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Love It, Leave It: The Atlanta Edition

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Love It, Leave It: The Atlanta Edition

There’s just something about down home southern cooking that makes me swoon. A figurative swoon, but also a literal one; I think the aggressive butter usage makes me a little woozy. Atlanta may have a culinary scene that pays homage to its roots – with fried chicken and shrimp and grits abound – but it’s also one that is increasingly evolving with a profusion of farm-to-table, contemporary eateries. After some thorough field research – visiting my Georgian girlfriend who was based in ATL (or yes, HOTlanta) for the first year of our relationship – I’ve gotten to eat my way through the city with a local always sitting on the other side of the table (or next to me if we feel like being those lesbians).

Love It: Fox Bros. The Optimist. Jeni’s.

Let’s slow it down, in true southern fashion, and check out a few ATL options: a tried and true barbecue joint, an upscale modern eatery and my weakness, a sweet spot.

Photo Credit: Erin Oliveri

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: It took many trips to the A before I finally sat down, wet nap in hand, and crushed some FB BBQ…in the front seat of my girlfriend’s car. There are a couple of reasons for our offbeat lunch locale: 1. Fox Brothers is an Atlanta institution and essentially the first eatery anyone who’s been will recommend. Naturally, this causes the type of lines you’d see at the Apple store the night before a new iPhone release. That’s why we skipped the dine-in queue and waited only about 15 minutes for a take-out order. 2. That freshly smoked meat smell got us good. We couldn’t wait to get home to tear those ribs…and brisket, mac and cheese, collard greens and fried pickles…apart. (I’m regretting not lying earlier in my story and saying we were with a youth soccer team.) Ask for extra barbecue sauce and go eat in Piedmont Park to avoid the wait. We also did a nice stroll along the Beltline to feel slightly better about our buffet-style consumption.

Photo Credit; Erin Oliveri

The Optimist: When in a landlocked city, my first inclination isn’t to pull up a seat in a seafood-forward restaurant. My mind races – where did the fish come from? Did they have a connecting flight? Did they fly cramped in coach or have a lay-flat seat in first? (The most basic questions, obviously.) But, between my extensive research and rave reviews from my girlfriend’s mates, The Optimist (from beloved local chef Ford Fry) had slowly eked its way to the top of our restaurant list. This spot isn’t the easiest to grab a reservation at, but luckily, when I called, the host suggested a stealthy swoop of the small tables surrounding the seafood bar in front. Mission accomplished. Not only do you get an awesome view of the bearded hipsters shucking your future oysters, the massive king crab legs on ice are pretty easy on the eyes. Start off with a smattering of oysters; these bi-coastal bivalves hail from Massachusetts all the way to Washington. And who doesn’t love grilled branzino and peaches (gotta love Georgia)? The seafood options are all top-notch.

Photo Credit: Erin Oliveri

Jeni’s: I had unknowingly tasted Jeni’s before, but via frozen pint during an indulgent shop at Dean & Deluca’s in Manhattan. These artisanal ice creams hit the wallet hard, anywhere from $10-$15 a pint, but I have #noregrets. This Ohio-based chain has two brick and mortar stores in the city – one in Krog Street Market and the other in the Westside Provisions District – full of ridiculously unique and impressive flavor mash ups (i.e. goat cheese and red cherries). Try the mini trio dish so you can mix and match these quirky combos. Also, Jeni, if you’re reading this, I beg of you to open a NYC outpost. Thank you kindly.

Leave It: Fritti.

Inman Park is a quaint culinary nook in the A – from BeetleCat, another hot spot from the Fry empire, to Barcelona , a trendy tapas spot with a scroll of a wine list. Another bustling eatery on this mini restaurant row is Fritti, beloved by most locals for its wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas. If you’re a pizza snob (which my friends endearingly call me), Fritti is going to miss the mark. The quintessential charred, raised Neapolitan crust seemed absent, along with the flavor. This might be a local favorite for a pie, but if you head out and amble around Inman for a few minutes, you’re bound to find a more solid meal.

Originally posted 2017-07-24 17:28:41.

Erin Oliveri is the definition of an adventurous nomad — from eating highly questionable street food in Bangkok to plunging off of one of the highest bungee jumps in the world — there’s nothing she won’t try when traveling. A native New Yorker, Erin has eaten her way through nearly 40 countries and six continents — Antarctica, she’s coming for you next. She’s also pretty obsessed with puns, not going to the gym, and her French Bulldog, Toulouse (Erin’s #1 eating buddy and frequent star on her Instagram).

