on radio, TV, in publications we would have referred to as “establishment” back in the day, as well as in press that we called “underground” catering to the gay community which was decidedly a fringe group at the time. Nationwide, queer people heard those calls, and responded.
Below: An example of the “underground” and largely clandestine publications available to queer and what we might call counter-culture or subversive readers in the late 1960s & 1970s.The Willamette Bridge was one such paper, it ran for only a few years from June of 1968 to June of 1971. John Wilkinson, who lamented gay life in Portland at the time in this article, is also a hero of the gay community in the Pacific Northwest.“Gay, young, & lonely” was too often the norm in describing the lives of queer people at the time.
In Oregon, the Eugene Gay People’s Alliance (EPGA) first met in January 1970. In Portland, an article in the Willamette Bridge pointed out in February that Portland didn’t have anything like the Gay Liberation Front that was meeting in other cities. The uptake was quick: Portland’s Gay Liberation Front met for the first time on March 24, 1970.
Queering Oregon: The Gay Liberation Front Comes to Portland
So there’s the third semi-centennial – the start-from-scratch beginnings of Portland’s own LGBTQ+ community.
As we move through 2020, Portland’s Pride Northwest will be doing their best to celebrate these beginnings, and they will be getting some help from GLAPN, the region’s only LGBTQ+ historical society. Since GLAPN has been proudly collecting, preserving, and sharing our community’s history.
The Gay Liberation Front got discussion rolling, and almost immediately yielded to The Second Foundation (a nod to Isaac Asimov) to develop a gay presence in Portland. It was The Second Foundation that created the first Pride celebration in Portland, an indoor gathering held in 1971. In 1975 the party moved outdoors, to the Park Blocks near Portland State University; and in 1976, the event took place at Waterfront Park. Portland had our first Pride parade in 1977.
In Their 70s Now
The queer youngsters who were in their late teens and early twenties in 1970 – the ones who had the fire and gumption to picket, parade, and organize and work for gay liberation – are in their seventies now. For sure, they were following in the footsteps of elders – work in the queer community had gone on in one form or another since the 1920s in the United States. But this particular generation has the dubious symmetry of being born into pre-Pride isolation and persecution, seeing the first public glimmer of hope just as they came of age, and witnessing the LGBTQ+ rainbow developing in living color through their adult lives.
Ask somebody over 70, and they’ll explain: Stonewall came to the nation, and the Gay Liberation Front came to Portland, when there were no legal protections for LGBTQ+ people, and no interest in developing any. Persecuting gays was legal, and it was a social norm: homosexuals were considered criminal by law, mentally ill by health professionals, and pariahs by most of the religious community.
Criminals, Reprobates, Mentally Ill
Yes, being gay was criminal. In Oregon, homosexuality was effectively outlawed until 1972 by a law that prohibited sodomy. Over the years the legislature and the courts had redefined the “crime” in almost comically broad terms, but the penalty wasn’t funny: a felony conviction, with 5-15 years in the penitentiary. After 1923, sodomy convictions also resulted in referral to the Oregon Board of Eugenics for sterilization. A sodomy charge – with a public trial, covered in detail in the newspapers – could ruin a life and derail a career. But there were other tactics at the discretion of the cop on the beat: citations for lewd conduct, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and/or illegal assembly were perfectly routine and legal ways to harass gays, get them off the street, get their names in the paper, and maybe lock them up for a little while.
In 1972 – two years after the first Gay Liberation Front meeting in Portland – Oregon was the fourth state to legalize sex between consenting adults, outside of prostitution. That means today’s 70-year-olds were 23 before the onus of criminality was removed from their sexuality in Oregon. Other states were slower.
Homosexuality was listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual until 1973. Families or courts could – and did – commit individuals to mental hospitals for treatment. Today’s septuagenarians were 24 years old when they came off of the “sick list.” The mental health professions weren’t instantly transformed – hidebound professionals believe what they learned in their senior seminars, and many conservative religious groups haven’t changed their minds to this day – but the change was valuable to young professionals, for morale in general, and, occasionally, in courts of law. It’s worth noting that every LGBTQ+ community startup in Portland, ever, has immediately developed its own list of doctors and counselors. We sadly haven’t ever been able to trust the community at large with our physical and mental health.
Well, Portland’s Gay Liberation Front didn’t last long. Reading between the lines, those early gatherings were apparently a matter of hippies and slogans. Almost immediately, a more mature organization picked up the stronger folks from the GLF and got on with business of creating community. They called themselves The Second Foundation, with a nod to Isaac Asimov, and their name is on most of the earliest heavy lifting that made space for queer people in Portland.
