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Gay men need to be concerned about anal cancer

Cervical cancer in women is caused by a wart virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). A man’s penis transmits the virus to the cervix, which the virus can sit there, dormant, for years, and may cause cancer and could kill the woman.

Gay men also have to worry about the same wart virus and cancer. While gay men do not have a cervix, a man can still pass HPV when a guys cock or even a finger comes into contact with your anus. You don’t have to have big, ugly, painful warts to have the virus or get cancer.

Most gay men do not know enough or even feel comfortable talking about anal cancer, the symptoms, the cause, or even the treatment. The Bottom Line, a new Australian website, has done a great job at covering the topic.

It’s important to know that HPV is spread for skin-to-skin contact. A guy can touch his cock and then put his finger on your ass, exposing you to the virus. Many physicians say almost 100% of HIV positive men have HPV in their anus.

HPV can lay dormant in the body for years, without any side effects or issues; however, it can still slowly, over time, cause cancer. It’s best to speak with your doctor or a nurse that specialises in STIs, to check your anus. It’s not always as easy to see the small changer in pre-cancer growths.

Gay men need to be concerned about anal cancer

Men should also conduct their own self-exam, looking for small bumps and inflamed areas just inside the anal canal. You can also do this with a partner who, over time, would be aware of changes in your anus. After all, your partner can look at your anus better than you can! You only need to explore 3-4 centimeters, but you can always explore more, just for fun.

HPV is a terrible cancer to get, and you do not want to die from anal cancer. The good news is that you can get vaccinated. The vaccine has almost no side effects and new studies have shown even if you have been exposed to the virus that the vaccine may be helpful in fighting the virus.

Most people can get the vaccine covered through their health insurance. Some government assistance programs also cover the cost. There are also some gay men health clinics that offer the vaccine free of charge. If you cannot access one of these free resources, then you can try your local pharmacy where you can get it for about $450 CDN.


See the largest Princess Diana legacy exhibit in the United States

The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

The British royal family is the most important royal institutions in the world. For centuries they have ruled over both the old and new world. While there have been many famous and successful British royal family members, Princess Diana won the hearts of millions of people around the world at the end of the 20th century.

A doll wearing a replica of Princess Diana's wedding dress at The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

Princess Diana was known at The People’s Princess. She was a role model of royal patronage. She dedicated much of her time to charities, with an intense interest in serious illness and health-related causes. Following the AIDS crisis in 1980’s, Princess Diana became a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS research and campaigns.

Today, her legacy lives on. She still touches the hearts of millions of people. She was a huge inspiration and she will never be forgotten.

Aboard The Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California, a royal exhibition has been established in her honour. The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit is filled with memorabilia and artifacts related to the British royal family and Princess Diana. It is the largest collection of Princess Diana memorabilia in the United States.

The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

The collection includes hundreds of pieces, ranging from newspaper clippings and souvenirs, to authentic items once owned or gifted from the British Royal family. The vast collection including dolls, dishes, handbags, replica crowns and outfits, tins and photos, spans multiple rooms and incorporates large showcases displaying the items. Handwritten notes accompany many of the pieces, explaining what each piece is about and its significance.

Princess Diana fans will remember the famous Southby’s Auction sale, where a handful of her dresses were sold, raising funds for her charities. The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit features a number of the famous Diana dresses, which are on loan from the dress buyers. It’s absolutely incredible to walk through and entire room filled with outfits worn by Princess Diana. Many of the displays feature photos of Princess Diana wearing the dress at official engagements and functions.

The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

The Diana Legacy of a Princess exhibit is an incredible, must-see attraction in the southern California area. After walking through the exhibit, you can further appreciate the importance of the British royal family and fall back in love with Princess Diana.

After visiting the exhibit, you can feel like a princess by treating yourself to a traditional afternoon English tea service at The Tea Room.


9 people you need to get a selfie with at White Party Palm Springs

White Party 2015

Anyone who has ever gone to White Party, or who is going, knows, it is the biggest circuit party and must-be-at event of the year. There will be thousands of hot gay men, showing off their muscle-clad bodies, dancing to the beats of the biggest circuit party DJ’s, and will be dressed in the most fierce white outfits all weekend long.

But going to White Party is more about just hanging out with all these hot men. Headlining celebrities including Kelly Osborne, Frankie Grande, and Leeann Rimes will all be making appearances. While you’ll try your hardest to get a selfie moment with these hot stars, there are a whole other list of people who need to be on your radar for that picture-perfect moment to share on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

While you’re out and about at the various pool parties and night events, here are 9 people you need to get a selfie with at White Party 2015:

  1. Jeffrey Sanker. The mastermind behind White Party 2015.
  2. Pablo Hernandes. Andrew Christian model and official man of White Party.
  3. DJ Abel Aguilera – Legendary circuit party DJ, celebration his 20th year at White Party.
  4. Trenton Ducati. Porn star, talent manager, and official man of White Party.
  5. Vinny Vega. Official Go-Go dancer of White Party.
  6. DJ Gustavo Scorpio. One of the hottest DJ/producers on the Latin-American music scene.
  7. Dan Bevan. Canadian model and official man of White Party.
  8. David Diosa. Ducati model and official Go-Go dancer of White Party.
  9. Topher Dimaggio. Gay porn actor, model and Official man of White Party.


8 things gay men need to start doing, immediately

Miami Winter Party 2015

 

There are many things that gay men need to stop doing, but instead of focusing on the negative, and perhaps the things we either can’t change, or are out of our control, it’s time to embrace the things we can do to make our lives a whole lot better. These are just a few of the things gay men need to start doing, immediately, to be healthier, more realistic, and to help build a better community.

