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Augusta Pride WHOA!

Almost 50 years ago, Celebrating LGBTQ Pride was not a normal thing. Now, it is one of the largest celebrated events of diversity in the nation. Cities around the nation take a day to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Humans. This pass weekend, the garden city of Augusta, Georgia celebrated their pride, and BEAU Magazine was there to celebrate with them.

The pride weekend kicked off with the President Soiree, an event that gathered all the sponsors, special guest, and partners who help make Augusta Pride possible and thanked them over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. This VIP Event was only the beginning.

On Friday we were invited to “Augusta’s largest dance party” and were told to wear orange. Arriving at the Augusta common’s, in the downtown area, BEAU was greeted by friendly staff members that made us feel like home. As the sun went down, the glow sticks came out and the lights on when suddenly, Bebe Redxa came onto the stage. You might remember Bebe from popular songs such as “I Got you” and “Me, myself, and I” Bebe KILLED the stage and left everyone with a message, “Be you, and be proud of who you are!” This left everyone wanting more Pride! But it wasn’t until the next day that Augusta Pride was what everyone was waiting for.

On Saturday, BEAU met up with our Augusta Interns, Jason and Mckenna, two residents of Augusta, and asked them to tell us about Pride. Mckenna, a student at Augusta University told us her experience of Augusta Pride.

“The city of Augusta was full of love this weekend as the 8th annual Pride festival kicked into high gear. Every year is different, this pride was something different this year. There were no protesters and there was a feeling of safety that had not been there before. The parade started with an array of beautiful colors and people shouting out ‘Happy Pride! We love you!’ It was more accepting than it had been the past few years. Couples were holding hands and smiling. You could feel the love radiating off every person gathered around watching the parade. Augusta felt peaceful. There were smiling faces, and rainbow flags drifting through the hot summer breeze. The festivities began not long after, and my roommate and I found ourselves getting slushies at 11 am and singing the National Anthem. We listened to music and danced around with complete strangers while the sun beat down on us. I excused myself and went in search of the lady’s room, and that’s where I ran into the most adorable couple. I told them I was working on an article for a magazine and asked them a few questions, but the one that stuck out in my mind was when I asked ‘What made this Pride better than the previous years?’ The girl I asked looked at her girlfriend with so much love and simply answered ‘her.’ They shared a kiss and I had to compose myself because the cuteness factor was just too much. I wandered back out onto the street where there was vendors and LGBTQ information tables. I kept thinking to myself that there was so much love in this one small area of this little town I call home and it warmed my heart. Later in the afternoon I was introduced to Venus Delight, and just like her name suggests she was an absolute delight. She was so gracious and allowed me to take a few silly selfies with her and photograph her getting ready to perform. Venus did her Madonna impersonation and was killing it in a fabulous hand painted jacket that just screamed 80s. I seriously had outfit envy. She also called her mom and had the entire crowd sing her Happy Birthday. I was smiling from ear to ear and so happy to be a part of that. There is something so wonderful about knowing someone’s parent is supportive and encouraging them to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness no matter their sexuality. The King and Queen of Augusta Pride preformed in all their grandeur. There was a blur of perfectly contoured faces and old school rock n roll. Miss Koko Dove took the stage with one of the most impressive outfits I have ever seen. She was gorgeous and extremely charming. That girl could work! Up next we had our dashingly handsome Ameilio Vaughn Monroe who took on the full embodiment of Twisted Sister and the 80s with its hair metal glory. The sun started to hide behind ominous clouds, and the sky opened up and cried all over us a few moments later. People kept dancing and singing loudly, but unfortunately the festivities started to halt as people ran through the rain to their cars. I wish Pride hadn’t been cut short but as we ran to the cars with our possessions tucked under our shirts there was still an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Hopefully it carries through this town for the weeks to follow. “

 

Pride is different is every city, but it all serves one purpose: for the LGBTQ community to celebrate our culture and diversity.

 

To Learn more about Augusta Pride: http://www.prideaugusta.org or follow them on Social media @AugustaPride

 

Photo by: Jason Pritchard

Words by: McKenna Van Airsdale

Direction: Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

 

About Jonatan:

Raised in the Hispanic Culture in the South and currently living the Holy City of Charleston, South Carolina has inspired as well as his passion for culture, fashion, and the social life Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez’s work. A graduate of The Art Institute of Charleston, Jonatan has a background in Fashion Design with a concentration in Marketing. His wide background ranges from styling, to marketing, event planning, and fashion design.

