Tag Archives: The GA Voice

Health & Fitness: 10 tips to stay fit for life

If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, get healthy and stay fit, here are some tips to help you make it last more than a couple of months. These tips will help you keep your resolution for life!

  1. Big Brother is watching. A food journal is the best way to keep track of your diet. It can also play the role of an accountability partner. At www.calorieking.com you can search food items to help you track down your daily intake and make sure you stay in check. Many smartphones have applications to help you keep track of calories, fat grams, carbs and more. One of these free apps is called “Lose It!” (www.loseit.com). Another fun app is “Foodpics Log” which uses your smartphone’s camera to capture what you really eat. Check out, tweetwhatyoueat.com, a free diary that lets you set up a Twitter-based food diary and track your weight and calorie intake. If you want even greater accountability, you can set up a profile on Body Space www.bodybuilding.com, track your progress, set goals and join in with others striving for the same goals. You can even find a group in your area that will help support you like the Weight Watchers group at ALHI (Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative).
  2. Cheat to beat defeat. Allow yourself one cheat meal per week. This does not suggest an entire day of McDelight, but make sure you reward yourself to one meal per week that consists of foods that you are not allowed in your new diet plan.
  3. Drop the Yo-Yo. Think of it as a “lifestyle change” not a diet. It’s easy to fall prey to “yo-yo dieting” with all of the diet trends and fads out there. Most of them you cannot do for long-term, some of them even have risk-factors. Make sure to find a new style of eating that is healthy for the rest of your life. This can even include successful programs such as Weight Watchers, the Vegan RAW Diet or the Eat-Clean Diet. One great place to find “clean-eating” recipes is at www.hungry-girl.com.
  4. Get Physical. Be active. Not everyone has the finances to join a gym or hire a personal trainer, but you have to make time. For a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days per week, schedule to be active. This could include jogging, yoga, pilates, rock climbing, kickboxing, riding your bike, Wii Fit, walking your dog or anything that helps get your heart pumping. Download the app for MapMyFitness.com or RunKeeper.com which uses your phone’s GPS and calculates how many calories you burned. Permanent marker physical activity on your planner and even if you don’t feel like it, do it anyway. The endorphins will actually help you feel better once you’re done exercising. You will feel even better yet when you fit into those incredible jeans a size or two smaller.
  5. Just Breathe. Stress releases a steroid hormone called cortisol, produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol is the nasty thing that invites Mr. Jiggles to move in to your mid-section. Meditation is an easy way to relax. Other ways include doing things you enjoy that are therapeutic; like art, writing, reading a book or listening to music. If you find your anxiety starting to increase, you can take deep breaths, holding it for a count of 3, then releasing for a count of 8. Another tip that is rather amusing is to “flick” yourself. Wear a rubber band and when you start to feel overwhelmed, pop the band and your body will immediately become distracted and alert the attention of your central nervous system elsewhere. When you are at work, make sure to take a break as often as allowed. Oh, hate to break this to you, but playing on the internet is not a stress reliever.
  6. You snooze, you lose. Get adequate sleep every night. This is for minimum of 6 hours. If you have trouble catching your z’s, melatonin is a natural sleep aid that might assist you, instead of turning to medications that include long lists of side-effects. Sleeping allows your body to recover so you feel refreshed enough to tackle the next day. Too much sleep counteracts this philosophy, so try to keep your snooze at a maximum of 8 hours.
  7. Do not play Scale Wars. Do not weigh yourself every day. Watching the numbers on the scale can sometimes make you feel like all efforts are lost. Even with dieting, our bodies can hold excess water on certain days, which make us feel bloated and will reflect on the scale. Another thing to keep in mind, the more muscle you develop can actually increase your weight since muscle weighs more than fat. I suggest doing body measurements and you will notice your weight loss by how your clothes fit. Keep track of your body mass index (BMI) and body composition: fat versus lean mass. Try not to step on the scale more than once per week and do it first thing in the morning. Preferably, without wearing clothes or shoes.
  8. 8. Say Goodbye to Sugar High. Sugar is proven to be addictive. Your body will start to crave everything from ice cream to peanut butter cups. Choose natural sugar alternatives instead, like stevia, raw honey or agave nectar. Many products are also available that are “healthy sweet treats.” This will help curb your need to get that quick fix. Aim for no sugar added or sugar-free products.
  9. 9. Recycle. Donate your clothes, once they outgrow you. Reward yourself with new clothes. A bargain way to do this is to shop at your neighborhood thrift store. Once you no longer own your bigger britches, you are motivated to stay on the fast-track to success as you sport your new lean-and-mean jeans!
  10. 10. Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Last but not least, look in the mirror every day and tell yourself one positive thing about yourself. Even if you don’t believe it, speak it into existence. Daily affirmations provide you with positive energy to help motivate you, build your confidence and self-worth. You are getting healthy because you are worth it! You love yourself and it’s good to compliment yourself and have a little self-esteem a boost. On days you reach a goal, take yourself out on a special date. Spoil yourself!