  1. Be yourself. No matter what other people say, always stick to your ethics and morals. Never bend because of peer pressure. Be authentic, real, and true to you. Surround yourself with people and things that boost your self-confidence. You deserve it!
  2. Dress appropriately. As the years go by, you wardrobe should be saying bye-bye. While no one expects you to have a closet full of the latest and most expensive fashions, you should be dressing appropriately for your age, and your body type.
  3. Accept everyone. The LGBT community has be begging for equality rights for decades, and as those rights are slowly being granted, we are our own worst enemy of discrimination and racism within the gay community. Way too many gay men judge against each other because of their culture, skin colour, ethnic background, religion, clothing style, or other ridiculous reasons. We’re a diverse and colourful community; embrace it!
  4. Meet Mr. Right Now. Clearly holding out for Mr. Right hasn’t been working, so instead of waiting for your prince to come along, ask a few guys you already know, or guys you think maybe aren’t quite your type, out on a date. You’ll be surprised. At the least, you’ll make some new connections and get to know more about the other guys in your community.
  5. Quit slut shaming. Some people are more sexually active and have more sexual partners than you. There’s nothing wrong with that. For some people, sex is sacred, and for others, it’s pleasure. Each person has their own comfort level and express their sexuality in their own way.
  6. Get tested regularly. Knowing your status is incredibly important. Even if you don’t have a lot of sexual partners, or if you think you are in a monogamous relationship, you still need to protect yourself and stay on top of it. Partners cheat. You can’t look at someone and tell if they are HIV positive detectable. Your partner might not have been recently tested. Condoms aren’t always used.
  7. Put your phone away. If you’re out at a club, restaurant, or coffee shop, instead of staring at your phone, enjoy some real face time with real people. Put your phone on DND and into your pocket and try have a undistracted social experience, either with friends, or meeting new people. You’ll be amazed. It’ll be like experiencing the world pre-mobile. You’ll love it! #OldSchool
  8. Clean up your act. It’s time to put away the drugs and stop smoking. Both are completely unhealthy and turn-offs for most guys. Instead, get together with a hand-crafted cocktail or a nice bottle of wine. You’ll be a lot more classier.

What other ideas do you have that gay men need to start doing immediately, to improve themselves and the LGBT community. Leave your answers in the comment box below.


Pumped-Up Peña Colada

Pumped-Up Peña Colada featuring banana Muscle MLK

Summer is just around the corner. You know it’s coming up quickly. You’re determined to stick to your diet, hit the gym as hard as you can, and now that the weather is nicer, get outside more often. Still, it’s hard to sit down with a group of friends on the weekend, especially at brunch after at tough morning workout, when everyone is ordering mimosas, Caesars, and other breakfast drinks. You’re thinking to yourself that you want one so bad, but you really need to stick to your low-cal, high-protein diet. You’re summer six-pack isn’t going to happen by drinking your calories over breakfast.

Turns out, you do have some pretty tasty, protein packed options. The Pumped-Up Pena Colada can be made with fresh, natural ingredients, with Muscle MLK, to become a healthier weekend drink option. The natural sweetness from the coconut milk and pineapple juice means you don’t need any added sugar or sweeteners. The result is a fantastic, protein-rich cocktail that will help your muscles heal, while you sit back in the sunshine making summer plans with your friends.

  • 2 oz Stolichnaya Vodka
  • ½ oz Coconut Milk
  • ½ oz Pineapple Juice
  • 2 oz Banana Muscle MLK

Place one cup of ice into a blender. Add Stolichnaya Vodka, coconut milk, pineapple juice and Banana Muscle MLK. With the lid tightly secured, pulse until the ice and liquid becomes a thick, smooth consistency. Pour into a frozen peña colada glass and garnish with a fresh slice of pineapple, maraschino cherry and paper umbrella.


Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

Counts Kustoms is an awesome television show based on a vehicle restoration shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Owned by Danny “Count” Koker, Counts Kustoms specializes in restoring vintage automobiles.

Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

Each episode of Counts Kustoms features a unique and cool automobile that undergoes a complete restoration by Danny’s crew of top-notch team of experts. From body and mechanical, to paint and upholstery, these rides receive a complete bumper-to-bumper, top-to-bottom overhaul. The result is one-of-a-kind cars that are as good, if not better, than when it was originally on the showroom floor.

Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

When a customer wants a vehicle restored, Danny and the team meet with the owner to talk about what they want done to the vehicle and set a budget. Once the paperwork is all done, the team sets out on their mission, to turn a heap of scrap into a work of art, using as many original parts as possible. No detail is too small and nothing is overlooked.

The original 1932 Ford Roadster which was used as a model for the Mattel Hot Wheels toy car

Being a die-hard car guy, Danny doesn’t just restore cars, he also collections them. He has an entire warehouse of vehicles in his personal collection, ranging from Cadillac’s, which are his personal favourite cars, to the original 1932 Ford Roadster, which was the model for the famous 1980’s Mattel Hot Wheel’s toy car.

Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

Visitors to the shop are welcome to take a cruise through Counts Kustoms to see his impressive collection, which include chops, vintage, retro and unique vehicles. The showroom also features cars other unique and fun items that have appeared on the show over the years. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll be surprised as how many vehicles you’ll recognize from the show, that you can see up-close and in-person.

Cruise through Counts Kustoms in Las Vegas

Located just a few minutes off the Las Vegas strip at 2714 S. Highland Drive, the showroom is open to the public, free of charge, weekdays from 9:00am – 5:00pm, and 10:00am – 5:00pm on weekends.


Get to know the hot and sexy Gaysian cub, Eli Lewis

Meet gay adult entertainer and pocket Gaysian, Eli LewisEli Lewis, a relatively new face in the gay porn industryIn. He’s a hot, sexy, pocket Gaysian cub who loves kink. But beyond his incredible good looks, when he’s off camera, he’s an incredibly sweet guy who you just want to get to know.

Eli Lewis lives in New York City. He recently moved into the adult entertainment industry, working both as an escort and as a porn actor, after spending five years as a dancer.

