Pennsylvania Allows LGBTQ Folks To File Complaints Of Discrimination But Not Hate Crimes

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission added sexual orientation and gender identity to its list of protected groups.

That action now allows people to file complaints to the State of Pennsylvania regarding incidents of LGBTQ discrimination. The commission investigates complaints of discrimination in areas of education, housing, employment and public accommodations.

Before the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity, if LGBTQ folks felt they had been discriminated against, their own recourse was to file a complaint with their local municipality IF the area they lived in barred such discrimination. According to Equality Pennsylvania, only 51 of the Keystone State’s 2,562 municipalities have laws that protect LGBTQ citizens.

What the change does not do, however, is add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s hate crime statute.

So, if LGBTQ folks face discrimination in a restaurant or hotel, you can file a complaint. But if you are a victim of violent assault for being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the perpetrator can be arrested but there will be no hate crime attached unless you are in one of the cities or local municipalities that have added sexual orientation or gender identity to their hate crime statute.

This wasn’t always the case.

Back in 2002, the Pennsylvania state legislature added LGBTQ folks to the hate crimes law. In doing so, Pennsylvania became the 5th state to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks.

But two years later, when anti-gay protesters were arrested at a gay-rights event for preaching via bullhorn and charged with a hate crime, concerns were raised about misuse of the statute.

Eventually, in 2007, a Commonwealth court struck down the addition to the hate crimes law saying the legislature had surreptitiously used an unrelated agriculture bill to make the change.

In 2008, the state Supreme Court upheld that ruling and LGBTQ folks were once again left without hate crime protections statewide.

Since then, lawmakers have tried to update the hate crime statute but to no avail.

Some cities enacted their own hate crime legislation like Philadelphia in the aftermath of a vicious attack on a gay couple in the Center City area of Philly in 2014 which left one of the victims with a shattered jaw.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s hate crime laws protect folks from discrimination due to color, religion, race, and national origin.

What do you think, readers? Does it make sense to protect LGBTQ people in the public accommodations arena but not classify a violent assault as a hate crime?

(h/t Philly.com)

Bullethole's Artwork is Thick and Juicy and NSFW

One of our favorite things is getting to know queer artists. When we come across someone who peaks our interest, we have to know more. Recently, we got to know Bullethole, a 49-year-old artist from Dallas, TX who uses his talents for drawing and painting to create ultra-sexy renderings of hairy and thick bears. I guess everything really IS bigger in Texas.

Bullethole’s work is inspired by the furry men of your dreams. His logo and trademark represents that special place where the sun don’t shine. Use your imagination.

And Bullethole himself is a Zaddy that we’d like to see one day as an Instinct Hottie of the Week. WOOF!

But back to his artwork! You can troll his Instagram all day and you can even buy his work and wear it around. You can even commission him and become a Bullethole guy!

Just look at some of his NSFW art:

We got in touch with Bullethole to find out more about the man behind the furry male art:

How long have you been creating art? 

I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I drew mainly comic book characters all through elementary school and took more serious art classes in high school (focused on portraiture) and continued my studies in college – eventually with a focus on graphic design. I also do photography and paint when I'm not doing work as a Creative Director.

I do traditional medium but my current work is all digital and done with an iPad Pro using an Apple pencil and a drawing app called Procreate. I began doing Bullethole men a little over a year ago and it surprised me how it took off and I just kept doing it. Plus I love drawing sexy men. I post a lot of process stuff on my instagram from sketch to finished work. I also will post time-lapse videos of the work evolving, which can be pretty interesting to watch.

Who/what are some of your artistic influences? 

Of course Tom of Finland was a big influence, one of my other big influences is Adam Hughes who is a comic book artist. On the gay end of the spectrum, I love Cauro Hige, JIRAIYA, Harry Bush, Gengoroh Tagame and Salem. Plus there are tons of great gay artists who I follow on instagram. 

When did you start drawing these sexy bears?

I've always loved the genre of good girl art (Vargas girls) and loved the bit of humor in the work and wanted to do the beefcake equivalent of that. I like a bit of cheekyness (pun intended) in my work. Beefcake can be so serious and I wanted it to be fun. Plus the idea of people wearing my artwork on tshirts is a rush. Bullethole came about while joking with my boyfriend Jim, we were using it as a euphemism for the pink spot between the cheeks lol. My logo is a graphic twist on that pink part. I decided to do artwork that focused on hairy, bearded muscly men who loved to show off their backsides and so Bullethole was born. (Plus it doesn't hurt to have a lawyer for a bf. He helps me with all the copyright, trademark registration and stuff while I handle the fun stuff.)