The Hangover (aka: beer belly). One way to add liquid calories and carbs faster than a speeding bullet is by indulging in alcohol. If you choose to booze, remember that you are safer with clear liquors and low carb, low calorie beer. Beware of sugary mixers! For the winos: red is better overall for you than white. Try to limit how many drinks you have per week. Once you continue to curve drinking down, watch your belly magically disintegrate. Presto Chango!


Now that you have the tools, go out there and be a healthier you! You CAN do it. 2011 is your year to rise, shine and get (and stay) lean!


Written by  Tristan Skye

The GA Voice published copy: click here



Filed under Education, Fitness, Medical, Resources, Support, Weight Training

Chaz Bono Interviewed by Tristan Skye of TQ Nation

Original (non-edited) article:
This year, people from across the globe traveled to Atlanta, GA for the Southern Comfort Conference (SCC), which focuses on the Transgender community.

As stated on their website, www.sccatl.org:
“Whatever your connection to the Transgender community – whether you are transsexual, a cross dresser or in between; a spouse, a partner or a family member; straight, gay, bi or omni-sexual; post-op, pre-op or non-op; young or old; married or single; FtM or MtF – if Transgender is an issue in your life, you are welcome!”

SCC celebrated their 20th anniversary this year with the theme “Party Hearty” and it took place at the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel September 6th – 12th. The efforts of all who helped with the planning of this conference paid off as it proved to be a very successful event. Special thanks extended to Blake Alford (President of Board of Directors) and Alexis Dee (2010 SCC Conference Chair).

The conference consists of daily informational seminars covering everything from renowned surgeons discussing their procedures to open discussions of a variety of topics pertaining to Transgender life. The seminars focus more on individual needs and the topics are more defined focusing in on either MTF, FTM, Intersexed or SOFFA’s, with some being all-inclusive.

On Thursday of SCC, a TransHealth Fair was provided which included many low-cost services and multiple free options, including HIV/STD testing and Flu shots. The Feminist Women’s Health Center hosted this event. We appreciate their support in helping to provide a bridge to close the gap with TransHealth issues.

Apart from the gourmet dining in the ballroom, scheduled events from morning until evening allowed everyone to meet and socialize. Some popular events included karaoke in the hotel lounge, casino night, Miss Kitty Meow’s pool party and the SCC formal dance, just to name a few. A shuttle was also available to take adventurers shopping at Perimeter Mall and on Saturday evening, many traveled to the New Le Buzz in Marietta where everyone felt very welcome and included.

A marketplace was setup in one part of the hotel that included vendors selling jewelry, hair essentials, clothing and accessories. There were also many make-up artists on site, including Atlanta’s own Bianca Nicole, the Goddess of Seduction. Other booths, including TQ Nation, Lambda Legal, YouthPride and others were spread out outside of the marketplace and lobby area.

One of the main highlights this year included the appearance of Trans-celebrity and advocate of sorts, Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and even hosted one seminar on Media Activism Training with GLAAD Media Awards Communications Manager, Nick Adams.