“My biggest personal success was being able to turn my childhood dreams into a reality and career,” explains gay porn actor, Eli Lewis. “No, not being a porn performer. I was a professional ballet and contemporary dancer for five years before choosing to retire. I worked hard to get to where I wanted to be professionally, and had the honor and privilege to work with some of the most talented performers in the industry. I quit fairly early on in my career simply because I lost the drive and passion for the art. I woke up one day and, instead of being filled with a surge of excitement for the day to come, began to dread it. I didn’t want something that I loved so much to turn into something I deigned, so I decided to take a step back and follow a different path.”

A long-standing dance career taught Eli Lewis many skills, including how to tip-toe gracefully across a stage in front of a huge audience. Unfortunately, some of those skills didn’t exactly translate into the common world, which occasionally results in some embarrassing moments.

“I’m a former ballet dancer and am oftentimes regarded or expected to be graceful on and off the stage, which is completely false,” Eli Lewis said. “I am as clumsy as a newborn giraffe when it comes to pedestrian movement such as walking into things and people. It’s not necessarily from a lack of spacial awareness, I’m just awkward.”

While he may have some minor faults, like walking down a sidewalk causing havoc and chaos on the streets of Manhattan, he takes all areas of life seriously, especially healthy living. Working in the adult entertainment industry requires a lot of dedication and a lot of care and attention to your body. Eating healthy and exercising play an important role in any entertainers’ lifestyle. This is also true for Eli Lewis.

“I only recently began working out in the last six months and have made it a huge priority in my lifestyle,” explained Eli Lewis. “I hit the gym about 4-5 days a week, giving a 1-2 day rest period in between sessions depending on the intensity of the workout as well as constraints of my own busy schedule. What I love about it, outside of the obvious physical transformation, are a renewed sense of confidence, general feeling of heightened health and well being, and the discipline it teaches and promotes.”

Who wouldn’t want a boyfriend that works out, pays attention to his health, and works in the porn industry? Well, like just about any other single gay man can attest, Eli Lewis has also has his own challenges when it comes to dating.

“It’s not for a lack of putting myself out there that I’m single, it’s simply that my previous ventures into dating have been unfruitful,” said Eli Lewis. “I also actively choose to be single right now because my schedule and goals just don’t typically allow for me to spend any more time than I do with myself, my friends, and my dogs. If I really wanted to be in a relationship, I certainly would be – it’s just not a current priority. If I find someone who is on my pace, I’m certainly open to exploring that more.”

If you think that you have a shot of dating Eli Lewis, it’s not going to come as easy as tweeting him, sending him a message on Grindr, or hunting him down at a club that he’s go-go dancing at. Eli is a guy who has style and class, and prefers to take things a little slower, with people he already knows and feels comfortable with.

“I tend to date guys whom I’ve already known as a friend or acquaintance so it’s not at all too forward for me to ask if I could make them a home-cooked meal,” Eli Lewis explained. “I love a good intimate and personal setting for trying to get to know someone on a deeper level, whether that’s at a restaurant or one of our homes – but since I love to cook, I typically would want to host a date at my apartment.”

Ok, so just because you may not get a chance to go on a date with Eli Lewis, doesn’t mean that if you see him out one night at the bar, doesn’t mean you can’t buy him a drink. Drinks are always welcome.

“My favourite cocktail varies depending on my mood,” said Eli Lewis, describing some of his favourite cocktails. “I love whiskey straight, which is probably the only thing straight about me. Otherwise, I order whiskey and ginger or gin and tonic but if I had to choose, my specific brands of whiskey are the three kings: Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker, and Jim Beam, with my favorite gin brands being Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire.”

If you’re a vodka drinker, and you want to down a couple of vodka-drinks with Eli Lewis, we highly suggest cocktails make with Stolichnaya vodka. Thank goodness we have tons of amazing Stoli cocktail ideas!

Eli Lewis is going all-in on his career in adult entertainment. He has a lot of big plans, not just as an escort or a gay porn actor, but venturing off into other areas.

“I’m currently producing and starring in an original web series written by my dear friend, Paul Victor, called MESS,” explains Eli Lewis. “It is the fictionalized account of his experience of moving to New York City to pursue his dream of being actor and being diagnosed with HIV within the first 6 months. The show centers around four best friends as they struggle to live their lives in the Big Apple and deal with the new reality of one of their own coming to terms with his diagnosis. We start filming in the beginning of April and plan on releasing six episodes of the first season later in the fall! You can find and follow us on Twitter @ and LIKE our Facebook page for updates and behind the scenes content!”

Keep watching and subscribe to HomoCulture.ca for more stories in the coming weeks and months about Eli Lewis. He’s an awesome guy with a huge and exciting future ahead of him.


Does your age determine your risk of HIV infection?

Does your age determine your risk of HIV infection?

There are multiple factors that go into determining your risk of contracting HIV. While some people may be shocked that someone who has many sexual partners could be at a lower risk than someone who is in their early 20’s, it all comes down to understanding who is at risk, and why.

A new tool produced by the CDC assigns points to calculate your risk of HIV, based one a number of determining factors. One of the factors in calculating your risk is your age. Points are assigned based on your age range:

  • 8 points if between 18-28 year old;
  • 5 points if 29-40 years old;
  • 2 points if 41-48 years old; and
  • 0 points if >49 years old.

The risk assessment tool suggest if you score 10 or greater, you are a candidate for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). It doesn’t take much more for a young person to be considered a good candidate. Remember, age is a question independent of questions on reported sexual behaviour. The tool also gives you points based on the amount of sex, condom use, and drug use (specifically old Tina).

So why is age a factor? The answer is… We don’t exactly know. Sexual experiences and sexual education are two strong factors. The average receive very little sexual education, especially on HIV prevention, however, as the years pass, we learn, through conversations, Google searches, talking with physicians, get tested more frequently, talk to partners in advance of sexual contact, and our own sexual experiences. We become wiser and more aware with age. The risk factor tool for this exercise is based on data collected by the CDC.

That data shows, regardless of the sexual behaviour or condom use you report, you’re at greater risk of contracting HIV if you’re a younger man who has sex with men. It will take more research to drill into this if a more precise tool is to be developed but, in the meantime, it’s only possible to speculate. Here are two possible reasons for why age is a risk factor by itself.