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Danica Roem Earns Seat in Virginia’s State Legislature

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I’ve previously written about Danica Roem and how she, a transgender woman, made history by winning Virginia’s Democratic primary in June. She’s done it again! On November 7th, Roem defeated Bob Marshall, a man who once referred to himself as “chief homophobe,” in Virginia’s House of Delegates election.

Who is Danica Roem?

Danica Roem was born in 1984 at Prince William Hospital in Manassas and went to Catholic school for thirteen years of her life. She attended St. Bonaventure University where she majored in journalism. She graduated in 2006 and reported for the Gainesville Times and eventually for the Prince William Times. Danica also wrote about schools, development, business, and transportation. In 2012, she started her transition and in December of 2013, she began hormone replacement therapy. Her name changed occurred in 2015 and her coworkers were supportive of her. She was eventually hired as the news editor of the Montgomery County Sentinel in Rockville Maryland, where she worked from August 2015 until the end of 2016. After, she left her position at the newspaper to run for office.

A major victory for trans rights

By defeating long-standing Republican and firm social conservative Bob Marshall, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender official to be elected in Virginia and made history by being the first transgender person to be seated in a state legislature. This is a huge step for LGBTQ rights, as transgender individuals are heavily discriminated against in many forms, such as workplace discrimination and discrimination in regard to using public bathrooms. By electing Roem and ousting Marshall, Virginia, a traditionally conservative state, is showing that more and more Virginians are moving toward positive change.

So who exactly is Bob Marshall, the man that Roem defeated? Marshall was elected to the House of Delegates in the early 1990s and has run and won every single election until this year. He authored Virginia’s 2006 “One man, one woman” bill that supports the idea that marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman, is anti-abortion and opposes tax funding of Planned Parenthood, purposely uses disingenuous language to undermine the struggles of the LGBTQ community, is against gay men from serving in Virginia’s National Guard because he believes that there would be an increase in the spreading of STDs, and is in favor of legal discrimination against LGBTQ people. He is very clearly anti-LGBTQ and holds views that go counter to the direction that this country is heading in.

A way forward for Virginians

In contrast, Roem is in favor of raising the minimum wage in Virginia, making preschool more accessible, vows to increase teacher pay, wants to decrease bullying and discrimination in schools and promises to create a more inclusive Virginia by making sure people do not get singled out based on sexual orientation, race, gender, or disability. Her experience as a journalist helped her gain excellent listening skills. Because of that, Roem is able to listen to the residents of Prince William County and help achieve what needs to be done. According to her bio page, she promises to tackle public issues the way she wrote news stories: by researching, questioning, listening, and reporting. By electing her, the residents of Virginia showed that they were tired of Marshall’s antiquated (and frankly) bigoted views and wanted a real change. Bob Marshall won fourteen consecutive general elections which definitely displayed Virginia’s views but this year created a huge change. In the wake of all of the tension within the United States government, Danica Roem offers a much-needed and refreshing perspective on how people view transgender people. Hopefully, this will be a crucial catalyst in the fight for transgender and LGBTQ rights and an important stepping stone in the fight for equality.  

Originally posted 2017-11-14 15:36:41.

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#FiveFilms4Freedom LGBT+ Film Festival

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The #FiveFilms4Freedom 2017 film festival is travelling across the pond this November. Originally hosted in Britain this past March, it is the first and largest LGBT+ film festival, and has featured independent LGBT+ short films from around the globe.

The film festival began in 2014 in Britain, sponsored by the British Council and the British Film Institute. It is a part of the larger BFI Flare film festival, which began in 1986, and is sponsored by the Love is GREAT Britain Campaign. .

This year’s #FiveFilms4Freedom festival marked 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Britain. As such, all five films were created by UK filmmakers.

After the films premiered in the UK in March, they were brought to Washington, D.C. on November 1, and will be shown in Los Angeles on November 13 and in New York City on November 16. The festival will also feature a panel of prominent LGBT+  rights advocates from the US and the UK, as well as two participating directors.  

The films focus on a range of LGBT+ relationships and issues. The majority of them are love stories; Crush tells the story of a young girl who finds herself smitten with another girl she sees at a train station, Heavy Weight deals with a young male boxer and his reaction to the arrival of a new fighter, and Jamie is a very modern story about a man who bravely decides to meet with the man he has been talking to on a dating site. The other two films explore very different experiences in the LGBT+ community. Still Burning is about a young migrant living in Paris who shows his brother the exciting and freeing voguing movement. The title is taken from the film Paris is Burning, a documentary about the voguing movement in New York City and its effect on the African American, Latino, gay and transgender communities. The final film is a documentary set in Scotland, entitled Where We Are Now, and focuses on a transgender parent and her bisexual daughter.