Chaz mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing. He even stood with a smile for non-stop photo-ops with those attending SCC. A documentary film crew followed him pretty much everywhere, yet I was able to set aside a time for him to speak to me exclusively for the readers of The GA Voice.

Tristan Skye: You have been an advocate for the Gay and Lesbian community for many years and now the Transgender community. What are the main goals you are trying to reach and is there a certain topic that is your main focus and priority?

Chaz Bono: In truth, I haven’t thought that much about that yet. I have been really focused on getting these projects [upcoming book, film and documentary] out and done. I also didn’t know anything about the Trans community. In the years that it took to get here that I knew I was Trans, but didn’t have the courage to transition, I really stayed away from the Trans community on purpose. I was afraid of the story getting out before I was ready for it. I have just been taking time and stepping back and seeing what the community’s needs are. With that said, one thing that immediately comes to mind is ENDA. That’s what got me involved in politics to begin with way back in 1995. That is something I have always wanted to see passed, I still want to see passed, but want to see passed with transgender people included. The only other stuff I’ve gotten really into is really young trans people. And one of the things I’m pretty interested in, especially for the kids and it’s not going to happen overnight, but seeing surgical requirements taken out of what you need to do to change your name and gender legally.

Tristan Skye: Yes, I think that’s great. I personally feel the Transgender community has looked for a type of spokesperson, a hero of sorts that can represent us in a very positive light and receive International attention and recognition. Now that you have come out as a Transgender advocate into the public eye, portraying and reflecting us in such a positive way, how do you feel about being seen as that hero for the Transgender community and being that person that can really help take us to where we need to be?

Chaz Bono: Okay, it’s a little complicated. First of all, on the one hand I’m very pragmatic and you know I do know the importance of having someone that is a public figure out there. It really does make a difference and I’m really happy to do it. Personally, in my personal life, I do not feel like a celebrity, especially growing up with huge celebrities. I’ve always tried to walk a tight rope between being public enough to do some good and private enough to have a life and just feel normal. Personally, my goal was never to be really famous – I kind of got born into this thing – I’ve had to make the best of it. I’ve seen, especially within the Gay and Lesbian community we see really clearly what having different people come out does and so I do hope for the Trans community I can do that. I hope that me coming out about this and transitioning publically will help people who haven’t found the courage to transition yet most of all. There are some great people who speak for us in the community and most of them are ladies, so it’s nice to have Jamison Green who is just amazing, and it’s nice to be another guy out there a little bit younger for all the guys out there and especially the up and coming guys.

Tristan Skye: That’s very true. I noticed in your seminar with Nick Adams, GLAAD Media Awards Communications Manager, that there was one question that was asked, “who first heard the word Transgender or first saw someone Transgender from the media?” and I noticed that even you raised your hand. I wondered if you wouldn’t mind telling me who was the first Transgender person you can recall that you saw in the media?

Chaz Bono: I think I’m sure the first Transgender person that I heard of was either Christine Jorgensen or Renee Richards when I was really young and didn’t really think about it. But, for me I’ve kind of tracked down when I started to realize I was Trans and it was about a year after “Boys Don’t Cry” came out. Though I didn’t have like an “Ah-Ha!” moment, I think that really did have an effect and really soak into my subconscious and I don’t think it was an accident that happened. It also seemed around that time, and maybe a little bit before and definitely after, there seemed to be all this news coming from San Francisco about all these guys transitioning and that was definitely being reported atleast in the gay media. You know, where are all the butches going…all the butches are becoming guys and stuff, so that is around the time, around 2000, I think when I started to figure out what was going on with me. To me, it’s definitely the media…I don’t think there is a stronger advocate tool than the medi. I really understood that working with GLAAD and I still believe that is where you get the most done is in the court of public opinion and that’s through the media.
Overall, this event ended with great success as it provided a place for those to be themselves, especially for those who traveled from areas where they feel they still must hide their true expression of gender. It was a moment in time where the “T” in LGBTQQIA was not silent, where the Transgender community could feel like the majority, not the minority. It is such an impactful conference, that once it ends, you can’t wait for it to begin again. Until next year, my brothers and sisters, be safe and keep advocating.

