Southern Illinois LGBTQ center calendar counters toxic masculinity, ageism, other stigmas

examples of models featured in Rainbow Cafe's "Farms & Faces 2022" calendar

CARBONDALE — At first glance, “Farms & Faces of Southern Illinois” seems just another calendar fundraising tool for another nonprofit. Look more closely, and this compilation of rustic pics is actually a grand statement against toxic masculinity and the rigid, conservative beliefs that research shows are more prominent among people living in rural areas. The Rainbow Cafe LGBTQ Community Center is behind the calendar, which features 12 farmers in dresses, make-up, flowers, Pride rainbow colors, or other things typically stereotyped as non-masculine. Most are straight-identifying men who have “assigned female…

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Body positivity the focus of Des Moines’ Zach Gillette and modern-day Bear culture

Zach Gillette, Mr. World Bear

Zach Gillette used to feel self-conscious and insecure about his weight, the lessening hair on his head, and the bursting hair all over the rest of his body.  Then he found the Capital Bears, where the motto is “bear is a state of mind.” “When I first moved to Des Moines, I was very timid. I wouldn’t take my shirt off in public,” he said. “After being involved in the Bear group, and the positivity that comes from this group, where it’s positive reinforcement all the time, now it’s hard…

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Iowa City Pride, Chicago Pride Fest, Metro East Pride kick off new Pride wave under COVID’s shadow

Namoli Brennet at Decorah Pride, Two Bit Maniac and Robin S at Iowa City Pride, HoneyVox at Metro East Pride and Debbie Gibson at Chicago Pride Fest.

Iowa City Pride, Chicago Pride Fest and Metro East Pride are happening this weekend. Decorah Pride is coming Oct. 8-9, then Pride Orange City Oct. 15-17. The Fox Valley area holds a Pride Halloween party Oct. 23. And southeastern Illinois joins its neighbors for the 19th Annual Pride Prom Oct. 30.

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