The Risks They Took
Many of the LGBTQ+ people who did that early work are still living, and this year, GLAPN and Pride-NW will be telling their stories. There was the transplant from Ohio, who wanted to know where the gay bars were, and didn’t know who he could safely ask. There was the kid who couch-surfed away from home until his 18th birthday, because he overheard his parents discussing getting him lobotomized to cure his homosexuality. There was the young teacher who was considering suicide as an alternative to coming out to her parents; and the reporter who was using several pen names in the underground press, to give the impression that more than one person in Portland was interested in women’s issues.
They are people who didn’t know if they would get arrested or not at these first meetings, and they weren’t sure what coming out in public would do to their reputations and employability, forever. They’re in their seventies now. Pride Northwest, GLAPN, and this publication intend to wish them Happy 50th Anniversary in the months to come.
Robin Will (pronouns he/him/his) was born in Hillsboro and grew up in Portland, graduating from Benson Polytechnic High School in 1966, and from Portland State University in 2007. After briefly considering the ministry and exploring social work as a paraprofessional, he spent most of his career in the publishing industry, in a variety of roles that included writing, editing, design, and production management, He has been president of GLAPN (Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest) since 2014.
By Hellen Back
Ms. Back is a performer, originally from Santa Cruz, who now makes their home in Portland. She has kindly agreed to share recollections from her life, in and out of drag.
Quetzalcoatl. Do you know him? Yes, darlings, I had a few dates with him. So here’s one from the annals of my dating file. Although “anals” may ring truer, but not in the way you think.
A number of years ago I decided I wanted to begin dating again and meet a nice guy and get back into a serious, monogamous relationship. Good luck with that one, right? So I put up a profile on one of those so-called dating sites.
There were a number of men who caught my eye, but one stood out as rather special. He was middle-aged, a bit of silver coming through, and very attractive. He had posted a number of photos and I noticed that he was rather nicely dressed in each one. A tuxedo here, a lovely suit there, and very California “dressy casual” in the others.
Why Was He Still Single?
I’ll admit, cars are a weakness of mine, and in some photos he was leaning against VERY expensive cars. He also had shots of him standing in front of his home. A place which resembled the house from the TV show Dynasty, a show I was obsessed with at one time. So much so I dressed up as Alexis Carrington one fateful Halloween. Money means squat to me, but he was handsome and stylish. I wondered though…why was he still single?
After a few emails back and forth we met at a lovely restaurant in Los Gatos which is a charming community of ultra-expensive homes populated by very thin white women who shop incessantly. They occasionally stop briefly for a surgical procedure or to judge someone over martinis with olives, the only thing they can eat in public. Their husbands appear sporadically to announce how much their homes cost and compare portfolios. Because comparing penises would be just futile and sad, unless you live in Boston.
All Tied Up in Silk
My date arrived with a gorgeous bouquet that he had made himself for me. It was a perfect combination of colors and textures, hand wrapped in silk ribbon. He was as handsome as his photos if not more, and a fascinating conversationalist. After picking up the tab for dinner he walked me to my car, kissed me rather passionately, complimented me repeatedly, and drove off in his Rolls convertible. I went home that evening and began packing for my honeymoon. “Most of these clothes will have to go,” I thought to myself. “Well that’s OK. I’ll get a completely new wardrobe very soon!”
A few nights later I invited him up to my place for dinner. He complimented my collection of antiques, my uplighting, my style and even my cat…he had me at the cat! Well, the Rolls helped, you know.
I’m a fabulous cook so I pulled out all the stops. He was impressed, which was what I hoped. He complimented me even more and between bites gave me small, sweet kisses.
“Hmm,” I thought to myself. “I’ll need to get rid of most of these black clothes and focus more on navy and khaki…possibly pastels.
I winced at the very thought, but what I was ready to sacrifice for love. “L’amore, l’amore!” the countess says in 1939’s The Women. Everything was going perfectly.
The Conversation Turned to Travel
We had both traveled the world extensively. We regaled each other with lovely stories of drinks at the top of the Spanish Steps overlooking Rome at Sunset, of people watching from a Parisian cafe. I shared my love for the views across the jungle treetops from high atop a Mayan pyramid.
And that’s when it happened. I was babbling away about the Mayans, their art, culture, religion, etc, when suddenly he turned on me. He just completely snapped, and became VERY aggravated.
“Stop talking this instant! Don’t ever speak of that! Never, EVER,” he yelled at me. I sat there stunned, “What had I said to upset him?” My mind reeled, I couldn’t quite grasp what was going on.
Still angry and shaking, he explained that his travels to places like Machu pichu, Tikal, Easter Island etc. were necessary because these were the chakras of the planet.