Written by Tristan “Shimmer” Skye
http://www.transqueernation.com President and Co-Founder
“Best Transgender Rights Activist” – Southern Voice (2009), The GA Voice (2010)

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Filed under Entertainment, Events, TQ Nation Exclusive Interviews, TQ Nation Review

God Hates Fags? How About Blasphemy?

Fred Phelps, leader of Westboro Baptist Church "Hate Clan" (www.godhatesfags.com)

In the late 90’s, I first saw photos of signs that read “God Hates Fags” and “AIDS cures Fags” among others. My heart ached as these photos made the front page of my hometown GLBTQI newspaper. Since that time, I’ve come toe-to-toe with this church that I prefer to reference as a “cult” and I’ve realized that I’m ready to speak out about Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas.

First off, what they believe and “preach” is the opposite of the message of God according to the Bible and other scriptural transcripts. It is a delusional, twisted blasphemous message and I’m curious of what fuels their fire. Is it FEAR?

Fred Phelps’ son, Mark W. Phelps, wrote a statement back in 1994 (19 years after he left home) that I found most intriguing:

He [Fred Phelps] can seem very intimidating. He can use foul language and come across with a booming voice to the community, but the truth is, like the Wizard of Oz, when Toto pulls the curtain back, instead of this big powerful individual, it’s only a small, pathetic old man.

I feel sorry for my father as I would for anyone who displays this kind of hate and evil viciousness. These can only be the manifestations of tortured, injured and agonizing souls.”

One thing I find interesting is the fact that what Phelps leads is listed as the one unpardonable sin in the Bible. What is that? Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The simplistic meaning of this is to do works of evil in the name of God. This is the one sin that casts you out forever. Looks like Phelps and his posse might have a not-so-friendly meeting with Karma one day. Of course, Fred Phelps has been known to claim that “homosexuality” is the one unpardonable sin. I’m not quite sure where he read that or attained that “fact” since that is no where found in the Bible. Like I said … KARMA.

Besides the doom and gloom they try to rain on every PRIDE parade, they also protest at local High Schools, Catholic churches and even at funerals of soldiers. I recently received a letter from someone who’s brother was killed in Iraq. Phelps was at the funeral holding up signs of protest since the fella who wrote the letter to me was queer. Here he was mourning the death of his 19-year-old brother and was met with hate on an already dark day.

What disturbs me even further is the fact that they have their own children holding signs and engaging in this madness.

This is NOT the truth. God does NOT hate anyone. God’s message is that of love and it’s pathetic how people like Phelps twist the truth around to project the opposite.

We sometimes have community counter-protests which is wonderful, but I’m now going to point a quick finger at mainstream churches. Whether they agree with our community or not, I’m shocked they aren’t counter-protesting the anti-God message of hate led by Phelps and his counterparts.

My parents did. Their choice to respond tops my list of things they have done that make me most proud. Around 10 years ago, I showed my parents the front-page of the community paper with Phelps and all of the nasty signs. They were shocked. My parents didn’t “approve” of my “lifestyle”, but they certainly were opposed to this incorrect message.

My parents showed up at PRIDE that year holding a huge yellow sign that read: “We apologize for the church. REAL Christians love EVERYONE! With God there is HOPE for us ALL!”

Needless to say, they spoke a word of love, not hate. They were met by strangers walking up to them giving them hugs and saying, “Thank you for being here!” Others even stood by the sign and took photos saying they would send it to their parents.

My heart aches when I think of this event because of how shunned our community as been from mainstream churches and our cry-out for love. Phelps and his followers do nothing but push us farther away from our childhood beliefs. Phelps does nothing more than encourage us to believe God really does hate us.

I was lucky enough to find a family-friendly church that spoke a truth unlike one I had heard before. A church who stood up for the reality of God and pushed aside the judgment and fears that have been forced down our throats for centuries. A message of LOVE.

Phelps is an extremist. Yet, many mainstream churches are not far behind. To me, they also fall short of the truth. Instead of making us feel welcome, we feel rejected. Sure, we can join the church if we conform to their ways. Sure, we can help them out and sing in the choir or play the fiddle as long as we stay “hush, hush” about our sexuality or identity. When I find a church that is not GLBTQI-based and is welcoming, I literally jump for joy on the inside (sometimes on the outside, too).

My Thoughts

It is unfortunate that scripture has been translated into the interpretation of the person re-writing it. There are so many different versions of the Bible that I believe many have never read the original text which was written in. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek.

The first translation of the English Bible was initiated by John Wycliffe and completed by John Purvey in 1388. (ref) When you read about these two men, it is common to assume that their translation of scripture was a reflection of how they interpreted the Hebrew and Greek.

Somehow, in some newer versions, the word “homosexual” has made it’s way into the Bible. I’m sure one day we might even see “lesbian” or “transgender”.

You see, the Bible is supposed to be a revelation of what God reveals to you. In many cases, the “stories” in the bible are merely a shell of what the core message is truly about. It really can be looked upon as hundreds of pages of code. Of course, this is my personal opinion and this is one of those topics that has been a never-ending war for ages.

I encourage those to read this book as close to the original text as possible. I hope many pastors in churches do this. It might open their eyes to a new revelation that they have preached against for so long.

Back to Phelps

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has declared the Westboro Baptist Church a hate group, one of over 750 in the United States.” (ref)

The “cult” likes to refer to Phelps as a prophet.

Definition: “A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.”

I notice it says “a god” not “The God”. I’m highly interested to know which “god” Phelps reports to?

This link provides insight into the personal life of Fred Phelps. It talks about everything from his beliefs, “therapeutic malicious” law practice to his home life and domestic abuse (BIG surprise).

It’s amazing that the men in this world that hate themselves the most are the ones that outwardly express hate towards everyone else. Napoleon and Hitler once had a seat in the same boat of disgust. I’m sure we all know people like this. They could be family members, neighbors or co-workers. Hate, to me, is the root of all evil. I guess what RuPaul says is true, “If you don’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else? Can I get an AMEN?” Our world is full of self-hate which, in turn, is reflected as hate overall for everyone and everything.

I wrote a post in October 2009: To Discriminate Only Generates HATE

What do we do?

I find is best not to lower ourselves to the level of ignorant others. Fighting hate with hate is tit for tat. It doesn’t resolve anything. It doesn’t make a valid point besides generating more hate.

Sure, we’re angry. Sure, we’re disgusted.

Recently, their was a counter-protest at Grady High School in Atlanta, GA and The GA Voice made a wonderful video showing the demonstration and even interviewed both sides.

I feel the counter-protests are well received and keep things on civil ground. Sometimes, I feel this is a difficult situation because we do not want to be silent to this, yet I wonder if our rise against them is what makes them keep going.

It’s like the annoying person who keeps poking you. After a while of ignoring them, they finally stop.

Would they stop?

They must know we are not a silent bunch. We are a powerful mix of activists, queers, transgender, lesbians, homos, gay, straight allies, gender benders, feminist outlaws, fierce femmes, leather bears, educators, entertainers, law enforces, doctors, mothers, fathers, in-betweens, we are the GLBTQI and every other letter of the alphabet…we are pro-PROGRESS, we demand EQUALITY, we fight for CHANGE. We have come far and we are no stranger to “haters”. We are a powerful family that can chant “We WILL Overcome!” because we have and will will continue.

BBC’s Louis Theroux about the family at the core of the Westboro Baptist Church.headed by Fred Phelps and based in Topeka, Kansas, It runs the website GodHatesFags.com,[1] and GodHatesAmerica.com, and other websites expressing condemnation of LGBT, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, USA and other groups. The organization is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League,[2] and classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[3][4] The group has achieved national notice because of its picketing of funeral processions of U.S. soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please feel free to express your comments below.

Written by TQ Nation President & Co-Founder
Tristan “SHIMMER” Skye



Filed under News, Spout Out