FROM THE EDITOR.
Last year, I was in a Sydney café with a bunch of journalists and travel professionals. One of the Americans present pulled a constipated facial expression and asked, “So… do you all hate us now?”
He was referring to the Trump presidency and how it has affected the world’s perception of America.
Sure, I hate Trump. He stands for everything that makes the world worse. He’s a racist, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a serial sex pest, transphobic, practices nepotism, is a liar, is corrupt and a supporter of corruption, a climate change denier and a supporter of the oppressive regime of Vladimir Putin in Russia.
But do I hate America and Americans? No! Trump casts a murky shadow over a nation of people who, I have found, to generally be fair, caring and generous.
I’ve been to America many times and the locals have always been warm and friendly. New Yorkers think they are brash and calloused. They aren’t! They are super friendly and helpful. I asked a guy for directions once and he sang me a whole verse of New York, New York from the musical On The Town. It didn’t help me find my way, but bless him!
Once, in San Francisco, I was out and about and accidently cut my finger. It wasn’t bad, but there was some blood. A complete stranger stopped and not only offered me a band-aid – he put it on for me! It’s a small thing, really, but says something about the generous spirit of the people in that city.
Of course, not all Americans are angels. Some voted for Trump! But, as we now know, the last election was not entirely free and fair, and I’m sure many of them made that decision based on misinformation.
Some of the USA is scary – especially if you are LGBTIQ. Trump wants to kick trans people out of the military – even though the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, who run the military, don’t. Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence supports gay conversion therapy. If Pence becomes President that could effect national policy.
But the generic world view of the US as a white bread, uneducated, naïve nation is not accurate. America is diverse and multicultural. Visit Hawaii, New Mexico, Key West, Seattle, downtown New York, San Francisco, Palm Springs and West Hollywood for an America of many different flavours.
After that café conversation, I decided to pitch the idea of a “USA-OK” issue to the DNA team, and everyone was onboard. We want to say that America is bigger than Trump, America will survive Trump, and Trump does not define America.
Next year, New York hosts World Pride and celebrates the 50th anniversary of Stonewall – mark that down in your party calendar! Stonewall is the symbolic birthplace of the gay rights movement and, appropriately, is the first thing in our 20 Things We Still Love About The USA feature in this issue.
My go-to man for all things US of A was LA photographer, James Franklin. James has produced numerous calendars dedicated to the rugged appeal of the American cowboy. He’s shot sexy gay men celebrating that quintessentially American holiday, Halloween, and he covered Drag Con – the annual LA drag convention hosted by RuPaul. You’ll see a lot of James’ work in this issue, including the shots of our gorgeous cover guy, Quin Bruce.
If you’re heading to the US soon for a visit or planning your New York World Pride trip for 2019, check out Mister B&B (at misterbandb. com). The site is designed by and for the LGBTIQ community, which means you can be sure you’ll stay gay on your vay-cay! The other advantage of Mister B&B is getting the lowdown from gay locals about the places to eat, drink and party.
To all our American friends – we still love you. We still love your big cities and quirky towns, your circuit parties and your entertainment industry, your optimism and, at this time, your spirit of resistance. See you for World Pride in 2019!
Photographer James Franklin, in front of the camera for once.