...The Hetrick-Martin Institute It offers a variety of after-school programs, including job-readiness training, tutoring, counseling, and exploring the arts. Most important, it’s a safe space for LGBTQ youth who are coming to terms with their sexuality. I grew up in the homophobic Bronx during the ’80s and was also exposed to sexual abuse, so I know how tough it can be during those formative years when you don’t have the best surroundings. These are the leaders of the future, and it’s great that they have that environment where they are free to be themselves while being mentored and encouraged to reach their full potential. HMI.org
…reading a book. Society is becoming accustomed to receiving information instantaneously with a few mouse clicks, and then we move on to something else. We shouldn’t forget the value of sitting down with a good book and letting your mind provide the visual. I suggest checking out Giovanni’s Room, the oldest independent LGBT bookstore in the country—the folks there have been very good to my book and me! QueerBooks.com
…the return of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I stopped watching a lot of TV while I was writing Inside the Vortex, but I always made time for Drag Race. This is must-see TV for everyone. Even the gays who think reality television is lowbrow are watching it. I can’t wait for the All Stars edition in October. LogoTV.com
…spending time with family. I’ve gotten the chance to mend a few broken relationships with family members. I’m the closest I’ve ever been with my parents as a result, and I have two teenage cousins I adore. It makes me happy that they are growing up as accepting and open-minded girls. I love whenever I get a text message from them asking if they can spend the day with me in the city and “have a kiki.”
…sprinkles’ red velvet cupcakes. One of the hardest things about leaving Los Angeles was the loss of Sprinkles Cupcakes. Imagine how thrilled I was when the company announced the opening of a Manhattan location. Sprinkles’ red velvet is hands down the best I’ve ever had. Sprinkles.com
…marriage equality. It was so exciting when marriage equality passed in New York last year. We still have a way to go as a nation, but I believe we will get there, one state at a time. I am very much looking forward to getting married in the future. I just hope I don’t become the Elizabeth Taylor of the New York City gay community — you know, married and divorced multiple times.