Portraits

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.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”

— Simone de Beauvoir

Well, this week’s portrait is determined to help women gain back that confidence. Kathy Pacheco, aka Kitty Devereaux, is the co-producer and host of Sister Bear, a body-positive burlesque show for women. A spinoff of the popular Bearlesque shows, Sister Bear focuses on plus-size women and self-love. Sister Bear is a fun-packed show with “a little extra hubba, hubba.” You can catch the show every first Sunday of the month at Toasted Walnut.

As many of you know, I hate working out. Fortunately, I’ve been pretty lucky in the gene pool and it hasn’t taken much to keep me looking like I’m in shape without actually doing a sit-up or donning something made from Lycra. Unfortunately, age is starting to trump genetics and I may have to break down and do something more strenuous than lifting the remote. If anyone could inspire me to do it, it may be this week’s profile.

 

Michael Riley-Hill found his appreciation of nature growing up in a small town. He was fascinated by architecture and buildings and would spend hours sketching and painting in his youth. Riley-Hill attended Kutztown University, where he developed his talent for painting. His unique method of painting one small area of the canvas at a time was questioned, but ultimately was discovered to be part of his innate talent for detailed paintings.

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