Cutie Gay Baker Huascar Aquino Competes on 'Chopped'

My face instantly lit up on Tuesday night when I saw that openly gay baker (and my good friend) Huascar Aquino was competing on the legendary food competition show Chopped.

Huascar's story is really one that is embedded in the American dream. I first got to know him three years ago after I reviewed a similar location in New York City (for a separate publication) and a mutual friend of ours recommended that I try his place as well. At the time it was called H Bake Shop (that spot has since closed and is now Huascar & Co. Bake Shop). So I took a friend to see what the fuss was about, and suffice to say, I left with the happiest smile on my face as what Huascar was able to create for us was truly unlike anything I have had before.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States a number of years ago where he developed a love for pastries by learning at the Internationally renowned French Culinary Institute Of New York City. Just a heads up this is the same place that LEGENDS in the culinary industry such as Bobby FlayDavid Chang & Dan Barber have gone to and where deans include just the run of the mill dynasties in their own rights like Jacques PepinJose Andrews and Jacques Torres are deans there.  You know, no big deal whatsoever. 

After his time at the FCI, he honed his abundance of talent at historic NYC locations like The Four Seasons and Landmarc, which then led to him opening up his own location a couple of years ago.  Oh, and one more thing.  Huascar won on the Food Network hit show Cupcake Wars back in 2013, in which the theme was for Jessica Alba’s brand The Honest Company. The win came with a sweet $10,000 dollar prize and national recognition, which is great for anyone regardless of what their field is. You can watch that episode here.

He officially opened up his second location, Huascar & Co. Bake Shop in early 2017, which has earned him a ton of fanfare and praise from food critics and people alike. His location has earned 4.5 stars on both Yelp and Facebook and with good reason. HIs sweets that he creates are out of this world amazing. If you are ever in New York City, please try his PB & J and Scarlet Velvet Cupcakes. It tastes better than a hot dude, no joke. 

Huascar competed on Tuesday night's Chopped, where Martha Stewart was the judge for this round (she's appearing on the newest season of the long-running cooking competition program). It didn't surprise me that he made it all the way to the final round and impressed the three judges along the way because he is just that good. Sadly, he lost in a very tight battle, but I know what an amazing baker and chef he is and he should be proud that he got that far, not just on the show... but in life.

For more information on Huascar and his location, click here.


5 Potential Headliners for World Pride in New York City Next Year

As someone who resides in The Big Apple, I can already tell you that the excitement around this city hosting World Pride in 2019 is already building and we haven't even had our own pride yet this year (next weekend). 

Yes, NYC is the first domestic city in the United States to host World Pride. It's extra special as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, so we sort of feel obliged to make it that much more incredible and best previous cities like Madrid and Toronto in the process (no shade).

This year's NYC pride headliner is Kylie Minogue, which is fabulous and she would be a wonderful addition for next year's should she decide to come back. But let's get down to the brass tax: World Pride 2019 needs several amazing headliners as we want this to be something we truly never forget. One simply isn't enough.

This is also something that people from all around the world will be flying in for, so the international presence will need to be felt on some level with the people who will perform. That being said, here are 5 artists (err, 6) who I think would be an absolute thrill to have at World Pride next June.

Ricky Martin: We've seen one of our own perform at sold out stadiums all over the world, and that heat that he brings in all of his performances can easily translate to the stage that will be World Pride. 

Madonna/Lady Gaga: Y'all want a gag? Get these two to perform... separately, and together. Chances are Gaga will more than likely be there, given that she's from New York, but to have both these ladies who are massive LGBTQ icons under one roof would almost be too good to be true. 

Jennifer Lopez: J. Lo, similar to Ricky, knows how to put on a show. She's captivating the minute she hits the stage, and she's adored by the gay community. Just like Gaga, she's a fellow New Yorker, and would make our city proud with one of her fierce performances.

Sam Smith: One of our own, is cute, and can sing like no other. He would be perfect for a part during pride where we are waving our lighters back and forth while singing along to "Stay with Me".

Beyonce: Take what she did at Coachella but with an LGBT angle. Think about it. You're welcome.