Sexual network

People generally have sex with people around their own age – generally! This is significant for a number of reasons. While 14% of people with HIV are unaware they are infected, this number is an alarming 50% among younger people. People in their 20s and 30s represent the bulk of new HIV infections. And even if they do know they are infected, less than one in five young people are on antiretroviral treatment. So what does this mean? If you’re having sex with guys in their 20s and even 30s, you are dipping your dick and your bum into a risky pool due to high viral loads and this is independent of condom use (which has an effectiveness rate of about 80%).

Think of it this way, if you stick your foot into a pond with a single piranha in it while wearing a rubber boot, you can consider your foot to be pretty safe. However, if you stick your foot into the same pond with thousands of piranha in it, even while wearing a rubber boot, there is some significant risk involved. Keep it in long enough and there’s a good chance you’ll get bitten.

Since older men are generally fucking around with guys who know their status and are on treatment (i.e. have low viral loads), the risk of their sexual network is lower.

Disclosure

As stated earlier, age is an HIV risk factor independent of reported behaviour. In other words, while a young person may say to his health care provider that he only had two sex partners or he says he always used condoms, this may not be true. The data used by the CDC would not be able to take this into account since it’s all based on what people are reporting about themselves.

There are a number of reasons why issues of disclosure affect young men more than older men. One reason is shame – younger people are less likely to have dealt with internalized homophobia or thrown away the shackles of societal expectations. Another is trust in your physician – young men are less likely to have a regular attending physician and trust takes time to build.

Why does this matter?

Knowing the reason why age is a risk factor independent of reported behaviour is important for developing a more precise tool. If a doctor or patient can rule out these other factors, the patient can make a more informed decision about their risk. As always though, going on PrEP is a personal decision that should only be made with the advice and support of your health care provider.


How LGBT organizations use privilege and diversity in their formula for success

Six Gay US Ambassadors

Privilege is when you think something doesn’t pertain to you. It is viewed for the most part, as something to be pointed out and exposed. Most recently there was a national reaction to a picture of six openly gay US ambassadors who were all white with a headline about advancement of LGBT rights.

This created a social media stir with people calling out the problem within the LGBT community about institutions and political systems in the United States being run by privileged and rich white gay men.

In Canada, are we different? In Canada we had our early parliamentary pioneers Swend Robinson, Libby Davies and Bill Siksay as elected officials that helped pave the way for equal rights.

There are no easy answers for this. Most LGBT boards and non-profit organizations have an inclusion and/or diversity policy, yet it still doesn’t ensure engagement or involvement. It could be argued that the reason for the lack of gender diversity is because women and ethnic minorities make less income than gay men and can least afford to be part of boards or community based organizations. Others say diversity itself with respect to ethnicity, youth or gender do not see their images or values represented within boards or organizations and in turn don’t step up to become involved.

There are many forms of privilege in the LGBT community and many narratives that talk about a ladder of privilege. The first step is to name it and be part of the change. This is where the responsibility of privilege comes in.

Privilege can be used in positive ways if the actions are associated for making space for others and creating organizational structures that represent gender and ethnic diversity. These need to be sustainable, create an environment of inclusion and structured for long lasting change. In other words, creating the fertile soil for inclusion. This is not suggesting affirmative action where people are appointed based on gender or ethnicity.

One of the challenges that negatively affect LGBT organizations is tokenism. This is why it is important to engage other groups and collaborate on the vision of inclusion. Successful boards and organizations require knowledgeable people with different professional skills and it needs to be balanced with values around diversity and inclusion in order for success.

It’s time to be part of the change and become part of the community where we are all working together to ensure LGBT organizations are diverse and successful. In addition, new Canadians have a lot to offer by participating on boards, volunteering and providing great experience for future jobs. Many boards and non-profits welcome diversity. Connect with them. Ask to see their policy on inclusion and get involved!


Tasting your way through BC wine regions

MenDrinkingWineThis Thursday, wine lovers in British Columbia are kicking-off an early summer sipping at the British Columbia Wine Appreciation Society (BCWAS)’s 10th Anniversary Gala. As one of the largest wine gathering hosted by the BCWAS, this year’s gala will feature 48 BC wineries and gather hundreds of wine lovers for a taste of the various regions in BC.

So where are the wine regions in BC?

According to Wines of British Columbia, there are an astonishing 186 vineyards and 256 wineries in wine regions across the province! Within the various wine regions in BC, here is the breakdown:

  • 36 in Vancouver Island
    • Vancouver Island has had a long history of winemaking dating back to the early 1920s. Between 1983 and 1990, there were 100 grape varieties identified on the Island. Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and Ortega are those known to be promising and prominent representation of the unique terroir on Vancouver Island.
    • TRY: Blue Grouse Ortega and Pinot Gris for a taste of the cool and refreshing climate of Cowichan Island.
  • 10 in Gulf Islands
    • BC’s newest wine region, the five gulf islands of Salt Spring, Pender, Saturna, Quadra and Hornby, have 10 wineries.
  • 22 in Fraser Valley
    • Located within an hour driving distance from Metro Vancouver, wineries in the Fraser Valley are perfect for a one-day weekend winery visit. The Fraser Valley is rich in agricultural activity and produces acclaimed table wines that are fresh, fruit-forward.
    • TRY: Singletree Siegerrebe for a rich, luscious and highly floral aromatics with notes of peaches, pears and lychee.
  • 131 in Okanagan Valley
    • Known as BC’s top grape-growing region, the Okanagan Valley accounts for nearly 82% of BC’s total vineyard acreage and stretches over 250 kilometers to several outstanding sub-regions including: Kelowna, Summerland, Naramata, Oliver and more.
    • Kelowna is located in the southern interior of BC, along the shores of Lake Okanagan. This region has a vibrant culture of food and wine.
    • TRY:  For a taste of Kelowna, grab a bottle from these wineries: Summerhill Pyramid WinerySpierHead WineryMt Boucherie Family Estate Winery
    • Summerland is a 30-minutes drive, south of Kelowna. It is known as “Bottleneck Drive” for it is a busy highway connecting multiple wineries.
    • TRY: Okanagan Crush Pad‘s collection of Haywire and Narrative wines for a taste of the cool, crisp and aromatic climate of Summerland.
    • Located near Penticton in the Southern Okanagan is Naramata. This is a region of many award-winning wineries nestled along a country road overlooking Okanagan Lake.
    • TRY: Serendipity Winery‘s collection of wines that reflect the flavours and character of Naramata. 
    • At the very southern end of the Okanagan Valley is Oliver, also known as Wine Capital of Canada.
    • TRY: Wines from TIME Estate Winery and Harry McWatters are produced on the best of Okanagan’s most awarded vineyard, Sundial Vineyard. 
  • 13 in Similkameen Valley
    • This is a region that has been growing grapes for decades and many of which continues to produce world-class wines. More recently, wineries have expanded into this region.
  • 20 from emerging regions
    • Other emerging and expanding winery regions in BC include: Shuswap, Lilloet and the Kootenays.