The BFI Flare festival as well as #FiveFilms4Freedom have given the LGBT+ community an excellent place for celebration and representation, especially in the UK. With the decriminalization of homosexuality 31 years ago, British LGBT+ representation is extremely important because it has only been able to exist for a short amount of time. The festival allows filmmakers to make LGBT+ people and relationships extremely public, and continues to encourage and support the idea that LGBT+ people can make and star in incredible pieces of media. The move from showing the films in Britain alone to showing them in the US will hopefully continue to encourage the rise of LGBT+ relationships in mainstream media as well as in independent media.

Tickets for the festival in New York City are still available for reservation here. The festival is on November 16 from 6 – 9 PM at the Barclays-ASK Auditorium on Seventh Avenue. The festival is also currently accepting submissions for next year’s festival here.

Originally posted 2017-11-13 21:00:23.

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Online Dating While Genderqueer #notokcupid

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Anatomy, pronouns, sexual orientation. These suddenly become much more important when talking to cis men online. I often don’t disclose my gender identity or pronouns in conversation because I don’t want to scare folks away. I also figure it’s more of a 2nd date conversation. I do mention my pronouns in my bios, though. I don’t want to hide my gender identity, but I also don’t want to talk about it a lot. There’s more to me than just my gender (or lack thereof), and I’m not interested in teaching Queer Theory 101 courses when we could be talking about movies, or where we grew up, or which Disney Princess is our favorite. It’s an exhausting thing to talk about – there’s a lot of emotional energy and work involved, often met with even more invasive questions, a sense of entitlement, and arguments.

Living in Brooklyn, dating can be exhausting. A major pro is the seemingly endless amount of options/available folks. At the same time, a major con is the seemingly endless amount of options/available folks. There is a lot of sifting and sorting that needs to be done before even meeting someone in real life. Here are three dating apps I’ve used, and my experiences with each.

OKCupid

OKCupid is one of my favorite dating platforms thus far. The expansive options for gender identity/sexual orientation, and the option to not be seen by straight people, is validating and creates a safer space for an already vulnerable venture. OKCupid does require a bit more work – not only in filling out your profile, but when looking for cuties. There is a swipe feature, just like Tinder and Bumble, but OKC is a better platform for folks interested in dating, not just hookups.

Bumble

Bumble has been a recent favorite of mine, simply because of fast results. I get to know within seconds of a swipe if someone also likes me, and I have to message first within 24 hours, giving me the power to initiate conversation. If the other person doesn’t reply within 24 hours, then the connection is lost. I enjoy this feature because I get to set the tone. Getting a dick pic instead of “Hello, I also adore the film ‘Nacho Libre’” is a much less successful and appealing opener. Bumble is not as trans or queer friendly. There are two gender options for your identity and who you are looking to talk to, and you must select one for each. You can also only change your gender once – so you better decide which end of the binary you’d like to claim, and stick with it!

Side note: I’ve also heard that Michael Che is on Bumble. Michael – if you’re reading this, let’s get coffee?

Tinder

OH GEEZ. I had a tinder account for quite a while, and haven’t been back on it in over a year. Apparently, it has gotten more trans inclusive, with a total of 37 gender identity choices. Tinder is the ultimate hookup app. That doesn’t mean one couldn’t find folks seeking other types of interactions, the likelihood might just be slimmer. To me, Tinder feels like a frat party, and I’m not in Greek Life.

When Life Gives You Interactions with Dumb Bois, Make a Hashtag

On any dating platform, you’re bound to have some … interesting conversations. The internet is powerful – it makes people braver, ruder, and sometimes dumber. When I’m getting harassing messages from dumb bois, I feel safer telling them off than I do in real life. I’m less likely to get assaulted, physically and/or emotionally. I also screenshot EVERYTHING. If you feel comfortable talking to me that way, then I’m sure you won’t mind me sharing that with the entire world. Here are some memorable interactions I’ve had that I’ve posted to my personal Instagram:

Notice how he doesn’t deny it… #notokcupid #smelly

A post shared by Sara W (@swhitt17) on

So greedy. #notokcupid

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When he’s a dumb boy but also loves @rupaulofficial ? #notokcupid

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN!! #notokcupid

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… but you're not a feminist? #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm #notokcupid

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Boy, can I relate. #notokcupid

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Originally posted 2017-11-13 18:58:09.

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