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 





Is Calling Your Lover 'Daddy' on Father’s Day Weird?

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday, June 17th. It's traditionally a day where people celebrate the father in their lives, whether that be their actual dad, uncle, grandfather, and so on and so forth.

But does this also give gay men a reason to call their lover "daddy" on this national holiday (perhaps renaming it "National Daddy's Day"?) Furthermore, is it an excuse to celebrate it as well even though its technically designed for actual fathers and not a man(men) you are in a relationship/FWB situation with?

The term "daddy" has developed into so much more than a man's chronological age when it comes to them being put into this category. Recent studies have found that it is more of a state of mind, as well as other factors that include sexual positions, looks, and more. 

Outside of that, can you actually celebrate Father's Day with a man (or men) you call daddy? HUD App, a casual dating app with an honest approach to online dating, recently conducted a survey of 1,000 users on their use of pet names - or nicknames given by people to those who they have sex with, in relation to this question. 

This included a separate section strictly for men who identify as gay or bisexual. The first question they asked were "what do you think of people calling their partners daddy, papi, or papa?" The results were broken down into this:

  • 34.7 percent said "I like it."
  • 28.4 percent said "If my partner wanted to..."
  • 28.4 percent said "No thanks, not my style."
  • 8.4 percent said "Strictly in the bedroom."

The second question revolved around what pet name gay or bisexual men call their partner most often.

  • 52.6 percent said "Babe."
  • 29.5 percent said "I don't use pet names."
  • 11.6 percent said "Boo or Bae."
  • 2.1 percent said "Mommy, Momma or Mami."
  • 2.1 percent also said "Daddy, Papa or Papi."

It's interesting that so many men agree with people calling their partners any form of the word "daddy" yet so little of us actually use it. 

Do you plan on celebrating Father's Day with the "daddy" in your life?



Rotten Tomatoes Unveils Epic Lists for Pride Month!

Rotten Tomatoes' users have spoken out regarding what they think are the ten best LGBTQ films and television shows of the 2010's.

It is known for being one of the top websites for users to review movies and television shows, and has also drawn a major influence on whether both elements will fair well at the box office and on the small screen. Being certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes over a certain percentage generally means that success is on the way for what you produced.

Now they have curated a list of the best LGBTQ films and television shows since 2010 by their Tomatometer score. The diverse lists celebrate the best storytelling of the queer community from Academy Award and Emmy Award-winners to less well known foreign language projects. 

Take a look at what made the top 10 of both lists below:


  1. God’s Own Country (2017) - Certified Fresh at 99%
  2. Moonlight (2016) - Certified Fresh at 98%
  3. BPM (2017) - Certified Fresh at 98%
  4. Tangerine (2015) - Certified Fresh at 97%
  5. Tomboy (2011) - Certified Fresh at 97%
  6. Call Me By Your Name (2016) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  7. Behind The Candelabra (2013) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  8. Carol (2015) - Certified Fresh at 95%
  9. Pariah (2011) – Certified Fresh at 94%
  10. A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) – Certified Fresh at 94%


  1. Banana (2015) - Fresh at 100%
  2. The Fosters (2013 - 2018) Fresh at 97%
  3. Queer Eye (2018 - TBD) Certified Fresh at 96%
  4. Pose (2018 – TBD) Certified Fresh at 96%
  5. Orange is the New Black (2013 – TBD) Fresh at 91%
  6. Cucumber (2015) Fresh at 91%
  7. Looking (2014 – 2015) Fresh at 90%
  8. Will & Grace (2017 – TBD) Certified Fresh at 86%
  9. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (2018) - Certified Fresh at 86%
  10. Sense8 (2015 – 2018) Fresh at 86%

Rotten Tomatoes' editorial staff also named their 150 Best LGBT Movies of All Time.” For more information on Rotten Tomatoes, click here.

Justin Bieber Hugs and Comforts a Gay Fan

Justin Bieber showcased his support for one particular member of the LGBTQ in a really amazing way earlier this week.

A viral video has hit the web that shows the “Sorry” singer talking to a gay fan after leaving church. He’s surrounded by a ton of fans, one of which asks him if his church welcomes LGBTQ people.