How do you find inspiration for each piece?

The majority of my guys are from my imagination. And as you can see, I have a pretty good imagination. I do use various references for some poses or specific anatomy but the Bullethole men sort of "speak to me" as I'm drawing them and evolve on their own. They tell me who they are and what they look like and their personality just kind of shows up. My style for the Bullethole man is ever-evolving but I wanted to combine the four B's — bear, beard, burly and booty with my love of comic books and have them straddle the line between realism and fantasy. 

Do you ever use live models?

I also do commissions for more realistic portraits and some examples of that work are Colby Janson, Tank Joey, Seth Fornea, Alex Marte and most recently Jack Mackenroth! But you don't have to be famous for me to draw you, so people can and do DM me for commissions for birthday gifts or just because they want artwork of themselves done in my style. 

Since I also do photography, I'd love to start photographing my own BH guys and doing reference from that as well. My plans for Bullethole in the future are to hit some of the bear events and sell tee shirts and artwork there. I'd also like to eventually do a coffee table book, coloring books and maybe even calendars. It all depends on public interest but I'm always excited when someone buys one of my shirts and tags me. I've had guys from all parts of the globe buy my stuff and to me that's amazing to imagine someone across the world wearing my artwork. It's really cool when I see people like my work, especially when there are so many talented artists around.

Keep up with Bullethole and his sexy men on social media and hit him up if you’re feeling risqué. Think of caricatures, but for grown ass men. Do you have what it takes to be a Bullethole guy? Slide into his DMs and find out.

h/t: Bulleth0le Instagram

New California Law Makes Practicing 'Ex-Gay Therapy' On Adults & Minors Illegal

The California Senate has approved, on a strictly party line vote of 25-11, AB 2943 which would ban so-called “conversion therapy” for not only minors but adults as well.

Not one Republican voted for the measure.

The legislation, sponsored by openly gay California Assemblyman Even Low, passed in the state Assembly by a vote of 50-18 back in April.

Once the measure returns to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, the bill will head to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.

The legislation is unusual from other states’ bans in that the law would outlaw “ex-gay therapy” as a consumer protection. Any practitioners who advertised the harmful practice as a “cure” to homosexuality or transgenderism would be conducting fraudulent business practices under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

AB 2943 also includes protections for those who have already paid for “ex-gay therapy,” or feel they have been harmed by the practice.

Those folks now have a legal avenue to recoup any payments they may have made towards the practice.

California has previously passed legislation in 2012 protecting only minors from “conversion therapy.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur hailed the vote saying, “For far too long, LGBTQ Californians have been psychologically abused by sham therapists who are supposed to be caring for their emotional well-being.”

Currently, 15 states ban the harmful practice - Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire - plus Washington, D.C., as well as over 30 local municipalities.

The practice has been condemned by the American Medical Association, the American Pediatrics Association, the American Psychiatric Association and many others due to its disastrous effects which can lead to depression and, in some cases, suicide.

In related news, Massachusetts recently failed to pass its own bill banning conversion therapy for minors.

While both the state House and Senate approved the legislation, lawmakers were unable to reconcile technical changes before the clock ran out on the 2018 legislative session on August 1.

(image via Flickr/Taneli Mielikäinen - CC license)

Are You Watching 'La Casa de las Flores' on Netflix?

I haven’t watched a telenovela since I was in high school, but I feel the high drama, plot twists, and good girl vs. bad girl scenarios set a foundation for my incessant need for gossip and to solve everyone’s problems. There’s no doubt that every Mexican household would shut down in the evening hours to make time for hours of dramatic storytelling that always seemed to center around the rich girl who made the poor girl’s life a living hell and who ended up causing a downward spiral in the lives of everyone involved—all while being fashionable. It’s what we all yearned for during ‘novela time’ at our house. But once you’ve seen one soap opera where a brother accidentally falls in love with his half-sister who is also blind, you’ve seen them all--or have you?



Growing up in a novela household perpetuated the heteronormative expectations of relationships. I rarely saw a gay man portrayed and if there were he was the flamboyant hairdresser friend or the business associate—always suggestive never open about their sexuality. And drag queens or trans characters far less representation. It has been generations of the patriarchal Mexican/Latino construct that fears any type of fragile masculinity. We have not been prepared to discuss issues like coming out, same-sex marriage/adoption, transitioning, or even drag. Yes, as Latinos in the LGBTQ world we have made strides, but it has been a great struggle to arrive to common place where dialogue can occur about the queer experience.

I fantasize about a telenovela where the two protagonists are men who are in love and fighting adversities in their lives so they can be together—because that is REAL LIFE!



Okay, so whether you watch Spanish-language television or you don’t, I think you get what I am trying to say here. Queer representation in the media is still not where it needs to be.

But for novelas it seems that a new Netflix, La Casa de las Flores (The House of Flowers) is breaking down the boundaries and shattering the telenovela formula. The Spanish-language show revolves around an affluent family in Mexican high society whose lives begin to spiral out of control after a death occurs in the opening episode (no spoilers here).

The family’s matriarch, Virginia de la Mora, is played by Mexican telenovela royalty Verónica Castro (yes, she’s had work done, but she’s still fierce). Virginia’s character is a feisty business woman who has created an empire out of her family’s flower shop, for which the show gets its title. Upon first meeting Virginia you think she is a typical novela architype of the wealthy, judgmental mother who is trying to save face—but the more you learn about her and her family, the more you realize her redeeming qualities.



This show is progressive by Mexican novella standards. Each storyline is woven into one another. Without giving away too much, you'll learn about Virginia’s husband’s big secrets, her eldest daughter Paulina fighting for her place as the successor of the family’s empire while grappling with her ex-husband who is trans, her youngest daughter Elena stuck in a love triangle, and her son Julián who struggles with coming out of the closet and getting rid of his pretentious girlfriend to be with the family’s silver daddy financial advisor.

La Casa de las Flores is a binge-worthy story that is full of the story arcs, character development, scandals, deceit, treachery, humor, tears, sock puppets, and a whole lot of drag queens. Yes, did I mention that the flower shops counterpart is a cabaret nightclub also called La Casa de la Flores where nightly drag shows become a reality for the De la Mora family?


Las penas cantando son menos.

A post shared by La casa de las flores (@lacasadelasflorestv) on

La Casa de las Flores is pivotal for modern-day Mexican television (and Netflix in general) as it demonstrates the direction our Latino narratives should be headed. We’ve suppressed much of who we are due to our Catholic guilt and inability to see past the superficiality of what other people will think of us. La Casa de las Flores is an experiment in this theory, breaking down each of the characters one by one to see if they will grow or wilt. The show’s dealings with the queer experience is refreshing and gives me a lot of the telenovela I always wished I could have watched as a kid. But finally, it’s here thanks to Netflix.

The show was created by Manolo Caro and stars Verónica Castro, Cecilia Suárez, Dario Yazbek Bernal, Aislinn Derbez, Juan Pablo Medina, and Lucas Velazquez. The standout performance is given by Cecilia Suárez as Paulina, in my opinion, whose accent in the show is a character of its own. But there is no shame in saying that the gay men may want to tune in just for lust between Dario Yazbek Bernal and Juan Pablo Medina. You’ll thank me later.

La Casa de las Flores is the show you should be watching on Netflix right now. If you don’t speak Spanish, the subtitles will be your best friend, just know that you some of the witty banter and jokes may not land—still you’ll be able to follow the story just fine. It was released on August 10th and due to its popularity, we may just be seeing another season. Grab yourself a drink and sit down for some modern-day ‘novela time’.

Here’s a trailer for La Casa de las Flores (House of Flowers):



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.

h/t: Netflix

Trans Woman Alleges WestJet Airline 'Outed' Her To Passengers

A transgender Canadian woman traveling from Calgary to Saskatoon told CBC News that she was “outed” to the other passengers by a WestJet gate agent.

Lenore Herrem says that when she presented her ID at the gate for her flight, the agent became “upset and confused.”

While Herrem presents as female, her five-year-old ID lists her as male.

More from CBC News:

"She got upset and said, 'They don't match,' but her colleague said, 'Yes, they do, it's fine, go ahead,'" Herrem said as she described the agent's reaction.

"So I gently and discreetly expressed to her, 'It's because I'm transgender, that's why they don't match up. But my face is the same and my ID matches the name on my boarding pass.'"

Herrem boarded the plane and was settled in her seat for about 10 minutes when she said both gate agents boarded the flight, and the agent who had been confused once again demanded her ID.

"She said something like, 'Oh, that's not the name I remember seeing on the computer when I looked at it,' and she started spouting off different, other women's names that were not mine," Herrem recalled.

"She rolled her eyes at me and said, 'Are you sure it wasn't your girl name that was on the computer?' … She outed me in front of the whole airplane."

Herrem says the experience left her feeling “unsafe, vulnerable, belittled.”

"I was in shock, it was quite traumatizing having someone, especially the way she did it so loudly and in front of everyone, it was really unprofessional,” she added.

In an email, WestJet apologized for the incident writing, "WestJet's inclusive culture is a point of pride for WestJetters and our goal has always been to create a safe and inclusive environment for all.”

"We have extended our apologies to the guest and are reviewing the matter as we are continuously assessing and evolving our practices and policies to maximize inclusiveness and celebrate diversity."

Herrem says she was “pleased with the way” the airline dealt with the incident.

“She expressed that they will be implementing training to staff to deal with these sort of situations better in the future which was the most important thing for me to hear," Herrem added.


(h/t CBC News)

'The Shallow End' is a Funny NSFW Series, think Sean Cody--if Mel Brooks Directed

You may be sad that summer is ending soon, but there’s a new comedy YouTube series that is here to keep you hot and sweaty—all while laughing your ass off at some awkward situations that may hit close to home. The Shallow End is a new LGBTQ comedy series created by comedians Jason Michael Snow, Lucas Hazlett, and Mathew Francis.

The show features three gay friends sipping cocktails poolside as they reminisce on their comical hookup horror stories—we’re talkin’ the good, the bad, and the UGLY! The show features gay artists Brian Jordan Alvarez (Will and Grace, Caleb Gallo), Drew Droege (Heathers, Bright Colors and Bold Patterns), Zeke Smith (Survivor), Blake McIver (The People’s Couch), Nick Adams (Broadway’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and Zach Noe Towers (Just for Laughs 2018).

The Shallow End was released on August 1st and has released three episodes to date that will both haunt you and make you spit out your martini with laughter. Oh and did I mention that the series is definitely NSFW? The creators clearly point this out at the beginning of each episode. The sexually suggestive storylines feature implied nudity and scenarios that co-creator Snow asserts are completely real!

Here’s the trailer:



Some of you (us) may have encountered situations that are similar or WORSE than those told in The Shallow End so you should feel right at home with the queens as they kiki in their towel turbans and lounge on their pool floaties. Just think Sean Cody—if Mel Brooks directed it.

Season one of The Shallow End will feature 6 original episodes with a behind-the-scenes ‘Gag Reel’ episode being released next week. The season finale will include original culture vulture from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Jai Rodriguez and Vincent Rodriguez III from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

So if you’re craving the raunchy cabana pillow talk without that awful chlorine taste—take a dip in The Shallow End.

Episode 1 | Therapy is a F@#%ing Joke



Episode 2 | Mexican After 7:00



Episode 3 | Dark Knight Surprises




h/t: The Shallow End


Gay Dancer Turned Away From A London Club For Wearing HIgh-Heels

A gay man was denied entry into a London gay club because he was wearing heels.

According to QNews, 33-year-old Pavel Vacek says he was surprised when a bouncer told him he couldn’t enter the XXL London club.

“I’ve been to XXL before, so I was quite surprised,” he said. “They say on the website that it’s a bear club, but you see all kinds of guys there – twinks, young guys, older guys – anyone.”

As a member of the Gay Men Dance Company, Pavel has been wearing high-heels in order to prepare for an upcoming performance. He thought, why not practice while enjoying himself during a night out.

“It was only my second or third time wearing the boots because I don’t have many places to wear them, and I thought, ‘why not?’ Where else should I take them other than a gay club?” said Vacek to Pink News.

“It shouldn’t be about what you wear. That doesn’t define you. If you feel comfortable wearing high-heels or pink, if you feel good and you don’t hurt anyone, what’s the problem?” he said.

That said, his night wasn’t ruined by the XXL London bouncer. Vacek says that he and friends went to a different gay club where he acquired many fans of his heels.

“People were admiring me and everybody loved the shoes,” he said.

h/t: QNews, Pink News

Vermont: Trans Businesswoman Clinches Historic Gubernatorial Nomination

As the 2018 midterm primary season marches on, more and more LGBTQ candidates are not only running for public office but winning their initial contests.

In last night’s primary for the Democratic nomination for governor in Vermont, transgender businesswoman Christine Hallquist made history as the first transgender candidate to win the nomination of a major political party for governor.

With 99% of precincts reporting, the former energy company CEO garnered 48.3% of the Democratic primary vote, more than twice the 22% of her nearest opponent, James Ehlers.

She will now face incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who is running for his second term. While Vermont tends to lean progressive, Hallquist still faces an uphill climb as no candidate has defeated an incumbent governor in the Green Mountain state since 1962.

Should she win this fall, she would become only the second LGBTQ person to become governor in the United States following openly bisexual Gov. Kate Brown, the incumbent governor of Oregon who’s running for reelection this year as well.

Hallquist, who came out as transgender three years ago, told The Advocate last month that her priorities include addressing poverty, promoting renewable energy and fighting climate change, spotlighting economic development in the state’s rural areas, raising the minimum wage, working toward single-payer health care, and reworking the school funding structure, as well as empowering LGBTQ Vermonters.

Hallquist’s historic win last night means, as noted by Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, that "all 4 letters in [the] LGBT acronym" are represented in Dem gubernatorial nominees this year.”



In addition to Hallquist, the LGBT Democratic candidates who have won their primaries for governor include Oregon’s Brown; Lupe Valdez, a lesbian woman running in Texas; and Jared Polis, a gay man running in Colorado.

According to a study by the LGBTQ organization, The Victory Institute, 2018 has seen over 400 LGBTQ political candidates running for office in America.

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of The Victory Fund, released a statement about Hallquist’s historic win, which read in part:

“Christine’s victory is a defining moment in the movement for trans equality and is especially remarkable given how few out trans elected officials there are at any level of government. Many thought it unthinkable a viable trans gubernatorial candidate like Christine would emerge so soon. Yet Vermont voters chose Christine not because of her gender identity, but because she is an open and authentic candidate with a long history of service to the state, and who speaks to the issues most important to voters."

Tom Perez of the Democratic National Committee issued this statement:

“The DNC is proud to congratulate Christine Hallquist, Vermont’s Democratic nominee for governor and the country’s first-ever openly transgender nominee for governor, along with all of tonight’s Democratic nominees in the Green Mountain State.

“Christine’s historic victory tonight is an inspiration to LGBTQ people everywhere, and we are excited to stand behind her and the entire slate of fantastic Democratic nominees in Vermont.

“There’s no doubt that Christine and her fellow nominees will join a strong ticket this November that will fight for our values and serve as dedicated advocates for Vermont’s working families. Vermont voters know that Democrats have their backs and share their values, and they’re ready to organize to turn more seats blue this November.”

Watch Hallquist’s campaign video below. The general election takes place on November 6, 2018.



Market Days 2018 Roundup!

Market Days 2018 Roundup!

The Summer Ends In Chicago But Delivers The Heat!

#MOAN! Alright, so summer time 2018 is coming to an end. It’s terrifying to think in just a few short months, we’ll be shivering as Fall approaches. But, at least we get a consolation prize of risqué Halloween costumes so we have something to look forward too.

If you aren’t familiar: Chicago’s gay neighborhood, Boystown, hosts the incredible LGBTQ event, Market Days, in August each year. I’m originally from the Windy City and Market Days has been my favorite LGBTQ event since the beginning of my gay-life. I tend to call it a gay block party, because that’s really what it is. The clubs come outside, the food vendors are endless, and the streets are filled with nothing but gorgeous men and women who…underdress for attention. I’m here to give it to them! Check out the best of Market Days 2018 – according to Instagram – below!



















#instagay #gaggle #scruff #boystown #marketdays #chicago #kansascity

A post shared by Jamen Dean (@the.jman) on






Take a pick for your #MCM  — #MarketDays was a success with the crew  #SundayFunday

A post shared by Pawblow (@pawbloww) on


For Market Days madness and sexy pictures, head here!

Get Hyped For Flame Con, The World's Biggest LGBTQ Comic Con

The fourth annual Fame Con is almost underway and we can’t wait to see what happens this year!

While geek and fandom-centric conventions have become mainstream with San Diego Comic Con now being the go-to place for movie and tv news, LGBTQ fans are still struggling with representation and comfort in comics/tv shows/movies, and more.

To help create a space for LGBTQ fans/geeks (and creators trying to give create that representation), Flame Con was created.

"Flame Con is by and large the refuge for the weird queer kid," said convention chair Steve Gianaca says in the latest episode of The Fandom Files. "You go to New York Comic Con and it's a needle in a haystack to find queer content. That's actually how the organization was formed, a lack of representation at New York Comic Con. Everywhere you go, there's open queerness. People are happily in drag as Princess Peach. Last year's cosplay contest winner was Rita Repulsa. It was a dude and he looked fabulous."


A post shared by Elffi (@elfficosplay) on

Flame Con will be happening this weekend on August 18 and August 19 at the Sheraton in Times Square, according to Syfy.

Each year, the convention is getting bigger and bigger with this year’s space having enough room to fit 10,000 guests.

From LGBTQ-themed merch to LGBTQ themed comics/properties, and LGBTQ panels, this convention is all about celebrating LGBTQ geeks.

To hear more, check out the Fandom Files podcast with guest star Steve Gianaca.


A post shared by Lorentz @otakon (@lorentz_iwood) on

h/t: Syfy