Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pride. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Travel: OutRVA Celebrates Pride

OutRVA, Richmond’s LGBTQ tourism campaign, is pleased to announce a lively lineup of events and offerings to celebrate LGBTQ Pride this fall. Below is a sampling of what is on tap in Richmond, Virginia next month.

VA Pridefest on Brown’s Island - September 23, 2017 12-8pm
The city of Richmond is host to VA Pridefest, the largest annual celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ+) community in the Commonwealth. Planned and implemented by Virginia Pride, this family-friendly day of festivities is free to the public and will feature a variety of vendors, local eats, activities, and entertainment. Over 30,000 people are expected to attend Pridefest.

LGBTQ Pride Package at Quirk Hotel - Through September 30, 2017Visitors traveling to Richmond now through September can stay at Quirk hotel and book the special LGBTQ Pride Package. In celebration of PRIDE, Quirk is offering guests 10% off the best available rate for two, a complimentary bar snack or beverage at the barista bar and an RVA Pride in-room welcome amenity. Guests will also receive VIP Access to RVA Pride (if booked during the festival on September 23rd), two tickets to The Valentine Museum and guaranteed entrance into the hotel’s popular Q Rooftop Bar.

Tropic Like It's Hot - Through September 30, 2017
Known for its thriving craft beer scene, Richmond is inviting travelers to experience a craft beer collaboration created in celebration of Pride. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Ardent Craft Ales, and Center of the Universe Brewing have teamed up to create a special beer celebrating the LGBTQ community, Tropic Like It’s Hot. Tropic Like It's Hot is a hefeweizen, brewed with passion fruit, pineapple, and lime. The specially crafted beer will be sold at VA Pridefest on September 23rd and will also be featured at local Richmond restaurants and the other partner breweries now through September.

Richmond Triangle Players, a local theatre group that delivers adventurous and entertaining theater as the leading voice in the community’s explorations of equality, identity, affection and family, across sexual orientation and gender spectrums, will be celebrating LGBTQ Pride with a special programming arc. The scheduled programming will celebrate some of the most influential works in LGBTQ theater and shine a light on the positive impact of the diversity and inclusion that Richmond Triangle Players embodies in all its productions as one of the area's most acclaimed theater companies. The fall lineup includes, Cloud 9, The View Upstairs and The Santaland Diaries and Season’s Greetings.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Nice To See StevieB: Pride

By StevieB

Pride Fest came and went. There comes a time where you can fall into a feeling where you just believe that pride festivals are for the youngins. Yes, I remember my first pride. I can tell you all the pride events after that, and how much sun block and alcohol was consumed. But, after your twenty-eighth pride you can lose the since of triumph that comes along with being able to stand in the sun and declare your true self to the world. Just so you know, you should not do that. Forget that it is a luxury.

The most fun about watching the pride parade is whom you watch it with. The BFs friends are in their twenties and early thirties. Some had just discovered the joy of pride day. Seeing a gay parade through these eyes helps to reconnect. A young lesbian kept turning to me during the procession of floats and asking questions… “What is a… Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire?” I raised an eyebrow to think that one through. What is court? Even though it’s been around long before my time, and even had attended events back in the 1990s. “It’s… like a Shriners group… a social club for drag queens. Before they were allowed in public and into the bars. Drag queens had a social club to meet, where they would be safe.” Whoo. I thought I explained that one pretty well. “Safe from what?” She asked. This twenty-something lesbian lives in a world were Denver is a safe, embracing city.

This realization of time passing was of course countered by me sharing a story of how one pride I was tripping my balls on ecstasy so hard I just wandered the full parade route in just my Calvin’s and was met by side-eye and questions if X was a thing so far back and if Calvin Klein was alive back then. 