“Isn’t your church, like, really inclusive of the gay community?” she asked. He told her that everyone is welcome.

She then opened up to him about recently coming out as queer and her struggles to find an inclusive church because of her own homophobia that she’s experienced in the Catholic community.

“Yeah, that breaks my heart for you,” he replied. "I’m so sorry. That’s not okay. If you ever want to come to any of the services, we’d love to have you in there. You’re more than welcome to come any time.”

Christian singer Trey Pearson, who fronts the band Everyday Sunday, challenged Justin on how his church operates, saying:

Pearson spoke to Billboard about it on Wednesday where he further discussed Hillsong and his beliefs that they are not really down for the LGBTQ community.

"I wonder where Justin Bieber stands, because he has a bunch of LGBT fans, but he goes to a church that is not affirming," Pearson said. "I wonder if he believes it’s wrong to be gay, because his church does. His church forced staff to step down at the New York Hillsong, people that were on the worship team, because they were gay and wanted to get married and be out publicly."

What does he suggest Justin do now?  "I think he could force the conversation. If you’re going to be so vocal for a church that does damage to at least thousands of LGBT lives, if you’re going to at least associate yourself with that, if you’re silent, then you’re an accomplice in it. You are part of that problem. I just want him to think that if he really does care about LGBT people and he’s going to stay with that church, then I think he needs to speak out about it and say something. If not, your silence is continuing to do damage just like everyone else’s that continue to allow churches like that to marginalize our community."

Justin has spoken up for the LGBTQ community in the past and his support for us. He was called "gay" on social media back in 2015, to which he replied "I'm not gay but even if I was that's not an insult."

New Hampshire Bans Two Major Anti-LGBT Issues

New Hampshire is giving us two more fantastic reasons to celebrate pride month.

They have officially outlawed gender-based discrimination as well as gay conversion therapy for minors. What's even more incredible is that the man who signed the bills banning this happens to be a Republican.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the corresponding bills (House Bill 1319, House Bill 587) into law on Friday, even though he did this against the advisement of his social conservative supporters and faith-based constituency according to local affiliate WMUR

He was, however, praised for doing this by civil libertarians and LGBTQ rights advocates who praised the Republican chief executive. 

“Discrimination – in any form – is unacceptable and runs contrary to New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Spirit,” Sununu said in a statement after signing HB 1319. "If we really want to be the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, we must ensure that New Hampshire is a place where every person, regardless of their background, has an equal and full opportunity to pursue their dreams and to make a better life for themselves and their families."

“This bill will ensure equal rights, equal opportunity, and nondiscrimination protections in the areas of housing and employment," Sununu also said. The law takes effect on July 8th. New Hampshire will become the 19th state nationally to provide nondiscrimination protections on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations. 

The transgender rights bill passed the New Hampshire House and Senate with all Democrats in favor and significant majority Republican support. The conversion therapy ban, on the other hand, passed the House, 179-171, and the Senate, 14-10.

Your Sign Doesn't Matter: All Gays Are Allowed Everywhere

A hardware store owner in Tennessee once again made national news yesterday because he decided to put back up a sign that read "No Gays Allowed" after the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling this week. 

This is a pebble in what could eventually become bricks being thrown at this incredibly strong house that the LGBTQ community has built for decades, so its better to address this issue now than to let it fester and allow people like this owner to do what they are doing because they think they have the right to.

Here's the deal: I am not going back into the closet just because you feel like you are empowered to do these sorts of heinous acts given the political climate that we are in. This community didn't shut up when s**t like this was happening many decades ago, and we aren't shutting up now.

Let's take a look at the logical side of this sign, just for s***s and giggles. Do you really think it matters if someone is gay and they are looking to purchase an item FROM YOUR BUSINESS? They are in your store, they are an interested customer, their sexuality has nothing to do with it. This goes for a cake, a combination lock, a piece of pizza or anything else... you are there to sell your business not your religious beliefs (in my honest opinion).