Jonatan’s work has been featured in Teen Vogue Magazine after receiving recognitions such as ‘Best in Theatrical Caption in Fashion Styling” from the Georgia literacy Association in 2013. Since then his work has been seen in Charleston Fashion Week, Lowcounty Live, Southern Living Magazine and Bravo.  While working with the city of Charleston during special projects, such as Spoleto USA, Jonatan is a strong advocate of animal rights, LGBTQI equality, and education. Recently, he was named one of the youngest Hispanic activist in the lowcountry. His passion for children and to help others is his driving force to “Keep moving forward”.

 

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BEAU’d OUT in Costa Rica

Pursuit to Pure Life (Part 1)

The natives of Costa Rica derived a national phrase that depicts how they feel about their life within their country. In the USA, we say “home of the free,” and “let freedom ring.” In Costa Rica, their anthem is Pura Vida. Pura Vida, translates to “pure life.” Beyond verbal translation this phrase depicts a way of life evoking a carefree, laid back and optimistic spirit. Much like what Charlestonians have been internationally depicted for, with carefree spirits and kind smiles. The people of Costa Rica are easy going, apt to help tourists as well as their locals with smiles and kind words. They’re funny and will definitely take a good opportunity to playfully pick on you, in good humor of course.

The idea of a whole country that loves their life, peacefully tolerates their government, respects and honors their land, and constantly supports and emanates positivity seems like the fairy tail we all dream about. Thomas Jefferson declared that every American was entitled to “life, liberty, and the ‘pursuit’ of happiness.” In the U.S.A., we have followed this declaration for centuries actively pursuing this quest for happiness. In Costa Rica, the focus isn’t on “pursing,” as it’s more about the recognition of this bliss within this “Pura Vida.” Inquisitive and intent on analyzing this theory, I had to go check it out!”

Before this awesome journey, I met a young man in Charleston that’s family live in San Jose, Costa Rica. In our discussions we talked about freedom of life, freedom of love, and of course, BEAU Magazine. He was intent on me speaking with his father, who used to be an eco tour guide for decades in Costa Rica. I was introduced to his parents Jim and Barbara, in which I will forever be grateful.

When I spoke with them about BEAU Magazine and my quest to discover “Pura Vida,” they led me to Nectandra Cloud Forrest to interview Arturo Jarquin Perera, the co-founder of the Cloud Forrest and also an adorn member of Costa Rica’s LGBT community. After reading up on Nectandra, Arturo and his quest (as well as Nectandra Cloud Forrest being one of the most spiritually moving and biologically brilliant places on earth), I couldn’t wait to hear his story and see this magical place.

The initial plan was to land in San Jose (capital of Costa Rica), go to La Fortuna to hang out with the rural life, as well as witness the glory of the majestic volcano, Arenal. Then, spend some time in the Nectandra Cloud Forests with Arturo, back to San Jose to investigate LGBT nightlife in San Jose, and finally to Playa Grande to hang out with my Ocean Lotus sisters of James Island for a little surf, yoga and more adventure. Plans were made, and just like life has that impeccable tendency to relieve us of perceived “control” of our journey… the wrenches thrown into my journey were plentiful. Except when I needed one.

I succeed in the initial plan of landing in San Jose. The taxi to my vehicle rental was seamless. Wheels rented and on my way to La Fortuna! According to the rennet guy’s directions it was easy. A couple of major roads and I was there, and all while taking in some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. That was the thought at least…

In Costa Rica, there are no road signs to Pura Vida. There are actually no road signs at all. Not the ones we as North Americans know them to be. There are only two directions in Costa Rica, “this way” and “that way.” “Go this way and when you see the Caribbean restaurant, go that way,” says the 18th person I asked (responding in Spanish and barley understanding my broken Spanglish).

 

Actually, there are road signs once in a while. They’re painted planks of wood nailed to a stick. Not a pole, but a stick. Along with this new experience of authentic directions, there are also no addresses here. Ergo, no Siri telling me exactly how to get to my destination so I can indulge in allowing my “A.D.D.” to entertain me. Nope! In Pura Vida Costa Rica, you have to pay attention. Which is something becoming obsolete in The States. I learned quickly that in this country you need to know your meters, and have amazing intuition of “this way” and “that way,” especially if you want to get to a specific place… on time at least. Sometimes simple can be very confusing when you don’t realize how complex you make it.

