DNA Magazine - - CONTENT #221 - Found­ing Editor, An­drew Creagh AN­DREW CREAGH

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.

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