It's truly disheartening how our community feels like we need to work at this all over again given how far we have come over the years. My sexuality has no influence on a purchase from your brand, the influence it should be having is the increase in cash flow that this homosexual is helping by buying what you are selling. Don't you get that? I don't for the life of me understand how homophobia has crawled itself from under the rug in the workplace in this sort of manner, when the logistics in all of it really doesn't make sense.

You want to practice homophobia in your home life and the people around you, then that's your unfortunate choice. But putting a sign up that says "No Gays Allowed" makes no sense when you don't even know who is gay and who isn't gay when they walk into your stores. Does your hardware location sell gay tracking devices so they know if a gay person is present? How would you even know if the customer that is there is truly a member of our community? Maybe think of these things before putting up a badly drawn piece of cardboard on your storefront. 

If what you are doing, though (and this goes for anyone who feels compelled to put up a similar homophobic piece) is strictly for your "own religious beliefs", then the resistance you will feel from our community will be present regardless. As stated before, we are not going to back down because of where we are politically. This does not equate, as the right side has called us, an "agenda" of sorts, its finally getting everyone in this entire world to realize after all this time that we are all the same underneath all of this and that our sexuality doesn't give you a free pass to hate. 

This was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject. 

Zach Adam & Adam Joseph Battle Mental Illness in 'Gravity'

Multi-talented out musicians Zach Adam and Adam Joseph are uniting on the first single from Zach Adam’s new LGBTQ music label, Magic Town Media, and fans will not be able to escape their “Gravity.”  

“Adam and I have been collaborating for years as songwriters, but this is the first time we are releasing an original track together,” explains Zach Adam, the international music and video maker whose incredible skills on stage and in the recording booth have earned him the moniker as “gay music authority.”  “Originally, we had the idea to do a song about love being a force of nature but a new, deeper, meaning and feeling began to develop as we started laying down vocals in the studio.”    

“Suddenly, our love and break up song revealed a layer that might raise awareness and give comfort to those who need it most,” says Adam Joseph.  Written by the powerhouse duo and produced by Zach, “Gravity” is a soaring pop track about yearning to overcome addiction and depression.  It features Adam Joseph’s soulful tenor vocals over lush synths, sweeping choruses and intense percussion. It is the first release from Zach Adam’s new LGBTQ music label, Magic Town Media, as well as the first single from his upcoming album, and to gain attention across a wide array of dance floors and media platforms, Magic Town Media is supporting the record with a superstar collection of remixes and a captivating music video. “Zach Adam Feat. Adam Joseph: Gravity” is available now on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Zach Adam and Adam Joseph have had experience with depression and suicide, both personally and through people they loved. Says Zach, “We’re artists.  We feel things deeply and have had to go through the motions. I’m hoping this song and its music video spark a conversation about suicide and help to bring it out of the dark because change will only happen when the stigma loses its power.”

“It has taken me years to work through my serious battle with addiction and depression,” reveals Joseph.  “It is something I am still fighting today and will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life.  It’s not a feeling one can ever completely get over and that is why songs like ‘Gravity’ are so important.  They are tools of encouragement that help people like me by reminding us to keep moving forward.”

Adam Joseph is an award-winning vocalist, producer, recording engineer and songwriter. He has released two solo albums and been a featured vocalist on songs with Grammy nominated DJ/Producer Bob Sinclar, Wet Fingers, Plastik Funk, and Lem Springsteen of Mood II Swing.  He has been remixed by Bass Jackers, David Jones and Deeplomatik. Joseph has also written songs for #1 Billboard artists Inaya Day and Lea Lorien, among others. His latest viral smash, "Linda Evangelista,” featuring Aja from RuPaul’s Drag Race was featured on the reunion special of the popular Vh1 show. Adam Joseph has been featured in Billboard, OUT and Paper magazines, as well as The Village Voice, The LA Times and CNN.

Zach Adam, too, wears many hats.  He is an international songwriter, producer, instrumentalist, singer, photographer, director and music video producer. He’s the winner of the Billboard Pop Songwriting Award, Composer and Song Of The Year Awards,  and has had 17 number 1 hits in Asia and Europe as well as five Top 15 American Billboard hits. Zach has had success working in various genres with artists from Martha Wash, The First Ladies Of Disco, XELLE and Offer Nissim among many others. His most recent Billboard hit was “Light Beams” featuring Rony G. He also has a large Instagram following @zachadammusic.

