Art — Art for all Homo Sapiens.
Art is not only Nabil Mousa’s storyline. Through his courageous and de-stigmatizing abilities on canvas, we are blessed with his first solo art exhibition, American Landscape: An Exploration of Art & Humanity, at the Arab American National Museum. The overarching themes, when broken down, lie within the paradox of the surrounding walls and the souls that take a gander in between them. The sheer magnitude of the special occasion brought tears to his eyes when introducing his husband.
Why, do you ask?
Because by grappling with his two identities — gay and Arab — he not only explores the overt discrimination felt by most, but by exhibiting in the cultural museum that permeates this type of bigotry, sets the stage for large scale education and the hopes of impactful change. Though most of us struggle with fully understanding the enormity of his personal conflict, these powerful, racially charged pieces of art allow one to simply digest its notion.
Take, for instance, his painting “Burka #16”: what he saw as a symbol of women’s oppression, he applied it to himself as a gay artist. Under the societal, religious, cultural, or sexual masks that have been unduly placed, anyone and everyone’s interpretation invokes, for the most part, this painful “struggle”. And regardless of anyone’s similarities, the element of bleeding is loud and clear.
But who is Nabil Mousa?
He was born in Syria and immigrated to the US with his conservative Christian parents and after coming out in 2000, the usual narrative ensued — his family cut off all ties, disowning both him and his world. He is an LGBT artist of Arab descent, who incorporates sexual identity into his work. Just his being pushes the boundaries of acceptance.
Another powerful piece, again focusing on Mr. Mousa’s gay identity, is clearly recognizable where he manipulated the American flag, replacing the field of stars with the Human Rights Campaign’s bold “=” symbol, to address “the hypocrisy in our constitution, where they talk of every man being created equal, under God, when in reality people who are gay or of color are considered substandard”.
When I came upon this article in The New York Times, it struck me not only because of his prolific and profound artistry, but also the enormity of his unique situation — the acceptance to exhibit in what, for the most part, is a closed museum. It’s wonderful to see curators using their stage, to take head on powerful subject matters that threaten the civil liberties of mankind. In these especially politically charged days, I must say, the overall sentiment doesn’t bode well for the country in which we reside. Yet, this reaffirms the notion that America still has room for impactful change. Keep it up, Nabil. There are better days ahead.
Science — LGBT Inclusive School Curriculum.
Recently we at Bespoke Surgical launched a scholarship initiative to not only understand the current LGBT issues surrounding our youth, but also to see how the applicants would provide a solution through the use of the current day technology. With education at the cornerstone and heart of everything we strive to provide at Bespoke Surgical, it was so refreshing to see Britain’s Stonewall launch this week, which is a guide designed to help schools build an “LGBT inclusive curriculum which reflects the diversity of people’s lives and experiences in modern Britain”. As reported on by Pink News, the “how to” guide includes suggestions for ways that LGBT issues can be reflected in secondary school subjects. And I think it’s brilliant and easily applicable to curriculums world-wide.
Some suggestions consist of common day school subjects that can be tweaked to include either an icon — one that happens to be part of the LGBT community and overcame a major obstacle — or a subject matter that is palpable for anyone to exam overt inequality.
For example, the guidance on mathematics suggests a lesson on codebreaking, which incorporates the story of computing pioneer, Alan Turing.
“Provide pupils with some information about Alan Turing’s life, including the arrest and trial for his relationship with another man. You could also use the [discussion] to talk about the historical treatment of gay people by the secret services.”
Another example lies within a Geography lesson.
“Give pupils a world map of LGBT rights worldwide from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). Print the map in colour but block out the colour code from the map and explain that this is a map of LGBT rights across the world. Give pupils the task of working out individually, or in small groups, what they think the colours represent.”
“How young people see themselves, each other and the world around them is shaped by what they learn about at school. For every young person to be prepared for life in modern Britain (though clearly is fitting for all the world) it’s vital that their curriculum reflects the full diversity of the world they live in. When pupils are supported to understand diversity and celebrate difference, they can develop accepting attitudes towards those who are different to them, and feel proud of the things that make them different themselves.”
I was recently approached to work with my son Sebastian’s all-boys school on their own LGBT curriculum and this Stonewall publication couldn’t have come at such a better time. I think we, even myself, get so blinded by sexual identity versus identity in and of itself. How limited everyone’s understanding of gay culture is. Though sex and the intricacies that lie within are vital to our community, it far from defines it. And taking a step back on developing a standard of how we want the world to view homosexuality is imperative. We are everywhere and everyone and without our own inclusion in mainstream everything, we will continue to be ostracized. Fuck the sex and let’s rethink about all the global issues surrounding LGBT inclusion. OK, maybe not all the sex, but you get what I mean. 😆
Sex — To lick or not to lick… That is the question. Or is it?