“Chakras of the planet,” I may or may not have whispered aloud.
“OK, sure, what the hell I’ll play along. The planet has chakras, fine, whatever,” I don’t think I said aloud.
He said that he would go there to meditate on the chakras…fine, dandy. “Have a fuckin’ ball,” I thought. “When we’re married he could go and meditate his ass off. I’ll be back at the hotel poolside making eyes at the cabana boy, telling him how my husband is always off meditating on chakras and how alone I am…and could I have just one more vodka stinger please?”
As if his chakra world tour wasn’t weird enough things were about to get a whole lot weirder; weirder on a scale I’d never imagine coming from a man with a Rolls and a tuxedo. It turns out that he did his chakra-hopping because the only thing holding our entire planet together was his meditating at these sacred locations.
And why may you ask, what was it that made him so special as to be the one that holds our third rock from the sun together? Well that’s simple, really, once he explained. It’s because he was the reincarnation of Quetzalcoatl the Aztec deity. I included a wiki link in case you missed that in Comparative Religions 101. Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent…well, well, well, well, WELL SHIT!
My Feathered Friend
“He’s crazy as a shithouse rat,” I thought, seeing how deranged yet sincere he was. There was no reason to give up on an “us.” I could deal with his little…quirk. I mean, some people are superstitious, so they avoid the number 13 or wearing hats indoors. If they are religious–some people are snake handlers for Jesus. Some people, namely this one believed they are a reincarnated Mesoamerican snake-diety; with plumes.
So, yeah sure. That’s what it was: “a quirk.” Nobody’s perfect. I could deal with that, “So, he thinks he’s a deity,” I imagined myself telling the well-heeled women of Los Gatos in between boutiques and over martinis. “Well shit, most guys think they’re God, I could put up with this. I mean, what the hell?”
I decided to find it charming. I pressed on and, being fairly well-schooled in pagan religions and being pagan myself, I began chatting away about something or other regarding my new feathered-friend Quetzalcoatl and BAM! He lost it again “Stop it! STOP IT! STOP IT,” he screamed at me. “Stop or I’ll start losing blood again!”
“Wait, loose blood?”
This was definitely getting weirder when I really hadn’t thought that possible. “Yes,” he continued. “Lose blood! If I talk about my being Quetzalcoatl my stigmata acts up!”
Well, fuck! I’ve had my share of interesting dinner dates and guests but this one had stigmata! A raging looney this one!
“Excuse me dear,” I asked. “Did you say stigmata?”
“YES, STIGMATA,” he screamed out much to the amusement and perhaps confusion of my neighbors.
“Well,” I quipped realizing that he was mad as a fucking hatter and that my dreams of the two of us driving off into the sunset in his lovely Cornish convertible had just flown out my window on the wings of a feathered serpent. But not just any ol’feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl at that!
“That’s ok dear. Don’t worry these are tile floors.”
“Don’t laugh at me,” he screeched out, and I half-expected him to start sprouting feathers and/or bleeding.
“The last time this happened I lost six pints of blood!”
Hmm, really I thought to myself, don’t we only have about six pints in us? I was curious now, having been raised in the Church of Rome and regaled as a child with stories of Padre Pio and other saints or mystics who–being so lofty and above us all–had lived with such Catholic piety and were so very close to God that He bestowed upon them the gift of spontaneous bleeding and…excruciating pain. Catholics, gotta love’m, they think that shit’s a gift.
“So you mean you have actual stigmata where you bleed from the five wounds of Christ? Both hands, feet and the side of your ribcage where the Roman soldiers spear slashed Jesus as–err, you um, as He–hung from the cross?”
He paused, I can only assume for dramatic effect.
A Very Different Kind of Stigmata
“No, from my anus,” he screamed, as if he were shocked I needed clarification.
I had nothing to say, although I did wonder if my neighbors were still listening in to this or if they lost interest after thinking it was just a regular, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety stigmata at my table. I just looked at him blankly.
“You don’t believe me,” he fumed. “You’re mocking me, you think I’m making this all up don’t you?”
That’s when I put the nail in the coffin of my hopes and dreams of my handsome, though “quirky” husband to be. Back to Neiman’s went my new WASP-apropos wardrobe. Our “his-and-his” matching Rolls never to leave the lot. And, no hopes of martinis with the Los Gatos chatelaines who couldn’t laugh lest they popped a stitch.
“Ya’know,” I offered. “That just doesn’t sound like a good old-fashioned traditional Church of Rome stigmata to me. Are you sure that was stigmata and maybe you just didn’t get your crazy, lunatic ass fucked off somewhere?”