“Zach and I started writing together a few years ago when I was still living in NYC,”  explains Adam Joseph. “I was a fan of the work he was doing with the group XELLE.  He kind of reminded me of myself except way better at everything. We started chatting online, then got together and clicked really fast from that first writing session.”

Many of their works have been recorded by other artists.  “Gravity” is the first to come along that Adam Joseph thought was right for him to sing on.   “Not only was it the perfect song for my register, it had a message I could connect with,” he says.  “With so many crises plaguing us from the opioid epidemic, teen bullying, trans rights, soldiers suffering PTSD… I really think the world needs ‘Gravity’ right now.   Its another gentle reminder that no one is alone in their struggle and that we must recognize our obstacles in order to overcome them.”

In addition to the radio version, Magic Town Media is releasing a remix package  for “Gravity” featuring dance versions of the song by DJ Pacifico, GSP, Max Grandon, Melodika, Angelino Loren, Pumpkin Spice, Thiago and Adam Joseph.

The accompanying music video was directed by Zach Adam and shot in New York.   Adam Jospeh flew in from Los Angeles and he and Zach shot it in two days.   “I will never forget how unhappy I was putting my face on that Brooklyn sidewalk,” Joseph admits.   “Just imagining how many dirty shoes and dogs that cement had seen before me was very unsettling but I sucked it up and did what I had to do.” 

“It was just one more thing that proved this multi talented guy can do it all,” laughs Zach. “Adam’s voice and energy shine brilliantly in ‘Gravity’ and I’m happy we did this together.”

Zach Adam Feat. Adam Joseph: Gravity” is available on iTunes. The “Gravity Remix Pack” is also available.  Follow Zach Adam on Instagram @zachadammusic and visit www.zachadam.com.

Life Ball 2018 Recap: 25 Years of Fighting AIDS & Celebrating Life

On Saturday, June 2nd, thousands gathered at Vienna City Hall for the 25th Anniversary of Life Ball, which included a star-studded LIFE+ Solidarity Gala, red carpet arrivals and action-packed Opening Ceremony. The worldwide televised spectacle presented by LIFE+ included messages of support, love, and acceptance along with a call to action to fight the taboo of HIV and AIDS in society, normalizing all HIV facilities and becoming part of the comprehensive health care, and to make knowing one’s immune status as natural as knowing one’s blood type.

VIPs in attendance included Paris Jackson who received the LIFE+ Award on behalf of the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation (ETAF), Patti LaBelle who performed her Grammy Hall of Fame hit single, “Lady Marmalade” and a rendition of “Do-Re-Mi” as part of the themed program, amfAR’s EpicRide to Life Ball riders Adrien Brody, Ian Bohen, JR Bourne, Michiel Huisman, Gilles Marini and Katee Sackhoff, in addition to celebrity guests and participants including Caitlyn Jenner, Sophia Hutchins, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Osbourne, Kim Petras, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, August Getty, Yasmine Petty, Jeannie Mai, Patrika Darbo, Gus Kenworthy and more while Austrian superstars Conchita Wurst and Herbert Föttingerpresented the Opening show.

Video messages from Gwen Stefani, Bill Clinton and Elton John were featured during the opening ceremony which carried messages of support for the great work the LIFE+ organization and its international partner organizations have done in the fight against HIV and AIDS for the past 25 years. In addition, Charlize Theron who previously accepted the Swarovski Crystal of Hope Award on behalf of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project on Thursday in Vienna, also appeared via video as part of the opening ceremony.

This year’s LIFE BALL signature fashion show, curated by Robert Rabensteinerfeatured new and archival pieces from 25 fashion houses presenting their ideas for the most beautiful day in life (wedding day) including stalwarts like Jean Paul Gaultier, Alberta Ferretti, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Dsquared2, N°21, Maison Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood, Thom Browne, Francesco Scognamiglio, Blumarin, Elie Saab, Diesel, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo Memento, Vionnet, Viktor & Rolf, Lavin, and Tostmann TrachtenGigi Gorgeous wore one of the featured designs and walked the runway with Nats Getty and this year’s models.