Do not; I repeat, do not forget why we as a tribe have pride events. And, do not think that it is no big deal. It is a huge deal. To be able to stand in the sun and declare yourself to the world.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Memoirs Of A Gay Show: The Return of Denver Pride Comedy

By Mona Lott

I remember several years ago when every June not only brought us PrideFest and a Pride Parade and Pride Day at Elitch's, but it also brought us Pride Comedy with the Laugh Out Loud Comedy show. This was before text messaging so the show title was actually spelled out as opposed to being just LOL. It was a lot of fun, bringing nationally touring gay comics to town like Bob Smith, Kate Clinton and Suzanne Westenhoefer. I found it very refreshing to laugh at comics who weren’t being misogynistic or homophobic like the more popular comics of the time, for example Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison. Both were funny comics, Kinison being a favorite of mine, but neither of them drew the sort of cruisy, hot crowd that the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Show did. For me though, it was realizing how much we all had in common and being able to relate to the comics and their stories and for once being allowed to laugh about being gay from our own point of view that made this event one of my favorites.

I miss those shows and those comics. Clinton and Westenhoefer are mostly doing shows on the East Coast and Smith, I was sad to discover, has stopped doing stand-up due to the progression of ALS which he was diagnosed with in April of 2007. I’m not sure who was producing those shows back then and I’m even less sure why they stopped. I would hazard a guess though that the decline in the popularity of stand-up comedy in the late 90’s brought an end to those annual shows. But comedy is having a resurgence and gay comics are much more mainstream these days, so I wondered, why not have a gay comedy show for Pride week again here in Denver?

So I presented the idea to Amy Jenssen King at The Denver Improv. I also suggested to her that I create a float for Denver’s Pride Parade promoting the show and the club. King loved the idea and I was off and running, well as much as a 300-pound drag queen can run. I was also proud to be representing The Denver Improv for Pride as this club has been more than gay friendly to me in the past and well worthy of being exposed to the gay community in a positive light. Though the club is known for booking more urban type comics they also booked my show, “Stripped Down Stand Up” for several months as well as my friend Chuck Roy (who let me feature for him when he headlined his own show there). Roy is a popular Denver comic who hosted Film On The Rocks for many years and is now featured in Ralphie May’s Filthy Animal Tour on Hulu. I was thrilled to have Roy agree to sling some jokes in my Pride show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' playing on June 24th at The Improv.

Roy found me almost three years ago doing stand-up at a popular gay bar on Colfax and asked me to perform in a show he was booking at a gay bar on South Broadway. This led to a show we worked on together for several months featuring myself, a transvestite comic and a transgender comic, or, as we referred to ourselves, The Holy Trinity Of 

Chuck Roy
Cross Dressers. That bar is now gone and so is the show, but Roy and I have remained friends and continue to do shows together. So I decided to ask Chuck some questions for this article and found myself intrigued by his answers.

Mona: When did you first start doing comedy?
Chuck Roy: I first tried to tell jokes when I was all alone in my parent’s living room. I hooked a microphone up to my Dad’s tape recorder and improvised 45 minutes of "comedy." It was terrible, all cursing. Not much has changed! My first real set was July 27, 1992 in Boston.

Did your material identify as gay when you started or did you keep that hidden?
I came out on stage in 1994. The guy who owned the show fired me. Jimmy Dunn was in the office and raised Holy Hell. He called everybody. Greg Fitzsimmons, the headliner of the show, called the club owner and said if I wasn’t on the show he wasn’t leaving New York. The best club in Boston called me and said, “What happened to you is unfair. You work here now. Try your bits, gay, straight, whatever. We know you are funny.” All that from Jimmy Dunn, the best mentor a Bear could have!

Do you think of yourself as a gay comic?
Fuck yeah! I’m “Bearly” gay and wicked proud of it. Frankly, as soon as Joe Biden forced President Obama out of the closet on gay marriage then things got a lot easier to tell jokes. At just about that time I was learning to use ‘date night’ to relate to the audience. If I talked about ‘dating a girl named Steve’ then the audience could relate. The more I related to the audience about dating in a genderless, numberless way the more the audience agreed that it was the funniest approach.

Do you think there is a lot of homophobia in stand up?
Fuck yeah there was, until Todd Glass cut ‘em all down. I’ve never heard the podcast interview he did to rip apart homophobes. I just hear their private apologies.

Have you ever been heckled by someone for being gay. How did you handle it?
Yeah, do you mean gay people heckling me for saying ‘fags’ or bigots heckling me because they hate fags? I still have a bruise from a fight with a bigot last November. I’ve steeled my nerve and readied my fists 1,000 times to tell jokes. It wasn’t easy in 1994 to try gay jokes in South Boston or Northern Maine but I did. Every time I failed I got back up again. I still do. I win a lot of heckles. And since Joe Biden changed the nation I’ve shown homophobic hecklers that they are outnumbered. It’s not about the bruise or the fight in November, it’s about the audience that insisted I finish my set while cut up and bleeding. “You tell your jokes, Bear!” Nobody thinks it’s cool anymore to be homophobic. You can have your opinion but to shout out hate during a comedian’s routine? Not a lot of audiences are going for that lately. Unless it’s you performing, Mona. The audiences want you to become a Republican.

HA!! Yah right. How do you think the comedy scene in Denver is in regards to gay comics and gay acceptance?
I moved here because I thought Denver audiences would be the first to enjoy my using the word ‘boyfriend’. Now, I think that’s true. People in Denver go to shows, any kind of shows, with a lot of gay acceptance. I don’t think the audiences here really care about gender, race, sexuality, etc. They care about quality. As far as the Denver comedy scene goes, I quit that shit about a year ago. The Denver comedy scene is irrelevant to the audience. People go to a comedy show to see outstanding comedy. I don’t think they give a shit about the Comedy Prom Committee or who’s commenting on Facebook.

I hope Chuck wasn’t referring to me and my love affair with Facebook. Though I’ve never been on any Prom Committee, I do post ad nauseam on my page and you are welcome to friend me there or follow me on Twitter, both being full of plugs for my show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show'. 

Stacy Roquemore
Stacy Roquemore is also booked to do some “gay comedy” on this show and recently posted on his Facebook page, “My view point is that funny is funny! As subjective as comedy is, I think it's my responsibility to bring a voice to the stage that represents the LGBT in a positive light.”

Roquemore is a Denver comic, who recently returned from the West Coast where he was developing his chops and racking up credits. A comic who easily reads gay, Roquemore states, “… to be a comedian who is gay and puts it out there, is hard as hell to pull off, with all the people who try to keep you pigeon holed into a tiny bubble, even though your jokes are solid and well written.” But Roquemore doesn’t let that stop him and continues to progress in his career and build a fan base.

As for myself, I love being openly gay and appearing on stage in drag gives me no other option. I haven’t found any hatred directed towards me on stage for being a stand-up comic drag queen, with the exception of one drunken guy who yelled out to me, “Where are you from, Oz?” I shut him down quick by retorting, “When I want to hear you speak, I’ll pull my dick out of your mouth!” But mostly I find a great deal of acceptance, if also confusion, when I walk onstage. I usually address it fairly quickly, though, and put the fire out. I actually address people in the audience who have that look of shock on their face and tell them, “It’s ok; I’m just a drag queen.” Then I joke with them and make them feel relaxed and I think it gets them on my side. I don’t do a lot of what I would call "gay comedy" anyway. I mostly joke about pop culture, my weight, celebrities and some politics. I find that my biggest fan base is middle aged women who ask me for makeup tips and swoon over my jewelry. When I do play a gay crowd though, it’s great fun as I can relax a lot more and they allow me to make a lot more fun of the straight people in the crowd. I’ve had to sit through some homophobic sets from other comics, but I always take them to task when I get on the stage and I think I may have shamed a few of them into cutting those jokes from their sets. I think the more authentic I am, the more the audience is ready to go with me regardless of how different I may be.

And so yeah, a Pride Comedy Show is back, this time with local gay comics who will make you laugh and hopefully give you something to relate to. You can see all three of us, myself, Chuck Roy and Stacy Roquemore on the Denver Improv Pride Float this Sunday and you might even get some valuable coupons to see our show, 'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' on June 24th.

'Memoirs Of A Gay Show' plays on Wednesday June 24th at The Denver Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater. The club is located at 8246 Northfield Blvd Unit 1400 at Stapleton North and you can reserve tickets by calling 303-893-4100. Mona Lott is a drag queen stand-up comic and has been seen on Comedy Central, The Game Show Network and NBC. Named 'Denver's Outstanding Drag Queen' by OutFront for 2014 she is more popular than ever!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebrating 40 years of pride in a harsh region for the LGBTQ community

By Eliana Rudee

Tel Aviv is on a roll when it comes to support for the LGBTQ community.

Since the beginning of June, the Tel Aviv Municipality building was lit up with the LGBTQ community’s rainbow flag as Gay Pride Month kicked off.

Pride Week in Tel Aviv begins on June 7, with events throughout the week. The highlight for many, the Pride Parade, begins on June 12 at Me’ir Park in Tel Aviv.

This year’s celebration will be even larger than last year’s, with an expected 180,000 participants, making it the continent of Asia’s largest gay pride event.

On June 10, Tel Aviv will also host 40 Years of Pride, a large global conference for LGBTQ leaders. The conference will bring activists, mayors, academics, journalists, educators, lay leaders, and many prestigious speakers to build skills and networks, as well as celebrate LGBTQ progress in Israel.

Tel Aviv is one of the friendliest cities for LGBTQ people (rated #1 in 2012), even though the young country exists in a neighborhood with those who greet LGBTQ individuals not with parades, but with death sentences. Take Saudi Arabia or Iran, for example, which execute on homosexuality charges for acts against Sharia law and “bad deeds.” In Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, and other Middle Eastern countries, their fates are not much better.

In Israel, it is illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation in employment, adoptions, partner benefits, and the military. While America hid gay military personnel with its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the Israel Defense Forces began protecting by law out men and women in 1993. Considered in our culture to be basic human rights, they are certainly not a given in the Middle East, making Israel the outlier.

Countless LGBTQ celebrities and allies adore Israel, often times due to its progressiveness and open community. After a concert, Lady Gagaexclaimed, “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The worldview of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.” She ended her last concert by saying, “Put your hands up and cheer for yourselves! You are strong, you are brave, you are confident, and I f*cking love you, Israel!”

Likewise, when Elton John performed in Israel, he said that no one could have stopped him from coming to Israel, referring to the pressure of anti-Israel activists and supporters of the anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Like countless other countries where religion dictates the laws of marriage, Israel has yet to legalize gay marriage. Same-sex marriages are recognized by Israel only if conducted abroad, because the court of marriage for Israeli Jews is ruled in accordance with the religious authorities. For gay marriage to become legal, the Rabbinate of Israel would have to make that decision.

Until then, Israeli officials, diplomats, and even ambassadors will celebrate Pride Week annually. During last year’s celebration, the pride flag proudly flew at the U.S. Embassy in Israel, where U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro flew the flag just beneath the American flag. Shapiro attributed the move to “the United States’ strong support for the LGBT community at home and abroad.” But even government buildings in America have yet to display such support during Gay Pride Week—another reason why Tel Aviv’s pride parade is so revered.

While many in the LGBT community fall for anti-Israel and often, anti-Semitic propaganda, ignorantly bashing the Jewish state, they must not forget their own oppression and denial of civil rights. While no democracy is perfect, Israel is the embodiment of what all those who believe in basic human rights want the Middle East to be. The alternative hangs gay teenagers by cranes and throws those accused of homosexuality off rooftops.

So if just happen to be in the neighborhood next week, stop by and see for yourself. With support from the Israeli people and government alike, next week’s festival is bound to be fabulous.

Eliana Rudee is a Fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. She is a Core18 Fellow and a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied international relations and Jewish studies. Follow her on Twitter @ellierudee

Monday, June 23, 2014

Show Your Pride With #PridePortraits

In honor of NYC Pride 2014, GLAAD is working with Instagram to launch their first-ever #PridePortraits Campaign.

By posting your own pride portrait and story to Instagram using the hashtag #PridePortraits, we can all share why we're proud to be who we are.

Head over to to learn more and to start posting!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Travel: Key West Pride

Splashy pool parties and on-the-water adventures, late-night dance parties, a race for tutu-wearing competitors, an intriguing film premiere and a lively community parade are among the attractions during Key West Pride 2014. Set for Wednesday through Sunday, June 11-15, the festival spotlights the all-accepting diversity that has helped make Key West an internationally renowned gay and lesbian vacation spot.

Key West Pride is to kick off with an all-welcome "Bow Ties & Bubbly" bash set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, at the acclaimed Island House Resort, 1129 Fleming St.

During the festival competitive attendees can vie for the titles of Mr., Ms. and Miss Key West Pride at evening pageants, or dress in a tutu to race in a wacky 10k relay. Other festival attractions include an acclaimed trolley tour showcasing Key West's LGBT heritage and hotspots, a marriage equality "meet and greet," daytime and late-night parties at local clubs and resorts, a "Ghosts & Gravestones" tour spotlighting the island's spookiest sites, drag shows, a street fair on Key West's famed Duval Street, a shopping soiree and water-sports activities ranging from snorkeling to kayaking.

Among scheduled highlights is the Key West premiere of a film by activist Erin Davies. After her Volkswagen Beetle was defaced with anti-gay graffiti because of its rainbow sticker, she turned the negative act into an inspiring odyssey and filmed her "fag bug's" journey to all 50 United States. Pride attendees can view the resulting documentary, "Fag Bug Nation," meet Davies and learn how her rainbow vehicle has become a catalyst for equality. Events are set for 8 p.m. Saturday, June 14, poolside at Alexander's Guesthouse, 1118 Fleming St.

The festival's culmination is to be the all-welcome Pride Parade down Duval Street, scheduled at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 15. The procession's grand marshal is Rob Smith, an openly gay Iraq War veteran, LGBT activist, journalist and author of the memoir "Closets, Combat, and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell Army."

The parade typically features walking groups, a 100-foot rainbow flag, lavishly decorated floats and more. Everyone is invited to participate -- whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight or transgendered -- to celebrate Key West's enthusiastic diversity.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tourism Toronto Premieres “What Pride Means to Us: WorldPride 2014 Toronto”

WorldPride 2014 is coming to Toronto, June 20 - 29. Tourism Toronto marks this historic occasion by premiering “What Pride Means to Us: WorldPride 2014 Toronto."
Told from a personal perspective, the video is an invitation – to rise up, to celebrate, to contribute, and to inspire. Featuring LGBTTIQQ2SA activists, including: Laverne Cox, star of ‘Orange is the New Black’; community leaders such as Justice Harvey Brownstone, who presided over the marriage between Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer; and community members, it shares their unique viewpoint with Pride. Windsor and Brownstone will also join other leading international activists, artists, educators, journalists, and policymakers as presenters at the Human Rights Conference during this unprecedented gathering.

“We always hear from our LGBTQ visitors how welcoming, surprising, and exciting Toronto is, which makes it the ideal host for the first WorldPride to be held in North America. It’s a chance for people from every corner of the planet to celebrate what has been achieved and strengthen their resolve for the future – in a multicultural city that wears its commitment to equality, openness, and diversity with pride every day,” said Kevin Beaulieu, Executive Director of Pride Toronto.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 Feature Destination: Long Beach and Long Beach Pride

Located just outside of Los Angeles and the gayopolis of West Hollywood, Long Beach is a fabulous destination with a thriving LGBT community. For all you Queens and Marys out there, there’s one iconic landmark you must explore. The Queen Mary is an Old-time Ocean Liner that is permanently berthed across from the Shoreline Village and Downtown Long Beach. When you step onto the ship it’s like stepping back into time. The views on and around the ship are awesome, so bring your camera. There’s also a bar, gift shop and plenty of other attractions on-board.

Check out the next Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride celebration on May 17 & 18, 2014 from 11am – 11pm along Shoreline Drive. Over the past several years, the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Celebration has become one of the premiere Pride events nationwide now attracting over 80,000 participants over two days. The Festival Celebration includes seven large dance areas including a main stage which has featured musical artists such as Grammy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Maya, India.Arie., and Village People.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bearracuda: The Denver Pride Party!

Bearracuda's biggest gay pride event of the year will be taking place right here in Denver! With support from Folsom Street Events, Scruff, and MileHighGayGuy, Bearracuda's back in a brand new location for Bearracuda Denver Gay Pride on Friday, June 20.

We welcome back DJ HIFI SEAN from London, our new Denver go-go bears and we are expecting nearly 1000 of Denver's gayest men! 

P.S., DON'T MISS the Bearracuda Heretic Cruise 2015!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Puerto Vallarta Prepared for Vallarta Pride 2014~

Puerto Vallarta is ready for its annual LGBT event "Vallarta Pride," scheduled this year for May 22 to 26, 2014. Increasing the one 3-day weekend event into a week-long cultural celebration of Puerto Vallarta and its international population including music festivals, beach parties, fashion shows, mass commitment ceremony and activities in participating bars and clubs.

Taking advantage of the October 31 passing of civil unions by the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta, this year’s commitment ceremonies may also be registered for legal purposes.

Puerto Vallarta offers an LGBT inclusive atmosphere in is Romantic Zone area which is home to many businesses that are LGBT-owned and/or target the consumer, including beaches, tours, activities and restaurants bars and clubs to choose from. LGBT travelers have the option of choosing from gay friendly resorts, hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts and guest houses.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Passport's Favorite International Gay Pride Celebrations!

It's that time of year again when the gay community gets a little extra loud and proud!'s sent their correspondents around the world in search of the best Pride celebrations of 2013. Click here to see the list they've come up with!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mark Your Calendars for Flavor, Denver's Urban PRIDE Celebration!

IAMDesign in partnership with TasTease Premier will celebrate Pride month with a series of events that will cater to the "Urban GLBT community of Colorado."

This is the first time a series of events will be hosted with an "Urban emphasis."

These events will begin with an event at NORAD Dance Bar on Friday June 14, continue on Saturday June 15 at The Roxy, and conclude with a Unity Picnic on Sunday June 16, and an old school grown and sexy night in the lounge of Norad Dance Bar.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Podcast from DJ Brent: I Am Ready

The new podcast from DJ Brent is ready ... and it is out the door! Click here to give it a listen.

And DJ Brent will be turning up and turning it out for Denver PrideFest weekend--check out for his full schedule.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Advocate’s Summer of Love Starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Each summer The Advocate celebrates the reasons to have Pride. For many, including the magazine’s June/July cover star, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 2013 will be the “Summer of Love.” The Emmy-nominated Modern Family star recently sat down with The Advocate’s Jase Peeples to discuss setting a new standard for LGBT visibility on TV, growing up gay in New Mexico, and how a run-in with the law at a young age helped shape his role as Modern Family’s Mitchell.

“I feel like there are a lot of people who still aren’t comfortable with gay characters on television,” Ferguson tells The Advocate. But what I admire about our show is that it has a plethora of characters for people to attach to, and slowly those people are becoming attached to Mitchell and Cameron as well. It’s kind of like a Trojan horse. We sneak into a lot of people’s living rooms when they aren’t expecting it and maybe change some minds through the back door.”

Despite the progress that Modern Family has made in bringing gay families to the mainstream, Ferguson says he’s received complaints that the show’s gay couple isn’t a positive representation of LGBT people. “We’re always coming up against the criticism that our characters are stereotypical and don’t represent what it is to be gay,” Ferguson says. “But my argument has always been, I know so many people who are just like Mitchell and Cam, and so many people who are nothing like them. We’re representing a very specific couple in gay America and do not represent the entire gay community with those characters.”

Ferguson’s Modern Family character has become a positive pop culture icon for millions of young gay men to admire. Growing up in Albuquerque, however, Ferguson, now 37, thought any positive depictions of gays in pop culture seemed like fiction. By the time he entered high school he turned to the only representation of his sexuality he could find.

“I was caught stealing gay porn when I was 14,” Ferguson remembers with laughter in his voice. “I walked through the metal detector, the buzzers went off, and when they asked me if I had anything, I lifted up my shirt and there was [an issue of] Black Inches.” After a deep breath he strikes a more serious tone and says, “It was handled in a completely inappropriate way, with no tact from the store. They called up my parents and then showed them the nature of the material I’d stolen. I was horrified! I look back and think, How did I survive that humiliation?”

Today, however, that memory serves as a reminder that his work on Modern Family is about far more than entertainment. “[Mitchell] is a character that I play with dignity and one that I think has helped change the landscape of what it means to be gay in America right now,” he says. “Certainly, it’s provided a dialogue and a pop culture touchstone for a lot of people.”