My Rolls, His Rolls, Rolled Away
Well, that did it. He stomped off furiously, all-the-while screaming obscenities. Which I personally feel seemed quite out of character and unbecoming for a deity. My Quetzalcoatl jumped into his coco brown Rolls, the very one that would have looked absolutely lovely parked next to my matching Rolls in fawn gold. I sighed to myself, as he burnt rubber outta there while giving me the finger. For a deity he really could be quite vulgar, tuxedo or not.
Since that evening I’ve gone on a number of dates, none of them quite as interesting to be sure, but all of them just as disappointing. Oh well, such is the single and dating world, right? I mean who amongst us hasn’t dated the occasional deity? Not you? Surely you jest.
Anyway, that’s the true story of how I almost became Mrs. Quetzalcoatl…I thought the name had kind of had a nice ring to it, but then again I guess it would have eventually gotten tiring having to spell and respell that name over and over every time I made dinner reservations. I doubt eating Mexican out again would have ever been possible.
“Yes, Q-U-E-T-Z…yes, that’s it. Oh, and by the way, could we have some extra napkins please. Yes, lots of extra napkins, just in case of the occasional stigmata.”
Many beings have been granted fantastic abilities thanks to being struck by lightning. From super speed to controlling electricity to granting sentience to unlikely objects. Mic is one such being, brought to life one stormy night when lightning struck the radio station where he hung. From then on, he’s been helping to bring the best in interviewing(or so he thinks) to the world. He’s been there for it all, Amos and Andy, Dragnet, Abbott and Costello, Radio Mystery Theatre, War of The World, Roosevelt’s fireside chats. You name a great moment in radio history, he might have been there. And now it is Mic’s time to shine. Sure, he’s got his own little quirks in that he can’t hear what isn’t said into him. But every good host has got to have a thing, right? So, come join Mic and make a new moment in history.
*WARNING-Mic may ask the weirdest questions, off the wall questions, or questions that make no sense!
Pride Journeys is the premier source for LGBT travel. We publish destination reviews in addition to lifestyle content that is both insightful and engaging to our readers. Our content focus on news, entertainment, food, wine, and culture. Join us for a journey of a lifetime as we explore the world.
Our publisher, Joey Amato, will also assist in organizing LGBT FAM trips for both domestic and global destinations looking to attract LGBT press.
Pride Journey’s syndicated articles have appeared in numerous LGBT publications around the country including: The Seattle Gay News, OutClique Magazine, Erie Gay News, Grab Magazine, Out in New Jersey and more.
Born and raised in the wide open plains of Montana, Kenyth moved to Hollywood, joining its out and proud music scene with the release of his single “Unlock Your Heart”.
Sebastian Fortino is a lifelong city guy, raised in Philadelphia and educated at New York’s Fordham University, Lincoln Center. He has been writing ever since he can remember. About 12 years ago he began writing with Metrosource.com and EdgeMediaNetwork.com, as well as PhillyGayCalendar.com, celebrating the gay community in Philly. He has also appeared in many other digital and hard copy publications.
In 2010, Fortino accepted a role as a senior editor with the South Florida Gay News (SFGN.com). His title was Lifestyle & Features Editor. He has been lucky enough to interview multiple individuals within the LGBTQ community as well as allies. Such as he has been also interviewed gay icons such as Bruce Vilanch, Coco Peru, Miss Richfield 1981, writer and HIV activist Sean Strub, and many others. After gaining the trust of Elliot Tiber, the gay man who saved Woodstock, he wrote several interviews about Mr. Tiber and two well-received book reviews.
After a hiatus from writing, Fortino took a role as Editor-in-Chief of Proud Queer, formally PQMonthly. In that role he wrote most of the content and edited all of it. In his relatively new home of Portland he has been lucky to interview local individuals who continue to make an impact on the lives of LGBTQ people in the region.
“I have known many influential writers, such as my editors at SFGN and Metrosource, and many of my colleagues,” he told ProudTimes.com about his work. “Under the Obama administration we felt safe, and protected. But today, once again we need a vibrant community of writers, editors, and publishers to make sure we are visible everywhere and that our voices are heard. I am proud to serve my community as both a writer and editor. I look forward to bringing stories showcasing the LGBT community in Portland with ProudTimes.com.”
Fortino hopes to attract multiple writers in the Portland region who wish to produce LGBTQ content. He also appears as a columnist for Gay Voices with Metrosource.com, where he was first published. He also makes amazing tomato sauce and meatballs. But no: he’s not giving up the scoop on his sauce.
Brenda is a career realtor, business woman, and a writer with her third book just released. Has a monthly article in Contessas Court, an online magazine. She is a motivational speaker, had her own radio show, and has appeared on local television and Spokane radio.