As an ass man myself, there is no question — I am definitely going to lick it. Not only am I gonna lick it, I am gonna love it. It is not up for discussion. But this week in NewNowNext, Jasper Sparrow wrote an article where he recounts his continual gastrointestinal saga of contracting a parasite three times from rimming, with his goal to raise awareness for our community. Lets take a look at his tale, the comments from some viewers, and then summarize awareness and preventative measures we can take — all in the name of rimming.
Four years ago, he started experiencing awful diarrhea — a brown soupy mess — that lasted a few weeks. After seeing his physician’s assistant, he was recommended to perform a stool test to analyze the sample for any infection. He recounts the collection process, “shoveling his excrement into various vials and containers”, and finally the results came back positive for Giardia, spawning a full on research effort to figure out the ins and outs of this parasite. The remainder of the story focuses on the back-and-forth from him and his partner and all of their openness, in terms of the “ping-pong” effect of recurrent parasitic infections. He finally concludes with a substantiated rant on his frustration. I included it below:
“But gay men don’t even know they’re at risk! We didn’t learn about parasites in sex ed class. No doctor has ever warned me about it. I’ve never seen the departments of health or the CDC put out any educational materials on the subject. And when guys contract parasites, they’re too embarrassed to talk about it, I can’t be the first person in this city to get giardia or entamoeba histolytica.”
Yes of course the CDC and Department of Health have published educational material on this subject matter, but, unfortunately, the times in which one reviews this material is, of course, after one gets infected. We agree with you, Jasper, that the lack of consistent data and overall sexual education, specifically in our own community with our own physicians, is beyond lacking and we at Bespoke Surgical are pioneering a movement for social change. Check out all of our social platforms for the education we all missed and still desperately seek.
Comments from readers — not mine, I swear!
“Only 1 question for you … Why are you still eating ass?” MT
“One would have thought you learned your lesson the first time. I’ve been an out gay male for close to 40 years and never got anything like that. But then I don’t put shit in my mouth. Is eating ass important enough that you are willing to continue doing it? Is it really worth it?” DD
“Test the water in the building. Not all of NYC has the cleanest water. I can’t imagine you’re eating that much booty, if so congrats. Buy a Brita.” JV
This is me now, Dr. Evan Goldstein. No, we are not stopping and, yes, we will continue to eat ass. It’s fucking awesome, feels amazing, and gets us “ass” men off like none other. Remember: I’m included — both ways, boys.
So the questions we have to focus on are: (1) how do we understand parasitic infections and (2) not only prevent them from occurring, though clearly if you are the rimmer, you will come into contact with it, but also understand the symptoms and all treatment options, for both you and your partners?
Giardia, a microscopic parasite, is an organism that feeds off of another to survive, lives in the intestines, and is passed in feces. Once outside the body, it can sometimes survive for weeks or months, and, in our world, should be thought of when using toys that may be contaminated, specifically if one is having recurrent infections. Giardiasis is the most frequently diagnosed intestinal parasitic disease in the United States, can last for 1 to 2 weeks or longer, and symptoms focus more around gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, gas, greasy stools that tend to float, upset stomach, and dehydration.
Diagnosis is confirmed by testing stool samples for the little bugger, with antibiotics being the treatment of choice. Yes, everyone involved in one’s sexual circle should be evaluated and, if positive, undergo treatment as well.
Some other great tips for tossing are:
Practice good hygiene
Wash wash wash… your hands that is! And any part that would come in contact from a fecal-oral transmission — both prior and post engagement. Mouthwash lowers STD transmissions, as well, so be sure to swish and spit.
Prevent contact and contamination with feces during sex
Cleaning the external anal region, along with the rim or beginning of the anal canal (all where even the biggest of tongues will reach) will lower one’s incidence of parasitic infections.
Avoid water that may be contaminated
Self explanatory and remember: ice in our cocktails should be avoided as well.
Avoid eating food that may be contaminated
Not sure how anyone would truly know their food is Giardia-infused or let alone ingest it, but be on the look out.
Clean up after ill pets and people
Don’t forget the shit of all creatures can be a carrier. So clean up and make sure to sanitize all contacted surfaces and, of course, your hands.
I have a different philosophy: education. Contracting giardia is beyond commonplace and nothing to be ashamed about. Quite frankly, if you haven’t gotten it by now, you haven’t actually eaten an ass. However, that isn’t meant to downplay the importance of protecting yourself against giardia. It’s simply that abstinence from rimming isn’t the answer. I think the best answer to any of these sexually transmitted diseases is, as author Jasper Sparrow puts it, educating oneself on the signs and symptoms, all treatment options available, and the measures one can take as prevention. Then, as always, full disclosure and treatment, when applicable, to all sexual partners. Our community needs to foster responsibility and with that comes, not only a thorough understanding of all potential illnesses, but demanding from each other, Google, and all our practitioners a more comprehensive sexual education considering it was completely lacking in any capacity during our upbringing.