Portraits

If you look up “can-do spirit” in an encyclopedia, you’ll probably find a picture of this week’s profile. Wait, that’s making me sound old. Let me rephrase: If you google “fixer,” you might just find a picture of Wafiyyah Packer. Even as a new mother, Packer makes time to jump into multiple projects, usually behind the scenes. And like James Bond, she always gets the job done.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”      — Cicero

If you haven’t been yet, there’s a lovely little spot just a half-block from William Way LGBT Community Center that has both books and soul. It’s called Writer’s Block Rehab and no, it’s not a recovery facility: It’s a lovely little bar opened up by this week’s Portrait, Ram Krishnan.

Samy el-Noury is a renaissance man. A well-respected actor, Noury is also a musician, a brown belt in Shaolin Kung Fu, does pretty well on a trapeze, speaks a smattering of French, Arabic and Spanish, is fluent in Japanese and knows his way around a puppet. Not bad for someone who hasn’t turned 30 yet.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s unthinkable that we even need to have an officially designated month for something so heinous, but sadly there are more than 3-million cases of child abuse each year in the United States alone (and that’s just those that are reported). One in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18; that’s 400,000 kids every year.

As I was doing research about LGBT travel, I kept reading about how LGBT travelers were sought-after customers because we are “early adopters.” Having traveled quite a bit with the lesbian travel group “A-broad for Adventure,” I can say firsthand that we are an adventurous bunch. There are some things that are unique to LGBT travel. Two of my favorite moments happened in Greece. The first was expanding the mind of my Greek boat captain after he remarked, “I don’t mind gay women because you stay women; I don’t like men because they turn into women.” After 30 minutes of me showing him numerous wonderful trans men and drag kings, he relented. After a week with me, he became an ally and the group has been back to tour with him several more times. My other favorite moment was at a festival in Athens. My partner at the time and I were debating buying a bottle of wine from one of the kiosks. The vendor asked why we were so keen for the one particular bottle. It was wine from the Isle of Lesbos, so we explained that we thought it was cool since we were lesbians. He exclaimed, “What? So am I! What part?” I quipped, “All of me!” He was very confused until we said, “We’re lesbians, as in women together.” At that point, he scoffed and said, “That’s a homosexual. I’m a real Lesbian, born and bred. My whole family has been Lesbian for generations.” We decided not to argue.

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