Amidst calculating my foreign instructions I seemed to have gotten caught up in the celestial settings of the twisting brilliant mountainside and missed the ply board stapled to a tree branch that clearly stated, “THIS WAY!” Instead of La Fortuna, I wound up in Puntarenas.

For those of you that are not familiar with Costa Rican geography (like me), that’s about 3 hours from that turn that I should have made to get to La Fortuna (which was another 2/3 hours up and over. Two things I may not have mentioned yet; one, it’s the rainy season in Costa Rica, so the pelts of tropical rain were plentiful and cold. And the second thing, I decided to rent a Honda XR250 motorcycle for this trip instead of a car. Pura Vida!

After turning around for the 10th time and yet another stint of tropical rains pelting my face, I decided to forgo my first night in La Fortuna and find the nearest hotel. Even though I was getting nervous and a little frustrated, I couldn’t help but notice the fear constantly fading to hope and reassurance as the mountain roads twisted and turned into the clouds. I passed through layers of flat and viscous clouds and into the most luscious and vibrant variations of green I have ever seen. I felt safe, bit still found myself clinging to my nervousness for some reason. Acknowledging this, I focused on 3 words; warm, dry and safe.

Rounding a sharp hillside, I noticed some sort of shop. It may have been a small restaurant or “Soda,” but the doors were half opened. I pulled up and ducked under the sliding door to take my chances on some more directions. Inside it looked more like a garage than a restaurant but at some point in the day, they clearly serve food.

I wish I could remember the name of the man that helped me. He looked like Juan Valdez (but less Columbian and more Tico). My phone was dead, the sun was about to go down, and my gas was low. As as strong as I tried to be on the outside, he could tell I was struggling on the inside. I tried to speak his language and ask where there was a hotel but even though the word “hotel” translated in Spanish is still hotel, he was having trouble weaving through my Peggy Hill’esk terrible accent. Finally he smiled at me and put his hand on my shoulder. “Tranquillo” he said under his thick mustache, “Zarcero esta cinco minitos” and pointed his finger… “that way.”

Even though I was halfway expecting to sleep with the happy cows in the rolling hills that night, just as the nice Tico man said, 5 minutes later I reached the town in the clouds known as Zarcero.

 

 

In my efforts to find a hotel, I quickly became the obvious tourist. I’m pretty sure that between my exaggerated hand gesturing charades and terrible Spanish, I may have accidentally asked a few men and women to sleep with me. I didn’t mean to of course, but only knowing the phrase para me (for me) and sueño (dream), it became quite the comedy show with the locals. I’m pretty sure they knew I wasn’t truly soliciting my body, however at that point in time (soaking wet, totally empty stomach and shaking from the humid cold) I would have done pretty much anything for a hot shower and a taco. Just saying.

It was a police officer that finally broke the code of my dialect and directed me up the hill and “that way.” 24 dollars later, Max at Hotel Zarcero showed me into my room and I was saved. No hot water, but safe from experiencing the karma of my cow tipping days in Alabama.

I decided to get drunk. After drying off and putting on the only dry shirt and shorts I had (cut off jeans and a sun shirt and NO I did not fit in), I walked to find some food and booze.

“Hola! Hi! Are you from America?” A voice rang out from one of the food shops. I was so happy to hear my native language that I never wondered how he could tell I was American. I’m sure with my appearance and choice of wardrobe it was pretty obvious I was NOT from around these parts. I greeted the man that came out of the small shop with a smile. It was there that I met Carlos of Zarcero, an LGBT Puerto Rican Pisces that begins this story… (To Be Continued…)

Blog and photo’s by Maria Rivers

 

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Taking action in supporting the LGBT Youth

“When you were a child, you were probably told to ‘man up’ or ‘you need to be more lady like’…but what if you don’t fit into any of those categories?” asks Dr. Alex Karydi, program director of the South Carolina Youth and Suicide prevention as she addressed an audience at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health. Dr. Karydi held a seminar on “How to support the LGBTQI youth” to help educate some local counselors, leaders, and social workers on one of the biggest issues in youths today.

 

Along with interesting and helpful reasoning behind certain behaviors of our LGBTQI you, staggering statistics supported the importance of addressing these issues. Many people at this conference were surprised that over 8% of the youth don’t feel as if they belong in the categories society expects us to be in. Which leads to a point that even the adults in the room felt special about.

“Think about it, you are the only one in the world who talks like you, you’re the only one with the same body type, height, weight, skin color, hair color of you, you’re the only one in the world who smiles and even laughs like you, then you are special! You are special! You are one of a kind! You are Badass for being special! Why should we tell our LGBTQI youths that they are not special?” say Dr. Karydi with enthusiastic positivity.

 

Our bodies are powered by our brains and it is a proven fact that our sexuality and our attraction to other humans comes from the chemicals in our brain. Therefore, how can you judge someone for liking someone of the same sex if that is what their brain is telling them? (Crazy! I know!)

 

Sadly, many political and medical leaders, as well as many residents of South Carolina do not see this biological scientific fact. This ignorance leads to the decimation of LGBT youths which create stressors. All this on top of school and trying to be a normal teenager too. This causes an increase of behavior and mental health issues. Not to mention, South Carolina is one of the 5 states in the United States that does NOT have hate crimes!! Surprised?

 

According to the Human Rights study, around 2.25 to 27 million students consider themselves as LGBT students. Keep in ind that in our LGBT demographic we have a higher rate of homeless, suicidal ideations, anxiety, depression, and are more likely to fall into the hands of smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse. Why? Because the impact and lack of support around them maybe?

 

Family rejections play a major factor in a LGBT youth’s life because a family is the youth’s main human contact. Kids look to their families as a nest for love, trust, and support. But then a family rejections the youth and this negative impact cases a youth to go into social isolation or self-cutting stage, or simply running away from the situation.

 

In America, there are around 1.6 million youth experiencing homeless with 40% that identify as LGBT. These youths run the risk of becoming a sex trafficking victim. Out of these 40%, 20% make it into the juvenile justice system with 85% of these youths being people of color. To make the situations worst, 6 LGBTQ youths die on the street everyday. 1 out of 2 of these are transgender.

 

The numbers and situations are scary and real. So what can you do to help?

 

  • Listen to your Child/ Youth (If it is important to them, it is important to you!)
  • Reassure your child/youth that it’s okay to be different.
  • Help your child/ youth connect with an age appreciate community by reaching out to We Are Family of Charleston who offers support for kids and parents.
  • Prepare your child/youth to deal with harassment (It’s going to happen at some point in their lives)
  • Advocate your child/youth. Give them confidence in themselves.
  • Get active in helping to work for social change! Remember, this is YOUR community, YOU pay taxes, so help take some action!

 

Think back to when you were a teenager. Remember how you felt, like no one understood you? As adults, it is our job to educate ourselves to learn about others differences and help prevent a tragedy. Most important, as an adult it is our job to provide support for our youth, the leaders of our future.

 

Words and Picture by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez

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Women Without Borders

Down on 183 King, there is a movement of women around the world growing into economic self-sufficiency through the art of their hands. Ibu, which on the islands of Indonesia mean a woman of respect, is a studio and showroom that collaborates with women in 79 cooperatives that are changing the world of fashion. Susan Hull Walker, founder and creative director of Ibu, travels around the world and meets women who have traditional textile skills such as spinning, dyeing, weaving. She meets these women and sees their culture and stories being told through the clothes and textile they produce.

Ali Macgraw, who you might remember from the movies Love Story and Goodbye, Columbus, is now an activist and IBU extraordinaire, collaborated with longtime friend Susan, to design a collection that celebrates the craftsmanship of women from around the world. The collection includes clothing, shawls, shoes, bags, and jewelry that are now available to shop at Ibu. The collection is a definition of powerful women who practice traditional age old textile methods that have been passed down from generations.

After a year of designing and traveling around the world, this past Wednesday, Ali and Susan presented the collection to a group of 400 people. Guest got the chance to watch the collection as it made its make debut and shop the collection. BEAU was there to give you a peek of the inspiring event.

Clothing is the cultural language and Ibu is making each piece statement from the group of people who inspired and produced it.Join the movement. Wear the Change. Shop the Ali4Ibu collection and to learn more at www.ibumovement.com

Photo’s by Cristian Diaz

Story by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez