1995 – TZABACO an LGBTQ CATALOGUE

Way before Mainstream Media opened up the avenue to openly gay couples…

Although this is a TCM Food site and most of my blogs reflect about lifestyle or cooking – in a broad way – today, I am adding another personal story about racism and hate to the blooming pseudo-political aspect of intolerance towards the LGBTQ community. There was once America’s first gay catalog…

In 1995 I participated with my ex-partner Mathieu in a catalog production based out of Healdsburg Sonoma Valley. TZABACO. This shopping magazine targeted gay consumers with a storyline of Mike and Alex, a gay couple that lived in a cabin in the Sonoma Valley and had friends visiting. Michael (Mathieu’s character) was a bartender in the city of San Francisco and I portrait his life partner Alex, a writer and home-buddy. We had a sleepy golden retriever named Bob and everything you would find in the catalog pictures/story was for the purchase. The owners were gutsy and risky undertakings to “openly” promote products with a gay couple. In the days when gay people hardly were seen kissing in TV shows, and way before Queer as Folk or gay sports personas would ever step to the front and admit they are natural preference. The identification transgender was unknown (and is still unclear a description) by people living revoked from urban modernity or “sheltered” by religious dogma.

My modeling agency in Los Angeles warned me that this might be too “homophobic” for my carrier. Although I grew up unconcerned about any gay issues – I had no problem with admitting my sexual preference when curiously questioned about my lack of girlfriends. Growing up in Switzerland where being gay was not an issue –  I even joined an elite branch of the Swiss army without fuss about my sexual orientation.

I had never been threatened, harassed, or bullied for being me. Quite the opposite, I think my gay upbringing was rather exciting; I got laid left and right and ponder in hindsight about the friends I knew in my active youth that are today happily married and seemingly content as well. As an intelligent child, I would have told you that if I had a choice,I most likely would have preferred to be married and have children as well. I am sexually and psychologically attracted to the male body. I had to share sexual experiences with women; it is not as exciting, I conclude I’m queer. Actually, I can’t explain it correctly. I prefer extreme sports and am always the first to strive for dangerous adventure, my sexual desire has nothing to do with the person I am in my professional life, although I choose to live in a gay city. My preference is rarely reflected in any of my daily actions. I get along with anyone nice and sane regardless of THEIR lifestyle preference or even religion. I don’t make a big point about mine either. I’m the spirit that was raised to embrace the positive aspects of being, to express the likes before the dislikes and point out that my reality quietly included the obscure, difficult and disharmony that makes life colorful. I am aware some peeps out there hate me…

Some – out there – have this strong urge to express their dislikes. Why? My being gay has taught me to listen better than most: To be aware of the words used when talking, writing, or even drawing my ideas into reality.

Religious extremists are quick to voice their blatant hate and hide behind multiple translations of bible verses with confusing moral correctness; often created by peeps that agree that the use of brutal force in past times is still acceptable to defend their doctrine in our world today. Preachers sell their message to followers with rhetorical old-time views that don’t reflect current science. it’s a cash business! Hate is simply an emotional expression from a perspective of one-sided righteousness. It lacks logic and requires a very narrow view. Such individuals invest a great deal of energy and intellect to excuse why these deep-rooted feelings are acceptable, and they promote physical retaliation against “others” to manifest their ideology.

I’m utterly irked when people promote their personality on dating sites with racist wordings like: “…No blacks or Asians, just a preference….” It’s a hateful remark! It’s equally ignorant to say: “… the only disease-free….” Clearly indicating a lack of basic HIV education. Anyone with an undetectable virus is in good care and quite impossible to transmit “disease” – besides that, HIV no longer is the most commonly transmitted of all STDs… Hate does not prevent an infection…  We all can change the world. As long as politicians and ominous leaders of kingdoms and nations refuse to be educated – because they are afraid to discover what awful samples they are – there is little chance for any nations to balance old wisdom with current science; These dictators are power-driven dudes, uneducated, lacking compassion and often fueled by junk science!

A bearded transgender performer won the 2018 Eurovision contest before a 120 million TV audience in Europe. Here in the USofA, the news media kept saturating the audience with hate propaganda laced Trump rallies. Trump was unable to distinguish Michael Jordan as HIV positive and not having AIDS… His view (spew) about gays reflected the views expressed by Putin: If only Steven Miller could send out secret police, as they do in Russia, to gather and murder homosexuals – he certainly would have! Sarah Palin or Bachmann displayed a similar sense towards “others” and added to this confusing mess the purposefully created trash-shows promoting the Kardashians views similar to that of the Housewife shows on every bloody TV channel (with an overtly gay host…). I still cannot comprehend how gay people become fans of these characters that plainly admit disagreeing with being gay? These people hate us! Sure, they all give generously to charities, not because this is a heart-driven gesture – because their accountants/publishers and agents (most are gay) calculate this is best to secure their image/wealth. Celebrities are far revoked from “normal” beings; yet, the gay community is ignorant to the expressed lack of support for LGBTQ causes. Even when the Kardashian Jenner “transformed” publicly, the entire cast and producers alike failed to promote an all-inclusive positive message because that would have “hurt” financially.  I assume being rich requires one to be isolated from simply being honest.

The TZABACO catalog, in its fourth edition during 1996, showcased me, Alex piggy-horse riding my laughing nephew (kid model) on my back during a family Christmas party. In the early days of the internet and social media, we received handwritten letters from the more religious corners of the US expressing their frustration and disgust about a “fag carrying an innocent child of God” on his gay shoulders. I was not hurt but confused that here in the US – this advanced country – imposing on foreign countries tolerance to its citizen with weaponry and soldiers. Yet here, we fail to educate people about love and acceptance. I took time to write back to these hate letters, attempting to express a tiny notion of “understanding.”

I was alive when on August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. Yes, racism, intolerance, and hate of any kind are all twined when expressing your one-sided bigoted emotions. Today, with the internet, hate dominates brutally. It would be much simpler and a bit more inclusive if most of us would restrict our expressions to what we like instead of shouting out the many things we dislike (at least you’d color yourself and not puke your hate upon others…). Facebook is leading in promoting misinformation – actually encouraging controversial views – because it does generate billions of dollars each year! It’s a polluted platform. Hate conversations make the investors super rich!

You want to fix it: Portrait yourself with the things you like instead,  without calculating to hurt another. You can still draft yourself as the freak you are! …because I listen and often withhold my reaction… In the end, it is easier to let you live in your isolated bubble since I have learned that wealthy people (and the uneducated) tend to retaliate against a truthful opinion.

chef raphael

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