How many of the BC’s winery regions have you tasted?

If you want explore and taste the diversity of BC regions, check out the BCWAS Gala. It features wineries from each of the BC winery regions. Town Hall Brands has put together an informative list of various wineries pouring and the regions they come from.

This post is presented by Okanagan Crush Pad and Haywire Winery in Summerland, British Columbia. Visit Okanagan Crush Pad for a taste of BC’s largest winery region in the Okanagan Valley.

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You could be immune to HIV and not even know it!

If you have the CCR5 gene you could be immune to HIV

Many northern Europeans and their decedents are immune to HIV. Up to 13% of people from Northern Europe are immune to HIV, and up to 10% of the population of the United States and Canada are partially immune. The gene is called CCR5, and it inhibits HIV from infecting a person.

If you have the CCR5 gene from both parents, you would be considered immune to HIV. If one of your parents has passed the gene to you, then you would be partially immune, reducing your changes by about 70%.

Being partially immune means that you do not have as many receptors to allow the HIV virus to enter your body, greatly reducing your risk. Should someone who is partially immune become infected, they would be considered a ‘slow progressor’, meaning they would not get sick from HIV for many years.

For someone who is already HIV positive, they may find knowing they are partially immune and would be less likely to experience difficulties as a result of having HIV. Some HIV positive people who are partially immune have worked with their physician to reduce their HIV medication and maintain an undetectable viral load count.

How to get tested for HIV immunity

www.delta-32.com is a website that provides the test kit (a cotton swab), that you move around in your cheek and mail back to the company. They will then conduct a series of tests and send back the results. The cost is $199 CDN in Canada and $199 USD in the United States.

Why get tested?

Some people may change their sexual behaviours and activities if they knew they were immune to HIV. Some people will worry less about sex and HIV if they know they are immune or partially immune. You have to decide if you wish to know if you are immune to HIV, and if it would be helpful for you.

The FDA has recently approved the use of inserting the CCR5 genes into HIV positive patients to explore a cure for HIV.

Nothing is 100%. In 2002 it was found there were rare cases of ‘immune’ persons who seroconverted and became HIV positive. The chances of becoming HIV positive if you are immune to HIV are extremely low but are not impossible.


Gay Rights Champion Hillary Clinton Running for US President

One of the strongest global and American advocates for LGBT rights around the world launched her second campaign for the White House. Former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and new grandmother Hillary Clinton announced her intention to seek the highest office in the United States through a YouTube video that now seen more than two million hits.

Her video was marked by a diverse group of Americans including an African American couple, Hispanic individuals, and even a lesbian and gay couple.   The video aims to show a different side of Clinton who has been in the public eye for more than two decades. She stated “I am getting ready to do something too” and goes on to say that she’s getting ready to run for president.

Clinton suggests that Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but that the  deck is still stacked for those at the top.   The gay rights champion argues that Americans need a advocate and she wants to that cheerleader.  She’s hitting the road this week heading to Iowa and New Hempire to win the votes of Democratic voters throughout the country.   The Clinton that the world sees today is transformed from the woman in the 2008 presidential election.  She knows her weaknesses and strengths and perhaps most importantly she’s a confident in who she is as a public figure.   Opponents may argue her policies but her standing as a global leader is solid.

Voters throughout the United States of America have a chance to elect a fighter who will fight for their issues, including equal rights for LGBT Americans.  While much progress has been made under President Obama, there remains much work to be done yet.   The Clinton campaign can count a San Francisco gay group “I’d bottom for Hilary” in their pocket.  The “Bottom for Hillary” group suggests that they are a powerful group of people who are willing to bottom for Hillary.  “She is a bad ass bitch.  She is the head bitch in charge.  She is the Ma’dammmmnn President”.

hilaryclinton2I’d bottom for Hillary

It should be intriguing to watch as the 2016 presidential race unfolds.  HomoCulture hopes that all citizens in the US will take time to reflect upon who will fight for equal rights for all as promised by their constitutional documents.

We are curious what you think about Clinton – do you support her for her commitment to gay rights?  Why or why not?  Will she become the first woman president?  Let us know your comments on Twitter by using the hashtags #homoculture and #hilary2016.


Use the power of colour to lighten luggage

Use the power of colour to lighten luggage.

Packing is never easy. The last thing you want is to be toting around excess luggage. Packing smart can save you space and reduce the amount of baggage you are taking. Smart travellers use the power of colour to lighten luggage.

When you’re packing, the goal is to bring the least amount of items with you as possible. It’s also very important to pack clothing in the smallest colour palette range as possible.

Before you start throwing random clothes into your suitcase and end up taking way too many clothes that you’ll never end up wearing on your trip, lay each outfit out on your bed. Plan exactly what you’re going to wear for each day and to each event. This will make your life much easier.

When laying out your clothing, think about what clothing you have that mixes and matches into multiple outfits. When selecting your outfits, try to go as generic as possible in the colours of your clothing. You’ll be surprised at how many outfits you can come up with just by changing a shirt, adding a jacket, switching out accessories, or adding a sweater. Use small accessories, like ties and pocket squares to add a pop of colour and to change up the outfit. Accessories take up way less space compared to jackets, sweaters, etc.

It’s also important to remember not to pack a wide palette of colours. Start by deciding if you’re going to base your trip in black, brown or blue pants. For trips under two days, stick to one colour, for trips under five days you can do two colours, and for trips over five days try to stick to two colours, but you could do all three.

Try not to pack a lot of shoes. Shoes should be coordinated with your outfits. The same rules apply. Try to stick to the same colour palettes. For overnight trips, only bring the shoes that you are wearing and coordinate your clothing around those shoes. For trips under five days, you could bring two pairs of shoes. Make sure you bring shoes that are comfortable, easy to walk in for long distances, and that you are good with wearing for long hours at a time. Avoid bringing shoes that are large or heavy; you don’t want to fight for space or be annoyed with being over weight because you decided to bring a pair of knee-high boots that you’ll only wear to one event for two hours on a 10 day trip.

What tips do you have for deciding which clothes to bring when your travelling? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


11 things every gay man must do

Gay porn star, Brenner Bolton and blogger Brian Webb at HustlaBall Las Vegas 2015

Gay culture is fun, exciting, and full of adventure. The community is full of vibrant and diverse people. While most people who come out embrace many facets of the gay lifestyle, some just want to stick to traditions. There is so much to see, do and to experience in gay life, that without trying it all, you’ll be missing out on so much. Go on, start checking off this big list of things every gay man must do!

  1. March in a gay pride parade. Going to a gay pride parade, event, or festival could be one of the biggest moments after coming out. It’s a celebration with friends, family, and the entire community. Be part of it. Show your pride. Get into the spirit!
  2. Giving back to the community is important. There are so many not-for-profit organizations that could use your support. Every little bit helps.
  3. Dress up in drag. Getting dressed up in drag is not something to take lightly. It’s serious business. It takes a lot of courage. Do it at least once to understand these amazing queens of our LGBT community are all about.
  4. Give leather a try. Exploring BDSM could be one of the most thrilling things you’ll ever experience. You’ll get to discover new things about yourself as you try leather, kink, dom/sub, and other fetishes.
  5. Go to a musical. A live musical is full of song, dance, lighting, elaborate costumes, and creative set designs. It’s a wonderful way to experience a story and be consumed by the happenings on stage. You’ll probably even end up singling along to your favourite songs.
  6. Attend a circuit party. Circuit parties, can be a one night or multi-day events, like the Miami Winter Party Festival. They are music events that go late into the night. Yes, you might need a Red Bull. However, the DJ’s playing these events work really hard putting together amazing sets of music full of re-mixes of the hottest songs, laying down deep baselines to a room full of eager party-goers who are ready to dance all night long.
  7. Check out a professional sport event. Yes, gay men love sports. Who doesn’t want to go to a soccer game to watch the players take their shirts off at the end of the game, or to a football game to see men in tights slap each other on the ass. Plus there’s over-priced beer. It’s a ton of fun.
  8. Visit a bathhouse. Bathhouses aren’t like the creepy ones you hear about from the 70’s and 80’s. Today’s bathhouses are clean and safe. While a whole range of men visit them, some on a frequent basis, they are a great way to explore sexual experiences in a completely new environment.
  9. Try a threesome. A threesome doesn’t have to happen with another couple. Three completely single guys can all hook up. Sometimes it’s cool to join another couple, or for a couple to have a friend join. Just talk about the rules first to everyone is on the same page.
  10. Get tested every 3 months. Knowing your status is super important. Even if you think you’re in a monogamous relationship, you can’t be certain your partner isn’t cheating on you. It’s every persons responsibility to get tested frequently.
  11. Bring your boyfriend home for Christmas. This could be one of the biggest moments with your family after coming out. Christmas is a special time of year when everyone is excited to get together and enjoy each others company. Make your partner feel welcome, introduce him to your parents, and great ready for a holiday of Christmas cheer, together!


Lavender Lust

Lavender Lust cocktail Like a delicate herbal lemonade, the Lavender Lust cocktail is the ultimate drink on a hot sunny day. The botanical flavours from the gin, infused with the oils from the fresh sage and lavender syrup, meld together into a delightful cocktail, bursting with natural flavours.

  • 2 oz Sage-Infused Gin
  • ½ oz Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Lavender Syrup

Fill a mixing glass half full of ice. Add sage-infused gin, lemon juice and lavender syrup. Stir. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a fresh piece of sage.

To make the sage-infused gin, rip 6-8 sage leaves in half and lightly pound with a muddler inside a clean jar. Fill the jar with gin and let the gin sit for a minimum of five hours (up to three days). Once the gin has infused, strain the gin into a sterilized container, removing all the sage leaves. Store sealed in the fridge for up to seven days.

To make lavender syrup, in a large sauce pan, add one cup of water and one cup of sugar. Add three tablespoons of dried lavender. Stir together. Slowly bring to a full boil. Strain into a sterilized glass jar and let cool. Store sealed in the fridge for up to seven days.


9 morning rituals that will change your life

Most people work a 40+hour workweek. We go to the gym, yoga, spin class, run, or find other types of exercise to keep healthy and stay in shape. We have commitments from family and friends we are obligated to keep. Then there is email, the news, favourite TV shows, and social media, all sucking valuable time out of our days.

9 morning rituals that will change your life

Your morning routine can make or break your entire day. From the moment you hear the alarm and your eyes open, you need to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success to make it a great day. Having a regular routine in the morning can help you make sure that you are ready to go. Here are nine morning rituals that will change your life!

  1. Get to the gym. Everyone needs to sweat for an hour a day.
  2. Fuel your body. After the gym fuel up with protein, carbohydrates and fresh fruit. It’ll help repair your muscles faster and get your energized for the day.
  3. Brush your teeth. Not just fresh breath, but healthy teeth. Good oral hygiene can also fend off colds and other viruses.
  4. As soon as you get out of a hot shower is the best time to shave. Your skin is soft and follicles are relaxed, making shaving easier and closer.
  5. Wash your face. After shaving it’s important to wash your face.
  6. Use a toner and moisturizer. Cause everyone wants glowing, younger looking skin. And it only takes a moment to apply.
  7. Make your lunch. When you bring a lunch to work, you’ll eat healthier. From granola and yogurt, to fresh cut celery and carrots, it’s easy to pack a lunch.
  8. If you can’t kick the morning coffee, at least try to cut out the cream, sugar and other syrups. Yup, drink your coffee black. Or try adding protein like Muscle MLK to your coffee. Even better, drink green tea; it’s full of antioxidants and caffeine!
  9. Smell great. Don’t just rely on your deodorant to make you smell good throughout the day. Spritz on a dash of your favourite cologne. Remember to spray it on your skin, not on to your clothing!


Book of Mormon the Musical now playing in Vancouver

Book of Mormon the Musical

The hit Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, has rolled into Vancouver, on it’s final Canadian stop on its current North American tour. Proudly presented by Broadway Across Canada, The Book of Mormon puts a humorous spin on religion.

The travelling Broadway show tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in Uganda, where a gang of warlords are threatening the local villagers. The two newly inducted missionaries, naïve and optimistic, try their best to share their religious views and the sacred scriptures, but have trouble relating the stories to the locals, who have been deceived by other religions in the past and who are more worried about war, famine, poverty and AIDS, than about learning about the Mormon religion.

The musical is co-created by the creative minds behind the hit animated comedy TV show, South Park. To best relate to this musical, you need a basic understanding of the various religions and their scriptures; otherwise, much of the humorous jokes will be lost.

The core cast has settled in, and play off each other very well. The set designs, costumes, lighting and live music bring the entire show to life. The dancing, songs, and storytelling are well done.

For the Vancouver showing, April 7-12, 2015, the show producers will be offering a limited number of seats at reduced rate of $25 per ticket, through a lottery system. Beginning two and a half hours before each performance, each person wishing to participate in the lottery draw for these special seats will print their name and number of tickets they wish to purchase on a special card. Two hours before the curtain time, names will be randomly drawn. There is only one entry allowed, per person, per day, and they must be present at the time of the drawing.

For more information, visit the Book of Mormon musical website.


Treat your bottoms like princesses. 10 things you must do to become a better top.

10 things you must do to become a better top. Bottoms are the most precious gift given to the gay community, offering their beautiful bums to be used and filled. There are many articles advising on how to be a better bottom. But all that effort shouldn’t be one sided – topping involves a lot less preparation, but that means a good top should do what he can to ensure the bottom’s pleasure. Here are 10 things you must do to become a better top.

  1. Lube. It’s your responsibility to supply the lube. Silicone is more viscous and dries out less quickly but it is harder to clean up than water-based lube. You can buy little packets to carry around with you in case of unexpected encounters.
  2. Boner pills. If you’ve ever had trouble staying hard enough before or during anal sex, which generally requires you to be stiffer than for vaginal sex, you probably have felt embarrassed. Get a prescription for some boner pills such as Viagra or Cialis. Viagra works out to be about $5 a dose. There’s no harm in carrying an extra one in your pocket when you go out on a Saturday night; who knows where you’ll end up.
  3. Breathe freshener. There is no bigger turn off than having someone with bad breathe on top of you. Carry some breathe freshener around with you should you have a spontaneous moment.
  4. The safer sex chat. Talk about prophylaxis before you start anything, preferably before you meet up. It is not right to get a guy’s ass hungry for cock during foreplay and then tell him you don’t use condoms. These decisions should be made when both people are thinking rationally and clearly.
  5. Tongue that boy. Nothing gets a guy’s ass hungrier for cock than some good old fashioned analingus. Tonguing that guy’s hole will open it up and get it pre-lubed for dick. If you’re not willing to eat ass, you have no right being a top.
  6. Avoid fingers. If you’re tonguing that boy well, there’s no need to use your digits to loosen him up. Jagged edges on your fingers can cause small tears in the ass, increasing the risk of pain and STI transmission. If you do use them, make sure they’re smooth.
  7. Eye to eye. Unless you’re certain the bottom can handle anything you give him, ensure eye contact can be made while you are first entering him, usually face to face. This way you can sense whether you’re going in too fast or not. Plus, eye contact intensifies the experience when you first enter someone.
  8. Taking the plunge. First entrance is the most delicate moment in sex. You don’t want to tear the guy a new asshole before you’ve even got to fucking. Ease it in slowly, feeling his hole expand around your shaft – if you need to push hard against his hole, you’re plunging in too fast.
  9. Don’t cancel. Bottoms take a lot of time and effort getting their asses prepared and tidy for you. Don’t be a jerk and cancel at the last minute or just not show up. That should apply in all situations but it’s even worse when you do it to a conscientious bottom.
  10. Bottom. That’s right – even if you consider yourself an exclusive top, it’s important to bottom every so often. This reminds you of all the effort that bottoms put in for you and gives you perspective. So bend over and take it like a man.

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Party with Leann Rimes, Kelly Osborne and Frankie Grande at White Party Palm Springs

White Party Palm Springs 2014

It’s an oasis in the middle of the Southern California dessert, but for three days at the end of April, the small resort city of Palm Springs comes alive with one of the largest gay dance party events in the world; White Party Palm Springs.

The annual dessert celebration, held April 24-27, has nine signature events over the three day weekend, featuring unforgettable live performers, over 20 of the hottest DJ’s from around the world, incredible night events, and spectacular daytime pool parties. An event of this caliber brings tens of thousands of sexy gay men flocking for one of the best parties, produced by the legendary king of circuit parties, Jeffery Sanker.

2015 Celebrity Guests:

Grammy award winning artist Leann Rimes to headline White Party Palm Springs 2015

The star performer and headliner of the weekend is legendary Grammy award winner and multi-platinum recording artist, Leann Rimes, who will be performing at the biggest event of the weekend, the Sunday T Dance.

“I am proud to have been a supporter of the LGBT community for as long as I can remember,” said Leann Rimes. “They have continued to embrace me and my music and I am so excited to be headlining the night at what is sure to be one of the best parties of the year.”

From Big Brother and Rock of Ages, star Frankie Grande has been named the official ambassador of White Party 2015.

“As a proud member of the LGBT community, being chosen as a White Party Ambassador is such an honor,” said Frankie Grande. “I was blown away by the event last year and am excited to come back again this year to host the White Carpet arrivals and represent my community.”

International fashion icon and star of E! Entertainment Fashion Police, Kelly Osborne has been named Queen of White Party

International fashion icon and star of E! Entertainment Fashion Police, Kelly Osborne has been named Queen of White Party. Kelly will be officially crowned at a special ceremony when she co-hosts the White Carpet arrivals.

“To be crowned Queen of the White Party in a room full of queens is a dream come true,” said Kelly Osbourne. “I’ve been blessed my entire life to be surrounded by members of the LGBT family who support me as I support them. I am beyond thrilled and honored; now let’s dance!”

What’s new for 2015:

The biggest news for 2015 is the addition of the Wet N Wild party at the Palm Springs Water Park. Held on Saturday afternoon, the 21 acre venue has over 20 waterslides and attractions. A custom stage and sound system will pump music throughout the water park. DJ’s Gustavo Scorpio and DJ Grind will be hitting the decks pumping out hot beats all afternoon. There will be full-service bars throughout the park and a free shuttle will run non-stop to-and-from the Renaissance Hotel.

Ticket holders will also appreciate a new ticketing system for 2015. “White Party has been given a high tech upgrade with ‘fast track’ scanned wristband entry and paperless ticketing, as well as the new White Party smartphone app,” said Jeffery Sanker. “This will reduce time in line and provide faster entry to all events. We’re also adding twice the number of bar stations for the fastest possible service.”

Notable highlights for 2015:

  • Friday night: The Addicted to White Underwear Party will feature music by DJ Kitty Glitter (Australia), DJ Dani Toro (Spain), and DJ Kidd Madonny (South Beach, FL).
  • Saturday afternoon: The Splash Pool Party will feature DJ Dan Slater (Australia), who recently took home top prize at the Sydney Mardi Gras DJ Spin-Off.
  • Sunday afternoon: The Sunday T Dance, featuring DJ Ralphi Rosario, Wayne G., and Paul Goodyear (Australia), has the legendary White Party Ferris Wheel and a choreographed fireworks finale.
  • Sunday Night: The weekend wraps up with the Closing Party, with DJ Abel celebrating his 20th anniversary at White Party.

White Party Palm Springs 2014

White Party Palm Springs is one of the most highly anticipated gay circuit parties throughout the year. The event recently won five awards at the prestigious Just Circuit Awards, including Party Promoter / Producer of the Year, Circuit Party of the Year, Circuit Week / Weekend of the Year, Circuit Performance of the Year, and Best Host Hotel.

Ready to make last minute plans to attend one of the hottest circuit parties? Better hurry! Weekend passes and event tickets are selling fast. You can still buy White Party Palm Springs tickets online. There are still a limited number of rooms available at the official host hotels, The Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel Pal Springs, starting at $289 / night, with a 3-night minimum booking.

For more information check out the full event schedule of White Party Palm Springs 2015.


6 food and wine pairings you need to know right now

Pairing wine and food doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s actually quite easy. Understanding the basics, and the commonalities between food and wine can take your pairing abilities from zero to hero in no time. Here are the basics of what you need to know and understand, along with some examples of awesome pairings to help you get started right away.

Let’s get started with understanding how we taste food. As food is placed in your mouth, your taste buds adapt its perception towards the various levels of flavour components in the food that you are tasting(i.e. sugar, salt, spice, etc.) and the item you taste next or before. A common food interaction is when your orange juice tastes unpleasantly acidic when you drink it after using toothpaste.

When it comes to food and wine pairing, the same food interaction applies. Everyone’s taste buds are different so there’s no golden rule to follow for the perfect food and wine pairing. A good pairing is one your palate enjoy most. That being said, there are still six general guidelines to apply in helping you select a pairing that avoids the negative or unpleasant interactions between food and wine.11081276_807723305980390_3611581737636682103_n

 

1. Sweet likes sweeter:

  • Sweetness in food increases bitterness, acidity and the burning sensation of your wine.
  • Pair with a wine that has the same level of sweetness or more.

2. Unami with fruity wine:

  • Unami is the savoury taste that you experience when you taste Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or a microwaved mushroom.
  • Unami in food increases the bitterness, acidity and the burning sensation of your wine.
  • Pair with a wine that is more fruity than tannic because unami emphasis the bitterness of tannins.

3. Salt with big tannic reds:

  • Salt helps to decrease bitterness and acidity in the wine.
  • Pair food high in salt (i.e. blue cheese) with a wine high in tannin (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon) to help soften some of its harder elements.

4. Acid loves acid:

  • Acid in food adds freshness, sweetness and fruitiness to the wine.
  • The level of acidity in the food should be equal or lower than the wine, otherwise the wine may taste flat, flabby and lacking focus.

5. The bitter it gets:

  • Bitterness in food increases bitterness in wine.
  • Pair bitter food with white wines or low-tannin reds.

6. Spiciness in food:

  • Chilli heat in food increases bitterness, acidity and alcohol burn in wine.
  • Pair with white wines or low tanning reds that are low in alcohol, so you do not experience heightened burning sensation.
  • Fruitiness and sweetness can also reduce chilli heat in food.

BC is home to one of the world’s best wine regions to visit.

This post is presented by Serendipity Winery in Naramata Bench, BC. Serendipity is about the real magic in life, the moments of unexpected but fortunate discovery. Join us for a Naramata wine adventure and ask us about the story behind every bottle.

 


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