Earlier in the evening, Caitlyn Jenner and Sophia Hutchins along with other VIP guests attended the exclusive black-tie baroque-wedding themed LIFE+ Solidarity Gala which featured a Moët & Chandon champagne reception, a live auction of selected and unique items as well as special music performances by Rufus Wainwright and Patti Labelle.

 Additional highlights include:

On Saturday morning, LIFE BALL founder and organizer Gery Keszler hosted an international press conference at the Albertina Museum. The moderated discussion included partner organization spokespersons as well as the amfAR riders including Adrien Brody who expressed their commitments to the cause and highlight the activities of the supported projects. Video of Brody’s remarks can be viewed here. In addition, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Paris Jackson’s photoshoot for the Know Your Status was revealed as she joined Aiden Shaw and Eva Herzigová in the advertorial campaign.

On Friday, June 1st, LIFE BALL held a Welcome Reception for the weekend’s celebrity VIPs at the Le Meridien hotel and included Paris Jackson, Cailtyn Jenner, Gus Kenworthy, Kelly Osbourne, Gigi Gorgeous, and more.

On Friday, June 1st LIFE+ Celebration Concert took place at Vienna’s Burgtheater. The concert featured international opera stars, legendary singers and outstanding spoken performances by award-winning actors and doyens of the Burgtheater.

The LIFE BALL Next Gen Party closed out the festivities on Sunday June 3rd at Vienna’s City Hall including a panel discussion and hip party targeting HIV/AIDS awareness with teenagers 16 years and older.


Life Ball was the first AIDS charity event worldwide to take place in a governmental building, the Vienna City Hall, which still remains the ball’s venue. Since its premiere in 1993, Life Ball has been actively fighting the taboo of HIV and AIDS in society. Thus, life is celebrated at a glamorous party every year during Life Ball. Furthermore, discrimination and intolerance are rejected, and a loud signal for the fight against HIV and AIDS is transmitted, which may be heard far beyond national boundaries.
Life Ball has been organized by AIDS LIFE, now named LIFE+, an independent non-profit association founded in 1992. Its mission: to raise public awareness for HIV and AIDS, to light a beacon of solidarity with people affected by HIV/AIDS and to generate as much funds as possible to support help-projects in the world’s most affected regions.
The https://lifeplus.org/en/know-your-status-2/ Campaign is also a focal point of LIFE+ year-round initiatives. The campaign’s goal is to make knowing one’s immune status as natural as knowing one’s blood type. Only those who regularly check their immune status can get timely treatment or appropriate preventive care and stop unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Through Life Ball and additional yearly activities, LIFE+ works to raise funds to help those impacted by and living with HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma and discrimination.
As Austria’s biggest fund-raiser for HIV/AIDS projects, LIFE+ and its work has gained an important status on an international level as well. In the report Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2016 by Funders Concerned About AIDS, LIFE+ was ranked 13th of all European fundraisers.

For more information on Life Ball, please click here.

R&B Crooner Benjamin Hey! Releases Video for 'Drank, Cup!'

He defines himself as "Black, blonde & bold," and "what the game has been missing," on his official bio. His name is Benjamin Hey! and his musical presence is one that you'll be getting to know as his star power continues to rise.

The Brooklyn native, who now calls New York City his home, has been gaining a ton of traction in the music industry due to his musical efforts that combine the powers of Usher, Michael Jackson and many more R&B crooners who have become legends in their own rights. Now, it's Ben's turn, as he just released another stellar effort that will definitely get the crowd going throughout pride and the rest of the summer.

The song is called "Drank Cup!" and the concept of it rings true to the title of the song. He is flanked by a couple of good looking dudes in the background, as the three of them party it up poolside to his irresistible track. Definitely one you'll want to bop your head to while cruising around with your hunties. 

See the clip below, and for more info on Benjamin Hey!, click here: